Category: Uncategorized

How Photography Helped me Love Mistakes

The learning journey in EDS 113 has truly been a beautiful and exciting one in my opinion as the topics discussed in here helped me be enlightened to the real essence of the word LEARNING. With the topics discussed, one of the things that has really caught my attention in this subject is about the topic of mistakes and failures. Judging on the topic of this article, you might be stating right now that ever since, I haven’t had any real issues with mistakes. However, I have to admit that embracing mistakes is not an easy thing to do. Thus, I would like to share with you how one of the things that I love to do, which is photography, helped me to also LOVE MISTAKES.

To start the discussion of this article, I would like to share some of the earliest photos that I have taken ranging from a different genre and the mistakes encompassing these shots.

Old Photos from 2015 to early 2016:

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Genre: Sunsets

Mistake: Reflecting on this photo, I knew I took this view for granted. As observed in this photo, there seems to be a lack of focus on the supposed subject, sunset, which strayed away from real view to be seen in here and has been distracted by the somewhat hazy part of the skies.

2(1)

Genre: Street photography

Mistake: I remembered taking this photo way back December 2015 while walking the streets in Baguio City Market. What led me to choose this pair is their passion for selling their shell products by attracting customers with their rhymed play of words. However, holding a camera for the first time in the streets made me too shy and so judging by the photo, the real element of this story has lost its focus as I moved the camera away, resulting to this blurriness and improper angle.

12 (1)

Genre: Light painting

Mistake: Looking at this, it actually is funny to think that upon taking this, I already thought that it was a “good” shot and did not even bother to try do some more takes for this.

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Genre: Portraiture

Mistake: Golden hour, or the time when the afternoon’s light comes from the sun setting down, is actually one of my favorite setting to shoot something. I vividly remember however how impatient I have been with the settings in my camera and also lacked the execution of some effort to spare some time to experiment with the appropriate things to consider. The result has therefore given me frustration and regret as I knew that the photo that I have taken did not capture the real story and emotion of my subject.

5 (2)

Genre: Self-portraiture

Mistake: Of all the genres in the field of photography, this is the one that I practice the least as I feel awkward and uncomfortable being in front of a camera and probably still on the critical process of building a stable foundation of self-confidence. Before taking this photo, one of the ideas for the concept in my mind is doing something that embodies the mood of childhood. At first, I tried to smile but I just felt cringe upon checking the result in the camera. Therefore, I just tried to play safe by doing a low key pose, and hiding my face with the toy camera. Checking the photo in the camera, I felt downhearted as I haven’t achieved what I would like to have, hopefully. Therefore I gave up in trying another take and just decided to turn off my camera bearing this shot.

Comparison with Photos from mid 2016 to 2017:

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Learning from my mistakes of taking the view of nature for granted, I slowly learned the art of reflecting and meditating on the wonderful creations of the magnificent creator up above, Jehovah God. Therefore, to be able to capture the real essence and beauty of a landscape, particularly with the genre of sunsets, the own eyes should be able to observe and appreciate the view first.

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Listing this as one of my notable photographs of progress up to this day, I think keeping on clicking photographs especially with the genre of street photography helped me battle shyness to shoot people in public (with discretion, of course.). At first, I have observed that people are intimated when people like me at this time, point a camera at them. Nevertheless, I have also learned that with a smile, they feel slowly feel ease as they know that this is an opportunity for their own story in life to be portrayed in a photograph, the story that can make them proud sharing it to others. What brought me to this setting is my attraction to the magnificent action of the smoke and how the man blazes it wonderfully. Looking back to this day, I am happy to be able to have the courage to point and shoot this moment. I am also very grateful that this photo has fortunately made it to the Top 20 class in the first international photo contest that I have participated in. Truly, I have learned as well to break the stigma of hating having mistakes, as my experience has revealed how much I am very grateful to be able to learn from it.

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For this genre of light painting, I embraced the mistake that I have mentioned for this part, I tried to address this by trying and trying to do more takes to be be satisfied with the end result. While be stuck in traffic, I tried to do everything I could to make the lights from the vehicles somewhat be able to portray motion and action. After doing 20  takes and enduring looks from people who think I am crazy because of this, I ended up with this result that although it isn’t the best in other people’s eyes, I know that it is a significant pace of progress from the first batch of light painting photos that I have shot.

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In this journey in the field of photography, the beauty of light has always captivated my eyes and with my photos, I try to portray this in different ways if possible. With the series of mistakes in trying to do these kinds of attempts, I have slowly cultivated the attitude of patience to always take the time to learn and never rush with the things that I do such as experimenting on the different settings of my camera. By learning from my mistakes, I have also seen how important taking time is when shooting portraiture to also perceive first with my own eyes the story, mood, and emotion that I wanted other people to see through my photographs.

5 (1)

For this genre of self-portraiture, I know that the only way to learn from my mistakes is breaking first the barriers against the real and authentic self inside of me. Taking this photo has been a challenge as well, as I am also experimenting with a new lens of mine. Nevertheless, I tried and tried from taking several shots for different poses, to varying angles to depict myself and the subject, and the beauty of light that I have mentioned as being very significant to me. Reaching this end result, I think that I am happy as well as comparing this with my early self-portrait shots, I know that I as well am coming out of my shell to be a stronger person in this world.

With my experience, I know how loving mistakes can truly be learned the hard way. With different mindsets of the fear of people turning me down and forever failing in life, the point of not trying even more and playing safe can actually be a hindrance to the real essence of success. For the topic of mistakes and failures for this subject of EDS 113, one of the things that has really been inculcated in my mind is the application of growth mindset wherein mistakes are used as tools to learn and progress even more. By loving mistakes in the field of photography, I as well am also on the process of slowly applying this with my academic journey.

Although the latter part of this article is not meant to show that the images are the best ones that I now have, I always try to do more self-critiques and asking of suggestions and comments from other people in all types of my shots to have this prospect of learning and growing. With the result of success in the end, people may not see everything that it took to reach to this point such as hard work, sacrifice, and disappointment. Nevertheless what matters is how happy and satisfied you are with the end result created, and this is how you love your mistakes.

Module 4: 5 Great Lessons I’ve Learned from a Special Ed Teacher

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Featured video: This Special Ed Teacher’s Real-World Lessons will Inspire You | Class Act

As someone who often browses the internet to gather knowledge as distraction and boredom often engulfs me when I just stay in one position to read textbooks and required readings, I have accidentally stumbled upon this inspirational video about a special education teacher named Ms. Sadie Guthrie. In this video produced by the channel SoulPancake, the amazing work of Ms. Sadie is presented in here and on how she molds her students not only to be good inside the classroom but also to be great as citizens in the community. In this article of mine, I would to share  5 of the awesome lessons that I have learned from Ms. Sadie from this video that I have watched:

1.) Look into and Plan for EACH student

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With Ms. Sadie’s work as a special education teacher, the challenges faced in here is multiplied compared to that of the case of usual teachers. Nevertheless, what I really like is this lesson as she emphasized the importance of planning for each student. In my opinion, I think this is one of the main ingredients to consider when doing the process of aligning assessments. By considering the needs of each student, there is also the possibility of well-aligned assessments as the teacher can think of different types of assessments to incorporate inside the classroom ranging not only about traditional and summative but also about other kinds such formative, informal, informal, and non-traditional.

2.) Think long range

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Usually, teachers handle students in one school year and might not handle them in the next years to come. Nevertheless, Ms. Sadie shared such a beautiful mindset of thinking long range for the students. The aspect of long range that she is talking about in here is about thinking not only on how the knowledge can influence them for one specific school year but also how it can positively affect them beyond high school and throughout their future lives. Truly, thinking long range for the students also includes a different kind of passion and love with the process of teaching

3.) Learning is not only inside the classroom but also in the community

This video that is the subject of the article, highlights the project of Ms. Sadie to teach her students about real world skills using a mobile coffee cart. Throughout this video, I really appreciate how much effort, time, and love she puts out for her students as she does not only teaches inside the classroom, but also teach about practical knowledge that is significant in this world. With Ms. Sadie’s students having autism, or a condition characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts, I am amazed with how they are doing in terms of managing the mobile coffee cart amazingly inside their school. As a future educator, I was indeed inspired to teach inside the classroom not only to be academically great students, but to also be helpful and compassionate citizens in the community.

4.) Make a student feel important and accepted

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Even though I haven’t had an experience yet as a legitimate educator, observing the situations in schools as a learner really helped me realized how every student has an aspiration, dream, and goal. As a learner, I can say that a simple compliment from a teacher, that may be insignificant in the eyes of others, is actually a golden key that I do value for me to unlock more of the motivation to finish my studying. With this special lesson shared by Ms. Sadie, I believe that if I can apply this as an educator in the future, magnificent potentials from students will be wonderfully unlocked by making every one feel important and accepted.

5.) Learning is not more of struggling but more of how awesome you can be.

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How great is this lesson isn’t it? As a college student here in the University of the Philippines Open University, it truly is such a great pressure to progress and battle with the barriers and challenges presented by distance education. At times, I feel very unworthy and unmotivated with my performance as I often feel the drain of energy in my soul. Nevertheless, not only as a learner but also an educator in the future, I indeed am encourage to mold this in my mindset- that learning is about HOW AWESOME you can be.

Module 3: Considering the Power of Asking

Multi-Ethnic Arms Outstretched To Ask QuestionsA Look in the Fear of Asking

Throughout my life and my experiences as a learner, I do say that have had a lots of regrets, regrets that I wish I could turn back time. Of these regrets, I would include my fear of asking. Throughout this essay, I think I would relate majority of my experiences of my fear of asking to that of my high school life, and also relating how this had happened. Inside the classroom, I think one of the most traumatizing for me as a young student, is being embarrassed inside the classroom because of asking about something, but having had that one teacher saying that I am not listening, as she has taught it already.

In my high school life, academic performance inside and outside of the class has really been important for me, and so I would really like chances wherein I can give my effort for it. Nevertheless, with progressive academic performances should also be the making sure that nothing is wrong, or that nothing is worthy of painfully striking criticism. With my trauma of asking for the questions that I would like to have answers for, I would usually ask outside of my school, just like from my relatives, or majority, from the Internet. At times, I do hate myself for not asking the question from my teacher, as they are the ones knowing the lessons. However, all that chained me down from the progressing to the deeper learning inside the classroom is my fear of asking for help.

Doing a brief research with regards to the reasons as to why students have this fear of asking, I really like the points mentioned in the article written by Jake Teeny with the title of The Fear of Looking Stupid in Class – And How to Get Past It. I have really been interested particular with his mention of the factors of influence, specifically- pluralistic ignorance and illusion of transparency. Going onto the first factor, pluralistic ignorance “is when people mistakenly believe that they themselves feel differently than their peers, even though everyone is behaving similarly.”  With my personal experience as a learner, I have encountered at times when I do not understand lessons such as that in Algebra topics in Math. However, what makes me fearful to ask is that nobody is raising their hands to ask some questions of clarifications and so I might appear as someone who is not listening or slow catching up inside the classroom. Nevertheless, the times that give me regrets are when my classmates inform me that neither understand the topic discussed and so I told myself that I should have ask my teacher about it. Another reason of the fear of asking is the illusion of transparency that discusses about the misbelief that what we ask might reveal about how little we know about something else. Nevertheless it interesting to see in Jake Teeny’s article that illusion of transparency should be disregarded as research reveals that “no matter how much someone internally thinks he or she seems nervous/stupid/confused, other people never perceive those emotions to the same extent.” Aside from these psychological effects mentioned with regards to the factors that lead to the fear of students to ask, reasons such as shyness, fear of peers, self-consciousness, and difficulty to form of question because of the fear that what they may form might be wrong in the ears of others in terms of structure, grammar, and pronunciation, are noteworthy to be considered by teachers with regards to how they can help learners engage more.

What Can Be Done?

  • Induce creativity Screenshot 2017-03-14 08.21.15Creativity can be induced inside the classroom by means of visual aids that stimulate can stimulate excitement on the part of the students for their learning process. In the photo collage created above, it shows examples such as:                                                1. Bulletin boards where students can post the questions generated in their sticky notes
  1. Question boxes wherein students can drop their questions of clarifications or suggestions for improved teaching
  2. Sticky notes for questions to be posted daily by students in their notebooks and be made sure that the day will not end without it possible being answered
  • Broaden horizons of learningAsk-questions-blooms                                                Even though I haven’t experienced being a legitimate teacher/ educator yet, one of the main goals that I would like to achieve if ever I will already reach this point is to make sure that the teaching process will create a long term impact of learning on the part of the student. This means that the information acquired by the student will not easily escape to the other ear but will rather be remembered until the future life. In order to do this, one of the goals is to also encourage students to generate questions that fuels critical thinking and reflection. Incorporating Bloom’s taxonomy is usually what is stated for teachers, but encouraging this for students as well can be effective, especially for the part of improving in their power in asking.
  • Organize groupsWPAC_1Just like what has been mentioned in the first part of this article, there are some factors to be considered that may lead to a students fearing the asking of a question inside a classroom. One of the effective solutions in order to encourage questions inside the classroom is the organizing of groups for brainstorming. One of the advantages of this can be the building of self-assurance in the part of the student and this can be an effective step to have courage to ask questions independently.

REFERENCES:

Teeny, J. (2015). The Fear of Looking Stupid in Class – And How to Get Past It. Retrieved from: http://nobaproject.com/blog/2015-06-04-the-fear-of-looking-stupid-in-class-and-how-to-get-past-it

Eichholz, T.(2016). 9 Great Ways to Encourage Students to Ask Questions. Retrieved from: http://www.fusionyearbooks.com/blog/encourage-students-ask-questions/

n.a. (n.d.). When Students Do Not Ask Questions in Class. Retrieved from: http://www.tenneyschool.com/when-students-do-not-ask-questions-in-class/

Berger, W. (2014, August 18). 5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/help-students-become-better-questioners-warren-berger

 

Module 2: Making Math Fun- Is it possible?

The subject MATH has had a reputation being dreaded and terrified of ever since, relating to the opinions surrounding not only from my classmates but also from fellow students. With regards to my experience with Math especially on the topic of Algebra, I feel like always having a stomach churning as I think of the guilt of the perception that this subject is boring, leading me to feeling less motivated about it. Though having been drowned in the black hole of not being able to excel as much as I wanted to in Math, I endlessly hoped for this opportunity to be possible in my former years, especially as a high school student.

The topic on Module 2 about frameworks for assessment of student learning has really been a great help for me to see a wider perspective on the factors that affected my case in learning Math and not being able to excel on it that much. To be honest, elementary Math and a math subject in my high school which is called Statistics, has actually been interesting for as they are the ones that seem really practical lessons that can be used in everyday situations in real life. One research study in the Republic of Tanzania that tackles on the topic as to why most students dislike Math stated that the factors to this issue includes the influence of teaching methods, learning environment, influence of teachers, self-notion of students, secondary education preparation, and impact of abstract math concepts.

 

Of all the factors that lead to difficulty of students in the Math subject that has been mentioned in the research paper, the ones that really caught my attention is about the influence of teaching methods and impact of abstract Math concepts. Teaching methods inside the classroom really is a vital process to be thought about, as shortcomings in this can also have a major effect on its relationship with the process of learning for students. According to this research paper, there usually is a misalignment occurring as the instrumental teaching often leads to irrational understanding of students. Learning Math, usually in primary levels are said to be practical by many (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) as this uses the mechanical teaching method. Nevertheless, as Math progresses to complex types, like algebra, majority of students cannot cope up as they are used to the rote teaching of primary Math. For that of the impact of abstract Math concepts, the subject of complex Math is also challenging to adapt to different kinds of teaching methods as topics in here depend on the existence and relationship of algebraic symbols. This factor of also a major influence with students’ difficulty as abstraction of Math affect the reciprocation of usual cognitive abilities to it.

Going back to the title of this e-journal, Making Math Fun- Is it possible? , I would like to share in here two interesting educational videos that gave me hope that it indeed is possible Math to be fun!

1.)  How Making Music Made Math Cool in this Classroom | Class Act

In this video published by SoulPancake, they made a series named Class Act that features inspirational teachers who can share their own stories in making the classroom a better place for the students. This video features Robert MacCarthy also known as “Mr. Mac” by his students and what makes him unique is that he teaches by making Math cool through giving activities to his students, which is making music.

In this video, I have learned so much from the points this teacher has shared, and that is about fact that Math is in everything we see, telling that it is a lie to tell ourselves that Math is just in the textbooks. Honestly, I do agree with his point in here as being a college student at this point of my life opened a way to independence for me to tackle aspects influenced by Math such as budgeting my finances. I also appreciated how Mr. Mac really considers his students’ perspective as he tries to include their culture in his teaching in the classroom. By means of this careful consideration, he introduced the activity of making music to help learning Math be more enjoyable.

Upon watching this video, I have also seen the genuine smiles in his students light up as they enjoy this interactive type of learning to help more understand the complex Math subject which is Algebra. Mr. Mac not only emphasized in his teaching a deeper understanding of this academics, but also the lesson of learning to be able to work with everyone, which is also an important skill to be honed in life.

As someone who plans to be an educator in the future, I have learned through this video that not only is vital to be thinking outside the box of the curriculum, but there also has to be a mutual understanding between the teachers and students to be able to create a productive and enjoyable atmosphere inside the classroom

2.) Fun & Activity-based Mathematics

This video created by the Ministry of Education in Singapore is also interesting, as I have seen how incorporating fun and activity-based teaching in Mathematics really is a solution to the challenge of having learning difficulties in this subjects.

Among the points raised in this video, I have learned from the experience of the teacher in here that one way to help kids overcome being nervous in Math is incorporating games that are hands-on and exciting, to help them be more relaxed in here. Materials used such as fraction discs and multiplication and division cards are only a few of the examples to help the Math subject be more fun, and less boring.

On the near end of this video, it has also been emphasized that teachers can use a wide range of pedagogies of teaching wherein one type is activity based.   I have also appreciated the point shared that with children’s better engagement, there can have a develop a positive attitude with regards to learning Math.

I hope that this e-journal of mine can help lots of educators and also students to help widen the perspective with regards to Math being fun. Thank you very much and have an awesome day! 🙂

 

Module 1: Yes! Assessment is Important!

Being an internet person, one of my most favorite Youtube channels is SoulPancake, channel that discusses about different stuff that matters. This is also a very interesting channel that is filled with various pep talks, social experiment, and videos filled with heartwarming and encouraging ideas for everyone. In some of their episodes, one of my favorite person in this channel is Robby Novak who is also known as Kid President. Kid President caught the hearts of many online viewers with his pep talks about life, and my favorite videos from him include “Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!” In this video, one thing that really appealed to me, especially at this point of my life as a student studying Educational Studies, is his question to teachers: “What are you teaching the world?” Reflecting on this question, I have created some realizations and reflections for both the process of teaching and learning especially on the aspect of ASSESSMENT.

The topic that I would like to focus on for this part of reflection is about the importance of assessment. With the readings provided for this topic, I really have developed more appreciation for the varied student works given by teachers. Going back to my former self, especially on my level of being in high school, I would admit that I have lots of complaints for some of the works given to us, thinking that these are unnecessary and irrelevant. Through this topic on the importance of assessment, I have now created an even clearer understanding about school works having the goal of honing the skills of a student, not only on a group level but also on an individual sense. In one of the points of the readings, it also is interesting to know that through assessment, teachers are also learning what needs to be adjusted for the case of students not only for academic skills, but also for that of what will be needed for real world situations like being critical, analytical, and inferential. Truly, the process of assessment is both a significant part for that of teachers, and that of students.

For the part of students, I would like to connect my own learning experience to this topic about the importance of assessment. During my elementary and particularly, high school days, I remember the stress as a student, especially coming to have varied requirements not individually but also for a group. Individual activities will often include oral recitation, quarterly examinations, assignments, and also papers for different subjects. For the part of group, there are often assigned teamwork plans, and also presentation collaborations. Going back to my former self as a student, I remembered questioning why varied works are given, and why can’t there just be one type of work to be focused on in every subject. However, through this topic about the importance of assessment, I have really learned that these different types of works handed on to students, are just way to assess the progress a student is developing for each subject. Not just focused on individual types, but also that of teams or groups, assessment truly is signified by different types of student works to therefore further the sharpening of academic ability and other skills needed for real life situations.

On the other side of the teachers, we would like to go back to the question featured on the first paragraph, the question “What are you teaching the world?” Through this question, there can also be connections made based from the questions that should also be asked by teachers from Module 1 readings regarding assessment. These questions include, 1) what can I do to help students more? , 2) what works for students? , and 3) in what direction should we go next? From the various student works discussed in the previous paragraph, I have also realized that with the questions raised, teachers can also make a difference in the classroom by meditating and reflecting on ways and methods that can make learning for students more interesting and effective, but at the same time, strive to reach its goal of assessment.  In addition to adjusting and improving teaching methods inside the classroom, I have also realized that really significant for the teacher to build the bridge with parents. This can be done during activities like quarterly card day wherein the teacher can express his/her concerns and words of assessment to parents regarding a child’s academic development and progress inside and outside the classroom. In my opinion, if the teacher can really think outside the box of the norms of assessment, teaching and learning process can truly be a notable experience inside the school.