My EDS103 Finals e-Journal
Time’s up! Today is my last training day in Vietnam. While waiting for the trainees to submit their report, I am writing mine. Our training is from 9 am to 4 pm from Mondays to Fridays. After my class, I will go straight to the airport to catch my midnight flight to Manila. Today my target is to finish all my e-journals to focus on the Finals tomorrow.
Honestly? I think I could have done better. I learned how divided attention could affect my output in this course because I lack the focus. I have struggled to finish because I am on a business trip 90% of the time. I even considered dropping the subject but my team mates encouraged me to continue on. Thank God for group work!
My Final Exam is still a work-in-progress but I decided to write the e-journal first anyway. I wanted to finalize my exam tomorrow when my mind is free from any worries. That way, I can submit quality work, hopefully. I have attempted to start it ahed of schedule but my brain is not working, maybe because of excitement of going home after spending 5 weeks in Vietnam and because of homesickness as well.
I learned valuable lessons in Theories of Learning because of the many interesting resources and topics, class discussion and yes, YouTube Videos and Ted Talks. A 3-page final exam could not contain what I learned in this course but I made an effort to read all the resources, not because it is required but more of curiosity. I can also use the lessons here both personally and professionally e.g. primacy-recency effect, scaffolding to name a few. I am also encouraged to practice brain training so I can improve my memory.
Finally, thanks to my favorite teacher and my fellow classmates who joined me in this journey.
My EDS103 e-Journal about Epistemology
Growing up, my epistemological belief about teaching is that it is an easy profession and an easy course that anyone can take up in college. The difficult ones should be in the field of engineering, sciences, astronomy etc. Our teachers check attendance, have a ready lesson plan, give tests and quizzes and always come prepared in class and to my mind, the primary mission is to only make the life of students miserable 🙂
Instead, I took up engineering because I love math. Math has exact answers. You can either be right or wrong. Scores are definite, unlike writing essays, where points will be given based on content, construction, and grammar. My belief that engineering course is difficult was justified because I experienced 48hours without sleep for one project and need to study really really hard.
Then came PTC. I took up this course so I can pick up teaching strategies and methods that I can use in homeschooling my son. I took 2 subjects which are Basic Guidance and Special Education as starters while still working full-time in China and I can say that, it is far from easy. I am not sure if it is harder to study because of age or because of the distractions and responsibilities when you are already in your fortyish age.
Now, my epistemological belief of the teaching profession has gone a complete turnaround. I respected my teachers before but I respect them more now. I now understand what a teacher needs to learn and process that need to go through to become professional teachers.
I also believe now that teaching is a top profession. Those who dare to enter this field need dedication, commitment, compassion, endless patience and as my teacher puts it, one with a “happy heart”.
Image Source: World’s Best Teacher
My EDS103 Module 7 Journal
“Frogs are frogs and fish is fish and that’s that!” said the frog to the fish in Leo Lionni’s book. I just love this story! This represented successful learning through experience. The fish learned many things in this story:
Not all creatures that swim are fish
This is an example of disequilibrium. When the frog suddenly grew its feet, the fish was astonished because all along the fish knew that the tadpole is also a fish. This also shows that his knowledge about the frog is not a justified truth.
Perception guides are actions
The wrong perception of the fish that he can do what a frog does lead the fish to also explore the world like the latter not knowing that he doesn’t have the physical capabilities to do so.
Fish can’t be frogs
After a near death experience, the fish finally learned the hard way that frogs are frogs and fish is fish. The fish was able to construct knowledge by experiencing the real world.
Acceptance of how things are
After successful learning, the fish gained self-efficacy that even though he is a fish, he can still explore many things in his world.
Modeling was also exhibited here by the fish. The frog has been his role model because of his greatest achievement of exploring the world outside the ocean.
I also learned from my classmates thru student initiated discussions, how different people have viewed this story in different perspectives.
Image: Screengrab from Amazon.com
One of my favorite lesson in constructivism is scaffolding. Scaffolding is the guidance provided by the more knowledgeable other (MKO) that fits the current skill of the learner. According to Vygotsky, there is a zone of proximal development (ZPD) where the
actualization of learning is at its highest potential.
My mother is my perfect example. She started to learn how to use a computer when she was fifty-five years old. We started with the basics e.g. turn on/off the computer, created an email for her and started teaching her how to type letters, press delete, space and enter buttons etc. At first she will send me an email with no periods, no commas, and no spaces, but later on, she learned how to type sentences correctly and she even added colored fonts! One decade later, I can call her a tech-savvy grandma 🙂 She has a computer, a tablet device and a mobile phone which she used for FaceTime, Facebook, Viber, Skype, watch on YouTube etc.
Scaffolding needs patience and also restraint. Teachers should be aware when to give help and what amount of help should be given so that it will not impair learning.
Aside from scaffolding, I also understood the key assumptions of constructivism. That learning is an active rather than a passive process and learning is meaningful when it is authentic and real.
Some students may not appreciate group projects because of the different personalities of each member, clashing ideas, the “drama” in going thru the process or some just prefer working solo. But this teaching method provides a lot of learning opportunities thru collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking, social interaction, constructing knowledge and building personalities.
“Make today an amazing memory” read one of the Giordano shirts. Isn’t it fascinating that today will just be a memory tomorrow? We have to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunity to do good, meet someone, influence others or do things that will matter.
Would you want to have the ability to recall all the things that ever happened to you? Good and bad? I think you would choose the former because it makes us feel good. Forget about the unhappy thoughts or memories.
I also wonder how is it like for a person with a photographic memory. Does the brain have time to rest or flashbacks of memories keep coming non-stop? I may not have this ability but I am glad that I took this course and learned a lot about encoding, attention and retrieving information.
Attention can have an impact on how events will retain in our short term or long term memory. I am guilty of divided attention. Sometimes, I will study while watching a movie or listening to the news. I also tried doing chores while listening to the audio lessons. If I pay attention I can understand what I am hearing, but if not, it is just a background noise. I noticed that I can understand better when I am reading and listening to the audio lessons at the same time and without any distractions.
I also learned about the primacy-recency effect and how it will be useful in classroom instruction and design. I will definitely use this in one of my training. In fact, right after I learned of this information, I now do my reading in the morning where my attention is at its prime.
And there’s the memory palace. The what? I have an idea how it works, maybe used it at times unknowingly. The most common memory techniques that I have used and currently using are chunking and mnemonics. I also enjoyed the Ted Talks and YouTube videos about this lesson. I am craving for more information and will definitely read more about this topic in the future. I am also planning to get the book of Joshua Foer “Moonwalking with Einstein” 🙂
My EDS103 Module 4 e-Journal
Self-efficacy or believing in one’s self is important in distance learning because support and motivation in distance learning are not immediate. So one must thrive and believe that thru reading and studying, you can make it on your own. Although support from the Faculty in Charge or fellow classmates is available, it is not real-time, meaning, you have to wait for them to get online before you’ll have your answers.
In a traditional classroom setting, when someone has a question in mind, we just need to raise a hand and the teacher will give us timely answers or advice. If the teacher is not around, we can ask our peers and get answers at once. Those with high self-efficacy can motivate and help those with a weak sense of self-efficacy.
Discipline and commitment are also essential in distance learning. There are a lot of distractions when studying at home or while on business trip. At home, there’s television, or your family and friends, and mobile devices that can eat up your time.
Good planning or time management will help to schedule your time. I used Trello app to manage mine. When I see green, that means I am still on schedule, but when I see more reds, that means I am lagging behind as shown in my below schedule.
I like that study resources were posted in advance and have dates on them, target dates and deliverables. If I lag behind, it’s on me. It is like in drive reduction theory and law and effect, one is motivated to fulfill or achieve something, which in this case is to finish this course on time and submit quality work.
EDS103 Module 3 e-Journal
In this Module, what I remembered is the Albert experiment and the skinner box. These experiments were done to observe behavior under a controlled condition. My heart goes out to Albert who have been subjected to such experiment. I hope that he was not traumatized during that experiment. The outcome of these experiments have helped psychologists understand how an individual will respond in certain situations.
I also learned that between rewards and punishment, rewards give a better outcome but reinforcement will not work continuously, so having a scheduled reinforcement is recommended. Operant conditioning have been used as a tool in learning, teaching and instructional design. Teachers create curriculum that will produce expected responses or outcome from students.
An effective teacher will create a positive learning environment to encourage learning, mutual respect, collaboration, teamwork and critical thinking. Classroom environment should not be a reason why a student would not want to go to school. The teacher should reinforce positive behaviors and also be on a look out for misbehaviors. The teacher can check the underlying reasons of the behavior to address it properly.