"Learning is social and historical, building upon our own experiences and that of others"

~Bob Fecho, 2010

"Is This English?"

        My strongest area of intelligence is intrapersonal according to the Multiple Intelligences Indicator for Adults.  It does make sense because as a child I have always found comfort in internalizing, thinking, and planning for my future.  I remember at age 16 while lounging with my mother in the living room, I told her that by age 18 I will be driving my own car--even if it's a hand-me down, and that after graduating college, I will work in the United States.  Back then, nobody knew that teachers will be in-demand in the U.S.  But, I made up my mind and decided that's how it will pan out for me.  Suffice to say, I'm now here.  I know I wanted to teach in the U.S. and so planned to be certified while traveling in New York back in 2003. 

      This verbalizing my desire goes well with my second strongest area:  verbal-linguistic intelligence.  As a child, I always knew what I wanted and was never afraid to say it.  My preferred mode of communicating though was through writing.  I remember writing cards or simple letters to my parents which I always put in their bags.   I was known for doing this that it's funny when I was in 1st year college, my brother wrote me a letter asking that I bring a cake to this girl he was courting back then.  I discovered the letter in my bag!  

       I was not surprised to find that intuitive-thinking is my learning style.  I like thinking things through which goes hand-in-hand with my intrapersonal intelligence.  I embody the affinity for logical, organized, and systematic order of things.  I especially like working independently, but will be willing to work cooperatively with like minds.   Finding the relevance of an issue or topic is something that I need satisfied.  I would go through in-depth details to express myself--a play of both my intrapersonal and verbal-linguistic intelligences making their marks.  

       Both my strong intelligences and learning style define me as a learner.  I see them at work in how I set up my classroom, in how I organize my students' data, in how I introduce my lesson when I'm teaching, and in how I explain what we will glean from any activity.  In retrospect, I see myself connecting more with students who likewise display any of these traits.  I do believe that knowing my students' learning styles and intelligences will help me approach their learning with the "right fit" in mind.  Helping them know their intelligence will empower them as a learner and with their metacognition.       

                                                          My Personal Learning Continuum

~An excerpt from my personal journal...July 27, 2012~

"Each individual's potential for growth is limited only by the expectations of her teacher and the opportunities for learning provided for her."

~Resnich, 1987

The Power of Questions

Reflecting on Okun's work, I do wonder why I can't think of any significant memory with teachers.  Was it because I don't feel that I owe what I know from what I've learned from their class?  I'm not really sure.  But I do understand that as a teacher, I should make the effort to ensure that I take a personal interest in my students and that I provide opportunities for learning that "fits" each student's individuality. 

Cultural Differences and How It Affects Theory and Practice:  A Personal Case Study


       In 2003, I took the New York State teacher certification exams.  I knew going in that I'm not good in Math, my knowledge of history and social science will be limited to what I have learned from my schooling back home, and that my background in teaching will be a complete mismatch with the teaching expectations and practice here in the U.S.  I passed all the test in one go, but I'm not surprise to see the scores I got on the items that I expected to do so-so because of my lack of knowledge and experience teaching here in the U.S. at that time.  

       From this very personal experience, I have learned that what I know as a teacher is not enough.  It made me realize that gaining the teacher certificate is not enough, and that I must continue to learn so that I can attain that "fit".  Becoming the teacher I want to be entails that I must learn to be a teacher in this culture.  This was most evident in the Multi-Subject exam I took in 2008 for the same teaching certificate.  I scored very low at Family & Consumer Science/Career Development and Foundations of Reading though I passed the test overall.  It clearly pointed out that these are areas that I have limited knowledge of because I relied on experiences from another culture instead of using the expectations of the culture I took the test in.  Not only did these results indicated the mismatch in knowledge, but it again showed that theory can be universal, however practice is cultural.  Most importantly, it reiterated the paradigm shift that I needed to make if I want to become successful in teaching students here.

       All these turning points highlighted for me the never ending role of being a life long learner.  Being stubborn and prideful, in my opinion, has no place in education.  If I were to think I know it all, I will miss out on the many opportunities to learn new things that can benefit me and my students.  It is in reflecting this enthusiasm for learning that can make us great role models of learners for our students and others.   

     The learner part of the 'trilogy' is the zone that I am predominantly at.  Even though I've been teaching in the U.S. for almost 8 years now, I find that there is still a lot to learn simply because I am teaching in a culture that I did not grew up in.  I feel a strong need to ensure that I provide my students experiences that are somewhat parallel to those of their parents and peers.

     As I try to sift through my personal experiences and the assumptions out there, I know that I am the sole master of my fate.  Questioning assumptions and practices is acceptable.  I have the power to change my outcome if I am willing to let go of some assumptions to make room for self improvement.  

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