Okay, the learnings from this module made me realize how finite my idea of knowledge actually is. Without our readings, the terms content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, technological knowledge, technological content knowledge all mean knowledge to me, nothing more.
But much has change after our readings, more so after our quiz. Indulge me. Let me just define each so that I know – and am assured – that I will never again forget their individual meanings.
Content knowledge are the facts and theories, even the principles that are being taught in academics. This is not reading, or writing, rather, it is the very content. Skills are not categorized as content knowledge.
As a teacher, I know that I have to deepen and constantly broaden my content knowledge in order to improve my interaction with my students. It is impossible to apply what I do not know in the first place, or to teach something which I do not have.
Pedagogical content knowledge, on the other hand, is the fusion of content as well as teaching knowledge. So, if I combine my knowledge of the scriptures with fun exercises that my students can relate to, and if I was able to explain that scripture know-how to the level that learners understand, then I have pedagogical content knowledge.
The third one, pedagogical knowledge is a teacher’s deeper understanding of the practices as well as the processes of teaching/learning methods. This means I know the nature of my students and I develop strategies that can effectively evaluate them.
Technological knowledge when viewed as a concept, means knowing the overall philosophy of the so-called technology literature. As a teacher, I know that I have technical knowledge if I understand control variables (e.g. classroom environment) and how I get to use them to better my lessons.
TPACK or technological pedagogical content knowledge is the effective inclusion of technology in teaching. While this factor complicates teaching as it blends content, pedagogy and technology, this interaction, however, results in flexible knowledge needed in integrating technology to teaching.
I have been doing a lot of linear teaching in the past. For as long as I was able to deliver the lesson, get a few answers from a set of questions, and see my students pass the tests that I gave them, I thought their passing scores were indicative of their learning.
Now I know that there is more to teaching than merely standing in front of the class and discussing the lesson. Now, I welcome different approaches to solving a problem, and if my students find ways to resolve a particular problem, then I will carefully check if – first, they are correct and second, if their approach could also be used to solve other problems apart from the one given to them.
My mind has also opened to more diverse sources of knowledge. Rather than rely on the single manual given to me on my religion class (as you already know, I’ve been a religion teacher for about six years or so now), I will now look at other teaching resources that will make the lessons more fun, engaging and meaningful.
I welcome other textbooks and classics that they can relate to the lessons, I also show them videos that would enhance the lessons.
The idea of putting their learnings into practice – in the real world – also excites me now as the whole class plans projects with me. Through these unique activities, I am also able to evaluate what they have truly learned based on the way that they react to problems in the real world.
To give a more concrete example, we had a lesson on servant leadership just a few weeks back. As a class, we came to a consensus that we will have a service project for one of the sick elderly members of our church.
One student volunteered to lead (this was a student who was not very active in recitations and other class activities). She then successfully finished the project and led 6 or more students in the process. It was amazing to see her bloom. It was one of the most amazing feelings for me as a teacher, too.
Have I learned anything in Module 3? Heck, yes! And the above realizations are priceless. It’s amazing to come to a realization that – all the while – I have been teaching robotically. Now, I know that I can offer more (at least I am improving with each course that I take here in U.P.) as I become more aware of what needs to be done.
Just imagine this, we can now look at ourselves through different perspectives. We can self-reflect, we can ask our colleagues, we can even see ourselves in the eyes of our students, and we use theories and standards as gauges to our skills and ongoing mastery of teaching.