Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Journey to Self Discovery

I would have to admit that prior to taking up this course on Theories of Learning, I had my own inhibitions and a planned strategy on just how I intend to finish it. I thought that I would simply answer a few questions here and there and be done with the whole thing. I thought that everything would be mechanical and so is my learning experience. But, I was wrong, and, for the first time, I did not mind being wrong.

My journey to self discovery started from day one when I was first introduced to the concepts of metacognition and self- regulation. While it is true that I may have had been practicing these concepts before, I was sure glad to have been educated as to which terms to use to refer to them and be given affirmation that my learning habits have been effective all these years. Through the modules and references given on both metacognition and self- regulation, I was made aware of how I had valued various resources and how these resources ( parents, teachers, institution, peers, colleagues etc.) had helped me develop into a self- regulated learner. A learner who takes responsibility to know when and where it is best to learn, welcomes various ideas of learning and learning strategies that lead to change and finds motivation to enhance her knowledge from things and people around her.

And, speaking of motivation, this course has also strengthened my belief that there are multiple reasons why an individual would strive to gain knowledge. These driving factors may be due to cognitive gain which is simply, one’s goal to broaden his/her knowledge, skills, abilities and understanding. It may also be brought about by one’s need to satisfy himself with rewards, praises and recognition or the simple case of curiosity.

At the start of the semester, I convinced myself that going back to school through distance learning is probably the best thing to do for a first-time stay-at-home mom like myself. So you can say that, initially, my need to study was motivated by boredom. Little did I know that I was actually searching for something more than just to kill time. It dawned on me that I wanted to enrich myself with new knowledge and skills because I have missed that constant feeling of learning when I decided to stop working. I felt as if I have stagnated and the opportunity to once again “be in school” has brought back that excitement to be learning new things again.

Learning for me has also been made more fun and meaningful because of the insightful ideas and views of my classmates and the numerous presentations shared by my teacher. Although I was used to face-to face interactions or discussions that traditional classroom set-up offers, I did not feel at any time that I was alone in my endeavor thanks to the pro-active attitude of my peers. What’s more interesting is that I was even given the opportunity to practice my skills as a social learner. The fora that were initiated by both myself and classmates kept me well- informed about their various experiences and practices that I may one day use in my own classroom. Indeed, the lack of physical presence did not dampen my spirit to see myself finish this course. If anything, I believe that it convinced me, more than ever, that I am a self- regulated individual who can achieve anything so long as I have the discipline, motivation and patience to withstand any challenges that may come along the way. And, it is my hope that I may serve as an inspiration or a role model not only to my own child but hopefully, to my future students as well. If so, then all my efforts have been all worth it.

My Very Own Critical Thinker

As a full-time homemaker, my only student currently is my daughter, who at this stage in her life is very inquisitive not only with what is introduced in school but, in most cases, with anything and everything that she observes around her. I have to admit that with the number of things that I myself would have to accomplish on a daily basis, I find that answering all her questions can be quite exhausting. As bad as it may sound, perhaps that feeling of exhaustion drove me to look for alternative strategies as to how I can teach my daughter to develop her critical thinking skills. Case in point, when my daughter asks me a question that I can easily answer, I first throw the question back at her so that she may come up with her own interpretations or perceptions. Thereafter, if her own interpretation is close to what is true or factual, I pitch in my ideas to support it and then allow her to also research some more evidences using the internet. Of course, the internet can be a tricky source of information too, so, I make sure to direct her to trustworthy paths that I know will lead her to the answers that she seeks and constantly remind her that the desire to learn more and discover new ideas must come from within her.

Now I know that perhaps it is too early to prove that my daughter has started developing critical thinking but, I believe that the practice we have at home which includes allowing her to think for herself, analyzing situations, making interpretations, evaluating potential outcomes and having the discipline to improve herself and constantly challenging her capabilities are but a few significant indicators that can tell that she is on the right track to developing her critical thinking skills.

Vygotsky, my own hero!

I’d have to say that although I respect and acknowledge Piaget’s work, I can’t help but feel as I if I have found myself a kindred spirit in Vygotsky. His work on social constructivism as mentioned in the number of references recommended in the module made me appreciate my own learning style and understand why I enjoyed social interactions and dialogues so much. I have to admit that, most often than not, I get hyped up over discussions with other people as I feel that part of real learning is when individuals exchange ideas, listen and identify other people’s thoughts, views and experiences. I also find it as a suitable avenue for me to think aloud and when I do so, I believe that I get to remember most of what I have learned or what I am trying to learn.

I have also realized that teaching and learning as a process have continuously evolved and I am glad that they have. As a student myself, I want to feel responsible for the things that I learn along the way. I would like to see my teacher/ instructor as more of my mentor and guide who will direct me to the path of discovering new knowledge. This way, the reward of enriching myself becomes more worth it since I know that it is with my own doing that I got to achieve it.

And, as a teacher, I promise to trust that my students can discover new things for themselves. Just like the saying goes, ” Do not give people fish, instead teach them how to fish.”. This reminds me that although teachers are expected to “give” knowledge, it is still best that we include our students in the discovery of that knowledge so that when the time comes, they get to do the process of finding out the solutions for themselves. I will not focus too much on the end product but on the journey because I believe that what is more important is that my students learn valuable life lessons along the way. Getting the end product will then follow.

“Memories”

” Memories, may be beautiful and yet
what’s too painful to remember
we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
whenever we remember
the way we were. ”

This paragraph above which is an excerpt from Barbara Streisand’s song entitled “The Way We Were” more or less summarizes my thoughts on memories. Come to think of it, when I reminisce with family and friends over lunch or dinner, what I would normally notice is that we get to look back at all the fun times we’ve shared over the years. Rarely would we bring up events/ situations that brought any of us pain or grief. Even during times when I attended wakes of my friends’ family members, I get to hear them tell stories of the good times that they had with the member that they lost, and, they revered the life of the one who went ahead of them.

What does this say about my memory and perhaps of others too? I would like to believe that my memory serves as my bank of good thoughts ( primarily) that is always made available to me especially when I need to make “withdrawals” when necessary. Withdrawals would mean looking back at past experiences and what I have learned from them and applying those learning to present and perhaps future situations. And even if my memory bank has stored a few unpleasant events in my life, I am still grateful because they are equally important as those good ones because without having experienced a bit of sadness, sorrow and pain, I may not have been the person that I am today. A person who appreciates life and everything that comes with it.

And as I will eventually be a part of someone else’s memory, my hope is that I, too, be remembered for all the right reasons and, that somehow their memory of me may bring them smiles and laughter.