eJournal on the Final Exam for EDS 103

13909259_10206412420499558_8262503698011066361_o

Feelings

For around two weeks, I was quite nervous because I didn’t know what to write about. Then, I realized that–perhaps–I could simply continue my sort of “critical reflection” as to the teaching style I have been using for two years now, although more often since last year.

I have been using “hugot” analogies when I teach certain social science concepts to my students. I know there isn’t so much scientific research or critique on this regarding its effectivity: why, when, and how.

I was quite afraid of what I would write or know more about if I would attempt to review or analyze this hugot-style of teaching. I recognize that not all people, not even all students, would find this as helpful. Some would even say that this is distracting, although the same people would react positively when the hugot analogy relates so much to them.

But I am glad I am done with it. At least, I was able to write down my own thoughts. In the future, if I would really want to be evaluated or if there are researchers interested about the subject, I hope my journals and even this final exam paper would be helpful to understanding this phenomena and to provide a more scientific and constructive critique or analysis on this.

Impact (on deeper thinking, understanding, synthesis, plans…)

This somehow made me more conscious of what I am saying or doing as a teacher. It also provided me a more balanced perspective as to the teaching style I wrote about. Just this morning, there was a student who I know appreciated some of my hugot analogies but told me that some of her classmates didn’t like the idea, although they seem silent when asked by her when she clarifies whether or not they learned something from those hugot analogies.

I am glad I wasn’t much offended, and it gave me a good starting point before I wrote my paper. I had to open some of the modules to review and reflect on as I was writing my paper.

I realized with more conviction that, just like other pedagogies and theories, my style and perspective on teaching still has to improve–especially because there isn’t yet much scientific analysis on the hugot-style of teaching.

As to my plans, I wish to continue learning through finishing this PTC program. I am not here to insist ravenously on my own ideas, but I wish to share my thoughts, evaluate it through the lenses of our topics, and read what my peers have to say.

Suggestions (preferences)

I do not have any other suggestion as of the moment. I felt like this course suits my preferences and I felt that it respected my workload as a working student, although I still felt challenged in certain areas of this subject.

Advertisements

My Epistemological Beliefs as a Social Science Major

61081_1351200590296_1539830830_30732542_590956_n.jpg
A photo of my nephew when he was still a baby.

First, I believe C.S. Lewis when he wrote in his book “Miracles” that it’s actually hard to take any person–even a scientist–so seriously when he or she claims to be so sure about all the details of a particular element or topic that he or she would disregard other possibilities. I believe researchers would also agree on this. Even the subject Calculus may be appreciated or perceived by a mathematician as if he or she knows all about it, but a social science major may offer historical, social, and political insights as to the development of the subject (even if the social science major may find it hard to make the necessary calculations using the formulas given by the mathematician on the subject).

 

I believe that knowledge can be both certain and relative. It seems more certain when there seems to be a legitimate authority that affirms it. As a social science major, I perceive that the legitimate authority can be the Supreme Court, Houses of Congress, the President and his or her executive departments, and the top established institutions of the time of inquiry. History also shows that religion may find its way in justifying or legitimizing a particular knowledge and authority.

 

However, I do acknowledge that even those said sources of certainty may be wrong both in the time a subject was inquired of and the in the times and generations that came before or would come after. This why I would not cancel out the possibility of error and the chances wherein the knowledge deeply held today for a particular time and context is actually relative.

 

But I do believe in a Higher Authority or Being that would help teach us all things pertaining to truth, life, and godliness (Jn. 14:26), and would continue even if we do not get His messages immediately. He has His own learning objectives and pedagogies that He can pursue and implement with all the resources available for Him to use.

 

How have these beliefs been facilitating or inhibiting to the ways I learn?

 

They facilitate my learning by knowing that I do not know everything, which is why I must continually study and even seek out knowledge, whether new or fresh, from others. I may also seek out for insights. This can be true even for topics I feel comfortable about and even if I majored in them. This is more so because my M.A. degree is in Transformational Leadership, and we were taught to be in the look-out for ideas and methods that we can use to help develop communities if they prove to actually work for the benefit of our objectives regardless of the formal expertise of the source of those ideas and methods. Then, we can always analyze it later through scientific inquiry.

 

These beliefs inhibit me from learning when I do not feel motivated to achieve or know something because, after all, there is a possibility that I could never get all aspects of it at once. This is especially if I have short-term objectives and I need quick understanding.

 

To overemphasize on religion may let me produce insights that even my religion actually discourages. To base everything from the three branches of Government may confuse me, especially when there is a political or constitutional crisis or disagreements among them. What if at least one of them capitalize on fake news or false information? That can also be a problem.

 

To have my understanding in total agreement with the top-most and sophisticated universities may let me know more about theoretical stuff without knowing how to apply them properly, and I may find myself inadequate in imparting them to others if I do not have the opportunities and other resources my training tells as necessary for me to achieve my learning or teaching objectives.

 

My own beliefs may discourage me to learn because I believe I cannot know everything. Even if I know everything that can be known today, it doesn’t mean that I can know everything that can be known before and after a hundred years have passed!

 

Because I am aware of my limitations, I may delve only to topics and discussions I deem as necessary for me to achieve my own learning and professional goals. Aside from that, I can say that I would only learn them by chance or because I have modified my goals.

 

So how do I deal with this? I was advised to take one step at a time, especially now that I have been feeling mixed emotions and some health concerns. Perhaps, right now, I am looking for peace of mind while I am told to achieve basic professional requirements such as passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) as soon as possible.

 

I am learning to take one day at a time as I look forward to the future even today.

 

P.S. I am not so sure if I have to put other punctuation marks in the sentence I wrote before this.

 

Reference:

 

Lewis, C.S. (2009). The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. New York, New York: HarperCollins.

Reflecting on My Class Performance Task vs. Exam Content Tactic

IMG_20170327_155722.jpg
A photo of me with my former college students who are now my co-teachers in Senior High School.

For lack of better terms, what I meant with the title of this eJournal is a style which I–together with some colleagues–have operated with in our Senior High School social science subjects. This focuses more on the instructional design aspect of the subjects we are teaching.

 

I believe that if we want to develop Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), we must involve students in performance tasks where they could apply what they learned in its actual, practical context or at least give them the opportunity to elaborate their informed ideas–whether through recitation or essay–with the necessary references cited somehow.

 

NOTE: Before I go on further, it must be noted that the grading system for Senior High School gives Performance Task (PT) a total of 50% of the total grade, while exam and other written works (e.g. quizzes) are given only 25% for each for all core subjects. For non-core subjects, PT is given 45%, written works are allotted 25%, and exams comprise 30% of the total grade. In any case, there is much weight on the performance task.

 

Last year, in the first semester that our educational institution operated Senior High School, we had students write papers, journals, and even essays in both quizzes, performance tasks, and exams.

 

Although we have seen that this is beneficial for students to elaborate their perspectives, we found that this can be really tiring, especially for teachers like us who were used to teach in college–where there are less forms and documentations to consider for almost every aspect of our work, both inside and outside the classroom. Add to this, the burden of the possibilities that a student may be given a failing grade due to poor references used, improper citation, poor spelling, and poor grammar–which, at times, affect the substantial meaning of the concepts they wish to convey. There was also a time when the references some students used were hoax or fake news.

 

This is why some of us created instructional design schemes.

 

As for the essay work, some of us chose to just do recitation instead. This would be counted as performance task. However, it must be noted that there are some subjects that cannot completely avoid having students pass essays (e.g. psychology-related subjects can still require weekly journals). Yet, there are subjects where the objectives of an essay can better be done through recitation or the passing of student-made videos. This would somehow help teachers grade their works better and faster. Why? Because the idea of coming across wrong spellings (even for words that sound sort of similarly but are spelled differently and also do not mean the same thing, for example, the words “wander” and “wonder”), substantial grammatical errors, and poor citations can be easily corrected or avoided during in-class recitations, role play, or report. These can also be done in groups.

 

Also, in our school, some teachers were allowed to have 50% of an exam derived from a performance task the students would do in full knowledge that what they are doing is part of the exam. Instead of having essays, a teacher did individual verbal examinations. Another teacher also had students perform a mini-produced role play, theatrical performance, or skit for his subjects on religion and arts.

 

As for the substitute for practical-actual in context performance tasks, I am not sure as to how exactly they can be substituted, especially if the situation requires students to go off-campus if there are no in-campus equipment or facility to do the performance task, however the school administrators are disposed to usually not approve off-campus curricular activities. This is quite sad, especially for passionate social science teacher like me who can suggest so many off-campus activities or trips students can visit, interview, and the likes for them to appreciate culture, society, and politics even more. However, I could not do everything I wish – even the mere going to the National Museum, which is one jeepney ride away from our school, if administrators would keep on not approving my off-campus activities. In fact, the Malacanang Palace that offers free Presidential Museum and Library tours on a first-come-first-served basis is more accessible and near to our school, however even that did not push through when I recommended it.

 

I wrote all of those to convey that there can be many pedagogies used to develop HOTS for students. However, I am still wondering if essay can actually be avoided, in Senior High School, if we can due to the demands of the workload of teachers. It’s weightier than the workload of college professors. The stress and pressure experienced by Senior High teachers like me, I think, can affect as to how we grade students’ activities. I know it may be hard to lessen the forms, because even those forms achieve a pedagogical and legal objective.

 

I am just saying that I believe that there can be several ways to develop the critical/analytical thinking skills of students. It’s just that, since Senior High School is new, and I am more comfortable teaching in college, I feel that I have to make a scheme as to how to let the students develop HOTS as I also note and attend to my other responsibilities as a teacher, aside from teaching.

 

I wrote this eJournal also to solicit the thoughts and opinions of my classmates here in UPOU as I reflect on the pros and cons of the instructional design schemes that I am inclined to do.

 

Moreover, all of these make me realize that I do need a mentor, I do need to continue studying for me to become a better teacher, and I may need to join professional organizations to help me gain fresh insights regarding the content and application of what I teach in different contexts and given the limited resources and opportunities available for me and my students.

Lee Kwan Yew or Lee Min Ho, What Students Know

Last week, I asked my students if they–in their generation, since most of them were born in the year 2000 and so–are aware of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew. In some of the classes, I spelled out his name on the chalkboard. In other classes, I simply mentioned his name verbally. Nevertheless, in all of my classes where I mentioned Lee Kwan Yew, most students associate his name with the South Korean actor Lee Min Ho.

 

Before I mentioned Lee Kwan Yee to them, I was discussing about the need to look for and maximize the opportunities that are available to them right now for their career. We were talking about social and political changes, and how the opportunities we utilize can affect our future. When I was spelling out the word “opportunities” on the chalkboard, there were others who seriously thought I was going to write “Oppa” with allusion to “Oppa Gangnam Style” and to the term itself, which in South Korea is a term used by a girl to refer to a man older than her (but not ten years or so) as a word of respect. This is because they always watched Korean movies, not the translated ones but those they can watch online in their original language–only with translated subtitles. Prior to the start of this semester, I saw posts of different students–and even my own cousins who are already college graduate working professionals–them wanting to watch Korean movies! This may be an indicator of how their minds process words and social phenomena in their cognitive development, as well as what we can expect of the constructs they have formed prior to coming to class.

 

When I am communicating a point, making analogies, and even cracking a joke, sometimes I make reference to movies I have watched (e.g. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Indiana Jones, Elvis Presley movies, et cetera) or songs that became my favorites while growing up (e.g. songs by Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frank Sinatra, et cetera). Sometimes, I would make allusions to the late actor screen named FPJ! However, I realized that some of my students could not anymore relate to my concepts, thus fail to grasp the understanding of the concepts I am trying to share.

 

I could simply dismiss them as “uncultured” or that they lack fine, sophisticated taste in their choice of art (although I must admit that some of my choices also belong to what certain Filipinos call as “bakya” crowd during their time). However, this presents to me a challenge of what they actually know due to their collective experiences, which after they have processed them, affect their cognitive processes and value-systems they bring and operate with in class.

 

To balance my previous examples, I would also like to state that there are instances when I am talking about a particular topic, however students connect or relate it with another concept or topic that is not directly involved with what I am discussing but they find it easier to understand, remember, or memorize our topics if they relate it with those concepts they see can relate it to, whether because of their reflected experiences, similar spellings, similar uses, and somehow with those they sound alike.

 

All of those are said to point out that I have in my classes students who are born in the 21st century, and even if I am at least five or six years older than them (because I was born in 1995, and that year still belongs to the 20th century), I observe in my classes the reality that they are different than me.

 

Before, I remember, I get upset when my teachers in college do not know how to use the technology we were using from 2008 to 2012. However, today, I found myself asking my students to help me use technologies that were updated or being used by them today.

 

I think it is a challenge for both learner and teacher-facilitator to assimilate a concept, accommodate it so that both older and newer concepts can make sense in their proper context, and achieve a state of equilibrium–although at some point of those three processes, there may be a state of disequilibrium.

 

Right now, I am asking myself on how I would impart the concepts I must teach them this week, based from the cognitive processes or concepts they have manifested to have known or not know. This might be a good scaffolding experiment or endeavor if I would teach them the basic concepts first before moving on to the next. More so, I believe I must see their Zone of Proximal Development to know how to bring them to the point I want them to be in from where they are now. This is why there are days when I simply ask students to share what know without any harmful consequence to their grades. If there are wrong concepts or associations, I may then insert concepts that either implicitly or explicitly say to convince them to accommodate a new knowledge or understanding.

 

Pedagogy in facilitation may sometimes need to adjust to what the students actually know rather than surprise them with concepts without tapping their current knowledge, whether or not what they know is directly related. I am still amazed how people can possible learn new concepts based from other concepts that a scholar may find it hard to relate them. I think I have to read more research or studies on this.

 

If, with a clear conscience, I can watch the movie, see the photo, or hear the song that affect their cognitive processes, I would–given that I have both time, resources, and willingness to do it.

 

Generally, I must always know where students are coming from and reach them out from there. The kinds and forms of produced art and literature (e.g. movies, song, paintings, origami, et cetera) they like or have been exposed to may help us know their mental processes, or at least the background where they are coming from.

Computer, Childhood, Law School, et cetera

1

In terms of your ability to learn, are there ways that you wish you were more like a computer? Or are you better than any computer in all aspects of processing information? Explain.

 

Yes, I wish sometimes that I am like a computer that easily stores, maintains, and recalls information when I need it. I wished this more often when I was studying in law school. I was a working student and had to memorize both laws and cases (jurisprudence) for my recitation. In law school, each teacher would assign ten to thirty cases per meeting that we must make sure to have read. Some cases would amount to more than a hundred pages. Aside from these, we must memorize the pertinent codal (law) provisions of those cases. Even those who are not working among my classmates also find it hard to process and remember information quickly! After passing one semester, I temporarily stopped because I’m not sure if I can balance my work and studies well. It required me several hours of reading. More so, I felt like the stress affected my health. I wish to be back, though. But I am not exactly sure when.

 

However, there are times I wish I am not like a computer, especially when it hangs for a long time, or when it behaves in a way that adds burden to my work. I do not want to take too long saving or recalling even some trivial information simply because there is something either in my hardware (physical) or software (cognitive)!

 

Also, in terms of making the best decisions that require emotions, I am not sure if I want to be like a computer. I had to write this down because I know I made some wrong choices in who to love or show affection to before. Also, there were expenses and time allotments that I regret doing because of those mistakes. I’m not sure if I can trust myself if I process like a computer in these situations.

 

Who was your first teacher?  What was your first classroom like? What is you remotest childhood memory?  How long did it take you to retrieve those information?  What does that reveal about the nature of long-term memory?

 

My first teacher is my mother. She was the one who tutored me in Basic Math, English, Science, and Filipino. But I do not anymore remember the name of my first teacher outside the family. But I do remember some silhouettes or blurred images of one of my teachers in preparatory grade.

 

My remotest childhood memory was when I was confined in a hospital. I remember the doctor putting dextrose in one of my arms. I remember my parents sitting beside my bed. There is debate, however, in my family regarding when this happened. What I know is that this happened when I was two years old. However, my mother said this happened a little before or after I turned one-year old.

 

It didn’t take long for me to retrieve those information because I think they were my first memories. They are also reinforced by other memories I had while growing up. More so, these questions were already asked of me before and I gave the same answers.

 

If I would base it from my recollections now, I would say that nature of long-term memory is that it can be acquired or processed at the moment of first impression. It can also be maintained and reinforced by other events in our lives that happen to us and we make some references to our long-term memory for them. Also, those that are unusual and those that we have had positive emotions while they are happening–and they have been supported by other memories, whether other short-term or long-term memories–then they are more likely to be part of a specific long-term memory.

 

What memorizing strategies have you found useful?  What factors positively or negatively influence your ability to remember information? 

 

The best memorizing strategies I have found useful is the discipline or activity of connecting a particular lesson to a situation–whether real or hypothetical–that seems important for me to know what to do or understand why. Also, this could help by connecting the lessons to other memories or knowledge that I previously have known. Additionally, it helps for me when I talk about it to other people and we engage in discussions that harness and reinforce the correct knowledge and understanding that I have.

 

When I was enrolled in law school, there was a discussion on the policies of Congress when they would deliberate or enact a bill into law. During that time, I was among the few in our class that understood it because I had experienced attending a Committee Hearing at the House of Representatives and I was representing a group that has interest to the issue being discussed, and we even presented more than 10,800 signatures against the bill being deliberated.

 

Also, there were times when our topics in law school were related to the topics I was discussing in my classes. Because of that, I was able to talk about our topics in law school and apply them in the lessons I was teaching to my students. When that happens, I felt like I was reviewing myself already.

 

Until now, almost two years since I stopped going to law school, I still understand complex concepts such as equitable mortgage, value of collective bargaining agreements and the labor code, demotion, and the constitutional infirmities of abortion and the original version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

 

As to the factors that positively or negatively influence my ability to remember information, one of the extra factors I know that positively affect my ability to remember is when the topic interests me and I have a credible mentor or teacher I could trust to coach me in understanding a lesson. It also helps when I have eaten well and my emotions are stable.

 

However, it seems harder for me to learn when I am hungry, when my emotions seem erratic or when I have a dominant negative emotion, and when I feel like the information or understanding imparted to me came from a source I do not trust completely.

 

How durable is your knowledge after you cram?  How much do you remember 3-5 days after an exam?  How willing are you to take right now an exam that you aced 5 years ago?  What does that tell you about your learning goals? 

 

When I cram, I still could not yet state whether or not my knowledge is durable when I do cram. The reason is because there are times when I felt like I remember more when I crammed in terms of declarative, factual knowledge. But if the knowledge I need is procedural, then I think I need more time in studying them. Sometimes, cramming would also add to my benefit. It must be important to note that when I use the word “cramming,” I refer to the activity of studying or reviewing a few hours or even minutes before the actual exam. It does not mean, however, that I have not reviewed or studied the lessons prior to the date of my exam.

 

Yet, I know that I have forgotten some lessons because I crammed, which is why I find it difficult to say that cramming is good or that it is completely wrong. There was a time in law school that I was able to answer a question because I crammed, and it was because the question was something I recently read or understood, but I also had experiences otherwise.

 

Regarding on how much I remember 3 to 5 days after an exam, it depends. Generally, I remember what I deem very important or has immediate use for me. Also, factual knowledge is easier to forget than procedural knowledge. I cannot say that I have forgotten or remembered everything I reviewed or practiced for after an exam.

 

If I would take an exam right now that I aced 5 years ago, I am willing if I would be given the appropriate time and materials I could review. Honestly, I don’t remember them all.

 

Based from these reflections, I think this tells me that even if I need factual, declarative knowledge, I need to spend more goals, time, and resources in developing procedural knowledge–skills that I can most probably recall any time I need them. This may be the reason why, in school, they emphasize in Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) where there must be performance tasks for each lesson tackled.

 

How have your learning strategies and goals been influenced by the ways you are being/ have been taught or how your learning experiences are/ have been designed? Elaborate.

 

My learning strategies are influenced by the ways I was taught or learning experiences I have designed if I have reflected on the strategies and design used to me, and I find them very useful.

 

For example, I was home-schooled. Although my mother was the one who taught and coached me in the lessons, the design of the curriculum is for self-study. Early on, we were taught by the curriculum to read and answer the resources first, and that we would only ask for help when we really find it hard to understand a concept or an instruction. My mother organized field trips for me, and she also “home-schooled” other students with me so that I could still have peers to relate with. This setup encouraged and developed in me a paradigm for self-studying, going around places, and meeting people for academic purposes.

 

Another example, when I was taking my master’s degree, I had teachers who would like to arrange events and trips for our subjects for us to be able to comprehend deeply the topics we are discussing. I remember when we were talking about “poverty in the city,” I was quite surprised to find out that the poverty I was referring to was quite shallow as to the poverty my professor was talking about when we had a trip to the community where he was helping with.

 

Also, the school had resources and connections that are used to invite speakers for our forum or bring us to places. We were also required to do hands-on community immersions or activities (because my MA degree is in Transformational Leadership, which appears as Social Work and Development for some) for the track or direction we wish to pursue. Initially, I was assigned in a church. Then, I was assigned in a public school. Then, for one and a half years, I was assigned to go up at least twice a month to the Philippine Military Academy to help an internal organization there pursue the transformative goals of the Armed Forces inside the Academy. Then, we were required to process and make a report of our experiences and evaluation if we have met the goals we have set at the end of the trimester (although the goals were set at the beginning of the trimester, sometimes at the beginning of the school year).

 

Aside from this, the President of the school helped me have a hands-on opportunity or exposure to be part of the legislation process of the House of Representatives by connecting me to some key people and groups.

 

Having had those experiences that I enjoyed, and I could connect various concepts on community development, outreach, and politics with those experiences, I could still recall them and teach them to others with joy. They also stimulate me to research further.

 

Right now, if I want to find out something and I was to have firsthand information regarding an issue, I do both checking available materials regarding the subject matter and interviewing the people involved in it when I can. Also, there are times when I wanted to learn about ethnic minorities and I saw the Lumads temporarily settled in Metro Manila, I went to their rallies, befriended some organizers, and even went to their camp to have a deeper feel regarding how they should be justly treated in our society and culture.

 

All of those because I was taught to self-study, and visit places and meet people for academic purposes. The latter could be part of my learning strategies.

 

Now that you know…so what? What are the implications to teaching practice, learning strategies, instructional design, school policies, etc?

 

            Regarding school policies, I wish that they could be more favorable in academic exposures off-campus, especially if there aren’t enough credible people and useful resources for the students to utilize inside the campus. This is deep in my heart because I was reprimanded for my optional off-campus activities. I told my students that if they want to do certain extra assignments or if they want to get additional points, they could go to the National Museum and other historical places and visit people and locations pertinent to the topics covered in our subject syllabus. Then, I’d ask them to make a video there or take photos (with them in the picture) as proof that they have actually visited the places I mentioned. Sometimes, I brought students to the Senate and, in another occasion, I accompanied them in interviewing an attorney, who was also a son of former Senate President Jovito Salonga. When former senators Maceda and Defensor-Santiago died, I also gave points to my students who went to their wakes.

 

Before sending them out, I explain the behavior they must manifest, the risk of going there alone or in groups, and tell them that all these are optional activities, therefore they are not required. However, there are additional points to those who do. I also said that these can be alternative activities they can do in their free time if they’re the type of people who’d like to go out every weekend or just roam around to find interesting people to meet and activities to do.

 

Also, my students interviewed some farmers and tribal chiefs when they went to Manila to personally and collectively petition or make public awareness for their grievances–something I was told they do every year.

 

My students were happy, posting pictures and videos, exchanging stories, and some of them even helped Lumads in little ways they can. Others, even without reviewing their notes, could even tell me one by one the details they discovered regarding their culture and struggles.

 

However, this was taken in an unfortunate perspective by my previous department coordinator. I was even reported to the Principal and Assistant Principal telling that what I did was wrong. I was even called as “subversive” by my previous department coordinator, who is still working with us in the school but is now assigned to a different department.

 

I hope there would be favorable school policies for the activities I mentioned and with the rationale of exposing students to these realities of society. There was nothing threatening, pecuniary, or sensuality involved in what I am asking to do as an optional activity. I could also pin-point which part of the syllabus those activities are reinforcing.

 

I tried making formal papers to get activities like those approved. The first time I did, it took me two or three weeks to get approval simply because, I was told, the administration had questions but they did not personally ask me about it and waited until I was the one who went to a higher office for the follow-up and explanation. The second time I did, I nothing happened.

 

Others suggest that I must make sure that I accompany the students in these off-campus activities. However, my concern is that not all students have the same free time to use. Although many are willing to do these individually or in groups. This is not required, anyway. Also, I cancelled some activities when there are threats such as terrorism impending in the city or region where we are. Nevertheless, I still gave points to those who successfully achieved them in spite of the cancellations due to threats to their safety, but I did not insist. It’s just that they want to do it.

 

I hope there would be favorable policies for this kind of optional activities, and I hope that Senior High School students would not be treated as babies but just like the college students before who were in the same age as theirs, however today their high school is simply prolonged.

 

I am teaching subjects on culture, society, philosophy, and politics, by the way.

Disciplines, Heartbreak, and other Experiences and Learnings

17389090_10208072000948032_8015854197392947623_o

What are predominant practices in your home with respect to reinforcing behaviors and for modifying behaviors?

  • Spanking – as to what I remember most, I was spanked often. My father even affirmed my memories by saying that I was spanked more often than my older siblings because he said that I am more strong-willed and he wanted to channel that strength into something more helpful. Although there are professional claims asserting that spanking has risks for children (Smith, 2012), I am still somehow believing that it may be necessary during certain circumstances. I remember that there were moments when I would also get something I could throw or hit my parents, even threatening them with my own fists, and they had to spank me to stop. However, spanking should not always be the first and automatic resort to disciplining a child.

 

  • Additional monitored household chores – I remember that there were days when I was given more chores to do than before. Also, there was a time I was asked to clean parts of the house that I did not want to be in. This can also be a form of positive punishment because the consequence was so undesirable for me back then that I cried because of those chores.

 

  • Positive reinforcements – there were days when I had a deal with parents. They’d give me food (i.e. banana cue, fish ball, burger, spaghetti, etc.) if I’d do something or manifest a particular behavior. There were days I was brought to certain places I wished to go (i.e. mall, park, and other interesting places).

 

  • Negative punishments and reinforcements – there were times when my access to some magazines, movies, and other literary materials were withheld. One time, I was so immersed in buying and reading KIDS’ ZONE magazines that those had to be taken away from me. There were days when I would spend unhealthy amount of time in playing computer games that I was forbidden to play them until I finished what I had to do.

 

 

Recall your past experiences where behaviorist approaches have been used to modify your behaviors.

  • Which experiences do you consider positive (helpful and pleasant)?

I am thankful for the times my mother encouraged me to talk to guest speakers during the annual conventions or retreats my parents brought me with them. I also am glad for the moments I was encouraged to write poems and essays. I was given verbal praise. Sometimes, I was simply hugged by my parents. Other times, when I simply wanted to give up writing or using my skills to inspire or inform other people, my parents gave me words of affirmation.

Today, I have met different politicians from around the world. Most of them, I was able to talk to personally. Some of them, I received personal autographed notes. Although not all people consider my hobby–that is: meeting famous or interesting people, going to interesting events, and then writing about them–as exciting or stimulating, I am glad for the friends I have made and grateful for the kindness I have received from those people. Just a few days ago, I was able to interview Paco Magsaysay–grandson of the late President Ramon Magsaysay–for his Carmen’s Best Ice Cream brand. He was so kind and seems honest, made me cry that day at home.

Also, I personally know some relatives of the late National Artist Nick Joaquin because I am helping them promote their uncle’s legacy this year. Sometimes, I would personally receive career advice and historical enlightenment from Atty. Alex Lacson (bestselling author) and Atty. Steve Salonga (son of former Senator Jovy Salonga).

Being someone who likes to teach and who wants to become a successful writer as well, those memories are treasured. This may have not been possible if no one encouraged me to reinforce my interest in writing and meeting these people.

  • In the attempt to modify your behavior, can you cite behaviorist approaches that successfully modified your behavior/s but turned out to be unpleasant experiences?  Were there occasions wherein your behavior/s became more undesirable rather than improved?

I had a liking or interest to romantically pursue a lady for five years. We have been friends a year already before I confessed by feelings to her. I confessed it a month or two after I developed that feeling.

There was a time that I didn’t want to pursue her anymore because I know she is in a relationship with somebody else. However, I heard that she wants to be friends with me and she even told that to me personally.

After three months of trying to forget her and not see her, she told a friend that she has a crush on me. That common friend of ours told me that. So I approached her and talked to her about it, which she admitted.

She would now respond more to my text messages. And I would keep sending her texts again. She even posted in her facebook account the roses I had delivered to her house.

At this point, my behavior is modified. She told me also that she wants to leave her boyfriend. I had hoped that we could be together already. We’d go out together for lunch, for a seminar. She’d allow me to walk with her and be seen by our friends. She would text me as to her whereabouts even if I am not asking and would send messages like “Mahal ka namin ni Lord.” She’d receive my gifts and tell about it to her friends. For me, all of those were positive reinforcements–desirable things or events that encouraged my feelings for her.

But I was informed by another common friend that she wasn’t serious with me, and I might even be used for her to get near to another friend of ours. More so, there was a time when he had pleasant exchanges over the phone one morning but she’ll have a date with another guy in the afternoon.

After I have figured this out and it dawned on me that I have to stop pursuing her, I just stopped seeing her. That is, even if she would send me messages asking how I have been. That is, even if she would send me a birthday greeting. I stopped replying.

Remember, at some point I wished to forget her already. But she was the one who told me something that gave me a romantic hope to be with her. When I told her my frustrations, she even reprimanded me by saying, “Why are you so serious in pursuing me? Why not see other girls at the same time? I never thought you’d give me that kind of affection and attention.” She even told me that she did nothing wrong to me, and implied that all this were my own doing!

I was informed by a relative that this lady also did a similar thing to my relative’s classmate. I was told by our common friends that she has a tendency to do a similar thing to other boys.

As a result, even if I have only communicated with her only a handful of times out of necessity, because we worked together in some programs, in the last one and a half years, I still bear with me the emotional pain. I’m not sure if I have already forgiven her fully.

 

How would you prefer behaviors to be regulated and/or modified at home or in school?

At home, I prefer behaviors to be regulated through words of affirmation and words that correct attitudes. Spanking may still be used, though, however that is not the primary resort for every case. If the parties can afford it, there could be specific rewards given as a means of positive reinforcement. Also, if it is necessary and doable, some things may also be removed as a means of negative reinforcement.

            In school, I prefer to give extra points to reward good behavior if it meets a certain criteria. Also, there are cases when anyone can easily get extra points because of attendance or class participation. But, there are times when the student would pass the subject anyway even without the plus points. In some cases, those students would exert unwanted behavior once in a while. Sometimes, they get really annoying. So, what I did was I showed them that I removed some of their plus points (even if I know they don’t need those anyway, but they didn’t know that).

Also, some students were able to relate with my #HugotPosts and #HugotStories that they are encouraged to study better because of those. Others, they’d rather perform well in class so that they won’t hear #HugotStaments to be said to them.

 

Reference:

Smith, B.L. (2012, April). The Case Against Spanking. Retrieved May 15, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx

Intelligence, Love, and Achievements – eJournal for EDS 103 Module 2

cropped-14137723_1148145198580549_855232875_n.jpg

This module reminded me of three stories–one of which I personally experienced, and the two are stories that my friends experienced where I was among the observers.

My Story

I am twenty-one (21) years old and has already accomplished my Master’s degree. More so, I have been formally teaching in a popular university in Manila for two years already. In my first year of teaching, I had classes in college. In my second year of teaching, I was assigned to Senior High School. I do not know my exact IQ score today, but several years ago I know I obtained a score of 110. That score, I was informed before, is above average. However, I had read some references saying that 110 is simply average. I finished both my bachelor’s and graduate degrees as cum laude. (Note that prior to this, I have been involved in literacy outreaches since I was seven years old). Additionally, I had finished short online courses in Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley.

For the most part, since I started being in college several years back, I know I was quite satisfied and happy with my life. I considered myself as “successful.” This is especially because I was appointed to become a student organization president, which was supposed to be for only a year however I managed to change our constitution and convince key leaders to give me another year. No one has done that before, and none has done that yet ever since.

Then, I got featured in radio stations, a magazine, and was invited to speak in some schools and universities. I was writing poetry often back then, and I received some messages asking me to include my writings in their plays, school projects, and two even asked to translate my poems to be published in their newspapers and other publications!

All along I thought life is going well until something happened to me two years ago.

What happened? Well, I still couldn’t figure it out exactly but those were very humbling experiences. I was courting a lady for five years, but she was able to deceive me, had me believe that I had a chance, but still chose another man who was not earning as much as I did, and did not even finish college at that time.

Prior to courting that lady, I courted someone for four years but to no avail as well! So, all in all, I spent nine years courting ladies who won’t be my girlfriends. The first one I courted got involved with two-timers. The last one, I felt ridiculed because I thought I already had everything or at least am the better man, but I was cheated. I even heard that even if she chose the other guy, she was still entertaining other suitors, even texting with them saying “I love you!”

Because I couldn’t figure it out exactly back then, it was so hard to bear that a prestigious doctor found the cause of some health issues I have been experiencing and linked the cause to the stress I felt because of being brokenhearted.

        I have friend–a kababata–who told me in Filipino, “Obed, you are a smart guy. But how could you be so a fool on this one?”

Then, I sometimes laugh at myself. This may have been a reason why I lost the drive I used to have before in life. Before, it was easy for me to dream, to volunteer, to perform many tasks. However, in the past several months, I couldn’t identify exactly what meaningful contribution I did to society. In fact, I almost lost the motivation to even enroll here in UPOU. It’s just a shame that I have surpassed so many challenges in my life, most of them requiring complex analysis and courage. Some of them, even dangerous. But how come I seem to have been humbled and brought low, down to my knees with tears, because of being brokenhearted! How I wish to recover soon! How I wish to be more proactive than this once more! How I wish to be renewed spiritually!

I guess it is true that to be successful, one does not only need to perform well in IQ tests or in school. A person must have the intellectual determination to continue, however that can only be fueled if there is a purpose in existence. As of now, I cannot say I am already sure of what I want to do. Some things inside me, as I introspect, I felt are already shattered into pieces because I have been brokenhearted. Sometimes, I feel like I lost my vision in life and I do not know if I could trust myself again. I used to have great faith in my intelligence, however it became hard for me to accept it when I experienced a situation when my intelligence was not enough to achieve something that others find very simple to obtain. There are really goals that, in order to achieve them, I have to use a measurement or grid that is different from IQ scores and academic achievements.

Nevertheless, I found encouragement when I personally met with Dr. Zeus Salazar, dubbed as the “Father of Filipino Historiography and Pantayong Pananaw.” While I was talking to him, one of his friends noted, “Well, Lolo, even if you had a vague idea back then, in times when you were not sure about yourself, even that gave you a direction in your life.” He agreed. That was an encouragement to me because I can identify to his situation. I feel like to be in a similar situation right now.

 

Some students I had

I’m thinking of four people–two different couples–I had in different classes. The first couple, they belong in the same section. The guy is very lazy. In fact, he almost failed my class because he’s too lazy. I extended the deadline of passing a requirement for over a month just for him, but he wouldn’t even comply. There was another requirement a simple essay I was asking, but he passed it after a month as well with a paragraph saying, “I don’t get the point of this activity.” Then, there was a time he finished an activity on schedule, but he was also too lazy to pass it that he shut the door while I was talking to him. I asked his girlfriend to get his bag and pass me the paper so that he could pass.

When I observe him and his girlfriend, sometimes I ask myself, “Where is the justice in this world?” The lady is smart. In fact, she was one of the honor students for Grade 11. I wonder why she’s the girlfriend of this lazy, rude guy. Then, I look at myself and say, “How about you? You seem smart and you followed the advice of the elders, but where has love brought you? Were you able to use your academic credentials?”

But I am comforted because I had two other students from different sections. I do not want to appear politically incorrect, but perhaps beauty is really in the eyes of the beholder. These former students of mine, no they weren’t ugly. But I know both of them want to learn. But the guy seems to display affection, care, and service for the lady. It makes me want to believe, “Perhaps this is love, perhaps this is a rational choice.” At least, this one I don’t have a hard time wondering why on earth they are becoming a couple, at least I am not saying, “How dare you, fate and cupid!”

 

A former schoolmate and a co-advocate

I felt shame within me when I read an update from a schoolmate that she was already financing the building a house for her parents. I heard a similar story with someone I worked with for an advocacy. I felt shame not because I do not like what they are doing. In fact, I salute them for sacrificing and doing all these things for their families.

But I felt shame out of embarrassment because I know these people do not seem very bright. I had better grades than them in school. In fact, there were times I had better opportunities. However, until now, I haven’t even given my parents an amount that would at least repair our house. Although I give to them whenever I receive my salary, it’s not that much. How I wish to be able to do something great and enduring for my parents as well!

 

Conclusion

Psychologists and educators may agree that IQ tests may show the potential of a person towards academic and professional achievement. Yet, they would also affirm the fact that it takes more than that to become successful. It takes intellectual determination and perhaps even the circumstances or opportunities necessary for one to become a respected achiever.

This makes me ask, “If the opportunities I wish to have are not yet here with me today, how can I prepare myself when they arrive or how can I make them happen if that is possible?”

As of now, perhaps, I must finish this program and eventually pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers next year.

Module 1 eJournal: Initial thoughts on learning theory

17424935_10208102079939988_6057479744432559013_n

I.
Theories can explain or predict various events or situations by giving us a guideline or a virtual grid where we filter events through to make sense of them, and allow us to get the best meaning from them.

This reminds me of two approaches in phenomenology–the descriptive and interpretive phenomenology. Both can be useful. In descriptive phenomenology, we simply describe different events separately as they are. However, in interpretive phenomenology, we may sew through those events to see whether or not there is a correlation or perhaps even a causation among them (Dela Cruz, Fadrigon, & Mendoza, 2016). How to know whether we should use one or the other may depend on our goal or what we are trying to discover or prove.

II.
In terms of learning, I can see from the collective events of my life that I usually learn when I am interested about the subject or that there are clearer explanations that have been given to me by my teacher or another source regarding the topic. Sometimes, I can see that I learn better in a certain area because I have and can afford the resources and even the circumstances for me to grasp the essence of a subject. I recall that when I was in college, there were subjects that were hard for me to excel because I do not have the book, software, people, connections, and experiences that my other classmates have, which is why they learn from it better than me.

III.
We may know that a person has successfully learned something if we have a definition and measurement of the learning that we wish to achieve. However, I believe we cannot always have control over whether or not the person would remember the information taught to him or maintain the skill that he developed. But if we have defined what we are looking for and provided appropriate measurements, I believe we can better evaluate and infer whether or not a person has successfully learned.

IV.
Regarding if I could suggest a fairer definition of learning and academic achievement, I want to honestly say no. Simply reading through the learning materials in Module 1 of this subject makes me ask more questions and reflect some more about these two concepts.

V.
“I teach, I help shape history.” That’s the brief statement I could make right now in terms of my thoughts on the positive aspects of teaching. My inspiration for that statement is the example of Socrates. This philosopher has influenced the attitudes of several young people that approached him to learn. He has influenced the mindsets of these youths and thus helped shape the culture of the next generation, which may have explained the eventual acceptance of his thoughts to Plato, Aristotle, and then Alexander the Great. Until today, even religious and political worldviews have been influenced by those names mentioned. This is because there was a teacher who was willing to make necessary sacrifices in order to open the minds people through dialogues and discussions.

VI.
I want to become a teacher who is also a transformational leader. I do not want our topics to be concepts that are like “disembodied spirits” floating around the metaphysical realm, puzzled on how they can affect or when they could be used for a noble purpose in the realm of mortals. I wish that those lessons shall be put to use help heal, transform, and improve society. How would this happen? This would certainly require connecting to the hearts of my students, spending extra time with them, knowing who they are even in the brief time we may have together, and being updated along the paths of life as to their progress. Perhaps, I could also help direct them in their professional career if History allows it. I want to be like an older brother to them.

My strength is that I have been a reader and sort of practitioner. The subjects I have been teaching are related to the social sciences. I have experiences dealing, knowing, meeting, and interviewing different kinds of people from the various walks of life. Although my experiences may be few as of now compared to the veteran educators that we read in history books, I believe I can share some tidbits of insights to them that may bring them up to at least one level.

My potential weakness is perhaps my short time to spend with them. I am usually busy, going around doing stuffs. Aside from being a teacher, I have dreams of my own and for others that I would like to achieve. I may forget their names, faces, or their previous stories told to me. More so, I am at a point that I wish to be stronger, healthier, and to get rid of the health issues I have now. If I can’t overcome these on my own, I am asking God to help me even if others do not believe in Him.

VII.
I anticipate that this subject would actually require time for me. This may be another reason why I would spend lesser time with my students than the time I wish to spend with them. But I also envision that my attitude toward this subject would improve and that it may be easier for me to navigate and finish my requirements here. I hope so. I pray so.

VIII.
I wish to investigate further on how to connect to student’s hearts and inspire them to study better or at least be more disciplined and treat our subjects with respect. I understand that most of us engage in subjects that we are interested in or when we see how we can use it in real life, or if at least the class atmosphere is more conducive to learning.

IX.
I do not yet know how to state my hypothesis. Moreover, what I wrote in VIII of this blog may still be prone to change.

X.
I do not know yet exactly which research methods I would use. But, perhaps, I would be using a mixed method.

Reference:

Dela Cruz, R.D., Fadrigon, C.C., Mendoza, D.L. 2016. Disciplines and Ideas in the Social Sciences. Quezon City, Metro Manila: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

Blogging Connects Us to Like-Minded People

This blog is meant for my EDS 103 class in the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU). Aside from fulfilling my eJournal requirements, I would like to say that I believe that blogging does not only allow me to share my ideas to the world, but it also allows me to get connected with individuals who understand what I am saying and, perhaps, become part of whatever endeavor or interest I may be pursuing.

I have been blogging for more than 7 years now, and I’m glad that I met new friends throughout those years—and I believe I’d be having more friends. You can be one of those new friends I’d make 🙂