Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Truths of Reading

Martha Maxwell of Dartmouth College Academic Skills Center exposes some myths of reading. Here’s what I’ve learned from it.

 You don’t have to read every word

Writers sometimes compromise sentence length in order to make grammatically and artistically favorable paragraphs. In so doing sentences become longer when in fact only 3-5 words in a sentence are the only ones that matters to give its meaning. So finding the right keywords in a paragraph can be enough to make you understand what the paragraph explains. The rest is just grammatical mumbo jumbo.

It’s not enough to read only once

My grad school professor used to tell us (his students), that his former professor of the same course we are currently attending, has read the required textbook ten times. And so his students (including my professor) must read the same textbook 20 times in order to be better prepared. Thus, we being the third generation students must read the same textbook 30 times to have the same effect.

Furthermore, textbooks aren’t like novels, or storybooks which can be easily understood within one sitting. Textbooks, scientific journals, or articles are meant to be painstakingly read many times in order to fully grasp the concept it intends to explain. So, don’t worry if you cannot understand a passage in your first try. It’s meant to be that way, so read again.

It’s OK to skip passages in reading

You may think that in order for you to understand a certain reading, you must read every word, sentence or paragraph. However, a technique called skimming and scanning can be handy in case you don’t have the time to comprehend lots of concepts.

Furthermore, some books are like a full meal, it has appetizers, a main course, and perhaps a dessert. You won’t go hungry even if you skip either one of them (or two).

Sounding out words while reading slows you down

This is what’s being taught to us by our teachers in primary school; reading aloud. Eventually it caught us between the teeth. Now, even when we are reading silently, we still get the habit of saying it aloud in our minds, thus we still read as fast as we talk. That should not be the case; the brain is faster than our mouths, thus reading can be faster than talking. I bet when you are reading this paragraph, you are currently moving your lips (hehehe! Gotcha).

My advice: Next time your read, try humming inside your mind, eventually you’ll beat the habit of moving your lips while reading.

So what other things about reading do you know about? Share it with us here by typing your comment below.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A list of lists

Santa has his own list of things to give during the holidays.

In fact, everyone right now has their own list for the holiday season. List of gifts to buy, list of people to thank, list of things to do (and not do) before and after the year ends, let’s face it, lists are everywhere.

Here is a list of reasons why people love to make lists:
  • Lists won’t take much time to write
  • Lists won’t take much time to read
  • Lists are simple
  • Lists are easy to understand
  • Lists are easy to remember
  • Lists are universal, everybody does it
However, I have yet to see a list of lists.

If you still don’t know what I meant by that, then here’s a list of different lists posted in Grad School Jungle.
Have a prosperous New Year Everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Three Vital Points in Choosing Your Thesis/Dissertation Topic

So, you are now in your final year in grad school. But before you finish your degree, comes the final rite of passage: your thesis or dissertation.

Have you come up with your desired topic then? Are you having trouble conceptualizing what direction your research will go into?

Some would give you a large list of suggestions on how to choose your research topic. However, it all boils down to three essential factors in your choice of topic. For me, it must be something you know, like, and can.

What You Know
It’s important that you choose a topic that you are very well versed on. This could be on a subject that you are very familiar with for several reasons (e.g. your line of work, your favorite subject, related to your hobby, etc.). Don’t dwell on a topic in which you still have to learn or read more or have limited reference.

You know what I’m talking about: Your knowledge on a certain topic gives you one leap of advantage in terms of time spent in formulating your research outline than having to learn something first before deciding what to write.

What You Like
It’s not enough that you know a great deal about a certain topic. What usually matters is your interest in it. The topic must be something that can grab your 100% commitment. Never choose a topic in which you have the slightest hint that you’ll get bored with it in a short while.

Remember this: If you do something you like and enjoy doing, you can’t stop until you finish it.
 
What You Can
The tendency for people who are too excited to start on something is that they overestimate. What I mean is that sometimes when we feel we know so much about one thing and at the same time extremely enjoy doing it, we seem to think of goals which are way over the roof and eventually impossible to realize. So, what I really meant is to think of a research project which you can implement within your capability.

Hint: Time, Money, and Effort are limiting factors for what type of research you are going to undertake.

I know these three points are not enough to make you finish your thesis or dissertation on time. But it’s a good way to start. Any way, you can share your own thoughts by adding other important points I might have forgotten.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Climate Change Adaptation through Education


It’s another great time for educators and administrators as they got together and talk about climate change adaptation during the 16th National Senior Educators Assembly in Environmental Protection and Management. The event was held on November 24 – 25, 2011 at the Legend Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. This was organized by the Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management (PATLEPAM) in cooperation with the EMB-DENR and Palawan State University.
The Meeting showcased the reports of selected universities nationwide on their climate change adaptation experiences. The reports focused on the following areas: coastal and marine, health, agriculture, and forestry. These were presented respectively by Prof. Rowena Zoilo (NSTP Director, Bicol University), Dr. Roger Guzman (Executive Director, Philippine Federation for Environmental Concerns), Dr. Helen Sigua, MD (Professor, Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health), Dr. Leonora Ngilangil (Professor, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University), Dr. Helen Pondevida (Research Director, University of Southeastern Philippines), Dr. Santiago Utzurrum, Jr. (Professor, Silliman University), and Dr. Olga Nuneza (Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology)
Guest speakers who opened the ceremony were the following: Dr. Teoticia Taguibao (OIC-President, Palawan State University), Dr. Ruth Guzman (VP for Research, Extension, and Information Services, Rizal Technological University and Chair, PATLEPAM Board of Directors), Ms. Gay Maureen Alagcan (Outcome Manager, MDGF 1656 Programme Management Unit, National Economic Development Authority), Mr. Reynaldo Pallaya (OIC-Provincial Environmental Management Officer, Environmental Management Bureau-DENR), and Vice Mayor Lucilo Byron of Puerto Princesa City.

Other topics presented in the meeting are the following:

Assessment on the Extent of Knowledge of Educators on Climate Change Adaptation (Ms. Sofia Alaira, UPLB-SESAM)

Assessment of the Extent of Knowledge of Administrators on Climate Change Adaptation (Dr. Ruth Guzman, RTU)

Assesment on the Extent of Climate Change (CC) Integration in Selected Higher Education Curricula, and the Enhanced Syllabi with CC Concerns (Dr. Cely Binoya, CBSU)

Resource Inventory on Climate Change Adaptation (Dr. Ninfa Pelea, BU)

Following the presentations is the open forum and the PATLEPAM Business Meeting.
The Meeting culminated with the body's approval of PATLEPAM General Assembly Resolution No. 1 series of 2011 otherwise known as “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Reduction and Risk Management (DRRM) in the Curricular Programs of Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s). The resolution asks the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to issue a memorandum (CMO) obliging higher education institutions (HEI’s) in the country to integrate CCA and DRRM in the school curriculum.

After the meeting, the participants had the chance to visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the world's longest navigable subterranean river and recently been announced as one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Document Management for Students (and Non-Students): a crash course

Messy desks, overflowing drawers, loaded cabinets…
These are prerequisites to a disaster.
…a disaster that might take up most of your time and in fact a risk to your job.
Lost files, untraceable documents, unorganized references…
You need to create a system of organizing this messy environment and lead a life of efficiency and being effective at home, school or work.
Noticeable results will surely come your way if you follow these three easy steps:

SORT
Run through all your documents one by one and put the related ones in a pile. Example: you can put together lecture notes, handouts, clippings from a course you took up the previous semester in a pile while another pile is for financial records (receipts, bills, bank slips, etc.). It doesn’t matter how many piles you put up as long as the documents in there are somewhat related. You can then run through each pile and create piles or subcategories for each.

 SEND
If there are documents or files you think you don’t need any more, there are two ways you can do about it. First, if you think other people might need it (friends, officemates, classmates) then you can send it to them. Second, if you think others won’t have a use for it as much as you do then send it to the garbage bin.

STORE

Prepare supplies for storing your files and documents. Folders can be good for documents with few pages. Boxes can be used to store thick documents or a group of folders. Folders or boxes, it doesn’t matter, what’s important is proper labeling of the documents, alphabetization, or numbering for easy retrieval.
There you go, an easy way to organize your cluttered documents in three easy steps.
If there’s something I have left out it’s because I want you to provide it here. You can use the comment link below.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On blogging and teaching at the same time


When I stopped teaching a year ago, I started to blog frequently. Let’s face it, at that time, I’ve got more time to write posts, learn more html stuff, and do research on several topics for my posts.

I couldn’t have the same amount of free time when I was teaching. I mean, you write lessons, you make exams, check papers, advice students, how in the world will you find the time to write even a single 200-page blog post given such hectic schedule?

I admit I got hooked with blogging after I quit teaching. The excitement I feel as pageviews increases everyday, the lively comments from readers, not to mention the fulfillment from seeing your work published (and being read) online: these are some of the reasons why I was preoccupied with blogging.

Now, I might say teaching is really a calling. Somehow, the academe finds me back even if I tried to run away from it. I’m back to teaching again.

But this time, I don’t intend to place blogging in the sidelines. I’m not yet sure how to go through this, but I plan to combine teaching and blogging. Not in a separate way but in a more complementary fashion.

I’m thinking about teaching using a blog or blogging about teaching. I still don’t know. It will be a work in progress. I think it’s worth a try.

How about you, in what way do you think can we combine blogging and teaching in a complementary fashion? Share it with us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sustainability in Higher Education


Distinguished professor Dahe Jiang, Ph.D. from Tongji University in Shanghai, China visited Central Mindanao University last July 13, 2011. Dr. Jiang was here on a UNEP and UNESCO project to implement the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Higher Education. This is a move to incorporate and fuse the concept of sustainable development in the higher education curriculum. Other academic institutions to be visited by Dr. Jiang will be UP Diliman and the Mapua Institute of Technology.

Dr. Jiang talked about the Education for Sustainable Development framework of the UN and how institutions in the country and in Asia can take part in the process of advocating the young minds about the concept of sustainable development.

In my own view, I think it is a great step in trying to advance the concept of sustainability into the limelight. However, may I add that it will also depend on how we will market sustainability in the classrooms. I hope that we can transcend from advocating environmentalism and sustainability as a cause-oriented endeavor to a profit-oriented one.

We just cannot market environmentalism these days like what we have done with “nationalism” and/or “patriotism”. It just won’t work in these times of practicality and pragmatism. Though we all know any type of unsustainable activity won’t be as practical in the long run as it seems.

However, when we start marketing sustainability as a product, we may start to slowly reap the fruits of sustainability in due time. Once people begin to realize that living sustainably can bring more savings and profit through the efficiency it provides (more work with less energy, materials, and waste), then they would start buying the concept like a product).

Businesses and institutions would then follow suit. This could start with policies and activities that adhere to the standards of sustainability and in so doing leads to savings and profit for such business. Hopefully, government will eventually follow.

How about you, do you think environmentalism and sustainability is still a cause-oriented concept or has it transformed into a profitable one?

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