CHAPTER III Managing and Caring for the Self LESSON 1 – Learning to Be a Better Learner Lesson Objectives: At the end of this lesson, the students will be able to: 1. Explain how learning occurs; 2. Enumerate various metacognition and studying techniques; 3. Identify the techniques that they find most appropriate for themselves INTRODUCTION Knowing the “self” is not enough. Since “who you are” is partly made up of your choices, you must also have the ability to choose especially to be better “you”. This lesson will present several techniques that you can adapt depending on your situation and preferences in order to make you a better learner. Learning should not just mean studying for your quizzes and exams in school. Learning could also occur outside the confines of a book or of a classroom like when you want to acquire a new move in your favourite sport, the skills for a certain hobby, among others. ABSTRACTION We are Homo sapiens or the “wise man.” We think in a more complex level than our ancestors and most, if not all, of the other beings. This idea falls under the concept of metacognition. Metacognition is commonly defined as “thinking about thinking.” It is the awareness of the scope and limitations of your current knowledge and skills. Metacognition is also not limited to the thinking process of the individual. It also includes keeping one’s emotions and motivations while learning in check. The emotional state and the motivation of a person then should also be in the preferred ideal state for that person in order to facilitate further his/her learning. Metacognition has two aspects: 1) self-appraisal and 2) self-management of cognition. Self-appraisal is your personal reflection on your knowledge and capabilities while self-management is the mental processes you employ using what you have in planning and adapting to successfully learn or accomplish a certain task. Similar concepts, usually called elements of metacognition, are metacognitive knowledge or what you know about how you think and metacognition regulation or how you adjust your thinking processes to help you learn better. Under metacognitive knowledge are several variables that affect how you know or assess yourself as a thinker. First is the personal variable that is your evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses in learning. Second is the task variable is what you know or what you think about the nature of the task as well as what strategies the task requires. Lastly, strategy variable refers to what strategies or skills you already have in dealing with certain tasks. Here are other skills that might help you with exercising metacognition: 1. Knowing your limits: also looks at the scope and limitations of your resources that you can work with what you have at the moment and look for ways to cope with other necessities. 2. Modifying your approach: it begins with the recognition that your strategy is not appropriate with the task and/or that you do not comprehend the learning experience successfully. 3. Skimming: this is basically browsing over a material and keeping an eye on keywords, phrases, or sentences. It also knows where to search for such key terms. 4. Rehearsing: this is not just repeatedly talking, writing, and/or doing what you’ve learned but also trying to make a personal interpretation or summary of the learning experience. 5. Self-test: as the name implies, this is trying to test your comprehension of your learning experience or the skills you have acquired during learning. “Welcoming errors” does not mean seeking them or consciously making them as much as possible. The phrase means that when you commit a mistake, you do not dismiss it as insignificant or you do not try to avoid responsibility of the results. You must process them to learn every lesson that you can take about yourself, about the topic, and other people or things. By having a more positive attitude toward mistakes, you will also have the courage to venture into new and unknown learning experiences that may one day interest you. Four types of metacognitive learners: 1. The “tacit” learners – are unaware of their metacognitive processes although they know the extent of their knowledge. 2. The “aware” learners – are aware of some of their metacognitive strategies but using techniques are not always planned. 3. The “strategic learners – as the name implies, strategize, and plan their course of action toward a learning experience. 4. The “reflective” learner – reflect on their thinking while they are using the strategies and will adapt their metacognitive skills depending on the situation. Other tips that you can use in studying are the following: 1. Making an outline of the things you want to learn, the things you are reading or doing, and/or the things you remember; 2. Breaking down the task in smaller and more manageable details; 3. Integrating variation in your schedule and learning experience. 4. You may also try to incubate your ideas. 5. Revising, summarizing, and taking down notes then rereading them might help you minimize cramming in the last minute especially when you have weakness in memorizing facts and data. 6. You should also engage what you have learned. Do something about it. LESSON 2 – Do Not Just Dream, Make it Happen Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, the students will be able to: 1. Use Bandura’s self-efficacy theory for self-assessment; 2. Differentiate growth and fixed mindset by Dweck; and 3. Design personal goals adapting Locke’s goal setting theory. INTRODUCTION Jack Canfield is an epitome of success. He is Guinness Book World Record holder for having seven books simultaneously on the New York Times Bestseller List, beating Stephen King. One of Canfield’s feature quotes about success is “By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved – and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses – you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.” We will learn more about Canfield’s quote through Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory, Dweck’s mindset theory, and Locke’s goal setting theory. ABSTRACTION Albert E. Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Albert E. Bandura introduced his concept of self-efficacy in an article entitled “Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change” that was published in Psychological Review in 1977. Who is Albert E. Bandura? He was born in Mundare, Alberta in December 4, 1925. He was the youngest of six children. Though times were often hard growing up, Dr. Bandura’s parents placed great emphasis on celebrating life and more importantly family. They were also very keen on their children doing well in school. Dr. Bandura learned a lot about value and importance of self-direction from this time in his life. Dr. Bandura is perhaps famous for his Bobo doll experiment in 1950’s. At the time, there was a popular belief that learning was a result of reinforcement. In the Bobo doll experiment, Dr. Bandura presented children with social models of novel (new) violent behaviour or non-violent behaviour toward the inflatable redounding Bobo doll. The children who viewed the violent behaviour were in turn violent toward the doll; the control group was rarely violent toward the doll. Dr. Bandura and his colleagues Dorrie and Sheila Ross showed that social modelling is a very effective way of learning. Dr. Bandura went on to incorporate social modelling into his views on social learning theory, which had a huge impact on psychology in the 1980s. Social learning theory focuses on what people learn from observing and interacting with other people. Dr. Bandura is highly recognized for his work in social learning theory and social cognitive theory (a theory that states people are active participants in their environment and are not simply shaped by that environment). He is continuing his research into the effects of modelling on human behaviour, emotion, and thought. He is also researching self-efficacy, and stress reactions at what level of internal control can people separate themselves from harmful acts they are committing. Summary of Self-Efficacy Theory Weibell (2011) summarized Albert Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory: The theory distinguishes between expectations of efficacy and response-outcome expectancies. An outcome expectancy is “a person’s estimate that a given behaviour will lead to certain outcomes.” An efficacy expectation is “the conviction that one can successfully execute the behaviour required to produce the outcomes”. Self-efficacy typically comes into play when there is an actual or perceived threat to one’s personal safety, or one’s ability to deal with potentially aversive events. Bandura defined self-efficacy as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives.” People with “high assurance in their capabilities.” 1. Approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered; 2. Set challenging goals and maintain strong commitment to them; 3. Heighten or sustain their efforts in the face of failures or setbacks; 4. Attribute failure to insufficient effort or deficient knowledge and skills which are acquirable; and 5. Approach threatening situations with assurance that they can exercise control over them. In contrast, people “who doubt their capabilities”: 1. Shy away from tasks they view as personal threats; 2. Have low aspirations and weak commitment to goals they choose to pursue; 3. Dwell on personal deficiencies, obstacles they will encounter, and all kinds of adverse outcomes, rather than concentrating on how to perform successfully; 4. Slacken their efforts and give up quickly in the face of difficulties; 5. Are slow to recover their sense of efficacy following failure or setbacks; and 6. Fall easy victim to stress and depression. Bandura described four main sources of influence by which a person’s self-efficacy is developed and maintained: 1. Performance accomplishments or mastery experiences; 2. Vicarious experiences; 3. Verbal or social persuasion; 4. Physiological, or somatic and emotional, states. Mastery experiences, or personal performance accomplishments, are the most effective way to create a strong sense of efficacy. Vicarious experiences through observance of social models also influence one’s perception of self-efficacy. The most important factor that determines the strength of influence of an observed success or failure on one’s own self-efficacy is the degree of similarity between the observer and the model. Verbal or social persuasion also affects one’s perception of self-efficacy. It is “a way of strengthening people’s beliefs that they have what it takes to succeed”. Verbal or social persuasion can provide a temporary boost in perceived ability. People also rely on their somatic or emotional states when judging their capabilities. Stress and tension are interpreted as “signs of vulnerability to poor performance.” Fatigue, aches and pains, and mood also affect perception of ability. Dr. Albert Bandura’s quotes about self-efficacy: “Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations.” “If efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people can do routinely they would rarely fail but they would not set inspirations beyond their immediate reach nor mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances.” “Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.” “By sticking it out through tough times, people emerge from adversity with a stronger sense of self-efficacy.” “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failure; they approach things in terms of how to handle them than worrying about what can go wrong.” Carol S. Dweck’s Fixed and Growth Mindset Theory Carol S. Dweck is the author Mindset The New Psychology of Success. She is one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation. Her research has focused on why people succeed and how to foster success. Fixed and Growth Mindset Dweck describes people with two types of Mindset: 1. Fixed Mindset – people who believe that their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a “fixed” theory of intelligence; dread failure. 2. Growth Mindset – people who believe their success is based on hard work, learning and perseverance; said to have growth theory of intelligence; do not mind failure as much. Individuals with growth mindset are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks while individuals with fixed mindset can be affected by subtle environmental cues. Edwin A. Locke’s Goal Setting Theory Edwin A. Locke is internationally known for his research on goal setting. LESSON 3 – Less Stress, More Care Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, the students will be able to: 1. Explain the effects of stress to one’s health; 2. Examine cultural dimension of stress and coping; and 3. Design a self-care plan. INTRODUCTION The American Psychological Association (2017) has these statements about stress: “Stress is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or rundown. Stress can affect people of all ages, genders, and circumstances and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues. Since stress is inevitable to life, we have to learn how to handle and cope with it. More so, we have to be familiar with other approach to healthy lifestyle, which is selfcare. ABSTRACTION Stress and Human Response Hans Selye defined stress as the body’s nonspecific response to any demand, whether it is caused by or results in pleasant or unpleasant stimuli. Distress unpleasant or harmful variety of stress which often connotes disease and eustress which often connotes euphoria. Eustress is stress in daily life that has positive connotations such as marriage, promotion, baby, winning money, new friends, and graduation. While distress is stress in daily life that has negative connotations such as divorce, punishment, injury, negative feelings, financial problems, and work difficulties. Selye hypothesized a General Adaptation or Stress Syndrome; this General Stress Syndrome affects the whole body. Stress always manifests itself by a syndrome, a sum of changes, not by simply one change. There are three components to the General Stress Syndrome: 1. The alarm stage – represents a mobilization of the body’s defensive forces. The body is preparing for the “fight or flight” syndrome. This involves a number of hormones and chemical excreted at high levels, as well as an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, respiration rate, etc. 2. The stage of resistance – the body becomes adaptive to the challenge and even begins to resist it. 3. The exhaustion stage – the body dies because it has used up its resources of adaptation energy. Stress diseases are maladies caused principally by errors in the body’s general adaptation process. They will not occur when all the body’s regulatory processes are properly checked and balanced. Chronic Stress is unpleasant, even when it is transient. A stressful incident can make the heart pound and breathing quicken. Muscles tense and beads of sweat appear. “fight- or –flight” response – the combination of reactions to stress; it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to lifethreatening situations. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not lifethreatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties. More preliminary research suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both through direct mechanisms (causing people to eat more) indirectly (decreasing sleep and exercise). The stress response begins in the brain. Amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing; it interprets the images and sounds. When it perceives danger, it instantly sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a bit like a command center. This area of the brain communicates with the rest of the body through the autonomic nervous system, which controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of key blood vessels and small airways in the lungs called bronchioles. Two components of autonomic nervous system: 1. Sympathetic nervous system – functions like a gas pedal in a car; it triggers the fight- or –flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. 2. Parasympathetic nervous system – acts like a brake; it promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the danger has passed. Adrenal glands – these glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on a number of physiological changes. The heart beats faster than normal, pushing blood to the muscles, heart and other vital organs. As the initial surge of epinephrine subsides, the hypothalamus activates the second component of the stress response system – known as the HPA axis. This network consists of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. The hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which travels to the pituitary gland, triggering the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This hormone travels to the adrenal glands, prompting them to release cortisol. The body thus stay revved up and on high alert. Chronic low-level stress keeps the HPA axis activated, much like a motor that is idling too high for too long. After a while, this has an effect on the body that contributes to the health problems associated with chronic stress. Techniques to Counter Chronic Stress Relaxation Response. Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the BensonHenry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, has devoted much of his career to learning how people can counter the stress response by using a combination of approaches that elicit the relaxation response. These include deep abdominal breathing, focus on a soothing word (such as peace or calm), and visualization of tranquil scenes, repetitive prayer, yoga and tai chi. Physical Activity. People can use exercise to stifle the build-up of stress in several ways. Exercise, such as taking a brisk walk shortly after feeling stressed, not only deepens breathing but also helps relieve muscle tension. Social Support. Confidants, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, relatives, spouses, and companions all provide a life-enhancing social net – and may increase longevity. Self-care Therapy A positive way to counter stress in self-care therapy. Nancy Apperson of Northern Illinois University has provided steps for self-care: 1. Stop, breathe, and tell yourself: “This is hard and I will get through this 1 step at a time.” 2. Acknowledge to yourself, what you are feeling. All feelings are normal so accept whatever you are feeling. 3. Find someone who listens and is accepting. You do not need advice. You need to be heard. 4. Maintain your normal routine as much as possible. 5. Allow plenty of time for a task. 6. Take good care of yourself. Remember to: Get enough rest and sleep. Sleep at least 6 hours and not more than 9 hours. Eat regularly and make healthy choices. Know your limits and when you need to let go. Identify or create a nurturing place in your home. Practice relaxation or meditation.