Changing Perspectives?

EDS103 has been an enriching journey. So much insights have been discussed, elaborated, pondered upon, and debated on, with much enthusiasm from the class. I must admit, I have never anticipated that it will be this enriching. I had been to school for a good sixteen years and I have never encountered such an overwhelming yet exciting subject that has nothing to do with numbers. It has certainly changed my perspectives on how to teach effectively. I have tutored my youngest sister, my four kids, my nephews and nieces, and about 30 students in our learning center, but I had never imagined how I lack so much more teaching skills.

First, I have always thought that multitasking is a good ability, and I am quite proud that I can do certain household chores at the same time (though it sometimes ends up with burnt meals and too long laundry time). But nevertheless, I had accomplished so many tasks all at once. I guess I was just trying to convince myself that this is a better option. Now, I have admitted to myself that the reason I had to do multitasking was because I procrastinated earlier.

And then, with regard to learning styles, I used to study in front of the tv or anywhere but quiet, because otherwise, I will just fall asleep. Now, with the many modules and assignments I had to complete, I had learned to value the quietness of solitude studying in order to focus, concentrate and have a deeper level of comprehension of my lessons. There is no other way. I had also said in my earlier post that I prefer studying alone than with a group. With so many enthusiastic classmates in the discussion fora, I had found myself enjoying reading their posts, sometimes agreeing, other times opposing insights. It somehow motivated me to take part in the discourses. To belong to this circle of eloquent speakers, was a challenge. And I have always faced challenges head on, so I took great effort to respond intelligibly, or so I think.

Next, we move on to learning theories. This encompasses behavioral, cognitive, social and constuctivist learning theories. Although this module dealt with all these, a more detailed discussion came later in the course. Reviewing my blog on this, I now know that I have substantial learning on these theories. Whatever insights I earlier had on guided opportunity (guided learning), critical thinking, and academic success, still holds true up to now.

On motivational discourses, I found it extremely challenging to connect motivational theories to experiences. It would seem too easy to connect almost every experience to self-efficacy, or self-worth theory. But then, if I dissect experiences and try to connect it to a certain theory, I find that another theory is most probably a better expalanation of the outcome than the former I am eyeing on. I am trying to distinguish self-efficacy and self-worth from each other (and goal orientation and self-determination) and define the border by which they differ. And so with social persuasion, is it under cognitive motivation or under behavioral perspective, or humanistic perhaps? And then again, I have yet to find a fitting experience to the expectancy X value theory.

Still on motivation, I may be in favor of using extrinsic reinforcers in motivating students to study (as it is an easier option), but I firmly believe that intrinsic motivations have a longer lasting effect on individuals. Intrinsic motivations drive a person to self-regulation and then eventually to self-actualization.

Now on behaviorism, I have always acknowledged the benefits of giving rewards and the positive results of punishment, but although I am aware that these rewards and punishments lose their effectiveness eventually, I have never thought that scheduling could be the answer to prevent this loss of effect. Nor did I have knowledge of the more positive impact of scheduled versus continuous reinforcement.

Social Learning Theory comes next, or more commonly known as observational learning or modeling. This theory, I can easily relate to, as I had a role model since I was about 7 or 8 years old which had shaped what I had become now. But social learning theory deals more than just imitation of the model. It goes on with the improvement of modeled behavior, owning it and eventually regulating one’s action so goals are achieved. My take on this is that teachers as role models should be credible and worthy of emulation by the students. They should exhibit an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a formidable character.

The module on cognitive theories reaffirmed my earlier views on how information is stored in memory. I may not know the terms rehearsal, implicit/ explicit memories as applied to memory retention and recall, but I somehow have an overview of their applications on memory construction. Mnemonics and drill-and-practice skills, I have been using since way back when.

Now, constructivism, it is my view that this theory is an application and improvement of Robert Sternberg’s triarchic theory, since both theories deal with acquiring knowledge (knowing and understanding counterparts in Bloom’s taxonomy), applying or relating it to experiences (analyzing , evaluating and application) and innovating (creativity) solutions to novel situations. Constuctivists approach to teaching had been discussed as early as Huitt’s definition of learning, and I have since then been an advocate of this teaching strategy. I definitely do not agree with direct instruction approach because first, it is boring, second, it is boring, and lastly, IT IS BORING!

In summary, I can conclude that the learning theories I have studied in this course made me recognize the role that cognition, experience and environment play in the costruction of information and development of skills. I have also learned the importance of developmental stages and maturation’s impact on learning events. I also learned to value that higher order thinking skills can be developed through social interaction and the structuring of experiences within the learners’ zone of proximal development or readiness sphere.

Now, with all that has been said, am I a better learner and teacher now? I would assume so. Not only do I have the know-hows of teaching math, I also take into consideration various factors that may affect learning of my students. I had long wanted to optimize their learning, and now I have the perspectives to do it. In fact, I have started to incorporate these learnings I had in my dealing with students now, and I would say it is very effective. Once I understand where they are coming from, it is easier to lead them to where I want them to go in their studies. And that is towards academic success, in all its true essence. So, onwards we go, may the Good Lord be with us in this journey.

P.S. Since this is my final blog for this course, please allow me to extend my warmest gratitude to Teacher Malou and to all of you, classmates, for a very fruitful course. I shall carry the learnings I gained here all through my lifetime, maybe even use them to my grandchildren someday. Teacher Malou had been so effective in nurturing us all, not only did she walk the talk, she walked before she talked. She had been employing most of the teaching strategies even before we discussed them, so it was easier to connect the theories to her teaching style. Great job, Ma’am! And to my classmates, I know you’d be great educators someday. I hope we’d get to be classmates again soon (if I pass this trimester’s courses, hahaha) So, see you around guys. Ciao!

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One thought on “Changing Perspectives?

  1. Good luck Melissa!
    This course has been fulfilling to me, too. I do hope to teach and apply the learning theories in the future!
    God bless!

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