EDS 111 Module 2: Championing teacher professionalism is important

After studying the literature on the different perspectives defining it, I have come to understand that what shapes teaching professionalism has been clouded by paradoxes on what between a strict and quite literal perspective, and a more accommodating, free ranging set of parameters.

Assuming we accept the arguments of Etzioni (1969), David (2000), Leiter (1978) and Samuels (1970) and put teachers under de-organization in order to attain autonomy in their decision making (which is a major criterion, and is a huge critique from the traditional list) is inherently flawed. It is but natural for teachers to be organized under a governing body, be it the school, PTAs and or teachers’ collectives themselves to maintain standards.

Without this no school, no institution can market a specific brand of education, and this is important to be able to cater to particular learners’ needs. A multiple intelligence preschool needs to have teachers maintaining the same standard in order for them to market themselves as a legitimate MI facility. A university professor needs to set objectives for his or her class in order to achieve university standard targets .

The argument that de-professionalizes the teaching occupation because of the unmet autonomy criteria is far from enough to overlook the other, in my opinion, more important qualifications such as its nature as a public service, selfless intention, the strict ethical code it upholds, and having an element of recognition for its achievements; not to mention it is a far too traditional an approach to return to this sort of model.

I feel that the freedom the democratic professionalism approach offers is now much more timely in this post-professional age we are in now (Hargreaves, 2000). But would the profession elitists in contemporary society who are stuck in the ages even be a tad bit willing to consider this kind of “professional debauchery” of traditions?

Demirkasimoglu, N. (2010). Defining ‘Teacher Professionalism’ from Different Perspectives.
Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences Vol. 9 pp. 2047- 2051. doi:
doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.12.444

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EDS 103 Module 2: “I am intelligent” and other self- inflating statements

The human brain is a sophisticated and an astounding machine that, if you really think about, can produce abstractions: remembers events, imagines and creates things that aren’t there, all through a bunch of chemical reactions. The physical brain can be so simple, and yet, its abstract can only be limited by its own. High levels of intelligence is indeed quite powerful to have, not that it could predict success in certain domains, but depending on the school of thought one subscribes, it can possibly provide for someone to become very well- adapted in life (Sternberg, 1985).

But why are we attempting to measure intelligence? Situations where immediate familiarity is required may have some use for using intelligence measure as a yardstick– albeit caution is required. Applying for a job is a situation where it is almost necessary to display a high level of intelligence, and eventually, competence at the onset. To be able to identify appropriate method of instruction to learners with special needs is another context where intelligence test scores are used.

With all this trouble in defining what intelligence is, what comprises it and how many types are there and how it is inherently challenging to measure, shall we leave it to the person to do a self- rating? After all, who knows one the best, bias and everything, but the self?

I cannot help but reckon the phenomenon of illusory superiority. According to it, majority of people tend to rate themselves as above- average in beauty, social status, other positive traits, including intelligence (Dunning and Kruger, 1999). Although this is statistically impossible, people nonetheless think a little too highly of themselves in a whole lot of situations.

I have yet to meet a car driver who will not say they are not exceptional in it, even go beyond and undermine others, dismissing them as “weak”, “slow” and “lacking traffic logic” (diskarte), which explains the angry and impatient honking on Manila streets.  Just like skillful driving and other tacit knowledge, people could easily rate themselves as better than most, and fall into the illusions of superiority.

The construct of the common sense has been the butt of street humor, it becoming uncommon among people, but is a crucial factor in practical intelligence. It is all too easy to point fingers at another and accuse them of lacking commons sense, when in fact, people behave in ways that didn’t follow a rational process.

These situations led Dunning and Kruger to experiment in 1999, and find out that often, greater ignorance (low levels of intelligence) begets someone to overinflate one’s abilities and increases failure to recognize their own lack of skill (Lee, C., 2012).

Now, my suggestion earlier to invite our own selves to determine the levels and types of intelligence we possess is rooted in the middle of all the fuss made by the apparent difficulty to consolidate a single accurate test of intelligence. Whether it’s IQ or EQ, or perhaps MI for you, I think the idea remains plausible, because in some of the deep recesses of the human mind and behavior only the self can explore, we may have to rely on our good- old self knowledge to reveal what’s really in there. Who else to know that we have a high level of analyzing- over- analysis than us?

I admit that this endeavor could prove difficult because of the thousand loopholes we can see even from a mile away (the Dunning Kruger effect is just one), but healthy and able individuals should be equipped with a  kind of reflection to be able to self- rate in a survey to partly (?) assist in scientific study.

It will take a certain kind of skill rooted in philosophy, or high levels of metacognition, or both,  to be able to overcome the highly attractive trap—to say that “I am intelligent”, with impunity.

It was, after all, just a suggestion.

EDS 111 Module 1: Don’t sweat your TPI

I can imagine how this TPI, or the Teaching Perspective Inventory, left many of us in EDS 111 staring blankly in traffic, or on a printed piece of paper that has a colorful bar graph (I know I printed mine, hehe) perhaps in deep thought, feeling emotional and bewildered on what these five perspectives mean and what they say about our teaching. Does this low result mean I failed on Social Reform, or does my low score on Transmission meant incompetence or inadequacy on my part? I wonder what a high Apprenticeship score mean… it definitely doesn’t sound special. Do I have to retake it? What is this TPI really all about??

I don’t know how many of my classmates can relate to the similar dilemma I was faced after I took the survey, and took it early I did; but it took me a good few days to really digest how these unique sounding terminologies have impacted my teaching past and present. I will avoid parroting what I have already said in the course forum post, but I have come to reflect on an angle about why some readily accept their results and some challenge on what their TPI said.

We could think of these teaching perspectives as glasses we see through (Pratt, 1998) and he couldn’t be more accurate. These are simply dominant biases on how we view our own teaching and the teaching of others, and how that influences our teaching style. But that proposes that we have a general, default go-to teaching style? Is that what Grasha’s clusters are about? Perhaps. But I thought a characteristic of good teaching is being effective in any style we employ? These are some of the questions I wish to explore in the coming modules.

In many ways, the teaching perspectives shows in the style and techniques we use, but for the most part, subconscious in nature. It has showed us a face value of how we really think about teaching. It is a discrete point of view we hold, and that set our individual standards on what teaching should be and what it is not. It is not there to crucify someone to be doomed stuck in that kind of outlook on teaching, nor it should be used to carelessly dismiss someone with a different perspective.

If you are someone who scored low on the developmental, then use your best judgement to address issues this may cause as you deem necessary if you work in a Montessori school. Perhaps you feel that your excessive bias towards the transmission perspective may be hindering you from being heard as a co-learner which you also want to become, then you are now able to pinpoint why. As with most disciplines, knowledge about oneself is a key to improvement; being armed with a new understanding of one’s teaching perspectives couldn’t hurt the chances to grow into the teacher we hope to be.

EDS 103 Module 1: Wait… did I just learn that?

In the pursuit of an all- encompassing definition, I have come to reflect upon the types of ways to learn George Roberts (2013) was discussing, and the tendency to use them as labels we identify with. He warned about how it should not be the case, as they are not types of learners, but are ways, sort of a methodology. I was honestly affected when he said that because I found myself doing just that as I was listening to him in a video, preaching how we should not judge surface learning to deep learning to strategic learning as being better than the others, as I just realized that we indeed employ a variety of these when we are trying to make sense of something, like he said.

I formally studied Mandarin in a university during my stay in Shanghai in 2012, and as a huge subscriber of deep learning, I refused to memorize, use mnemonics or employ any other language study techniques because I believed I need to create stories, experience it, associate it and draw it, comparing with how I learned my virtually non-existent Vietnamese on the streets. I cannot explain how I am not able to learn almost anything when some people in class are already attempting to speak in their broken sentences. Real shame that during my last semester when I was slowly integrating more strategies in learning the language was also the time I had to end my studies. This I see now is a perfect example of what Roberts meant by the need to use both surface and deep learning, and in the study of a new language it is inevitable not to do so. My other classmates probably operated in their own unique way on how to combine both, but I think the key here is self awareness to be able to strike the perfect mix of these learning types. If you know you learn by sitting yourself down and memorizing 5 words at a time, then so be the chunks.  I know a classmate who completes pictures out of the Chinese characters to be able to remember them, and their meanings (as what they are).

In my forum post, I have heavily mentioned Huitt (2011) and my support in his recognition of biological maturity and learning as factors that can cause change in a person. Most of my emphasis was on how this can be manipulated by teachers on how to become good instructors and facilitators thru curriculum, but what I missed was an elephant in my room of  current experience.  See, I teach preschool children how to read, and some of these parents will force barely 2- year old to enroll even though most of these kids wouldn’t  know how to receive instructions first. Children of this age will mostly prance around and never sit still, or have an attention span so short you won’t even finish your sentence, and I say it all the time: “your child may not have the maturity just yet to be able to figure out that reading involves a left-to-right- book”, or the more popular “Let us wait for after his third birthday”, and true enough, the child makes leaps in his/ her education past a certain age and there was an obvious change in demeanor and even behavior sometimes. What is the secret? Learn that age. Students still vary in their rate of maturation, but the average child has this sort of magic age. It’s quite brilliant, really.

In the end I think what learning to us could may well be influenced by how we approach teaching and how we study. Someone who might be an advocate of the importance of higher order thinking skills will possibly define learning as the ability to contextualize, create change and practice; whereas a teacher keen on technical details, making you remember everything could possibly put meat on the acquisition of knowledge side. I have initially defined it using concepts that are personal to me, and what I will consider learning among my students. So in that case, we might have actually revealed a little bit about ourselves through what we believe is real learning.

Module 1 Reflection: What kind of a student am I?

As my first entry under EDS 111 and in my eJournal, allow me to be generic for now. This module asks to talk about myself, and to reveal what kind of learner am I. As boring as the results can be, I did find out supporting truths and a few extremes about me as a huge procrastinator (I got a 59 in the Time Management Skills Test), poor time manager but a very self aware individual.This is quite a paradox, but really, who isn’t one?

I can personally see that it is glaringly counter-intuitive to report a high level of awareness on why I am bad in time management, or why I can never delegate tasks, while strictly keeping a planner every year. I am a such a nitpicker in many aspects of my life and the affairs around it, but why, you might ask, can I never change into a better scheduler?

I already know the answer: because this WORKS for me, procrastination has been effective to knock out my mound of tasks. I have almost always, somehow, able to keep an avalanche up when it is ready to blow out of control. Does it feel good when I cram? No. And I hate to say this, but that is perhaps the only bad thing about it.

Every body has something that works for them. Instead of looking for “study solutions”, one must leave other people to find their own size, what fits them, what’s comfortable, what works.

Personally, I don’t see anything to change if one is a procrastinator like myself, as long as it works and one continues to be effective. Why change something that works? If one should ask, maybe the only thing I’ve been doing about it is “hassle- mitigation” during cramming. Essentially trying to better the process. I try to pace better, delegate and assign, and slowly spread out goals, and this might be the perfect time to apply the above as a distance learner. Looking back, I have anticipated this as I was about to pay at PNB, and I know after I have made that payment I have silently promised that I will, and have to do better as soon as I am student. This time I have decided that I want to study, and my purpose couldn’t be more clearer to me.

Hello UPOU!

My name is Glenys Alene Banal, or just Glen Banal. Feel free to read and comment on my entries about my quest into becoming a serious educator. Why do my students act the way they do? What can I do about it? as just some of the questions I am faced with every day at my job.

I have full confidence that as I learn each module, each of the bits and bobs, a day at a time, I will be working towards improving and innovating learning for the young people who will be changing the world someday. And that is a tremendous responsibility I would like to own. Right now.