eJournal 6: Principles of Effective Teaching

Module 6 highlights the idea that in order to instigate effective learning in the classroom, the teacher must not only focus on their practice alone, but rather also understand how learners learn effectively and how the teaching practice affects this process. Effective learning, then for me, is a two-way street. Teachers must understand the factors that affect the students’ learning process—in particular the factors such as their characteristics, learning needs, and also their backgrounds. Among others, this includes their socio-political status, culture, and other factors that may serve as an advantage or a barrier in their learning. Understanding these factors would serve as a springboard for realization on how they could improve the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. In addition, effective learning comes from various diverse assessments and activities as the learners themselves are diverse. This calls for creativity in the classroom as adapting and presenting the curriculum needs breaking out of established patterns so as to look at things in a different way. Improvements come from change—a product of creativity in the classroom.
To end this eJournal post, I would like to share a quote from William Pollard that I believe should be imbibed by every educator, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

eJournal 5: Continuous Professional Development and Professional Learning Communities

I had the chance to talk to my high school colleagues last week, in particular those who recently pursued a teaching career, and as a prospective educator, I decided to ask them about their teaching philosophies and strategies—for curiosity’s sake. Everyone was accommodating and answered my questions with fervent believe that their strategies will cause effective learning. However, when I asked about CPD and PLC, most of them avoided the topic like a plague. There was obvious hate from the subject that, for that moment, I cannot fathom why.

The negative conceptions towards CPD sprung from two reasons: first is the hate towards exuberant fees of seminars and trainings, and as public educators most of my ex-colleagues said that their salaries aren’t enough to cover these expenses; and the second is that whereas their affiliated schools provided assistance, newly graduates aren’t covered simply because they are newly graduates—they told me that they have to prove themselves first in order to avail the monetary assistance. The topic of PLC is likewise undesirable towards them as they fervently believe that “in-house” learning community urges older teachers to badly criticize their new colleagues. Of course, I have doubts on whether they said was true as their experiences varies from one another. However, thinking back from my experiences in high school, in particular the gossips circulating about the teachers and their dislike to some of their co-teachers, and some reflection made me realize how my former classmates’ perspective might hold bearing.

Firstly, CPD has always been a problem as teachers never really receive a lot of assistance from the government until the recent years. Most of my high school teachers back then weren’t fond of the idea of spending money towards seminars and they also hate the fact that without it, they cannot renew their license. Of course, this begs the questions of how they are going to pursue professional development, the very idea encouraged by the government, without the government’s assistance. That is almost tantamount to urging to eat something expensive deprived of financial assistance. (Different logic, but you get the gist)

It is a hard thing to do, but doable as they said, but it also an incredibly wrong perception as in the first place, when laws/policies are passed such as this, shouldn’t there be an accountability that the people can afford it? Undoubtedly, there are financial assistances provided for the teachers; however, there is still a need to ensure that every teacher has access to this as this would ensure quality education. How are teachers going to provide quality education, when only a limited number of them that can avail professional development assistance?

With regards to the experience of my high school colleagues on how they need to prove their competence first in order to be provided with assistance from schools, I would like to say that I do understand the need for schools to find an accountability from teachers. But at the same time, we should ask the question: how they are going to prove themselves as competent teachers when they are not provided with an opportunity for professional growth? PLC can be the answer to this, yet some of the teachers, from my experiences and talks I have heard, more often than not, do a “power trip” towards their new colleagues. For instance, way back in high school one of my teachers decided to quit mainly because he was told by the other teachers that he was inept in classroom management. There are other factors that played in the resignation, but come on, as teachers shouldn’t we lift each other and teach those who are unlearned what is needed to be learned?

What I want to say from this long rant is that:

Whereas CPD is incredibly important, it is also hard to avail it. Its significance should be provided with an assurance that there is assistance to afford it.

Assistance should also be available for every educator, may they be fresh grads or already experienced.

Teachers should ensure that they empower each other as this would also empower them in return.

And to the fresh grads who feel like they aren’t appreciated, take the criticisms with a grain of salt. Teaching is a fickle industry; hence there is a need for you to truly believe that you can be a skilled educator.



eJournal 4: Activity 4 part 2

My years of spending time learning at an online environment influenced my conceptions about teaching and learning. The traditional practices I was used to prove to be hegemonic, as it seems sub-par than the active learning employed in my current educational setting. Hence, since then I have considered learning as an active process, which is contrary to the traditional teaching that learners are considered as empty vessels to be simply filled with knowledge. For me, in order for the learners to fully understand the imparted knowledge they themselves must engage in analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating of their own learning. The teaching method must therefore centers on the idea that students must help in knowledge building and not simply relying on passively learning in class. Learning must be beyond the idea of just relying on listening skills. Teachers must probe, examine, and test the learners through employing active learning activities such as contrasting cases, collaborative, and open ended question lecture. They must evaluate their role in class and adapt the ones they see that will enable learners to be an active participant in the classroom.
Reading the module resources didn’t change my perception on learning, but affirms my conception that I’m on the right track. The modules uphold what I have been experiencing in the online learning environment, and definitely support the other resources about learning that I have read in my other classes. Contemporary teaching perspective is imbibed in my learning environment and it proved beneficial as I learn effectively in contrast to what I was used to before. It also made me see learning as a pleasant independent activity; I don’t have to rely to a person of authority to learn something. Learning activities centered on the idea made me realize how my previous learning methods didn’t do me any good—rote memorization doesn’t mean you understand something. It is almost scary to think that I only realized the negative aspect of passive learning when I become an adult. Hence, there is no question that I am willing to employ student centered strategies, especially active learning when I become an educator.
With this respect, I can ensure that I won’t neglect the diversity of learning needs and characteristics as this is one of the key principles of contemporary education. As I have mentioned, the traditional teaching approach never worked for me as a student, reflecting on its pitfalls and my negative experience towards it encourages me to not follow the same route when I become an educator. The last thing I want to do is create a battalion of students who believe that learning is only restricted in the bounds of the classroom and believe that they aren’t smart because they couldn’t get to the single flow of the class. I believe that this perspective would help me to ensure that I recognize the learning differences in the classroom and would not treat it as complication. In addition to this, I also need to professional competence (obviously), constantly reflect on my role as an educator, thoroughly observe of the students’ progress, and communicate with the students to understand whether I imbibe the teaching method that has worked for me.

Ejournal 4: Perceptions on teaching and learning

At the outset, learning and teaching practices are the reflection of an individual’s perception towards teaching and learning. The educator’s view towards these activities fundamentally affects everything in class, such as their teaching method and strategies, classroom activities, and fundamentally their role as an educator.

With that said, educators must internalize how they view the activities as their understanding towards the subject would be displayed in the classroom, whether they know it consciously or not. For instance, a fresh graduate may still have doubts on their conception of learning and teaching, and this would potentially make their teaching strategy appear sloppy as they have yet to realize what exactly their role is in the classroom. In most cases that I have observed, uncoordinated assessments and teaching strategy that doesn’t align to the characteristics of the learners stem from the teachers not knowing how they would view learning/teaching, and this would affect the students’ reactions to the learning environment. With that said, I had a conversation with one of the students from my high school who is now a newly practicing teacher. I asked her what teaching methods she prefers to use in her class, she replied that she simply “wing it”. According to her the strategy works as her students do not complain about it. Now, there might be a chance that she wasn’t serious, but if she was then there is really a need for her to reflect her job as a teacher. At the end of the day, professional competencies alone is not enough to become a teacher, it is still imperative for teachers to understand what are their underpinning values, attitudes, beliefs and intentions towards teaching/learning as this would truly affect the learners’ way of thinking and the quality of learning they are receiving.

eJournal 3 EDS 111

Shulman’s technological pedagogical content knowledge is an education construct that is needed in the modern day teaching setting. Expertise in exhibiting the connection of these bodies of knowledge should be learned by teachers as we live in the Information Age, where everything is almost depended on technology. Life outside the classroom centers on new technologies, user devices, and methods of interaction with other people has expanded—for instance, people can now talk and see each other even miles apart, all thanks to the advancement of technology. With that said, use of technology is now common because of its various functions. Educators must therefore take the opportunity to harness technology and integrate it in their practice.

The potential of using technology in the classroom, however, should go beyond traditional notions of computer literacy. Integration of technology in the classroom should provide various and diverse opportunities to students to build a deeper understanding of content. For instance, project based learning using technology is an effective method of enabling knowledge building  through examining real-world problems and challenges with the help of media and the Internet. Integration of technology can also be used to address Multiple Intelligences in the classroom.

Whereas integration of technology has its benefits, it is still important to educators to see that the traditional learning and teaching processes are just as important. Integration of technology should be backed up with extensive knowledge of the content and the proper pedagogies to be utilized in class. Integration of technology alone would not yield effective learning. Profound impact on the students learning is done from understanding and applying the interactions among content, pedagogy, and technology knowledge.


eJournal 2: Teacher Professionalism

I have always thought of teacher professionalism using a simplistic lens. That is to say, I regard it through two different, albeit simple perspectives: one is that teacher professionalism is akin to the following of the teacher Code of Ethics, and second, it also the process of getting licensed as a teacher. An example of my simplistic view would be: teachers, as a licensed professional, must exhibit appropriate behavior in class that befits their status… and they are also LET passers. ( I told you it was that simple!)
Of course, my perception is partly true; however, reading the module 2 made me view teacher professionalism as a more complex subject. For instance, teacher professionalism is affected greatly by a lot of perceptions, mainly in social/cultural and political/economic sense.

Here are the examples to illustrate the fluidity of perception of professionalism, using the Philippine context:

Social and Cultural
Teachers who are dressed in a “corporate” manner are professional, and those who sport vivid hair color and tattoos are not. The latter, however, is broadly accepted in tertiary education.

Teachers who cross-dress or show flamboyant tendencies are also unprofessional. Both are still rarely accepted because of the rigid culture of the Philippines.
Political and Economic

The standard of licensure exam for teachers shows how much the government perceives the profession. For instance, a “hard” licensure may be viewed as an important career than other profession. This likewise translates in an economic sense, since high paying professions are considered as “the important careers”, such as doctors and lawyers. Another good example would be a continuous funding of CPD and specialized training may equate to the perspective that the government puts a premium regard to the quality of the teaching profession.

Autonomy in teaching is also affected by prescription of teaching methodology.

These examples show that the concept of professionalism is dependent on many factors, and a tad relative too in cases affected by cultural perception.

With regards to the “type” of professional teacher/educator I would want to be, it would be akin to the new professionalism. This is mainly because it is fitting to the current circumstances we, Filipinos, are facing. In my perspective, the old professionalism is too rigid and cannot effectively cater the diverse learning needs of the learners, especially if you are to teach in a packed classroom. New professionalism would allow me to be flexible as possible and it would accommodate the learners efficiently than its predecessor. Likewise, it is concerned with propensities to engage in social action, which I think is incredibly significant today.

EDS 111 eJournal entry for Module 1

Prior to reading the resources provided by the module, I have always thought that reflection is an activity to be done after a particular event. I have noted in my Activity 1 that reflection is about asking oneself the questions such as “What did I do wrong?” and “What should I have done differently?”, as this might indicate how a particular situation I was involved with could have been improved in a different way.
Reading the Module 1 corrected my assumption about reflection. I learned that the best way to gather a good result from reflection is to do it during and after a particular situation. Schon’s take on reflection taught me that the key to continuous improvement is through undertaking reflection throughout the whole process of an activity. I have always thought that reflection in action might result to overthinking; hence, I always try not to contemplate things when I am in the middle of a situation. Likewise, I also learned that it is necessary to contemplate on matters through multiple perspectives, as using solely my own viewpoint might result to favoring my biases.

EDS 131 BLOG 7: Final Thoughts

Perhaps the most important lesson that EDS 131 imparted that I can apply to my personal life would be the self-directed learning and understanding the barriers of adult education.

The module for self-directed learning provides information on how we can teach learners to be self-directed. I have always held a firm belief that it is the duty of the teachers to help students maximize their learning potential and this lesson provided essential information on how to achieve that. Likewise, it sheds light on what teaching styles should be exhibited in the classroom that matches the learning needs and stage of self-direction of the learners. As a prospective teacher, this is important to me as this will help to assist my prospective learners achieve meaningful learning and fundamentally in preparing them to be an independent learner.

Understanding barriers of adult education likewise provided information that I can use in my life. Whereas I have yet to encounter an educational barrier as an adult learner, some people that I know are enduring from it. The readings provided the reasons behind these barriers and I believe personal reflection can provide a solution to it. Hence, it would be a good idea to tell my friends what I have learned from this course. In this way, I can advocate the importance of adult education.

Truly, all the provided modules are informative and personally relevant. EDS 103 enlightened me how adult education should be given emphasis by the government and how education is still important regardless of one’s age.

EDS 131 Blog 6: Teaching Adult Approaches of Adult Education

Participatory approach to education is a highly effective teaching practice. My experience tells me that effective learning occurs when the teacher strives for active participation from students. For instance, the majority of my classes at UPOU urges teachers to momentarily step down and encourages students to direct their own learning. Case in point is how the learning activity such as Discussion Forums let students think on their own and fundamentally let them collaborate with other students in sharing information. This makes learning more meaningful as the information comes from many sources: the students learn from each other and the teacher poses reflective and additional queries related to the information shared by the students. Reflection and the dialogue between the two parties contribute in knowledge building and ultimately urge students to be critical of their own learning.

From a future teacher-point-of-view, I believe that it is one of teaching strategy that should be practiced in classrooms, may it be in traditional or alternative one. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, participatory approach is less taxing in terms of energy and resources than other teaching strategy. Likewise, active participation from students breeds confidence in the classroom.

In order to effectively facilitate participatory learning approach in the classroom, teachers must exhibit student-centered characteristics during teaching-learning situations. For one, teachers must respect the students’ diverse experiences, aspirations, and characteristics. Since dialogue is an integral part of the learning approach, this measure will help students to reflect on their own learning and develop a critical consciousness of their place in the society. Secondly, teachers must momentarily avoid being the authority of power and actively collaborate with the students. Paulo Friere tells us that passive learning silences the students and this is inherently disempowering to the students’ potential; teachers must strive to assist students to construct learning on their own. Lastly, teachers must not practice “tabula rasa” in classroom; students are capable of learning on their own; not everything has to be spoon feed to them. It is important to challenge the students, as this will help them be independent.

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