Final e-journal entry: A journey to remember

A journey to remember

The past 12 weeks in EDS103 was truly incredible. What was supposed to be just an academic requirement to fulfill turned out to be a life changing experience for me.  I have never thought that virtual learning can be this engaging, thought provoking and challenging. The learning theories unfolded themselves as I have experienced them real time in the entire course.

This Way to Learn

This Way to Learn

I have not been a student for a long time and the topics on metacognition and self-regulation helped me go back and wear my learning spectacles. I wish I had encountered this topic in my younger years as a student. It would have made a big difference. I thought I knew myself well until the discussions in metacognition revealed more and made me realize my strengths and weaknesses as a learner. Self-regulation more than just a topic has become a way of life. It has become my self-imposed rod of discipline. These concepts will surely be shared with other learners.

I am amazed by the eagerness of my virtual classmates in the forum. Many of the discussions have consumed my thoughts and engaged my critical thinking skills. I must say I was also entertained by many who shared their personal experiences.

I do not consider myself as a writer and I would rather sketch or take photographs of things that best describe my thoughts and interests.  But the entire e-journal wordpress blogging exercise in this course has opened another window for self expression. It was overwhelming in the beginning and I stared at the computer for hours and come up with nothing. I was intimidated to explore it and fear stunned me.  But social persuasion paved the way for me to plunge and learn. Thanks to encouraging classmates. It felt good! After a while it was all FLOW, losing track of time in personal reflections.

The brief encounter with the learning theories and perspectives in motivation will forever leave a mark in the way I see, think, process and respond to the events life has for me. It is a fantastic experience being able to look at different people’s motivations in a behavioral, humanistic, social, cognitive perspective. It has stretched the horizon of my thoughts and made me better equipped as a lifelong learner and a learning facilitator at the same time.

I have learned in behaviorism that people’s behavior can be conditioned and reinforced by stimuli. In social learning theory, children learn from observation and interaction with other people. Cognitivist theory looks beyond behavior to explain brain learning abilities. And Constructivists theory, states that development of knowledge and understanding involve processes of construction rather than just merely recording information.

Someone once said that life is a constant learning process, a journey to enjoy and an opportunity to appreciate everything along the way. As learners, we all constantly evolve and the only time we cease to learn is the time we cease to breathe. I am grateful to everyone who has been part of this learning experience.

As this course comes to an end I would like to thank all of my classmates for their thoughts and encouragement. To teacher Malou, who has been very motivating to everyone, you truly are amazing! Until now, I cannot imagine how you manage to read all of our outputs and comment on them. Thank you for your patience and for all the considerations you have extended to us. You have made this learning journey fruitful. I wish to personally meet you one of these days.

It has been a wonderful learning experience and a personal journey to remember.

Steve Jobs – “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

Complex Learning

  1. 1.      If you believe that we can teach complex learning (e.g., analytical, creative thinking), HOW can it be done?  Be specific; your ideas must be doable.  If not, what are the“insurmountable obstacles”?

 

I believe we can teach critical thinking by provoking our students to go beyond just knowing facts and by engaging their higher order thinking skills. In addition, Blooms taxonomy has outlined how we or our students can develop critical thinking. According to him, we should teach our students to progress from knowledge acquisition, to comprehension, to application, to analysis, to evaluation and finally to creation of their original thoughts and concepts based on their deep processing experience.

By grouping students and providing them with real life problems to solve in class instead of just giving them the facts of certain topics, we are giving them opportunities to think creatively of possible solutions. They learn how to think for themselves and validate their learning as well.

For example, in biology subject, instead of directly presenting the usual body cells, tissues, to organs, to systems; the teacher may introduce a medical condition say, diabetes, and allow the student to share what it is that they know about the disease. The students will be given time to share everything that they know then the teacher can solicit the lesson and learning from the class in the process.

  1. 2.      Which theoretical approach/es best align/s with complex learning?  Conversely, which theoretical views tend to undermine high order thinking skills?  Elaborate.  What are the implications to curriculum development and classroom teaching?  In other words, what are the implications of specific theoretical perspectives on the way we design curriculum and plan/ implement teaching, or even in the way students learn?

I believe that constructivism approach is best aligned with complex thinking.  Creative thinking, critical thinking and analysis are skills needed when we are constructing schemes, concepts and principles.

On the other hand, I think information processing theory tend to undermine higher order thinking skills because of its nature which focuses more on encoding, retention and retrieval that basically gives emphasis to memorization more than critical and creative thinking.

The curriculum dictates the “what” and the “how” things should be taught in class.  I think that it has to be designed with the learner in mind because at the end of the day they are the recipients and beneficiaries of the learning process.  The theoretical perspectives serve as tools in approaching the uniqueness of the individual learner in class. 

  1. 3.      How do you imagine might learning theory affect the progress and development of a community or a nation?  As an individual with such awareness, what commitment/s, if any, can you make?

 

I believe that in the past learning had become synonymous with memorization. The western teachers fed our minds with foreign information which were not necessarily beneficial to us as a nation. Now, armed with learning theories, I believe that we can become free thinkers and model critical, analytical and creative thinking to our learners. I commit that I will be a catalyst for change by influencing learners to practice critical thinking in choosing and participating in activities that  contribute to self development and national progress.

Module 9 e-journal entry: Problem based learning – case studies

Case-Study-Recipe Back in my college years I remember memorizing tons of information in human physiology, a subject in my clinical years.  It was all books, lectures and more lectures. I wish I had the memory of a computer to store and retrieve data during those days. Unfortunately, YouTube was not as popular as it is now, so reading, note taking and friendly discussions along the corridor were my best friends for learning. It is a good thing that the subject was interesting because it dealt with the human body’s composition, function and metabolism! It could not get any better than that. However, I think much could have been done if the person who taught it was a constructivist and a humanist. Well, I do not mean to blame him. In fact, I am still grateful for he has shared what he knew the best way he could.   Having encountered constructivist theory in this course, in this era of information technology, I believe people like us have tremendous advantage for motivating learners to experience deep processing. Given a chance at present time, I will introduce case studies of common systemic diseases (problem based learning) that affect many people to make the subject more interesting and relevant to their own personal experiences.  Surely, in one way or the other they must have heard about these cases from friends, family members or mr.google. I will show them emotionally moving visuals of medical cases and allow them to discuss in groups, exploring the causes and effects, and compare and contrast normal and abnormal organs and tissues. As the learning facilitator, I will also provide them with guide questions to lead them in discovering essential facts. Instead of just memorizing, I will motivate them to form their own schema of how the entire organ system complement and depend on each other to be effective and efficient at work.  In addition, as future responsible professionals, I will encourage them to appreciate the similarities of the human body with social organizations such as a family, a community and a nation. Metaphors could be strong analytic tools that can help people in their deep processing and I will persuade  them to make their own.  Finally, they say that to teach is to learn. Using this perspective, I will ask them, as a group, to present their findings and conclusions in the most creative way they can.

Constructivism

Define assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration by example.

Assimilation:  incorporate new information by addition.

As a runner, you have learned that decreasing your time trial increases your chance of winning the race. So your strategy in every run is to give it your all in a sprint as soon as you hear the starting gun go off.

Accommodation:  restructure, adjust old information, knowledge.

This time, you joined a marathon which is also a time trial event and as soon as you heard the gun go off, you gave it your all in a sprint, thinking that it will save you time. However, you immediately exhausted all your energy and found yourself burned out right away and finished the race last. So, you made your own research and observation. You found out that in a marathon, one starts off by pacing and conserving his energy and giving it all in the last kilometer of the run. Knowing this, you learn that not all races are won by sprinting right away.  You adjust you previous knowledge regarding running and alter your strategy to win the race.

Disequilibrium:  state of confusion or imbalance

You suddenly became confused of your initial knowledge of running in a marathon race. You thought that to go all out in a sprint was the best way to win the race. Losing, you became confused and it prompted you to assess your running strategy.

Equilibrium: achieving balance.

After observing other people and assessing your situation, you understood the nature of the race. You decided to adjust your technique and strategy. In this case, you achieve balance or equilibrium.

1. How is accommodation “better” than assimilation?

Accommodation requires you to reassess what you know about a subject.  It makes you adjust prior knowledge that you currently believe or understand. It is revalidating, restructuring and adjusting what you know to create a new concept, thought or knowledge instead of just adding information to a preexisting knowledge (assimilation).

 

2.  When / how is equilibrium attained?

 

Equilibrium is attained when we are able to clarify conflicts and issues that confront our thoughts on certain information. Equilibrium is said to be attained if we are able to achieve balance.

 

3. How does disequilibrium contribute to learning?

 

Disequilibrium contributes to learning because it prompts us to assess the information we have on hand. It encourages us to look for answers and in the process we are able to construct new concepts, schemes and principles leading to a state of equilibrium.

 

II. What current practices DO NOT conform to constructivist principles? How would proponents of a constructivist approach to teaching modify classroom experiences?  How will they justify such changes?

Below are some differences of traditional learning as compared to constructivist approach according to http://djc25blog.wordpress.com/:

 

TRADITIONAL APPROACH                         CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH

Teacher Centered

Learner Centered

Content Focused Process focused – learn to learn
Memory Critical thinking
Rote Learning Ability to communicate
Individual Testing Ability to work in teams
Problems not real Authentic Problem Solving
Set Tasks Project based learning
Within Discipline Cross Disciplinary learning
Rigid time tables and supervision Ability to self organize and self direct
   

Assessment

Assessment by range of means

Written exam Continuous
Oral exam Group
  Online
  Exam

As supporters of constructivism, teachers must be more dynamic and creative to encourage students’ collaboration and interaction.  As a justification for change, it may be stated that students who learn through constructivist approach are more interactive, confident. They develop critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities.

 

III. How would you qualitatively differentiate “academic success” between traditional (direct instruction) and constructivist teaching?

Academic success in direct instruction would mean attending to lectures, identifying and defining terms, doing assignments, seatwork and submitting them on time. Depending on how much you have accomplished, you are accorded a numerical grade.  On the other hand, success in constructivist approach would mean being able to collaborate with your groupmates, constructing meaning out of relevant real life issues as projects, scaffolding knowledge and building concepts subject to the learners’ interpretation and are graded in the quality of input you have made as a learner.

 

IV. Why might educators (and learners) who have grown used to traditional methods oppose shifting towards a constructivist approach to teaching-learning?

They may find traditional methods more direct and therefore seem faster, and constructivist approach too slow in teaching. Also, teachers will have to exert extra effort to understand their students’ preexisting knowledge, concepts and ideas to be able to build on them. It is a skill that requires extensive training. The constructivism curriculum also eliminates standardized testing and grades. This eliminates grade-centered goals and rewards as well as the comparisons of student in class which is a common practice in traditional schools.(Calia Roberts)  There is no common benchmark to which all students’ performance are measured, therefore more difficult to gauge progress.

Source:

Advantages & Disadvantages of Constructivism in Teaching

By Calia Roberts: http://www.ehow.com/info_8634178_advantages-disadvantages-constructivism-teaching.html#ixzz2YAz40yJ4

 

Motivation

  1. Discuss how self-efficacy, self-worth, and anxiety each affects motivation.

 

Self-efficacy.  It is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (1994). Motivation increases when a person has the ability to successfully deliver what is demanded of him by the situation.

For example, believing that you have the talent and skill in what you are doing say, in sports, you are motivated to perform well all the more because you know that you are good at it..

 

Self – worth. Self-worth (self esteem) is a more affective or emotional reaction to the self. It can mean taking pride in yourself and your behavior, feeling good about yourself and accomplishments, and having a general positive image of yourself. People with high self-worth are motivated to succeed because of their positive perception of themselves.

For example, your positive outlook you have for yourself motivates you to contribute more to society because you know that you can make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Anxiety.  According to Csikszentmihaly is experienced when skill level is low and challenge level is high. It causes distorted cognitive processes, muscle tension, irritability and fatigue. People who are experiencing anxiety become poorly motivated.

For example, in taking exams which you failed to prepare for causes you to experience what many people know as a mental block.  A condition that impairs your understanding and lowers your performance.
 

  1. How does one’s belief about the nature of intelligence affect motivational approaches to learning? 

 

Someone once said you become who you think you are.  We are only limited by our own thinking.  Understanding the nature of intelligence –  its complexities and intricacies and knowing that it can be significantly improved motivate learners like us. It gives us a positive point of view in terms of setting higher goals for developing our intellectual faculties.

 

Sources:

 

What Is Self-Efficacy?

http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm

 

By D. H. Schunk|P. R. Pintrich|J. Meece

Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall

Updated on Jul 20, 2010

http://www.education.com/reference/article/self-worth-theory/