Help to Discover The Identity

helping-cross-cultural-kids-find-their-identity

 

        Many students want to know their true identities, but they are unsure how to find what they need to develop it. In a high school, students transition to adulthood, which leads them to figure out what they want to be in the future. This time period is very important because it helps them to discover their true identities, but they cannot get this by themselves. They need someone who knows what to do, to light the way for them. Teachers play an important role in this period by helping them to find their identities. So, good relationships between students and teachers are significant to enabling students to find their students’ identities and develop them.

        First of all, during the relationship between them, teachers do not need to impose an identity on students. Teachers should help them to explore their identities by themselves through effective discussion in class about their ideas and how students see themselves in the future. During this discussion, teachers can help students think about what they want to do after they graduate high school. In this case, teachers could act as counsel for their students and provide the necessary information for them.

        Teachers can help students to engage in activities that help them find their identities. For example, career day is one of beneficial activity that could be established at schools, to help students and to support teachers to understand their students’ identities in the future. Ehen teachers and students engage in the activities of career day, teachers can see their what professions their students prefer, and thus they will easily find their students’ identities.

        In addition, The collaboration between teachers and the school administration could be helpful to provide programs, which help students by giving a appropriate guidance for them to find a good academic major, which leads to beginning the right career path in their future. For example, the Saudi Ministry of High Education established a Job Fair, to help students who are graduating from the King Abdullah Scholarship Program connect with their Identities of study and achieve their passion. This Job Fair is an encouraging environment and is open every year.

        Teachers should seek to be Inspirational in their classes to have a positive impact on their students. If there is a good relationship with students, teachers will help students to grow out of a faked personality and into a true personality, because they will know that hiding behind a mask will not help a teacher to find his/her student’s identity. According to the short film, Identity (Adames, 2012), your identity is unique, so you do not need to put on a mask to hid it.

 

        In conclusion, the final goal of helping students to find their identities is to put students on the right path to have a successful future, which is possible if their teacher makes every effort to support them. Students should have their identity recognized by their teachers and parents so they can walk in the shining path with more confidence and without hiding.

 

 

References
Adames, K. J. (2012, May 24). Identity SHORT FILM (Award Winning Inspirational Short) [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikGVWEvUzNM
Morocco, E. (2013). Helping cross-cultural kids find their identity. Familius. Retrieved on March 31, 2014 from http://www.familius.com/helping-cross-cultural-kids-find-their-identity#.UzSv9ctOXIU

 

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Person’s Identity

random,message,identity,sayingpics,words,quotes-92c5f0c8119a3422d5178cc35ddd799e_h

(Visualize us, n.d.)

        Each one of us has his or her own identity that is different from others. There are different people, so there are different identities. However, a person’s identity itself is always changing depending on many things. We realize that Identity is multi-faceted, and includes many traits in each person, which depend on many things: who, where, and how. This indicates that there are many factors that play roles in influencing a person’s identity. These factors may drive us to change our identity according to the environment we live in, place where we are, relationships with people around us, or life experiences we have. So, how do these factors influence a person’s identity?

        Environments and places have a significant influence on a person’s identity . According to Hauge (2007), “Home and dwelling are very important in most people’s lives, and consequently, they are significant in influencing identity.” (p. 1). People always try to transition to different environments, which lead to encountering different cultures. This moving to different environments can cause a significant shift in a person’s identity. Although people like to transition to different environments for their reasons, they try to keep their identity, which shows others who they are and from where they came from. Hauge (2007) says that Breakwell argues, “Places are important sources of identity elements. Aspects of identity derived from places we belong to arise because places have symbols that have meaning and significance to us. Places represent personal memories, and because places are located in the socio-historical matrix of intergroup relations, they represent social memories (shared histories).” (p. 6). Hauge (2007) pointed out that Breakwell argues, “Being in new and different places affects identity through attenuation/accentuation, threat and dislocation.” (p. 6). For example, my parents as Saudi citizens, they faced difficulty adapting with Canadian culture when we arrived because they grew up in Saudi Arabia. They have a totally different perspective on life in Canada. But when they found other Saudi people, they felt better because they found common things between them, which helps them avoid losing national and cultural identity. They want to find their sense of belonging and their true identity. The home has a strong influence on identity.

        People around a person also have an influence on his or her identity. A lot of people are influenced by others around them because their identity is different depending on who they deal with. There are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, teachers and more. For example, when we deal with parents, it is different from when we deal with our friends. Lisa  (2008, p. 1) pointed to Mead, who argued that, “One’s sense of self is mutually interdependent with one’s sense of other. What we think that others think of us has a great influence on the way we perceive ourselves and in turn shapes our thoughts, decisions and behaviours.” This show that our identities are formed in part through our interactions with others.

        A lot of experiences may influence a person’s identity. Some of them can have a big influence on a life, such as being a teacher. This career may help to create a new identity. So, how to get a teacher’s identity? According to Yerkes (2004), “I have discovered that what has shaped me, as a teacher are things from my past, things that are going on in my present, and thoughts of the future.  People I have met when in high school, college, and especially my student teaching internship have shaped my teacher identity.  The books, articles, and conversations I have had with many people have shaped my teacher identity.” What is teacher identity? Yerkes (2004) says, “Above are all questions and statements, which have crossed my mind in discovering the overall question of what is my teacher identity.  How does one act like a teacher? What qualities do teachers possess?  And most importantly how does one achieve these goals?  Entering my student teaching program, I thought I had all I needed.  All I needed was to do my best possible work this year and then it would all be downhill from there. Was I ever wrong?” She goes on to say (2004), “I have learned that teaching is more than just standing up in front of a classroom.  Teaching comes from within. Teaching is all about who you are as a person. This profession is very heart wrenching. This profession never leaves you.  Once you are pulled into this career, you never leave. Teaching is difficult. If you do not know who you are as a person then teaching is going to be even harder. I have learned a lot about myself as a person. I have had to face things I have never wanted to before and teaching is something that pulls at your heartstrings. Teaching is a passion.” So, our careers and studies have a strong impact on exploring a new identity inside of us, which influences our behavior. The way of acting as a teacher is different from the way of act as a student at university, or as a daughter at home.

        A person’s identity is always different depending on where are, who we are with, and what we do. These factors make each one of us a unique person with a different identity.

 

 

References:

Hauge, Å. L. (2007). Identity and place: a critical comparison of three identity theories. Architectural Science Review50(1), 44-51.

Visualize us. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://vi.sualize.us/somewhere_out_there_message_quotes_saying_pics_quote_picture_m5wU.html

Yerkes, K. (2004). Exploring Teacher Identity:  A Yearlong Recount of Growing from Student to Teacher. Professional Development School. Retrieved from http://www.ed.psu.edu/englishpds/inquiry/projects/yerkes04.htm.

Whittaker, L. (2008). “Scotland’s Shame”: A Dialogical Analysis of the Identity of Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training.Psychology & Society1, 54-64.

Giving Effective Feedback

feedback

(Newton, 2013)

 

      In everyday situations, people need to give feedback for each other because it is a good way to improve themselves. Through this exchange between each other people can get a better understanding about what they do. Sometimes, they want to know if  they are doing well or not, because they may keep on doing some things although they need to change them to get a better result. According to DeWitt (2013), “’Feedback’ is defined as ‘helpful information or criticism that is given to someone so they can improve a performance, product, etc.’” (p. 4). There is a lot of feedback that we can get them from parents, teachers, friends, or any person, which can enhance performance and achievement. Because of that, people have to make sure that the aim of their feedback is to be for interest others , not to attack a person. Thus, feedback includes both positive and negative observations, which may give positive results or be counterproductive.

      To get positive results from feedback, it should involve a specific goal and be helpful, and timely. DeWitt noted that Bronson said, “The experts in the field (Wiggins, Bambrick-Santoyo, Danielson, and others) all cite some common characteristics of effective feedback: it is goal focused, timely, actionable, and transparent, among other things.” (2013, p. 4). Feedback works toward specific goals because the best feedback is that which relates to the goals. If the goals are not clear, we cannot direct people to their mistakes very well. According to DeWitt, “There are times when teachers and school leaders don’t offer any relevant information and make statements such as “good job” or “try your best.” To be clear, that is not effective feedback. There isn’t anything wrong with complimenting someone by saying “good job,” as long as school leaders and teachers are providing more defined feedback as well.” ( 2013 , p. 4). Saying “Well done” or “Good job” is praise, not feedback, which is important to strengthen ourselves, but it will not help us to improve ourselves very well because we do not know in what mistakes we made. Wherefore, It is important that we differentiate between praise and feedback.

In addition, people have to give timely feedback because, if the feedback comes too late, the result of performance will be less than optimal level. According to Curtin University of Technology’s Teaching Development Unit, “Feedback needs to be timely: given early in a unit, or promptly after assessment tasks, so that students have sufficient opportunity to use the feedback for improving subsequent performance.” (Teaching Development Unit, p. 2). Giving feedback early allows people a chance to realize their mistakes before it is too late. Therefore, people have to know that giving feedback promptly will help them to get a better performance from others .

      On the other hand, ineffective feedback may give counterproductive because the way of giving feedback may affect the person’s acceptance or rejection for it. Peter shows that Bronson says, “Effective feedback first and foremost looks like a dialogue, a conversation rather than a lecture.” (2013, p. 4). Effective feedback looks  like conversation of asking and listening between each other more than just telling, which comes from one direction. For example, a person may rebel and not accept your advice or any feedback from you, which involves a lot of information, because that leads to difficulty understanding the importance of what you are saying. Also, ineffective feedback can affect the productivity of the students. In some situations, the performance received was not as described by the advice or evaluation, which can have a big negative impact on our performance. For example, “You did a great job, but as a second language student, you still in the same level”  How so? Does this mean that even if he/she did a great job in all the required things, they still have not learned to do anything because they are a second language student? I hope not.  I would highlight that people have to look at the words used when they give feedback for others, especially teachers, because students need constructive feedback rather than negative feedback and they need to feel appreciated for their efforts. According to DeWitt, “The type of feedback provided, one of the common misunderstandings is that feedback is personal, which means there is a chance that it can be taken personally.” (2013, p. 5). He goes on to point out to Bronson’s claim, “Effective feedback does not happen in a vacuum. Besides ensuring that a feedback conversation ends with a clear and manageable expectation going forward, we have to have systems that are coherent to ensure that expectations are implemented” (2013, p. 5). We should avoid the advice or evaluation which does not lead to good performers or causes learners to lose the motivation to learn.

      In conclusion, feedback includes both positive and negative observations. Therefore, we should remember that the best feedback is that which you honestly provide to help others because people will know if you want really to help them to go up, or you just want to push them down. Peter DeWitt pointed to the importance of feedback through what John Hattie said at the University of Auckland, “The most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement is feedback” (2013, p. 4). So, If you really want your feedback accepted and welcomed by others, it should be supportive of personal development, not destructive.

References

DeWitt, P. (2013). The Importance of Effective Feedback. Vanguard, 42 (3), 3-6.

Teaching Development Unit. (n.d.). Providing feedback for student learning. Curtin University of Technology. Retrieved from http://evaluate.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/5providing-feedback-for-student-learning.pdf

Newton, C. (2013, November 18). Give Feedback that Stretches and Grows Your Employees. Talent Formula. Retrieved from http://talentformula.ca/development/feedback

My motivation to learn

Motivate-yourself-now

      Motivation is an important factor that impacts on ourselves. It comes from inside us, to support our ability to achieve goals and excel in life. Keeping our spirits high helps us to  achieve our aspirations and goals. According to Paula, “Students are motivated when they believe they are able to succeed at a given task and when they understand and value the outcome of the task.” (2005, p. 34). If students believe that they will be successful, maybe they will have more motivation to do their task very well. In addition, I believe that having an intense desire to achieve what I want is a very important step to motivating myself. If I am  not persistent in trying to get what I want, I cannot stay motivated to get it. For example, I was taking too many difficult classes one semester. Sometimes, I felt so bored that it made me lose all my will to continue. The semester that I took Methods of Teaching Social  was the most enjoyable ever. The class was interesting because the instructor prepared subjects that aroused our attention. That class kept me motivated up until I finished the semester. This shows how, if teachers care about their students’ motivations, they can help them to achieve their goals in the course. Motivation is influenced by many factors, but the characteristics of the instructor is one of the most important of them. If the instructor is enthusiastic about the course, enhances academic activities, and cares about the students and their goals, they will motivate their students to engage in the subject.

      A good teacher is one who use academic activities in the classroom to create opportunities for their students to engage with the material and learn very well. Interesting academic activities will motivate  students to achieve more and engage with the material through reading, writing, talking, and listening. Paula goes on  to define motivation to learn as “a student’s tendency to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to get the intended learning benefits from them.” (2005, p. 34). Motivating students is one of the more difficult things that teachers encounter in the classroom, because a lack of motivation to learn by students will produce poor results. Teachers need to know their students to know their different motivations about learning, so they can help their students to not  lose motivation after they start the class. Through my own experience as a student, and by meeting many teachers, I understand the experience of students who try hard to stay motivated. As students. we know that motivation is the power that drives us to learn. A lack of motivation to learn something makes it very difficult to learn that thing. Motivation helps you to continue focus on what you want to achieve. On the other hand, a lack of motivation to  learn something will make us to feel too bored to focus on the subject. If we can always remain motivated, we will always be achievers.

      A good teacher is who cares about his/her students and their goals, to motivate them to engage in the learning process. The motivations of students are different, because the motivations depend on the students’ needs, especially if they are learning something very important to them. The teachers can learn what is important to the students by asking the students in the first class what they are hoping to learn. That will help teachers to understand their students’ goals. Paula shows that,

“Brophy encourages teachers to establish learning communities in their classrooms by making students feel comfortable, cared about, and empowered. Learning should be emphasized, but within a supportive climate. For optimal learning to occur, students must feel safe and secure whether asking for clarification, venturing opinions, or seeking assistance. Brophy also urges educators to make their classrooms physically attractive to the extent possible.” (2005, p. 34).

She goes to says that Brophy addresses,

“The need to focus on achieving success rather than avoiding failure. When students are successful, that success should be attributed to their ability and effort. Any failures should be attributed to a lack of relevant information and/or effort, but not to a lack of ability.” (2005, p. 34).

Teachers should demonstrate for their students that their efforts will contribute to achieving the students’ goals and that the teacher will  support their students in achieving their goals. So, the teachers can’t motivate their students unless they understand the students’ needs or goals. From my experience as an international student,  I have had personal, social and academic benefits. I realized that moving to another place can be very fruitful if it has a clear goal, such as studying abroad. I’ve moved from my home in Saudi Arabia to Canada, and had my a goal of learning a new language, to improve my communication skills. But, through my teacher supporting me to get a master’s degree in education, I found a second goal. Although I feel homesick, I motivate myself to achieve my goals. when I try to motivate myself, I push myself to do something that I really care about and want to achieve. I have developed an understanding of my goals, which will influence my entire life. This shows how having aspirations and goals helps have the motivation to make achievements.

      Overall, different Students have different things that motivate them to achieve their goals. Teachers can help their students to achieve their goals by encouraging an intense  desire to be the best they can be. If teachers and students provide help for each other, they will be able to help each other to achieve success. Students will be successful in theirs lives, while teachers will achieve the outcomes they want in their classes.

References:

Wise, P. (2005). Motivating students to learn [book review]. In The School Psychologist, 59(1) pp. 34-35.

Picture from http://www.veenav.com/motivate-yourself/

Prior Knowledge

I_already_know_2

      Activating Prior Knowledge Strategy is very important, and can help teachers improve their lessons helpful. Using prior
knowledge, teachers can better understand what their students know about the topic. In addition, it helps students to make connections between what they already know and the new knowledge that they will learn in the class. According to Fisher, “Evidence supports Anderson’s (1990) claim that students who engage in explicit knowledge construction should be better able to retrieve and apply their knowledge than students who do not.” (2004, p. 1).  This means that if students have background knowledge about the topic they will be able to relate what they learn in the class to things they already know. Through my experience as a teacher, I would always start my lesson with a question for the students, so they could start thinking about the topic and making connections with their prior knowledge of it. That would help me to find out if their prior knowledge included misconceptions or not. This means that there is a role for prior knowledge in learning.

How could  prior knowledge be a barrier to understanding or a support to make a new knowledge?

 

Using what students already know will help them to understand new ideas. When teachers ask students about the topic, they remember details about the it, but do not know how that happens. For example, in response to the question “How Does Rain Happen?”, their answers are that when the sun heats water in the sea or oceans, it goes up to the sky. According to Fisher, “People construct meaning from their experiences in everyday life. Their knowledge is stored in long-term memory in part in the form of semantic networks. Research with the Force Concept Inventory and other assessment tools has shown that student learning increases significantly when students are given the opportunity to construct meaning about science in their science classes.” (2004, p.2). This means that they depend on their background and their prior knowledge about how does rain happen. In this case, the prior knowledge contributed to building new knowledge.

 

On the other hand, prior knowledge may be a barrier to understanding new ideas. According to Fisher, “I was waiting for a bus on a street corner in London when I struck up a conversation with the man standing next to me. I said, ‘I don’t go anywhere without my Macintosh.’ He said enthusiastically, ‘Neither do I.’ Our conversation continued for possibly several minutes before we realized that I was talking about my Macintosh computer (hanging on my right shoulder) while he was talking about his Macintosh rain gear (draped over his left arm).” That happened because of misunderstandings of the word that has different meanings for each of them. You can imagine the misunderstandings between two people from different cultures, who have multiple meanings for some words. I think they will need a long time to clarify their whole conversation. He goes on to say, about misunderstandings, “But when they occur in one-way information delivery (as in lectures or books), they can persist for weeks or semesters or quite often indefinitely.” (2004, p.1). This means that misunderstandings may distort the students’  prior knowledge because they believe that teachers do not make mistakes in their knowledge and any information from them is correct.

 

In the end, Fisher says, “Can teachers recognize that teaching students without knowing what they are thinking is like driving a car with their hands tied behind their back and a blindfold over their eyes? They have no idea what they are doing or where they are going, but they can do it at top speed!” (2004, p. 10).

 

References

Fisher, K. M. (2004). The importance of prior knowledge in college science instruction. In Sunal, D., Bland, J., Wright, E. L. (Ed.) Reform in Undergraduate Science Teaching for the 21st Century. Connecticut: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Shaffer, S. (2010). But I Already Know This. The Heart of the Matter. Retrieved from http://www.ideachampions.com/heart/archives/2010/11/but_i_already_k.shtml

Explicit and Implicit Memory

Image

 

In life, we can learn in different ways. One way is to learn without awareness or intention, and the other way we learn is with rules and discipline.  According to Wikipedia,

“A dual process theory provides an account of how a phenomenon can occur in two different ways, or as a result of two different processes… the two processes consist of an implicit (automatic), unconscious process and an explicit (controlled), conscious process.” (Dual process theory, n.d.).

These processes we can find in some attitudes in our daily lives and through our learning.

 

I know that a learner is always aware of what they are doing and learning. Also, I know that learning and awareness are correlated very well. But, implicit learning makes me confused.

What is the difference between the implicit and explicit memory?

According to Hall, “Implicit memories are nonconscious, and often involve memories for specific step-by-step procedures, or specific feelings/emotions.” (Hall, 1998, p. 1). This means that implicit memory is any everyday activity that repeats over time again. For example, there are many activities we do automatically in everyday life that rely on implicit memory. In fact, we can do these things but we cannot explain how we are able to do them, such as using a keyboard; some people do not need to look at each key because they are able to type without looking. This type of learning happens without an intention to learn and without awareness.  According to Roediger,  

“Humans learn many skills in which conscious remembering is unlikely to play much of a role, such as the sequences of finger movements involved in typewriting or tying one’s shoes, the virtuoso performances of gymnasts or ice skaters, and many more mundane activities such as driving or shaving. People are unlikely to recall how to perform these skills; rather, when placed in the appropriate situation the person performs with little conscious awareness of how the behavior runs off.” (Roediger, 1990, p.1).

 

This means that the adaptation and repetition have an important role in this process. .On the other hand, explicit memory is another type of learning.  According to Hall, “Explicit memories are conscious memories that can easily be verbalized.” (Roediger, 1998, p. 1). This means that we aware of some activities that we do in everyday life.

 

Image

 

Through the video below , we can understand more about the differences between the implicit and explicit memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-W6TDYi0Cw.

 

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References:

Nellen, T. (2011, July 15). Summer Reading – Chapter Ten [Web log]. Cyber English. Retrieved from http://tednellen.blogspot.ca/2011/07/summer-reading-chapter-ten.html

Dual process theory. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory

Ferrigan, E. (2011, Aug 1). Implicit and Explicit Memory [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-W6TDYi0Cw

Hall, R. (1998). Implicit and Explicit Memory. Retrieved from http://web.mst.edu/~rhall/neuroscience/06_complex_learning/explicit_implicit.pdf

Roediger, H. L. (1990). Implicit memory: Retention without remembering. American psychologist45(9), 1043.

Picture from http://www.piicss.com/img/12/b61f529fdae3d0abc89a5923ff8fceec.jpg

 

First Blog : Sleep and Memory

sleeping and learning

One day, I had a final exam for one of the last classes of my university, and I had a lot of important information in each
chapter, which I had to remember in my mind very well. I got tired because I spent all day studying.  I thought that I could not remember anything that I read. I was worried and I asked my teacher to give me advice that may help me. My teacher said, “Review your information before you go to bed and then review them again after you wake up in the morning.” I did and I got a great result. Waddington (2009),

“The best times to review information are right before you go to sleep and right when you wake up. This is so for three reasons. First, in sleep the brain secretes chemicals that cement memories. Second, forgetting happens because information we learn later knocks out information that is already in our heads. Third, most forgetting happens because our heads are already full of information and have trouble packing more in.”

This means that, through this method, sleeping after learning will help to increase retention of the information for a long time in our minds. According to Gais (2006),

“Sleep is most effective when it follows within a few hours after learning without longer periods of intervening wakefulness. Interestingly, the influence of sleep on memory seems to be distinctly greater than that of the length of the retention period, at least in the 24–48 h timeframe investigated here.”

Also said, “sleep after learning enhances long-term retention in humans.” This means that during sleep the brain arranges and organizes the information gained through studying and retains the information for long periods. This is very interesting to me. From that day, this became my habit for retaining information. Overall, according to Grohol (2008), “sleep is far, far more important than most of us realize and few of us appreciate.”

The question that comes to the mind is: how sleep effect on our memory? Through the video below, neuroscientist Ken Paller shows the connection between memory and sleep: http://science360.gov/obj/video/1bdb1ef6-8a9c-4c06-b8f3-5f6045daf859/connection-between-sleep-memory

References:

Gais, S., Lucas, B., & Born, J. (2006). Sleep after learning aids memory recall.Learning & Memory13(3), 259-262.

Waddington, T. (2009). Smarts: It’s not How Much You Learn That Matters. It’s How Much You Remember. Psychoology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smarts/200904/smarts-its-not-how-much-you-learn-matters-its-how-much-you-remember

Grohol, J. (2008). While You Sleep, Your Brain Keeps Working. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/08/03/while-you-sleep-your-brain-keeps-working/

The picture from http://fonon-all4u.blogspot.ca/2012/01/blog-post_8055.html

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