DEAR MA’AM/SIR

Reaction to the reading of the same title: Can a civics teacher teach math? There is such a thing called acquired taste. That means, we might not actually like or love something during the first time, but by giving them a chance, we’d like it eventually.

  1. I realised from this article that students are keen observers and they are the most reliable source of information to improve the teaching-learning process. Example is the guy who mentioned that he cares whether the teacher cares, if the lesson is taught well, or actually taught at all. Next, I learnt that students gestures can be an informative source of how to manage the classroom effectively. Since the teacher is the manager, s/he must be keen that fiddling a pencil case means something, as much as wrinkling of the forehead suggests something. Lastly, I learnt that a teacher is accountable to broaden his/her experiences in order to connect lessons to real life. Vicarious experiences extracted from reading, listening, and viewing also counts well.
  2. Issues left unclear to me are: how much control the teacher need to exercise inside the classroom; how could an pre- or in-service teacher’s training prepare them to become a holistic teacher who has got preparation, management, passion and significance; and how much content must the teacher teach, when the students could eventually find those themselves when they are trained to become self-directed learners.
  3. As a student, I used to think that Math is really boring; that strict teachers make the most impact in the lives of students; and that teachers must be well versed with a subject area. But then, I realised even more that Math become boring because the teacher made it so, probably lacking enough experiences to create a reali-life learning context where I could have connected ideas clearly. I realised that really strict teachers make the most impact, though it may take some few years before a student notices it. And lastly, I realised that a teacher need not to focus on one area. As much as the learners are diverse, s/he must also be able to connect information from other disciplines.
  4. Questions left hanging in my head would probably be about how come the author’s students’ reflection about their teachers exist in the classroom, where in fact those issues could have been outrightly dealt with during college? Does this mean that graduates of teacher education are mentally equipped but lack the due skills of practice when they enter classroom? They are probably theory-laden and substantial, but gets frustrated when the actual scenario extracts the idealism out of them. And so, is that the student/graduate’s fault, or the university, or the age-old education system itself?
  5. In my 6 years of handling classes, I conducted surveys to improve my craft. When I felt the need to analyse which I am good and weak at, I surveyed my class about the aspects of my teaching. I did it yearly, and I found out interesting perceptions from different cohorts of students I handles. When I felt the need to know what kind of teachers student listen to, I asked my students to interview their schoolmates. I even asked them to observe their other teachers.
  6. Let me make a critique regarding the pre-service education/training of teachers and the way they are given licensed. Probably not obsolete, but I think it is primeval! While Singapore, for instance, reformed drastically their educational system since 1997 with their Learning Schools, Thinking Nations national framework, ours just started. Talk about an abstract nationalism that hindered our nation, especially our people, to have inclusive opportunities.
  7. Anyway, as I was saying, teachers’ preparation is largely content knowledge-based. First, the curriculum laden with facts and theories to memorise, but not fully understand or grasp because there is no real-life connection. If there is, it happens during few semesters of college. Second, the items in the licensure examinations may go through all critical levels of knowledge taxonomies, but then again, the measure is entirely knowledge-based. Can a paper actually measure classroom skill that may be enough to merit one  a license? And lastly, not all who take teachers education would end up teaching. Economically speaking, that is a whole lot of resources wasted and opportunities missed. That is because, the students enter college early and would only end up deciding what they want to do in life 2 years later or probably more.

My radical idea would have to be devolve to state universities the granting of license for teachers based on a two-year full experience in the ground level: the classroom. This way they get real-life exposure as para-teachers; and they get to be coached and mentored by professional teachers. An assessment will be probably be helpful at the end to see the level of achievement of that teacher. The result shall show an entry-level assessment for schools so they can accommodate well the needs of that teacher or if the strengths of that teacher suit the school’s need. Whatever s/he lacks will later on be dealt with as s/he pursues masteral and doctoral degrees.

CHED issued a memorandum ordering HIEs or SUCs to shift from traditional modes of learning and use outcomes-based education. As early as 2006, DLSU has shifted to this mode; while Mapua Insitute of Technology got a US-based recognition for this. When we put a teacher aspirant into that context of real-life, real workplace scenario where s/he can make sense the content knowledge and theories, before licensed is given, that is outcomes-based.

If we do not reform, we sink because “the education landscape did not change since the colonial days” (Bautista, et. al, 2000). In fact, the results of the 1925 Monroe Survey do not differ with the state of Philippine education in the 1990s.

 

Reference

Bautista, Ma Cynthia Rose, Allan B.I. Bernardo, and Dina Ocampo. 2000. When Reforms Don’t Transform: Reflections On Institutional Reforms in the Department of Education

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#SelfieGen

A critique to an article entitled The Me Generation, where the author contends based on a study that children and teenagers nowadays are unlike the previous generations. They ‘seem to be rude, but are actually polite. And that’s not even a flinch of irony.’

  1. I learned some concepts the author presented about today’s children—That children and teenagers (1) are becoming spoiled, rude, and selfish, expecting but never trying their best; (2) believe that they deserve their fair share, even if it may mean getting more than other people; and finally, (3) seems rude on the surface, but is perfectly polite, even that direct opposite is not an irony.
  2. I do not understand well the intention of the author. Probably, s/he’s bridging the intergenerational gap. Is s/he predisposed to make his/her readers understand the children today? If so, she appeared to have contradicted him/herself in a number of times. More so, I do not understand that after the flesh-whipping descriptions clouted in statistics, s/he proceeded by telling, it is not the Gen Me’ers fault, but the prevailing culture. Prevailing culture? I do not understand why s/he has to deconstruct the Gen Me’ers first, yet to build it up again. Is this what Twenge calls, ‘kids raised on a diet of self-esteem’?
  3. I used to think that Britney has simply wasted here life, that children today just lacked spending quality time and love from their parents, and that they lacked grit and resiliency in face of adversity. But then I realised that although Britney played the victim role with all her divorces, she manifests a great and firm resolve, no matter what it takes, to achieve her priority, i.e., “Myself, my husband, and starting a family.” She’s very certain about what she wants in life; and she ought to get it.  I realised that children today might have missed on spending quality time with their parents, but they were raised in silver platter. Good enough to build that ‘army of little narcissists.’ And finally, I realised that  although children today lack grit and resiliency, or patience, that is because there is a gap between the adults’ perception of who they are and where they should be, and the trend that leads this children to their future, they are the generation who are certain of what they want to do, no matter how the rest perceive it otherwise. Fact of the matter is, even the adults do not understand that world. That world they themselves created.
  4. I do not understand why the author call this generation as the entitlement generation? Why s/he blamed the prevailing culture for raising these kind of kids? Couldn’t all this be an offshoot of what happened to the lives of those who were born in the 1950-60s? In fact, what that generation didn’t own to lead, ricochet back at them. The author presented Gen Me’ers swinging on both extreme ends of a pendulum, what could have led to this seemingly bipolaric tendecies?
  5. On one hand, I think it will be important to explore the lives of artists who made it when they were still young like Britney Spears, Aliyah, Backstreet Boys, and the more contemporary Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga,  and the contoversial “tweaker” Miley Cyrus. It will be helpful to look at the context where they grew up, who were their influences, and the quality of their relationships with the adults surrounding them, especially their parents. On the other hand, I am also interested in documenting how the parents of the Gen Me’ers perceived where their parenting have gone wrong, and how the Gen Me’ers perceived where their parents have gone wrong in raising them up. This is to build upon an awareness that probably it is not merely about mass media or pop culture, but the lack or absence of quality time between parents and the children. Proof to this will be the answer to this question: “When was the last time that you dine with your family together on one table, with the kids not opening their iPhones or iPads?”
  6. Going back to the questions I have in my mind, I think the blame game won’t get into a halt unless we understand the context where the children born between 1970s-2000s. Isn’t that the generation where fathers left their families to seek greener pasteurs abroad; women (single or not) began climbing the corporate ladder; children left either with an un-schooled yaya or age-of-war-raised grandparents; and to make matters worse, children jammed with 49 others inside a humid room with a greying old teacher who failed to ride into the waves of change, favors a hefty upper 10% of the class? What happends to the 90%? And we wonder why there are more morons in our society, why the ‘A’ students work for the ‘C’ students, and ‘B’ for the government, why gays are multiplying faster, and why ironically we are seated where we are, but actually wanting another place? According to the principle of brain plasticity, what you do not use, you lose. In the case of this, when the previous generation, in hopes to find a better life, sacrificed quality time with their children, they lost that group of young people whom today are called, the Gen Me’er, or aptly, the Selfie generation.

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (1939)

The best teachers are the ones who make the fewest pretensions…. Perhaps, if we teacheres were more honest about our own reading disabilities, less loath to reveal how hard it is for us to read and how often we fumble, we might get the students interested in the game of learning instead of the game of passing. (p. 13)

When teachers no longer know how to perform the function of reading books with their students, they are forced to lecture at them instead. (p.57)

Reading is better or worse according as it is more or less active. (p.22)

What one man requires little or no effort may demand genuine exertion for another. (p.29)

Most of us do not know what the limits of our comprehension are. We have never tired to our powers to the full. It is my honest belief that almost all the greta books in every field are within the grasp of all normally intelligent man. (p.30)

Hobbes said: “If I read as man books as most men” –he meant “misread”–“I should be as dull-witted as they.” (p.40)

It is certainly better to gather few crumbs which have dropped from the table than to starve in futile adoration of the feast we cannot reach. (p.61)

Do not say you agree, disagree or suspend judgment, until you cans say, “I understand.” (p.267)

There is no point in winning an argument an argument if you know or suspect you are wrong. (p.245)

21st century learning with DIWA Publishing

Another publishing company presents what they have to offer today. I think, just like pre schools, grade schools, and high schools mushroom in town, publishing houses have also become profitable business. Why not? Considering several million school children in this country, and the demand to print book rises with it, the print cost of a book is set at only 20 cents.

Listening to the presentation, DIWA Publishing integrated 4 different materials in their system. They have textbooks, magazines, eBooks, and online learning system called GENYO.

Welcome to 21st Century learning.

This initial talks with this publisher was actually brought by Emmanuel Christian School in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Our big boss met up with the couple some few months back and then the flew here last July 26. They brought with them some people from MathScor and an ICT provider, who each prepared a demo for their products.

MathScor follows the Singapore scheme of practice, practice, and more practice; while the ICT provides online grade access and enables students to launch web development projects.

DIWA, meanwhile, offers almost the same. But I think, there’s no problem getting all of these supplements and resources, for as long as the wiFi in the school will be upgraded. These will all complement each other.