Will the trio meet?

While teachers are professionally trained to care for students, parents do so experientially. The care of teachers and parents is similar in that they both intend to provide the best for the child. On the other hand, it is different because teachers and parents hold different expectations of students/children. An additional variable to these is the child’s own aspirations, choices, and expectations of him/herself. While tension typically characterizes the competing motives among these individuals, the eventual outcome impacts all three significantly.

Parents

Well-intentioned parents believe that education is the key to succeed in life. Whether a parent has limited or complete understanding of education, its origin, purpose, and characteristics, he/she tend to view it positively. Parents’ hopeful attitude toward education reflects their desire to see their child(ren) live more fulfilling, comfortable, and dignified lives than themselves. Parents think that education is a life-changing means to the end of experiencing the joys of being educated.

Consequently, parents set specific plans for their child(ren) and they start early. A lot of parents think about their child(ren)’s education, career, life-partner, etc., even before he/she celebrates his/her first birthday. Parents often live out the future of their child(ren) in the present by visualizing all possibilities that could be achieved. However, their primary pre-occupation centers around the product of education, disregarding its process (e.g. Grades, assignments, projects, awards, certificates, university admission, etc.). Unless truly devoted, parents do not get into studying and understanding the actual philosophy, psychology, and mechanics of education.

Teachers

Because of professional training, teachers understand the technicalities of education better than parents. Teachers are also trained to put education in the context of children’s development and needs. They talk about and provide education in systematic, reflective, and creative ways. Curriculum, instructional strategies, classroom behavior management, assessment, etc. are some of their pre-occupation. Teachers view children as the recipients of their expertise in education.

Teachers experience an elated sense of satisfaction if and when theories and/or principles learned during teacher training could be utilized successfully with children in the classroom. Hence teachers define student success only inasmuch as the accomplishment occurs as a result of their direct intervention and input (at least that is what they would like to think and believe).

Children

Sandwiched between parents and teachers, students view education with mixed feelings. They operate in between the two emphases given to education from the two most important social institutions known to humans. Children do not understand why parents are gung ho about pre-determining how most of their educational experiences are encountered, without consulting them. At school, children wonder why they feel like objects of experimentation – where school administrators and teachers are eager to conduct new studies on them to discover fresh insight into how teaching and learning really work.

Finding a common ground

It is not difficult for the three groups of people directly involved in the process and product of education to agree upon a unified appreciation of what a school should stand for. This is possible when everyone starts looking at, talking about, and taking action on education based on a better, more realistic understanding about its true nature and significance. The negative cycle that perpetuates misconception about education must be broken and replaced by a progressive view about teaching and learning.

Parents should stop treating their children the same way their own parents treated them – pushing instead of presenting education to children. Teachers should seek to grow in their profession by mastering the art and science of learning about pedagogy through first-hand experiences of learners, instead of constantly testing the effectiveness of theories and/or principles learned at teacher training college using students as their subjects.

When the attitude of parents and teachers toward education change, children will experience minimum cognitive dissonance about learning and become convinced about the need for a good education.

Question 3 (Jan 24, 2008)

Read the following article and answer the questions (20 points):

click on this link to go to the article…

Collaborative Learning Enhances Critical Thinking

1. What are some of important issues discussed in the article? (5 points)
2. Do you agree with the overall theme of the article? Why do you say so? (5 points)
3. Suggest an alternative viewpoint to tackle the issues discussed in the article. (10 points)

Format for the “Reflection on Teaching Methods”

After having utilized a teaching method that is in-line with the “whole-brain” approach (one that is inductive, inquiry-based, discovery-oriented; simultaneously incorporating visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic modalities; encouraging higher order thinking skills) – you are to report the same according to the following format: (has to be sent to my e-mail address as a *.doc attachment)

  1. Grade level?
  2. Class size?
  3. Subject?
  4. Lesson?
  5. Objective(s) of the lesson?
  6. Teaching materials used?
  7. What did the teacher do? (from the start until the end)
  8. What did the students do? (from the start until the end)
  9. Personal critique of the lesson (What was good? What was difficult? What could be done differently? How did you feel? How did the students feel?)


Question 2 (Jan 22, 2008)

Read the following article and answer the questions (20 points):

click on this link to go to the article…

Professor pans ‘learning style’ teaching method

1. What are some of important issues discussed in the article? (5 points)
2. Do you agree with the overall theme of the article? Why do you say so? (5 points)
3. Suggest an alternative viewpoint to tackle the issues discussed in the article. (10 points)

Question 1 (Jan 22, 2008)

An understanding about learning styles requires knowledge of brain functioning. The “whole-brain” approach to teaching is an appropriate one because it enhances intra/inter-neural connectivity in the brain, which has a significant positive outcome on learning. Lessons that incorporate a variety of learning modalities in unison are more stimulating and beneficial for students than the ones that focus exclusively on one or two learning modalities.

Although this is an established fact, teachers are still faced with the challenge of covering contents within a specified time frame (we still teach at schools that are bound by traditional views of teaching and learning). Teachers are constantly running out of time to complete the “syllabus” and in the process, find it difficult to employ the “whole-brain” approach that considers students as individuals with different preferences and styles in learning.

Recommend five concrete ways to enable a teacher to use the “whole-brain” approach to teach his/her subject(s), and at the same time, complete the syllabus assigned to him/her. (5×5 = 25 points)

A Good Start?

The learning styles methods class is on the move. The first two days went fairly well, and we have a few more hurdles to cross before completing the requirements for the class.

The course attempts to fulfill one major objective: Equip students (who are teachers, one way or the other) with knowledge and skills that would enable them to become effective “learning-designers” in the classroom. When teachers take the role of an active facilitator of the thinking process, students are empowered to become life-long learners and thinkers.

The foundational theme of the course is that learning takes place best when it encourages thinking (“thinking is the highest form of learning). The brain, which is the organ responsible for the human thinking processes, operates the best when its neurons are stimulated to interconnect with one another (both intra and inter regional neural connectivity) – e.g. connecting emotion with reasoning/problem-solving, connecting motor skills with visual skills, connecting visual with auditory modalities, etc. When the “whole brain” approach to teaching is adopted, assimilated, and practiced, teachers would become “learning-designers” who are aware about How The Brain Learns. Their practice would reflect adherence to the principles of how the brain learns, in natural ways and settings. Bringing these principles into the class and contextualizing them would encourage and engage students in higher order thinking skills.

The following topics were discussed during the first two classes:

1. Traditional teaching and its characteristics

2. Role of psychological eras in determining educational trends at school

3. Introduction to teaching methods that incorporate the principles of How the Brain Learns

4. Rationale for not dealing with each learning style from an “exclusivistic” viewpoint

5. Evidence that learning styles and/or multiples intelligences work in unison, at all time – established through an understanding about how the brain learns – physiological and neurological explanation
6. Dimensions of Learning: Perceptions and Attitudes; Acquiring and Integrating Knowledge; Extending and Refining Knowledge; Using Knowledge Meaningfully; Productive Habits of Mind – DOL encompasses all the necessary interactive components (especially when deliberately applied in lessons) that would be required for “brain-based teaching”

7. Dimension 1

8. Dimension 2: Acquiring Knowledge

  1. Concept Maps
  2. Ranking
  3. The Human Flowchart
  4. Concept Formation
  5. Concept Attainment
  6. KWL

9. Organizing knowledge (Under dimension 2)

  • Graphic organizers

Topics for Next Week:

Dimension 2: Storing Knowledge (Memory Techniques)

Dimension 3: Extending and Refining Knowledge

Highly Effective Questioning (HEQ)
Giving Examples
Metaphors
Analogies
etc.

Dimension 4: Using Knowledge Meaningfully (decision-making, debates, problem-solving, investigating, inventing, analyzing)

Dimension 5: Developing Productive Habits of Mind