CONGRATULATIONS!

Wow! We are almost done in this third trimester and I can’t believe I surpassed the challenge of this trimester. For me, this is the most challenging trimester I’ve ever had here in UPOU. I’m thankful that I was trained in online education the past two trimester and learning the ropes this third trimester were prepared from the previous terms. I almost gave up how to balance and do all the tasks of both subjects. Actually, both subjects are challenging. Challenging in a sense that my mind stretches with the critical thinking activities. Not only that, time management was tested. I rarely sleep late at night but with these kind of activities, I should discipline myself to keep up at night just to cope up and finish the activities. What a great sacrifice. After all, that sacrifices and discipline is really for my learning. I can still remember back in high school days that the greatest lesson I learned in school is my self-discipline. Learning to follow the school rules, waking up early, studying hard, etc. was some examples of my discipline. Going back to this online learning, it taught me again how to disciplined myself and focus to be able to cope up with the activities.

When I see the final exam guide, I read it over and over again to make sure that my understanding is correct and how will I do it. I even consulted my professor and do some brainstorming with my online friends what’s their idea about the finals. After that, it made me think deeply what question will I answer that covers both subjects here in the third trimester. I even made a question and draft my finals then suddenly I realized that there’s a better question. So I revised my work and focus on my second question instead. Then, it dawned on me that I can answer two questions. But, at least I’m almost finished with my tasks. Actually, I want to add more realizations to my finals but we should limit it to a maximum of three pages. I used that three pages already.

After doing my finals, I read it and made some improvements then after that I felt relieved. I can feel that I’m near the finish line. Whatever my final grade is, I know that I did my best and I know deep inside me that I truly learn in this online education including the theories of learning. By reading researches and doing activities here, it made me believe that I too can become a researcher and scholar someday. But first, I should focus on what is at hand right now. Like what I have learned, one step at a time, or “chunking.” For now, I need to finish the two courses and then take and passed the licensure examination for teachers while doing a teaching job. Through that experiences, I know that I will learn and from my learning, I should do my part to improve or transform the current practices our school is doing. This revision and transformation little by little should always be for the betterment of the system. This proactive planning that I am now sharing with you is the impact of this online learning made into my life as a person and as a future teacher. It really changes a lot the way I think, the way I look things, the way I learned and so on. Honestly, I never expected that I will be trained like this studying here in UPOU (deep thinking, practice meta-cognition, critical reflection, being creative, creating blogs, computer-literate, and many more). I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people behind this online learning here in UPOU specifically PTC course for doing a great job. You didn’t know how much I learned from this program. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much. A little bit more and tears will fall into my eyes. 🙂

I believe that PTC course in UPOU is really a great help in achieving 18 units of education for those who have no time to go to school and want to shift to education industry. Although in my eyes and in my heart, it is a great program in itself. I know that there has something to improve on. Like from what we have learned about assessment cycle, every program needs to be assessed and improve so that the next cycle is an improvement of the previous one. My suggestion is for the future. My suggestion and proposal is connected to one of my goals next year, that is to passed the LET. My proposal is an online review center handled by UPOU for future teachers. Although I researched this idea and there are some who offered this but I don’t know if it’s legit or if what they are saying about their passing rate is true. I still believe that UPOU can handle this course considering that there are so many graduates of online PTC course who wants to review at home and maximize their time balancing their work, family and other matters in life.

As a finale, I want to tell the world how happy and excited I am finishing my 18 units of education here in a prestigious school called University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU). I’m excited also to take that teaching job and apply what I have learned here. If you only knew, I wanted to shout at exactly this moment that I am proud of myself disciplining and finishing all the activities here in UPOU. So, I would like to end this blog by saying Congratulations to me and of course Congratulations to all of my virtual classmates who are always there to help me in achieving the group’s activities (Jess De Guzman, Wellah Punay, Gio Prajes Jr., Wawi Molina, Ariel Zarate, Jerwin Capunay, May Dadua, Aimee Camino, and many more). I would like to thank, salute and commend all our professors for the great job they have done, who are always there to inspire us, guide us, motivate us and to stay focus to finish this course (Ms. De Villa, Ms, Gomez, Ms. Juachon, Ms. Beltran, Ms. Nefertari Arsad, Ms. Roja Rivera). Kudos to us all and see you again!

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My Epistemological Belief

Epistemology! What a word. I know that it is connected to education. It is simply the study of knowledge or the understanding of nature of knowledge. So, every person has epistemological beliefs and that beliefs can certainly affects how s/he learn. In this blog, I will share with you my epistemological belief about myself and how this belief affects the way I learn.

When I was in high school, my greatness in numbers or the subject of Math came into life. I learned to love that subject and challenge me to solve any mathematical subject. Even Physics have problem solving which challenged me to solve it. From then on, I made to believe that I was great in Math. As my report card have said it, I have a high final grade in that subject. I even get exempted from our finals in Trigonometry because my quizzes are high enough that taking the exam won’t be necessary. So, my father influenced me to take up Mechanical Engineering during college. During college life, solving mathematical equation was the norm. I don’t have problems with it (I don’t mean to boast this. Hehe! ^_^). In fact, I was challenged together with my friends to solve any mathematical and Engineering problems that we encountered. To sum it up, I finished the course and even passed the board exams after that. All those times, I made to believe that solving Math problems is my talent. I worked in several Engineering companies afterwards but I realized that I want to work with people. I don’t want to work in front of a machine. I don’t want to work solving only mathematical problems. That’s why I shift and work in a school setting where I will be working with students, teachers, parents and other people who will have a great influence in a teaching-learning environment.

When I was given the opportunity this school year to teach Math for Grade Six students, I was hesitant at first because I want to teach Values Education. I was more interested on how people learn and how people should be motivated. I want to teach students how to learn and develop their whole self through self-improvement and motivation. In short, I don’t want to teach and solve the technicalities of the subject Math has to offer. Why? Because that was my epistemological belief. That I can teach more the subject of motivation versus Math. But, you know what, come to think of it, that may be a hindrance to my learning. That belief is inhibiting me from learning again mathematics and learning forward. For me, math and motivation is opposite and approaching each subject means different approach. Different parts of my brain will be working. In short, I still accept the challenge while practicing my role of being a Guidance Officer here in our school. I enjoyed it now while teaching Math and at the same time doing Guidance activities. For me, I am being creative balancing those two subjects. My creativity was challenged and taken to a new level. I should get out of my comfort zone always. I realized that epistemological belief can really hinder or facilitate the learning of the individual. With that scenario of mine, I should be always wary of my epistemological beliefs so that I can be aware of myself and always take charge to maximize my learning.

To end this blog, I would like to share that by being aware of this epistemology module, I am conscious of myself always. That’s why I agree with the module when it said that teachers should know this epistemology principle. It’s sad because teacher’s nowadays don’t even know this concept. Knowing and understanding this really help the teacher in his/her learning and will be translated into their teaching practices. If teachers understand this epistemological belief, they can always assess themselves once in a while if their beliefs hinder or facilitate their learning.

Deep Thinking

In this blog for module 7 entitled “Successful Learning” should be came first from the teacher. I mean that teachers should understand and learn successfully how to think deeply so that he/she can share that thinking to his/her class. First and foremost, before the teacher will said that he/she have the passion for teaching, he/she should have a passion for learning.

While reading the topics under this module, I tend to think that learning is not only for the students. Student learning should be the main priority of the teachers but to have an effective teaching-learning session, teachers should keep learning in a continuous cycle. That’s why after reading all the modules here and learning the theories in UPOU, I was enlightened and will never look the teaching practices the way I used before. Before, I look at it as through observation and accept what it is. I don’t have a theoretical concept to refer to and just go with the traditional way of teaching. Now, after the learning here and through researches, there is that spark or “gotcha” moments in my head. I don’t know but it’s that mental thinking that strengthen my understanding of the concepts. Not only that, with the concepts like higher order of thinking, teaching creatively, and the mental exercise that challenge and stretches my mind, my learning has taken to a level that I cannot explained. But, I know I should continue this kind of momentum and motivation to be hungry for learning and have that passion to learn so that I can also be an effective teacher someday.

I know that passion to learn does not equate a great teacher. But, I think it should be a great start. I would have to watch my attitudes and values to be consistent and sustained that momentum. I can still remember my first time teaching six years ago where I just followed the textbook and do the traditional way and having the patience to understand my students’ behavior. Of course, I learned also to experiment different methods how to motivate the students to get their attention and learn. Fast forward with our time now, my new learning now will be the bridge of me becoming an effective teacher.

I also learned from this module that motivation come from ourselves but with the help of others around us, motivation can trigger and other factors like environment and great people helped facilitate that person to act more. This thing or concept will be taken into mind when I teach someday. That students have this motivation deep inside them and all I have to do is to burn that flame and turn it into something worthwhile that they will ask for more. Now that  I know also that students are interested to learn under two conditions namely fright and curiosity. I should always make my classroom full of deep questions that my students should really ponder on. I should always check my patience and not to frightened my students because of my temper and get the beast out of me.

I would also like to share with you that I dreamt of becoming a priest and motivational speaker before. When I was a child, I want to become a priest. Maybe I was influenced by my mother or really want the idea of talking in front and motivating others. Then later on, I was amazed by the motivational speaker and wanted to be like them. Now that I understand motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic but it is definitely within ourselves, with other social factors affecting or triggering to push us more, I will apply these to my students. With all my effort, I will try my best to be a source of motivation for them to study hard and have the passion for learning. I’ll try my best to let them understand that they can do anything and be motivated to be responsible for their learning.

As a conclusion, all the topics in Module 7 is really part of being an effective teacher that will address successful learning. Teaching to motivate a child how to be creative so that higher order of thinking should be one of the main goal of the teachers when it comes to their student learning objectives. This will also be my mantra wherever and whenever I teach and make an instructional design. But to apply that, I should be the one doing and practicing that creative and higher order of thinking first. I can do this by planning carefully, thinking deeply and take note of the strategic teaching-learning style from the module. It all start with the plan and by planning, critical thinking is needed from my part. By applying the principles and concepts learned from the module with my experimentation of my teaching principles, I will be teaching the child how to be a critical thinker and advancing them to become a critical being.

My Social Constructivism Story

This is my story of how social constructivism theory affects me as a person especially during high school going to college. According to the theory of social constructivism by Lev Vgotsky, social factors precedes the development and the cognitive were the end products of these social factors.

When I was in fourth year high school, I don’t know what course in college will I take. So, I just go with the social influences which my peers and friends wanted to take up to. We wanted a physical therapy course back then. When this course was brought up in our house, my father told me that my grades in Math were high so I should take a Mechanical Engineering instead, just like him. Until now, I still remember what I told to him. These were the lines “Dad, tutulungan mo naman po ako di ba?” He said, yes of course. I was enthusiastically took that course with the confidence that my Dad will help me. The social factor in our house affected my decision to take the Mechanical Engineering course. I graduated Mechanical Engineering without a failing mark. I even passed the licensure examination after that. I would like to relate the social constructivism theory in my study during college. All the while, I’m determined to passed that course since I chose that path. Along the way, I also made friends which also helped me inspired and stay focused to the course. For me, without the social factors that happened around me during college, I think I will never make to finish this course. Social factors like friends who are my studying buddies, supportive parents, great professors, and the like. Without interacting to these factors, development of my cognitive mind won’t be possible.

Then, years have passed by and I worked with several Engineering companies. I then realized that Engineering works was not for me or so I think. I say this because I love to work with people. Engineering works involves analyzing, doing reports, solving Math problems, working with my hands, etc. Working with people involves listening to them, speaking in front of them, teaching, interpersonal relationship, helping, etc. In short, I want a work that deals with a lot of people, whatever their age may be. These realizations were the result of my working in some companies. Again, this is a product of my social encounters with my environment.

Then, timing was right because we have a school family business which I was told by my mother to help with the school as HR personnel back then. She placed me in that position because she sees the potential in me to work with people. After seven years, here I am studying in UPOU, wanting to earn education units and add to my credentials. This is again influence of the social factor because that’s the world I belong now. I need to study and get informed of the terminologies being used in the school. Social influences were in play in the sense that my mother encourage me to study education units so that I will have a formal degree because I’m working now in school. But, I can say that even though she influences (social factor) my decision, I still and really want to pursue further study. Actually, to tell you honestly, I really am enjoying my stay here in UPOU. I have so many learning. Who knows that I will be enjoying the writing, reflecting, reading, deep thinking and so on to stretch my mind and grow personally and professionally.

As a conclusion, social constructivism by Lev Vgotsky certainly affects our everyday lives, be it our decisions in life, studies or other factors. But, even though social factors play an important role in our daily lives, our destiny really always lies within our hands. We cannot blame the social environment around us why is it that is happening to us. Instead, whatever the circumstances come our way, character and attitude will always be tested. So, watch yourself and may all the social factors/circumstances strengthen us to be a better person.

My brain and my memories…

Am I greater than a computer? Of course and definitely 100% sure of that. I will defend my answer because first and foremost, who invented a computer? Man! I made this question in my mind some time ago and my answer is always man is greater than a computer. My answer is aside from the fact that man invented computers, we as human have heart and emotions that computers doesn’t. We have a higher intelligence than the computer in a different way of course. Although computers are a great help in today’s world and beneficial to humankind, the greatness of the human minds cannot be underestimated. When it comes to computer brains, although computers sometimes or most of the time beat our brain as far as storing information and processing is concern, we can beat computers with our creativity. We have different ways of learning that computers doesn’t have. So, if you ever wish you had the brain of a computer, think again. You are underestimating your brain capacity. Let’s maximize it and make this world a better place.

Speaking of memory recall,  I can still remember my teacher back when I was a preschool. Her name was Mrs. Banogon. She is our adviser and she guides us in school. Honestly, I can’t think or recall what impact she have done to me as a student then. I just remembered her name. But from the fact that I remember her name and her face, maybe she brought something good back then that she made us feel special.Wow! I really can’t remember what happened when I was 5 years old. My remotest childhood memory was I think at around prep. There was this incident where I was fighting with my classmate over the color violet. Because I can read it that it’s violet, I’m sure it is. Fast forward 18 years later during applying at a company where I took an Ishihara test and I failed. I got a score of 2/24 I think. It proves to me that I’m color blind. All those years, there’s a hinch inside of me that I’m color blind. It only proved it with this standardized Ishihara test. That’s why I’m fighting over that violet color (which I read on the label) way back during preschool because I’m afraid I can’t find a violet color using only my color sight.

Retrieval of these childhood memory takes a long time huh! It was hard recalling, maybe I think at around 10 minutes or so. Based on the theory about long-term memory, it just shows that what stored in my long-term memory was that moment when I feel special or that when I was not treated properly. Basically, there is a mix of emotion for me to recall that past event stored in my long-term memory.

Now let’s go to memorization. I am good at memorizing numbers (telephone numbers, account numbers, card numbers, etc.). As long as I want to memorize it, I will and I can memorize it. My technique is I will put a story on that sequence for me to store it in my long-term memory. When I was in college and high school, my techniques about memorizing terms is making a story out of it or using the first letters of the words that should be memorized and use acrostics. Before, that was my technique, but now using advanced and graphic organizer, memorizing and understanding the concept was made easier and fun.

I have a memory about cramming. Sometimes, the quality of study is great because I’m pressured and the passion to study and the pressure to absorb everything was there so the result is I absorb the lesson most of the time. But after some time, I notice that it didn’t last that long. I simply forget it maybe because there is no deep thinking with the concepts or simply because our brains were designed that way. I remember back then in college where I got the highest score among our class. If I’m going to take that exam again now without reviewing, I think I won’t get the same score 17 years ago. My mind was replaced by other terms from the time that I was in college and until now that I’m working.

Having enrolled here in UPOU-PTC course, we were trained to learn and think in a different level. We were required to read research materials from theorists that made me think how to be like them someday. By reading the expert materials through research, I come to realize that the researchers impart their time and almost all of their lives researching, questioning and deep thinking for the benefit of improving the current educational system. By experiencing these kind of learning through reading, posting critical comments, doing assignments that requires higher order of thinking, and many more, I will share and transfer this learning to my students because if I benefited from this, I know that my students will learned deeply too.

As a finale, I should teach my students to question theories and lessons so that I am not teaching my students to use and consume the knowledge but I am also teaching and inspiring them to be a future theorists someday that can change the world and make this a better place.

Create a legacy that last!

This blog is the story of my current challenges as student here in UP Open University (UPOU). I will also try to connect my experiences to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory as it is the current module that we are studying.

First of all, I have to be honest with you regarding my impression about distance learning. I thought it was easy and can manage it in a relax way. But I was wrong. Doing online learning is not easy. It stretches my comfort zone. It challenge my whole learning experiences especially the essay writing and doing reports. I don’t get used to that part of activities because Engineering courses were not like that. We try to solve mathematical problems most of the time. But, here in UPOU, things were different. Doing things like these challenge my learning curve and made me stronger. I surpassed the two trimesters and I’m currently in my third trimester now and hopefully to finish it this July. It is fun, challenging and amazing doing this online learning. Actually, I enjoyed doing it now – the writing stuff, the blogging, reading and researching. Through that activities, I learned more and my knowledge grew and expand which I want to share it with my future students and colleagues.

The story above is an example of my challenges being a student in an online learning. If you are going to ask me, what one particular behavior do you think is most important for learners to acquire? I can name many behaviors but I would like to summarize it and connect from what I have learned. It’s the self-efficacy theory. Kirk (n.d.) states that “Self efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one’s capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome. Students with a strong sense of efficacy are more likely to challenge themselves with difficult tasks and be intrinsically motivated.”

I think one factor which I surpassed the challenges of this distance education is through my self-efficacy. I always push myself to finish the tasks, disciplined myself to read the materials, determined to study the theories and think critically with the concepts connecting in my life. It all start with myself, with my way of thinking to finish the tasks involved.

Now, if you are new student of this distance learning, I’m going to give you recommendation and connect that recommendation to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory to help you in your journey as online learners. First let us define social learning theory. Social learning theory can be define as the ongoing interconnection and interaction of the three influential factors that affects the human behavior. The three factors were cognitive, behavioral and environmental influences that is in continuous cycle and can be reciprocating. This is also called reciprocal determinism.

Our behavior was affected by the environment and our way of thinking. Environment was created due to our way of thinking and our behavior. Our way of thinking was influenced by our current environment and the way we behave. And the loop goes on and on affecting each other.

By being aware with that loop, students in UPOU can adjust their behavior depending on their way of thinking given the online environment. With the given environment (online school), students in UPOU should start thinking on ways how to maximize the program. By having that kind of thinking, behavior will follow like doing research online, reading articles online. Of course, you can create a new environment depending on your way of thinking like expanding your research in real life events and hard bound books. Balance is also the key as most of the students in UPOU is working either full-time or part-time.

To sum it up, behavior that UPOU students need will depend on their way of thinking satisfying the current challenges of the distance education. That behavior can be improved and adjust if the outcome wasn’t that good. Then, from that way of thinking and behavior, new environment can arise. Or from the said environment, way of thinking can be conditioned to meet the required behavior.

As a final word to all the students planning to take online learning, just be yourself, believe in yourself, have the will and determination to face whatever challenges, apply the theories learned and if it’s time to leave this online education, create an environment that will be helpful to the next participants through your great way of thinking and a behavior that will impact this online learning community. Create a legacy that will last.

References:

Cherry, K. (2016). What is Reciprocal Determinism? Retrieved 23 May, 2017 from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-reciprocal-determinism-2795907

Kirk, K. (n.d.). Self-Efficacy: Helping Students Believe in Themselves. Retrieved 23 May, 2017 from http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/efficacy.html

My experience/observation of reinforcement and punishment

We’ve all experienced one way or another being reinforced or punished depending on our behavior even when we are kid or up to now as adults. Let me share with you my experience of being punished and also reinforced with my corresponding behavior. Let me start when I was a kid. As a child, I was carefree then and I still remember when I was spanked by my mother when I commit a mistake that is not so nice. By doing that kind of punishment, I think it helped modify my behavior. But , sometimes looking back, I remember the spanking but I don’t even remember why I was spanked in the first place. But, after all this time, I think my parents gave their best to disciplined us in the best method they know. They reinforced us to modify our behavior for the better. I can still remember when we ate in a fine restaurant after I graduated high school and college. That for me is an example of reinforcement, so the next time I will repeat the good thing I did which is to study hard and to graduate, or in my case now, to be successful. Looking back and reflecting on those moments where I was disciplined by my parents, they reinforced or punished me to modify my behaviors. Unknowingly, my personality were being shaped for the better. This is the same when I was in school. My memories of reinforcement or punishment during school was when we violated some school policies like not wearing ID’s and long hair. During our time, long hair was the fashion of boys then, so almost all of us wants to have a long hair. Teachers in charge used to cut our hairs if it exceeds the eyebrow. By repeating those policies and doing that cutting of hair over and over again, we were trained to follow the rules. Although sometimes, we were resistant to follow it as all teenagers would do, at the back of our minds, that’s the policy and we have no choice but to follow, otherwise we won’t finish high school. I guess that’s one of the lessons I learned in school, how to follow rules and discipline yourself even though it’s hard. In life, it’s like that, you have to discipline yourself if you want to succeed in something.

How about the students of today? How about the learners of the 21st century? How will we reinforced or punished them to modify their behaviors for the better? But, before that, let me share with you how I handle modifying behaviors in our home.

Let’s admit it. It’s easier to see the mistakes of others than the good ones. I too is guilty of that. I have two kids and it’s easy to see their faults. When they commit mistakes, I sometimes get angry with them or try to talk with them so next time, I’m hoping that they won’t do it again. My getting angry and talking with them is an example of reinforcement or punishment to modify their behaviors. Of course, it’s not always like that in our home. Other times, we have friendly talk session to explain to them the benefits or consequence of whatever actions they will make. That explanation is an example of reinforcement since they will think for a moment (hopefully, hehe!) before they make a response. I was a child before and I think the style that I get from my parents were being passed on to my children but with an improved version (hopefully too!). I am not a perfect parent but I also want to have my children a great behavior that they will carry it on when they are adults.

Let’s proceed with the students. Students nowadays in the 21st century cannot be compared to the students before or the 20th century. Before we label them of misbehaving, we really should understand why they are doing that way. We have to understand that every behavior has a function, every behavior has a reason. So, we, teachers should also adapt in this new day and age, in this 21st century. We should be a 21st century teacher to reach up to the 21st century learners. Going back to the behaviors of our students, we should take the opportunity during the first days of classes that we set them up what expected behaviors they are up to, reinforce these behaviors through additional points or giving praises, motivating them, etc. Behavior modification is effective if it is coupled with reflection. If the teacher will explain carefully why s/he is doing the reinforcement, students will understand why they are doing such. I believe that if we touch the students’ core being, they will follow and modifying behavior will be meaningful since behavioral theory was coupled with reflection and students get to understand and see the big picture.