Monthly Archives: February 2014

Responsible Modeling

A very old commercial is brought back to memory by this module particularly that on observational learning or modeling. I can recall about two or three sets of commercials having different settings but promoting the same theme with the tag line “Kung ano ang ginagawa ng matanda ay sya ring gagayahin ng bata”. These commercials sent a very powerful message and that is, that adults are always looked up to by the young ones for guidance, inspiration and direction. It is therefore the responsibility of these adults to act according to what they believe is morally correct.

And speaking of actions, I believe that modeling should start at home. As parents, we should be responsible for what we teach our children, from the fundamentals down to the more complex learnings. While it is a given that children are sent to schools for further education, I still feel strongly about having my own child look at me ( or her tatay) as her role model. I would want her to feel that, we, her parents are the primary adults that she can look up to when she feels confused about the dictates of society. I want her to trust that we have her best interest at heart and that we will do everything in our power for her not to go astray. All these, I plan to achieve through leading by example. I suppose that this desire to be her own ‘responsible model’ is rooted to the fact that if I become successful at raising a smart, God- fearing, free- spirited, independent-minded and happy human being, that I have served my purpose here on Earth and that I know that she will do the same thing to her own child/ children, and, my hope is that the cycle continues. Because who knows, we might just have a shot at changing our world by simply doing our role as our child’s/ children’s model.

Moderation is Key

According to Wikipedia, moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted.

Moderation is considered a key part of one’s personal development in Taoist philosophy and religion and is one of the three jewels of Taoist thought. There is nothing that cannot be moderated including one’s actions, ones desires and even thoughts. It is believed that by doing so one achieves a more natural state, faces less resistance in life and recognizes one’s limits. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moderation).

I say that moderation is key to everything, including, how we should regulate behavior both at home and in school. Reinforcements, as what has already been established by numerous studies on behaviorism, can draw out positive responses when used effectively. Although, despite of the good intentions one may have in using reinforcements to achieve normality in one’s behavior, some may see it only as an opportunity for them to demand more for something that they should be doing well in the first place like getting good grades for example. It is encouraging, of course, to receive praises for doing good in school, but one must be reminded that more than the praises, good education is the actual real prize. So, in giving positive reinforcements, I believe that it should be done sparingly.

Let me cite a personal example. My daughter, who just turned 10 years old this month, have been told of the value of education early on. She makes it a point to do well in all her classes because that kind of behavior had been established when she was a little bit younger and so, having to ask her to do school stuff is never a problem. But there was this one time that I picked her up from school and asked if she had any assignments and her answer to me was, I’m done because I had worked on them in school during our. “supervised study time”. You can imagine that I was positively surprised and I felt very proud at the moment that I blurted out, ” GREAT JOB, Blythe! Really, that was really great! I mean, it was one thing that she does her assignments everyday, but to actually make use of her spare time to do it on her own while her classmates were busy playing was beyond what I would have expected from a 9 year old girl and that to me was worthy of a praise.

Interestingly enough, I find that the same concept of moderation can be applied to “punishments” when dealing with children. I have heard of the word “overkill” and sometimes, that is exactly what most of us do when we try to discipline our children. We sometimes have the habit of making them feel worse than they already are with a simple mistake that could have turned out to be a learning experience nonetheless. In turn, what the child remembers most of the situation was how bad of a person he/she was because that is exactly how he/she was made to feel. We do not take the time to dig deeper, analyze, understand and apply a more appropriate response or reaction to what has been said or done wrong. Instead, we just jump right to it and give the maximum penalty thinking that” it” will teach the child the lesson he/she will never forget because it is the “extreme” penalty. But is that really the case? I say, not at all. Some, just gets immune overtime with the penalties that they no longer care and therefore no longer learn. In these cases, sadly, we miss the mark by a very long shot because instead of correcting the wrong behavior, we have led our children to endure the intensity of the punishments with the mindset that they will overcome it. Question is, for how long?

Confusion still brought about learning

The title should more or less explain my journal entry. It was rather late when I discovered that the set of questions on the open thread discussion of the fifth module was different from what I’ve already answered and since I didn’t want my new learning ( and time) to be put to waste, I decided to share what I have learned here. Anyway, here it goes:

Can we teach metacognition?

Quite frankly, I believe that everything can be taught and learned but the degree of learning may vary depending on the individual’s willingness to learn. Let us review the video presented by Dr. Stephen Chew, professor of Psychology at Samford University in Alabama (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChl). In the video, Dr. Chew explained that our beliefs about the nature of learning can greatly determine the individual’s learning outcomes. He went on to explain some of these “beliefs that make one stupid” and I believe that it is through understanding these beliefs that we can teach an individual on how to benefit from metacognition.

According to Dr. Chew, a) most people believe that learning is fast which is actually the exact opposite. Learning requires careful reading and review of materials, answering relevant questions, advance reading of difficult materials as well as a well- thought out plan for assignments, and ALL THOSE take time.

b) Students think that knowledge is composed of isolated facts. Dr. Chew explains that what matters is that you have a comprehension of the concept and not simply memorize it. Sadly though, many students fall for most textbook practices of highlighting terms thinking that memorization of those terms is equivalent to comprehension.

c) Many students believe that an individual can be naturally good or bad at a subject or that it is an inborn talent. Again, nothing is impossible with a little (or, a lot) hard work and it is equally important that you put in the time in order to succeed.

d) A lot of students say that they are good at multi-tasking. It is important to let the students realize that they would need to eliminate distractions (e.g. texting, chatting with friend, checking social media sites etc.). As per Dr. Chew, for each distraction, one decreases the amount of understanding, increases the time to learn and understand a material and increases the chances of getting a bad grade.

I believe that educating students of these “beliefs” can be a starting point for me to teach metacognition together with study strategies on how best to learn plus, a bit of motivation on the side wouldn’t hurt.

How can we facilitate the development of expert thinking?

I believe that this formula below sums up how one can develop expert thinking.

Metacognition + Self-regulation + Reflection = Expert Thinking

Experts are described as being more aware of themselves as learners so it is important that one is made aware of the 4 types of knowledge ( Metacognition).

1. Knowledge about selves as learners – one must know his/her strength, best time for him/her to study, current study habits etc.
2. Knowledge about learning tasks – know what is required for the successful completion of the task, how will performance be evaluated
3. Knowledge about a wide variety of strategies – What cognitive strategies will facilitate the recall of this information? What obstacles in the environment must be removed or sidestepped.
4. Knowledge about the content – What do I know about the topic?

Then comes self- regulation which involves planning, monitoring and evaluating.
Planning is knowing the task demands, available personal resources, and potential matches between the two. Planning serves three purposes: it eases the actual execution of the task, increases the likelihood of successfully accomplishing the task, and it tends to produce a product of quality. Planning involves, setting a goal, sequencing a series of strategies and identifying potential obstacles. Next is monitoring, which is the awareness of what one is doing. This involves mentally checking what one is doing to ensure progress, looking back at the plan to determine if steps are being performed in the correct order and looking forward to steps that need to be performed while carefully attending to what is going on at the moment and paying attention to feedback and making on-going revisions and adjustments when obstacles are encountered. Lastly, evaluating. It is the assessment of both process used and the product that was achieved.

Next is reflection. It is the link between metacognitive knowledge and self- regulation. Reflection makes it possible for learners to use their metacognitive knowledge about task, self and strategies during each stage of the regulatory process: planning, monitoring and evaluating. It allows learners to consider plans made before for a task, assessments, adjustments and revisions made afterwards. Reflection also draws inferences from one’s past experience to create possible action plans for the future.

I believe that these are three basic components for one to achieve expert thinking coupled with long- term practice and feedback.

Should we be concerned about transfer? Why? What can we do about it?

Absolutely. Transfer is important because the real objective of whatever learnings we get from the classroom/ school should be manifested in how we deal with situations in our day-to-day existence. Living without transfer is just like going through life without a purpose.

Transfer can be improved by helping students become more aware of themselves as learners who actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tests and performances (see module 5: Strategic Learning-Teaching, p.11)

References:
Module 5: Strategic Learning-Teaching
http://brown.edu/about/administration/sheridan-center/sites/brown.edu.about.administration.sheridan-center/files/uploads/ErtmerNewby1996_0.pdf
http://mason.gmu.edu/~dhathawa/Portfolio/Coursework/expert.html
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DRH95h36NChI

Are we intelligent?

” Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking its stupid.”
— Albert Einstein

I am a firm believer that each one of us is special, gifted even. I remember that back in the day, I was mesmerized at how brilliant this classmate of mine was in solving mathematical problems. She had that unique ability of solving mathematical equations even if our teacher hadn’t finished writing the entire equation on the board. It was simply amazing (for me and my classmates, of course) to see her in action as she finishes our teacher’s math problems. Apart from that, she was good at all our subjects and was President of our Forensics Speech and Debate Team in high school. She was what we can call, ” the perfect student”. Luckily, I got to be friends with her. It was when I “hang out” with her that I got to focus more on school work and realized that I, too, have so much more to offer. I mean, I’m no math wizard, but I certainly possess some of the intelligences defined by H. Gardner.

First off, I am a people- person. I love relating to just about everybody I meet. The experience itself generates a genuine thrill that I become so engage as I learn so much not only about the person, but his/her life in general. I have also been so passionate about building relationships with people and value the importance of those relationships.

Secondly, I was a track and field and volleyball player from grade school to high school, enjoyed swimming, dancing and I’m now playing tennis out of sheer curiosity about the sport. I would not have thought that my ability to perform well in these sports can be attributed to being intelligent but I guess I was wrong.

Lastly, my ability to express my thoughts and opinions is something that I am also proud of. I may not be the most eloquent speaker, but I’m pretty sure that I am a good communicator. It is with this ability that I get the courage to engage in meaningful conversations with family and friends. It also served as an important tool that helped me rise above the ranks in the workplace.

Given all these realizations on my intelligences, I can honestly say to myself, “not bad, not bad at all”. I have also come to terms with the fact that test scores are not to be taken as the ONLY basis for an individual to be branded as intelligent. More importantly, the realization that people show intelligences in different ways allows me to keep an open mind as I nurture my own daughter into developing her own intelligences.

My Dyadic Experience

After several exchanges of messages with my partner, I realized that no matter how different our words may be, we remain to have a primary goal. Both she and I believe that pursuing this course will allow us to give back to society what society has given us, and that is learning. We were also in agreement that we want to learn for the sake of learning what we ought to learn for us to be good educators.

Apart from that, we are also in pursuit of learning for our own self- development. We believe that being homemakers and having our own kids should not in any way limit our abilities or our chances to learn in order to be productive individuals (Identified Regulation).

In addition, I also realized that motivation is truly multidimensional. Just like what I’ve mentioned earlier, my motivation for learning is learning itself or to acquire additional knowledge, self-improvement, self-discovery, a way to pay it forward and many more. It has become fascinating for me that this experience has opened my eyes to so many beautiful things and I would hope that this is just the beginning of a truly wonderful journey… A journey where there is limitless possibilities.

Who doesn’t like rewards? I know I do!

(Describe the circumstances behind learning situations wherein you were (a) highly motivated to pursue your goal and (b) strongly unmotivated to achieve at all. Use motivation theories to help you understand or explain why your motivations differ in each of the circumstances.)

Like Skinner’s behavioral theory that provides an explanation on extrinsic reinforcers (rewards,expectations and punishments) as factors that affect human behavior, my inspiration or motivation to do well in my studies back in college was influenced by that same thought.

I’ve always set my mind on making it to the dean’s list every semester. The reason being is that I get back fifty or a hundred percent of the tuition fee that my parents’ had already paid for. That to me, was my reward for doing good in school and I always felt that it was well- deserved. At the same time, it allowed me to continue to push myself even harder academically semester after semester. It was like telling myself that I did it once and for sure, I can do it again (Self-efficacy theory). The monetary reward was one thing, but more importantly, I felt a sense of pride in myself because of what I had achieved and my confidence was boosted because of the recognition that I got ( John Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design).

On the other hand, an incident in college also made me feel strongly unmotivated. It was the last semester of my fourth year when I learned that my grade was a few points short for me to be a cum laude. I felt really bad at first that I didn’t want to excel in any of my remaining classes as I didn’t see any point in doing so. And, I thought that an average performance will get me through graduation anyway. But then after a few days, I thought to myself that I should focus on the long term effects of my actions. Just like what the Goal Orientation theory teaches, I continued to perform well academically because my thought then was that I still can turn things around and reap the benefits of my hard work in the end. True enough, I did. Since I got good grades overall, it helped me land a job each and every time I needed one. And now that I am no longer a part of the working class, I make sure that I pass on the same lessons I got from my experiences to my daughter with the hope that she will get through the same challenges with the same or even better mindset (about setting goals) than I had.