I have to admit that I had my apprehensions after finding out that Assignment 2 would entail working in a group. I realize that working in a group has its advantages, and that more than coming up with a product, the objectives of such activity are to also measure how well one can work with the rest of the group and that, it encourages collaborative learning as well as strengthen one’s interpersonal skills. I am, of course, all for those underlying rewards but I can’t be blamed if I think that along with the advantages comes the disadvantages of working in a group such as, dealing with people with different personalities, temperament, sense of responsibility (or the lack thereof), commitment issues etc. I suppose that as a student, I have always seen myself as the sole owner of my work and my fate. Sure, there may be times that I asked for other people’s help but at the end of the day, I still am responsible for choosing whether or not to accept the help or advice that is offered.
After finishing this assignment though, I actually realized that it was good to have been able to engage in this activity with a bunch of people who showed me that it was okay to share with them the responsibilities that were asked of us to do. They have proven to me that working in a group (especially with those who take learning at the same level as you do) isn’t bad at all. If anything, it made the work easier and more meaningful. Easier because we got to share the workload and more meaningful because of the exchanges of ideas that transpired. Oh, and yes, it was quite fun too. Fun to see that you’re not the only worrywart thinking and dreaming of what you need to finish.
Now the question is, will I ever do the same to my future students? My answer is, ABSOLUTELY. Just like what I learned, I would want my students to learn the value of working well with people and making compromises. Let’s be honest, this world that we live in is tough and I don’t think that anybody can survive without making compromises or giving and taking. Consequently, if I were to have my students engage in the same activity, I will make sure that I apply the same things that I have learned in this course, that is to be prepared with a Table of Specification and Rubrics that will be essential tools for me to measure my students abilities without any biases but with validity and reliability as I know that they will put in the time and energy into their work and as such I would like to give those who truly strive what is due them. That to me is fair game.
I love to travel. And yes, I have gotten used to the stress that it brings before the joys. Stress from planning the trip that includes, the completion of requirements for visa processing, scouting for cheap fare and suitable accommodations as well as familiarizing ones’ self with noteworthy activities to do during the entire trip. It is only after all these things are ironed out that the rest of the process becomes smooth sailing– and, that’s when the fun part begins. It’s like reaping the rewards of your month- long preparation. And, believe me, it’s definitely worth it.
I’d have to say that the same is true for teaching. Part of what educators do is that they plan. They plan what they need to teach and how to teach them. They make adjustments in their original plan when the situation calls for it and also plan appropriate means on how students should be assessed.
It is through this process that teaching tools in the forms of Table of Specification (ToS) and Rubrics become important. The same in planning a trip, ToS can aid teachers on how they can align their teaching objectives with the content that they have lined up for their students. It can even help them target the different thinking levels that they want to emphasize in their teaching. For example, if the teacher simply wants to measure students’ recollection of previous knowledge or skill, then they can target the students’ lower level thinking skills. Moreover, if the teacher finds the need to check on students who are more advanced, then he/she can have them do tasks that involve application, evaluation and synthesis. Having the ToS is like having a checklist which teachers can refer to that will allow them to identify if they have given a suitable number of items to target the level of thinking that they want to enhance or improve in each and every student.
Rubrics are also essential not only in the teaching process but in the learning process as well. In short, it serves a dual purpose. It helps the teachers set students’ expectations as to how they will be assessed through identifying the areas or aspects from which they will be evaluated including their behavior towards the different tasks. Rubrics allow teachers to assess students consistently and saves them time in grading. Lastly, it also enables teachers to give timely and effective feedback that promote learning in a sustainable way. As for the students, rubrics help them identify components from which they will be assessed, making them aware of what learning processes to apply in order to progress. And, since feedback is provided to them, it enables them to improve their work and make necessary adjustments when needed.
Although it may seem tedious and quite challenging to make these tools, the benefits are definitely far more worthy for one to ignore. Like traveling, one’s need for a map is essential in order for that person to reach his/ her destination, and it is for this same reason that I believe that both the Table of Specification and Rubrics are necessary, because they serve students, teachers and stakeholders to know exactly where teaching and learning should be.