Final Insight From the Keeper

The venturesome passion to learn and re-learn makes this insights’ keeper fall in love with learning over and over again. Verily, the concepts presented were helpful to augment my knowledge on the different theories so that when it’s time to devote my verve in teaching, I would manage to offer the appropriate strategies in accordance with the learners’ learning styles, behavior, and adaptation.

       The topic on behaviorism interests me the most because I thought that one of the greatest challenges for a teacher is to approach a misbehaved student and how he/she would encourage him to get focus on the lessons. I found it captivating how to reach out to students in case they are not concerned in reaching out to me. The recommendations provided by my classmates in our discussion and open forum on misbehavior were noteworthy for me to use in reinforcing students’ behavior.

       Beating the deadline was really tough to beat, but it tests my discipline and taught me the art of time management. Saturdays and Sundays were spent with my laptop – my new best friend. I realized that this kind of on line study stimulates critical thinking as coursework were formulated in the context of specific topics that let students develop open mindedness.

       I would count it most when I was advised to PERSONALIZE my learning. Yes, it was a bit challenging because my previous law course trained me to submit my answers with legal bases and never solely on my own personal thinking. I started breaking down information using my own words and retrieving personal experiences backed up by theoretical justifications to make the idea I wanted to impart as simple and illustrative as possible. It was not to impress, but to express so as to build the kind of learning I always wanted. Personalizing my learning was one way of constructing my knowledge by processing my own past experiences in fragments or jam-packed to associate them in my new knowledge. The intelligent discussions of my classmates were helpful to know how my line of understanding diverges from them and how to converge such divergence.

      Exciting though was the feedback mechanism provided by our diligent teacher, Madam Malou. My thankfulness to you is well-deserved. Your commentaries to our responses transmitted meaningful instructions to boost proper on line learning engagement. I take them by heart so as to learn more and to improve my learning. Perhaps, this is the least but modest sensitivity I could contribute to keep the light of education burning in me so I could share the same fire to our little fellows and design new pathways for them.

      I am an insights’ keeper, you are an insights’ keeper too…Let’s keep this flame shining through…

Think Man…

Man’s ability to think is a gift. It is an innate competence that needs to be nurtured to make such gift extra special. To foster one’s mind is an activity, a skill and most of all, a process to be developed as we continue to think, imagine and reason.  As we cultivate our mind with knowledge, our intellect is awakened which leads us to critical thinking.  The power of one’s mind to critically think manifests on how we act, behave and live our life. Then who are these critical thinkers? How do they think and what kind of thinkers they are?

 Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking elaborate, that critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.   People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, emphatically.    They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.   They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies.   They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking.   They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.   They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest.   They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society.    At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.   They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others.   They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement.   They embody the Socratic principle:   The unexamined life is not worth living , because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world. (~ Linda Elder, September, 2007)

Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion. For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor. (http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766)

Construct and Co-construct

Teaching children to explore could also be done through outdoor activities like field trips or educational tours. A science class for instance with topics on the solar system sun, moon, stars, could be best constructed if children are taken to a planetarium. There, they could process their existing knowledge in a more visible and nearly realistic way, instead of just letting them memorize the different planets. At least, they could have a grasp of how Jupiter differs from Venus, or how bright the stars are or how pretty is the moon or how magnificent the sun is.

Lessons on different species of fish may interest children to visit Ocean Park or if not feasible, to show them a big aquarium with different kinds of fish. Most typical though is to bring students in a wildlife park or a zoo for them to get familiar with the two-legged animals and differentiate them with the four-legged type. Those animals that fly, crawl, run, or maybe getting them acquainted with the sounds they create. Usually, teachers group them into five like a peer group and allow them to list those animals according to body features, sounds, mobility, and functions. Each member should be able to contribute by explaining what animals they see so that interactions with the co-peer would help him/her to process better his own discovery.

These are simple strategies but would somehow increase social interactions and pave the way not only to construct learner’s knowledge but would also help them co-construct knowledge base with their co-learners.

Hands-On-Learning

I would bracket constructive learning simply as “HANDS ON LEARNING”. Students should be guided to engage with activities under minimum direction. More active involvement is needed from them to apply the theoretical concepts in practice.

One of my literature professors back in college was fond of STORYLINE. She would instruct the whole class to form a big circle and she would start it by giving introduction to the story with the time it was written, and the author’s brief background. The story was assigned to us during our last meeting. She would then draw lots our names and the one chosen would start the story, then the person on her right should continue it in two to three lines, until all of us had contributed to complete the story. Those who did not read and could not connect to the next episode or scene were required to move their chairs backwards and after we finished the story, our teacher would ask those who were not able to participate some questions based on what they heard from the storyline. This strategy was meaningful and the plays like Shakespeare’s King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth were easy for us to role play having accommodated previous knowledge with the one’s we were required to perform during finals.

The hands-on learning from the storyline until the actual drama portrayal was shared and interactive activities that helped me and my co-learners magnify and internalize the knowledge which our teacher wanted us to acquire.

How to Use Music to Improve Memory

Music can take you anywhere that you want to go. Older people use music to take them back to their childhood, back to the era when they were used in listening to music. Average adults use music to take them back to their first date with their spouse. Younger adults use music to reminisce on memories that they had shared with their friends. When  you use music to go back in time, you are sharpening your short-term memory. As you listen to the music, you will be able to see how music has changed over the years. Songs that may have been at hit in the seventies may be modified and be a hit today but only in a younger version. It doesn’t matter however; it all depends on what music holds in store for you and your memory.

As you listen to a song, you tend to memorize it over a period of time. The first time you heard it, you know nothing about it but you like the tone of the song. The second time that you listen to the hit you begin to familiarize yourself with the words. The third time you hear the song you are able to sing the song along with the artist, and the fourth time that you hear the song you are able to sing it without the artist. Now do you see how music can help sharpen your short-term memory?

At what time you are trying to remember something fast, it is important that you go over it repeatedly until you have a firm grip on the subject that you are trying to remember. For instance, you see a friend at the store that you haven’t seen in a while and that you want to go and see sometime. Therefore, you ask her for her address, she doesn’t have a piece of paper so you have to memorize it. She tells you then you repeat it back to her, later after you get through talking you ask her to verify it again to make sure that you got it right, however this time you tell her the address without her telling you first. This is a good way to sharpen your short-term memory. In order to sharpen your short-term memory you must practice, you know the saying “practice makes perfect” however the statement is not true, since none of us are perfect.

Repeating is a great instrument for sharpening the memory. However, you can repeat too much and forget what you learn. In other words, moderation is the ideal tool for any area of life to enhance any situation, including memory.

Other tactics work well too. For instance, you could preview or review information you read to sharpen the short-term memory. The tactics work wonders for sharpening the mind.

Visual aids also promote memory. If you have difficult recalling information you can use visual aids, including music to help you remember what it is you want to remember.

Memories are always in the mind. No matter what you do in life everything you learnt, heard, smelled, and so on is in your mind. The mind is like a tunnel, and in each area of the tunnel, information is waiting for you to associate it with new information. Thus, associating objects, words, etc can help you sharpen the memory. Go ahead and walk through that tunnel, while using visual aids, music, previewing, reviewing, and so on. Remember, the longer you look at information the better the odds you will remember also.

Re-posted from http://improve-memory.readabout.net/how-is-music-related-to-sharpening-your-short-term-memory.html

Chunking

When emergency strikes, most often than not, the responders take note of the phone number of our immediate family if they found our IDs. But if all our personal belongings are missing, we could only rely in our memory to remember the contact numbers of our loved ones. Remembering phone numbers is not that easy just like retrieving several concepts. For example, in US, the hotline 911 is convenient to encode because it consists of only 3 digits, similar to Bantay Bata 163 in the Philippines. But, how about the cellphone numbers which consist of at least 11 digits?

Rearranging the number or concepts may be done by chunking them to keep it active in short-time memory and if more motivated, we could help learners rehearse and transfer them in long-term memory. For example, a cellphone number 09276460434, we could ask them to encode the number as a set of three chunks 0927-6460-434 rather than as an individual numbers.

In the sequence: LUZVISMINPHIL, we recognize 13bits of information but it is difficult to encode them one by one even in our short memory. But if we chunk them in sets of four, we could find the meaning in the information: LUZ, VIS, MIN, PHIL. This is better to encode and to retrieve.

“Chunking is the combining of individual items into a larger unit of meaning and it widens the information processing bottleneck caused by limited capacity of short-term memory.” (Gobet & Simon, 1998).