lifelong learning and SoTL

Being in the field of education, it is the teachers’ duty to keep updated on the new trends in teaching and learning. This can be done in a lot of ways like continuous practice of critical reflection, for as we reflect on our actions and plan ways to refine our behaviors and actions we learn from our experiences and enhance our knowledge and skills. Teachers can also engage in lifelong learning by taking post-graduate studies which can cultivate their knowledge base. Another way is by engaging in scholarship of teaching and learning. As teachers partake in research studies they continue to delve into new knowledge which also strengthens their knowledge base. As they discover new things their methods and strategies are being refined. Scholarly output serves as new information for the community which can be critiqued for improvement, adapted or applied as a new method/topic for teaching, and it can also encourage other teachers to engage in scholarship of learning.

I always mention in my journals how thankful I am that I took the PTC program because based on my previous experience teaching without knowledge base is like walking in dark. You can continue to walk all you want but you don’t actually know where you’re heading. I may have the subject knowledge but I am clueless on how can I teach it in a way that students can understand the information I am trying to deliver. ABC’s and numbers may look and sound as simple as it may seem but students who came to school who does not know anything about it will look puzzled when you give them even one letter, and taking their age into consideration you can’t just simply conduct a lecture empty-handed. With the knowledge that I gained from this program I guess I can now walk in the light and see where I am heading. It’s a long road but I am ready to start and make my venture. Therefore, professional growth is the pathway to effective teaching which can promote meaningful learning.

Reference:

Soni, S. (2012). Lifelong learning – Education and training. FIG Working Week 2012, Rome, Italy. Available from https://www.fig.net/pub/fig2012/papers/ts05i/TS05I_soni_5945.pdf

Haigh, N. (2010). The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning: A practical introduction and critique. Auckland, NZ. Available from https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/download/ng/file/group-4/the-scholarship-of-teaching–learning—a-practical-introduction-and-critique.pdf, pp 1-10

my learning experience

It has been a busy and fruitful 12 weeks, but I am still up for another program after all the sleepless nights this term. It was really hard. My life was just my work and my modules, but why do I yearn for more? Maybe because after all those hardships that I felt the benefit of my labor is now overflowing. It feels good to be knowledgeable and I feel more confident in my job. My knowledge base has been expanded which cultivates my foundation in teaching. After all, teaching means lifelong learning. It is the teachers’ duty to keep abreast of the new trends in education to utilize updated methods and deliver up to date lessons. When I enrolled for the PTC program I never thought that the work and learning would be tremendous. And I am just so glad that I am now equipped with important knowledge like the importance of knowing the:

  1. teaching perspectives- by knowing my own teaching style I can polish my strengths and develop my weaknesses to improve my practice. And if teachers have their teaching styles, students do have their own learning style, which teacher may reach by offering diverse teaching methods and strategies.
  2. classroom management- I first thought that It was keeping the students seated during lectures and maintaining order in the classroom, but then I learned that it is more than just discipline. It is building a safe and positive environment in the classroom grounded by trust and respect between the teachers and students.
  3. instructional planning- this is a hard one for me. This is where I go back and check on my knowledge base. Learning the ASSURE model from my previous course helped me to accomplish my part in the group task. And review on the framework of TPCK was definitely essential to proceed with the instructional planning.
  4. collaboration/community of learning- I was not even sure if I can accomplish the instructional plan by myself and I am just so glad that I became part of a cooperative group where everyone is willing to share ideas and take part to create a meaningful output.
  5. creativity- how dull and boring a classroom can be without creativity, same old methods and routines. It’s definitely no fun and lifeless. Students won’t be engaged and proactive in their learning
  6. reflective practice- this works hand in hand with lifelong learning, for a continuous practice and learning without reflection on past action and plan for future actions will just be the same output over and over, therefore learning will not take place despite the presence of experience.
  7. scholarship of teaching and learning- teachers do not study just study or to get a post-graduate degree. The main purpose of SoTL is to improve knowledge base through research, share findings in the community for improvement and utilization of gained knowledge to promote and develop effective teaching learning.

I now have these theories with me. The question is for how long? I guess I better start applying these theories in my work and check if it will work in practice, maybe some will or some will not but the important part is I should reflect on it and plan for solutions in cases that some theories failed.

new point of view

The final exam gave me the real feel of the constructivist theory. It was not easy. I was given control on my own learning and work output. My autonomy towards the task helped me act responsibly on my progress and learning. As I create my powerpoint presentation I wished I had a buddy to check whether my thoughts are right. And there, I yearned for social learning. Collaborating can never go wrong, disequilibrium may exist between you and your partner’s decision but in the end there will always be a way to go back to equilibrium, by confirming with a more knowledgeable adult or through further research and reading. This term was the hardest for me. I was not able to meet with almost all the deadlines of my subjects compared with my previous terms, but then I stopped and thought again. It is indeed the hardest but the information I have now as I type this journal is overflowing. I don’t even have to reread my notes on  my previous modules, maybe because the information was elaborated, repeated and was given meaningful activities which helped to retain all the important concept in my working memory. I hope my daily experiences at work can help me utilize all these theories so I can keep and retain it with me. I guess it’s the labor and effort that I put in this course which made me ponder even prior to reading this question. It was 12 weeks of lack of sleep and no gimmicks but then it’s all worth. I am now few steps away from the board exam and then little more steps to my own classroom. Before, I was clueless on what activities should I offer to my students and why should we I do such. My belief on IQ and intelligence was changed and I have now a broader view on intelligence and learning theories. Like why interaction is such an important part of our learning, and why teachers even recognized as the MKO should not always be the one talking and giving information in the classroom. I think I am now a believer of creating real world context activities because I just experience it myself and showed me how effective it can be for learners. And though theories may serve as my guide in teaching, I have come to realize that it may sometimes work but there can also be time that it will not, for every learning environment is different and every student is unique. And the best practice would be to touch every learner’s intelligence, needs and style by offering a variety of methods (Gardner).

Reference:

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Available from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/mi/index.html

reflection

When I started reading the resources the introduction shot me right through my face. I am this person that the article is talking about. Yes, I am reflecting. Yes, I do get happy, sad, or even frustrated in class. I may sometimes plan unconsciously on what I will do next time, which never actually reach any farther because after my emotions are gone, I move on and look at the situation as a different scenario without making connection to my previous experience.

A reflective cycle which I think can be very helpful for me to plan my future actions

  1. experience- what happened? (the students failed the test)
  2. feelings- what were you feeling? ( I feel challenged whether my lesson was too hard for the students)
  3. evaluation- what was good or bad about the situation (other students was able to get high scores which showed their competence on the subject)
  4. analysis- to make sense of the situation (evaluate the results of all the students and compare previous results of exams and methods of teaching used)
  5. conclusion- what else could you have done? (provide scaffolding or activities that will promote comprehension of the subject)
  6. action plan- what would you do next time (revise instruction if most of the students failed or provide assistance for the few students who failed by giving extra lecture after class)

Now that I have completed this module, I will try to be more proactive with my learning. I realized that I can keep a thousand pages of my journals but if I will not seriously reflect on learning events and scenarios inside the classroom my actions will not be able to reach transformational learning. It is only through reflective practice that teachers can promote effective teaching and achieve professional growth. Even though a veteran teacher has gained lots of teaching experiences it will be useless unless those experiences have undergone reflective thinking. A scenario of a student who always misbehaves and is always asked to sit on the thinking chair over and over is an example of a situation which was never given a thought. A teacher who reflects on this incident will have seen that the consequence did not make any difference for the student’s behavior and will not repeat this action plan. Instead, the teacher may opt for another solution like conversation with the student or a visit to the guidance counselor. Student’s reaction should be evaluated and the teacher will reflect on and in the actions that was given. The process goes back to the same cycle but with different actions depending on student’s reaction and evaluation. Being reflective means acting on the situation scholarly and not impulsively.

The reflection cycle gave me another format which I can use for my journal, because this module gave me the realization of how important and personalize our ejournals can be. For they can serve as our notes which we can review when reflecting on events that appeared today which is quite similar from the previous one that we had. It’s like writing your own resource material, but this one is more meaningful because it is tested and came from firsthand experience.

References:

OpenLearn. (2014). Learning to teach: Becoming a reflective practitioner. Available at http://www.open.edu/openlearn/education/learning-teach-becoming-reflective-practitioner/content-section-0

Scales, P. (2008). The reflective teacher. Teaching in the lifelong learning sector, 7 – 26. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press. Available at http://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/9780335222407.pdf

creativity in teaching

Back in my previous job creativity does not really have a special place because we work according to standards and altering is not part of the option, but even though I cannot apply creativity in my workplace does not mean that I cannot apply it somewhere else. I think creativity is within us. It is our way of life, how we see and do things. I cannot see myself doing something over and over for a hundred times without even changing or adding something on it. As noted in the resources creativity is an important skill in the 21st century and it is considered the same thing as effective teaching (Davidovitch & Milgram, 2006). It is through creativity that teachers’ social, emotional, cognitive and professional skills are expressed and enhanced in pedagogy. Five core features of effective teaching were mentioned in the resources, these are:

  1. Curiosity and a questioning stance – the desire to know and being proactive
  2. Connection making – the ability to relate knowledge and interests to teaching
  3. Originality – the ability to take risks to innovate or create
  4. Autonomy and ownership – mastery of knowledge and allowing students to explore and build their own knowledge
  5. Developing a sense of themselves as creative people and creative educators – believing in oneself as creative and continuously utilizing and developing this talent

It takes passion for the job to be a creative teacher because creativity means going beyond the limits, exploring possibilities, taking risks or innovating something from the curriculum and owning it to produce a creative output which will facilitate creative learning. It is a matter of doing things creatively to promote creative learning and not just doing the job to get paid. I guess it the labor of love to educate young minds.

References:

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. Available at

www.steveslearning.com/Teacher%20Training%20resources/cremin.pdf

Henriksen, D., & Mishra, P. (2013). Learning from creative teachers. Educational Leadership, 70(5). Available at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Learning-from-Creative-Teachers.aspx. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Learning-from-Creative-Teachers.aspx

Teachers’ skills

I was right to step back from my teaching position, work as an assistant teacher and take the PTC, now all my questions are being answered. If before I do not where to begin, now I am guided by theories. It is still not easy but I guess I will take my first step from here.  Learning about the importance of instructional planning made me realize why I cannot figure out what do I really want to happen in my classroom before. Planning provides teachers to own their topic, make necessary revision, and align objectives, activities and assessment to create an effectively instructional plan. One of the important things to consider in planning is knowing your students. With all the diversities like learning style, language barriers, culture differences, gifted student, and a lot more, it will help the instructor to plan an appropriate lesson to match all these diversities. But it does not mean that the teacher will prepare eight different presentations with the same content, providing diversified instruction can help students to improve their weaknesses and continue to enhance their dominant capabilities.

A well planned instruction may be available, however, as much as we are ready to teach, we need to make sure that our students are also ready to learn. This part is rooted in the teacher’s ability to look deeper into the scenario and not just impose a rule or punishment in the classroom. Understanding a student’s behavior and its causes makes it easier for the teacher to give a solution. Students may sometimes struggle due to personal issues which may hinder them to function at their best inside the classroom. Along with this are the teachers’ interpersonal skills which are the abilities to model good behavior, show authority with respect and care, and being able to maintain an open communication with the students in order to build a positive student-teacher relationship. By utilizing these skills teachers are being advocates of learning by promoting a conducive learning environment and by supporting students to meet their basic needs and reach their full potential. I guess this module gave me the realization that no matter how advance technology can be and even it can provide lectures and assessment for students anywhere and anytime at their convenience, classroom management skills, interpersonal skills, handling cultural and other diversities as well as aligning instructional plan will never be done by any form of technology alone. It takes a good heart and passion to teach and touch students’ lives.

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.

Algozzine, B. and Ysseldyke, J. (2006). What are the components of effective instruction (Chapter 1). In Effective instruction for students with special needs: A practical guide for every teacher. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press

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

Garrett, T. (2014). What is classroom management?. In Effective classroom management: The essentials, 1-6. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance  http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and-Academic-Performance.aspx

Positive Classroom Environment and Student-Teacher Rapport http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ceed/publications/tipsheets/preschoolbehavior/posclass.pdf

Jones, Vern. (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

theories of learning

I am not a very studious person that is why I thought I am a passive learner, but then I realized that it is not only the cream of the crop in the classroom that gets to be the active learner. I am glad I was enlightened by this course in a lot of ways. There are times that I would not know how to answer questions in the modules or I could not understand the resources and I do get tired, but I never give up. I always take the advice from the course guideline that three times can make it easy, and it did work for me. Further research online can also do the trick to get the job done. The web can provide more examples and explanations that I needed to better understand some concepts. Though reading my classmates posts are helpful, I never stopped from there, I would sometimes dig deeper into their own references to know how they came up with such brilliant ideas. I guess getting all the glory in a bowl does not work for me, maybe because I am kinesthetic learner. Observing others can assist me to better understand concepts but learning takes place when I am the one doing the task. It does take a lot of time due to instances that I have to pause and verify details especially when disequilibrium occurs, but it feels better t know that I am on the right track by doing further study or reading than to move forward unsure.

My study pattern at home where I need to figure things out on my own has taught me to be proactive. Hands-on school activities also helped me to express my learning and I enjoy the subject when I can apply the concept in real world. As a future teacher I guess I cannot just choose one approach to incorporate in my future teaching methods. I believe that all four theories covered in module three are very useful. Behavioral theory would be important to reinforce attitudes. Social theories would be useful to create and maintain a healthy learning environment and portray proper decorum for students to apply and carry in their lifetime. Cognitive theories can improve absorption of lessons in long term memory and constructivist theories which I will hold on to when I create my lesson plan because I believe that it is indeed important for students to explore and create their own experiences to build knowledge. I have learned from this course that teachers are not the one who should always do the talking in front of the class and that information should not be left out written in notebooks but applied and practiced in real life. Aside from these theories I can also add to my future methods the use of ZPD through MKO and scaffolding to promote balance between the tasks and students capabilities. I would be an advocate of self-efficacy by providing appropriate goals that would boost student’s self esteem and abilities by providing variety of techniques which would fit their learning style and enhance their skills.

Reference:

Self-efficacy: Helping Students Believe in Themselves. Retrieved at http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/efficacy.html