Category Archives: Metacognition and Self-regulation

Going Back to the Start

I look back by assessing myself with how well I did this term by taking a post test on time management, which was the first thing I did at the start of the term. My score was better than the last time!

You’re managing your time very effectively!

Goal Setting: Your score is 14 out of 20   

Prioritization: Your score is 30 out of 35   

Managing Interruptions: Your score is 11 out of 20   

Procrastination: Your score is 6 out of 15   

Scheduling: Your score is 9 out of 15   

I still have a lot of room for improvement, but somehow this term was more manageable than the last time. I could have done a bit more better, but being so swamped with work (my workload is quite unbelievable), I find myself finding less time than I would have wanted allocated to studying. I met and shared a insights with more students this term, than the last time. I wished I could have had more interaction with them through the discussion forums. But having the opportunity to interact, even if it was required, was a good experience. It finally felt like I wasn’t alone struggling to find time for school.

Learning about assessments made me reflect about my own views on assessments as well. It opened my mind to new possibilities of dealing with assessments for school, or for work (or for my life). In particular, the realization that assessments happen all throughout the learning process, and not just at the end of a term, made me more aware of what I was bringing into the learning process, what my learning objectives are for this class, and gauge how well I was doing. I also learned to respect traditional assessments, after several discussion posts arguing against it in favor of alternative assessments. I realized the relevance of traditional assessments while working on rubrics. I guess I have more appreciation for the teaching process now, because setting out learning objectives and preparing assessment rubrics is not that easy!

On a more personal note, working on the assignments, especially on our chosen topic on literacy made me reflect if teaching literature and languages to younger kids is really something I want to do in the future. I am also glad that I was able to work for a bit on adult learning, because it’s something I indirectly deal with for work on a daily basis, and the skill in developing rubrics is very handy too when developing new projects on training adult learners. I would have liked as well to have completed all the modules set out for this course. For some reason, it was cut short. Not that I am complaining, but learning about them would have been fun.

All in all, despite the setbacks, this class has been fun to learn with. Thank you Teacher Malou and classmates! Hope to learn with you again next term!

A Typical Reaction to Traditional Assessments

I have a confession to make…I am allergic to traditional assessments.

I realized this while taking exams in college (and much recently) that I am not really the type to study. When I was in college, I find it easier to remember the lessons being taught in class when I listen to the lecture and participate in discussions. Most of our assessments then were through term papers and class participation because of the nature of my course, so I rarely get to encounter traditional exams that require me to define, enumerate, choose between test items and the like.

But of course, when taking exams to assess proficiency in another language, or subjects like math, for example, traditional assessments are the necessary to gauge learning, but as I mentioned, I am not really the one to study…and I am fond of cramming. Of course, this works to my disadvantage, as I realized recently.

I had to take a completion exam for one of my subjects for PTC. I think I somehow breezed through the essay part. But when I came to the itemized test questions to define and differentiate commonly used terms, and identify acronyms, my heart dropped to the floor and my mind went blank. I remember my brain racing for answers, but I couldn’t find any. I tried the tricks I learned when preparing for the UPCAT to answer questions that I am sure of answering, and I only answered less than 50% of the total questions.

I think I could imagine the red marks on my exam paper, when I re-read through the course materials and found the answers to the questions I fumbled answering (big time). I could only groan in frustration and bite my nails in anticipation of my final grade (huhuhuhuhu). It was a very humbling experience.

I remembered in the discussion forums there was a heated discussion over traditional and alternative assessments. I most likely waved my way to the alternative assessments camp because I am not fond of studying, and I tend to relate my understanding of my learning with my experiences (the tendency of adult learners). But one cannot discount the advantages of traditional assessments, because for a lack of a good description, it grounds the student to the basics. How can a student defend his/her answers well if she/he does not master the basics which traditional assessments best assess?

Assessments through the use of Rubrics

There was a particular question in Assignment 2 that I am not sure if I was able to answer properly. The question was on the value of the course itself to learning about assessments.

In most of my years in a formal school, I am only familiar with one or two grading system. That is getting grades in a form of numbers. I am happy when I get a grade better than 85% or 2.25. Then when the going gets tough, I am happy when I get a passing grade (better than nothing, right?). I am quite aware that there are a lot of other assessments behind those numbers. But being very young and carefree, I don’t really care about it that much. For me then, it’s the final grade that matters.

In my professional life, I encounter rubrics at work due to our regular performance assessments. We also develop our work plans at the start of the contract, and this gives us and our boss basis to review our work performance and outputs. Our HR also regularly gives out the proficiency rubrics to assess our growth in the career ladder, which will eventually be used to assess if we need to move a step up in salary grade.

Learning about alternative assessments, however, made me understand the critical functions of rubrics.  While it took me just a day to work on the reflection portion of the assignment on alternative assessment, it took me a week to think and re-assess the development of rubrics. I find it easy to work on developing a “rubric” for traditional forms of assessment. But it was “trickier” develop rubrics for alternative assessment. I cannot just rely on number of missed answers. I have to be careful on the language I use, lest I miss out on the objectives. What a heavy responsibility it is to develop rubrics that would allow a teacher to properly assess a student’s performance, beyond test scores.

Marrying the Traditional with the Alternative

I recently read an article shared by a friend over Facebook about Sugata Mitra. He is an education scientist who has done work on what he calls Self-Organized learning, wherein children’s curiosity and peer-interest can foster learning through the use of information technology. His work, while recognized, has roots in theories in student-centered learning. You can view more of his TED speeches in this link.

While browsing around his blog, I came across two of his posts. The first one was written in 2009, presented his proposal for a cloud-based learning environment, which eventually received funding from TED this year. The second one, written in 2012, tackled self-organized assessment, which he wrote in his post to have “correlated” with the scores the students received after the end of the course.

Mitra’s ideas while not entirely new, is quite relevant in the age of MOOCs (massive open online courses) and online learning. In some of the MOOCs I’ve taken, peer evaluation did helped a lot in refining and setting my pace of learning.

While we may still have to rely on traditional assessments to validate and triangulate results, alternative assessments like the ones proposed by student-centered learning advocates and Mitra, would do well to enhance learning assessments.

Going Back to the Start

I have mentioned this in the previous class journal that I am not a teacher, but I have”vague” future plans to be one. I think that growing up in a family with a teacher for a parent (and a grandparent too) influences this outlook that “hey, I can be a teacher too!”

Where am I headed? I try to ask myself this question a number of times when enrolling for class. I am pretty much clear on learning about teaching part, but what about learning on assessments? Well, I wanted to learn much about assessments as much I can (that’s a lot!). Of course, foremost would be being a parent and having that perspective of learning assessment would be helpful in raising and teaching my son.

Where am I now? Learning about assessment strikes close to the heart. Oftentimes, we have been stereotyped by our IQ averages, our grades. I’ve seen my mother march into our teachers’s desk wanting to know our grading system in school, because she doesn’t think it’s fair (she should know, she’s a teacher too).  We are assessed not just in school, but everyday at work, in the street, in restaurants (we are not just part of the crowd, for some reason someone notices us and passes off-shoulder judgement on how we look, etc). We just don’t know it, we just don’t give it much thought, maybe until the office gives us notice that it’s performance assessment time or when we are trying to get a decent grade for a class we took. Because I am not a professional teacher (yet), I have much to learn about assessments. Having a framework as basis for an objective assessment would be very helpful not just in the future professional life of teaching, but in my daily work. I am quite familiar with monitoring and evaluation systems because I deal with it everyday, but not with learning assessments. Having that lens would be very helpful in the cross-over of disciplines.

How do I get there? Last term was my baptism of fire in the world of UPOU. It was the first time that I paid for an online course so I had to make sure that I get most out of it (the tuition fees are not the same the last time I enrolled in UP! Waaah….). Of course with a full-time work and a demanding almost-toddler, I cannot guarantee to myself that I will be online most of the time and that I will be able to actively participate in online discussions.

I don’t think I can guarantee myself to post technical stuff about learning assessment, as most of my classmates do. I admit to feeling a bit insecure when I follow my classmates’s blogs and read on really technical  stuff in their blogs. They seem to be so…smart! Hehehe. While my posts seem to be so shallow. Huhuhu.

 

I will most likely still be lost, but maybe not as much this time. I will try my utmost best to beat the deadlines by doing the assignments ahead of time, read as much as I can and to write as often as possible in this blog. And to have fun, of course. 😀

Respecting Time

I once asked a Japanese acquaintance why being on time is such a prime importance for their culture. She answered, “Being on time means you respect the other person’s time.” It also got me thinking about how much do we respect our time as well to respect those of others.

I often complain that I have too much to do that I tend to get distracted and not get anything done. In order to better assess how I manage my time, I took a quick quiz from Mind Tools on “How Good is Your Time Management?”, and the results validates my current time management practices. I do have a lot of room to improve, I hope I don’t procrastinate! Hehe.

I got a mid-score and here’s what it meant:

“You’re good at some things, but there’s room for improvement elsewhere. Focus on the serious issues below, and you’ll most likely find that work becomes much less stressful.”(See more through this link)

I’m re-posting some of my results from Mind Tools here, so I’ll be reminded of it most of the time. Mind Tools have more tips and resources that you can use, so I recommended that you take the quiz and visit their resources through this link.

Goal Setting

Your score is 11 out of 20   

To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you’re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal setting, you’ll fritter your time away on a confusion of conflicting priorities.

People tend to neglect goal setting because it requires time and effort. What they fail to consider is that a little time and effort put in now saves an enormous amount of time, effort and frustration in the future. 

This is true. Usually at work, we are required to have a plan and I usually have a task list that I take a look up at when I get to the office, or when I shake myself awake while preparing for work. I usually mentally go over my task list to prep my thoughts up. But when it comes to personal projects or undertaking (like school) and my day-to-day tasks at home, I don’t really plan. I tend to rush to do things and lost steam midway. I do make efforts to set goals. But sometimes I lose track. I need to set these goals down on paper, so I don’t forget. (I will do it now before I forget and procrastinate!)

Prioritization

Your score is 21 out of 35   

Prioritizing what needs to be done is especially important. Without it, you may work very hard, but you won’t be achieving the results you desire because what you are working on is not of strategic importance.

Most people have a “to-do” list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and, because of this, the work they do is just as unstructured. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest?

To work efficiently you need to work on the most important, highest value tasks. This way you won’t get caught scrambling to get something critical done as the deadline approaches. 

I don’t compromise my time with my family and they are always the first priority. But at work, everything is urgent and a priority, I need to prioritize my priorities! I do tend to work on the easiest most of the time, which is not usually advisable. Though I try as I can to work on the hardest tasks in the morning when I’m not so tired and my mind is still fresh.

Managing Interruptions

Your score is 8 out of 20   

Having a plan and knowing how to prioritize it is one thing. The next issue is knowing what to do to minimize the interruptions you face during your day. It is widely recognized that managers get very little uninterrupted time to work on their priority tasks. There are phone calls, information requests, questions from employees, and a whole host of events that crop up unexpectedly. Some do need to be dealt with immediately, but others need to be managed. 

However, some jobs need you to be available for people when they need help – interruption is a natural and necessary part of life. Here, do what you sensibly can to minimize it, but make sure you don’t scare people away from interrupting you when they should.

I can’t seem to avoid interruptions at work, especially when the boss wants to get some tasks done right away on top of all other tasks that are screaming for attention. As I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs, I need to prioritize which of the priorities tasks is the most important! Sometimes when I lose track because of so many interruptions, I zone out.

Procrastination

Your score is 4 out of 15   

“I’ll get to it later” has led to the downfall of many a good employee. After too many “laters” the work piles up so high that any task seems insurmountable. Procrastination is as tempting as it is deadly. The best way to beat it is to recognize that you do indeed procrastinate. Then you need to figure out why. Perhaps you are afraid of failing? (And some people are actually afraid of success!)

Once you know why you procrastinate then you can plan to get out of the habit. Reward yourself for getting jobs done, and remind yourself regularly of the horrible consequences of not doing those boring tasks! 

I procrastinate as a result of zoning out when everything tends to be overwhelming. Sometimes my excuse for procrastination is that I am still processing the task. Or that I work best under pressure. But whatever it is, there is no good excuse and procrastinating  never fails to get me in trouble.

Scheduling

Your score is 7 out of 15   

Much of time management comes down to effective scheduling of your time. When you know what your goals and priorities are, you then need to know how to go about creating a schedule that keeps you on track, and protects you from stress.

This means understanding the factors that affect the time you have available for work. You not only have to schedule priority tasks, you have to leave room for interruptions, and contingency time for those unexpected events that otherwise wreak chaos with your schedule. By creating a robust schedule that reflects your priorities and well as supports your personal goals, you have a winning combination: One that will allow you to control your time and keep your life in balance. “

I am not really a good scheduler. But if I am successful in goal-setting and prioritizing, I could very well manage my time. How well I manage my time would show how much I value it and that of other people. And when other people see how much I value my time, they’ll value my time and their own as well. I better get into the habit of it then. 😀