Finishing strong…

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Life is a journey. As a child, it is normal to be naïve about yourself, your family, friends and the environment. As we grow older, we begin to envision what we want to become when we grow up –professionally, career, the number of children in the family, where we want to live, and sometimes even whom we want to spend our lives with. However, we experience the unpredictability of life as we grow and become more mature, to the point of realizing that sometimes, life is not what it seems and what it is supposed to be. Amidst life’s uncertainties, we adjust accordingly to be able to face life head-on no matter what circumstances and how great are the obstacles that come along the way.
At the onset, I had never planned that I would enroll in UPOU. It was also not a spur of the moment decision. Suffice to say that previous experiences might have led me to the doors of the University and consider it as an opportunity when I began to experience life’s challenges as a mother and as a person.
I have been a firm believer of the Filipino saying that “Ang edukasyon ang pamana ng mga magulang na hindi mananakaw ninuman.“ It is more of a feeling of joy than pride that I was the only one in the family to be able to graduate from College based on consanguinity.
As I am writing this journal, I can say that I am experiencing a feeling of mixed emotions. I felt relieved since finally I am writing my last piece of journal for this subject. I am feeling anxious if my efforts are good enough to produce a deserving grade. Feeling excited that I am nearing the possibility of finishing my first term in UPOU. Overwhelmed, because after years of completing my baccalaureate degree, I am back to square one and have to conduct research and adjust to various deadlines to conform to the course’s requirements in spite of being a full-time mother. I am feeling inspired because I know that with a few more subjects, I would be able to finish the course and be an instrument in the field of education someday. I am also feeling grateful despite the various conditions and the situation that we are experiencing right now, I can say that being resilient can indeed make you survive from the adversities in life.
All of the aforementioned feelings have an impact on my learning. Conducting various researches on Psychologists, researchers, and theorists enabled me to resort to deeper thinking and internalize the various studies and create an influence on my present experiences as a mentor, and unofficial teacher and educator to my son who is currently into home schooling. Further, my desire of providing quality education for my son, experiences as a parent and being a keen observer of the educational and administrative differences between from a traditional school to a home school, widened my knowledge on certain changes and improvements that can be considered in today’s curriculum for the students that in my opinion are doable.

Mirrors into Windows…

Life is unpredictable given the VUCA environment and the World we live in. Given the opportunity to engage in a learning activity personally through UPOU, I can consider myself as highly motivated to fulfill my goal of finishing the program. I consider it as a challenge and at the same time a chance to prove myself capable of having a career in the field of education aside from my personal motivation of being more independent. There are different Motivational theories that may be unique for every individual depending on his/her definition of what motivates an individual. The most well-known of the theories of motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, following a definite sequence from Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem and Self-actualization. Succeeding need does not arise unless the previous need is reasonably satisfied according to Maslow. However, I do believe that the needs may or may not follow a definite hierarchical order. Some needs may overlap, for example, even if safety need is not satisfied, the social need may happen. For example, I consider my esteem need as my priority rather than safety and social needs. Another motivation theory that I can relate to is McClelland’s Need-theory which is associated with learning. McClelland believed that needs are learned or acquired by events that people experienced in their environment. One of the needs McClelland mentioned is the need for power, which translates to my desire and motivation to have an impact on others people, influence them to learn, and be able to make a difference in their lives.
Being motivated as a learner, I have experienced flow a couple of times. The theory of flow developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to continue doing something because we like it. An example would include instances where I am helping my son do projects at home and be focused on the task, to the point that lose track of time since I am having so much fun doing what I am doing. I can also consider other life experiences not related to academics when I do not want to be disturbed like such activities when I am cooking or baking. Learning is associated with different styles, forms and can be directly observed.

Image reference: https://edtech4beginners.com/2016/06/19/assessment-for-learning-helpsheet/

Redefining Constructivism

I am a believer of constructivist learning and I believe that it is a major responsibility that we should learn through our own efforts whether in education, in our responsibilities to our family or in life. Learning occurs when individuals are actively involved in searching for meaning and knowledge as opposed to passively receiving information. This should be the new norm in teaching and learning.
How then should I consider myself as a constructivist? Before enrolling in one of the online degree programs of UPOU, I sometimes questioned myself, just like maybe a few others who are enrolled in UPOU if I could survive the rigors of education while being a full-time mother and be able to balance school and family. To stay focused and persevere whenever unforeseen circumstances occur like the eruption of Taal volcano, and the recent Covid-19 Pandemic. During the start of the course, I encountered adjusting with the platform we are using as well as online tutoring techniques. Problems of self-learning the ability to use, the manner of downloading and uploading, reading materials and submitting our requirements. And had problems with coping up with my son’s homeschool educational requirements other errands and nuances to the point of wanting to drop one of my subjects. In other words, I had all sorts of problems, both technical and attitudinal.
One of the challenges in UPOU is keeping myself motivated and focused on achieving goals. It is very easy to keep requirements out of my mind but hard to concentrate knowing that I have many things to finish. Since High school, I was never a student who tends to sit, relax and procrastinate during deadlines. I keep myself organized, write everything down, make a plan and see to it that everything is well-done. I personally believe that such should be the attitude that must be instilled for constructivism to work.

In these changing times, and with the advent of Covid-19, the “normal” way of life seems quite elusive years from now. The sudden change and challenge are an opportune time for education to innovate and promote the practice of constructivist learning. With social distancing, becoming a common word across the globe, more schools might shift its curriculum and focus on online learning. It is important then that individuals/students must start to practice to learn more independently. It seems a gargantuan task for the students, but they are expected to take responsibility and manage their own learning at a certain point in time. Since information and knowledge are prime commodities, and the four corners of the classroom will shift to distance learning, students must learn where and how to retrieve, process and transform this information into knowledge. It may not be a total change to constructivism, but more about moving away from traditional education and learning.

(Image reference) https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/0/steps/24640

Reveal and Listen

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There is a paradigm shift in today’s learning as compared from the last decades. Teachers and parents are taking on various roles in the classroom and at home to achieve the amount of learning needed by the student. The educational environments are a lot different, the school curriculum, and some traditional practices and subjects are changing. Learning today are endless, and comes in any forms and techniques. Often, media and technology have become critical factors that a teacher must learn to incorporate in delivering lessons to produce more effective learning outcomes for the student.
As a former student, I have realized that unknowingly, I have been fond of using visual aids to complement my learning. I am also fond of taking down notes, especially important ones in the book. This way, I am able to understand the lessons better. I have also come to realize that in large groups, it is important to keenly observe the demonstrations of instructors, be an active participant and do hands- on tasks yourself so that when there is a practical exam, you will be confident in executing what is needed. Being proactive gives me control and be more responsible in school and have a sense of ownership on my grades and what I am able to learn.

Scaffolding may become an inappropriate assistance when, for example, the teacher gives priority to assist or accommodate a single student from a group of students or learners. In this situation, the teacher may be forced to cut short the time allocated in teaching other students. This can result in frustration for the other students because it may be misconstrued as favoritism on the teacher’s part. This would trigger certain issues and concerns of other parents or students, if, the concerned student is a child of a prominent person, a relative, or a child of a friend. In my experience as a mother, I have personally observed that tutors and parents who act as teachers for homeschool children utilize the concept of scaffolding to facilitate learning in children. Scaffolding can be in a form of a demonstration. For example, when doing a science experiment, it is important to show and demonstrate to a student how he should operate a microscope so they can see the proper way of operating it and observing the specimen before they actually do it themselves. Scaffolding can also be in a form of using visual aids to provide a better way of children understanding what you are trying to impart. This can be of use of YouTube videos, or homemade props that would stimulate the child’s learning and interest.

Work for your Brain

© Agile Development Blog, 2013

My learning benefited from application of principles of information processing theory through presenting information in different ways. In a learning environment where I am also acting as a teacher to my son who is currently into homeschool, I engage teaching him through sensory memory at any given moment. Examples of these is when we engage in Science projects and engaging in educational tours in UP Los Banos. In the same manner, I use this learning experience in my UPOU modules when giving insights to my classmates’ answers. As such, I am able to retain my readings and at the same time get insights on their answers as well.

Misapplications of information processing principles are a common experience for me. The reason is that when we are selectively attending to one activity, we tend to ignore the other stimulation, and gets easily distracted, especially if what we are doing is important. Memories usually last for a very short term and depends on the varying levels for every individual. Due to the individual characteristics and intellectual capacities, our senses are constantly bombarded with large amounts of information. In general, we remember a lot less information. A concrete example is studying this module, it is very hard to comprehend too many psychologists with their different studies and theories. As such, it is important to take notes in order to retain what they had done and be able to distinguish and apply their contributions in the field of psychology and learning.

Generational Learning

Generational labels:  Traditionalists, Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials. These makes our demographic population from the basic composition of a family to a few organizations who compose a bit of the aforesaid generations.  On the contrary, each of this generational group have distinct socio-cultural habits that separates them from the others, aside from the specific year that they were born.

Those who are born as Traditionalists tend to be more structured.  Baby Boomers are known to be hardworking, and was offered great employment opportunities, their music preferences are vastly different.  Downside of this is that they don’t have the best grasp on today’s evolutionary technology. Gen-X are the sort of “more independent” individuals.  Millennials prefer to  access information whenever and wherever they may happen to want it.

Social learning theory suggests that through observation of other’s behavior, our learning ability is affected through imitation and transforms it to new behavior.  Nowadays, the wide range of social media have influences on the different age groups in our society.    Traditionalists have a bit of knowledge to share, like, and comment on the most famous social networking site Facebook as a way to connect with friends and family.  However, they would depend on Millennials in creating their Facebook accounts as they are more accustomed in social media.  This demonstrates how social learning the socio-cultural transitions among the different generation categories.   However, an article taken from the US National Library of Medicine (Embo Rep, 2008) pointed out that there are other social roles such as being a parent or being a member of a political party, and it is relatively easy to define the social rules and role-specific knowledge of these positions. Therefore, we can define a society as a web of social roles, the occupants of which interact according to the rules and to the knowledge that define these roles. A society is then produced and reproduced through the role-specific interactions of the role occupants. In many cases, the social structure and culture of a society merely reproduce—that is, they do not change notably.  

My source of motivation to learn is to someday be able to play an active role and teach other children preferably those who are into homeschooling like my son. As a full-time mother for quite a while, it is also a personal challenge to learn and grow as an individual on a contemporary and be self-sufficient and not solely rely on others. Family support is crucial as I study online,  letting my family understand that aside from doing my responsibilities at home, they must also be aware of the importance of my commitment in finishing my UPOU degree online.   Based on my experience so far, my son is fully aware that I must have my time in complying for my own assignments.   This works wonders and is beneficial since he is into homeschooling, which makes him appreciate his online schooling as well (social learning). 

In order to conserve our traditions, (Dean et.al )  stated that Social learning allows the spread of new knowledge and skills, and is the basis for traditions in a wide range of animal species.  Laland and Rendell (2013) further elaborated that culture depends on the passing-on of learned knowledge between individuals, through teaching and copying. The duration of cultural memories depends not just on the amount of social learning but also on the fidelity of information transmission.   It is therefore important to preserve our traditions, and that the use of technology and social media can be an instrument in preserving such.

Social media and technology is being utilized in the context of social learning today to spread every detail on the current global health crisis (Covid-19). The government and other concerned Non-government organizations and concerned individuals are using social media to control the spread of misinformation and fake news. Government officials, news anchors stayed home and delivers news and information in the comforts of their home to support the Stay-at-Home program of the government. Everything you want to learn through social learning is being utilized actively now not only by the Millenials, but by all Levels of Generations, from the “Laylayans” to “Yayamanins”, “ “Dilawans” to “Dutertards”, “Peasants” to “Royal Bloods”, ”Whites” to “Race of different colors, Men, Women and the LGBTQs”, “First World”  to “Third World,” Christians, Catholics, Musims and Atheists alike.      

References:

Dean, L., Vale, G. L., & Whiten, A. Imitation, social learning and cultural traditions. Taken from https://risweb.st-andrews.ac.uk/portal/en/researchoutput/imitation-social-learning-and-cultural-traditions(ff581fba-859a-48a4-9ec1-d6a780b117d5)/export.html

Laland, Kevin N. and Rendell, Luke.  Current Biology,  Septemebr 9, 2013.  Taken from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213009329

EMBO Rep 2008. The Socio-cultural Evolution of our Species. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3327546/

 

What is your favorite color?

Colors can evoke different human behavior and mood“.

Theories of learning starts at home. Parents may not notice this, but psychological theories such as Ivan Pavlov’s operant conditioning are basically applied often. Rewards or incentives can be prevalent or given when a mother awards his son to play Pokémon cards with friends after the later willfully performs an errand or a chore at home. At other times this may also be through a good performance in his academics.

Punishments on the other hand may be in a form of being grounded for playing with friends or delaying gratifications of certain rewards due to misdeed. Constant repetition or conditioning the child to act accordingly will let them learn to behave properly at home or in front of other people.

Rewards and punishments must be given timely, promptly and firmly to a child in order that it will condition his mind to instill in him to do the right thing whether other people sees him or not.

Behaviors can be modified or regulated at home or in school. I would like to make myself as an example for this part. As a homeschooling mother, I act as the teacher to my son aside from doing my own schooling and tending to the needs of my family. I have experienced sending my son to a traditional schools and I can say that I can compare the difference in distinguishing how my son reacts positively to his present education. I can consider that I am directly accountable for my son’s progress or failure in his homeschooling since this is the first time that we are enrolled in the educational program.

A child’s good behavior for example in accomplishing his tasks and assignments can be complimented positively by praising him for his performance instead of giving him rewards. This would make him feel the value of his deed. The child should feel supported and motivated whenever there are certain goals that are to be achieved like participating in sports or academic competitions. In this manner, the child will feel a sense of ownership in his behavior or performance and at the same time feel that he is nurtures and that his parents, or guardians are always by his side.

Intelligent lines…

Many Psychologists and theories often argue about the real definition of intelligence. In order to prove the scientific basis to prove their arguments and proposals, these Psychologists made experiments and studies support their claim from Jean Piaget’s Theory on Cognitive development during childhood; Charles Spearman’s concept of General Intelligence; Alfred Binet’s Intelligence Tests; Louis Thurnstone’s Primary Mental Abilities; “William Stern’s Intelligence Quotient”.

Debates continue on how to measure intelligence and what makes up intelligence. While definitions and theories varies, how it was acquisitioned, and knowledge that is retained by the individual are its important components. There are various unseen aspects of an individual that are very vital in his or her personalities and learning capabilities. The effect of this to learning especially in children is that the environment plays a remarkable role in the outcome of learning behavior of children.

Fast forward to this day, new findings on intelligence are also taken into considerations by Psychologists. Aside from intelligence quotient (IQ), there are other types of intelligence: Emotional Quotients (EQ); Social Quotient (SQ) and Adversity Quotient (AQ).

With the aforesaid considerations on IQ, EQ, SQ and AQ, and the current volatile, uncertain , complex and ambiguous environment that we are currently living and the advent of technology, it is important to consider that life is more than measures thru how a child or an individual excels in academics. Having above average IQ or high IQ will not define how successful you are in life. All factors on the four (4) quotients of intelligence and behavior must be developed and taken into extreme importance .

Teaching children to excel not only in academics, but instilling in them to have a firm character and full of values would help them become resilient as they face different adversities in life.

The New Normal…

With a heavy heart it is crucial for me to write during the recent calamity in the South. We experienced four dark nights of total blackout.  Our residence is just 23.5 kilometers away from Taal volcano. The usual picturesque view of Nuvali is now all white and grey. I miss those early morning strolls along the Nuvali lake, getting a whiff of the cool breeze. With a great grief in my heart we must start afresh, the new normal. As of now, we moved up North temporarily. We are trying to move on with our everyday routine gradually, the new normal.

I continue homeschooling my only son with a bit of hope in our hearts that the new normal will help us get through this sad ordeal. With lesser materials on hand, outside the convenience of our home classroom with a troubled mind. My big question on my mind right now, is when are we are going back home?

As this present situation starts to change our lives, I know that this moment is yet an opportunity for me to be more inquisitive. I continue reading my modules for this program as I try to catch up with my needed requirements.  As I go through the thread of discussions, it gave my heart a feeling of normalcy as my co-learners share their optimistic perceptions.

Not bounded by different theories and approach in learning, to be effective and operative requires a good learning behavior, functional environment, qualified educators, intuitive and unbiased minds. It will deliver and ensure steadiness, uniformity in our daily lives and provides a deeper understanding that learning will adhere no matter what situation and circumstances we are in. It is clear that the vast complexities of learning in our present situation together with our best interest to survive and restore whatever is available determines our adaptability to this new normal.

As I continue to adjust with the greatest desire to get things back the way it was used to be, I am expectant for the upcoming modules.  My new normal, an extraordinary and remarkable chapter of learning.

My First Blog Post

“I’m still learning”

– Michelangelo

Simple yet powerful words from one of the greatest painters who ever lived during his time. I am a certified mother, woman, wife, friend, daughter, sister, cook, certified female version of a swiss army knife, a Netflix junkie, new student and blogger. This is my time and “I’m still learning”.