Reflection Students Can Improve by Studying their Learning Processes Before I started my student-teaching at the UBHS, I listed down some of my observations with the Grade 8 students like their strengths and weaknesses. This is why I formulated my goals and objectives that I need to achieve in order to address these concerns when I will be teaching them. Most of the students are actively participating but there are times that they are too active to handle. When they get bored during the discussion, they start talking creating nuisance and distraction on the teacher’s part. On the other hand, most of them also are expressive into sharing their feelings and experiences to the class. When I ask them what they felt unto a certain experience, they can describe this in details. But when I tell them to write it as an essay or in few paragraphs, they are unable to do so. Moreover, I also observed that students keep making the same error during Science classes especially in the problem-solving activities.
The worst part is that they don’t really mind if they fail maybe, because most of them are doing it. I can foresee that this is becoming a habit and when they are promoted to the next level, it would be the same problem all over again unless they decide to change this cycle. It’s a good thing that I read this article when I was preparing my orientation with the class before I would be their teacher. At the very first day that I entered the room as their teacher, I introduced my rules on behavior, attitude and classroom management. Along with attitude, I told them that in my class, “Science is not only about intellect but it also includes perseverance, determination and other virtues they should keep in mind.” I shared to them what I read in this article, that they should know their learning processes in order to improve not only their grades but also their learning strategies. “According to the principles of learning, Learning is an active process which is activated by the learner himself”. On the other hand, “Learning is a painful process but it is non-sense if you got hurt and learned nothing. So, get up, face your mistakes and make it right this time.”
These are my words to them which got their attention and until now, they keep on reflecting on them and finding out what this means to them. Every time I got the chance, it may annoy them but I keep on reminding them these principles. Whenever they got low scores during quizzes, “I ask them, so what should you do about it?” I pause and say, “That’ right, find out where you went wrong and next time don’t make the same error again. In that way, you will make-up for the lost points while gaining up confidence for your achievement. Don’t give up with just few failures; instead use these failures to motivate you to learn a lot more.”
Sometimes, I think I’m not teaching Science anymore or I’m teaching Science less. My objectives in my lesson are to define terms, derive formulas, demonstrate the concept, etc. but it seems at the end of the lesson, I wasn’t able to achieve them ‘cause I discussed more on how to improve their study habits, attitude, behavior. After teaching with them in almost three weeks, I noticed that with the self-regulated assessment, most had improved with this experimental method. I think it’s a slow, long process like the evolution but with patience, perseverance and other necessary characteristics, I will be able to achieve this goal. I hope that during my stay with them, I will be able to help the students not only to survive but also to excel. Source: Glenn, D.The Education Digest.September 2010. p.13-20 Reflection 3
Using Humor in the Classroom
It’s a trend for the students to have a misconception and pre-conviction that Science is a stone-cold, serious and boring subject. This is why few are interested to listen during Science classes and which is also why it makes our job as Science teachers a lot more difficult. According to this article and the principles of teaching, using humor is effective for the students to like the teacher. At first, I don’t really care if the students like me or not just as long as they listen to me. But at the students’ age and level of maturity, it’s a pre-requisite for them to like me so they will listen to me. So, I started adding the enough sense of humor during my Science classes. And, it works, at least most of the time. Just like what the article says, “the benefits of humor is that it can help capture and retain students’ attention, reduce stress and anxiety, increase student motivation and participation, promote a sense of acceptance in class that allows students to think in creative and divergent ways and others.” Humor has really helped me a lot into refraining my students sleep during my classes.
However, I have to admit that sometimes I go too far and make inappropriate jokes. Just like everything, there is a need of balance. Too much of anything is not good so just like what this article say, there should only be small doses of humor just enough to maintain the students’ attention which is also appropriate for their age and status. There are also times that students can hardly connect at the essence of my jokes. I think it’s because my jokes are sometimes outdated or too complicated for them to deduct. So, I associate my jokes with the current trends along with my lesson. I also use the terms they use with their peers like “boom-panes”, “ice-bucket challenge” and other trendy words at the moment. In choosing an instructional materials and preparing activies, I see to it that it is fun, funny and explorative but at the same time informative and educational.
For example, when I had my lesson on Work as defined in Physics, I made them perform a role-playing activity. In order for the students to be attentive, I asked them to re-enact the work done by a ballot vendor, “bote-landok” buyer and seller, a beauty queen and a secretary. I chose those attention-seekers in the class to do the activity and I was impressed how they were able to give a very energetic performance. I enjoyed it personally and so does the audiences which are the other students. In this way, the students laughed and learned a lot in relation to our topic. Just like what the article says, there are positive and negative effects of humor. When used properly, it enhances learning in many ways but when it is misused, it can hurt the students’ as well as the teacher’s feelings. Therefore, in using humor, proceed with caution and use it wisely. Source: Ivy, L. The Education Digest. October 2013. p.54-57
Creativity: A Cure for the Common Curriculum
Students love it when I compare them to the process of metamorphosis. I tell them that they are just caterpillars for now and soon, they will become beautiful and colorful butterflies. In order to achieve metamorphosis in the world of Education, Creativity is not only a miscellaneous but rather a need in the students’ learning process. However, in this day and age, few students realize the importance of enhancing their own innate creative being. In the classes that I taught, I observed that there are hesitations which hinder them into letting out their creative self. They are afraid to make mistakes or try then fail. They think they are doomed if they fail once or twice. This is why I always assure them that in my class, there are no wrong answers but instead there are trials, lots of trials in order to arrive at the correct answer. Whenever they answer and their answer does not directly address my question, I ask them supplemental questions until we arrive at the main point. In this way, they hone their convergent and divergent thinking ability which are requirements of Creativity. In the traditional curriculum, students are trained to follow patterns and do things by the textbook. Yes, this is essential for the students should be oriented of the basics and disciplines.
However, they must also learn how to do things their own way, create new things and innovate from what they know, from what they learned. This is why in my Science class, I require my students to create and design things. Just like when we had the lesson on the law of motions, I required my students to make a paper-balloon car which is functional, durable and presentable. When they submitted their outputs, I can see that they have the potentials and that they can do more. So I appreciated their effort and recognized their ingenuity and innovativeness. I also gave recommendations for them to improve. On the contrary, it’s hard to measure the creativity presented in their product. So I learned that in process and product-assessment activities, there should really be a reliable and valid rubric to be prepared so that the students will have a guide into creating things. According to the article, “Creative tasks are, by nature, ambiguous with no clear right or wrong answers.
Such tasks require taking intellectual risks, trying, evaluating and discarding ideas, and making connections.” In reality, there are lot of difficulties in infusing creativity in my lesson and curriculum as a teacher. I’m realizing it now that creativity is not taught in few settings but rather it is honed and developed through time. It’s a holistic process which involves all the learning areas and dimensions. It is not only the brain (cognitive domain) involved in this process but also the heart (affective domain) and body (psychomotor domain) as well. However, I am still hoping that with more experience and practice, I’ll be able achieve this creative goal of mine. Source: Berret, D.The Education Digest.October 2013. p.13-20
In the traditional classroom setting, teachers can literally spank those students who are misbehaving. It seemed effective back then like the friars in the Spanish period but it only instilled fear and forced obedience among the students. With the principles of teaching-learning and also with my personal experience, I strongly oppose this as a method of controlling the class. This is neither effective nor complement the students’ learning process. During my teachings at the UB-High School, first on my list of difficulties is how to manage the class. Most of the Grade 8 students are highly active in making noises rather than in participating during the discussion of the lesson and other activities. What really annoys me is that they are unaware that they are distracting me even if their chatter is louder than my voice. They think they’re innocent of such fault. After reading this article, I started to draw my plans in implementing classroom management strategies. It’s a good thing that at the first day of my teaching with them, I oriented them of my expectations into behaving into class.
Every now and then, I keep reminding them of the house rules that we established following Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning technique. Just like what the article suggested, I pause for a while whenever most of the students are noisy and I make a strong direct gaze at the offenders until they get the message to stop their noise. If it doesn’t work, I sit instead and let their classmates call the attention of those misbehaving. I also try the numbers game. I tell the class that I would give them at least two minutes to settle down before we can proceed. If it is break time, I tell them that I would not dismiss them until they are all well-behaved or I dismiss the behaved ones on time but I let the offenders stay in the classroom a little bit longer so I can have a talk with them. As much as possible, I refrain from embarrassing the students who are misbehaving. So I tell the class to stop teasing the student whom I called his/her attention. There are times that I go near the students who are being noisy instead of calling out their names. I would stare at them while I would still be discussing the lesson to avoid interruptions. I thought my grooming would be irrelevant with the lesson discussion but students are actually bothered if I didn’t groom neatly and properly.
There are times that instead of asking something related to the topic, they would ask if I wore my uniform properly comparing me to the other student-teachers. They also care about my hair and make-up, shoes, nail polish and accessories. They made me conscious then of what I’m supposed to wear because I realized that I will earn their respect somehow by dressing professionally. Not all students are misbehaving so I also give praises and encouragement to those who are behaving properly so that they can be the role-models of the class. I give credits to them so they will continue their good behavior and not be discouraged if all the attention goes to the noisy ones. There are really difficulties when it comes to managing the class especially that we are student-teachers and most students don’t abide with us because of this. We still have to earn their respect through time and exposure. We have established routines, disciplinary measures and other strategies to manage the class. Therefore, patience and endurance are the key values needed. Source: Andrew Ilagan. The Educator. March-April 2013
To many students, Science might be a unicorn or a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow. They do not appreciate the reality of the lessons being discussed in Science. In the traditional lesson proper of the Science subjects, students are asked to read and memorize definitions and terms with just theoretical explanations. Sometimes, it’s like telling a fairy tale like the unicorn and leprechaun that I mentioned. With the new K-12 curriculum today, students are made to explore in order to deepen their understanding with the concepts. How? Through having experiential learning activities such as laboratory activities and varied approaches and instructional materials in teaching Science, students are able to transfer or convert the theoretical knowledge into a concrete experience. And with my teaching experience and the principles of teaching-learning backing me up, these are more effective methods for the teaching-learning process. According to the article, resourcefulness is one of the most important qualities of a science teacher. Conducting laboratory activities and presenting real objects for the lesson could be a challenge especially if the resources are scarce at the teacher’s location. This is why as a Science teacher, I should be able to substitute, improvise and customize as suggested in this article.
At the UB- High School, the Science Department’s projector is not functional. So instead of presenting video clips and animations which I find very helpful, I demonstrate or I let the students demonstrate the concept with the real objects to explore. I also give the students varied activities like role-playing, designing, composing jingles/songs and other group-works so they will actively participate with the lesson proper instead of me just talking in front. However, in conducting these activities, the class should be oriented of the rules and guidelines which must be observed before, during and after each activity. Organization is essential so the task will be carried out in accordance to the objectives to be accomplished. Instructions should also be given clearly and carefully.
Curiosity among the students should also be developed. In my classes, I always encourage my students to be asking questions if they didn’t understand the lesson and they shouldn’t hesitate into asking questions especially if it’s a “what if?”. As a Science teacher, I also promote creativity and innovation. At their young minds, I believe they can create and design peculiar things which can be productive. I gave my students a task on designing a balloon car and some of them surprised me. It is fulfilling on my part as a teacher that they submitted more than what I expected them to. For those who were not able to excel, I encourage them to do better next time and don’t give up trying. In general, many say that Science is a difficult subject but I say, sometimes it depends on the teacher. No task is that hard to a person who is dedicated to her work. Source: Reyett Paunan. The Educator. March-April 2013