Tag Archives: theory

The Default Theory

I have been thinking about this concept for quite a time. And I am convinced that advancing this idea as a theory can help explain the phenomenon that commonly beset human affairs, i.e., nothing happens, or nothing changes without deliberate and sustained effort to institute changes. I call this the Default Theory.

The Default Theory I have in mind applies to many cases of human endeavor. Although there is a theory by Timothy Levine called Truth-Default Theory or TDT, the theory I am advancing is entirely different from his description.

For example, I disseminated information among colleagues that there is an opportunity for innovation and development proposals to be potentially funded heavily by the Commission on Higher Education. The initiative is part of the government’s effort to minimize the adverse effects of the K-12 Transition Program.

A week was given to comply with the simple requirement of submitting a one or two-page concept paper to the funding agency. The concept paper preludes the preparation of a full-blown research proposal once the proposed concept is accepted.

I discussed the rationale, explained the mechanics and gave all the forms to be accomplished to the unit heads. I thought they would appreciate the effort and be motivated likewise to disseminate the information to the 400-500 faculty members of the university. I also explored possible topics as starting points that the group can follow through.

Even while disseminating the information and being hopeful that they will respond to the call, at the back of my mind, I somehow anticipate that nobody will submit or make the extra effort to present their proposals. By default, nothing gets done for some reason. Almost always, nothing gets done despite efforts to make a change.

And nobody did submit except me as I took extra effort to make a submission on or before the deadline. I am aware of the Default Theory. Things happen as they should if no additional effort is done to counter its effect. I have done this action several times, and I made changes and took a career turn. I counteract the default with deliberate, sustained effort to do something.

urban sprawl
Eutrophication of coastal areas occurs by default.

When applied to dealing with environmental issues or concerns which are my cup of tea, the Default Theory works likewise.

For example, for many years and after so many ideas, suggestions, propositions, projects, programs among others that arise to counter the effects of environmental degradation, the default prevails. That is, nothing gets accomplished that significantly and with lasting impact.

If you attend conferences or read scientific papers, the issue of environmental problems such as pollution, illegal trade, over-extraction, and similar problems faced decades back remain. The default is that nothing gets done, at least on a sustainable manner, even with much effort and expense. There may be successes, but history reveals that everything goes back to board one through time. Gains are not sustainable.

So where does this bring us?

It all starts with the recognition that this phenomenon exists. And deliberate, sustained effort to counter the “business as usual” must be made.

Conceptual Framework: A Step by Step Guide on How to Make One

What is a conceptual framework? How do you prepare one? This article defines the meaning of conceptual framework and lists the steps on how to prepare it. A simplified example is added to strengthen the reader’s understanding.

In the course of preparing your research paper as one of the requirements for your course as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to write the conceptual framework of your study. The conceptual framework steers the whole research activity. The conceptual framework serves as a “map” or “rudder” that will guide you towards realizing the objectives or intent of your study.

What then is a conceptual framework in the context of empirical research? The next section defines and explains the term.

Definition of Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework represents the researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a phenomenon. It maps out the actions required in the course of the study given his previous knowledge of other researchers’ point of view and his observations on the subject of research.

In other words, the conceptual framework is the researcher’s understanding of how the particular variables in his study connect with each other. Thus, it identifies the variables required in the research investigation. It is the researcher’s “map” in pursuing the investigation.

As McGaghie et al. (2001) put it: The conceptual framework “sets the stage” for the presentation of the particular research question that drives the investigation being reported based on the problem statement. The problem statement of a thesis presents the context and the issues that caused the researcher to conduct the study.

The conceptual framework lies within a much broader framework called theoretical framework. The latter draws support from time-tested theories that embody the findings of many researchers on why and how a particular phenomenon occurs.

Step by Step Guide on How to Make the Conceptual Framework

Before you prepare your conceptual framework, you need to do the following things:

  1. Choose your topic. Decide on what will be your research topic. The topic should be within your field of specialization.
  2. Do a literature review. Review relevant and updated research on the theme that you decide to work on after scrutiny of the issue at hand. Preferably use peer-reviewed and well-known scientific journals as these are reliable sources of information.
  3. Isolate the important variables. Identify the specific variables described in the literature and figure out how these are related. Some abstracts contain the variables and the salient findings thus may serve the purpose. If these are not available, find the research paper’s summary. If the variables are not explicit in the summary, get back to the methodology or the results and discussion section and quickly identify the variables of the study and the significant findings. Read the TSPU Technique on how to skim efficiently articles and get to the important points without much fuss.
  4. Generate the conceptual framework. Build your conceptual framework using your mix of the variables from the scientific articles you have read. Your problem statement serves as a reference in constructing the conceptual framework. In effect, your study will attempt to answer a question that other researchers have not explained yet. Your research should address a knowledge gap.

Example of a Conceptual Framework

Statement number 5 introduced in an earlier post titled How to Write a Thesis Statement will serve as the basis of the illustrated conceptual framework in the following examples.

Thesis statement: Chronic exposure to blue light from LED screens (of computer monitors and television) deplete melatonin levels thus reduce the number of sleeping hours among middle-aged adults.

The study claims that blue light from the light emitting diodes (LED) inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Those affected experience insomnia; they sleep less than required (usually less than six hours), and this happens when they spend too much time working on their laptops or viewing the television at night.

conceptual framework
Fig. 1 The research paradigm illustrating the researcher’s conceptual framework.

Notice that the variables of the study are explicit in the paradigm presented in Figure 1. In the illustration, the two variables are 1) number of hours devoted in front of the computer, and 2) number of hours slept at night. The former is the independent variable while the latter is the dependent variable. Both of these variables are easy to measure. It is just counting the number of hours spent in front of the computer and the number of hours slept by the subjects of the study.

Assuming that other things are constant during the performance of the study, it will be possible to relate these two variables and confirm that indeed, blue light emanated from computer screens can affect one’s sleeping patterns. (Please read the article titled “Do you know that the computer can disturb your sleeping patterns?” to find out more about this phenomenon) A correlation analysis will show whether the relationship is significant or not.

e-Book on Conceptual Framework Development

Due to the popularity of this article, I wrote an e-Book designed to suit the needs of beginning researchers. This e-Book answers the many questions and comments regarding the preparation of the conceptual framework. I provide five practical examples based on existing literature to demonstrate the procedure.

So, do you want a more detailed explanation with five practical, real-life examples? Get the 52-page e-Book NOW!




REFERENCE

McGaghie, W. C.; Bordage, G.; and J. A. Shea (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Retrieved on January 5, 2015 from http://goo.gl/qLIUFg

©2015 January 5 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (January 5, 2015). Conceptual Framework: A Step by Step Guide on How to Make One. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/01/05/conceptual-framework-guide/

2 Plus 1 Emerging Model of Professional Development for Teachers

This article introduces the two contrasting models of professional development for teachers which I used as one of the bases for the development of the customized professional development model in 2011.

At that time I searched for related literature, articles on models of professional development are difficult to come by. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But then my diligence paid off when I found an article containing the models of professional development (Smith et al., 2003).

I describe two of those models in the table below. These are Traditional Professional Development and Job-Embedded Professional Development Models. Based on the findings of my study and the first two models, I came up with my own. I refer to it as the Customized Professional Development Model which I contrast with the two models I read about.

Please see the first 3 columns for the comparison and contrast of the two models. Then take a look at column 4, which is about the enhanced professional development model.

The Different Models of Professional Development for Teachers

 Features Traditional Professional Development Job-Embedded Professional DevelopmentCustomized Professional Development Model (Alvior, 2011)
Primary GoalsIncrease individual teacher’s general knowledge, skills, and teaching competency. Introduce new instructional models or methodologies.Improve student learning and help teachers with the specific teaching problems they face.Increase teacher’s knowledge, skills and teaching competencies. Improve student learning.
Location (“site” is school or program)Mostly off-siteOn-siteOff-site, On-site,ICT-based
IntensitySingle session or seriesLong-term, ongoingSeries, long-term, on-going
Common format of this professional developmentWorkshops, seminars, conferencesStudy circles, research practitioners, inquiry projectsThe identified professional development activities in this study.
Content for this professional developmentRange of knowledge and skills teachers should know and be able to do (competencies, special issues, new approaches to teaching).Student thinking and learning (examining student work), teaching problems.Combinations, eclectic approach

The table shows the differences between the traditional and job-embedded models as to the following features: goals, location, intensity, format and contents. The model in column 4, actually combines the two contrasting models. The design of the latter model is for continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Further, I added information and communications technology or ICT for location in order to address the needs for the 21st century.

Another notable contribution in the study is the list of professional development activities which teachers may choose as their professional development activities.

To know more about the activities, please read, A Research on the Professional Development Model for Teachers.

So, the next time you hear “2n1”, would you think it is a coffee? No, it isn’t but a professional development model for teachers based on the two models I have described in this article.

Reference

 Smith, C., Hofer, J., Gillespie, M., Solomon, M., & Rowe, K. (2003). How teachers change: A study of professional development. Retrieved 19 June, 2010 from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/brief25.pdf

© 2014 December 25 M. G. Alvior

A Research on the Professional Development Model for Teachers

This article discusses an enhanced professional development model for teachers with an array of activities that can help improve their teaching performance and increase their students’ academic performance as well. This model is one of the findings taken from the dissertation of Dr. Mary G. Alvior entitled, “InService Training Programs, Teacher Factors, and Student Performance: Bases for Enhanced Professional Development Model for Teachers (2011).”

Today’s knowledge-based economy and the rapid explosion of networked communications across the globe have created pressures among educators to prepare students such that they will possess a wide range of skills, content knowledge, and practical experiences needed to survive in this highly competitive world.

In the Philippines, the Department of Education has recognized the importance of acquiring the 21st century skills through the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the educational process (Lapus, 2008). However, the study of Maligalig and Albert (2008) showed that the contributing factor for low quality basic education in the country is the lack of competent teachers. This result is in consonance to the reforms stipulated in the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) particularly in the Key Reform Thrust 2 that there is a need to improve the classroom performance of English, Mathematics, and Science teachers for better learning outcomes.

This educational scenario prompted the researcher to zero in on the professional development activities for teachers by espousing the idea that the classroom performance of teachers is a critical factor for student academic performance. She based her assumption from Weiner’s Attribution Theory that there are external and internal factors that can improve performance. Students may attribute their academic performance to their teachers (external factor) while the teachers may attribute their teaching performance to the in-service trainings they attended (external factor) and perhaps, to their teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession (internal factors).

As a result, the enhanced professional development model was developed by using the following results:

  1.  students’ performance,
  2. teachers’ perception and satisfaction of INSET programs,
  3. level of teaching efficacy,
  4. level of job satisfaction, and
  5. attitude towards the teaching profession.

This model provides teachers different professional development activities that suit their needs and improve students’ academic performance. For example, they may get some activities that are self-directed or that can be done in school or through the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Thus, this model is called the Customized Professional Development Model for Teachers.

In this model, teachers can modify the professional activities by using the three-mode and two-mode combinations. By using the three-mode combination, they may choose specific activities from each major type. For example, they may choose reflective journal for self-directed, lesson study for school-based, and audio-video tape analysis for ICT-based.

Likewise, teachers may have three sets of combinations for the two-mode combination. They may opt for activities under School-based and Self-directed, Self-directed and ICT-based, and School-based and ICT-based. Table 1 contains specific activities under each type of professional development model.

Table 1

 The Array of Professional Development Activities

SELF-DIRECTED ACTIVITIESSCHOOL-BASED ACTIVITIESICT-BASED ACTIVITIES
Reflective JournalObservation/AssessmentOn-line Learning
Personal ResearchOpen LessonElectronic Networking
Teacher PortfolioLesson StudyAudio-video Tape Analysis
Jigsaw ReadingStudy GroupPersonal Research*
Inquiry/Action ResearchReflective Journal*
Case StudyTeacher Portfolio*
MentoringLesson Study*
Professional Development SchoolStudy Group*
Dual Audience, Direct InstructionPeer Coaching*
SeminarCoaching*
Conference
Demo Lesson
Workshop
Team Teaching
Peer Coaching
Coaching
Visitation
Professional Book Talk
Talk Walking
*can be done using ICT

This Customized Professional Development Model is a “generic model”, in which all teachers at all levels can use. The purpose of this model is to empower teachers  to choose their own from an array of professional development activities through a written contract with their school heads/administrators.

However, the researcher does not recommend the use of this model as a primary means of providing professional development for teachers. Instead, it should be used to complement and enhance the standardized professional development activities mandated by the Department of Education.

 References 

Lapus, J.A. (2008). The education system facing the challenges of the 21st century country: Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 25 September, 2010 from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/National_Reports/ICE_2008/philippines_NR08.pdf

Maligalig, D. S. & Albert, J. R. (2008). Measures for assessing basic education in the Philippines. DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES NO. 2008-16. Retrieved 3 July, 2010 from http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps0816.pdf

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). 21st century skills professional development: a partnership for 21st century skills. Retrieved 1 June, 2010 from http://www.p21.org/documents/21st_century_skills_professional_development.pdf

Smith, C., Hofer, J., Gillespie, M., Solomon, M., & Rowe, K. (2003). How teachers change: A study of professional development. Retrieved 19 June, 2010 from http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/research/brief25.pdf

© 2014 December 16 M. G. Alvior

Six Famous Curriculum Theorists and their Contributions to Education

This article deals with influential people in the educational system particularly in shaping the curriculum as we know today. It also talks about their specific contributions that can still be observed by the present generation of learners.

Let’s enumerate and discuss the curriculum theorists and their contributions by chronological order.

The Six Famous Curriculum Theorists

1. Franklin Bobbit (1876-1956)

Bobbit believes that the learning objectives, together with the activities, should be grouped and sequenced after clarifying the instructional activities and tasks. He also views curriculum as a science that emphasizes the needs of the students. This viewpoint explains why lessons are planned and organized depending on the needs of the students and these needs must be addressed by the teachers to prepare them for adult life.

2. Werret Charters (1875-1952)

Aside from emphasizing the students’ needs, he believes that the objectives, along with the corresponding activities, should be aligned with the subject matter or content. For that reason, department chairpersons or course coordinators scrutinize the alignment or matching of objectives and subject matter prepared by the faculty members.

3. William Kilpatrick (1871-1965)

For him, the purpose of curriculum is child development, growth, and social relationship. He also introduced the use of small group interaction, and the project method in which the teacher and students plan together. Thus, it is called as the child-centered curriculum.

4. Harold Rugg (1886-1960)

He introduced the concept of the development of the whole child, the inclusion of social studies, and the importance of curriculum planning in advance.

5. Hollis Caswell (1901-1989)

He believes that subject matter is developed around the interest of the learners and their social functions. So, the curriculum is a set of experiences. Learners must experience what they learn.

6. Ralph Tyler (1902-1994)

And as to the hallmark of curriculum development as a science, Ralph Tyler believes that curriculum should revolve around the students’ needs and interests. The purpose of curriculum is to educate the generalists and not the specialists, and the process must involve problem solving. Likewise, subject matter is planned in terms of imparting knowledge, skills and values among students.

To sum it up, the famous curriculum theorists have almost similar views. All of them believe that the curriculum should be learner-centered – addressing the needs and interests of the students. All of them have salient contributions to the educational system of the world today.

If you are an observant student, you might ask the following questions about your teachers:

  • Why is it that we are required to do projects, solve problems, and work in groups?
  • Why is it that our teachers are being observed in class, and their lesson plans or syllabi are checked?
  • Why is it that all of us should take social studies, and not only the 3Rs?
  • Why are the lessons being prepared in advance?
  • Why should we experience what we have learned?
  • Why do our teachers integrate values in our lessons?
  • And why is it that the school is after our development as whole individuals (to become generalists) and be ready to face life’s challenges?

The answers to your questions are the people behind our educational system. They are the curriculum theorists.

Now, would you like to become one someday?

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and Javier, R. B. (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 3 M. G. Alvior

A Definition of Curriculum from a Traditional Viewpoint

How is curriculum defined from a traditional perspective? Who were the advocates? And how can a school system work with this point of view?

This article provides answers to these questions by expounding on the curriculum concept. Read on to familiarize yourself with this popular, very basic and critical aspect of the educational system.

Traditional Definition of Curriculum

If the word curriculum is defined as a written document or a plan of action to accomplish goals; a body of subjects or a subject matter prepared by teachers in order for the students to learn; a course of study; syllabus, lesson plan, or a field of study – then these definitions come from the traditional point of view (Bilbao et al., 2008).

The Advocates of Curriculum

The following theorists are the advocates of the curriculum concept. Their perspectives helped shape current understanding of how curriculum is used in meeting educational goals.

Robert M. Hutchins

Hutchins believes that college education must be grounded on liberal education while basic education should emphasize the rules of grammar, reading, rhetoric, logic and mathematics. For him, curriculum is viewed as permanent studies which explain why some subjects are repeated from elementary to college, such as grammar, reading, and mathematics.

Arthur Bestor

Bestor is an essentialist who believes that the mission of the school is to train the intellectual capacity of learners. Hence, subjects to be offered are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language.

Joseph Schwab

Schwab views that discipline is the sole source of curriculum, and so, the curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge which are called subject areas like English, mathematics, social studies, science, humanities, languages, and others. As a leading curriculum theorist, Schwab used the term discipline as the ruling doctrine for curriculum development. Therefore, curriculum is viewed as a field of study and it should only consist of knowledge that comes from the disciplines; for example, linguistics, economics, chemistry, among others.

How the School System Works Using Curriculum as a Basis

In a traditional point of view, teachers are required to write lesson plans and syllabi. The subjects offered in basic education are grammar, literature, writing, mathematics, science, history and foreign language which help develop the intellectual capacities of learners. However, curriculum is viewed as a field of study in higher education. So, curriculum refers to the degree programs such as Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English, BS in Accountancy, BS in Civil Engineering, MA in Environmental Science, Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development, and others.

As a field of study, curriculum consists of domains of knowledge as well as their research theories and principles, and the foundations (philosophical, historical, psychological, and social) which are broad in nature. Thus, curriculum is taken as scholarly and theoretical.

Would you dare take a Ph.D. in Education, major in Curriculum Development? What I have discussed is only one of the many aspects of the curriculum. I will be writing more about this subject. So, stay tuned for more.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 2 M. G. Alvior

Malthusians vs. Cornucopians: A Viewpoint on Population Growth

The prospects of human population growth may be viewed using two perspectives: the Malthusian and the Cornucopian. The latter views the growth positively; they believe that the larger the population, the better. On the other hand, if it is viewed negatively, this now take on the Malthusian viewpoint where the growth is associated with problems.

The Malthusian Point of View

This principle was named after Thomas Malthus. He believes that once a population increases, more resources are needed to support the growing demand of people. The food becomes insufficient since production could not keep up with the needs of an increased number of people.

Uncontrolled population is a major reason that causes environmental degradation. The theory looked unto resource depletion; degradation of soil, mineral and fuel; famine, crimes, and wars as a result of increased competition in availing of scarce natural resources.

However, the predicted scenarios through time under this theory have some contradictions with the existing population data. Thus, a new thought arose that explains the economic development despite of population growth. Thus, the Cornucopian’s principle started to develop.

Contrary to Malthus’ expectations, the scholars believe that population increase is neither a problem nor harmful to human life. Indeed, it leads to a more developed economy for there is greater number of people who can think and make new inventions.

The Cornucopian’s Principle

The continuous development of technologies from different areas worldwide and the application thereof is the main foundation of this principle. The Cornucopians believe that advances in technologies can give and sustain the needs of the society. The rapid increase in population is positively viewed: more population produces more ideas. Through these, a lot of high technologies and new inventions of systems and devices are carried in to address the problems with increasing human demands as well as improve life. In addition, this view believes that there are enough sources of matter and energy on the earth to cater the rising number of population around the world. So, an increase in food consumption is not an issue.

People become experts and specialized in their fields of interest thus are able to respond efficiently and effectively in the arising problems of society. For instance, advanced technologies in food production helps a lot since more food are produced using new systems.

The Current Reality: Growing Population Affects the Environment Negatively

Many inventions, technologies and new systems are continuously booming. Yes, these help the human beings to cope with the arising human problems. So, the Cornucopians’ thinking has a point.

On the other hand, the Malthusian perspective appears more reliable for we observe that increasing global population lead to increased use of natural resources to meet the growing economic demand. This results to environmental degradation as predicted by Malthus.

We have limited resources. Scarcity on food resources becomes common in many developing countries like Africa and Asia. The report of Food and Agriculture Organization, referred to as the 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) from 2008-2012, shows that the global hunger situation has improved since 1990. However, despite the progress made, the level of hunger in the world remains serious in which 870 million people still experience hunger (IFPRI, 2013).

Manila at nightime
Manila at night (©2014 P. Regoniel)

The pollution emitted from  production and consumption of natural resources regardless of technological advantages has negative impacts on the ecological aspects of environment especially on the health of human beings. In addition, due to anthropogenic activities, the climatic condition on a global scale is also affected.

Mobility of people affects the ecological condition of the environment. Encroachments of many lands in rural areas for expansion as identified for commercial establishments and different businesses happen. Settlers, then, in these occupied areas move to higher zones or transfer to other places. Environmental degradation, especially in the forested areas, then happens due to the disturbances brought by new settlers (Grimm et al., 2008; Fragkias et al., 2012).

How’s My City?

Population growth is also observed in the City of Puerto Princesa. The total inhabitants of the City in late 1870s was only 573 while the recorded population in year 2010 based on the latest census of the National Statistics Coordinating Board (2010) was 222,673; an increase of 38,760.91% was observed.

During early 1970s to 1990s, the City has 24 urban and 42 rural barangays. However, the classified urban villages around year 1998 until now increased to 35 barangays, while the classified rural regions decreased to 31 barangays.

Since not all families can afford to have their houses in designated areas of the government, some opted to settle in nearby coastal areas that resulted to squatting. Based from the conducted surveys of informal settlers by the city government during 1993 to 2005, there was a total of 5,326 households in 21 coastal areas of the City and 4,999 from various areas.

In order to solve the problem in housing and squatting, the local government launched a City Housing Program in 1993. One of the identified resettlement sites was Barangay Sicsican (CPDO, 2007).

The traffic situation is worsening in urban areas of the City along Rizal Avenue, Malvar Street and within the National Highway of Barangay San Miguel and San Pedro (CPDO, 2007). In year 1985, the Bureau of Land Transportation, Puerto Princesa Branch (1992) registered a total of 2,989 vehicles generally composed of motorcycles and tricycles. There was an increase of about 1,241.39% or 37,105 in year 2012 (40,094 registered vehicles) from year 1992.

Those are just some of the evidences that the Malthusian Theory may be the right after all.

References:

City Planning and Development Office (2007). Socio-economic and physical profile. Puerto Princesa City. Philippines.

Fragkias, M., et al. (2012) Typologies of urbanization projections, effects on land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Chapter 7, p. 30-41.

Grimm, N. B., et al. (2008) The changing landscape: ecosystem responses to urbanization and pollution across climatic and societal gradients. 6(5) p. 264–272. Available: www.frontiersinecology.org

International Food Policy Research Institute (2013). Global Hunger Index. The challenge of hunger: building resilience to achieve food and nutrition security. Available: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ghi13.pdf. Retrieved on 8 September 2014.

Land Transportation Office-Puerto Princesa City Branch (LTO-PPC)(2012). Number of registered vehicles (2001-2012). Puerto Princesa City. Philippines.

Solution to World Hunger: Eat the r Strategists

How can world hunger be resolved? The answer: through eating the r strategists! What are r-strategists and how can these animals help relieve pressure on animal populations that traditionally serve as human food? This article explores the possibility of consuming alternative food sources. 

The increasing demand for food of 7.2 billion people in the world puts pressure on conventional food sources. Thus, there is a need to explore alternative food sources. Scientists recommend the consumption of animals called r-strategists.

What are r strategists?

The so-called r-strategists are animals that reproduce so fast that chances for their populations to get depleted is much lower compared to other animals. These animals can live in unstable environments, meaning, situations and conditions where animal populations are under threat. The adaptive evolution is to have so many of their own kind. Thus saith the r/K theory that became popular in the 1970s.

For better understanding, let me define the r and the K in the r/K theory.

The r/K Theory

The r in the theory refers or comes from the word “rate.” This word reminds us to think about the rate of reproduction by which animals of this group propagate. These animals rapidly reproduce to compensate for their small size which easily become prey to other animals in the higher echelon of the food chain. And each of the offspring get less or no parental care. They can also easily adjust to environments that fluctuate. This adaptation strategy increases their chance to survive as a species.

aphids and ants
Ants and aphids are r-strategists because they rapidly reproduce and are small. These two organisms exhibit mutualism: the aphids provide the sugary honeydew they obtain from the guava to the ants while the ants provide them protection from their predators like the ladybugs (see an interesting ant defense here: http://www.pbase.com/antjes/lady_bug)

Meanwhile, the K in the theory refers to “carrying capacity.” In contrast to the r-strategists, animals that belong to this category undertake controls to their population by remaining close to the carrying capacity of their habitat. They adopt efficiency in resource use to maintain sustenance or adequate resources for each of the individuals in the face of scarce resources.

The carrying capacity of the habitat must not be exceeded to ensure the survival of these species. Thus, the K-strategists reproduce slowly, nurture their young, have larger bodies, and smaller in number compared to the r-strategists. These animals lie belong to the higher rung of the food chain, serving as “pools of nutrients” that can live in a stable habitat for a long time.

binturong
The bearcat Arctictis binturong is a K-strategist because gestation takes about 90 days and the average number of offspring per year is only two.

While recent theories like the Life History Theory supplanted the r/K theory, the terms r– and K-strategists are still used by scientists as this theory appears to be a necessary step in the study of animal adaptation to their environment. If you try to apply this theory by looking at the way animals propagate, it just makes sense. Small animals tend to produce more of their kind while the large animals reproduce slowly.

There are , however, always exceptions to any rule. For example, the bivalve Icelandic quahog (also known as black clam, Islandic cyprine, or black quahog) can live for more than 400 years! Also, the relatively small fish called orange roughy reproduce only upon reaching 20 years of age. And these fishes are estimated to live 149 years! This is the reason these fishes were not able to easily regain their population when their populations were subjected to intense fishing pressure in New Zealand, Australia and Namibia because of their popularity as food.

r-Strategists as Food?

hen and chicks
A free-ranging mother hen provides protection to its chicks.

Generally, the animals that are found acceptable by society to eat today are essentially K-strategists. These include meat coming from cows, swine, goat, chicken, among others. The last one, however, appears to lean on the r-strategists because of their short life span. Besides, these birds are domesticated and their growth is hastened to serve increasing fast food consumption demands.

We do eat fishes that are mostly r-strategists although we tend to consume too much of the wild populations. Thus, controls towards sustaining the population of these marine organisms are instituted in most countries  with intense fishing efforts.

Other r-strategists that are considered pests because of their great numbers may be considered as general food sources. For example, places like Thailand have exotic foods or foods that are generally regarded bizarre by people from other countries. These include fried crickets, earthworms, scorpions, steamed bugs, cockroaches, ant eggs and all sorts of bugs. These are all r-strategists since they reproduce rapidly but many find unpalatable despite their respectable nutritional value.

These pests are abundant in areas where people suffer malnutrition and lack of food. Is it time that these animals become a normal part of the diet? This may be the solution to world hunger. That is, if hungry people have the guts to fill their stomachs with such wiggly, wriggly and critty creatures.

Anyone ready to eat a crunchy and creamy cockroach?

References

Reznick, D.; Bryant, M. J.; and Bashey, F. ,2002. r-and K-selection revisited: the role of population regulation in life-history evolution. Ecology, 83 (6): 1509–1520. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[1509:RAKSRT]2.0.CO;2

Schleif, M. 2013. “Arctictis binturong” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 01, 2014 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Arctictis_binturong/

© 2014 September  2 P. A. Regoniel

EDECOLEPMENTALISM – A Personal Philosophy in Higher Education

This article briefly introduces Edecolepmentalism – a personal philosophy in higher education based on the interaction between education, economics and development.

Read more to find out how today’s knowledge-based economy steer the development of a nation, and even the whole world.

The Background

Year 2001. I was a part-time lecturer at the Department of English and Applied Linguistics at Dela Salle University, Manila and at the same time a CHED scholar for a master’s degree, Master of Arts in Teaching English Language when I met a colleague in the Economics Department. He was a newly hired faculty then but he’d been working as a bank manager for 20 years.

After a short introduction, we talked about the future of education and the money one can get if he/she invests in education business. He said, “There is money in education.” And that is his main reason for leaving his job in the banking business.

After 8 years, Dr. Elnora Loriega, my professor in Philosophy of Education at West Visayas State University required us to have our own educational philosophy. And I came up with my very own. I call it edecolepmentalism.

What is Edecolepmentalism?

“Edecolepmentalism” is my personal philosophy in higher education. It is derived from the words education, economics and development. Ed – is for education; eco- is for economics; and lepmentalism – is for development.

This philosophy is anchored on how the UNESCO defined and perceived education in general as “education – a key to get rid of poverty.” I philosophize that in higher education, we can develop a nation, and the world in general, through transnational education (blended or purely digital learning).

A well-developed country or world, as can be seen in its economy (knowledge-based economy), is a byproduct of a quality transnational education through blended or digital learning curriculum. This is the trend in the 21st century.

definition of edecolepmentalism
Conceptual framework of edecolepmentalism.

I already thought about edecolepmentalism before but I hesitated to submit it. I knew for a fact that my readings about curriculum development and the observations and immersions that I did were not enough to capture this phenomenon. So, the philosophy that I submitted to Dr. Loriega was not about it.

Illustration of Edecolepmentalism

It was towards the end of 2010-2011 when I learned that more business tycoons in the Philippines are investing huge amount of money in education following the university-industry model. In this model, the university provides the human capital or graduates that the industry needs such as the the E2E system (enrollment-to-employment) of the Systems Technological Institute or (STI) and the John B. Lacson Maritime University.

I believe that the best indicator of program effectiveness is when all the students who are enrolled in a course can finish it during the prescribed period of time and able to land a job after graduation. This kind of indicator is based on the principle of economics – the return on investment.

The bottom line is that students and their parents will choose a course or a program in which they can easily get their investments back. And the E2E system assures them that there are jobs waiting for their children after graduation.

In conclusion, this personal philosophy in higher education arose as a result of the knowledge I gained while taking up a doctorate degree in curriculum development and personal immersion in the business community.

© 2014 June 9 M. G. Alvior

Alvior’s Theory of Learning in Higher Education

How are educational theories arrived at? Dr. Alvior is generous enough to post her narrative on how she arrived at her theory of learning in higher education. She named it Alvior’s Theory of Learning in Higher Education.

This article is more than 2,000 words so you need to sit down for a while to read everything or read them by pages. – Editor-in-Chief

INTRODUCTION

Why and how do people learn in college? How does learning in that stage of educational ladder take place? What is the process involved in it?

These are the questions bothering me in order to come up with my personal theory of learning, the so-called Alvior’s Theory of Learning in Higher Education.

This personal theory was conceptualized in May 2008 due to the inspiration of Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Tish” Bautista. She was my professor in Linguistics at De La Salle University, Manila in 2000.

She was then in my hometown in Puerto Princesa City for a short vacation. I did not even know that she was in my place but a friend told me that Dr. Tish was looking for me.

Dr. Tish gave me a book as a gift. The book contains visions for Philippine Education in honor of Br. Andrew Gonzalez with a dedication,

“For Mary, may the book be of help to you on your way to becoming an educational leader and innovator. God bless. Sincerely, Tish Bautista.”

I had misty eyes after reading it. I should be in the language field, but God placed me into the field of education. It was not my dream but maybe God knows what is best for me or perhaps, it’s other people’s dream for me. Whatever it was, I took the challenge and my personal theory was based on the contents of that book — reaching our dreams.

THE THEORY

How I Arrived at My Formula on Learning in Higher Education

I believe dream is the “in” thing now. Remember “Star Struck”? It has a dream, believe, survive line.

Why dream?

Every time I ask my friends, “Why were you able to have this and that? or “Why were you able to do that?” Their answers are the same — because of our dreams.

Moreover, I read a book, “The Correct Formula of Success” by Henry R. Vargas. He developed a formula for success as follows:

Vargas Formula of Success = H + D + P + A/G

which means Hope plus Dream plus Plan plus Action divided by Goal.

I patterned my formula of Learning in Higher Education from Vargas’ formula. We learn because of our dream. I call it the Alvior’s Theory of Higher Learning or ATHL.

Dreams make us what we want to become.

Why do we enroll in a particular course in college? It is our dream or probably the dream of our parents, our friends, or people who have touched our lives that we finish a college course. And their dreams for us become ours. Dreams make us what we want to become.

The Formula

The Alvior’s Theory of Higher Learning (ATHL) can be summed up as follows:

ATHL = D + P + A(M)/C

where D represents Dream, P means Plan, A refers to Action, M to Motivation, and C stands for Capacity.