EDS 103 finale: Snippets of EDS 103 learning

To tell the truth, I am happy that I had EDS 103 for my first course in this program. I feel that I have been fully enriched and improved by it. I was always excited to find out what will come next, or what the next module will be about. I remember my first formal teaching post, I missed my job every weekend, and I wished it was already Monday so I can go back see my students….

…but no class is ever like this with any adult, let’s be real. But it is close, and I am happy to report that I feel like I have grown as a teacher because of the theories I have learned here. I find myself talking about it with my coworkers, I plan to give trainings based on new theory concepts I learned, I ask my coworkers to pitch in and tell me how the ideas are correct in their practice, and how it does not apply in their situations.

Growth was with me every step of the way, and I almost physically stretch me every week—by now I feel like six feet tall.

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To be more specific, I would say that as much as I savored every new grain of thought, I continue to ponder upon behaviorism. Not surprisingly, it is the most relevant to my practice as I deal with preschool children. While I stand by my conviction to avoid extrinsic rewards, I wonder if none of the teachers know about the faults of a “token economy” I discussed in my previous post “Sticker-stingy” (https://glenbanal.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/eds-103-module-3-sticker-stingy/). Why continue to reward even if it’s become obvious that the reward has stolen the spotlight? Have some of us failed to receive Pavlov’s memo? Or, did I miss a new memo?

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The Sousa article about the importance of prime time and how learning is affected by down time (Sousa, n.d)…. One that I will never forget. Not that it was memorably written, but it has a huge impact to me. Perhaps it is because it was closest to home, and in my school it is something that all of us continue to struggle with. I have not stopped talking about it with my coworkers and I was telling about it to anyone who wishes to listen. From then on, I swore no more tired and bored students, and yes to better classroom management planning.

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I was especially inspired by the constructivism school of thought in education. As Piaget rebuilt our confidence on students by suggesting that a learner and his or her prior knowledge can be responsible for assembling knowledge out of information, then they can be largely responsible for their learning (Piaget, 1936). This has reintroduced active learning to me, and I am sure to attempt to steer my classes towards a more learner-centered approach, where my students will become stakeholders in our learning community. Students, no matter how young they are, can be and must be a part of their growth, as much as of our own. As I continue to use Vygotsky’s ZPD in considering learning curves and scaffolding, his concepts were indeed very helpful in the quest to better understanding of learners (Vygotsky, 1934).

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There were knowledge that has been articulated in my study of this course, and there were some that were brand new acquisitions. It is not as much about the amount of modules read, or the volume of journals added in my mental education folder (See “Folderize your brain” post, October 13, 2015), but the way I have directed my learning. The epistemology of my learning, to me, is based off of how these will reflect in my teaching practice. Sure, several students have expressed how excited the course has gotten them, and how they plan to remember all of it, but like what Schunk (2000) said, what good does a piece of information has if it is not about to move away from the book to the drawing board? It is not considered learned until it has been practiced and then, to borrow from the latter, enduringly changed behavior (Schunk, 2000).

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I love map reading in my free time, and EDS103 gave me my first map. Ah, so this is Lifelong learning.

Banal, G. (2015 October 1). Sticker-stingy [web log post]. Retrieved from https://glenbanal.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/eds-103-module-3-sticker-stingy/

Sousa, D. (n.d.) Primacy-recency effect. Retrieved from https://www.lancsngfl.ac.uk/secondary/math/download/file/How%20the%20Brain%20Learns%20by%20David%20Sousa.pdf

McLeod, S. A. (2015). Jean Piaget. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

Dahms, M. et. Al (n.d.) TheEducational Theory of Lev Vygotsky: an analysis. Retrieved from http://www.aiz.vic.edu.au/Embed/Media/00000023/Article-The-Educational-Theory-of-Lev-Vygotsky.doc

Phye. G. (2004). Learning. Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. (Vol 2. p. 520). Retrieved from http://www.perl.hs.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/projects/carver/learning.pdf

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EDS 111 finale: Some truth in fiction thru EDS 111

Q: So was Louanne Johnson’s classroom success in the 1995 movie “Dangerous Minds” (Bruckheimer Films) a
pure work of fiction or does it have some theoretical basis?

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I have always thought of myself as a person who likes to learn new things. I have a very varied interest, and for the past few years that I have been a teacher, I am most especially curious on correct education. Question is, what does that even mean?

Studying EDS 111 has helped me gain the first step towards answering this question. First, it has pointed me to the way of interesting reads, albeit long and grueling, but interesting nonetheless. Until I knew about the TPI and teaching perspectives I felt like a very little number of people understand a social reform perspective in teaching that I want to apply in my instruction. I didn’t know that they already have a name for the TPACK framework for teaching, and that it is considered a massive part of a teacher’s knowledge base, when to me it was just one of those mysterious merger of technology use and good old pedagogy. That the importance of teacher interpersonal skills had been a subject of academic
study, and teaching diverse students had always fascinated me, and I thought “while I could be a teacher of fairness and diversity, how do you teach a class of rowdy teenagers?”. In short, if the barrios have Juan Flavier, will I be able to handle that as a teacher?

Truthfully, the course had also enlightened some dark spots in my practice. Reflective practice has been a key point in any kind of teaching, and like Peter Scales (2008) said, it needs to be deliberate. If before, critical analysis of my class issues were sporadic at best, now I have realized thru the course that a continuous learning of techniques and theories would generously help me to cope with the challenges I face. My initiatives of creating a community of learning thru projects we had and wants to have will now have a name. Knowing what you are doing provides more direction and puts goals in front of you and your collective.

If I’d give myself a summative self assessment of all the new thoughts, new and old, that has been imparted in Principles of Teaching, I would create a list of the following skills whose goal is for the items to be ticked off one by one. And for those items left unchecked, they will serve as a reminder of all the things I need to learn to master, and turn my efforts into, as Reynolds (1965) calls it, ‘second nature’.

Personal list of things to master:

  • Strengthen the other complementing areas of my TPI based off of my dominant perspective 
  • Practice how to shift into all of Grasha’s teaching styles and apply when needed
  • Involve the immediate community in decision and policy making, achieving democratic professionalism in your own school; share tasks and make parents and teaching staff feel empowered thru this new mandate
  • Train staff and share the knowledge about the TPACK framework on how to optimize the available technology at work 
  • Seminars and reflection sessions on helpful objective setting, as some of my colleagues still don’t know how to set lesson objectives √
  • Share interesting theories such as Thomas Gordon’s (2003) communication techniques with students 
  • Make sure I stand my ground on being a teacher than a mother 
  • Accept that all students are able students, no playing favorites 
  • Innovate my style, methods, create novelty in my lessons and aids, deviate from being Teacher Glen sometimes 
  • Realize that I have the power to move revolutionize ethos and culture in my school, take advantage of that with the education I had from this course 
  • Attempt to create initiatives towards shaping part of the staff identity and be known as a well rounded teachers committed to both learning and teaching;
  • Meet regularly, delegate, collaborate, make a call to action
  • Be a living model that learning does not stop here 

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A: Ms Johnson probably learned EDS 111.

Scales, P. (2008). The reflective teacher. Teaching in the lifelong learning sector, 7 – 26. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.). Retrieved from http://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/9780335222407.pdf

Scarlett, W. G., Ponte, I. C., & Singh, J. P. (2009). Building positive teacher – student relationships (Chapter 3). In Approaches to behavior and classroom management. SAGE Publications.). Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/26067_3.pdf

Simpson, D. & Bruckheimer, J. (producer). Smith, J. (director). (1995). Dangerous Minds. [motion picture]. USA.

EDS 111 Module 3E: UP as a learning community

Many former students and undergraduate alumni of the University of the Philippines would probably agree that in reading about lifelong learning, scholarship and learning communities, UP is an embodiment of most of the characteristics of a true community where people are not only striving to become an academic, but also a group that puts up almost an effortless vibe of learning. As I am sure there is a parallel collective in other schools, I have not seen a community of this size where everywhere feels like a virtual classroom (so pardon my limited perspective about other schools– feel free to share below).

Kruse, Louis and Bryk (1995) said that learning communities usually have the five characteristics, namely: reflective dialogue, focus of student learning, interaction exists among teachers, collaboration, shared values and norms (Kruse, Louis and Bryk, 1995). The latter proposed that these should be present in a organization to be considered a community with a lifelong goal of growth by being voluntarily engaged. From where I stand, these characteristics, especially reflective sharing, collaboration and values- sharing , are easily ever- present in UP, and is not just exclusive among the teaching staff, but in several forms as well.

Reflective dialogue is described as conversations where teachers discuss student improvement in their teaching. In the university, this is generally observable as personal traits of all members both students and teachers. In the UP culture, constant self evaluation and critical thinking are behaviors that are constantly encouraged within the self, and this opens
communication lines not just between faculty members but amazingly, students also get involved.

Collaboration is not exclusive between just teachers, but always present, as organizations get deeply creative in activities and projects. Administration activities and the student council, or the USC, equally compete with student orgs; there isn’t a monopoly of who controls and regulates.

Values and norms are shared and passed on thru a strong tradition of independence, self- analysis and critical thinking– traits considered a brand of membership in the UP community– are just some of what are considered important as a member of this community. Granted, there are some who may not fit into certain molds but it is almost safe to say that its ethos tend to prescribe to have some of the traits mentioned above, and could possibly manifest in many implicit forms.
I believe that the key to a successful learning community is that students champion lifelong learning themselves, and in this institution, most of it are done outside of teacher monitoring. As it is already a given that faculty members in most institution posses higher academic profiles, a sort of culture within the student community needs to surface, and in UP, the latter had nailed it down to a tee.

(Roberts, S. & Pruitt, E. Z. (2009). The professional learning community: An overview (Chapter 1). In Schools as professional learning communities: Collaborative activities and strategies for professional development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, pp. 1-25.). Retrieved from http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/27683_Roberts_Chapter_1.pdf