Monthly Archives: December 2013

What I Am Taking Away From This Course (My Final E-journal Entry)

Another round of enriching, fruitful and rewarding trimester with my e-classmates and Teacher Malou is soon to conclude. I have not imagined (again) the bulk of learning I have gained from this course. Not only did I have a deeper appreciation of the role of assessments in education, this course was an eye-opener in that it taught me that teachers should not take the creation of assessment tasks for granted. The role of teachers in effectively delivering instructions is as vital as their role of creating, administering and interpreting assessment tasks that prepare students for their life after school. Together, curriculum (my next course, hopefully under Teacher Malou again), instructions and assessments spell an effective education that will produce responsible, productive members of society of the next generation.

As a young student up until my college years, I have come to accept poorly crafted assessment tools to be true instruments of measuring learned knowledge. Maybe because I am uninformed of their weaknesses, or maybe because I have so often come across these types of assessments that I thought there was nothing wrong with them. And I am not only speaking about objective and essay types of exams, but assignments, projects, portfolios and practical exams as well. As a parent, I have experienced doing my children’s projects just because they were not prepared and trained by their teacher to do the task. I had my resentments against such tasks but I could not challenge the teachers because I thought it was their way of teaching the students to learn on their own, and it was I who gets in the way. When it came to written tests, I have actually copied the teachers’ styles of picking up test questions verbatim from textbooks. This was how I tutored and trained my children to prepare for exams, simply because I know the test questions would be crafted this way.

This course has changed my views of assessments for the better. I am now more informed of the guidelines of creating traditional and alternative assessment tasks that will help train students to develop critical or higher order thinking skills. I now know that assessment tasks are designed depending on their perceived purpose, and that the results could be interpreted not only for grading purposes but for the improvement of the education system as a whole. I was also enlightened on the fact that misaligned assessments could negatively impact students’ motivation to learn, therefore it is a must that teachers are always conscientious of this aspect of their pedagogy.

In conclusion, I am once again grateful to my teacher and e-classmates for all the learnings I gained this trimester. As a fitting sign of gratitude to them, I commit myself in putting all these learnings into practice when I finally become a classroom teacher. It’s the least I could do to pay them all back. Any imprint I’ll have in my students’ success will have their imprint also. Together, we shall make a difference.


Making the Difference thru Assessments

As a student, I have encountered a lot of exams, some are nerve-wrecking, some are not. But mostly, I detest exams that require memorization of facts. I am more at ease with application and analysis-based exams. Maybe the reason was that I am not a bookworm (though I love reading storybooks), I used to procrastinate a lot and usually resort to cramming before exam day (a very typical student who doesn’t have enough time to memorize all the concepts covered in the exam), and lastly, I am not good in guessing (maybe because I sometimes have wild imaginations that interfere with my logical thinking, I don’t know).

Bottomline, I would prefer doing problem solving than multiple choice/ true-or-false/ enumeration/ matching type combined, anytime. Answering essay tests is torture to me as well, since I was not a skillful writer as a young student, though I would like to believe that I have improved a lot as an adult learner, attributing this to everyday practice in my previous job.

So, needless to say, Math and I are meant for each other, we’re destined to be together for life. In Math, my analytical abilities come to surface and shine brightly. Memorizing formula becomes easy as I get to use and apply them to so many problems, employing deep level processing and embedding them in my long term memory. I guess that’s one of the many beauties of math, you absolutely must not forget a concept even after the test, for the next lesson is likely linked with the previously learned concept. Unlike most facts and trivia where students hardly remember them after the test because they are not used in the succeeding topics anymore.

imageSadly however, I don’t share this feelings towards math with the majority of the school community, much less my students. I have to innovate ways to engage my students in listening to my daily lectures so that at the end of every day, they take something new from me (constructivist approach). I have to imagemake them appreciate the practical applications of math in their lives so that they’ll find meaning in learning them (intrinsic motivation). If I have to constantly give them short quizzes just to assess what they have learned so far and make any misconceptions visible, I will do it (formative assessment). They won’t hate me for it (I hope so), because I will explain my purpose and discuss my intention of dropping maybe one or two low exam scores. But I will make sure that my exams discriminate those who actively, eagerly study their lessons from those who don’t (properly crafted test items). Meaningful feedbacks will be given to both types of learners, with the intention of sustaining and/or increasing their motivation to study. It is my greatest dream that someday, my students will share my same passion towards math, that they will realize that the greatest barrier to learning math or learning in general, is attitude, and I am here to help them change that attitude. Together we shall conquer the world.

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