Education Corner 24

Last E C our beginning teacher Navarro Navarro was offered a 5th grade teaching at Mt. St. Mary’s school. He was offered the job on a Sunday and was to begin the next day on Monday morning. He had no teacher training so he is sitting at home that Sunday night wondering just what he would do. Last E C he worried about teaching English and did a lot of praying. This week we find him still sitting and worrying—trying to figure out just what this teaching was all about.
Navarro knew that his success that year would in part depend on the 4th grade teacher. He hoped and then began to pray that the 4th grade teacher had done a good job. He hoped that these 5th graders already knew the multiplication tables, and he prayed that they could all read and write. Navarro had no idea at what level he wished them to read and write at, 5th grade level he guessed but what was a 5th grade level? With all these uncertainties and with no firm answers young Navarro resorted to prayer. He was not a particularly religious man but what else was there to do? He was not pleased with the one he had crafted but he tried it anyway. “Oh dear Lord, I do not even know what to pray for so I will just say I need a miracle or better yet I will need a series of miracles.” The young man thought that while he could not be specific about the miracles, the Lord just might hear his sounds of desperation and grant pity upon him.

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Education Corner 23 - Case Study: Navarro Navarro

03 OCT 2016

Last EC we said we were changing our format to the Case Study approach. We will not abandon our message however. All teachers can improve student learning if they diligently pursue On-going Teacher Training.
Case Study: Navarro Navarro
A long, long time ago EBC (even before computers), Navarro Navarro sat in his small room in a small village a few miles from the capital of his island-state. As he sat quietly, he thought of his predicament. He was 22 years old and that very Sunday morning he had accepted a job teaching the 5th grade at a local Catholic elementary school-Mt. St. Mary’s. Navarro had not trained to be a teacher at the University of California, Berkeley but rather as a resource geographer. Four years before, Navarro had gone to the States after two years at the local college. At Berkeley, his focus was conservation, human and physical geography but never once had he thought about teaching. He asked himself that morning in church in prayer form, “God, why did I even come back to this island?” But here he was on a Sunday evening with a major predicament. Navarro was to begin teaching the 5th grade at eight o’clock the very next morning—Monday morning.

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Education Corner 20 - More on the Cognitive Domain

Last EC was a little bit academic in that it was about psychologists like Benjamin Bloom
from the 1950’s and kinds of learning, types of learning or areas of learning. We used the
phrase domain. We said there were the Cognitive Domain, the Affective Domain and the
Psycho-Motor Domains. We might call these simply the Thinking Domain; the Feeling
Domain and the Coordination Domains. All of that was really more to show readers what
teachers must do to answer the important teaching question: How do I know my students
have learned what was taught? It was about measuring evidence of learning that teachers
must gather to see students are learning the standards and benchmarks required by NDOE
or State DOE’s. Think in terms of students demonstrating verbs as defining, naming,
recalling and such verbs where students study and more memorize facts in isolation more
for test taking than anything else. One more thing however—teachers must measure depth
of learning and measuring depth of learning is a little complicated but not too complex
that parents and the community cannot understand the idea. Here is an example of learning
depth.

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Education Corner 22 - SEP 2016 - Summary

Quick Summary
A year ago (August 2015), we began this Education Corner (EC) to report and explain some ways the Community could help the Pohnpei Department of Education (PDOE) improve our schools and our students’ learning. EC began by trying to explain the FSM National Department of Education (NDOE) Accreditation System whereby every school, public or private; elementary and high schools are visited and inspected by outside teams. NDOE Accreditation has certain standards with which the NDOE teams measure and rate our schools. These teams look at the physical conditions of the school buildings; check that students all have books; see if students are attending school regularly; look at student achievement scores; and carefully check the official records kept by the school’s principal as well as records at the PDOE Central Office. EC mentioned the importance of getting our children to school each day and on time. All of us-the Community- can help here being sure to remember it’s clock time not Pohnpeian time. The importance of student attendance cannot be over stressed as you will see. It could mean more money for your school or it may mean less money for you school.

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Education Corner 19 - BLOOM’S TAXONOMY

BLOOM’S TAXONOMY—Evidence is all about verbs
When this Kaselehlie Press edition becomes available I am sure all the readers will have attended graduations and more than one. Our small family has been to four as of this writing and has several to go. Like any family member I sit and ask if the many certificates received mean more than attendance. As parents, grandparents, and all caregivers want to know that the certificates represent evidence of learning. Remember the teacher must know what to teach; how to teach; how to create a positive learning environment; and how to know students have learned what has been taught in the classroom. These are measured by different kinds of tests-some are high-stakes which were discussed last issue. But measuring learning is far more that multiple choice tests, or essay tests. Measuring goes on daily, weekly, quarterly in formative ways and is a must responsibility of every teacher. Teachers can never assume a lesson or any part of it has been learned and teachers must have proof of this. Parents likewise have a right to ask— what did my child learn to earn the certificate.

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Education Corner 21 - JULY 2016

“Before there were school buildings and certified teachers-education was the job of the family and particularly the elders. It worked for several thousand years-it must be made to work once again.” Education Corner 7/6/16
In our last EC we discussed the newly adopted Pohnpei Studies Standards and a rededication to teaching and learning correct and proper Pohnpeian language. We said to the Community: This is set up for you by the Pohnpei Department of Education (PDOE) at the request of the Community but the Community must assume the responsibility for the success of lack of success. We said too that Community likely expected more than young Pohnpeians just learning about Pohnpeian customs, values and attitudes. We thought the Community would like to see young Pohnpeians practicing Pohnpeian customs, values, and attitudes in everyday life. As much as possible the Community wants them to be Pohnpeian and therefore act as Pohnpeians should. For part of this the PDOE can provide books and lesson plans and some classroom guidance. But all the lessons call for students to participate and practice in the Community. This is where all knowledgeable elders are the teachers.

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Education Corner 18 - High Stakes Testing

High-stakes in poker or any other card game means the player is in the game and willing to bet a lot of money to win even bigger money. With a high stakes gambling game, a player can also lose a lot of money. Therefore, a high-stakes test is a test that means you can win big or lose big. High-stakes tests are not really set up for improvement. The EC has said in many columns that results from testing, assessing and evaluating should be used whenever possible for improvement. Readers are familiar with tests mentioned below and will recognize them as types of tests on which we all place such great emphasis. On many tests as these there is often no second chance.
Moreover, such tests are set up to screen or filter the test-takers. They are sometimes pass or fail and sometimes a score will rank the test-taker against the others taking the same test. For example, an employment test as for government jobs given to 100 applicants may only consider the top 10 in rank order of scores. Certainly, the National Standard Teacher Test (NSTT) is high-stakes as passing means an FSM teacher license or certification. A ‘no pass’ means no certification and therefore no teaching position. If our FSM teachers wish to teach in Guam or the U. S., they may run into teacher tests called the Praxis. The NSTT is similar in nature to the Praxis. The College of Micronesia Entrance Test (COMET) is high-stakes. Pass and you are in college. A ‘no pass’ means you will not be a college student until you can pass the COMET. Passing a General Equivalency Development Test (GED) means you are judged to be the same as a high school graduate and can enter COM-FSM (if you pass the COMET). Another high-stakes test for many Micronesians is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). To be accepted into the U. S. military requires the high school diploma or a GED and passing the ASVAB in order to enter the U. S. armed forces. And, to be sure, these high stakes tests are in the English language. So English proficiency is the real basis for success in these win-lose situations.

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