Preparedness. Its value became so real to me not in one instant but in the multiple times I needed it to pass an exam. Nothing could be more fulfilling than answering confidently, a question in essay or other form, before or after lecture, announced or not. It gives a sense of accomplishment in a different level especially when the topic is my favorite. For I can fully remember it because it was interesting. I went to class with questions in mind and I came out with answers. After a discussion, a lecture, an experiment an experience. But I could say that, because my mind was only excited for the ones I was interested in, then those topics I didn’t like, were the ones I didn’t choose to understand and learn. For my immature self said , I don’t think I would need to know that.
However, summative and high -stake assessments are more like life and death situations for the learner in me. Someone who is thinking about her OFW parents to provide for her studies. On top of that an educational insurance that can only supply the five years of university life. And any extension for the allowable period would mean additional expense for her parents. Adding to this, is the pressure that of a sibling who is following her footsteps of being a responsible sister. Failure in school equates to wasted time, wasted money, wasted opportunity. Failure to pass a subject or progressing to the next level or to graduate means wasted future.
And where will you go in a society that equates diploma as ticket out of poverty. So what would a Filipino learner like me do? Study. Study and absorb whatever it is that is taught to me. Be it something I would need in life or not. Please do not get me wrong. I am not whining.
I was given the chance to study in a prestigious school. My parents ‘upgraded’ me to a private secondary school after studying in our town’s public elementary. They said, that since they were earning more and with my excellent grades, they would like to send me to somewhere they couldn’t afford when they were my age. How can a child like me not be grateful for that trust, and ‘gift’ if you may call it.
So I burned the midnight candle as other would say and prepared for the first difficult exam I ever took. A secondary school entrance exam, all written in English. Math ,Reading, and Science were the bulk of it. Essays had to be written in English. I did not want to take it, as passing would mean being separated from my childhood classmates and friends for good. But I did it, and I passed.
Then came the career aptitude test of 3rd year, followed by the three college entrance exams from universities who offered my chosen course. To top it up, was the NCEE, from which I had to reach a percentile that must be on the passing rate as required by the quota course I was applying for.
Again, I got the required NCEE rating, and passed in two out of three universities. In college, I underwent various kinds of assessment. There was an oral exam for the Bill of Rights. Numerous practical tests of ‘move system’, where specimens with mixed questions are written to answer. With the pressure of a time limit per station, we needed to answer a minimum of three questions ranging from identification by multiple choice, true or false, enumeration and one short-sentence explanation. It was grueling. Preparations we needed to do, were countless sleepless nights of individual and group reviews. Creating pnemonics for lists of whats and whos.
I experienced being laughed at or humiliated by a panelist in my oral revalida. It was a case study of a patient I had and the plan I will do for his rehabilitation. I reviewed the classic book, case and analyzed the experiential case I handled in my internship. And then when I discussed, I had moments when the inquiry became more personal than professional. That panelist was stricter than my college dean who was part of that 3-man panel. Anyway, thank God I passed and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. Then when our group bagged the best in thesis award after defending it. Oh boy, we could already smell the toga for graduation and imagine wearing our college ring.
But the reviews I enjoyed most were the times with my grandfather. It was about mathematical problems. Because I wanted to know how to problem solve, I asked him to give me at least ten questions every night to practice the process, on top of my homework. And I enjoyed that because he never got mad, and he never shoved me away or stop me from me asking him to give me exercises.
Twenty-five years forward, I am now a teachermom. Of two wonderful boys who are more inquisitive, creative, confident, and vocal than me. My learning in this module particularly is that, they are the center of what I am doing. My husband and I chose this path to homeschool. And it is not an easy task. We call it intentional parenting. And I am just amazed how different disciplines can be taught, and they learn in a non-threatening environment. They can speak out their minds without being labeled ‘talkative’ or disrespectful. They can present their portfolios with confidence and much understanding. They can open conversations with grown-ups or kids their age about topics applied in real life situations. They can infer and create, and find connections from one subject to another. They are not ashamed to share and let others know what can be beneficial or not.
So, in conclusion I’d say, construct…differentiate…reflect….repeat.
What do my learners need? How can they experience this lesson? Are we learning in meaningful ways? What can we do more? What should we do less or stop?
Construct. Differentiate. Reflect. Repeat…