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.

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

 

Social Learning

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.

 

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

 

  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/

 

Flow

EDS 103:

Answers to  FLOW Activity

  1. Two variables, challenge level & skill level, as represented on the vertical and horizonatal axes of the chart, determine our motivational response to a learning experience.
  2. When challenge is (column 1) and Skill is (column 2), the learner’s response to a learning experience is (column 3).

 

Challenge Skill Motivational Response
Low Low Apathy
Low Moderate Boredom
Low High  Relaxation
Moderate Low Worry
Moderate High  Control
High Low Anxiety
High Moderate Arousal
High High  Flow

3. Thus, in conlusion, flow happens when the situation presents a high level challenge as perceived by the engager/learner that matches his talents and skills at his best. It provides the person a deep sense of gratification, sense of achievement and fulfillment for performing and accomplishing the goals he has set for himself.

As a visual learner, I find myself doodling and drawing even in class during my younger elementary years. At first I perceived this as lack of interest in class. Thanks to theories of learning and Howard Gardner, I have discovered I am perfectly normal.smile Growing up, I have learned to incorporate my drawings in my learning process. I was able to use symbols,doodles to represent key words and principles, making them easier to recall. In highschool,I would spend hours painting subjects and doing posters that interest me, barely noticing hunger until taking the time off to rest. At the university level, I have found anatomy and physiology subjects very interesting maybe because I find the human body design truly amazing. And perhaps because it gave me again wonderful opportunity to work with visuals.  I would draw human parts to remember them. The thing is, I think I had spent so much time drawing, learning in this subject area as compared to the other subjects.

smile

Learning and Maturation

EDS103: Learning and maturation

  1. 1.     What events constitute learning and what events do not? As a learner yourself, what are your ideas about learning?

 

According to schunk (2012), is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience.

 

Furthermore, the author  says that the following constitute learning:

  • Change
  • Endurance over time
  • Consequence of experience

 

Learning is personal change in behavior and cannot be forced to anyone. Biological changes brought about maturity, although considered as lasting change over time, cannot constitute learning.

 

For me, learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills to be able to perform specific tasks necessary to accomplish set of goals. It could take place anywhere and anytime whether formally or informally throughout life. In fact many times it has been said that life is a continuous learning process and that the only time we stop learning is when we cease to live.

  1. 2.      Look up the difference between maturation and learning and the role of maturation in learning.  Why should teachers be aware about the relationship between maturation and learning?  Cite personal experiences or observations where the learning processes are impaired when the teacher/s fail to value this relationship.

 

Maturation refers to the sequential biological growth and development of an individual.(Huitt)  It takes place beyond our control – brain development and growth of body parts are some of the examples.  Learning on the other hand is acquired through our daily experiences from the environment that permanently changes our behavior.

 

Maturation and learning are said to be interrelated.  The learning ability of a child follows his maturation and consequent development Yes.  As the child grows from infancy to toddler to becoming a pre-schooler, so does his cognitive and psychomotor abilities. The child learns to perform new things and tasks as he accumulates knowledge.

 

According to Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children move through four different mental development. His chart shows the relationship of maturation and children’s learning ability (see linked site for chart). YesYesYes

 
Teachers must be aware of every learner’s age and maturity for him to be able to design appropriate activities for them (children/learner).  Selecting and providing the right activities engages the child and increases the chances of  knowledge acquisition.  The developmental milestones may also serve as a checklist for teachers when assessing their students’ abilities; whether they are progressing or lagging behind vis-à-vis the learner’s chronological age and maturity.

 

Learning is impaired when a teacher/parent/care giver of a child forces the learner to perform tasks that is not age appropriate. For example, forcing a two year old child write legibly on a piece of paper even before the child has developed his fine motor skills for writing; finger grip and the muscles of the hand have yet to be ready.  This  leads to frustration of both the child learner and the teacher who is highly expecting of the child’s performance.

 

Children are intelligent like their adult counterparts but they have different ways of learning (Piaget).  It is important that activities provided to them are those that suit their skills and abilities to ensure an effective learning process.

 

 

Sources:

 

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

( Evidently enriched by readings beyond the module.  Well artiuclated. [T. Malou] Marilou Juachon – original submission Wednesday, 15 May 2013, 09:35 PM)

Average of ratings: ☆☆☆☆- (1)