Monday, October 7, 2013

How To Not Drop Your MA Subject


MA stories for a change. Crunch time for me. I have yet to finish loads of academic requirements this week for my Graduate studies. Talk about task and time management eh? But before I bury myself into term papers, research proposals, reflection papers and all other paper stuff, lemme share to you my course portfolio in one of my Stat class last sem. Warning: text heavy.

Ginusto mo ‘yan ‘di ba?
A guide on how to not drop
your EDRE 231 course


EDRE 231: Statistical Methods Applied to Education


Carla
2000-58xxx
M.A.Ed. – Educational Administration
2nd semester, 2012-2013
College of Education
University of the Philippines, Diliman



Professor Ronaldo M. San Jose, Ph.D.



What’s Inside?
  
Title page
What’s inside?
Who is Ms. Carla
What is this all about?
I.        Breaking the ice
II.       Not just friends, not yet lovers
III.     Exclusively dating
Epilogue
  

Who is Ms. Carla?
     
To start with, the author has basic knowledge on Statistics. A late-bloomer teacher who once worked as a Curator in a Gallery somewhere, a Customer Service Associate in a telecommunications company in the country and a bank teller before she realized that there’s more to life than counting other people’s money. 

           She woke up one morning with the desire to be free. She made a resignation letter right away, filled out an exit clearance and left behind what seemed to be the “perfect job” in a corporate world. Afraid to be a bum, her mother suggested her to pursue a degree in Teaching. After a year, the author met all the required courses, passed the board exams and entered the opposite side of the corporate world – the real world in a public high school as a Music and Arts teacher. And after five years, she seemed to be sleeping more soundly at night knowing that she has found her place in the world (just yet).


        The author has been serving for five years now and there’s no turning back. She may be the teacher in the class but she learns more everyday from the challenges of her present situation. It may not be the “perfect job” (if there’s such thing) but she is having fun which is one of her mantras. She learns to adapt everyday and finds that Experiential learning is far more effective in her subject area. She lets her students engage in activities that would enhance learning before bombarding them with theories and/or historical background on the lessons.

        In regards to Statistics, the author had only encountered this concept during her third year in high school where she learned the central tendencies of measure and that’s it. All she knew was how to get the mean, the mode and the median without knowing why she needs to learn it. The only research class during her college years in U.P Manila was qualitative in nature as her course didn’t require them to go into the laborious task of the methods in Statistics. That explains her not-so-good idea about Statistics.

        But with her undeniable tenacity, she accepted the challenge of a requirement course of the EDRE 231. She fulfilled all the requirements, never been absent nor late and so she did it! From almost nothing to almost-getting-there-I’m-so-confident level of understanding of the course. She survived EDRE 231 alive and did not regret taking it. So if you have thoughts of not taking it or dropping it then think again. This lady has done it and so can you.

  
What is this all about?

      The rationale behind this guide is to showcase the tangible and intangible articles of interest that the author came across while enduring the 3-hour class every Friday of the week (which should’ve been her time to unwind and to cap the week off but no, she chose to enroll and succumb to the course.).

        Reflection is one way of extracting what is naturally inside of you but never came out in the first place. It’s more of analyzing one’s self or the experiences you had. The author has been keeping a journal since 5th grade. She has this love affair with pen and paper (although it didn’t improve her handwriting at all). Her accounts may not be “Maalaala Mo Kaya” – worthy but the intention of recording and keeping an account of her not-so-boring life has been a therapy for her leaving the therapists empty-handed). But I digress. Reflection, in a way, is far more effective than exams, quizzes and all other types of assessments out there. In this way, the writer can be more open and unguarded on what she feels about a certain part of her life. In that way, the experience will be more meaningful. And yes, erasures are allowed.

        So this guide is more of a narrative on how to survive a course that you wish you wouldn’t have to take but then again you are required to. Fret no more ‘coz Statistics can be as scary as hell but as easy as 1-2-3. Just proceed so you would know how.


I.          Breaking the ice

      First day of class, that feeling when you don’t know anyone and anything about the course you are taking. As for the author, she has a friend who has taken the same class as her which made it easier. The class seemed big at around 30. It was surely a mix of different majors in the Master’s program of the College of Education. The author heard a bunch of Math majors talking about some personal stuff that jolted her knowing that these guys will surely kick their heads out throughout the duration of the course. And then the prof entered the room. It was her first time to meet him. It was quiet. The initial calling out of names was done and jitters were still in her as to what will happen next.

“What do you know about Statistics?”

And then she was doomed. She was afraid to admit that her knowledge about the subject matter was so little that all she could think about was her Stat class during her high school years. After hearing her classmates talk about that same thing she eased a bit.

“It’s ok to admit that you know little about the course
so that I would know how to go about the discussions”

The prof just broke the ice on that note. He was so good in assessing the prior knowledge of the students on the course. And with that he went on with the Basic Ideas in Statistics. He made it a point that every detail was clearly delivered and understood by the whole class with his witty antics. It made the class more fun and engaging. And then he asked them to look for their classmates who have the same majors to form a group. Some were mixed that she went into a fusion of Ed.Ad and Ed.Art group. Their future reports were assigned. They got the Pearson-Product Moment of Correlation (r) which deemed to be the “easiest” one. But by just looking on the report title the author got internal bleeding all over her body. Big words for her. But then again, it was a challenge that she will accept. 

           They had their first group work which included data gathering and data presentation. For a while, the author realized that the process was not new to her. And that she had encountered it so many times already. It was that experience that told her that Statistics is not a novel idea to her and that it was practically what she had been doing in some aspects of her life. Data gathering is one of those. Methods of Data Collection and Organization can be the most practical use of Statistics.

“EDRE 231 is not the class for teaching you
on how to use a scientific calculator”

The next few sessions proved to be a challenge in dealing with a scientific calculator. It was clearly stated at the first meeting that it is a must to possess one during the class. The author then searched for her old scientific calculator from the high school stat class and re-acquainted with it.

           Getting to know the subject matter and the people in a class can be difficult. But thanks to a very cool moderator the class was made fun that they immediately got acquainted with each other easily.



II.          Not just friends, not yet lovers

    The author was never late and missed no class so she got to know the intimate details of the whole class and her classmates. She knows when a creature was late or when a humanoid chose to sit somewhere else. She practically was getting the groove of that Friday EDRE class. The discussions were really getting abysmal. But thank goodness her prof was making it easy for everybody to understand. To the point that she was not taking down notes anymore ‘coz she was so engrossed in the discussion that it would be a distraction to listen and then write and then listen again.

“We all know how to get the mean right?”

    The Measures of Central Tendency was one (if not, the only one) of the topics that she was so confident about. She often does it in her school reports. But then she wasn’t really grasping the “real” need of it until she was re-introduced. It was one of the Tools for Descriptive Statistics. And when the author grasped the essence of having to know these tools only then she made connection with the reports she had been doing for so long now.

“Do you have a research topic in mind now?”

    The point of all these things is that you, as a student, would have the right understanding on the foundation of any research. To actually realize that research is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. The author, as mentioned, has never ever been formally introduced to Statistics (except on Central Tendencies) which made her more intimidated about it. But during the duration of the course, she recognized that being afraid of the unknown is normal. But once you get acquainted with these things, then you start to shake off the fear and be a stranger no more.

    A research topic would remain as is until you do something about it. As for the author? The course did help her envision her future thesis topic. Before, she didn’t have any clue on what topic to get into. But after doing a Critique paper on a Thesis’ Research Methodologies, it paved way for a clear visualization of her research topic. It made her realize of the countless possibilities, opportunities and threats on a certain path of a research. It surely was a big help on her part.
  


 III.          Exclusively dating

And yes! You already got the groove of the whole course. You finally fathomed the unimaginable. And before you know it, you are so deeply in love with the course and wish that the sem will not end so that you would be able to discuss every minute detail of the course – well not. The good thing here is that your fear is nowhere to be found that every little inch of your body will be energized every class. The last few sessions of the class were devoted to the reports of each group. The different Inferences of Association and Inferences from Differences between Two/Multiple Samples will be discussed.

“Very good report! The first reporters set the bar high.”

        The author has no stage fright. She is not afraid to be on stage. But then she isn’t quite well in terms of group activities. She finds it hard to reconcile with the smallest detail of a task. She has this I’m-better-off-alone attitude. She knew that a group work is more than just dividing a task but a task in itself. Her attitude always gets in the way of “working as a team” mind. In decision-making, she tends to agree with the majority. But then the group report ascertained her that she needed to be a team player to fulfil the demands of the task. So after researching and countless meeting with the group she did speak up and asserted her viewpoints with regard to some differences amongst the group. It made her feel good afterwards. She then stood up and chose a part in the report where she felt most comfortable about – the formula of the Pearson-Product Moment of Correlation (r). It was one of those rare moments that she didn’t get what was left behind. A truly liberating one. And it was ok afterwards. To assert what you think is right for you without looking so selfish. And then report time came. They were the first reporters which they all desired in the first place. They prepared snacks for the class and did well with the report. Afterwards, they got a very favorable response from the prof and the whole class. They felt happy and ecstatic upon hearing such words.

“Please pass the Evaluation forms of the group”

        The other groups were likewise approved by the class (except for one or two groups). It was astonishing that every report was at par with the first one or even better. The class wasn’t kept famished for they provided some refreshments for the hungry souls. Some also connected their snacks with their report by acting as the data for the problem sets. The groups also provided some unique hand-outs that are neither boring nor overwhelming. And every after report, the prof would pass around some evaluation forms for the class to fill out with their score on the report with certain criteria. With a percentage of 60% from the class and 40% from the prof, the assessment of the report and the reporters was very objective. The rather difficult discussions turned into a fun one because of the creativity of each group in delivering the report. Now who wouldn’t want to attend such class? Natuto ka na, nabusog ka pa!


 Epilogue

        Yes, I am still alive and believe it or not, I survived the EDRE 231 class of Prof. SJ. It may sound like I’m being overly dramatic but believe me, I am not a “Stat person”. Anything that has to do with statistics makes me sweat like an athlete. And guess what? You can also do it as long as you enroll with Prof. SJ’s class. I mean, he really makes it easy for everyone. Yes it’s difficult but prof SJ has his own way of delivering his lectures in a fun way. If you get bored in this class then you have a high level of tolerance with humor. I have learned so much about this course. More than the lectures and the discussions, it’s the tenacity to not give up. It’s really a challenging course but if you continuously think about it that way then you’ll be doing all the requirements just for the heck of it without realizing its worth.
       
And may I just borrow an entry at the SET of the CRS (baka ma-Tito Sotto ako), “Would you enroll in this course even if it’s not required?”. The answer, YES. Need I say more?
       
        Thank you so much Sir SJ. 







12 comments:

  1. im an IE and i know how STAT can kill a student. :P
    all praise to those instructors who can make a hard subject an easy one coz they really know their stuff.
    congrats mam Carla for passing it :)

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    Replies
    1. salamat estranghero. ang hirap talaga ng stat! goodluck sa thesis ko. haha

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  2. Ang galing ng pagkasulat! Congrats maam Carla! :)

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  3. wow, u made a believer out of me! this is awesome, stats and all!!! believe na ako sa iyo, galing mo pala blissfulguro!

    ReplyDelete