My First Day in School: A Test of Memory

KstudentsRecalling my childhood experiences is a bit challenging but exciting one as I know myself being “makakalimutin.” I’m not good at memorizing long list of words but those unforgettable ones, whether the most embarrassing or the happiest moments are definitely intact in my mind. Since my early experiences in school were not that remarkable, I’ll try to recall those events as much as I can.  Let’s get it on!

My first teacher way back in Kindergarten I was Miss Matilde Relativo. I am not pretty sure of her middle initial but I think it’s R. To satisfy my curiosity, I went to my room and have my certificate of completion checked, oh my!!! It’s R! Well honestly, I just wrote imagesthe very first letter that came to my mind. They say that “hunches” are more often right, so trust them! Our classroom itself was so simple. It was a perfect square room painted light green with many graphics on the wall.

{342F2CA1-93E6-4A5D-A724-1523B6A2C3C0}We had two blackboards surrounded by alphabet cut-outs in creative forms. We used to sit in desk-chairs (I don’t know the correct term for that) in different colors. I can no longer recall what group (column) and row I was seated but I’m pretty sure we had 4 groups of chairs, each being occupied by two students.

With the routine that we’ve been doing in the class, I know we always start every morning with a memorized prayer I no longer know. After this was a greeting that goes this way “Good morning Teacher! Goood morning classmates!” Then Miss Matilde will allow us to have our seats and then proceed with her lessons. First topic discussed and activity done? Oh well, I don’t know despite minutes of recalling.preschool

Generally, the most memorable experience I had being a Kindergarten student was when I sang a children’s song and suddenly I forgot the lyrics of the song. Oh my! Until now I can remember the laughing faces my classmates exhibited during that time (hmmm… so insulting but I already moved on… really?). Sad part was, phineas_singing_single_by_ajmstudios-d3e9hegeven my teacher made a wild laugh. 😀 However, past is past and I totally got over as I am a good singer now (compensation???). At least I made myself memorable to them as well.

After writing and doing this activity, I realized that memory is really amazing in a sense that you can recall even those that are very remote events in your life. However, sometimes I wonder why not all life experiences can be easily brought into consciousness and present thinking? Some needs a couple of effort before finally remembering while others are fragmented no matter what I do. Well, partly it’s because of the physiologic capacities and limitations of our mind as well as the practices that each of us does that may either make or break our mind’s condition. By applying the things I’ve learned from this module, I know I can still strengthen this ability of mine.

I really enjoyed this activity! I’ll try to do some more of this! 😀 😀 😀

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How I Wish…

imagesStudying is not an easy thing to do. It is indeed hard and laborious but can also be enjoying and addicting (really?). I regard my opportunity to attend school as a privilege since I know I’m lucky enough my parents are working hard to support me on this.  I have known a lot of people and friends who wish to do the same but financial constraints hinder them from doing so. Therefore, I always bear in mind that I have to do good in my studies as it will be an “insult” among those unfortunate people if will just take it for granted. Working on this, I grew up being serious and diligent with my schooling.

College work has been so stressful and demanding especially during my junior to senior years. Every time I look at my giant books imageswas a cause of paranoia especially when tomorrow is an exam day. Like most of my classmates, such books are the best sedatives for me. I really have to dwell on the boring long texts of medical-nursing books to understand the concepts behind and have some weapon for the following day.

More often than not, I felt so saturated with much information that I resorted to saying “Sana flash drive (USB) nalang  ako. Yung tipong copy paste nalang lahat ng mga information. O kaya naman eh memory card na pwedeng i-upgrade.” How I wish it is possible to supplement AI-lowresmy mind’s capacity of storing information for future use. Knowing that nursing requires memorization of drugs, analysis of procedures and rationale, demonstration of skills, among others, such invention if ever will surely be a breakthrough! But I know shortcut is not the best alternative for that matter. Instead of thinking and dwelling on the things I can’t, I focused my attention and spirit on the things I know I can confidently do. I have to say it’s a matter of believing in your own strength (self-efficacy).

Weeks and months gone by with such routine of endless studying. I created ways of enhancing my learning techniques by using mnemonics (though I am not fond of using this before), course outlines, simplified notes of important topics, and even mini-reporting of some lessons. I also initiated most of the group discussions to gather and share our ideas that truly led to better understanding of many concepts. Practice really leads to mastery and so we continued on those habits that helped us in our learning goals.

In the end, we may not be able to buy any “magic” that will make us think and function so superb like computers, but then we images (1)learned how to devise ways that will further enhance our natural abilities to acquire levels of understanding. Unlike computers which are subject to corruption of files, reformat and “crash” moments, our learned means of coping and handling learning opportunities will continue to serve us throughout life, provided that we continue utilizing them properly.

On The Issue of Punishment as a Form of Discipline

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It is pretty much understood that punishments, as related to the concepts of behaviourism left significant impacts among the educators and students as well. The key issue is whether  we  can use some form of punishments in an effort to impose “discipline” in the minds of learners without necessarily negating the goal of ‘’optimum learning experiences.”

I believe that the thinking of the past years was a bit different from nowadays. According to Nid “Nidz” Odang-ga, punishment was indeed employed before as a form of discipline. Stories form our old parents and even from other classmates as well will prove the discipline[1]existence of it couple of years ago. In fact, I can still recall the name of the teacher we used to call “terror teacher” when I was in elementary school. Seeing that teacher is like transforming yourself into the kindest person you could ever become of.

Many researches anchored to these issues were conducted which truly showed negative influences of using punishment in the classroom setting. Though the teachers have noble goal of considering such practices, the negative impact and stigma associated with its usage outweigh the “desired” effect. So given this, what are then must be used instead of punishments? Many were presented in the respective module but the following are additional recommendations that Maria Aster Joy “Aster” Garcia have found in her sources. It is known as the 11 Techniques for Better Classroom Discipline which includes:

  1. Focus
  2. Direct Instruction
  3. Monitoring
  4. Modeling
  5. Non-verbal cues
  6. Environmental control
  7. Low profile intervention
  8. Assertive discipline
  9. Assertive I –messages
  10. Humanistic I-messages
  11. Positive discipline

imagesShe then added that if these techniques are implemented in class, the students will have a positive outlook to learning. Conflicts and barriers will be minimized and these will promote self-esteem and self-confidence to students.  They will be more mature in doing things that is best for them.  With the right knowledge and information, they can make sound decisions. And this is very likely to happen. Children in their very young age must be taught on how to do things right properly and be guided accordingly regarding the right things to do. It is not necessary to impose “fear” for them to obey and change behavior. Rather a supportive and nurturing environment is likely to promote their well-being which will subsequently result to better adaptation to their learning situations.

 

Reference:

Ruby Salvosa. Discipline and Punishment. Retrieved July 6, 2013 from http://myportal.upou.edu.ph/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=53788

Behaviorism: Where to go?

“Should behaviorist strategies be discouraged (or banned) from schools?”

UntitledThis is one interesting question that Teacher Malou posted in our group discussion forum. Given the pros and cons of the behavioral perspectives in the teaching-learning process, what circumstances educators may continue to employ in the classroom management and what are those that should be discouraged, if not totally to eliminate?

Below are my classmates’ thoughts on this which I found so helpful in gaining more insights and understanding.

Roshiley Tilistyak stressed that behaviorist strategies should not be discouraged from school as it is an important tool to shape students behavior. She even pointed out an example by considering a child in a kindergarten classroom. She mentioned that these children are very young who are immature to know if they are behaving good or bad. How will those children learn that their Behaviorism_Wordlebehavior is good or not if behavioral approach will be banned from school? Behaviorist approaches play big roles in shaping them and molding them into a desired being. Like what she said, teachers who employ behavioral perspective are somehow effective in identifying which behavior must be reinforced to be retained, and which must be corrected to good ones. It only means that behaviourism is significant in instilling the difference of right from wrong among these young minds which I consider foundation years towards higher level of understanding the world.

Criselda “Aprile” Liwanag even added that behaviorist strategies has long been used and were found effective. However, teachers should be able to determine what intervention should be used in order to have a long lasting effect to students. Teachers should use the proactive interventions like Positive and Negative reinforcements, Social skills training and group contingencies. It says that not all interventions and approaches anchored to behavioral point of view necessarily produce desirable outcomes among the learners, and so it’s imperative for the teachers to decide which ones will most likely benefit the class.

16502496-abstract-word-cloud-for-behaviorism-with-related-tags-and-termsOn the other hand, there is also a common suggestion from the class. That is removing or not advocating the use of corporal punishments. Louisea Marie Calaycay said that punishment should be discouraged from schools. She then believe that it only replaces undesirable behaviors, generates fear which can lead to events’ avoidance. Truly, this may happen as students who were punished tend to develop fear of the punishers and not necessarily learning about the misbehaviour. Instead of using such punishments, Louisea advocated PREMACK Principle which could be a way for better learning. Alternating more enjoyable activities with less enjoyable ones could triggers the interest of children/students to be more active in classroom activities.  According to her, this is also known as the Grandma’s Law and states that “that high-probability behaviour reinforces low-probability behaviour”. Personally, I experienced the “magic” of Premack principle many times when I was young which contributed to the kind of person I am right now (see my entry regarding this in the reflections category).

Finally, I do agree with what Brenda Rioja mentioned that behaviorist strategies don’t need to be totally discouraged or banned from schools.  It is about knowing how to use them wisely and how to avoid its side effect which is very important before they come into effect. Once that has been accomplished, they must then determine what constitutes the nature and purpose of education based upon that underlying assumption. Further, Brendaly “Beng” Umali said that “the key is knowing in which situation each strategy would best be applied to get the most desirable result.”

There is no any single recommendation when it comes to totally eliminating or fully advocating the use of behavioral strategies in imagesschool. Like most of my classmates, I also believe that it’s necessary to capitalize on the strengths of behaviourism in an effort to foster better learning experiences along with the other theories of learning. Those practices however which present stigma not only to the students but in the society in general must be avoided. Surely there are other means around that can be utilized for the same goal. In the end, educators must be responsible enough in selecting which approach in particular is deemed best as the situation calls for it.

Reference:

T. Malou Marilou Juachon Should behaviorist strategies be discouraged (or banned) from schools? Retrieved July 02, 2013 from http://myportal.upou.edu.ph/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=47304

Cognitive Theory in the Real World

Though each of us has the innate capacities to learn and understand new information, the difference then lies on how we utilize those tools. In the concerned module, much has been presented about how the brain works in when it comes to learning and understanding of which the processes involved are pretty much the same among all individuals. Now, let’s take a look on how a person’s practice affects these things based on how I understood the module.

  •          Attention and Concentration

music-to-listen-toAs explained, we can always select which type of attention we are going to use in everyday encounter, be it selective or sustained. No matter how good the presenter or teacher in front is, if divided attention will be employed, then full understanding of the lessons at hand is unlikely to be achieved. In the previous discussions, I was enlightened about the negative effects that “multitasking” (which falls on divided attention) can bring us especially in the field of studying. Therefore, total focus is one thing that differentiates a good learner from the mere average ones. I believe if they will both employ total focus, then most likely the same outcome will be obtained. I remember most of the academically successful persons I encounter who used to say “stay focus” to become like them.

  •        Practice Application and Memory

It is not new for most of us that constant application of what you’ve learned will lead to better retention of those learned materials. Procedural knowledge for instance is likely to be retained in LTM if these are being applied often in the course of living, say cooking.puzzles We are all bounded by the physiologic limitation of our brain. We cannot remember everything and we will lose many memories whether we like it or not especially in response to aging. I remember in my topic Alzheimer’s disease in the review, it says that one good practice to minimize the risk for developing such illness is to keep the mind healthy by engaging in mind-stimulating activities like solving puzzles and novel situations. Therefore, if we will just rely on our seemingly good ability to recall things whenever we want to, then chances are not being able to do so and experience some frustrations.

  •          Personalized Techniques in Learning

mnemonicsMost of my classmates who are good in academics from memorizing to class reporting have their own unique ways of making things easier. Most of them are fond of suing mnemonics as an aid to better remember things especially the long ones. Others then prefer transferring the information on books to their own notes which I personally do as well. For me, I can grasp and understand the ideas easily if they are written in the manner I want to see them- bulleted, in two column format with highlights of varying colors. Further, I’m also into reciting what I’ve just learned as if I’m discussing in front of many, which according to the module is helpful in the retention of those information. It is not expected for all to share similar techniques or strategies. Learning styles for the most part can also account for this. The thing is to maximize the resources that we have to make the learning experiences enjoyable and fruitful.

  •         Seeking for Clarification

Lastly, I believe that the tendency of good students to seek for clarification whenever misperception or misunderstanding occurs is one more thing that separates them from the average ones. There are students who are very active in such scenarios. For instance, when they answered wrong in an exam, it’s not sufficient to accept the fact that you commit mistake but rather an explanation mustimages be sought to clear things out. After all, the very reason you’ve selected that answer was because you’ve thought of it as the “best” answer among the choices. I can tell much about this as I encounter different kinds of students in the review classes I have handled. Those who consistently get high scores in post-tests or drills are also the ones who are very eager in seeking for explanation of why such answers are right. In the licensure exam for nurses (and most professions I think), the key factor is to select the “BEST” answer among the choices provided fir every item. More often than not, they select the 2nd best answer that makes them disappointed but which in turn results into further motivation to study further. This somehow gives us a hint on which group needs further focus and encouragement to succeed in the boards. 😀

These are just a few of those I can think and relate that distinguishes successful learning from failure in the context of cognitive theory. Any feedback will be highly appreciated. Happy learning! 😀

Social Constructivism: Its Major Concepts

KidsSocial Development Theory” as originated by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896- 1934) argues that social interaction precedes development; consciousness and cognition are the end-products of socialization and social behavior. Much of the influence of this theory can be observed in the present education system, be it in elementary, secondary and even in tertiary levels.

Social constructivism emphasizes that knowledge is first constructed in a social environment and is then appropriated by individuals.  According to social constructivists, knowledge grows directly out of the interaction.  Social interactions and involvement with others are very important aspects in the process of knowledge building and construction. In particular, exposure to the thoughts of others provides opportunities to evaluate and refine their own. This is true as different individuals possess diversified aspects of understanding. We then come upjam_homewith this diversity as we have unique interpretation of our own experiences. But the mere fact that every experience is an opportunity to learn and gain values, we can all share these to one another. Others learn best from other’s perspective in fact.

In the process, the participants develop not only personal knowledge but shared understandings as well.  If Piaget focused on individual cognition, Vygotsky focused on the “child embedded in a sociocultural context”, which values collaboration, social interaction, and sociocultural activity.  In addition, culture defines what the society values and considers important.  Thus, culture—including the language, beliefs, and skills of that culture—strongly shapes the nature of the knowledge and understandings created by the learners (Santrock, 2011, pp. 333-334; McLeod, 2007). The processes enumerated by Vygotsky are very important in gaining full understanding of a certain phenomenon. They say that two heads are better than one as we celebrate the diversity of every individual. If one can think a bright idea, how much more if this can be further supplemented with another’s idea.

In line with this theory, the following are considered major themes:

  • Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. In contrast to Jean Piaget’s understanding of child development (in which development necessarily precedes learning), Vygotsky felt social learning sspnetprecedes development. He states: “Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological)” (Vygotsky, 1978). This is very important in the context of classroom setting as students begin to initiate interaction with other learners. Not only that he can share his points to others but also acquire understanding from others’ viewpoints.
  • The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability brainstorminglevel than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally thought of as being a teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers. This almost always exists in every context of learning settings. Even the most intelligent person I suppose has some experience of seeking help from others (MKO). Each of us has a so-called “forte” and weakness in the field of studies and so asking the help of those who are viewed well-equipped in the area we are not that good may be a good resource. After all, I believe that not everything is written in the book, and no any single teacher can provide us all the necessary things for better learning experience.
  • The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is the distance between a student’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and the student’s ability solving the problem independently. According to Vygotsky, learning occurred in this zone. I think of this concept as the time wherein a learner is ZPDmuch motivated and determined to learn a particular thing. After seeking help from others, there is an innate tendency for learners to achieve that understanding until it can be utilized effectively in an independent manner. It is during this stage that learners are very much eager to search for deeper aspects of understanding. Other persons may provide guided assistance, but it is the individual himself who will turn it into a maximum learning opportunity.

 

Many schools have traditionally held a transmissionist or instructionist model in which a teacher or lecturer ‘transmits’ information to students. In contrast, Vygotsky’s theory promotes learning contexts in which students play an active role in learning. Roles of the teacher and student are therefore shifted, as a teacher should collaborate with his or her students in order to help facilitate images (1)meaning construction in students. Learning therefore becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and teacher. As the present system of education realize the importance of empowering students in their own learning, many classroom activities are now designed and implemented to facilitate this goal grounded to social constructivism. I am positive that continuous use of this approach will better equip the students to the challenge of the fats changing world.

Two Heads are Better than One

imagesI used to prefer studying my lessons by myself. I think I can concentrate more if I have quality time in analysing and reflecting the lessons that we’ve already discussed. However, I know this wouldn’t work at all times. There are situations during which collaborative effort must be employed to arrive at the best suitable alternative and course of action.

images (1)Brainstorming for instance is one common scenario during my high school and college days. In fact, we used to do this among our major subjects that were really hard to understand. I remember I often lead the review session for psychiatric nursing, while my best friend took his turn in medical-surgical nursing. Though we were leading the group, we also serve as “facilitators” so that everyone’s ideas were considered and given recognition. It really did work! Most of us were surprised that examinations became easy for us since we gained further understanding through such activity. Admittedly, I also gained a lot from those who are considered by the class to be just average students (don’t find us judgmental please :D).

Likewise, I can still remember our Science Investigatory Project (SIP) and exhibit way back in senior high school. I believe the hardest part for this project is to think of the “title” or at least idea to work on. Most especially that previous batches have already brainstormingexhibited their good works, we were somehow left with few choices to consider. Couple of days have passed and still I wasn’t able to think of one. Good thing that at the end of the day, our adviser instructed us to work in group. And oh, I find it an answered prayer! I couldn’t imagine that one of the most silent students in our class had this brilliant idea on his mind. Without any second thought we all decided to work on that suggestion. Collaboration and mutual support came next that led us to the victory of becoming the overall champion for that exhibit project. In fact, our project was sent outside the school to compete with many other schools in Laguna.

teamwork

 

These are just a few of those I can share about the significant impact of group work and cooperation. I still have lots in my mind but I know these are pretty common experiences that you guys might already encountered as well.  God bless and happy learning! Team spirit!!!! 😀 😀 😀