Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Principles of Teaching: Selection and Use of Instructional Materials

     It has been awhile since I posted LET and education-related topics in this blog. Just recently, there were educ students who conducted observations for the Field Study courses so I thought of posting some principles that perhaps can help them in answering their workbooks. If I'm not mistaken, they are in their Field Study 3 which focuses more on educational technology. I also realized that I have already posted principles about learning, classroom management and assessment, but not yet about the use of educational technology or more commonly known as SIMS (Support Instructional Materials).

I listed here some principles in the selection and use of support instructional materials. I hope that teachers can use these principles and apply these in their own classroom practices.

1.The best instructional material is no other than the teacher. This does not mean that teachers need not to prepare SIMS anymore! This implies that teachers must not overly depend on the materials themselves. SIMS themselves cannot fully teach the learners. There should still be the need for the teacher to explain, discuss and facilitate learning using the SIMS. The effectiveness of the SIMS still depends on how the teacher presents, uses and manipulates these materials  in the class discussion. As the word "support" implies, SIMS are just aid for teachers, but they do not replace the teacher.

2. SIMS need not be extravagant or always "high-tech". Teacher still need to consider the instructional objective in a day's lesson.  Though technology will make a lesson presentation interactive, a teacher should first and foremost consider the instructional objective. The lesson objectives determine what SIMS to be used not the other way around. One concrete example would be in the Physical Education subject. In demonstrating steps to a dance, which would be more preferable and effective: a video clip of the steps, or the teacher him/herself demonstrating the dance? Of course the latter would be better. Notice that even without  the use of technology the lesson can still work with the given objective.

3. Don't reason the above mentioned principle to excuse yourself not to use variety of instructional materials. Teaching also involves catering to each learners' needs and preferences in learning. Each of us has different ways in responding and receiving information. Remember VAK? Teachers may have visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners (and a combination of either of the three). Hence, use various media. These may be computers, TV, projector and even just the mere chalkboard.

4. Prepare your SIMS beforehand. Appealing and creative SIMS usually require time and effort to make.I think we are all inspired by stories of teachers who spend the midnight oil just to make SIMS. This is not an exaggeration but a reality.  Most of the times, SIM-making is a tedious task, but we all do this for the sake of making our learners learn best. If you will be using technology like computers or projectors, make sure to manipulate it first to avoid technological glitches. Also check the power source and even the file to be presented if corrupted or not.

5. Think out of the box. Be creative. Use the materials or inspiration that is appealing to the learners. Make use of your learners interests even the latest trends or popular personalities. If the pupils are familiar and most of all interested with your SIMS, learning becomes not only effective but fun and interesting for them as well.

Actually there are lots of principles you can also utilize. Use your experience since it is a very good teacher. Just remember that teaching needs dedication and passion. And part of this vocation is to give your best to prepare and make your SIMS for the main purpose of teaching the pupils the best way possible.

P.S. It was a shame that when the educ studs observed me, I only used chart and chalkboard that time...hehehe..excuse me..the teacher is the best S-I-M..hehehe...)

Friday, June 13, 2014

DepEd Forms: School Forms

      As of the moment, I am our school's ICT (Information Communications Technology) coordinator. It is not actually a position but a coordinatorship. This means that you are in charge of anything related to computers, internet, encoding, multimedia, lay-outing etc. You are also in charge of the e-learning classroom. This may sounds a good position and if you are asking if this makes me a step higher in the ladder then you're wrong. This is just an extra or ancillary work and it does NOT increase my salary..hehehe...However, I find this position quite satisfying since the thrust of education is geared towards Information Technology. It is perhaps an advantage on my part since this contributes to me to become a "21st Century" teacher. This position also gives me the opportunity to attend seminars that increase my exposure to the system and the same time meet new people and develop linkages. As they say, it is not enough what you know, but whom you know. And I can never be sure how would these acquaintances be of good help in the future especially if professional development is to be taken account.
    I would like to share some of the forms currently used in the public school system. And for this maiden post about DepEd forms, let me share to you the current forms which were implemented just this school year. These forms also have a change in their names: These are:

  School Form 1 (SF 1) School Register - This replaces  Form 1, Master List & STS Form 2-Family Background and Profile.
  School Form 2 (SF2) Daily Attendance Report for Learner - This cancel Form 1, Form 2 & STS Form 4 - Absenteeism and Dropout Profile.  
   School Form 3 (SF3) Books Issued and Returned- This replaces Form 1 & Inventory of Text Book.
  School Form 4 (SF4) Monthly Learner's Movement and Attendance- This replaces Form 3 & STS Form 4-Absenteeism and Dropout Profile.
  School Form 5 (SF 5) Report on Promotion & Level of Proficiency- This replaces Forms 18-E1, 18-E2, 18A.
   School Form 6 (SF6) Summarized Report on Promotion and Level of Proficiency- This cancels Form 20
   School Form 7 (SF7) School Personnel Assignment List and Basic Profile- This replace Form 12-Monthly Status Report for Teachers, Form 19-Assignment List, Form 29-Teacher Program and Form 31-Summary Information of Teachers.

    Now, where are the forms? Relax, Just click the link below.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teacher Essay: What Is A Good Teacher

     Hello....It just happened that I have the time to visit this blog and I actually not in the mood of discussing topics related to LET. I just want to type random thoughts about my life as a teacher to be shared to my readers (if there's any..hehehe).
   They say that in great honor comes great responsibility (plagiarized from Spiderman...just to make myself clear..hehehe). Ever since I topped the LET I always thought that being a topnotcher was not just a title of honor but a title of responsibility. I thought that I have to prove my worth and have to make a change in education. As I posted before, my initial goal in life was to be an academic and to be expert in my own field. But things have changed a lot. I wanted to become a teacher and to be an inspiration to my students.
   I was permanently assigned in my Alma mater and I was a bit saddened by the fact that my beloved school is one of the low performing schools in our city. I was actually surprised by this since I remembered that back in my days, our school was not always on top but never was in the bottom. So a "fire" kindled in my heart that I needed to do something to uplift my school from its slumber state. That we need to strive for excellence and will prove to others that my school can compete with others.
   In my first year of teaching, I tried to implement all the creative and innovative teaching strategies I knew. I taught my pupils mental techniques that no teacher in my district or even in the whole city uses. I let my pupils realize that they should feel lucky because what I teach them are techniques that are rarely taught in schools. But I don't know why but my students' scores are still low. I don't know if the problem is with me or external factors, and most of the time, as a "reflective" teacher, I tend to put a blame on myself.  My co-teachers are actually callous about the fact that academic success is a "punch to the moon" with the kind of students that we have, so they say that we need not be guilty.
    Why some of my colleagues resort to saying this? Before I proceed more and before you judge us, I just would like to give a background of the students we have in my school. My students are from the poorest communities in my home city. Though not all, most of them came from large families (usually with at least 5 or 6 siblings) under below poverty threshold. (I actually can really relate to them because I was once one of these students, being an alumnus of my school, since may mother was just a laundrywoman, my father a laborer and I'm the youngest of 10 children).  Because of poverty, our students are diverse, so diverse that I have students whose parents are drug pushers, prostitutes or "professional jumpers". Some are child laborers, working as errand boys/girls while some are street vendors. I had students who are rugby boys and and even one who is a masseur/callboy .Some are members of notorious juvenile delinquent gangs (I already have confiscated a number of deadly weapons like knives, ice picks, brass knuckles and cudgels). We have the highest drop out rate in the city. Now, academic success again?
    I also tend to be saddened by the fact that my classmates who are also now teachers in other schools are performing well than me in terms of students performance. Is this what the saying "life is a roller coaster" means? Back in college days, I perform better than them across all courses that I can say I am "above" them. But now, as teachers, if students' academic performances are taken into account, they are now "above" me. An "irony" as one of my coteachers said. A cum laude, a board topnotcher, but has students who score the lowest, if not the lowest in achievement tests. Sometimes, when I visit the office of high performing schools, and seeing the trophies and awards they have received, I get goosebumps. I feel a chill of a mixture of sadness and envy because we don't have these in our school. Perhaps we had, before....
     Give a chef finest ingredients, and he can cook finest dishes. I tend to think of this most of the times before. Give me "regular" students just like in central schools or any other schools, and I am confident that I can make them smart, can make them win quiz bees or score high in achievement tests. But how can a teacher make students smart if they have empty stomachs? or if they have family problems? or if they are too tired to study because they sleep late at night because of work? or if they are too hopeless and lazy to study because they already have accepted that they could never escape poverty and that to be poor is fine as long as they can eat a meal or two a day? and that perhaps they could never reach college?
        I find this very challenging since most of the students seem to have given up dreaming. Once I have asked a student, "What do you want to be in the future?" He answered, "I don't know" at first. Since I find this unacceptable, I asked him to give me any job that he wants. He answered, " I want to be a sales clerk in a mall". I don't want to undermine those working in malls but the sad reality about my student's answer is that my students seem to have given up dreaming big. That in their hands are actually endless possibilities. That in the future, they could possibly be the richest person in the planet, or the next Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, or the next president or the discoverer of a cure for cancer or AIDS. This perhaps made me realize that first and foremost, I really really need my to inspire my students.
       Sometimes, it has crossed in my mind a number of times why I am in this kind of school. And sometimes, at the back of my head, there is a voice telling me that I should have accepted teaching teaching offers from private and prestigious schools across the country back when my victorious topping of the LET was still hot. However, in spite all of these, there is but a quote that stuck in my head every time these negative thoughts come to my mind. According to Barbara Colorose,  "If kids come to us [educators/teachers] from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important."
       The bottom line is, my current status as a teacher made me humble both as a person and a teacher. Honestly, as a teacher, I don't anymore care about my past achievements. Rather I care more about letting my pupils have their own achievement. As a teacher I felt that what is the use of my exceptional credentials and achievements if I myself am incapable of making my students achieve something. This drive makes me persevere more to develop myself and to push more in providing my students the best learning I could offer to them and at the same time inspire them that they CAN be successful given the diligence, hardwork and perseverance. I am discouraged most of the time, but never I am giving up. And I hope my that that my students would feel the same. And this hope isn't just a passive waiting for something good to happen. It is an active conviction that I need to strive and do my best despite all the odds.

P.S. Our school's achievement score has improved a lot. We may not be the highest but we gained a major improvement. At the end of the day, a teacher's achievement is never dependent on numbers or scores but rather how the teacher has inspired and has touched the lives of his students. And I am very proud of my students.