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”

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.

Module 8 e journal entry: We were made to memorize dates!

In high school I remember our Araling Panlipunan teacher made us memorize different historical dates of the events in the Philippines which made no impact at all in our deep processing and meaning making.  In fact, I perhaps just had stored it in my short term memory bank that I do not remember any of them at present time. I was not motivated at all for I could not see a practical purpose to learn it. To me, it was not learning but purely memorizing. I remember myself asking, what do these dates have to do with the things I will be doing in the future? I never found any use for it.  The historical events though were interesting topics that we have discussed in class and the teacher had her share of using constructivist principles by facilitating debates using current issues back then.

Given a chance to teach Araling Panlipunan, I think it would be wonderful to see students think critically in class by analyzing the events in the past and  its effects at  present time. I will allow them to discuss among themselves the pros and cons, the causes and the effects of Philippine history and let them creatively present in class what they understood about the topics. I will present problems and encourage them to come up with workable proposals based on their research and understanding of the historical events.

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

Module 5 e-journal entry: To Teach And Not To Punish

I grew up believing that corporal punishment to some degree is beneficial in disciplining a child. It is even written in the Bible and so I chose it as my title.  As a young little rascal, I remember being occasionally (or often) spanked by my father for breaking his house rules. Well, I guess it made a strong impression on me. It brought immediate effects and compliance on my side.  In retrospect, the conversations after the punishments were what made the difference. It was what made the disciplining exercise rational.

After learning about operant conditioning, reinforcements, extinction and punishments on module 5 (Behavioral Theories), I have recalibrated my perspective as an adult, a father and a teacher. My virtual classmates’ insights have been very helpful too in the process.  I wish this subject was available to everyone regardless of profession. I believe it will make many better responsible parents.

Studies show that corporal punishments in the hands of the untrained person, if not all, can inflict serious damage not only physically but also emotionally.   While the physical damage done to the body can be treated, the emotional and psychological effects can affect the survivor deeply. (Lillian Hannah Banda, 2006)

Corporal punishments may reinforce all the more the negative behavior of children.  According to Dr. Joan Durrant et.al., Department of Family Social Sciences, University of Manitoba, ” studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses.”

Although I still adhere to what the scripture says  “spare the rod and spoil the child,” I think that time has changed a lot and so the methods of disciplining children have evolved too.  I think the ROD here stands for discipline and not necessarily in terms of physical punishments. It has been found out that children who are given chances to express their emotions and feelings grow up to be better individuals.  They are more emotionally stable, intellectually capable and have better interpersonal skills. It is important to note that, as I have experienced, it is the talking where one gets to reason out and listen to  the adult(parent/teacher) that makes the disciplining meaningful and not the infliction of pain. Check the link on positive discipline for some practical approaches on it.

Sources:

Physical Punishment of Children Potentially Harmful to Their Long-Term Development http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206122447.htm