Saturday, June 25, 2016

Knowledge Channel Learning Effectively through Enhanced Pedagogy

    Last June 22-24, 2016, I attended Knowledge Channel's LEEP (Learning Effectively through Enhanced Pedagogy) Seminar together with my principal and a coteacher. The aim of the seminar is to update and perhaps refresh teachers with enhanced pedagogy for the improvement of teaching-learning process. And at the same time, it intends to improve the 21st Century skills of the teachers through the use of technology and multimedia such as the Knowledge Channel.

The 80s Group with Mr. Seo, (sitted at the left), our facilitator...hello Naruto shirt...hehehe
    Our facilitators were Maam Fe Hidalgo, Sir Seo, Sir Edric and the two others (sorry I forgot their names...). They were actually good with their topics. I love how the facilitators, particularly Sir Seo utilized activity-based approach in presenting important concepts of the seminar. Though some are quite boring because of the lecture approach of the other facilitators, I still learned a lot.
   We were grouped according to our MI (multiple intelligences) and later based on the decade when we were born. I was quite lucky that I was in a group who are talented so accomplishing the tasks was a no-brainer for us. It was actually fun.

While doing our assigned task....
   Anyway, I was very appreciative and grateful to Knowledge Channel for providing us with a lot of e-learning packages which we could actually use in our school. I was very ecstatic knowing that my favorite show on Knowledge Channel, Faculty Room, was included in the package. At least, I have the complete episodes in which I could watch all over again and perhaps be used with my college education students. And I was quite happy that other teachers seem to enjoy the show as well. But most of all, I was very happy knowing that these packages can be used in teaching our students in our school in order to improve academic success. And I think through this, there is no excuse for not giving quality education to our students.
  The later part, I was quite pissed knowing that I have a part in the closing program. To be honest, when I attend seminars or teacher-related activities, I tend to maintain a low-profile. It is not that I am passive, I just don't want to be the center of attention and be the "star of the show". I just want to learn and that's it. However, as soon as the closing program started and they were distributing the programmes, I was in shock to find my name listed to "accept the challenge" of the seminar! It is not that I can't do it. It is just that if I were informed earlier, I could have prepared and have my mind set. So while the program was going on, I rushed to scribble some notes on the things I need to say, Actually, what made me pissed is the fact that I was caught unprepared. It is as if  someone wanted to sabotage me and to test if I could still deliver despite the pressure, OR, someone might have been assigned to that part and in order to save her/himself, she/he pointed the finger at me. To end my "lamentation", I was thankful that I delivered. I was a bit proud of myself for pulling that off despite of it being spontaneous and unexpected.

Isn't it obvious? I am quite not happy...hehehe
    To sum up my experience, I can say that I was totally filled with knowledge, skills and attitudes of a 21st century teacher out from the seminar. The place, the food, the conduct of the seminar was overall excpetional. And wait, I was also very happy with the chocolates they gave to those who are good performers and participants...hehehe...Thank you Knowledge Channel!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Teacher's Prayer

    I just want to share this inspiring prayer for teachers. There are a lot of prayers in the web but I originally read this prayer at the back of my lesson plan. Let me just share this to you. I made a poster of it so that you can post it in your classroom or table.

Teacher's Prayer

I want to teach my students how
To live this life on Earth.
To face it's struggles and it's strife
And to improve their worth.
Not just the lesson in a book
Or how the rivers flow, But how to choose the proper path
Wherever they may go.
To understand eternal truth
And know the right from wrong,
And gather all the beauty of
A flower and a song.
For if I help the world to grow
In wisdom and in grace,
Then I shall feel that I have won
And I have filled my place.
And so I ask your guidance, God,
That I may do my part.
For character and confidence
And happiness of heart.
-James J. Metcalf

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nogas Island, Antique

     As a continuation of our summer escapade in Antique, we went to Nogas Island, an island situated across Anini-y. It was a 15-20 minute boat ride from the mainland and is said to be an environmental sanctuary. Legend has it that Nogas is the other-half of Aniny-y. They were lovers separated by an enchanted mermaid because the latter, despite the help she has given to defend the love of the two lovers, wasn’t invited to the wedding. These made the mermaid mad so she cursed the two to be separated forever by the sea.

     Anyway, the island is actually beautiful. The water is so clear that you can see through what is behind at the bottom. The sand is also white with broken corals and rocks. This is the reason why many people flock to Nogas Island via Siraan. There are available day cottages as well that made me wonder if the local government waived the island as a protected island sanctuary. A lot of people were actually there taking a swim, bringing their own food and sadly, leaving some of their garbage.
     The island has lush trees surrounding a watchtower. There is also a trail of kalachuchi trees leading to the tower which is a popular “selfie” site. When we went there, the tower was closed (and perhaps ordinary people weren’t allowed to climb up there). I thought that this is the only site that we can visit on the island but to my surprise, the trail extends deeper in the woods. While my coteachers went back as soon as they reached the tower, one of my colleagues and I decided to why not go deeper in the woods since we saw another trail. There we saw more trees, some perhaps were century old. We saw a large balete tree which occupies about 50-100 square meters. Some people climbed up to take a photo while we were just contended to look at them being scared of whatever enchanted creatures living in there…hehe…Anyway, as we went following the trail, we were thinking to go back as we might get lost. I jokingly said that we can’t survive having only a “Nova” junkfood with us and perhaps there are cannibals lurking behind the woods. Good thing we saw a family also following the trail and we tag along with them. The floras in the woods are quite unique that some of them I only saw for the first time. Of course, we couldn’t help but to take selfies with these wondrous works of nature.
     Our boat went back after an hour to fetch us. I realized that my experience at Nogas made our Siraan summer trip more enjoyable. If it we weren’t for our Nogas Island trip, our stay at Siraan could have been less enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Siraan Hot Spring and Health Resort

     For our summer outing escapade, our faculty went to Siraan Hot Spring and Health Resort situated in Anini-y, Antique. It was a 2 to 3-hour ride from Iloilo City. The place is known for its hot spring which is said to be from the exhaust heat of Mt. Kanlaon (I don't know, not sure, just heard it from a lot of people..hehe). The name was derived from the white specks that you can see on its waters which is similar to a woman's cracked foundation make-up (thus "sira" or broken).
I don't have a lot of photos during this trip..sorry..

Sir Suegay, one of my coteachers, enjoying a night soak in the hot spring...

    The resort has tubs facing the sea in which visitors can soak and relax. They had a pool though when we went there, it wasn't full perhaps because of the El Nino dry spell. The water, as the name of the resort implies, is quite hot that is tolerable and relaxing. It has a smell because of its sulfur content that others my find disgusting..hehe. Anyway, it is said to have good health benefits so why not give it a try.
  The resort has rooms which is good for 12-16 people maximum. I just don't know the rate (because I was not our business manager..hehe) but I think the prices are reasonable. The beach nearby to be quite honest is not nice to have a swim because the rocks are big and pointy though the water is clear. If you want to have a swim, you can rent a boat to the nearby island Nogas ( which I will have a separate post).
   To be totally honest, I didn't enjoy the outing that much. There was social politics going on with our faculty. It has divided our faculty in groups which nullifies the purpose of the outing which is to bond. For me personally, I don't care about their groups because I don;t have any conflicts (or I just ignore it) with my co teachers. But there are some people in our faculty which has negative vibe, infecting others to coagulate and distance themselves with the other group. hay....sad reality about being with "professionals".
   Anyway, I did't let this destroy my personal experience at Siraan. As a whole, though the air among the faculty is murky, for me personally, it was a chance to experience Antique for the first time. I really fell in love with the scenery of the Southern Panay coastline as we travel by bus. The breeze, the sound of waves...I can spend the whole day just relaxing and experiencing the moment. Nogas Island was also a nice experience, and I will share this in my next post.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Principles of Effective Grading

       As teachers, our job is not only limited to giving daily lessons required by the curriculum. We also have to assess and give marks to our students. Every periodical period, we are tasked to solve grades for our students as a sort of feedback to them. Grades may be just a number for some, but these could imply a lot of things to our students. Some students may be motivated to push more to improve, while others may get discouraged. These are the reasons why that as teachers, we should take this task seriously and effectively. Thus here are some principles teacher can do to provide effective grading to their students. These principles were adapted from de Guzman-Santos(2007).

  1. Discuss grading measures to students at the start of instruction
One of the routines that we do as teachers during the first day of classes, aside from do’s and don’ts inside the classroom, is no other than discussing our grading system. This is a way to make our students be clarified on the processes relating to their grades. At the same time, they will be given the idea on how will they be assessed and to plan their future actions in order to achieve their desired grade.

  1. Accurately weigh the various types of achievements included in the grade
Every grade is a sum of achievement from various components. These components would include quizzes, projects, recitation etc. It is important to properly weigh these components since these components vary from one subject to another. Some subject may focus on written works while some on performance and outputs. Bottomline is, teachers should justify each of these components that would best reflect student’s achievement and performance.

  1. Relate grading procedures to intended learning outcomes
Describe to the students that their grades will be based on how they have achieved a certain learning outcome. Most of the time, teachers would give a certain criterion like 75% passing mark in a test or activity. It has to be made clear among the students as to what comprises this certain criterion like they have to get 30 correct items out of 40 to pass, or they have to answer 3 out of 5 problems or perform 32 counts of jumping jack etc. This way, students would know their target and perhaps perform the intended learning outcome better and above the given criterion.

  1. Explain that grades will be based on achievement only.
Most of the time, a grade could reflect a lot of things. We may give grades based on the actual performance or achievement of the student while some would include how much effort and diligence the student exhibited. This is the reason why there is a need to clarify among students on the way they will be graded. Ideally speaking, a grade should reflect achievement only. However, as teachers, we also tend to give credits to the efforts done by our students. This is quite a dilemma among us. For example, how will you grade a student who are tardy and truant but performs well inside the classroom visavis a student who goes to school everyday and is diligent but still get low scores on your assessment results? If you can’t help giving credits aside form achievement, discuss and clarify this to the class. This way, students would also show favorable and good attributes and not just overconfidently rely on their assessment results.

  1. Acquire valid evidence (test, etc.) for assigning grades
Try to utilize a variety of tools to assess your students to serve as valid evidences of their grades. One of the worst things that a teacher could do is to give a grade out of nowhere without any proofs of this grade. Some parents are very particular with their children’s grades and questioning the teacher about the grade given to their son/daughter is very common nowadays. If we have these valid evidences, we can surely justify the grades that we gave to our students. This maintains our integrity as teachers and at the same time ultimately gives our students a valid reflection of their achievement.

  1. Return and review all test results as soon as possible.
This is very important but some teachers are quite guilty of this. We need to return test result to our students so that they can monitor their own learning. This is a form of feedback to them so that they can work on the parts that they found difficult and performed low.

  1. Control cheating among students
It is important to know who performs well or not inside our classroom. As much as possible, we want our grades to be given to those who deserve it. This however would be a challenge if there is a rampant cheating among the students. We would end up giving grades to wrong students and thus would send a wrong feedback. One way to solve cheating among our students is to be vigilant. A simple principle of proximity or being visible and near our students is enough to make students stop cheating especially during examinations.

  1. Be fair. Avoid bias. When in doubt, review the evidence. If still in doubt, give the higher grade.
Always be fair to our students. Avoid favoritism because this may result to halo effect. Avoid being personal as well especially to those students we find annoying because this may result to evil effect.  These biases may unconsciously influence our grade. We may end up giving a higher grade to those students we like while giving a lower grade to those we hate. Focus on the evidences gathered during the grading period and not on our subjective opinions about our students.