EDS 113 Module 1: Exams make the (students’) world go round

The cold hard truth is sometimes hard to swallow, especially this one
for teachers who actually believe in true assessments: exams are a
student’s world. We are judged by it, therefore we will kill for it, we
will die for it. Missing an exam is unheard of in UP, and I guess in
many othe colleges. And yet, we don’t understand why it defines us.

I remember a first semester season in UPLB at the PhySci building where
I found myself walking to take one of those popular 7-9pm departmental
exams. I was walking casually towards the second floor at the ICS (yes,
I was once a computer science major). I peeked thru the glass square of
the exam room door and I saw it filled with students; initial reaction
was puzzled then, shocked.

My instructor exited the door and greeted me, saying “O, late ka, Ms
Banal.” I didn’t even know he knew me.

I looked at my watch and it said 6:50pm and I clearly wasn’t late. My
feelings slowly turning into panic as I began to ask the people who are
getting out one by one that this is the finals I was going to take at
7pm, which turns out was moved to 5pm. My worst nightmare was realized.

Not that because I was burning oil night and day studying for this
exam, I generally don’t review for tests back in the day, but the
thought of mising an important event in a student’s life probably means
I will fail the course. All invested work all semester would have been
wasted, only because I missed the rescheduling announcement on this
one.

Let us imagine for a second the bar exam, the medical board exams, the LET. Learners are defined by exams, and truth be told, lives are dependent on it. Students toil the hardest on exams in the hopes of being rated highly, but isn’t that a form of deceit? An intentional, deliberate attempt to make your professor think you knew more than you actually do, all because you were able to cram meaningless terms in one, or some, all nighter? If that is the case then there is nothing genuine about this type of assessment.

And that is why I didn’t even bother pulling the pleas on the teacher and request another shot on the exam because I didn’t think I deserved to be judged based on a two-hour quiz. I reenrolled, and “killed it”, so to speak.

I now wonder if my course instructor tried to improve his teaching, or the program after finding the assessment results of my classmates.

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.

…………………….

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?

…………………..

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.

………………….

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).

…………………………..

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).

…………………….

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

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?

——————————–

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 

——————————

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

EDS 111 Module 3D: Questions towards reflectivity

As a student teacher, I should be aware that theories should not become our main source of food when it comes to learning how to teach. Reflection is a valuable form of in-practice professional development, and perhaps sui generis.

A researcher who valued the social reform outlet of teaching,  Dewey has prescribed 3 attitudes a teacher must possess in his or her reflective practice. They are openmindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness (Dewey, 1933).

But what are the vital questions we should ask ourselves in order to achieve a higher sense of thinking in this regard? Consider the following:

OPEN-MINDEDNESS:

  1. Do you think about who may be affected or offended by your activities in the classroom?
  2. Do you bother to be sensitive enough to your non-believing students?
  3. Do you question gender profiling, inequality of racial representation, stereotypes, language discrimination and other socially relevant issues as possible biases in applicable contexts in your content?
  4. Do you inquire and interrogate texts on what could else be considered normative ideologies?

RESPONSIBILITY:

  1. Do you take the time to look up other resources to explain multi-raciality, religion and other idea variants when your material lacks exposure of the other sides?
  2. Do you encourage debates and peer learning that examine the topics and ideas shared, even of your own? Can you take students’ critiques and be humble enough to remain level- headed when others are critical?
  3. Do you harbor fear of making mistakes in front of your students? Or are you able to bounce back with grace and be able to own that mistake with a thorough and salient answer?

WHOLEHEARTEDNESS:

  1. Do you accept that this profession is public service?
  2. Do you acknowledge that teaching is never a self- serving practice?
  3. Is it important to you to cater to others needs first before your own? Are you clear on who and what should teachers prioritize?
  4. Are you committed to selfless service to all students, no matter who, where or in what surroundings?

Teaching is not a one size fits all practice as we have learned in the previous modules. Because of this, it will easier to see that different contexts, different scenarios, different students and different cultures will invariably prove that correct teaching cannot be prescribed. But if there is one thing that can be prescribed in the profession, it is reflective practice. It is more than professional, and it teaches us respect, and other desirable personality traits universally useful for a progressive self.

Reference:

Grant, C.A and Zeichner, K. M. (1984). On becoming a reflective teacher. In Preparing for Reflective Teaching (pp. 103-114). Retrieved from http://www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/Grant_and_Zeichner.pdf

EDS 103 Module 3D (on Vygotsky): Cognitively- underdeveloped students a result of incompetent teachers?

Vygotsky’s ideas on constructivism are nothing short of brilliant that promotes a largely beneficial school of thought for education. One of its most salient points was about the importance of a competent mentor that facilitates learning. Vygotsky readily suggests parents as the first and original, to provide the initial social interaction for a child,  but as biological maturity proceeds in a typical society, so does the need for a child to enter formal education.

Inevitably, this means that a huge chunk of a child’s life of the next 12 years or so will be spend in the care of school administrators; to be put under the heavy influence of curriculum life as its virtual bible and the youth at the mercy of class room teachers from age 4 to 5 to their formative years, puberty and then adolescence and adult life. This shows how great of an impact, and of responsibility the education system has on a person’s life, and you may ask who becomes their closest mentors next to their parents? None other than the teachers. An unbelievably  huge privilege and a responsibility at that.

But, as teachers and future ones reading Vygotsky and his preaching on the need for good  teachers to become proper role models, I cannot help but reflect on non-performing students. They are the ones who we could consider underdeveloped— lacking in critical thinking, displays poor reasoning abilities, lacking knowledge on correct learning techniques and strategies. The list can go on but what I am pointing out here is an observation I have made… are weak students necessarily mentored by incompetent teachers- models?

The following passage is quoted from Saul McLeod’s article on the famous thinker Vygotsky’s thoughts on social influences on cognitive development:

According to Vygotsky (1978), much important learning by the child occurs through social interaction with a skillful tutor. The tutor may model behaviors and/or provide verbal instructions for the child. Vygotsky refers to this as cooperative or collaborative dialogue. The child seeks to understand the actions or instructions provided by the tutor (often the parent or teacher) then internalizes the information, using it to guide or regulate their own performance. (2014)

Following this claim, it might well mean that the reverse could also be true? Think of the Ivy League and a local community college: does it mean that students who attend the top schools who boast of the best education in the United States (maybe even the world) are the way they are primarily because they are being mentored by elite minds of the American academe, during and pre- tertiary? And does that also follow that the converse is true, that if you find yourself poorly performing and lacking in the fundamental pillars skills, then it is partly because that you’ve been mentored by passive teachers, by teachers who didn’t really care, by teachers who lacked passion and the drive to be able to become the best model for their students, or worse, by teachers who are also equally clueless and misinformed?

I do not wish to discount the fact that the self accounts for something in cognitive development, as Piaget and the others who had developed theories on intelligence and the like, but as far as social cognition is concerned, do you think Vygotsky will blame incompetence of the tutor in his model?

I believe that this module has shown us the heavy importance of Piaget’s lessons to current and future educators in educating us about readiness (the stages of cognitive development), and Vygotsky on material and teaching appropriateness (the ZPD) and the significance of skillful models (McLeod, 2014). In the end, perhaps both the self and social factors determine our rate of cognitive development and one cannot be given more significance over the other, and neither one can be blamed more than the other.

References:

McLeod, S. (2014) Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html#social

Dweck, C. Mindset. Free Books Online, p 39. Retrieved from http://www.freebooksol.net/Mindset/39.html

Cherry, K. Piaget’s Stage of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/a/keyconcepts.htm

EDS 111 Module 3C: Creative versus Interesting

As a sucker for Buzzfeed and internet facts lists, idling before for hours on end (and probably procrastinating), I have come across an article on the 4 general traits of interesting people (“Four Characteristics Interesting People Have” by Steve Bloom), and it immediately reminded me Danah Henriksen and Punya Mishra’s list of the five guideposts for teaching creativity, and somehow I have found a huge deal of similarity and parallels. It has made me reflect whether interesting is synonymous to creative, and the other way around.

According to Bloom’s list the four general characteristics of interesting people are:
1. a risk taker
2. curious
3. opinionated
4. has presence

and in Henriksen and Mishra’s list of what makes creative teachers are:
1. connects their interests in their practice
2. imparts real- world learning
3. has a creative mind-set
4. collaborates
5. takes risks (Henriksen and Mishra, 2013).

Putting these side bsy side will undoubtedly yield parallel results. For one, risk taking, according to Bloom, makes for stories that will have historical value in the future because they were the type of people who were headstrong on making a big move for the sake of experience, and then knowledge. This was the same lack of fear of mistakes Henriksen and Mishra was looking for in teachers to become creative and inventive. Curiosity takes you out of passivism, and in taking charge of discovering interests; with these interests, you will be able to share something with your class. While idea collaboration and risk taking may have something to contribute to being an opinionated individual, Bloom said if you are offering no opinions and or afraid of forming new ones, then that is not worthy of interest. Confidence is something that we can borrow from all of guidelines from Henriksen and Mishra, as strong and creative pedagogy requires presence to deliver in front of students.

This comparison begs us to think that if being creative and interesting are indeed similar, then does that mean that interesting individuals automatically make creative, and effective teachers? Perhaps, but as the TPACK framework suggests, it takes a union of different kinds of elements– pedagogy, content knowledge and technology to fully assist learning (Koehler and Mishra, 2009). To the layperson, this means that not everybody who is good in the arts, who is interesting, who takes risks and who is confident makes for a creative, and effective teacher. I have personally seen teachers abroad with zero teaching experience and nay any form of training go straight to occupying a teaching post in SE Asia. Foreigners are revered this way and are seen perhaps as more competent by virtue of their accents and bright skin color, and most of them, due to the privilege of language, brave the teaching waters, armed only with “a tad bit of teaching creativity sense”, and this is where we mess up becuase of our definitions. Sure, some of these intersting individuals proved to be “naturals”, but there are some whose practice still requires formal training and education of pedagogy.

Perhaps it takes a certain teacher sensibility and mindset to become a teacher, formal training or none, to be able to creatively execute a fun and engaging lesson. Making sure that proper learning occurs can be accomplished by at least trying to subscribe to the lists above, and strive to be both an interesting person AND a creative teacher.
Bloom, S. (2011). Four Characteristics interesting people have.Retrieved from http://dosomethingcool.net/4-characteristics-interesting-people/

Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2013). Learning from creative teachers. Educational
Leadership, 70(5). Available at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Learning-from-Creative-Teachers.aspx.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge?
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/articles/v9i1general1.pdf

EDS 103 Module 3C: Folderize your brain! (and how to teach categorization)

Do you have an imaginary number line in your head to help you do mental math? Do you have boxes that store the different phyla of the animal kingdom that helps you remember that the centipede is not in the same phylum as the segmented earth-worm, and that an octopus is a mollusk? Do you have folders in your head?

This is the first time that I have revealed that the above exists in my thoughts, because until now, I did not know that a few many cognitive psychologists have explicitly drawn much conclusion that there is such an organizational memory structure (Huitt and Lutz, 2003) in human brains that help us with memory retrieval.

Jerome Bruner (1998) was one of the first thinkers to articulate this idea explicitly in his constructivist theories that touched on memories and memory formation. Eliasmith’s (2001) definition of memory, according to Lutz and Huitt (2003), implied that there is such a mental structure that organizes our new memories in a fashion that makes sense to us.

This being said, I am now sure that I am not the only one who has a structured computer hard drive – like manner of remembering things. But as cognitive theorists would suggest, the importance of an organized and structured prior knowledge would elicit a resounding agreement. What are its benefits?

For one, categorizing knowledge we perceive thru the senses (sensory memories), that translated into working memory, and then made its way into our long term makes it easier to retrieve for future use (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968). Imagine if new memories are not given due attention and was left “lying there in the brain” as it was perceived, then our brains would be too cluttered to form new ones, and to assist in other much harder cognitive processes, or “brain jobs”, such as planning, reflection and metacognition.

Priming is based on prior knowledge and is necessary to make new memories thru the use of previously encountered date, to form associations, and so are a whole lot of learning endeavors. The use of a top- down (Miller et al, 1960) and the bottom- up information processing uses organized prior knowledge. Establishing connections to previous memory is necessary for learning to occur (Lutz and Huitt, 2003).

So now we see how valuable organizing, sorting and labeling the different “folders” in our head, how do we attempt to teach that to our students? One way could be teaching discrimination and identifying similarities. Making distinctions between the things and concepts that are around us can help students form their own ideas of what could be classified together and what cannot be grouped. Teaching thru priming can also build mental associations that eventually lead to a rich, diverse, adn then sophisticated network of ideas that encourages open- mindedness and tolerance to others (making cultural associations).

Cognitive organization helps teach expertise (Schraw and McCrudden, 2013) as memory and prior knowledge becomes more and more vivid, and then powerful. So go ahead, whip out the label- maker and start folderizing your thoughts like a crazy obsessive person (because it works).

Lutz, S., & Huitt, W. (2003). Information processing and memory: Theory and applications. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/infoproc.pdf

EDS 111 Module 3B: Preschool teaching as a female dominated profession: where males are lacking

Discussing the prospect of a new hire in our school, my directress sipped water from her brightly colored bottle after playfully choking on her response, hearing that I suggested a male candidate should not be ruled out in choosing a new teacher. She has always been the first and final say on the hire even though I participate here and there especially in dropping a list of skills that I think are necessary for the new class suffering a teacher- vacuum.

Then I have come to remember that on my first formal teaching position at a kindergarten in Vietnam 6 years ago, the roster has always been all female. In fact, even the security personnel, helpers, nannies are female (there’s the cook, by the way).

I didn’t wish to be discriminating as I have had experience hiring a male when I was teaching in China over a year ago which worked beautifully (interestingly I chose a male only once), but after learning about the interpersonal skills needed in preschool teaching, it is starting to make sense now. After all, Lilian Katz in 1989 said that mothering and teaching very young learners are distinct, and in my experience, male teachers are very good in making this firm distinction. But the evidence pointing to the need for fostering tender attachment (within the scope of professional decorum) (Scarlett, 1998), I believe, is more overwhelming than the need for firmness and gentle authority. The need is just more deep-seated and innate. The ability to establish the secure attachment is so strong a teacher trait that caregivers openly appreciate it, and parents put in so much value. And touch… let’s not even go there.

Does it really take female teaching sensibilities to perform this job? Or are we being sexist? I surely don’t want to be discounted from being a suitable candidate by virtue of my gender, I have always believed.

Although in light of all these, I refuse to make gender distinctions when it comes to competence, I cannot help myself from seeing females as better candidates (not better teachers, take note) overall to fill the jigsaw shape that parents and maybe students as well are seeking to fulfill. Teaching preschool now makes me feel like only the very distinct form of the female kind of instruction can satisfy the nurturing, caring, loving needs of students in this developmental stage. There might be little difference in ability and skill but maybe, there is an intrinsic one in personalities influenced by gender.

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. Retreived from http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/26067_3.pdf

EDS 103 Module 3B: So what, Albert Bandura?

In the previous module, we have critiqued and interrogated the text surrounding the learning involved in the behaviorist approach. While most have accepted the efficacy of conditioning and the power of association, we are yet to apply them in real life settings as learners of education.

Bandura’s social learning theory (1977) suggests that as creatures of society, our learning is also highly susceptible to our sensory observations. What we see, hear, taste… anything we perceive that we deem moral and just, we may copy. But has Bandura considered whether the learners have thought about the more profound reasons why they behave/ want to behave like they do? Do they have full understanding why they have considered to copy certain behavior they wish to do so?

He said that in his pursuit of explaining behavior, he has formulated the social cognitive theory to be able to cover the lack of weight on the influence of human cognition in behaviorism. He suggested that in his theory, people also mentally process the morality of the behavior that helps us judge whether it is a behavior/ learning we desire to have or enact (Bandura, 1989). But the purpose of the consequence of that behavior, it is really something we aspire? And how many of us use a metacognitive reflection to tell  whether this is what we want?

Bandura has arrived at the conclusion that the bobo doll experiment had the children consider the environment to assist them in making that call of modeling the observed behavior, but I wonder if the children actually know what purpose this behavior will serve them later. After learning how to use periods religiously after the writing  teacher models this desirable behavior, do students really know why it is important for them to put end marks in their sentences? What purpose has this served? After desiring a nice little body and craving money and fame, do followers of Kim Kardashian understand their purpose as to why they choose to imitate her demeanor and the way she looks? Or is it plain fanaticism?  After the deed has been done, the most imposing question is: so what?

Perhaps I have yet to read more on Bandura and the cognition he posits to happen, to understand the thought that goes into why we model from certain behaviors. Or it could be too convoluted and muddy a concept that the social learning theory does not involve itself in. Perhaps it is too broad to be explained by such one theory, and that other theories are in play?

Kendra, C. Social Learning Theory: How People Learn By Observation. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm

Mahto, A. (2006). Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from http://ananda.mahto.info/albert-banduras-social-cognitive-theory/