The Finish Line?

…am I really there yet? Perhaps so.

In a few days, my first term as a student (again) would come to its conclusion. I’m halfway done with the wrap-up requirements including the demo teaching which I conducted yesterday. Thus, I’m halfway holding my breath to finally exhale and say, “WHEW!”

It’s been an incredible three and a half months of checklists, timetables, reading materials, answering forum questions, reflections, and waves after waves of realizations and understanding of this profession I’ve decided to take on.

To be honest, this course made me question myself if being a teacher really suits me. Being a teacher requires so much more than just teaching as you have to be really passionate about the work to find reason to continue with it despite the load of work one has to accomplish even if it’s just for one class.

Can I do that? Even after taking those surveys and studying habits tests, I still couldn’t be consistent with time management and prioritizing. I’ve been distracted with so many personal things that I felt I’ve sacrificed the quality of my studying for the past month. Well, my grades are a reflection of that and I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed with them, but then, I know for a fact that I could have done better, so what to do?

Despite the doubts, I’ve definitely learned a lot from this course. For one, my goal in receiving the teacher certification has changed. Before, I wanted to gain teacher certification to quality for the board exam for teachers and eventually pass it to get a PRC license. Now, I believe that has changed due to what I learned from EDS:111. My goal now is to be worthy of that certification; to be called a teacher professionally because I embody one.  Based on this course, I learned that great teachers are:

  • Knowledgeable in all areas of the profession: has content knowledge and mastery, is creative and open-minded to ways of instruction to achieve maximum learning of students, fosters positive relationships with students, is reflective of her teaching before, during, and after class, and seeks life-long learning.

The question is, can I be one?

We’d have to see. I sure hope so. As we say in Filipino: marami pa akong kakaining bigas. Kaban kaban pa siguro.

Nonetheless, I do believe that the end of this course opens a door to new heights of opportunities to learn. The required demo-teaching was an opportunity to experience first hand how it was handling a group of students in a class. Somehow, my experience handling kids in my work now helped in managing the class and the flow of instruction, but I would say it was more or less chaotic. Anyway, it was loads of fun and even though there were setbacks, I would want to experience that again. I wouldn’t mind, seriously. I’m ever so thankful that they tried their best to give me attention even if I was a new face. I’m glad they liked the book I taught them! And of course, I do hope that they somehow understood the lesson the story and I (as a teacher) wanted to impart. 😀

So, am I at the finish line? Almost! Then we begin again. It’s a cycle of learning, so we say. Well, that’s inclusive of the puyat, stress, and fatigue. Haha! Nonetheless, same as I’ve exclaimed about challenge in the beginning of this journal: BRING IT ON!

Professional Growth

In a week, the first stretch of my formal learning in education through UPOU would come to its conclusion. Soon, I would be testing how I would be applying what I learned in a teaching demo I plan to conduct next week. Once I finish the course, the definite plan is to continue the program to get the certification. On the other hand, how much effort I’d exert more to be a “scholar” of teaching and learning, I’d have to see.

I knew that a lot of educators pursue further learning through masteral and doctorate courses, but I honestly have not thought of its deeper importance. I initially had an impression that the added credential is for a better opportunity in their work, here in the Philippines or abroad. In fact, I might not be wrong. For one, I took the UPOU course to establish myself as a certified teacher since I’ve not had formal training in the field after being years of being called “teacher”. If I am to aim for an independent life in another country, then this program would be a boost to my confidence as a teacher. Moreover, a part of me has a need and desire to understand what being an teacher, an educator is about. Why do teachers stay in this field for such a long time despite the low salaries and heavy workload? How do students learn from teachers? What is the magic behind effective classroom management and student learning? I wanted to learn all about that. Reading about being a Scholar of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) gave me a broader idea behind these blooming questions.

Educators have defined being a scholar in teaching and learning (SoTL) as being a teacher who pursues lifelong learning. Through research or inquiry, a SoTL establishes interesting questions about his/her student’s learning, struggles in classroom management and methodology and tries to find answers from scholarly articles in education, peers, and self-reflection.

As a teacher, it is very important that we enrich ourselves within our years of profession. As students are the central focus of our teaching and their manner of learning changes through time, it is also integral that we constantly inquire regarding our methods and beliefs in teaching and always make it a goal to seek for answers and learn from them through application and reflections.

In this regard, it is important that teachers be given a strong support system to encourage them to pursue higher learning. Sometimes, financial reasons is the problem, thus, some teachers chose to think that it’s fine to stay where they are. I’m glad that I’ve shaken that idea! After years of being depressed and wondering why I couldn’t find satisfaction in my job, it’s because I didn’t realize that I was being stagnant at where I was as a teacher. The beginning was totally exciting, but without growth, I grew weary and frustrated of my abilities.

Thus, I’m thankful that even though it has been a three toxic months of being a full-time teacher, part-timer and a student, but it has been a productive three months of learning.

Reflective Teaching Practice

According to my learning style survey, my response to action is “reflective”. In accordance to this week’s module regarding reflective teaching practice, I suddenly wonder if I am really able to use this learning style to maximize my teaching abilities.

Somehow, in the year I’ve been teaching kids, I’ve somehow been more reactive than proactive, especially on my first year of it. It was a year of trial-and-error situations, frustration over school policies and handling students with attitudes, and so I’ve always asked myself: “What can I do to make things easier? What can I do to be an effective teacher?” After a while, I realized that the questions and desires that I had were all directed to my own comfort, not my students.

Struggling every single day to find the right balance in class was stressful. There would be a few lucky classes wherein there was relative ease in teaching, but until I revised my questions and made it about my student, did the classes become more comfortable. I started asking:

How can ______ learn more about phonemes easier?

How can I help in the foundation of using the senses for descriptive writing?

I wonder how to encourage ______ in writing and reading when he thinks he is stupid and almost gives up on his potential to grow?

When I started to find answers to these learner-centered questions, the more rewarding the work became.

Indeed, teaching is a lot of work and I rely on this as my bread and butter, but it evolves beyond that whenever that EUREKA! moment arrives; that moment you’ve seen the improvement that you’ve genuinely worked and hoped for your student. Even when I was teaching adults ESL, that moment of pure joy when you hear and feel the student comprehending, the feeling was so wonderful, it’s suddenly years of that mission to push more, to help more.

After years of teaching without formal education, I decided to pursue it. This very entry regarding reflective teaching is a result of my earlier reflections about my life and where I want to direct it. I couldn’t imagine myself working as a teacher online my whole life, so I tried a new environment. I knew that I was already in love with teaching, but I felt like I needed to find something new. When I took that risk, when I opened my horizon to new possibilities, better things happened. Of course, there’s the whole new getting-to-know-you phase and it was a struggle for some months, but like how I learned how to ride a bike in which I stumbled many times, got bruised, scratched, and flew out of it like a slingshot, I have a better grasp of it now. This work has become even more rewarding because of those hardships.

What I need to do now is make teaching reflections as part of my routine, especially building a journal dedicated to it. Actually, I have blogs for different purposes and notebooks for my personal thoughts. I’ve always considered writing as a therapy for my emotions which I was never comfortable expressing to anyone, not even my family or closest friends. Of course, I’m better at expressions now, but writing had remained a preference. Therefore, I agree with Scales (2008) that: “Writing is a very effective way to make sense of experience—to organize, evaluate and learn from it. Creative writing is often used as a form of therapy by which people can work things out and find solutions for problems.” (p.17)

Actually, in my work, we are required to have a notebook for every student to jot down notes about the date of the class and the topic covered. What was not required of us was to have personal notes about the class, so I never bothered. However, reflecting on it, I should devote time to write more about what transpired during the class, including a model which Gibbs (1998) provided: description of what happened in class, my thoughts and feelings about it, my evaluation of it, an analysis, and then general and specific conclusions.

What I have to let go is the thought that doing reflective writing is added work, but have a mindset that it would be helpful to improve myself as a teacher and especially for my students.

Teaching is a life-long learning, I am starting to understand. How I am ever thankful for its nature that I get to learn further while I help make changes to an individual’s life.

 


“To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed—and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you imagine.”

Haruki Murakami on writing and running from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2007, memoir)


 

Reference:

Scales, P. (2008). The reflective teacher. Teaching in the lifelong learning sector, 7 – 26. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press

Creative Teaching

Creativity had always been a vague subject for me, though something I always aspire to have. I am a big fan of the arts, therefore, I am always awed by the creativity of artists expressed through paintings, pictures, films, songs, etc.

That’s why when I was given the role as a Creative Writing teacher in my work now, I panicked. I panicked because I wasn’t confident of my creativity enough to boost my students’ creativity as well. I’ve been hibernating from writing prose and poetry for what feels like forever, so I was, and still worried about how to go about my teaching of this subject. Nonetheless, through trials and errors, I am gradually making sense of my role and finding better ways to fit my students’ learning.

Reading through our module resources for this week, I am given a broader view of what a creative teacher is. I initially thought of creative teacher as someone who a natural artist, a bit unorthodox in the manner of teaching, but engaging. You know, the kind of one-in-a-million teacher you’d find in movies. Well, I’m glad that the readings are assuring that anybody can be a creative teacher, and we must be in order to be effective as well, if we can observe in ourselves the following characteristics and core practices stated in Creative Teachers and Creative Teaching by Teresa Cremin (2009):

  1. Curiosity and a questioning stance
    • Being curious and having a desire to learn about life in general, especially about his/her learners
    • teachers stimulate creativity through asking questions and encouraging students to ask questions as well
  2. Connection making
    • bridging personal experiences to topic knowledge to be better understood
    • making efforts to learn about students’ interest to use for teaching as well as creating a positive relationship
  3. Autonomy and ownership
    • teachers are flexible and confident
    • “builds on learners’ interest and their social/cultural capital, as well as curriculum requirements” (p.42)
  4. Fostering originality
    • preparedness to take risks to try new ideas and develop their creative skills
    • collaborating with other professionals

Somehow, I’ve been practicing on some of these, but I wasn’t even aware they are considered “creative”. I’m not complaining though. Especially connection-making, I always thrive to build a positive relationship with my students in and out of class because it makes it easier to work together and I can always cite personal experiences as examples to explain a concept. In our reading program, we always make use of questions to establish comprehension. Though it’s tough answering the question “Why?” especially when a very curious child throws it in succession, it is a good indication that I have triggered their curiosity and has a desire to learn.

As of now, I have to work more on collaborating with other teachers to gain new knowledge and technique. I’m more of an observer when it comes to this job, but in order to work more effectively I’d have to be more open to others’ suggestions and perspective in teaching and learning. On the other hand, flexibility is good, but it’s not easily done in the actual classroom. Nonetheless, I am building on this characteristic. It’s true that you have to bend a few rules sometimes to solve a problem.

For example, I had a 3-yeard-old who had difficulty substituting and deleting sounds in a word. Since our lesson is phonemic awareness, the child builds his/her reading skills through the recognition of letters by sound and a word made up of individual sounds. More difficult categories of this awareness is manipulation of sounds in a word to create a new one. In this program, we don’t make use of word families (-in, -at, -up, etc.) because it contradicts with our lesson about blending individual sounds to make a word. However, since the prescribed techniques are not working for phoneme deletion and substitution, I had to teach word families and build a routine of recognition for it since she’s good in 2-letter sounds and patterns. Eventually, after a week of drills using word games, flashcards, videos, etc., we were able to reach our goal.

During that time, I was frustrated at the same time determined and challenged. And at the moments I thought of the beauty of teaching; it’s not only a profession that helps student learn, but it’s a profession that would assure me a life-long learning and would build on the creativity I’ve always desired.

 

 

Reference:

Cremin, T. (2009). Creative teachers and creative teaching (Chapter 3). In Wilson, A. (Ed.). Creativity in Primary Education (2nd ed.). Southernhay East, Exeter: Learning Matters, pp. 36–46.

Understanding the kids

There were eight reading materials to be read for this module, but I was fortunately able to finish them in time since they were short, but more importantly, more interesting than the previous topic. Teacher professionalism was a good topic, and a novel one to note, but I guess since one of the major factors I had in taking PTC in the first place was to give me a hand on properly handling my students, this student-inclined topic touched on my interest more. Actually, if I wasn’t so side-tracked with other non-academic, non-work-related stuff, I would’ve posted this journal sooner. *Sigh* And I thought I’ve improved as a student. Well, I have to try better.

 

This week’s module was called Teaching Skill, though I think the central idea of the source materials was on the teacher understanding the student for effective teaching. In instructional planning, Airasian, Engemann, and Gallagher (2007) pointed that the teacher should consider the student from the point that the teacher selects the topic to choose, to modifying the content to fit the student’s age and learning style, to delivering. Moreover, it was suggested by Jones (2015) that in managing class properly, teachers have to take into consideration that all students have personal needs. Students behave well when these needs are met in class. To meet these needs by students, the material about building positive teacher-student relationships can aid this area. Teachers have to use the interpersonal skills to build bridges between the teacher and student roles by showing care through showing interest, listening actively, using humor, etc. Probably, one of the best tip I learned from that material is the use of “I” statements to encourage, not praise (Gordon, 2003; cited by Scarlett, Ponte, and Singh, 2009). Personally, none of my teachers have used this method as I remember, but I guess with the changing of times, a positive frame fits this generation better who reacts rather radically on strict style of discipline. As a finale, the module wraps on the topic of student diversity (Cruickshank, Metcalf, & Jenkins, 2009; Jansen, 2009) which not only cover cultural and racial differences, but on social, gender, language, and learning style differences, also. The teacher has to understand and accept the diversity that makes a class and plan lessons according to building on established strengths to transform weaknesses of diverse areas, also. Whether the class are divided due to language or cultural differences, the teacher has to build a positive relationship with each of these students as well as look at them as a group, write an instructional plan that works on that diversity to have a great class management.

As I was reading through the materials, I was reminded of the teachers I had in the past. My favorite ones, and the ones I found most effective. I cited one English teacher during my high school days in one of my forum answers for this module, so I’ll talk about another favorite teacher in high school: Mrs. Ypil!

Mrs. Ypil was our Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) teacher whom was notorious for her classes. At the very start of the class term, she would state her expectations from the students, topic coverage, and her class rules. One of the activities she had for each class was a game called, “The Weakest Link”. Once a week, there would be a recitation for the topics covered for that week which could start anywhere from the room and so on. She would ask random questions based on the readings (we can open our books to frantically search answers) then, if we can answer, we survive to the next game, or we get a low score. Not a failing one of course, but just low enough to get your parents questioning if you’re an average-performing student. This game was nerve-wracking, but I remember it being very fun also. Moreover, the game kept us on our toes the whole time. We would have to listen closely to her lectures and review our lessons to survive the game. And actually, her delivery of topics were seamless and interesting. She was a big and intimidating teacher, but she also used humor from time to time to get the attention of the students. I remember her line being, “Mapunit yan!” when she spots a student yawning, but she never pointed out. Some students cannot approach her outside of class because the game affected her image, but since I was part of the school newspaper, I had chances of interacting with teachers in the faculty room at times, and that’s when I got to know her just as Mrs. Ypil, the funny, smart woman. I kinda wish to be a version of her in the future. 🙂

I am very grateful for these readings as I get to reflect on myself as a teacher and as a person every time. Before, I would day-dream of having a boyfriend or traveling, but now I day-dream of having a smooth-flowing class with the students learning while having fun in my class. What is this sorcery?! Haha. Well, I’ll take that as a good thing.

“No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” – James Comer


References:

Airasian, P. W., Engemann, J. F., and Gallagher, T. L. (2007). Instructional planning and assessment (Chapter 3). In Classroom assessment: Concepts and applications – First Canadian edition. Toronto, ON, Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Jones, V. (2015). Understanding effective classroom management (Chapter 1). In Practical classroom management (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson, pp 1 -16

Scarlett, W. G., Ponte, I. C., & Singh, J. P. (2009). Building positive teacher – student relationships (Chapter 3). In Approaches to behavior and classroom management. SAGE Publications.

Cruickshank, D. R., Metcalf, K. K., & Jenkins, D. B. (2009). Teaching diverse students (Chapter 3). In The act of teaching. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Jensen, E. (2009). How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance. In Teaching with Poverty in Mind. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and-Academic-Performance.aspx

Content and Pedagogy

               As a teacher, every day I face the challenge of being able to contribute to my students’ learning, and it is not only to face up to the challenge, but to actually win it.

                For the past six years of teaching, seeing the development of students has been gradual at times. I’ve been impatient and insecure of my skills due to the unclear results of my labour. However, at the stretch of my teaching, I see my students bloom with the skills I’ve wanted to impart, and I stay a bit longer in the field of teaching, wanting more of that leap of heart for the pride of being able to contribute to an individual’s life. When I realized it, it has been six years since I’ve started chasing eureka moments that signals an achievement, or possibly a milestone in my student’s journey in learning.

                As most of my teaching experience had been online, I’ve been used to the linear approach of my company’s: online, my students as adults, and the instruction mainly by voice. The medium of instruction created limitations as we relied heavily on materials given by the company and routines in of executing the classes. Nonetheless, the online platform gave me freedom to use the internet as my “sidekick” to seek answers whenever I didn’t know the answer to my student’s question. Given five years of experience on the same line of work, I can confidently do the job without much preparation and suspense, although not ideal of good teacher practice.

On the other hand, with my job now as an enrichment teacher, which is one-on-one, I am suddenly faced with a high demand of preparation and on-the-spot queries just about anything from my curious youngsters. Though I’ve had the experience of tutoring one-on-one, having kids as students is quite a tall order considering their mental and emotional development is a grey area to my theoretical understanding, though I’m managing somehow with practical experience from my nephews and nieces.

                Ever since, I can never start my classes without a thorough evaluation of of the topic to teach, research on the effectiveness of my intended methods and materials, and consideration whether set plans fit the student’s age, learning style and ability. If am able to comply with these things (sometimes I cannot due to time constraints), then my class is smooth sailing. It makes me feel very proud of myself when I am able to execute my lesson properly as one, I’m able to sharpen my skills at best, at the same time, my preparedness for the lesson content, knowledge of it, and the skills that compliments it benefits the students most.

                With this, I agree with what Shulman (1987) wrote about the importance of knowledge content pedagogy:

“…the key to distinguishing the knowledge base of teaching lies at the intersection of content and pedagogy, in the capacity of a teacher to transform the content knowledge he or she possesses into forms that are pedagogically powerful and yet adaptive to the variations in ability and background presented by the students.”

                Indeed, I’ve encountered professors in my university days that seemed to have eaten books about their field of expertise, but their style of pedagogy did not connect to my style of learning. Despite the array of acknowledgment of a teacher’s contribution in his/her field, his/her teaching could have been improved to connect more to the students’ learning.

                In my field now, I also know of a teacher whom I can evaluate has a potential to be a great teacher because of her natural ability to connect with the students’ socio-emotional needs, as well as fit the lessons to their mental development, however, her lack of deeper and wider theoretical and practical knowledge hinders her from moving further in the field.

                Fortunately, I’ve had the honor of being under great teachers whom were able to translate their comprehension of a topic/subject effectively which helped in the reconstructing of a new understanding of my world. I believe, they are teachers whom are “able to define, describe and reproduce good teaching.” (Shulman, 1987)

                Through the readings this week, I hope to be able to help my students better in their journey of learning.


Reference:

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

Teacher Professionalism

As a big Japanese culture fan, I’ve always wondered why most professionals (lawyers, doctors, writers, composers, painters, etc.) in Japan are called “sensei” when its literal definition is “teacher”. According to Doshu Yoshigaki, President of the Ki No Kenkyukai Association International, explained in an article that “senseis” are professionals who are expected to always reflect their practice, even outside the workplace:

“Sen means before and Sei means to be born. So sensei literally means a person who is born before. This birth is a spiritual, not physical birth. The original meaning of sensei is one who is spiritually born before others. If one sticks to the original meaning, only those who understand life should be called sensei and a sensei is behaving like a teacher 24 hours a day, even in his daily life.”

With this thought in mind and the topic of this week’s module, questions about being a “professional” stayed afloat in my head: Am I considered a professional? Am I acting like one?

Before starting on the readings for this module, our professor/facilitator asked us to think of our personal definition of “teacher professionalism” and compare it to the definitions and explanations that we would encounter in the readings. This was my initial answer:

  • Set rules of behaviour of how a teacher should present his/her to students
  • Has a clear distinction of student-teacher roles
  • Teacher is an example of good conduct and morality
  • No biases towards students, parents, or other teachers
  • Student growth is priority

Obviously, my knowledge of “professional” is limited to what I have experienced and observed. According to “Teacher Professionalism: A Literature Review” by Jeanne Gamble (2010), I cannot be considered a “professional” as I am without formal training in my field (yet), no specific area of expertise, not licensed or certified as one, and lacking in theoretical knowledge and years of practical experience.

Well, to all that, I agree. I am at the benchmark of what I hope is a trajectory towards professionalism, in mind, heart, and actions. I am not aspiring to be just a teacher with the PRC license, but I hope to be the type of teacher who would have the proper qualifications, so that I can be a more credible torch and bearer of knowledge and skills towards my present and future students.

As teachers, we are entrusted by parents, or by society at large to hone these individuals: from guiding their hands into learning what they find curious, to gaining various skills to make them physically and emotionally independent, to developing their understanding of their roles as social being and as part of a larger community. Therefore, I hope that more support would be given to Filipino teachers in terms of trainings, seminars, materials to study and even modern gadgets that would aid new teaching techniques fit to the new generation. For a country who needs to convince more teachers to stop leaving the country for “greener pastures” and for the remaining demographic of illiterate individuals, we want more teachers to realize their best potentials through these kinds of support, and be the citizens that can embody their professions like how Yoshigaki defined a sensei.


References:

Gamble, J. (2010). Teacher professionalism: A literature review. Retrieved from http://jet.org.za/publications/research/Gamble%20TEACHER%20PROFESSIONALISM%20-FINAL-%20-2.pdfSections 1 & 2, pg. 3 – 24.

Yoshigaki, D. (n.d). What is sensei. The British Ki Society. Retrieved from http://ki-society.org.uk/the-meaning-of-sensei/

Module 1: Teaching Perspectives and Styles

The first module of EDS:111 focuses on looking into our individual teaching perspectives and styles which helped me realized a great heap about myself as a teacher and a learner.

TPI result 9-13-2015

September 13, 2015 Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) results

Interpretation

After several days of reflecting (after going through the course readings and looking back on my own actions and thinking), I’d have to admit that this TPI survey is spot on.

Transmission (34 – recessive) I do a lot of transmission in my Enrichment classes because I work with young students. As they are young learners, my perspective of them is that they know less than I do or they don’t have the skills and knowledge yet, so I would have to provide for them. Sometimes, I would push the content to be finished even when we’re pressed for time. If I set some goals for the day for a class, I want them achieved.

Apprenticeship (40 – dominant) As I did not have proper training in my field, I rely heavily on my own skills and knowledge to be absorbed or adopted by my students. Whether I am an ESL teacher or a reading/writing teacher, I unconsciously set an expectation that my students would assume the same skills and knowledge that I have. As I polished my English skills and accent from watching a lot of English shows and listening to English audio materials (podcast, radio drama, radio shows, songs), this is what I advise to my ESL students to do. My advantage is that I enjoyed learning English through these hobbies, but I couldn’t say the same with my students. Learning English for them could be a chore and might benefit from other methods. However, as this was what worked for me, I believed that it would be the same for them. Reading story books was never a necessary for me when I was young, but growing up (especially in college), I realized how it would have been so much better to pick up the habit of reading when young, and so I want my students to have the same understanding as me. Writing was a natural interest, so teaching it now remains a challenge as I never tracked how I developed my ideas, sentences, and stories growing up. Despite having been guided with proper methods to develop writing for young learners, I still unconsciously push my students to have the same writing style as I do.

Developmental (32 – recessive) I’ll admit. When I read about this perspective, I wanted it to be my dominant perspective in teaching. Why? Based on its goal to develop the minds of learners into expert by combining old knowledge with the new through constructing new thinking (Pratt & Associates, 1998), is how I want to learn now. On the other hand, having my young learners’ class in mind when I took the survey, I think I still cannot mold a child’s curiosity of the world into the defined, expert thinking I want for myself.  Perhaps I would have adapted this perspective if I was teaching older students with subjects such as sociology, psychology or literature.

Nurturing (40 – dominant) I want my students to enjoy and learn from my class as much as they could as this was the kind of class I preferred as a student. I couldn’t hate strict teachers when they are effective anyway in developing our skills, but I aspire to be the kind of teacher whom students can approach with ease and learn from them at the same time. Moreover, I think as Filipinos, we like to be nurtured. We love being praised for our hard work. Great effort is as good as the result, even if they are not the best. I want my students to try their best, so they would learn. I’m willing to be there every step of the way until they develop and can be independent.

Social Reform (31 – recessive) – I admit to have a lot of opinions when it comes to Philippine society, but I have no intention to have my students absorb my ideals. I believe that the time would come for them to be more socially aware, and would be able to think by and for themselves whether they should change society or not. Nonetheless, as a person and a teacher, I hope I could be of help in developing the future leaders of this country.

Lingering Musings

While going through our readings on David Pratt’s “Good Teaching: One Size Fits All?” (2002), a couple of questions crossed my mind. Fortunately, I was able to find the answers to these questions while writing my answer for our forum discussion, and of course big thanks to my classmates’ thoughts (I really ought to be more extrovert in group discussions).

Using these perspectives, how do I view myself as a learner and as a teacher?

Pratt, D. D. and Associates (1998) wrote: “From watching others teach, we form impressions about what teachers do, what learners do, and how the process of teaching works and doesn’t work.” (p.1)

teacher-student

While going through my readings, I looked back at how I wanted to be perceived as a learner by my teacher. Since I became a more serious student when I entered college, I think this graph reflects my view of that time. Somehow, I have an idea of how my teachers viewed the students of my class. Most of my UST professors probably had a Transmission perspective, especially the more senior ones, since there’s emphasis on content rather than student participation. On the other hand, I enjoyed and learned best from teachers who had a Developmental and Nurturing perspective (Pratt, 2002) who had Personal Model, Facilitator, and Delegator teaching styles (Grasha, 1994). I wanted to be guided closely, but I wanted to think independently eventually using the knowledge they imparted in class. Thus, methods associated with Cluster 3 of Anthony F. Grasha’s (1994) table (p.143) in “A Matter of Style” fits well to my learning.

On the other hand, with the class I am handling now (young learners in mind), I can’t easily use methods of this style towards them. No wonder it’s not working well. As I primarily handle 3-7-year-olds for my reading class, and 7-12-year-olds in my writing class, Cluster 2 (Expert/Personal Model/Formal Authority) methods (Grasha, 1996) would best benefit them since these students are not yet confident to be independent, but already shows the strengths to do so. It’s like teaching a child how to ride a bike by demonstrating and guiding their balance until they can pedal away on their own.

Since perspectives in teaching seem to fit a certain group of learners, should the teacher change the group of learners to fit his/her perspective, or should the perspective of the teacher adapt to the learners?

I’ve answered part of this question in my head, but I have to admit that I’m not fully committed to the one idea yet. I am aware that I have to be a more flexible teacher to my students, but it’s not easily done. Although, it can be. Ever since I became a teacher for kids, that’s when I realized that I am willing to walk this path seriously. However, I wonder if my perspectives in teaching and personality fits the age group I handle now. Some of my co-workers commented that I do not seem fit to be a preschool teacher. I seem to fit older kids instead. I enjoy working with kids very, very much though.

Nonetheless, I’ll face the challenge I have now. Being awakened through this course, I hope to improve the quality of my class and myself as a teacher.


References:

Grasha, A. F. (1994). A matter of style: The teacher as expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator. College Teaching, 42(4), 142-149

Pratt, D. D. (2002) Good teaching: One size fits all?. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 5(93).

Introduction: Initial Thoughts on Learning, Being an Online Learner, and Goals

Back when I was a student, I admit to being a procrastinator. Mind you, though constantly cramming, I never missed a deadline. On the contrary, the quality of my work–I was aware–suffered greatly. I knew that if I gave studying more time over personal interest, I would’ve gotten better grades, probably better opportunities, and self-confidence in my skills.

As a student again after six long years, can I change myself? I definitely can and should. The result of my study skills inventory, and time-management skills test revealed how bad of a learner I was.

study skills resultExcept for Memory, all my scores are below the benchmark. To be honest, I was expecting a better result; but I guess that’s one fault in my attitude as a student already: being over-confident. According to Prof. Stephen Chew of University of Samford University, we have to avoid overconfidence no matter what. I understand that. We are only smart as much as we think we are.

In terms of time management, I think I pull it of pretty well. That is, when I’m cramming or when it doesn’t concern studying. My result for the Time Management Skills Test shows that I’m a Good Time Manager. However, with a score of 50, I’m only five points to go before being a Poor Time Manager and I’m heaps away from being excellent. When I realized this, my joy for not falling into the poor time manager category was short lived.

So I realized: I’m an average person who has average studying skills and graduated with average grades. It’s not so bad being average, but if there’s an avenue to be better than one, why not take the chance, right?

I now see how much I have to change myself if I want to be a successful online learner as being one requires excellent time management and studying skills. Balancing a full-time job, a part-time job, studying, and social life is an extra-large order, not to mention I am easily distracted by just about anything (finishing this post took me two hours because I kept looking at other websites, see?), but I am accepting the challenge.

I believe that through this online learning program, I can facilitate myself better though constant monitoring of my behavior towards time and priorities, as well my metacognition so I can maximize my learning skills. I hated reading materials on top of the other when I was a student back then, but I should simply change my view of that from being a chore to a challenge.

It’s only the first week and I am floored by the amount of tasks UPOU has for me, for us students of the PTC program. However, I am committed to my role as a student.

As a teacher, I have a duty to brighten myself further, so I can shine and guide more students to better understanding of the world and beyond.

So I say with confidence to challenges: BRING IT ON!