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The Journey Continues

After a month break, my journey continues as I face another challenge in my pursuit of sharing my knowledge to others. I know it will not be easy. Many little privileges, happiness, comforts and friendships have to be compromised. Work and life have to be balanced. Opening Facebook and online gaming have to be minimized. Watching TFC has to be shortened. 

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Planning and time management are some of the ways to reach my destination. There will be times that the roads are rocky and steep. There will be fatigue, frustration and even desperation. But all of these make my journey more challenging and I could say… exciting. Happiness is more on the journey than in the destination. And I would like to try that out as I further my step. Join me in my travel!

Image from http://www.ourmastersvoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/desert-wandering.jpg

My Last Step

My first step to learning starts in April 2013 when I enrolled in the Professional Teaching Certification at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) through the Distance Education Mode. One of the 2 subjects I undertook is EDS 103 – Theories of Learning.

EDS 103 is a challenge since this is the first time that I have to learn the different theories, concepts, laws and principles to describe how individual learn. The subject became more difficult because I do not have any education subject before as I took Business Administration in college. The anticipation, excitement, anxiety and even fear interplayed while I browsed over the different modules and requirements in the Study Schedule. I did not know how to cope with the demands of the course because of the limited time I had to share between my two subjects.

The sequence of the module was indeed well prepared and integrated. The concepts, theories, principles and laws of learning were inherent in every module. The recommendations and instructional designs of every theory in learning and teaching were manifested in almost every page of the reading materials to accommodate every learning style of my classmates.

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The first approach to learning began with the introduction and importance of metacognition and self-regulation in learning in addition to self-efficacy. These three terms were indeed new to me. They were not introduced or taught during my high school and college days. At first, I thought that our teacher or could I say facilitator, made this a part of our lesson so that if somebody failed in the course, it is he/she whom to blame. It was not the case though as I realized that these inherent, internal or personal attributes or awareness were necessary not only in this subject but also in other learning endeavor and in the real world. Self efficacy became a sort of motivation as I observed that I was not alone in this battle. My classmates and I shared the same challenge of limited time to read unlimited materials and hopefully to learn much out of it. As I understood and learned metacognition and self-regulation, I began to control my learning and allocate my time appropriately based on the aims of the modules and study schedule.

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As different theories and styles of learning were unfolding one by one, I was beginning to describe the different methods I used before that remained nameless prior to this study. I came to realize that I am a Read/Write learner when I took the VARK (Visual, Auditory, Read/Write and Kinesthetic) Questionnaire of Neil Fleming.  My learning style that I used before did not change over time. I remained a Read/Write learner up to this day. This style is really time-consuming as I have to read the material and write afterwards. The problem was I tend to copy almost all of the modules. I tried so many times but I could not understand the lessons when I only read them. I had to transfer all the materials on my notebook and re-read them. This is the method I knew that remains to be so which describes best how I learn.

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Realizing that individuals do not possess a single general ability but a multitude ways to express their thoughts and feelings, it is imperative on my part to provide my future learners means and ways to address individual differences in thinking and learning. I shall be fair in recognizing the talents of my students whether they are manifested mentally, logically, visually, musically, naturally and practically. These different expressions of knowledge shall have equal weight in students’ assessment.

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I considered the behaviorist approach to learning the easiest to understand because It was somewhat introduced to me and I had prior experience to the application of rewards and punishment. Both Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner, the proponents of behaviorism, underscore that learning is the consequence of conditioning and can be enhanced or eradicated by reward and punishment. Spanking was one of the punishments I received in childhood that I could not forget not because I was so horrible or frightening but it made me realized that it was the best method of stopping undesirable behavior. Nowadays because of the law against child abuse, disciplining children by spanking is a no-no. As a result, children are growing up to be hard-headed, disrespectful and very difficult to discipline. Words are not enough to guide them in the right direction. Having said this, I am against excessive or brutal punishment.

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The lesson on reinforcement and punishment was manifested in our company here in the Middle East. The sad part was they were applied interchangeably. There were occasions that those who performed less were given more and vice versa. Instead of giving punishment to employee who did not do his job well, that job was taken away from that employee and was given to another employee (that’s me). The low performing worker was rewarded with fewer jobs while the high performer was punished with more jobs. Other people will surely take this scenario differently but the point was punishment was not applied to modify behavior.  Contrary to the principles of behaviorism, the reinforcement and punishment was applied inconsistently and unfairly. At any rate, the practical lesson and the theory learn on behaviorism was a good starting point in teaching. I learned when and how rewards and punishment be applied in classroom setting. Disciplinary actions must be the consensus of the school administrator, teachers, parents and students. Everyone has the say to their application to be more effective.

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I could say that the social learning theory of learning encompasses all the other theories because it involves the continuous interplay of the cognitive, behavioral and environmental or social approach to learning. I realized that individual learns through observation, modeling or vicarious consequence, and by enacting the observed behavior to achieve the same goals of the model. In this part, my models and mentors are my parents, aunt, an adviser and two math teachers. They somewhat shaped by being. Because of this, I need to be an effective and appropriate role model and mentor to my future students. I shall master my craft and uphold the highest morality that one can possess and at the same time to be successful in all my undertakings so that my example can be emulated by others.

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The main focus of the social cognitive theory of Albert Bandura is self-regulation –the capability of the learner to set his own learning goals, monitor, evaluate, and modify his/her approaches or strategies if the goals were not met in the first try. Coupled with this self-system, I shall also emphasize to my students self-efficacy, the belief that they can successful complete and achieve every learning task in any situation. This will be their motivational factor to address simple or challenging situations ahead.

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The constructivist view of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky although with slight difference in approach shall be one of my by guiding principles in teaching and learning. I shall prepare lessons and activities that will value individual effort as well as collaborative or cooperative creation of knowledge and skills. I shall do this by making sure that the students can relate and apply the concepts that I am teaching to their everyday life. Activities such as group research and report and individual project shall be given equal importance. I shall see to it that in some situations the students shall control the discussion and the pursuit of their own learning goals. However, in some instances that students do not have the instructional materials and gadgets to pursue their learning or the concepts are so difficult to comprehend, I have no choice but to mediate and lecture the necessary important information or steps for their immediate understanding especially in sciences.

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The cognitive processing information theory of learning focuses on how environmental stimuli passes through the sensory memory,  processes in the working memory of the short-term memory (STM) and  recorded in the long-term memory (LTM) to become stored knowledge. There is no learning if the knowledge in the LTM cannot be retrieved. I am not immune to forgetting. Although view as common, it is still frustrating when the name of the person or an important word is only at the “tip-of-the-tongue” and yet you cannot get it. Critical thinking and creativity were also discussed as part of the cognitive approach because they reside in the human mind. Benjamin Bloom’s hierarchy of knowledge tries to explain this concept as the top of his ranking is creating. Critical thinking is very important for learners to acquire because of the numerous pieces of information that are available in

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the mass media and internet that need to be judged and evaluated. Selecting what is true and what is not is a big challenge because even popular and high regard personalities occasionally give misleading information. In this regard, I see to it that the most important concepts shall be taught during the first few minutes of session and shall be repeated at the last part. I shall teach my students mnemonics devices and other tools to remember information and how to retrieve them when necessary. More importantly, I shall teach them how to source and identify credible knowledge and information as well as how to cultivate their creativity in thoughts and in deeds.

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It is noteworthy that the focus of the current K to 12 Program of the Department of Education is on constructivist view of learning and the spiral method in achieving it. As such, the mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) in kindergarten up to third grade is being implemented. In the program, the role of the teacher has been changed from lecturer, instructor and teacher to facilitator or guidance of learning. From teacher-centered, K to 12 becomes student-centered. With this guiding principle, it is now easier for me to adopt some of my constructivist approaches to teaching based on the students’ stages of development and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).

At this journey, I can say that I did not and could not change my perspective of learning because my learning style proved to be successful in my learning goals. Since I am not currently teaching, there is nothing to change in terms of my teaching methodology. However, I can say that I will implement some of the aspects of the different learning theories and adopt them to what is appropriate in a given situation. Any one of the theories has its pros and cons and applicable only to certain conditions. Some government restrictions might hinder the implementation of any aspect of any theory. Therefore, the main focus of my future teaching career is to utilize the best combination of the theories that fits the learning style, motivation and orientation of my students while emphasizing the importance of metacognition, self regulation and self efficacy, which I would gladly teach them as well, as you teach us Ma’am Malou!

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This is not my last step because my journey has just began and  yet it is about time to say thank you to all my group mates and classmates that make this learning fruitful and enjoyable. Big thanks to my boss who is understanding and supportive and to my friends and colleagues who were sidelined once in a while. But most of all, I would like to give a happy heart to our facilitator-Ma’am Malou Juachon who guided me (us) in every step of my (our) journey.  Happy learning everyone!

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Images from

(Metacognition) http://mailer.fsu.edu/~kiw05/metacognition/images/comix6.gif

(Learning styles) http://serc.carleton.edu/images/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/teaching/learning_styles.jpg

(Multiple Intelligences) http://www.thedish.org/TheDISHv14no51_files/image007.gif

(Behaviorism) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lKkKcWHm8KA/UKAmNrK8i5I/AAAAAAAAAEo/zPuH1srywhE/s200/behaviorism-school.jpg

(Reinforcement and Punishment) http://classofmotivation.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/picture1.png

(Social Learning) http://talenttools.es/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/social-learning.png

(Self Regulation) http://origin-ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0959475202000269-fx2.jpg

(Self Efficacy)http://www.gostrengths.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/selfefficacymatters-254×300.png

(Constructivism) http://fy11pd4ets.pbworks.com/f/1279771849/constructivism.png

(Forgetting) http://www.theinspiredday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/joy-of-forgetting.jpg

(Creativity) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2lnScv4U1Vc/ThgPSuabE2I/AAAAAAAAAE0/qGmMYPAf9KI/s1600/Creativity-2.1754358_std.jpg

(Step) http://www2.artflakes.com/artwork/products/224548/poster/224548.jpg

(Smiley) http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kAhN0HX-MBk/T_5bApfhbJI/AAAAAAAAAuI/lUww8xT9yV8/s320/smileys_001_01.png

Forgetting and Retrieval

Kendra Cherry suggests the forgetting is a normal process happening to everyone. At such, she stresses that we rely on some methods so that we can still remember important future events. We jot down notes in our daily planner and diary, stick a note in the fridge or in our phone’s calendar. However, Cherry added that forgetting is specifically not about actually “losing or erasing information from our long-term memory” but “a failure in memory retrieval.”

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According to Cherry, Psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus scientifically study forgetting. Ebbinghaus tested his memory and published his findings in 1885, The result was plotted in what now referred to as the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. The curve showed a relationship between forgetting and time. In the beginning, knowledge is lost very quickly after it is learned. It also revealed that forgetting does not continuously decline until all knowledge is lost because at certain level, the amount of forgetting stabilizes. This means that the stored knowledge in the long-term memory is also stable.

ImageCherry states memory retrieval as a process of accessing stored knowledge in the long-term memory. She proposes 4 basic ways to access stored memories. These are:

1. RECALL – accessing stored knowledge in the absence of cues or prompts. One good example of recall is answering a fill-in-the-blank test.

2. RECOLLECTION – involves reconstruction involving logical structures, partial memories, stories or clues. An essay exam exemplifies recollection as the individual remembers bits of information and reconstructing the remaining information based on his/her partial recollections.

3. RECOGNITION – identifies information after experiencing it. Answering a multiple choice quiz involves recognizing the correct choice out of a group of available answers.

4. RELEARNING – study again the learned information. It will become effortless to remember if the knowledge is learned again.

Image from http://helpingpsychology.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/iStock_000011818352XSmall.jpg

References

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Forgetting: When Memory Fails. In About. com. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/p/forgetting.htm

Cherry, K.(n.d.). Memory Retrieval. In About.com. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/memory_retrival.htm

Da duh!… Do I Know You?

Because of age, there are occasions in my life that I cannot remember the name of a person. It is so frustrating because you sometimes know the first letter of the name of the person and you have a mental picture of him or her. This phenomenon is referred to as tip-of-the-tongue or sometimes called presque vu, as Wikipedia puts it. This is normal for all people by become frequent when one ages, like me.

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The condition of not knowing the name of the person becomes more disappointing when you are face-to-face to that person. It happens many times in our organization. When I call in to the room of the manager, he always introduces me to whoever visitor presents in his room. Because my mind is preoccupied with so many things when entering his room, I always do not quite recall the name of the visitor because I did not attend to him at all. The problem becomes worst when that visitor visits again and my boss will say, “Do you remember, Mr. So and So?” In this occasion I just nod my head and hand shakes the caller. After leaving my boss’s office, my mind says “Who’s that guy?”

tip-of-the-tongue

The Information Processing Theory has an explanation for how information is perceived, attended to, stored and retrieved from the human brain. In the multi-store stage model suggested by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin, all sensory stimuli (visual, touch, smell, feeling or emotion) are first perceived in the sensory memory. Only those information that are attended to my the individual because of uniqueness or relevance will pass through the short-tem memory (STM) where the working memory resides. In there, these chosen information or items that George Miller coined as Magical Seven Plus or Minus or  the memory span of the individual, undergoes a process of elimination. However, Miller clarifies that this number does not correspond to a bit but rather a chunk – a portion of a whole – which differs from individual to individual. This memory span is still under controversy and no one exactly knows how many information an individual can retain at a given time.

Information in the working memory must be rehearsed or repeated several times before they can go into the long-term memory (LTM), where they reside there for a moment or a life time. Some researchers suggest that rehearsal should not be done immediately. Considerable time should pass before repetition takes place. The rehearsed information that entered the LTM shall then be organized in different ways and whether the existing schema or prior knowledge assimilate or accommodate the new information. The stored information becomes knowledge only when an individual is able to recall, access or retrieve them.

There are 2 types of organized memory in the LTM, the declarative (explicit)memory , which is composed of episodic  memory – personal experiences and events – and semantic memory – general facts and concepts of the world, and procedural (implicit) memory – sequential, logical, step by steps knowledge involving motor skill or the body.

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Right now, I can easily recall my personal experiences from my declarative/explicit/episodic memory in the LTM the time when I was in the first grade. I was already 7 ½ years old, being born in December, when I entered Grade 1 because the school did not accept me when I was 6 ½ years old. My first teacher was Mrs. Flerida Balajadia. I can still imagine her face and stature – fair-skinned, slim and authoritarian.  She was branded as “matapang” and “masungit”. The only time I remember her “kasungitan” when we were told to get out of the room, lined up and received a spank while re-entering the classroom.

I can also recall the big boy who was bullying us small kids. He was the brother of one of my girl classmates. I forgot his real name but I remembered his nickname – Apeng – because of his two big front teeth, just like Apeng Daldal.

I was second honor when I graduated from Grade 1. I remembered how the ranking was conducted. Five of us in the top of the class had to answer in our pad paper 20 questions written on the board. The first honor, Annabel  (I forgot the surname but it starts with M and she has a little brother named Arnold and they are Filipino-Americans) got 15 points and I got 14. We could be tie in the top honor if I did not misspell dilaw (yellow) as diliw, as one of the colors of the Philippine flag.

I can still remember our room and figured it out in my mind. It was a semi-concrete structure, second to the last of a 7 or 8 classrooms. The windows were of the jalousie type but made of wood. There were only three rows of seat and we were about 30 students. My entrepreneurial skill was already manifested in the first grade when I made “pabunot” where in I rolled 9 pieces of paper with the number 0 (4x), 1 (3x) and 2 (2X) on it. My classmate paid me 1 pad paper to draw. When they picked 1, I gave them back their paper. I doubled their paper when they chose 2 but I collected their pad paper when they selected 0. I did not know fraction and probability then but I know now that their chance of winning is only 22.23%. This game of luck provided me with lots of pad papers that I seldom buy.

By the way, I can still recall my school bag then. It was the plastic bag of a one-kilo sugar. One whole pad paper, 2 big black pencils, one ruler, one eraser and sharpener could be accommodated in that bag. I remember also our textbook entitled “Doon Po Sa Amin.” I can still recall some passages of that book: “Nanay! Tatay! Hinog na ang saging!”

Fast track, I can still remember the word that I misspelled that I lost my chance of being  the spelling bee representative of our elementary school. The word is DISCREPANCY. I will never forget this word.

Below is our elementary graduation song which I can recall by heart:

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MGA LANDAS

Sa munti kong nayon inyong makikita,

Ang maraming landas na gawa ng paa.

Sa latag na damo na parang alpombra,

Daming landas doon kung saan papunta.

May patungo roon sa dakong taniman,

May patungo rine sa ilug-ilogan.

Mayroon ang tungo sa magulong bayan,

Na maraming tao at mga sasakyan.

Datapwa’t saan man ako makarating,

May iisang landas na mahal sa akin;

Kinasasabikang yapakan at tahakin,

Ang landas patungo sa tahanan namin.

Because of my age and inattentiveness, sorry I cannot remember your name. Don’t worry, however, because I have a mental picture of yourself and your name is still in the tip-of-my-tongue.

–oOo–

Images from

http://www.richardaluck.com/wp-content/uploads/forgetfulness.jpg

http://tucsonaudiology.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/tip-of-the-tongue.jpg?w=250

References

Atkinson–Shiffrin memory model. (2013, May 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:16, July 11, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Atkinson%E2%80%93Shiffrin_memory_model&oldid=557007232

David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Styles

David Kolb, an American professor and businessman published his learning styles in 1984 with some inspirations from the works of Carl Rogers, Carl Jung and Jean Piaget.  The model produces experiential learning theory (ELT) and learning styles inventory (LSI).

kolb's_learning_styles_businessballs

The illustration above describes David Kolb’s  “four stages of learning cycles” which comprise the following:

1) Concrete Experience (CE) or Feeling

2) Reflective Observation (RO) or Watching

3) Abstract Conceptualization (AC) or Thinking

4) Active Experimentation (AE) or Doing

The connection between the 4 stages of learning produces “four types of learning styles.”  These are:

brainstorm

1. Diverging = CE + RO = Feeling & Watching

Characteristics of Divergent Learners:

a. sensitive, imaginative and emotional

b. have broad cultural interests

c. prefer to brainstorm, work in group

models

2. Assimilation = AC + RO = Thinking & Watching

Characteristics of Assimilators:

a. less focused on people, more on ideas and concepts

b. prefer concise, logical approach

c. more interested on logical theories than practical value of approaches

converging

3. Converging = AC + AE = Thinking & Doing

Converging learners tend to:

a. prefer technical tasks, less concerned with people

b. experiment with new ideas and to work with practical applications

c. find solutions themselves

Accommodating

4. Accommodation = CE + AE = Feeling & Doing

People with accommodating learning styles:

a. use other people’s analysis and prefer to work in teams

b. rely on intuition rather that logic

c. often act on ‘gut’ instinct

Kolb also explains that our tendency to reconcile and integrate appropriately the 4 learning styles is enhanced as we mature. These development stages are identified by Kolb as:

1. Acquisition – from birth to adolescence – development of basic abilities and cognitive structures

2. Specialization – schooling, early work and personal experiences of adulthood – the development of specialized learning style as influenced by social, learning and organization interaction

3. Integration – mid-career through to later life – manifestation of non-dominant learning style at work and personal experiences.

Images

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/perform/brainstorm.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ECj1eyhhgcA/TV3SCnJ2ctI/AAAAAAAAABg/83SAunfLMHc/s1600/models.png

http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/pubs/berkeleyhaas/summer2012/images_local/converging.jpg

http://lrrpublic.cli.det.nsw.edu.au/lrrSecure/Sites/Web/13289/resources/images/learnstyle.jpg

Source

Kolb Learning Styles. In Businessballs.com. Retrieved from http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm

How I Missed My Son

I envied Jean Piaget because he was able to observe the growing up of his children while developing his cognitive constructivist view of learning. I did not have that privilege because I was always overseas working during my son’s four stages of cognitive development.  However, I was present in almost all of his special occasions.

I was there during his sensorimotor stage – his first cry was like music in my ear, his first crawl was slow like a wagon but became like a bullet train when his muscles in the arms and knees were developing. It was during this stage that he was constantly experimenting with tasks such as shaking, throwing things and putting things in his mouth. He seemed like a zombie when he made his first step but you could not catch him when began to run. “Ma” was his first syllable and became my wife’s name when he combined the two. I was not “Papa” but a “Daddy”.  At this stage, he was already aware that things existed even if they could no longer be seen.  When we were playing “It! Bulaga!”, he knew that I was there inside the towel or the blanket. He was afraid of the “momo”, although he did not know how it looked like. Piaget referred this “important milestone” as object permanence indicating that my son’s memory begins to develop.

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I was there during my son’s first birthday. The occasion was simple and yet full of memories. When he was about sixteen months old, I taught him the names of the different things that he saw and feel. He mimicked the sounds of the different animals in our barangay. One day, we went to his grandmother’s house and I shown him a mother pig and told him that it was a pig. I asked him what it said and he readily voiced out “oink! oink!” in Tagalog. In the adjoining corral, baby pigs were walking and licking and playing. I told my son that they were pigs. He looked at me with arched eyebrows and surprised in her eyes. Then he looked at the mother pig at the left pen and the baby pigs nearby. He was silent as if he was deeply thinking. Once again, I told him that the big pig is a pig and the little pigs were also pigs. Seeing my son’s bewilderment, I explained to him that they were both pigs. It was only when the baby pigs cried “oink! oink!” that my son accepted that the little ones were indeed pigs.

Remembering that instance now, Piaget suggests that babies already had a basic mental structure that was inherited and evolved. He describes this as schema or schemata, “on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based.” When my son saw the mother pig and it grunted “oink! oink!” he developed a schema of a pig as I shown and told him. A disequilibrium took place when he saw the baby pigs and I told them that they were also pigs. It was only when the little pigs oinked that he assimilated the information to his prior knowledge and accepted that these little ones were indeed pigs. His expanded notion of a pig included big and little pig and they both grunted “oink! oink!”

I did not mind this incident for a month or two. One Sunday morning, we were just leaving the church and passing some small shops lining in the vicinity when my son pointed somewhere and blurted out “baboy!” My wife and I directed our attention to the object and realized that it was indeed a pig, a plastic toy pig. To make the story short, we bought the toy. We were inside the jeepney going home when I noticed that my son kept on hitting the mouth of the toy pig. After a while he handed me the plastic toy and disappointingly said that it was not a pig in his own two- syllable phrase. Surprised, I asked him why. Without blinking an eye, he said “’di oink! oink!” Some passengers laughed for his innocence. I told him that the toy was a pig although it did not grunted “oink! oink!” He looked at me amazed. His schema of a pig that oinked was under attacked. He was again in a state of disequilibrium. I explained to him further that the object that he was holding was only a toy that’s why it was not grunting like a real pig, but it was still called a pig, a plastic toy pig to be exact. Silence. Silence. After a while, he said “ba-boy!” This is what Piaget now describes as accommodation. My son was once again in equilibration when he accepted the fact that there were also some objects which were called pig because they looked like pig but did not grunted.

My son was about 2 years old, just entering his preoperational stage as Piaget called it, when I had to leave overseas to provide him a “better life.” My wife often sent me pictures of him as he entered nursery school and rode his tricycle. My wife wrote that he talked fast and very talkative. He began to imagine things and engage in make-believe. However, his thinking was often based on intuition and not at all logical. It was only when he entered the first grade when he demonstrated logical and concrete reasoning.

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I was with my son when he celebrated his 7th birthday. All his classmates and teachers, relatives and neighbors were there to celebrate his special occasion. There were three birthday cakes, spaghetti, pancit bihon, fried chicken, ice cream, balloons and parlor games for the kids. It was indeed a happy occasion. During this period, I noticed that he already understood some kind of rules of addition and subtraction. But this logical thought was only for physical objects. Piaget describes this as concrete operational stage. He knew that when I gave him two bottles of soda and he poured them into 2 glasses, one tall and one short, the amount of the liquid in the two glasses were the same although the tall glass seemed more. Piaget called this conservation – the appearance of the matter changed but not the quantity. In this case it was specifically called  conservation of liquid. My son also understood that if he sliced the cake into 6 equal pieces, the whole was the same as the 6 pieces. This is conservation of number.

I also attended the elementary graduation of my son. I walked up the stage and pinned to his shirt his medal for being in the top 10 of the graduating class. The day after, while collecting all his textbooks to be put in the box, I browsed through his math books. I was surprised because the lessons were advanced compared to our lessons way, way back. I noticed that they were already introduced to abstract concepts in algebra. His science textbooks were also advanced in scope with such concepts as matter, motion, mass, energy and force – combination of things that could and could not be seen or touched. He could do some simple scientific experiments and investigations. This beginning of his adolescence stage is referred to as formal operational stage by Piaget.

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I was out again when my son was growing into his adult life. Nonetheless, I was there when he finished his Year 10 and Year 12 in Australia. I do not know if my son understood and understand the way it was and it is. I feel guilty knowing that I was not at my wife and his side when he was growing. As a father, I failed to teach him many things. I missed his innocence. I did not know how he grew up. There was no father to son talk, not so many conversations for that matter. He is going to be 21 years old in October but I was only with him for about 5 years of his life. I missed by son. He was just a baby when I left him and now he is a man. I hope he forgives me for my shortcomings.

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 References

McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory – Simply Psychology. Retrieved fromhttp://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

McLeod, S. A. (2010). Concrete Operational Stage – Simply Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/concrete-operational.html

Piaget Stages of Development. In WebMD. Retrieved from http://children.webmd.com/piaget-stages-of-development

My Role Models and Mentors

During my elementary days, there were teachers that became my inspiration because of the good behavior that they have shown. One was Miss Zenaida Echon. She was only a substitute teacher when our adviser delivered a child. Since we were in the highest section of Grade V, she saw to it that no other students in other sections got ahead of us in periodical or achievement tests. Because I was considered the cream of our section, she gave me all the help and assistance in my study. Since textbooks were scarce during the 1960s, she lent me the only book that the class was using. She also gave us practice tests and reviewer before the tests.

Math-Teacher

Another teacher to remember was Mr. Famisan. He was my Math teacher in Grade VI. Many of the students were afraid of him because he was very strict. However, I viewed him as authoritative and not authoritarian. He knew his materials well. He explained the lessons very clearly with lots of examples. I admired his mastery of the subject that I became very much interested in Mathematics.

Miss Mercedes Yandoc was my favorite teacher in high school. She was my Math teacher in 3 of my 4 years in the secondary. Like Mr. Famisan, she was been labeled as authoritarian. However, the label was wrong because she was more disciplinarian and authoritative. She possessed the mastery of her major subject. She did not bring any lesson plans in the classroom, just index cards. She had poised and inner charm that captivated me to study more under her realm.

The above teachers became my role models because they possessed competence that can be emulated. They exhibited attitudes that can be looked up to. But most of all, in spite of their perceived authorities, they still possessed the human touch that many of my classmates who feared them missed.

My Nanang Ores

My Nanang Ores

My perseverance and hard work can be traced to my liking of my aunt’s way of life. My Nanang Ores, who was the only girl in a brood of five and still young, became the mother and father of her 4 brothers when they became orphans at an early age. She saw to it that they were being taken cared of. She did a lot of menial works just to stay alive. Even when she already got married, she continued to help her brothers who already have families of their own. She sent to school some of my cousins, although she was never been to one herself. Her perseverance and hard work were rewarded when all of her 7 children became successful and living overseas. In spite of this, my aunt who is now in her late 80s is still thrifty.

Having mentioned all my role models and mentors who somewhat shaped my self, my ultimate mentors are my parents who gave me and all my siblings all the supports, understanding, love, and care in spite of their humble beginnings. Our family is not very religious and yet the goodness of humans is within us. We are not very vocal of our love to one another but we can feel it even from far apart. We seldom say “I love you!” to each other but our hearts are one. We learned more from our parents although they taught us less knowledge but much of values. And now, it is our turn to teach them to our children.

My Mother

My Mother

The Type of Role Model I Want to Be for My Students

My teachers, aunt and parents inspired me to be what I am today. I copied the good characteristics that they have shown me throughout my life. If I were a teacher someday, I want my students to imitate some of my characteristics and behaviors I considered important.

1. Self-efficacy – As described by Albert Bandura, it is the belief that an individual is capable of overcoming problems or successfully performing given tasks in any situation. If my students believe that they are capable of doing any task, they will have the confidence and the motivation to act upon any activity that is presented to them.

2. Self-Regulation – Aside from positive belief about one’s capabilities, to be self-regulated learners are what I wish for my students. I want them to take control of their learning – setting realistic goals, planning and monitoring their strategies, gaining feedbacks and modifying what strategies need improvements.

3. Perseverance and Hard work – These are the two traits that my students should emulate from me. Success and failure come hand in hand but if they persevere and work hand, they can eventually diminish frustrations and enhance triumphs. They should be aware that poverty is not a hindrance to success as long as you are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and acquire knowledge and skills for the betterment of your self and that of other members of the community.

4. Empathy – With this attitude, my students will refrain or do something that is hurtful to their colleagues and other people in the community, especially those who have special needs and those who belong to the poorest of the poor.

5. Honesty – If they are honest with themselves and other people, my students can be expected to engage only in legal activities and undertakings.

Mentor

How to Incorporate Models and Mentors in My Classroom

If I become a Math (or Filipino) teacher someday, it is very likely that at least one of my students might enlist me as a role model and/or a mentor. Aware of this possibility, I will make sure that I provide each one of them the opportunity to know me better as a person and their teacher as I know them as my students and human beings with different motivations, learning styles, intelligences, needs and goals. To achieve these ends, I shall execute the following strategies:

A. At the first day of class

1.  After I introduce my self and the subject that I will teach, I will request my students to arrange their seats in a semi-circle facing me.

2. From my left side, I will ask each student to know the name of the person on his/her left.

3. A name game will follow.

4. After the game, I will tell them the purpose of the game, which is to familiarize themselves with everybody and to eliminate any anxiety/fear in the future especially during board work and recitation.

5. When the class is already at ease, I will ask several students what are their expectations from the subject and from me as a teacher.

6. After their expectations, I will ask another group of students why this subject is important and how it will be applied in their future specialization or work.

7. After the students’ insights on the subject matter, I will discuss to them the contents of the subject, its importance and applications.

8. Then, I will tell my students the aims of the subject and my expectations from them as a teacher.

9. I will also tell them my consultation hours.

10. Before the bell rings, I will tell them that there is a diagnostic test in the next meeting.

B. On the second day of class

1. I shall announce the purpose of the diagnostic test which is to know their level of understanding of their previous study, to correct any misconception and to align my instruction materials and methods with the outcome of the test.

2. I shall give the test paper to my students and collect them before the bell rings.

C. On the third day of class

1. I shall tell the students the results of the diagnostic test without giving them their paper and announcing who got the highest or the lowest.

2. I shall then group them according to the outcome of the test; each group comprises at least one student who got better and lower in the test. This is for their group work or collaborative learning.

3.  I shall answer on the board the question/s in the test which nobody got it/them right (if any) or the item which was answered correctly by very few students.

D. On the next succeeding sessions

1. I shall announce the aims of the new lesson, its importance and applications.

2. I shall describes the steps involve in solving the problem.

3. I shall demonstrate orally and visually the steps or strategies in solving the problem.

4. I shall ask the student (who got the highest score in the diagnostic test) to demonstrate the steps and/or provide other strategies in solving the given problem.

5.  Several students shall be called to the board to display the skills and strategies they learned.

6. I shall continue to guide the students until they got the correct steps and skills and understand the concepts behind each step.

7. A discussion shall follow between me and my students on the concepts and the steps and strategies in solving the problem to understand them better and to erase any misconception.

8. I will call the most popular and the brightest student  to discuss further the lesson and how he/she tackle the problem.

9. I shall discuss the immediate application of the concepts and how they can be used in their other subjects or in other situations outside of school.

10. A quiz or an assignment shall be given before the bell rings to assess whether the concepts are learned or not.

11. Students who still did not understand the concepts shall be referred to the brightest of their group for tutoring/mentoring or to me for assistance.

12. I will frequently advise my students to focus on their study, make the necessary efforts and to remind them to believe in their capabilities.

Mentora

My Education Mentor

I do not have a specific education mentor in mind right now but it is sufficient to say that this person possesses the hearts of my parents – supportive, undying love, and caring – and the minds of my Math teachers – competent, intelligent, and yet passionate for teaching.

My Ideal Education Mentor

Aside from my attributes as a mentor and role model and those of my education mentor above, my ideal education mentor should also possess the following characteristics:

1. Creative – innovative in instructional design and approach

2. Critical Thinker – aware and discuss issues of great importance

3. Expert – can transfer knowledge effectively and efficiently

4. Humane – can relate to others and sensible to their needs

5. Open-minded – listen to others and accept criticism

–oOo–

Image from

http://www.tcnj.edu/~gevertz/algebra-cartoon.gif (teacher 1)

http://salesactivities.com/images/sized/images/uploads/Mentoring_Cartoon-300×250.jpg (mentor)

http://www.teachability.com/servlet/JiveServlet/showImage/38-1539-1741/accelerated+pacing+cartoon.jpg (teacher 2)

Reference

How to Effectively Observe Best Practices in the Classroom. In Benchmark Education Company. Retrieved on 25 June 2013, from http://benchmarkeducation.com/educational-leader/literacy-coaches-and-mentors/how-to-effectively-observe-best-practices-in-the-classroom.html

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