Category Archives: New Intentions; Future Pursuits and Journeys.

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?

Reflections on the Collaborative Exercises

I am very lucky to have a good collaborative partner in Rain because our discussions have taken us deep into thinking about readability and measuring fluency in young readers. Admittedly, because I am not a professional teacher, Rain and I had to look for resources to back up our discussions. And we did manage to cover a lot of ground in our collaborative exercises. However, because we have full-time work commitments, we’re still not done with our collaborative exercises.

The choice of topic for our collaborative exercise was my choice because I find reading an interesting subject to teach. My mother, a reading and literacy major and ESL teacher, taught me and my siblings to read even before going to school at 5 years old. When we were in kindergarten, we would have reading drills with my mother. While I used to find this a chore, I like going through the reading drills with her and listening to my voice “at, bat, cat…” while reading out loud.

I guess the reading drills somehow made reading easier for me. My father is a voracious reader and that instilled the habit of reading. I got high marks in reading comprehension and I took pride of filling up my library cards when I was in elementary. In high school, I was in search of more challenging reading materials, and I had to learn “speed-reading” in college to catch up with the required reading materials. I read when I feel bad or when I have something on my mind. Somehow reading clears up the clutter and gives me eureka moments.

And now, because of the collaborative exercises, I may be following my mother’s footsteps and taking up her interests in teaching reading and literacy. For several years I’ve done development work and I tried to finish (but failed) my masters degree in Urban Planning and I’ve thought of pursuing Public Health because of my current work and interest. But the passion to read, and the responsibility as a mother to pass on reading habits to my son has somehow been slowly taking a front seat. I have an undergraduate degree in literature that I’ve wanted to put into use. Reading makes me happy, why not pursue it full-time? I may follow my mother’s footsteps and take up reading and literacy for my masters degree. I may teach reading to small kids in my spare time when (and if) I finish PTC. I don’t know. Let’s see where the discussions on reading in this class’s collaborative exercises and my reflections on it will take me.