Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Reckoning

Is it the end or the beginning? It feels like both. The trimester is about to end and the journey of another chapter is also about to begin. How do I define effective teaching and the role of teachers by now? The definition I had before was based on rational thinking and not empirical obviously. I did fail to point the importance of reflective practice-that can enhance one’s learning about teaching that promotes personal and professional development(Cruickshank et al., 2009); and that it is not a singular process (Van Manen, 1977), the components of the knowledge base(which includes the application of the results of recent research on effective teaching(Lee S. Shulman) for teachers to master, the need for collaboration among teachers (Hewitt & Wittier, 1997) and other members of the learning environment and the tolerance or willingness to adjust to situations to meet  various needs of the primary beneficiaries of learning who are the students(learners). The emphasis on personal commitment for professional growth also wasn’t included in my previous definition.

As for the role of teachers, the difference in my definition lies on the fact that teachers has to be someone who does not spoon feed learners but rather one who employ good strategies to encourage students to become self-motivated to learn (Boekaerts, Pintrinch, & Zeidner, 2000).

What has changed to my teacher(teaching) perspectives inventory? Have I improved after going through principles of teaching? I do think so. The latest graph below may not be perfect but there’s one thing that the lessons on principles of teaching has taught me. The Developmental Perspective, that basically define effective teaching as one that must be planned and conducted “from the learner’s point of view” (Pratt, Collins, & Jarvis-Selinger , 2001), has greatly improved.

TPI secondtry resultWhy has that gone up? Does the fact that I was raised in a traditional education system have something to do with it? Most probably yes. We are all aware that in the 80s, it was mostly the norm among schools especially in the country side when reference books were lacking or nowhere to be found.

Traditional teaching is concerned with the teacher being the controller of the learning environment. Power and responsibility are held by the teacher and they play the role of instructor (in the form of lectures) and decision maker (in regards to cirriculum content and specific outcomes). They regard students as having ‘knowledge holes’ that need to be filled with information. In short, the traditional teacher views that it is the teacher that causes learning to occur (Novak, 1998)

No perspective is either good or bad (Pratt, Collins, & Jarvis-Selinger , 2001) but shift from a “teacher-centered” one to a “student-centered” is what makes my TPI result great. It simply means that I have absorbed what I am supposed to apply in my future teaching.

Has this course provided me with greater understanding of the teaching profession? Yes, and without doubt. With moments when I talk to my friends using psychology and education terms to explain how their kids should be treated in learning makes me qualify for  Schunk’s (2012, p.3) definition of learning as “an enduring change is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experiences.”  I have also developed the habit of posting journal entries not based on rational thinking but on empirical researches. The climb away from the traditional way of thinking on teaching has progressed towards something that fits  enhanced learning environment at present. 

quote on critical thinking

References

Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-21.

Pratt, D., Collins, J.B., & Selinger, S. (2001). Development and use of the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). Unpublished paper presented at the 2001 AERA annual conference, Seattle, Washington, USA. Retrieved from https://facultycommons.macewan.ca/wp-content/uploads/TPI-online-resource.pdf.

Educational Psychology: A Tool for Effective Teaching: http://knowledgeportal.pakteachers.org/sites/knowledgeportal.pakteachers.org/files/resources/Educational%20Psychology-A%20Tool%20for%20Effective%20Teaching.pdf, pp. 6 – 12.

The Teacher as a Decision Maker: http://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/hip/us/hip_us_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0132698161.pdf

Traditional Teaching : http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/education/DLiT/2002/environs/scott/tradteac.htm

http://www.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005349

The Irony in Lifelong Learning Programs

albert einstein on learning

Who among us are born with silver spoon in their mouths? Or do you belong to a well-off family who can afford the most expensive tuition fees of the most popular schools? If you are, then consider yourself super-blessed because I know you can just point your finger to the course or discipline that interests your eye and not your heart in any schools in the country or even anywhere in the world. Getting education is perhaps just like a commodity to you but for most people in the world the chance to learn is almost zero because their main concern is to earn the cost of the next meal on their tables. According to World Bank, 17% of people in the developing world live in poverty in 2011 at $1.25 dollars a day which is around 1,422.56 in Korean won or 55.46 in Philippine peso as of this date. 1,422.56 Korean won can buy a cone of your favorite ice cream and maybe two or three packs of noodles for 55.46 Philippine peso. In relation to this, how would we expect for people living under the poverty line to engage in lifelong learning?

During my time in school, teaching was the easiest and perceived as the undervalued course to take in college and hearing criticisms like “bakit teacher lang ang kukunin mo?” was normal and the usual answer would be “kasi may kakilala si mader sa Division Office or ninong ko ang Mayor kaya mabilis ako makapasok”. Lifelong learning programs weren’t visible in the town where I came from so learning after high school was continued in college. After graduating in education, taking and passing the licensure examination for teachers would be next and then off they teach.

Can anyone remember if teachers in the 1980s had to comply with continuing education requirement? Section 3 Article IV of the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers states that, “Every teacher shall participate in the Continuing Professional Education(CPE) program of the Professional Regulation Commission, and shall pursue such other studies as will improve his efficiency, enhance the prestige of the profession, and strengthen his competence, virtues, and productivity in order to be nationally and internationally competitive.” It is also known as the Philippines Professionalization Act of 1994 or RA 7836 so it means that prior to 1994, CPE requirement wasn’t present, right?

When CPE requirement has been around for 20 years (1994-2015), has it been properly monitored? Do all teachers comply to this diligently? How about teachers from remote barangays? How do they comply with this requirement? In the Philippines, I believe that public teachers are re-assigned in various posts especially in rural areas with novice teachers start in the remotest part of the town. In this case, how could novice teachers learn from experienced ones? I think it goes back to teachers working in solitary when a novice teacher is assigned in the remotest school. We could be lucky if the novice teacher has developed self-motivation to learn further through. Personal characteristics of a teacher are paramount factors to engagement in lifelong learning and of them is willingness and motivation to learn. (Whyte, 1078), (Lauridsen and Whyte, 1980). The irony according to Dirk Van Damme(2014) the result conducted by International Adult Literacy Survey(IALS) is that adult education reinforced the gap between the people with education and people without education. More highly literate people participated as compared to those who have lower literacy. What does it mean? ejournal 8a

Just in time, a friend I met coincidentally while in the grocery store and later had coffee with last week sent a message to my inbox today. (Name hidden for privacy reason.)

ejournal 8

I can say that she’s a highly literate kind of person as a licensed teacher and has a masters degree. She then enrolled in a university  for further studies and graduated last year. And I  really admire her enthusiasm to continue learning despite her achievements. Could it be that the observation of the International Adult Literacy Survey(IALS) has truth in it? Be the judge and reflect on what a famous person has to say above – Albert Einstein(March 14, 1879 – March 14, 2015) Happy 136th Birthday, Sir.  🙂

References

(oni, S. (2012). Lifelong learning – Education and training. FIG Working Week 2012, Rome, Italy.

Van Damme, D.(2014).Does lifelong learning perpetuate inequalities in educational opportunities? http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.kr/2014/11/does-lifelong-learning-perpetuate.html

http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview

http://teachercodes.iiep.unesco.org/teachercodes/codes/Asia/Philippines.pdf

http://meetville.com/quotes/quote/albert-einstein/197045

http://www.biography.com/people/albert-einstein-9285408#synopsis

Think About Thinking for Reflective Practice

thinkingwoman (1)

metacognition

At first glance, metacognition is a very intimidating word. It’s a moment wherein one has to pause and think. But then because of its unfathomable meaning, one has to “Wait, I really need to research on this.”  Why does a teacher have to possess critical thinking skills? What does reflective practice have to do with critical thinking or metacognition?

In educational psychology, metacognition and reflection refer to the process of managing (monitoring, regulating and controlling) one’s thinking about his/her thinking (D. Daniels, 2002). But for ordinary people metacognition as thinking about thinking sounds absurd. Why should I think more of what I am thinking? Critical thinking is defined as “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” While I was still in school as a student, I got used to hearing answers like -“I will be just a teacher.” to a “what do you want to be when you grow up? question. I really didn’t question that description but I knew that’s how it is. It never came into my young mind that I should have thought about why did most students think teaching as “just”. Was it because there were lots of students pursuing teachers that they thought it’s an easy course to take? Or maybe because students weren’t oriented of what should be the qualities of incoming teacher-to be? I was schooled in what I consider a teacher-oriented classroom wherein questioning a teacher’s explanation would be misconstrued as being “pilosopo” or being told to “use your common sense” which created embarrassment. In order for critical thinking to survive, there should be a willing environment to accommodate curiosity and out-of-the blue questions because it is when that new idea comes up. When at home a child is reprimanded when making explanations regarding a compromising situation, he/she will think that explanation isn’t an option when something happens. In our culture, answering back isn’t considered a nice gesture because it is thought of as a sign of being disrespectful. Ronald C. Jones (2013) asserts that one of the factors that will help students to think critically is when teachers don’t respond to students in an authoritative way that signifies the end of a discussion because the goal should be to keep the discussion going. Teachers has to make sure that students won’t assume that the final word belongs to a teacher.

Streb and Barbour (2003) suggested five essential steps in critical thinking that should be taught and encouraged by teachers – the CLUES Model, to help students not only academically but in their every day living. They are :

“Consider the source and the audience

Lay out the argument and the underlying values and assumptions

Uncover the evidence

Evaluate the conclusion

Sort out the political implications”

In view of this, I really wish that I was in a classroom when critical thinking was encouraged from the start and wasn’t suppressed due to cultural connotation. I can say that my fraternity-sorority affiliation during my college days did a mini-training session when the “masters” encouraged me to reason out when confronted with a situation and not just to say “yes” to all the tasks they told me to do so. I was tasked to go to the graduate library for a research and present to them my findings. I know that fraternity or sorority is viewed with indifference but making judgement so fast doesn’t merit critical thinking. I cannot say that all fraternities/sororities encourage critical thinking or provide self-confidence but I am sure I belong to one that is.

References

CLUES to Critical Thinking About Politics :Adapted from Christine Barbour and Matthew Streb, eds., Clued In to Politics: A Critical Thinking Reader in American Government. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.  http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/features/25896.html

The Instructor’s Challenge: Moving Students beyond Opinions to Critical Thinking – See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/the-instructors-challenge-moving-students-beyond-opinions-to-critical-thinking/#sthash.XFsdIxKq.dpuf

Developed by Linda Darling-Hammond, Kim Austin, Melissa Cheung, and Daisy Martin With Contributions From Brigid Barron, Annmarie Palincsar, and Lee Shulman: Thinking About Thinking: Metacognition.Section 9 :http://www.learner.org/courses/learningclassroom/support/09_metacog.pdf

http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Metacognition

http://pixshark.com/woman-thinking-clip-art.htm