My Amazing EDS 111 Journey

               To tell you honestly, before I studied EDS 111, I really didn’t know anything about the learner-centered approach and the 21st Century Learning. As a product of a teacher-centered approach of teaching, I had this misconception that as a teacher, my role is to impart knowledge and to test students. I know, it is very traditional and conventional.  Naturally, aside from that, there is my genuine care for the welfare of my students.

                Studying EDS 111 enlightened me to realize that there is way too much more than what I know about teaching or becoming a teacher. I felt scared at first when I studied the module about LCA and the 21st Century Learning. I asked myself, “Can I do this?” I am 34 years old and my knowledge in technology ranges from basic to elementary. My daughter knows more when it comes to APPS than I do. The learners of this generation are so different from my generation (obviously). I wouldn’t say I was discouraged by the more challenging roles of teachers now, maybe I was worried (I’m a natural worrier and I am trying to kick that habit.) I doubted myself and for one second I thought I could not make it.

                But I am driven to move forward and after studying this course, I feel (a bit) confident that I can do it. I won’t say I have mastered everything. I just think that with positive thinking, knowledge, skills and attitude, I know I can be an effective teacher. There are still many things to learn, to reflect on and to do. I may not be as young as the other teachers but I will use all my experiences to be the kind of teacher that I want to be. I won’t be describing what an effective teacher is because I already did that in my previous entries. I won’t be discussing my learnings because I will just be repeating myself.

                What are my realizations after finishing all the requirements of EDS 111?

  1. It takes more than passing the LET to be a good teacher. I need to be more passionate, driven, positive, jolly, exciting and creative if I want to become the teacher I want to be. I want to be the teacher who influences the students to be good, happy, smart people.
  2. I need to work more on my people skills. Working at home for 8 years have greatly affected how I socialize and interact with people. Nevertheless, I was still able to participate and contribute well in the group discussions. I may not have made many new friends, but I made a few good ones. ( I think only one 🙂
  3. As the cliché goes, do what you can do NOW. Do not procrastinate. You don’t have to be very intelligent. You have to work hard and be diligent in studying. Reading helps a lot!
  4. Never lose hope but don’t be too complacent. Be vigilant!
  5. THINK OUT OF THE BOX – Be creative! Make, create, innovate and INSPIRE!
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On Creativity

             During my undergraduate years, I took up a course called Creativity which was under the curriculum of Special Education. At that time I realized how important creativity is in education since it is a course that is required to be taken by Special Education majors. As far as I can remember, we learned about the different expressions and forms of creativity in different parts of the world.  We also studied the application of creativity in our teaching especially in Special Education.

                It has been years since then and I have gone through the routines of married life and motherhood. Now, I am being asked about my receptiveness and openness to creativity and out-of-the box teaching strategies. The question is very challenging for me and I need more time to reflect.

                 I ask myself, am I still creative? I don’t want to say no. But then again, I have lived long in routines and believe me when I say routines comfort me. Because routines are certain and I find security in certainty. Uncertainties worry me. After all the failures that I had in life, I have learned how to fear uncertainties. Going back to the questions, am I still creative? I think there are some instances when I try to be creative. I am creative when I make my own lessons for my Japanese students. I try to create lessons that they find interesting, informative and worth their time. I try to be creative because I want to meet their needs in studying English and I also want them to feel that I can offer more and I am different from other teachers. Sometimes, I try to be creative when I am teaching my daughter and helping her with her homework and exams. But she would often tell me that she doesn’t like my teacher voice, rather she prefers my mommy voice when teaching. But, I can’t help it. My voice automatically shifts to a teacher voice when I teach.

                The reason why I want to take the LET is because I want to be a professional teacher in elementary. Sometimes, I would picture myself teaching children and they are having fun. I know how it is important for a teacher to be creative. Especially after reading the modules and studying this course. I realized that now, teaching is more than just preparing a lesson plan and teaching. Education in the modern world and in the 21st century demand so much from the teachers. In order to be a relevant and an effective teacher, one must be very creative. It is important for the teacher not only to be creative but also to motivate and encourage creativity among the students. Students should also be influenced to be creative. They should learn how to use their imagination and curiosity to discover, create and build.

                Yes, I am receptive to developing attitudes and qualities that foster innovativeness and creativity. I believe it is necessary and very important to be innovative in creative in teaching now children can get information from many resources like the Internet. An effective teacher should be up to the challenge of creating and inventing new ways of teaching.

                I am open to employing out-of-the box teaching strategies. But first, I need to learn how to think out-of-the box. As a working mother, I have always been cautious. I set rules and follow them. I work in schedules and routines. I do not take risks. Therefore, I have forgotten how to think out-of-the box. But, more than because I need to, I desperately want to learn how to think out-of-the box. I don’t want to be boring – as a person and as a teacher. Also, I believe that using out-of-the box teaching strategies will also inspire the students to be creative as well. The world will be a better place if more people are creative.

My Thoughts on LLL, CPD and PLC

I am sure that everyone has already said that learning is lifelong process. I totally agree with everyone. It’s true. We never stop learning. Even as we are growing old, even when we think that we are stuck to the routine of daily lives, there is still something out there to learn.

When I was in high school and “texting” was becoming popular, I thought of my parents. I thought they were already old and they would never learn how to use a mobile phone and how to send a text message. When people started using computers at home, I thought my parents would never learn to use computers. Yes! I underestimated them. I was naïve and pompous. But lo and behold, I was WRONG. I don’t remember clearly what happened but they did learn eventually and my mom and dad both have smartphones now. My mom even have Facebook and I don’t. I can communicate with my mom using Viber. I remember my mom attended computer school for a few months to learn about the basic uses of computers. My mom took driving lessons and can now drive better than I do. My dad on the other hand, does his business using his smartphone. But that’s it. My mom drives for him and does computer and secretarial works for the business. Why am I saying all these? Because it’s just amazing how they learned when I thought they wouldn’t. Because they are my inspiration when it comes to lifelong learning.

Here I am. I will be turning 34 this November. I already have one kid but despite that, I decided to continue studying so that I can be a licensed teacher. It was scary at first, well until now. There is always a doubt if I can do it. There are many challenges but the goal of learning more and achieving more surpass the fears and the uncertainties.

While studying, I have had many realizations. I realized that much have changed in the world and in the way students think and learn. People can learn from different resources now. Information as I always say is just one click away. That scared me. Honestly. I pictured myself as a teacher surrounded by students way smarter than me because they know everything from Youtube and Google. So many young children now know things they are not supposed to know yet. There are many APPS to learn from. Take for example, my daughter. She can record, edit and upload videos and I didn’t even know how to do that! She knows different APPS I don’t even know about! These are the children of the new generation and I am supposed to be their teacher.

So, I realized from my own personal reflections and from the readings that I should keep up with the changes. More than that actually, I should respond actively to the changes and the advancement of technology. This is where the other concepts in this module come in. We are talking about CPD and PLC. We should not be stuck in where we are now because the world is continuously changing. What we knew yesterday may be different tomorrow and the children will know. As teachers, we should be flexible and we should attend workshops, trainings and seminars that will help up grow professionally and personally. We should also be a part of a professional learning community so that we can share ideas and strategies with our fellow teachers. As a learning community, we should work hand in hand to work towards our common goal which is the learning of our students.

My Reflections on the Perspectives on Teaching

                I would say that the group discussion that we had for this module is far better than the first one we had. We were divided into groups so we were able to focus on specific resources and share our learnings and insights. We also had a debate about learner-centered teaching and teacher-centered learning. I learned a lot from the insights of my groupmates about LCT and TCL.

                Reading the discussions, I thought about how we can apply our learnings to real lives. I am not a teacher yet, although I am an online teacher. I understand that the educational trend now is shifting into LCT. The implementation of the K-12 Basic Education Program also aims for 21st Century Learning which will make us at par with other nations. I also agree that these approaches in teaching benefits the learners more. But in reality, especially in the Philippine setting, there are many challenges to consider. First one is the size of classes especially in public schools. With many students in classroom, it is very challenging to establish a LCT approach. The teacher ends up controlling most if not all of the activities and lectures of the class. Another challenge can be the lack of facilities and resources. Some public schools do not even have enough classrooms, how much more learning materials and technology? In 21st Century Learning, the role of technology is given importance but what if the institution do not have these resources. Nevertheless, I am not saying it is impossible to shift to LCT. It is possible and it should be a must. I am saying, I think it is also good to combine both approaches in teaching. Both LCT and TCL have advantages that will benefit the students. As teachers, we should expand our teaching knowledge and style that best suits our learners.

                This module also discussed the importance of collaboration which I think is very important. Students and learners should learn how to learn independently and with others. Teachers should not be limited to lectures but should expand to collective thinking, sharing of ideas and collaboration. These will build the confidence of students and will challenge them to think and analyze information critically.

                I also realized that as a future teacher, it is important for me to be relevant. How can I still be relevant as a teacher now that information is available everywhere because of computers and Internet? How can I make my learners listen to me when they know they can always research about it in Google? These are the questions that we have to face and we have to actively respond to as teachers. We should be flexible, updated and we should innovate to be effective teachers.

On the Knowledge Base of Teaching and Being an Effective Teacher

There were so much information to absorb in Module 3. First is the knowledge base of teaching as discussed by Schulman and the TPACK as a framework of knowledge. The challenge now is how to integrate all these concepts towards being an effective teacher.

In this module, the resource – Educational Psychology: A Tool for Effective Teaching captured my interest the most. This reading material described the attributes of an effective teacher. The question for me now is, what kind of teacher do I want to be?

My goal in life is to be an elementary school teacher. I just love kids and I want to be a part of their learning journey. But indeed, much have changed in our educational system. Globalization and the advancement of technology have changed how teachers teach nowadays. Teachers used to just prepare lessons plans and teach in front of the class. Nowadays, teachers have to integrate different concepts and use different tools in teaching. With the use of technology, teachers can make learning more interesting and collaborative. But, according to TPACK, the technology used should be appropriate to the content and to the pedagogical methods used in class. Also, the focus is not on what technology is used but on how technology is used to facilitate learning. As a future teacher, I would like to be an effective teacher. I would like to be able to integrate different knowledge framework and principles that I believe will work best for my learners. Also, I will be flexible to the changing dynamics and needs of the learners. I will adapt to the advancement of technology so as to be able to challenge my students more in thinking and studying. Being a relevant teacher is a challenge now that information can be accessed through the Internet. As an effective teacher, I will encourage collaborative learning and make learning fun and interesting. I will genuinely care for my students and guide them in their learning.

The Professional Teacher

“Teachers are duly licensed professionals who possess dignity and reputation with high moral values as well as technical and professional competence in the practice of their noble profession, they strictly adhere to, observe, and practice this set of ethical and moral principles, standards and values.”

-Preamble of the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers

This preamble aptly describes what a teacher is as a professional. It says, “teachers are duly licensed professionals” thus, passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers is a requirement for those who want to practice teaching as a profession. Being a teacher is indeed a noble profession. The education of young minds are entrusted to the hands of the teachers. It is the responsibility of teachers to use their technical and professional knowledge, skills and competence to mold the youth into becoming good citizens. Teachers influence the future of the community, society and of the country.

Just last night, my daughter asked me why I need to study again. She said I was already a good English teacher. I told her that I want to pass the licensure exam so that I can be a real teacher and a school teacher. I realized that for me, having the license makes the difference of being a professional teacher. Yes, I have been teaching English online for many years now, but for me, I still feel that I am not a real teacher yet. Being duly licensed as a teacher matters. Now, why do I want to be a teacher? Because I want to teach young minds. Teaching and seeing children learn makes me happy and fulfills me. I want to teach not only academic lessons but also other important virtues like honesty and kindness.

From the group discussions I learned that many people think that teachers are professionals but are not treated as such. I understand where they are coming from. It is a belief that teachers are underpaid and not compensated enough despite the workload that they have. We can often see it in the news that teachers especially in the public sector are rallying for higher salary. Some of the Filipino teachers prefer to teach in foreign countries where they feel they will be compensated well enough for their profession. In line with this argument, some commented that being a professional does not depend on the salary or the compensation. I agree with this. Regardless of how much you are earning, as long as you have the license and you are practicing your profession, then you are a professional. Thinking about it, not only teachers are underpaid. I believe some professionals like doctors and lawyers who choose to work for the government and serve the public sector are also underpaid. They go to remote areas and provide their services there despite the financial challenges in order to help the indigenous people. I think all of us who discussed about our beliefs and feelings about the situation of professional teachers in the Philippines have our own good points and opinions.

On the other hand though, we all agree that being a teacher is a noble profession. A teacher deserves more than the right compensation but the utmost respect and support of the students, parents, fellow teachers and the authorities. As the African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

http://teachercodes.iiep.unesco.org/teachercodes/codes/Asia/Philippines.pdf

http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/10489

My Reflections on Reflective Teaching

In Filipino, “to reflect” means “pagninilay.” We usually define “pagninilay” as deep thinking and analysis of what is happening in our lives or what our situation is. How many times have we reflected on our lives especially during the Lenten season or on our birthdays? How many times have we been advised to reflect on our lives after we have committed a mistake? Deep thinking was also my first thought when asked about what reflection means in Module 1. I thought about reflection as the image we see when we look into the mirror. We look into the mirror to see our reflection and find out if there is something wrong with our appearance. To relate it to our personal lives, we reflect and see which direction our life is going through.

After studying the reading materials in the Module, I realized that I was lacking knowledge about reflection. There is more to reflection than deep thinking. What is it? ACTION. Reflecting will not mean a thing if we do not act, if we do not do anything about what we have reflected on. We reflect about our lives. We analyze what is wrong. But does it end there? No. The next step is to do something about it. What should you do to improve? What should you do to make it better? What should you do next?

When it comes to teaching practices, I realized the importance of reflective teaching. Teachers reflect while teaching. At the moment they are teaching, they observe the students and the class. Teachers ask themselves if what they are doing at the moment effective. Then the teachers adjust the teaching style or strategy based on the reaction of the students. At the end of the day, teachers have to reflect further on what happened in the classes the whole day. Was the lesson relevant? Was the teacher effective in teaching? Was the implementation of the lesson interesting? Teachers reflect and make plans to improve for the next day. Reflective teaching becomes a cycle. Teachers reflect actively to improve every day. Because teachers do it every day, reflective teaching comes naturally to effective teachers.