Monthly Archives: June 2013

Behaviorism for Optimal Learning

What are predominant practices in your home with respect to reinforcing behaviors and for modifying behaviors?

Having four kids to care for and discipline is a strenuous task. I have tried different reinforcers and punishments to develop their attitudes and behaviors inside and outside home. With regard to their studies, I have used praises, hugs and kisses and, at one time, money to motivate them to perform well in school

1. Praises, hugs and kisses are effective when they are in preschool up to early grade school years.

2. As they got older, these did not seem to generate the same response so I have resorted to giving them extra allowance if they get a perfect score in any of their quizzes or seatworks. This worked perfectly fine until my wallet hurt, at which time I decided to discontinue the practice.

3. I then resorted to giving them everyday advices (or was it sermons?) on how good grades and academic achievements could help them have a luxurious life in the future. My second son, for instance, has an obsession for his toy cars and sportscars he sees on tv and on the streets. I have continually motivated him to study hard if he wants to acquire a sportscar of his own when he grows up.

4. At other times, I have resorted to negative punishments like not allowing them to watch tv unless they are done with their homeworks.

How would you prefer behaviors regulated at home or in school?
Although not totally a behaviorist, I believe in the positive consequences of behavioral approaches in school and at home. Positive and negative reinforcers with appropriate schedule, are fine with me, so is negative punishment when used properly. Thorndike’s law of readiness, exercise and effect all enhance good behaviors by emphasizing satisfying consequences. Classical conditioning and premack principle are also good options. However, since behaviorism does not encompass other aspects of one’s personality, particularly motives, thoughts and feelings, I believe that for a child to learn optimally, behaviorism must be complemented with other strategies which will encompass these aspects. Self-efficacy, for example, leads an individual to achieve more and evntually to self-actualization. Therefore, intrinsic reinforcements must also be utilized for sustained behavior.


My Models and Mentors

My Models and Mentors
List the most important role models and mentors in your life. Then describe what their positive modeling and mentoring have meant to your development.

Role Models and Mentors Their Contributions
1. My father-  He dedicated his life to giving a good life to our family by working abroad and sacrificing being apart from us. I have learned from his example and have studied hard to provide well for my kids (functional value). Conversely, since my father (and mother) never finished college, and seeing how they had a hard time providing for us (vicarious punishment) it motivated me to finish my studies in order not to experience
the same adversities.

2. My mother- She became our mother cum father when my father worked overseas. Like my father, she dedicated her life to caring and nurturing us. From her example, I have cared for my kids with all my best efforts, to the point of even going on semi-retirement just to focus on guiding them on their studies.

3. My Ninong- He was an engineer, he provided well for his family, and they can afford luxuries that our family cannot. He was instrumental in my choosing an engineering course since like him, I have developed an aptitude for math.

4. My college prof. Mrs.Rubio She displayed competence in her subject area and is very compassionate with her students. I have tried to be very competent and with a caring attitude in lessons that I give .

5. Teacher Malou Juachon Since Day 1 of this course, she gives praises, encouragements, positive remarks, help, and guidance generously to her students. She also accomodates requests and responds to inquiries in a very timely manner. Learning from her, I now generously reinforce good behavior of my students.

6. My High School English Teacher(Mrs. Villareal) She always has a ready smile to greet everyone. She treats each student as her “anak”, handles them so compassionately that students do not want to disappoint her. I have tried copying these attributes in dealing with my students now.

The Type of Role Model I Want to Be for My Students.
Describe which characteristics and behaviors you believe are the most important for you to model for your students.

1. Math competency/ Persistence in solving problems

2. Self-regulation skills and self-efficacy

3. Emotional intelligence

4. Innovative with teaching strategies

5.Generous with praises, encouragements and positive reinforcers

6. Compassionate and caring attitute

How I Will Incorporate Models and Mentors in My Classroom?
Describe a systematic plan for bringing models and mentors into your students’ lives in one or more domain(s) you plan to teach, such as math, English, science, music, and so on.

I plan to be a classroom math teacher. In my lessons, I plan to be a model of math competency by showing them that I have a broad knowledge in math. I can do this by continuously educating myself with all branches of math. If I am teaching geometry, for example, my students may suddenly ask me for assistance in their statistics lesson, for which I must be knowledgeable also.
I also will be a model of persistency and self-regulation by having a concrete course objective and managing time alloted to our subject to cover everything in the course outline. I will always be punctual and present as much as I can to inculcate in them the value of respecting time. I will be compassionate and caring to them and generous with positive reinforcers (praises, doesn’t cost a thing) so they will develop self-efficacy and self-worth. Lastly, I will be a second mother and accomodating friend to them so they may perceive that like them, I too, was a student once who, with persistent efforts, succeeded into what I became today.

Who Will Be My Education Mentor? What Would My Ideal Education Mentor Be Like? Do you have someone in mind who might serve as an education mentor when you become a teacher? If so, describe the person. What would your ideal education mentor be like?

An ideal mentor is someone who is able to develop and maximize his/her students’ potentials, in all perspectives of intelligence. He/she is well respected and admired by the class that he/she becomes a role model for the students. He/She understands the students’ diversity and designs teaching strategies accordingly.

My education mentors are Teacher Malou Juachon and my college professors in ECE, Mrs. Rubio. Both are respected achievers in their fields and much knowledgable in their subject areas. Both are accomodating and warm to their students. Teacher Malou is so good at motivating her students, she eats, sleeps and breathes positive remarks. Mrs. Rubio is so compassionate, her students wouldn’t want to disappoint her. Both influenced me to study hard and give it my best shot.

Social Learning Theory on Distance Education

In a distance learning environment, such as this course, what one particular behavior do you think is most important for learners to acquire? As a participant in this class, use social learning theories as basis to make recommendations on how students in distance learning can help other acquire this behavior.

As a DE student for seven weeks, I have come to realize that self-regulation is most important for one to have a successful learning in this educational set-up. In my earliest post, I answered that “self-regulated learning is learning that is guided by metacognition, strategic action, and motivation to learn. Self-regulation describes a process of taking control of and evaluating one’s own learning and behavior”.A DE learner has to continually monitor his progress versus targeted goals (which are realistic and achievable), enhance good study habits while correcting or modifying unnecessary ones, employ good time management, minimize distractions, maximize focus by making good use of his learning style and strategies, and always be conscientious of deadlines.

Participating in discussion fora and following journal blogs make one aware of classmates who are “better” and who gets the FIC’s approval and recognition in their posts (vicarious consequences). These classmates become models for others to improve on their works. They are direct and live models who display high skills of self-regulation and who are similar to their classmates in many ways (with full time jobs and/or domestic chores to attend to). They influence others to improve on their learning strategies (as outlined in previous paragraph) with the motivation of “If they can do it, I can too”.

I Have All Nine Intelligences

imageI am not being a braggart, just confirming Howard Gradner’s theory on Multiple Intelligences. After reading this theory and assessing myself, I came to realize that indeed, I have all these nine intelligences. BUT not all were optimized (yet) as some, I consider to be just hobbies which I once got interested in. Now, I’m comparing myself to my favorite Koreanovela character “Gumiho” (fox with nine tails) with each tail representing an intelligence.. Samples of my nine intelligences:

Bodily-kinesthetics – I am not a good dancer, but I can do dance movements gracefully
Interpersonal – I enjoy being with other people
Intrapersonal – I am attuned with myself, I know my strengths and weaknesses
Linguistic – I believe I have good oral and written communication skills. Reading books is one of my interests
Logical-Mathematical- Modesty aside, this is my most prominent area of expertise
Musical – I love singing along with music, not very good at it, but I can carry a tune
Naturalistic- gardening is also one of my hobbies, I believe I have a “green thumb” though I haven’t been into this lately
Visual-Spatial- I do cross-sticthes, knitting and crochets. This may actually be under bodily-kinesthetics but the patterns in my works are under arts, right? I also am a visual learner.
Existential- I have faith that God had put me where I am now, the reason for my existence and everything that’s been happening in my life is all according to God’s plan.

See? At one point in our life, each intelligence manifests itself one way or the other. How about you, have you tried to assess which of the nine intelligences you already have?

Understanding FLOW

Study the image and complete the sentences below.

  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 can only be achieved when both the challenge level and skill level are at a balance Yes, high or peak level. Flow is characterized by conditions when a learner is immersed in a task, there is full concentration, there is no fear of failure, and time flies fast because learner ejoys the flow.

Share anecdotes of personal experiences (or near-experiences) of flow in a learning situation; cite facilitative/ inhibitive conditions during the experience

I have experienced flow in several instances, while reading a pocketbook, solving a brain challenging puzzle, and teaching my students. When I’m reading a pocketbook, I am immersed in my reading, do not notice how time flies (it usually takes me up to the wee hours of the morning), can’t seem to let go of the book and the only time I do is to answer nature’s call. There were even times when my child was talking to me and I did not hear her. I’m pretty sure booklovers out there had the same experiences.Then when I’m into solving puzzles; sudoku, crosswords, brain twisters, anything that challenges the mind- I also have the same sensation, albeit in a shorter time. And lately, it dawned on me why on certain instances, I had no knowledge of what’s going on in my surroundings (inside our learning center) when I am deeply absorbed in teaching a student of mine. It was flow.

Can teachers be instrumental in students’ experience of flow? Or is it solely determined by by theself rather than influenced by others?

Yes, I believe in a way, teachers contribute to students’ experience of flow, since skills are developed with the teacher’s help. A good teacher continuously hones his/her students’ skills which in turn will be used in tackling challenges. Then, teachers could also provide tasks that are just right for the students’ skills, not too easy nor too difficult. When they had mastery of one skill, or when “flow” had changed to “control”, it’s time to level up the task in incremental steps so “control ” will become “arousal” and students will again be motivated to learn, leading to the state of “flow” once again. And the cycle continues, then learning is optimized.

Is It Always The Teacher?

The post below is taken from Eira Claudine Hilario’s response to Lovely Andres’ query on “Is it always the teacher who should adapt her teaching approach to the different learning styles of her students?” Eira’s post struck me as something ideal and should be adapted inside all classrooms. However, not all classroom setting is as conducive to this approach as her own class. But still, she gave me something to start with. Thanks Eira for sharing this experience with us. 🙂
Lovely Andres’ question:

Is it cruel to allow or teach (or sometimes force) our students to adapt to other learning styles other than their own? There is too much emphasis on how teachers should adapt their lessons according to the learning styles of the students. I understand that really. However, we may miss the point that we also need to teach our students to be adaptive to their environment. In real life, our students will find workplaces that will not “bend” for them.

Hi Lovely,
I would just like to share my experience with you, as I teach in a private preschool that promotes learning through play. We are a progressive school, and we put priority in finding how a child learns best and then work from there. We work towards learning skills that they will need in the future. Take note that we have a low teacher-student ratio, and this might one of the reasons why we are able to do what we do.
Since we are a preschool, most children would prefer to play, but there are also some young ones who excel in doing worksheets or more traditional activities. With the recognition of each child’s preference and skills, we can better inform their parents as to which kind of “big school” they would benefit from the most (traditional, montessori, etc.)
All of the children in one classroom are supposed to go through all activities prepared based on the curriculum set by the teachers. Unless doing an activity will be harmful to them (allergic to the material, for example), they have to do it one way or another. We also help them become more adaptable to different envirnoments, and personally, I find that one of my main goals for these children is to make them more well-rounded individuals. Instead of just letting them be good at and enjoy one thing, I challenge them to work on other activities that they would not choose by themselves (and more often than not, this results in a lot of crying the first few times).
As learning styles can change over time, I believe one big task for a teacher is to make sure that his/her students are equally exposed to the different learning styles that may be benefitial for them. This way, they might figure out their preferences and how they learn best. I do agree that in real life, not everything will “bend” for them, and we teach this even in preschool. Simply put, we teach them that they cannot always get what they want, but we’ll help them figure out what they need.
Again, I would like to point out that I work with very young children, in a non-traditional setting, and my experience is might be different from those who work in a more traditional setting.
I hope what I shared answered some of your queries.

Drawing Motivations

Here are some of my answers to guide questions in the module.

Recall a few instances when you were rewarded for good deeds and punished for wrongdoings. Did you feel encouraged to repeat the behaviors that were rewarded and avoid those that were punished?

I could still remember when as I child I would disobey my parents and then something bad would happen. I came to realize then that the consequence of my disobedience is an unfortunate incidence. I attributed this incidences/ accidents to my misbehavior. I believed then that God is punishing me for my actions especially when my parents, themselves, had no knowledge of my actions.From then on, I refrained as best as I could from disobeying my parents. Upon analyzing this experience, I now classify this as under the Attribution theory since after knowing what I had done wrong, I redirected my behavior to avoid getting penalized again.

Do you feel the need to first satisfy lower needs before higher ones come into play?

Reflecting on this question brought me back to the time when I saw a documentary on TV on how some families from informal settling communities get their everyday meal by rummaging through leftovers from fastfood restaurants. This act is obviously to satisfy their hunger, without regard to whether they’ll get sick later (safety). This example best answers the above question, that needs for hunger and thirst has greater priority than safety or all other human needs.

In what kinds of goals are you more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically motivated, and vice versa?

In one of classmate Melbourne Piccio’s post, he asked whether schoolchildren in the provinces who cross rivers and walk for hours just to get to school are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Now that condition is what I think perfectly answers the above question. This is the vice versa type. It is intrinsic in the sense that students strive to persevere in their education for self-development. But it is more extrinsic in that they know this self-development will result in uplifting their families’ social status. Their dream to have a stable job someday, provide a house for their families and somehow belong to the well-to-do are what motivates them to persist in their studies despite all the hindrances. And since these reinforcers would first satisfy their physiological needs, before their self-recognition is attained, I believe these students’ motivation is more extrinsic than intrinsic.

How have you been influenced by the behaviors or achievements of
other people you respect?

Up to this day, my memories of seeing the laminated engineering diploma and framed certificates of my ninong are still vivid to me. It was because on that day, I decided that I will be an engineer someday. I was not born a mathematician, but from then on, I strived to be good in math. Little by little, I began to excel in this subject. That goal, coupled with my math competency, were my motivations in pursuing my engineering course. (Analysis- this is an application of social perspective of motivation. My motivation was drawn from my desire to replicate my ninong’s achievements.)