Changing perspectives- Final entry for EDS 103

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I am a teacher initiated by accident and now by choice. I have been in this wonderful profession for the last 9 years. Even though these nine years have gone down well and I have matured as a teacher, I did feel the need of taking up an educational course (I do not have a degree in education). So I joined PTC and this is (hopefully) my last trimester here.

Another trimester is coming to an end and now when I look back, I can see all the things that I have learned, all my learning engagements that have got validation through various theories and my various misconceptions getting cleared.

It has been a tiring 3 month long journey, with bouts of inspiration intertwined with the feeling of being left behind.

Before this course, I did not know that the various things that I do in my class and the the process of my students’ learning have complicated scientific names :-). This course has taught me, how my students think, how does their memory works for them, how should I organize my lesson so that my students get the best out of it,etc.

Few things that really stand out for me at the end of this course are:

  • Primacy-recency effect= the knowledge of this is helping me in organizing my lessons so that my students are able to learn more. Now, I ensure that the key parts of my lessons are explained in the beginning when the student focus is at the peak and this being followed by review and practice.
  • use of reinforcement- these tools can be effectively used for either enhancing a certain behavior or acting as a deterrent.
  • Sensory,working and long term memory- knowledge of this for the learners can help them in segregating the useful from the chaff and putting it into the long term memory for later use.
  • MKO- how the students can learn not only from their teachers/parents/other adults but also from their peers who might know more then them.

This course has made me a better learner and hopefully a more informed and a better armed teacher. My limits were stretched, especially while working for Asst 2 and the Final Exams. This course has not only made me more resilient but also taught me the importance of time and self management. All these skills are crucial for a teacher 🙂

May I continue to be an enthusiastic (and a more organised) learner and continue to inspire my students to be hungry for learning. Amen 🙂

Reflections on Module 3.4- What kind of learner am I?

What kind of learner am I?

An important question but difficult to answer. Never thought about it. I have always been a keen learner, usually for the content that interests me. The click for me is my interest in it. If I am interested, I will go to great lengths to learn about it, try out different methods, make errors and yet try again, find out information from others, dig in and learn more.

There is a balance between desiring a MKO and constructing own understanding. In my case, I would say, the choice would depend on how much do I understand the content. For eg, since I am interested in global issues, history, and environmental issues, I try to study and learn independently. But, if it has to do with finance, a MKO will be useful for me . Here again, I don’t want someone to spoon feed to me , but rather explain to me patiently.

I have been educated in the traditional system where the teachers taught, we learned. There was not much scope or opportunities to learn with peers, in groups. There was not much of a variety in teaching techniques. Teacher as MKO was present, scaffolding was provided but very often, teachers would find it easy to give out answers instead of pushing us to discover it on our own. Only learners who got good scores were considered to be good. Only way, we could demonstrate our learning was through tests/exams. So anyone, who was not good with cramming and/or writing skills would not be able to do well.

I am happy to realize that various things that I have learned in these modules are what I apply inside my classroom. I scaffold the content depending on the ability level of the student. Making connections of the content with real life is very crucial for my students to understand and remember. Our curriculum allows us lot of freedom to teach and I use various techniques in the classroom.

I often make use of MI so that my students are comfortable and are able to learn with their strengths. But occasionally, I also challenge them to work with their weakest MI so that they are able to come out of their comfort zone.

These modules have taught me a lot of new things and for many others, have given me the assurance that what I ma n doing in my teaching practice is correct and beneficial for my students.

Reflections on Module 3.3 – my childhood memories & connection between learning and the real world

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A person with very sharp memory is often compared with a computer. It is true that a computer is able to process information very quickly;however, I would not like my brain to be replaced by a computer because there are lot of other things that my brain can do, like making connections.  Computers rely on software programmers to feed information in them, however, human brain is capable of solving even highly complex problems without computer assistance.

Looking back at my childhood memories, my remotest memories is of the time when I was 2 years old. It didn’t take me long to retrieve these memories as I often think about them. I have vivid memories of that house, few incidents that had happened there, my kitchen garden,etc. Sometimes, I am really surprised that how come, I can remember even the smallest details of that house 🙂

After that, I clearly remember the name of my 1st school, my best friend then but I have a very hazy memory of my 1st teacher and my classroom.

After my pre-school, I entered an elementary school and studied there for 12 years and graduated after High School. These 12 years are printed on my mind- my teachers, my friends, the physical structure of the school…..This has happened because I have constantly retrieved these memories- every time, I visit my hometown (annually), I pass by my school and remember the fond memories, my school friends are still my closest buddies and I am in touch with my school through FB. All these have consolidated those memories and even though, it has been more than 20 years, since I have graduated from there, the memories are fresh and crystal clear.

Anything that we retrieve regularly makes our memories stronger of those events.  If I can make connections that other things, again, I can remember things. For eg, names of people. Our personal predisposition towards things/topics also affect retrieval. For eg, I am not comfortable with numbers. No matter, how much I try, I can’t remember data. I can explain things, reasons,etc, but am never able to support my reason with numbers 😦

Cramming has an adverse affect on our memory. Making connections, understanding the relevance of the content and interest in it helps in remembering. If I am interested in something and believe that it is important for me, I will be able to remember it even after the exam is over, but if I have studied something only for the sake of exams, I will not be able to retrieve it well after the exams.

Making connections is has a big place in today’s education system. I can say this at least for IB curriculum. When I teach my students, I try to make connections with their real life and how that content will be useful for them. This will help them in understanding and remembering it for longer. I don’t remember most of the math and science learned in school as I have never used those things in my real life.