Module 7 e journal entry: Can teachers be replaced by humanoids in the classroom?

robot-teacher_1599830iComputers have significantly changed the landscape of the world in terms of doing business and communication, delivering health care and even educating people.  Because of its efficiency and reliability, business decisions can now be made in a few days which normally would take months of studies. In business, time is money; opportunity does not present itself twice so decisions have to be made in real time. Spread sheets and data bases in financial institutions have been so effective in decision making. In hospitals, robots are already used in various surgery procedures and have improved the health conditions of many patients.  High performing computers power up diagnostic machines like MRIs, CT scans, 3D sonograms that help doctors detect patients’ condition and aid them in designing a good treatment plan.  In the education industry, computers have become ordinary equipment. PCs, laptops, Tablets and notebooks capable of accessing the internet via 3G or wifi have become ubiquitous that almost everyone has them. The web has become everybody’s virtual library and university.

Movies like Artificial Intelligence by Steven Spielberg and I-Robot starring Will Smith were block buster films that have made millions by portraying robots like human beings. They are called humanoids.  Although, robots have been in the manufacturing industry for a long time producing car parts and other mass produced electronic parts and gadgets, they do not necessarily look like human beings.  I think that robots have evolved into humanoids because man has a dire need to relate and interact.  We are all social beings.

If computer powered robots are so effective and efficient, making them more dependable and predictable in terms of behavior since they can be programmed, can’t they replace teachers in classrooms?  I remember years back when some robots were programmed toteach English language to students in South Korea.  Although I agree that we cannot beat them at information storage and retrieval, they will still be dependent on us in terms of encoding information. As they say, garbage in,  garbage out. Whatever is your input defines your output. Computers cannot initiate encoding for themselves, at least for now as far as I know. But we do not hold the future.

Human beings learning and thought process is so complex that even the best artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and designers have yet to unlock the answers. This could be their ultimate goal and achievement – for robots to intellectually respond like humans. Humanoids do not have the understanding of the schema and concepts the human mind is capable of. It can only do what it has been programmed to do in a single dimension. It cannot create new ideas from its own thoughts and does not understand feelings. It may define it but not understand it. I remember in the movie Bicentennial Man(1999) starring Robin Williams who acted as a humanoid, the robot observed the girl cry and he asked what kind of emotion she was exhibiting. And he said that shedding tears is something he won’t be able to experience.

Cover of

Cover of Bicentennial Man

Unlike humans, robots do not have deep motivations and are not concerned with self-efficacy, self-worth. Therefore they too cannot be models for social learning and development. They are not capable of reflecting and choosing the kind of behavior that is appropriate based on values and feelings that human beings have.  They can only function within the limits of its program.  In class, an effective teacher needs to understand and take into consideration the dynamic mix of his students’ cognitive as well as affective domains, their learning styles, their internal and external motivating factors, their learning abilities and thought processes. I think in the future, humanoids may be very powerful tools to aid in the education process but they can never replace their human counterparts in terms of social learning and development.

Today however, technology has not yet come up with a robot that can replace the human teacher. But who knows? Only time can tell. As Albert Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  I am just glad that today I am not taught by a robot to have faith, to continue to hope and to always love.

Module 6 e-journal entry: SELF REGULATION FOR SELF MASTERY

“The goal of education, in general, and cognitive behavior modification, in particular, is to encourage self-regulation in students” (Sternberg and Williams, 2009)

This statement has captured my attention and made me reflect.  We have been talking about self regulation since module 1 in EDS103 and I believe that topics in the succeeding modules have a share of relevance to it as well. We have encountered it so many times in the process; its value cannot be over emphasized. I believe that the bottom line of self-regulation is achieving self-mastery; knowing and taking control of our own strengths and weaknesses. It is only when we know our strengths that we can harness our true potentials and it is only when we are aware of our weaknesses that we understand ourselves better. We cannot improve what we do not understand. Being able to identify and understand one’s weaknesses is in fact already a strength in itself and the beginning of improvement (behavior modification).

The role of education is to lead us towards the process of self-mastery through self-regulation. As we know self-regulation is  directing one’s self, it is about setting goals, selecting strategies to attain those goals, monitoring progress, restructuring if the goals are not being met, using time efficiently, self-evaluating the methods selected, and adapting future methods based on what was learned (Maryellen Weimer, PhD in Teaching and Learning).  The discipline brought about by the process of self-regulation helps us master our own selves.

In the quest of self-mastery one needs to have positive role models that will serve as his north star for development. Social Cognitive Theory tells us that we learn by observing and interacting with people. We choose our life models based on how we value them and/or our personal  our values system. We accomplish this, according to Bandura, by observing (Attention), remembering (Retention), doing (Reproduction) and sustaining the behavior (Motivation). I think we have the ability to choose the kind of character we want to live. We have total control of reproduction in social cognitive theory. Therefore, to better, to do good and to excel are conscious choices we have to reproduce and live by.  How and to what level we will bring it will be dependent on our motivation.

Sources:

What it Means to be a Self-Regulated Learnerhttp://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/what-it-means-to-be-a-self-regulated-learner/

Lou Juachon, Ph.D. / UPOU EDS103 Theories of Learning

Models and Mentors in My Life

My mother for her heart for SERVICE and CHARACTER. An Indian Guru once said that “The end of education is character.” And I have seen strength of character in the person of my mother.  She believes that education is a transformational experience that changes our hearts and minds in order to positively impact the lives of the people around us through service.  As she always says, the knowledge of the HEAD and nobility of the HEART can only be appreciated through service of the HANDS. Talk is cheap. One has to act.

My father for his good sense of humor. I admire my father’s sense of humor that comes almost automatically.  I think a good communicator should also have sense of humor.  It adds excitement and frees people of tension. Sometimes in large organizations, people tend to be serious and tensed because everything seems to be numbered, color coded, bounded by rules and is bureaucratic. My father’s humor changes the interpersonal atmosphere at work.

My friend Manie. Pastor Manie is my spiritual mentor.  He is able to combine spirituality and philosophy. He is keen to separate what is being religious from what is being spiritual.  I am convinced that we live a purpose driven life and each one has to identify, define and pursue his personal noble purpose. Many things will never be explained by science and where science ends, faith begins.

Monty, my high school teacher and best man. I remember this guy for his leadership. He once shared to me that leadership is a potent combination of character and strategy. It is winning hearts and minds of people.

The type of role model I want to be for my students

As a teacher I wish to be remembered by my students as:

A critical thinker and a lifelong learner.  I want to impart to my students that learning is something  personal. We are all driven by our own internal motivations to succeed. I want my students to learn to question and seek for answers which they can validate and not just go to school to memorize facts and acquire book knowledge.  I want them to thirst for more and commit themselves to continues improvement by making them aware of their talents, metacognitive skills, self-regulation, including their personal strengths and weaknesses.

A person who believes and seeks God.  I want my students to understand that spirituality does not necessarily mean that you have to be religious person. That we should respect everyone regardless of race, religion and social status. Spirituality is building a strong personal relationship with God.

A person of character. I want my students to realize that success in life is influenced by two great factors: what you know(academics) and having the right character (attitude towards others). As they say, being good in academics may get you  hired but having the right character will determine your progress and promotion. Or as one entrepreneur puts it, make sure you have good grades to secure a good employment or better yet develop the right character and leadership and be able to provide people with employment.

As a servant. I want my students to realize that the best way to lead is to serve.  Great  leaders are known not only because they are strong, influential and result oriented. They are leaders because they serve a greater purpose of positively influencing other people’s lives. To lead is to serve.

How will I incorporate models and mentors in my classroom?

Subject: Science/Biology

I plan to bring models and mentors in my students’ lives by making them aware of the positive traits of many local and international icons in science. For example, in the local scene, Dr.Fe Del Mundo who  is credited with studies that lead to the invention of an improved incubator and a jaundice relieving device. She has dedicated her life to the cause of pediatrics in the Philippines. And say in the international level, Thomas Edison for improving and introducing the incandescent electric light.

More than just knowing concepts and facts about the different branches of science, I will provide opportunities for students to appreciate and talk about outstanding people in the different fields in science with the hope that they acquire positive traits of them in the process.

Who will be my education mentor? What would be my education mentor be like?

At present, I have yet to identify a person who can mentor me physically as a teacher. However, not for religious reasons and purposes, I would like to study Christ as a teacher. Many books and articles have been written about this. I think Jesus Christ has been an effective teacher because He understood His mission and purpose on earth, He communicated and communed well with the people, He was compassionate and non judgmental, He challenged old ways of thinking and He served as He lead people.

Sources:

Filipino Doctor. http://inventors.about.com/od/filipinoscientists/p/Fe_del_Mundo.htm

The Inventions of Thomas Edison. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bledison.htm

Group Discussion: Learning Theories

1.  Bandura highlighted the value of self-efficacy in learning.  What experiences in distance learning can you cite as concrete examples to demonstrate how your efficacy beliefs about learning may have changed. (Refer to the four major sources of self-efficacy identified in the  module.)

Mastery Experiences:

As they say experience is the best teacher.  Through DE I have challenged myself to write and be able comply with the requirements as part of self-regulation.  I am not a very good writer but I think since this is the mode of communication in DE, my writing skills were honed furthermore.  In addition to this, the e-journal has encouraged me to do more than just respond but to reflect on my own learning.

Social modeling

Despite the difficulty of schedule due to work, I see my classmates being able to do what is required of us.  I am encouraged to catch up with the work load at DE at the same time remain efficient at work.

Social Persuasion:

Our virtual classmates and teacher Malou have been very engaging and encouraging.  Positive feedbacks from them fuels my desire to do more.

Psychological Responses:

I sometimes feel stressed out and could not compose anything substantial, finding it difficult to self-regulate and manage time.  I am disappointed with the kind of work I come up with sometimes and what is worse is the time frame I have to beat. It helps to think with PMA – positive mental attitude. I tell myself often, it is not a race but a learning journey where one can stop and appreciate everything that comes my way.  Doing this makes me spring back and move on.

 

2.  Discuss and elaborate through anecdotes the section

Factors affecting observational learning and performance.”

Developmental status –

My nephew, Angelo, was introduced to colored animated books as a pre-school.  The books were read to him in the beginning until he learned to read short fables independently.  As he grew older, so as his ability to concentrate developed. At present he is already in grade 5 and he reads a full length books regularly, at least one book every quarter. Aside from reading, he also learned to make his own comic strip.

Model prestige and competence –

Many products are endorsed by known personalities because we tend to admire their achievements and capabilities.  For example,  Michael Jordan for Nike.  People try to emulate him and they patronize whatever he is identified with from shoes to clothing down to his movements on the court. People pay attention to him and  identify themselves to him.

Vicarious consequences –

I have seen a friend get entangled in car accident due to texting while driving. He almost lost his life and endangered other people’s lives too.  He paid a serious amount of money due to the wreckage and hospitalizations of the persons involved in the accident. I don’t text when I drive due to this experience.

Outcome expectations –

Years back I had senior friends who took the board exams right away as soon as they graduated from dentistry and they passed. I originally planned to take the national boards after a semester of review but after seeing what my senior friends have done with positive results, I ended up taking the boards sooner than I expected. Luckily I did make it.

Goal setting  –

My parents value education and are accomplished in what they do. My siblings and I learned to value going to school to earn a professional degree because of this exposure.

Values –

As a young boy I have observed how my family honored traditional practices of giving respect like “pagmamano” especially to relatives in the province. I find it very unique to our Filipino culture since in the west they practice kissing on the cheeks followed by exchange of hellos. I have adapted pagmamano whenever I meet older people I respect in the family.

Self efficacy –

Way back in high school my friends started playing the guitar which I considered to be a difficult instrument to play.  But after my friends started learning, I was encouraged to learn as well, realizing that if they have done it, then I sure can do it too.

Metacognition and self-regulation and On Learning and Maturation

Metacognition and self-regulation

Eidetic Memory.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory

Recall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recall_(memory)

Metacognition for Self-Regulated Learning in a Dynamic Environment. http://www.cs.umd.edu/~darsana/papers/SASO-09.pdf

On Learning and Maturation

Conditions of Learning. http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/conditions-learning.html

An Overview of Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/l/bl-piaget-stages.htm

Piaget’s Stages of Development: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/piagets-stages-of-development.html

Behaviorism

  1. 1.      Rewards are popularly believed to create positive consequences and punishments tend to lead to more negative consequences. Describe situations to (a) support and (b) contend / oppose these claims.

 

Reward system, in many ways, has been successful in positively modifying behaviors of children and adults as well. Students would study hard for good grades, for exemption during exams or simply for recognition. Adults on the other hand, would work hard for a promotion or a raise (reward). As we have discussed in module 5, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that everyone has psychological needs of prestige and feeling of accomplishment. Rewards serve as a positive feedback mechanism that tells us that what we are doing is right, desirable and/or acceptable in the environment we are living. I believe we are wired to respond to rewards of any form.  They act as reinforcers (BF Skinner) of good deeds.  Praises and complimenting learners have been observed to boost the confidence and positive attitude of students towards learning.  However, I also believe that too much of everything is detrimental and counterproductive. Unregulated use of reward system may breed complacency and loss of internal motivation.   The learner may be motivated to act only because of the external rewards he is getting around him. Once these external rewards are taken out of the equation, it is possible that the person will act differently.

 

Spare the rod and spoil the child is a biblical statement that many of us Christians believe and practice till the present time. But I think that this has evolved in time and has become more of a literary statement than a practical instruction in terms of disciplining a child. The rod being mentioned here may not necessarily mean punishment by hitting but the use of discipline which can be verbal in the context of having a productive discussion. If it is necessary for us to punish, it should be carried out in a very careful manner.

 

Traditional Punishment according to John Stein is like a strong medicine. As with any strong medicine, potentially harmful side effects may occur. Some children are more susceptible than others to side effects. Medicines are necessary to cure patients but it requires the right kind, right amount and time to be administered correctly or it will intensify its adverse reactions.  In the same way, like doctors; teachers and parents must be well learned and skilled to take extra care when administering punishments for behavior modification.  It is very easy to go out of bounds when administering punishments because we see immediate results externally.  However, a lot of things happen internally that is not readily perceived by our naked eyes.  John stein has identified the side effects of punishments as follows:

  1. 1.      Lying, sneaking, deceit, blaming others. Children eventually learn to avoid getting caught.
  2. 2.      Lack of responsibility. Adults sometimes teach children to be responsible for their behavior by serving the punishment. Being responsible for your behavior means making things right, not serving a punishment.
  3. 3.      Don’t trust adults. When children are not sure they did the right thing, they will normally come to adults for advice, unless they fear they will be punished.
  4. 4.      See authority figures as adversaries. Punishment tends to make adversaries of adults and children. Children do not readily learn healthy values from adversaries.
  5. 5.      Lack of empathy, remorse, or guilt. Punishment does not teach empathy, which is necessary for remorse and guilt. Moreover, it tends to relieve guilt.
  6. 6.      Resentment and anger. People often feel hurt and misunderstood when they have been punished and become resentful and angry.
  7. 7.      Retaliation and aggression. Our children learn by watching us. When we punish, they sometimes learn to punish others when they feel hurt in some way.
  8. 8.      Rebellion. Traditional punishments involve power and control. People tend to rebel against power and attempts to control them, especially oppositional children.
  9. 9.      Emotional problems. When children get angry and misbehave, they sometimes believe that they are being punished for being angry rather than for misbehaving. When they believe that being angry is wrong, they feel that they deserve to be punished. Then their misbehavior does not feel wrong.
  10. 10.  Poor self-image. Children tend to see themselves through the eyes of others.  Knowing that adults think they deserve to be punished can be very damaging.
  11. 11.  Loss of confidence and motivation. Children who are punished sometimes feel they can’t do anything right and don’t try.
  12. 12.  Impulsive behavior.

The best way to reduce misbehavior is to provide abundant positive reinforcement for good behavior.(Gina Green Ph.D)

  1. 2.           (a)   Discuss aspects of behaviorism that you view to be productive and, hence, will advocate in practice.  

 

I Find REINFORCEMENTS (Positive and Negative) very useful for teachers and for this reason I will advocate it in practice.  It may not be perfect as it has its own share of criticisms but I think nothing beats a positive approach in class.  Words of encouragements and feedbacks do not cost anything and yet it can work wonders in motivating students to level up their performance. I believe reinforcements inspire learners in the most practical ways.
(b) Conversely, discuss aspects that you consider counter-productive, and will therefore discourage in practice

 

I believe that PUNISHMENT is very risky and therefore should be put to a minimum if it cannot be completely avoided. It has been said that punishments, especially in the hands of unskilled person, may emotionally and physically harm children. It tends to suppress children’s feelings and barely solves the deeper issues they may be experiencing at that time. If you want a loving, respectful, self-disciplined children you won’t use punishment. You will use appropriate parenting tools. For young children you will use diversion, structure, limits and withdrawal of attention. (Norine G. Johnson Ph.D.)

Moreover, I think that children who are taught to properly handle personal conflicts by  allowing them to verbalize and express what and how they feel become more responsible and matured individuals.

  1. 3.      Describe how the following behaviorist concepts apply in the classroom (positive uses for):
  • Extinction – The extinction phase is when the conditioned response no longer occurs after repeated pairings without the unconditioned stimulus.

– Elimination of the learned response by discontinuing reinforcement of that behavior. (B.F. Skinner)

For example:  A student has developed fear of participating in board work especially during recitations and class discussions.  He fears (learned response) of getting embarrassed (reinforcement) which may be traced from his previous experiences from another class.  To modify this behavior, his current teacher provides him with well constructed questions suited to his abilities that enable him to answer on the board and avoid being embarrassed. The student develops confidence and participates regularly in class.

 

  • time out –  is a form of disciplinary tool where a child is instructed to sit on a chair or stay in his room to calm down and think of what he did.  The child is then allowed to return and rejoin the group when he is ready to show appropriate behavior.

 

  • Positive and Negative Reinforcement.

 – According to B.F. Skinner, REINFORCERS increase desired behavior.  It could either be:

  • Positive Reinforcement – Increases the frequency of the desired behavior by adding something (application of stimulus).

 

For example:  Giving immediate positive feedback such as praises and compliments to students who submit their projects early encourages them to beat deadlines and become more productive.

 

Negative Reinforcement – Increases the frequency of the desired behavior by removing something (subtraction or removal of stimulus).

 

For example: When a subject teacher announces her plans of exempting  from the final exams students who meet the cut off grade for the semester, the students become motivated participate more, consequently improving their performance in class.

 

 

 

  • Generalization and Discrimination

 

  • Generalization – the tendency of a new stimulus similar to the orginal conditioned stimulus to produce a similar response.

–          Giving the same response to similar stimuli. (BF Skinner)

 

For example: Children may  generalize that people wearing white coat are doctors that administer parenteral(injections) vaccinations. They suddenly become anxious seeing people wearing white in the hospital.

 

In class, learners may generalize that all math subjects are difficult.  They may generalize all subjects that deal completely or partially with numbers are math subjects and consequently negatively affect their performance in class.

 

  • Discrimination – The opposite of generalization, discrimination happens when a conditioned response does not occur when there is a difference between the presented stimulus and the original conditioned stimulus. a response may be limited to a certain stimuli only.

–          Responding to certain stimuli but not others. (BF Skinner)

 

For example: Children who suffer from “white coat phobia” by generalizing that people in white coat administer parenteral vaccines, do not exhibit fear if they meet people wearing the white coat in the field, outside the hospital setting.

 

In class, the students learn that all subjects that deal with numbers are math related but not necessarily difficult.  They appreciate the teacher’s techniques and method of teaching and responds positively to him.

Sources:

Classical Conditioning.  http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/2003/ClassicalConditioning.htm

Classroom Management Theorists and Theories/Burrhus Frederic Skinner.http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Classroom_Management_Theorists_and_Theories/Burrhus_Frederic_Skinner

The Disadvantages of Time-Out. By Aletha Solter, Ph.D. http://www.awareparenting.com/timeout.htm

John Stein. http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0605-stein.html

Should You Punish Your Child? Gina Green Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200109/should-you-punish-your-child