Category Archives: Reflections, Insights and Realizations

Complex Thinking Processes

mind

Reflect on your learning habits and strategies. In what ways might have you been either nurturing or neglecting your own complex thinking processes?

There were times that I neglected nurturing my own thinking processes. I usually accept ideas passively. Our online study helped me nurture and develop my own thinking processes. As I read the study modules (learning theories from different theorists), answer discussion questions, read discussion post from my classmates, I have learned how to research and think on my own to process the things that I have read. I have also learned to compare and contrast different learning theories. Reading learning theories of different theorists made me also see that even  theorists have different ideas and that they either support or contrast other theorists too.  From our study materials, it was mentioned that we must not passively accept ideas and we should consider the following recurrent themes (Dewey) in critical thinking:

  1. Avoid jumping to conclusions – keeping an open mind until you have adequate evidence
  2. Examine assumptions – defining the problem
  3. Generate new ideas – brainstorming, writing down every idea that comes up without criticism
  4. Evaluate evidence – asking how an idea can be tested.

From our online activities, I have learned how to examine assumptions and evaluate evidence by reading my classmates discussions posts and by searching the internet for answers. I also nurture my complex thinking processes by sharing what I know to my co-teachers and by asking their ideas about it too.  I also ask answers from them if there are questions that I encounter from my readings.

What strategies are you currently using to promote critical thinking among students (peers/ siblings, if not yet a teacher)? Are your current teaching methods effectively meeting / approaching critical thinking goals? How do you know that your students are utilizing critical thinking strategies?

mind 2

With regards to using strategies to my kindergarten students  to promote critical thinking, I use simple activities.  I know that they are utilizing critical thinking strategies by observing them on how they respond to the activities. Examples are listed below:

  1. Asking them which object that represent the shape that we are studying. (I was smiling when a student gave me an example of a triangular shaped object. His answer was angry bird. I pause for a moment and then he said “the yellow one”. Indeed, the yellow angry bird has a triangle shape. Smart thinking).
  2. Using action songs where they show how an animal move. The song says “move like a monkey” and the children moves like a monkey.
  3. Playtime with clay and building blocks – creating something out of a clay/ building blocks
  4. Drawing activities – drawing the things that they have seen/ that they went to during holidays and presenting their drawing to the class.
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A Fruitful Semester

internet

 

The Theories about Learning that we studied helped me understand myself better as a learner. Reading about metacognition has helped me understand why I failed exams before even if I studied and read the study modules that we were required. I used shallow processing while reading those.

Being an auditory learner, I was having a difficult time reading the study module. I am an auditory learner and I learn best by listening. Reading suggestions from the discussion post on how to improve reading helped me how to improve my reading. I even enjoyed reading because our study materials are rich in information about learning. Reading will be one of the things that I will miss when this semester is over.

As a Kindergarten teacher, I was using behavioral theories in my teaching. I wasn’t aware though that it was called classical and operant conditioning. I wasn’t aware that there had been studies about it. Our further studies about operant conditioning suggest that punishments are discouraged to modify students’ behavior because it affects students negatively. This made me reflect on the things that I used before to discipline students. I do regret using those forms of punishments before because it affected my students negatively. Through observing other teacher on how they discipline and through the behavioral theories, I know that I would learn how to discipline students without using punishments.

Aside from the above, as a teacher, I’ve learned also that:

  1. I can teach kindergarten students how to self-regulate (which at first I thought that I cannot apply to kindergarten). We were actually doing some activities that teaches self-regulation to student. Again, i wasn’t aware that it is about self-regulation.
  2. There are 9 intelligences and we can develop this in the students by integrating different activities that involves 9 intelligences.
  3. I will always be aware of what I do because students learn from their teacher (social learning theory).- A reminder
  4. I can also use constructivist approach in kindergarten.

Time really flies so fast. Aside from reading, I will also be missing writing blogs. I have been reading blogs on the internet and it has always been my dream to write blogs. When the semester is over, one of my goals is to continue writing blogs. I am glad that I learned how to create folders in the blog site. Another folder will be added to my folder which is “Friendship” – the topic that I wanted to write about. Another goal is to learn more about how to design my blog page.

This semester is indeed a fruitful one.

smiley 3

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COGNITIVE THEORIES

brain and computer

Information processing theory assumes that human learning is analogous to computer processing, that is information is received, stored in memory and retrieved as needed. I wish sometimes that my brain is somewhat like a computer, anytime I read or learn something, it will be stored in my mind. And whenever I need the information for my studies I would be able to retrieve it right away. I wish that I were more like a computer that I can retrieve information whether it’s an information that I learned a long time ago or I just have learned in the present. Most of the things that I’ve learned in school are forgotten. And many times I encounter tip of the tongue experience wherein I know the answer but cannot remember the words.

classroom

My remotest childhood memory

My remotest childhood memory was when I was watching children go to their kindergarten classroom. I wasn’t able to enroll that year because I still didn’t want to go to school. I enjoy playing than entering school. It’s actually while I am writing this that I remembered why I didn’t attend kindergarten. I thought that the reason was we just moved in that place. Maybe that’s one of the reasons. Since I didn’t attend kindergarten and I was already 7 years old, my first school experience is Grade 1. From our study materials, it was mentioned that Episodic Memory is defined as a category of long-term memory that involves the recollection of specific events and an example of it is first day of school. The odd thing is that I don’t remember anything about my first day of school. I don’t remember who my teacher was and what our classroom look like. I only remember what our school look like.

Long term memory is indeed also susceptible to the forgetting process.

The following are major reasons why we forget information (by Elizabeth Loftus) which might explain why I forgot about it.

  1.   Retrieval failure – the information is not retrieved and rehearsed
  2.  Interferance –some memories compete and interfere with other memories
  3.  Failure to store – it never made it into long-term memory.
  4. Motivated forgetting – actively forgetting memories like traumatic experiences.

 

References:

 http://psychology.about.com/od/eindex/g/episodic-memory.htm

http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/explanations-for-forgetting.htm

Santrock, (2001). Educational Psychology

 

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Constructivism

Direct Instruction/ Traditional approach vs. Constructivist approach

Traditional

Constructivist

It involves coverage of the context and rote memorization on the part of the students more focus on innovative activities and knowledge acquisition
It did not involve students in creative thinking and participation in the creative part of activities Learners construct knowledge based on their personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment.
during teaching learning process, instruction remain unilateral which is and consider to be orthodox activity Learners, through social negotiation, continuously test their hypotheses and create new knowledge, correct previous knowledge, or confirm present knowledge.

teacher 2

Teachers during our school days before were using traditional approach of teaching. Teachers were the center of classroom learning and we depended on their lessons/ lectures for our learning. I was used to this system of learning that I had to adjust on constructivist approach of learning which we are doing now. Studying and learning about constructivism, makes me wonder what I could have learned more if this approach was used in our schools before. Maybe I would have developed more of my critical thinking and I would have developed confident in expressing my opinions.

We had a subject in college before that our teacher used traditional approach. She explained the lesson by lectures, using theories to explain it. I don’t have much understanding about it and so when she gave us problems to solve, I wasn’t able to give a correct answer, majority of us actually wasn’t able to get the correct answer. Only few got it. Maybe if she used constructivist approach, where we can discuss about it and ask questions about the things that we didn’t understand, then, maybe we could have understood it. I was able to understand the concept of our study in that subject when I was working already. It was at that time that I realized that it was not that difficult.

constructivist 2

As a teacher now, I would want to involve my students in their learning. Active involvements of students are important for them to learn well. In this approach, students would be able to discuss and share what they know. They would be able to ask questions and clarifications to the things that they were not able to understand. The result would be better understanding. Students will learn from each other by interaction. Exchanging ideas contribute to good learning.

References:

http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_5_March_2012/21.pdf

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Social Cognitive Theory

AN IMPORTANT BEHAVIOR

s-r 2

 In a distance learning environment, such as this course, what one particular behavior do you think is most important for learners to acquire? As a participant in this class, use social learning theories as basis to make recommendations on how students in distance learning can help other acquire this behavior.

In a distance learning environment, I think that self-regulation is most important for learners to acquire. Since that learning takes place online, where learning modules and task are uploaded by the teacher, and not presented by the teacher through lectures in a classroom,  DE students need to acquire self-regulation. “Self-Regulation” refers to the self-directive process through which learners transform their mental abilities into task related skills” (Zimmerman, 2001). It  is the process of continuously monitoring progress toward a goal, checking outcomes, and redirecting unsuccessful efforts (Berk, 2003).

Recommendations on how students in DE can help other acquire this behavior:

1.  Talking to people (family, friends, relatives) about self-regulation. Sharing ideas why self-regulation is important and how it helps  student to achieve good learning. Aside from sharing ideas, another would be helping them acquire self-regulation.

first

 Demonstration by modeling:

a)     Helping them or guiding them (family, friends/ relatives) to make their own learning goals. Giving examples of goals

b)     Helping and guiding them develop strategies to meet the goals

c)      Discuss to reflect on their academic performance.

d)     Motivate them in meeting their goals.

networking sites

 2. Using internet (social networking site or blogs) to share links and articles about self-regulation.  I have seen a website posted by my friend on social networking site – facebook, about setting goals which is related to self-regulation and it helped me to make my goals. So a DE student can influence others to acquire self-regulation by using the internet.

References:

http://cehs.unl.edu/csi/self.shtml

http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun00/howtolearn.aspx

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Portfolio – Behavioral Theories

mentors

Models and Mentors in My Life

My Models and Mentors List the most important role models and mentors in your life. Then describe what their positive modeling and mentoring have meant to your development.

Role Models and Mentors

Their Contributions

Pastor  Oscar Magallanes My boss who first trusted me and believed in me. I was not that self-confident when I started working. It was my first job so I have to learn what to do, so it’s all about learning about my job for the first months. I thank God for him because he believed that though I lack self-confidence at first, I would be able to do job and learn from it.  As an employee, I wanted to be trusted by my boss so I can effectively do my job. I was given 100% trust and was even promoted to be his personal secretary.  I protected that trust by working with my best and proving that I can be trusted which I was able to do.
Pastor Vio Muncada My mentor when it comes to work. If I have questions about good etiquettes in my work, I always go to him and he always has good advices. I learned a lot from him regarding work ethics.
Mrs. Daisy Demandante She was my teacher in TESOL.  She believes that we have our own styles in teaching. She respected our individuality and never judged us or put us down by commenting negatively. If there are things that need to be improved, she would say it in a nice way.
Pastor Joel Osteen He is one of the Pastors in US and I love listening to his sermons. Most of his preaching is about improving oneself by trusting God. I learned a lot from Him and he is one of the best preachers that I’ve known.
Mrs. Elaine Rojo She was our Chemist teacher in High School. She teaches us how to solve formulas and let us apply by giving us activities for us to find the solution of a problem. She writes the problem on the board and she let us find the answer. She never give us the answer, we should be the one finding it. She trusts us that we can find the solution which we usually do.

 The Type of Role Model I Want to Be for My Students. Describe which characteristics and behaviors you believe are the most important for you to model for your students.

As a kindergarten teacher, I believe that the following characteristics and behaviors are the most important for me to model to my students.

  1. Good manners and respect – greeting teachers and parents appropriately. The Thai people have specific greetings which they call “Wai”. Sometimes, we as foreigners tend to forget it. I would do the appropriate greetings so they would see and follow.

students

Example:   Wai – putting hands together and bowing as a form of greeting (good morning, good afternoon or goodbye)

2. Self-confidence in answering questions and self-confidence in performing. We usually do presentations in front of parents so they need to learn how to be confident in performing in front of many people.

3. Cleanliness and Orderliness – putting rubbish in the trashcan. Keeping toys and books  in designated places.

4. Obedience – Obeying rules inside the classroom.

Examples would be, playing only during playtime, eating during break time, stopping to sing when the national anthem is being played; putting shoes at designated places (outside the classroom). Here in Thailand, shoes are not allowed inside the classroom;

5. Diligence – setting extra time to teach slow students. If they are not able to learn the things that I’ve taught, I would set extra time to teach them. As they see that I set extra time to teach slow students, they would learn to be diligent in studying. Diligence from the teacher to teach resulting to diligence of the students to learn.

How I Will Incorporate Models and Mentors in My Classroom? Describe a systematic plan for bringing models and mentors into your students’ lives in one or more domain(s) you plan to teach, such as math, English, science, music, and so on.

mentoring kids

As a kindergarten teacher, I would bring models and mentors in my students’ lives through Music – using music to build confidence in my students. I would teach them action songs and let them perform one by one in front of their classmates. I have used this technique before and it’s fun to watch my students sing. At first they would hesitate to sing but when they see their classmates signing, they would be encouraged to sing. We cheer for students who are shy and eventually they would sing in front of their classmates. Some students sing the songs that I have taught them and some sing other songs that they have learned outside school like love songs.

Who Will Be My Education Mentor? What Would My Ideal Education Mentor Be Like? Do you have someone in mind who might serve as an education mentor when you become a teacher? If so, describe the person.

The teacher who might serve as an education mentor would be the teacher whom we call as “hyper’. She is hyper because she requires a lot of activities for her students. Although I am complaining sometimes of the activities that she is giving us, I know that beyond that, she just wants to know if we are learning or to assure that we will learn from these lessons. She is hyper in such a way that she gives us a lot of study materials which are well researched and are presented in a way that is very nice which suggests that she did a lot of research and she made  time to make the presentation of the materials as good as it is. She has a lot of students but can still find time to give feedbacks on the answers of the students.

What would your ideal education mentor be like?

th

My ideal education mentor would be:

  1. A teacher who cares that her/ his students are learning from her.
  2. A teacher who goes beyond the norms to research and give good materials for his/ her students.
  3. A teacher who gives encouraging words to students.
  4. A teacher who finds time to check if students are learning. Encourages and ask students the things that they did not understand from the lesson and guiding these students on how to better understand the lesson.
  5. A teacher who never stops learning. Updating himself/ herself with the newest teaching principles/ practices/ methods so that he/ she can teach new information to students.
  6. A teacher who motivates students to do their best in studying.

 

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Behavioral Theories

scold

My parents seldom use physical punishment in our family. I remembered only one time of being whipped by my father because I misbehaved. Scolding is what they usually do when we misbehave. When we get into fight, we are scolded even if we are not the ones who started the fight so we opt to not telling our parents about it. When it comes to reinforcing behaviors, I cannot remember a time when we were given something because we behaved or because we are good. I remember studying on my own because my parents didn’t go to school. I don’t remember them giving me incentives and they seldom say good words to me for getting good grades sometimes. (I don’t blame them though because I believe that it maybe because they have experience it from their parents. I remember a story that during their time, their parents would prefer for them to go to the field and work than go to school to study. I am grateful that they have sent me to school). My motivation to study at that time was that I was the first one in our family to go to High School and then finish College. My two older brothers (I’m the third) didn’t finish elementary and preferred to start working early in their adolescent years. As a result of not having encouragements such as rewards, I grew up not competitive. My goal was to finish college so I can have a good job after graduating. Good grades were not a big deal. I do believe that being competitive in school sometimes is good because it motivates you to do your best to excel and get good grades. I thought that maybe if reinforcements were used during my childhood then I would have developed a competitive attitude.

family

Students are first trained at home. Home is where children’s behavior is molded. It is where behaviors are first reinforced and modified. A child would behave in school as he is at home. When a child is not trained at home to be polite, share and behave, he/ she will carry this in school. It is important then that parents and teachers will work hand and hand together to regulate behaviors. Using behaviorist theories to modify and regulate a child’s behavior is helpful to train them to have a better behavior.

punishments

During my first year of teaching, I often use punishments to make my students behave inside the classroom. I didn’t like noisy students, I just want them to sit down, behave and listen to me which are difficult because they are kids. Kids’ span of attention is very short. What I did was to reinvent myself in teaching. I observed and asked other teachers how to teach children. Through observation and asking, I was able to make the lessons enjoyable for the students. I don’t have to shout at them to make them listen to me. I also used rewards to make them attentive. One of the observations also that I’ve seen was a teacher telling the children what behavior she wants to see when parents will come to school and watch activities. Usually the students would cry if parents are around. When the teacher talked to the students to behave well when their parents are around, and that they will get a reward for behaving well, the students did what the teacher told them. It’s there that I realized that we don’t need to scare the students for them to behave. We can talk to them and tell them what we want to see. And it is indeed true that rewards work better than punishments.

References:

http://www.nasponline.org/communications/spawareness/Parents%20and%20Teachers.pdf

http://psychology.about.com/od/operantconditioning/f/punishment.htm

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