Sunday, October 28, 2012

Manic Monday

One of the really hardest thing to do after a period of temporary hiatus is when the most not-so-welcome first day of work is about to knock the doors again. And I can relate so much to the feeling when one feels he does not just want to get off his bed, but does not just have a choice. 

So, this evening, I was rewinding for the nth time the song entitled Manic Monday in my playlist. It suits me just fine. Click the video below to play. You might just like it as well. And anyway, can't we all humans agree on revising our calendar? Let's make more weekends and lesser weekdays! Lol!



Monday isn't here yet, but I'm already looking forward to the long holiday starting on Thursday and onwards! Yay! Have a great evening, everyone!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vampire Confession

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an important confession to make. For the many years of my existence in this often cruel world, I have always pinned and longed for my stolen humanity. I like to sit in the darkness and mope all by myself. Yes, I am a vampire.

But no, don't dread me at all. I am a vampire in a deeper internalized essence. I empathize to saddest experiences. I express thoughts in creative means. I definitely long for serenity.

I like to pass time listening to melodramatic lyrics of intensely emotional songs. While I have become a fan of these popular songs to suit with the modern day, I am also an admirer of touching classic renditions that tackle about wrecked love, lost friendship, broken dreams, obscure life. This way, I understand other people's sorrows aside from my own, and become more emphatic to them, and even grateful for my own.

I enjoy writing stories and poems to convey my ideas and feelings. Ever since I was a child, I knew I have an innate passion in playing words with pen and a piece of paper. This does not only please my desire to release my thoughts  but also satisfy my need to share my life story with the rest of the world. I am no immortal by flesh, but by thoughts. I believe that I will live in eternity as long as there will be people who will read my printed manifestation.

No. I tend to avoid crowds not due to absolute overflow of pranic energy, but because I am naturally just a serene creature. I agree on being a social bloke, but I also need solitude once in a while. Sometimes, if not oftentimes, decisions must be brooded alone. There are things in life that are best weighed in tranquil moments, not in confessing to companions nor in partying with club animals.

I am a vampire in liberal essence. I adore creative thought, emotional processing, and noble desire. My object is not stagnation but dynamism. I want to be sympathetic to others and intimate in relationship with them. My goal is not domination but respect.

If you are one, tell me. I thirst for your thoughts and hunger for your stories. Let's howl life together come full moon. No need to watch out your neck. Mine are only false fangs.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Concert King

Do I sound like a real concert king enough to be invited to sit as an honorable judge for a contest of most amazing vocal chords?

Alright, I am a no good singer, but I love to hear music, and maybe recite, if that's how it applies to me. I must admit that my singing really sounds horrendously bad as if a rooster is literally scratching a blackboard. Yet, though I habitually sing off the key, I realized that there's more to singing than just hitting the right note.

First, regardless if I was blessed to have a golden voice or not, singing is an expression of my emotions. Depending on the swing of my mood, I have bastardized almost every kind of song in the name of expressing my feelings. When I am plotting a vengeful desire, I scream Gives You Hell. When I am poignant next moment, I croon Stitches and Burns. When somebody breaks me, I burst into Fixing A Broken Heart. But right now, I feel awesome so I am belting out All Star! Yay!

Second, singing is a way of keeping memories. There are times when I walk in the street and hear a particular song that suddenly strikes a chord in me. Everytime I chance upon This Love in my playlist, I remember vividly the long, windy trip, riding in the van with my fellow high school peer educators. When the song Moment of Truth is played over the radio, the scene of my junior year in the house with my board mates comes into my  mind. If I hear What Matters Most, I miss my granny and her face conjures up my mind. 

Third, singing is my form of therapy. I occasionally suffer from stress and burnout. Sometimes, I keep tossing on my bed at night, my mind unable to sleep although I am physically so tired. Playing classic songs such as that of Air Supply and The Carpenters lulls me eventually to the dreamland. When ruminating about decisions to make, I usually hum with symphonies of Beethoven and Strauss which has, for me, clearing effects to my rather flustered thinking. Singing indeed regains my senses to a humanly normal semblance.

So, back to the question above, I have no doubts that I am one singing royalty - in my own room - at least. Singing is an expression of one's uniqueness. I am a flawed creature with no golden voice and in that case that's what gives me my uniqueness. If I sound all the same with every person in this world perfectly hitting all notes all of the time, then I and you, may as well just shut up forever.

So, holding the handle of the dipper in the bathroom which is my theater stage, give it up for no less than myself - the concert king!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Semester Break?

It's time to relax from reading syllables and counting bananas. The last exams were over and a mass exodus was heard among the pupils as they went out the portals of the school today - a telltale sign that the most anticipated semester break has finally began!

Or hey, is there semester break, really?

I don't think I will have a real vacation from work just yet. Well, being a teacher is synonymous to being dead as a doornail. I still have to toss into the air and catch different responsibilities of work. Which means all these "different responsibilities" will eat up my supposed to be hiatus period.

On Monday and Tuesday, I am going to attend a seminar. I will just have to steal moments between the official hours of the activity in order to do my bank transactions. On Wednesday, I am going to consolidate the solicitation letters. Amidst this sideline business, I will have to think in advance of my needs and pack my stuffs for the next task. And on Thursday, it will be time to travel for scouting jamborette. I will have to spend an unimaginable life for the next five days in an unimaginable place of tents.

Which all reduce my relaxation time to five days.

Alright, I think I will still have to apologize and thank instead. I've got to enjoy the remaining five days still - that is, please heavens, if there will be no more announcements of activities soon. Five days is still five days of sleeping like a log and eating like a horse.


So, going back to my French, maybe five days is just enough not to read syllables and count bananas. Even if I damn wished of a break for two weeks, I think I can manage five days. Anyway, I don't have a choice, do I?

Happy semester break everyone!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Zillion Thanks

To the wonderful pieces of a puzzle -
The children with autism.

This work is dedicated for all of you.


Someone once said: “Easy is the task that is shared by many.” While this study never became an easy task, its crafting surely was an awesome journey for the researcher because of the people who shared their lives with him in completing this.

Prof. Alicia P. Pulido, his thesis adviser, whose guidance, support, encouragement and knowledge helped so much in the realization of this research endeavor;

Dr. Ma. Lourdes D. Galla, Chairman of the Panel of Examiners, for her valuable explanations and suggestions, especially in the statistical aspect of this study;

Dr. Lito S. Adanza and Dr. Domingo M. Non, Members of the Panel of Examiners for their perceptive observations and recommendations for the enhancement of the manuscript;

Flordeline Precious D. Lao, Linaver M. Cane, Dinah Jean A. Tacogue, and Lolymar J. Reyes for validating the instrument of this study and sharing their fields of expertise;

The respective principals and coordinators of the elementary, secondary and integrated schools that offer special education program where this study was conducted for granting permission;

The SpEd teachers, who amiably opened their doors and willingly served as respondents, for furnishing the needed data upon which this study basically relied on;

Joane Cher Yturalde, Fortunato Bacus, Junellen Panesa, Wennie Clarete, Cherish Marie Palma, Ritchie Barte, Paula Lozano, Luna Griengo, Rose Molarto, Lovella Magno, Elvira Pedregosa and Bella Dadula for promptly responding to the queries and requests of the researcher during the period of data gathering;

His new found friends in special education, Nanette Leal, Marilyn Pama, Genie Sunga and Nanet Rodel for their kind cooperation;

Ana Frella Eusalan, Jesus Managa, and Clotilde Aninon for tremendously attending to his research needs during the final process of his graduate school journey;

The welcoming and accommodating family of Harold Alagao and Lily Alagao for providing the researcher a second home to stay;

His remarkable amigos since college days Nathaniel Bangoc, Janice Bartolaba and Jenalyn Cagas, who have extended their helping hands for this study;

His co-teachers in Sabino Elementary School for their immense understanding and consideration during the most demanding circumstances;

All the rest of his professional classmates for contributing something for his growth as an educator and making his graduate school experience worth enjoying;

His gracious and wonderful Lola Pinky for being one of channels of blessings in his life in countless ways;

His much beloved family - Daddy, Mommy, Neneng, Tatang and Davy - for being his source of inspiration, pillar of strength and reason of living; and

Above all, the Divine God for the superb wisdom, strength, guidance, grace and love bestowed upon him and his family.

And as the researcher’s favorite novelist Mary Clark Higgins always reminded the readers of a credo written by an ancient monk on the wall: “The book is finished; Let the writer play.”


MICHAEL B. CAHAPAY, M.A.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eureka Effect

TEACHERS’ EFFICACY FOR INCLUSION AND ATTITUDES TOWARD 
DISABILITY: THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO INTERVENTION
PRACTICES IN HANDLING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM


Author: Michael B. Cahapay
Document: Unpublished Thesis
Institution: Mindanao State University
Address: General Santos City
Completion: October 15, 2012
Rating: Highly Passed

Passages: 155 pages
Illustrations: 6 tables and 9 figures
Keywords: Efficacy, Attitude, Intervention, Autism



ABSTRACT

This study attempted to look into the respective relationships of teachers’ efficacy for inclusion and attitudes toward disability to the intervention practices in handling children with autism. On basis of sound treatment and discussion, it specifically sought answers to the following questions:
   1.   What is the level of teachers’ efficacy for inclusion in terms of disability awareness, teaching confidence, and instructional strategies?
   2.   What are the teachers’ attitudes toward disability in terms of social attitudes, epistemological beliefs, and personal distance?
   3.   What are the teachers’ intervention practices for children with autism in terms of behavior modifications, communication styles, and social skills management?
   4.   Is there a significant relationship between teachers’ efficacy for inclusion and intervention practices in handling children with autism?
   5.   Is there a significant relationship between teachers’ attitudes toward disability and intervention practices in handling children with autism?

The following null hypotheses were tested at .05 level of significance:
   1. There is no significant relationship between the teachers’ efficacy for inclusion and intervention practices in handling children with autism.
   2. There is no significant relationship between the teachers’ attitudes toward disability and intervention practices in handling children with autism.        

The respondents of this study were determined through purposive sampling because, of the total population of teachers in the identified schools with special education programs, only the subset of teachers who handle children with autism were specifically chosen. There were a total of 34 SpEd teachers who served as respondents of this study across the six divisions of the region.

The identified schools where this study was conducted are: Isulan Central SpEd School, Tacurong Pilot Elementary School, Tampakan Central SpEd School, Norala Central Elementary School, Polomolok Central Elementary School, Marbel 1 Central Elementary School, Alabel Central Elementary School, Glan Central Elementary School, Tupi National High School, Lagao National High School, Ireneo I. Santiago National High School, Koronadal National Comprehensive High School, and General Santos City SpEd Integrated School.

Three questionnaires were the primary sources of data. The first and second questionnaires entitled Efficacy for Inclusion and Attitudes toward Disability were respectively adapted from previous researches. The third questionnaire entitled Intervention Practices for Autism is a researcher constructed assessment, appropriately validated by selected specialists in special education, child psychology and occupational therapy.

Five point scales were used to facilitate analysis of the responses. Statistical processes employed to treat the data generated were frequency distribution, weighted mean, standard deviation and linear analysis.

The following are the salient findings of the data gathered for this study:
   1. The teachers are confident in their efficacy relative to disability awareness (4.28), teaching confidence (3.72), and instructional strategies (3.84) for inclusion of children with autism.
   2. The teachers agree on favorable statements about social attitudes (3.91), epistemological beliefs (3.96), and personal distance (4.23) towards the disability of children with autism.
   3. The teachers often use intervention practices such as behavior modifications (4.04), communication styles (4.22), and social skills trainings (3.97) in handling children with autism.
   4. Correlation results show that teachers’ efficacy for inclusion has significant relationship to their intervention practices in handling children with autism (p < .05).
   5.  Correlation results show that teachers’ attitudes toward disability has significant relationship to their intervention practices in handling children with autism (p < .05).

Based on the findings of this study, the following conclusions and implications are drawn:
   1. The teachers are confident in their efficacy relative to disability awareness, teaching confidence, and instructional strategies for the inclusion of children with autism. This implies that the teachers have strong conviction about their abilities to affect development of children with autism despite the intricacy of mainstreaming process.
   2. The teachers agree on favorable statements about social attitudes, epistemological beliefs and personal distance towards children with autism. This result indicates that the teachers maintain positive views and insights about the disability of children with autism even with the composite impact of the disability itself to the life of these individuals.
   3. The teachers often use intervention practices for children with autism such as behavior modification, communication styles, and social skills training. This suggests that the teachers employ effective teaching strategies to a wide extent necessary to treat the difficulties encountered by children with autism.
   4. Teachers’ efficacy for inclusion has significant influence on their intervention practices in handling children with autism. This signifies that as teachers’ perceived competence in mainstreaming increases, they become more predisposed to utilize helpful teaching strategies in treating children with autism. Because efficacy stems from both mastery and vicarious experiences, teachers should be given more trainings so as to increase their likelihood, this time, of using latest intervention practices.
   5. Teachers’ attitudes towards disability, especially personal distance, has significant influence on intervention practices for children with autism. This result is encouraging to note that, among the three indicators, the feeling of comfort experienced by teachers when they are in close contact to children with autism consistently contributes to precise application of various intervention practices. This signifies that teachers’ complete acceptance as it relates to effective education of children with autism will likely be more favorable in the future.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life Is Beautiful

Life is still beautiful; we just have to slow down and look around in order to realize it. Sometimes we walk a fast pace with our journey which is the reason why we miss and go past  the beautiful things unnoticed. And most of the time, these beautiful things are the ones that come in small packages, so as they say.
 
Beautiful Bromeliad in Bloom. I saw this small plant beside a rock in our garden early this cold morning while strolling around. I did not know it bears white flowers.


So, take time to truly live. Enjoy this another beautiful day and have a terrific weekend to spend, everyone!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Rock Bottom and Dead End

Surviving the most horrible M.A. Comprehensive Examination conducted for three straight days was a rock bottom and facing the final course with a descriptive title Thesis Writing afterwards was the dead end. One might say I am just overstating, but really both are the major events in my life to which I lived through all tastes of hardships - physically, mentally, emotionally, financially.

I could only look back then and realize that I was actually the one who gave myself an ordeal. The first day I started my thesis, I have already imposed in my mind that I should have done it after just a month. But it applies that life is stranger than fiction, and I am just an ambitious speck of a dust dreaming big. 

Just a day after I presented my topic to my chosen adviser, I was scheduled for thesis proposal the following week. My topic about special education for autism was welcomed as a new, fresh and original one. That's the benefit of researching thoroughly and writing seriously. Yay!


But my ordeal cropped up when I started looking for experts in special education, child psychology and occupational therapy to validate the instrument I designed for my thesis. While some shared their spare time with me, others declined because they were busy. In a week of juggling like I am on the verge of my life, I did my instrument validation process.

Yet after finding out that the school where I would conduct my study has lesser special education teachers who qualify to be my respondents, it was then time to resort to the Plan B that the thesis panel advised me. To meet a statistically acceptable population of respondents, I have to include more schools with special education programs. Until in the end I found out that my scope have stretched to forever to include the entire region! Hello, how the hell can I do it? Heavens, please save me!

Gathering the data of my study, that is administering the questionnaires to the teachers, was the most difficult, I should say. I was the one who conducted to accessible schools. The first school I visited was truly an experience because the two teachers vehemently refused to answer my questionnaire. Pity on them. What are they afraid after reading the content of my questionnaire? They are not the kind of teachers who should be there in the first place. And I am no kidding.

Not all the teachers I approached welcomed me with hearts. Some just received my letter and had left me in the midair.  Others begged off and had me wish I never knocked their doors. How sad, so disheartening.

For schools from the bay and province, I politely asked my personal acquaintances to do it for me in their schools that have special education program. Of course I was just requesting, so I could not demand that they finish it by a week nor control inevitable circumstances when they are busy. So, I have to forgive myself during the most worrying times when I almost hurled curses in the wind as the thesis deadline I set out for my self was extended for one week, and then for another week again, and then for last week yet.

There were days when I went home with shrugged shoulders and just wanted to swim among the swamp cabbages in the murky pond. Sometimes life is just so outrageous, so outrageous than the way I expected it. And all I have to do is accept it with as much resignation as I can muster.

Yet for all the things - sweats, tears, wishes, dreams - that I have put in this journey, I know, oh I know for sure, that rock bottom is a good solid ground, and dead end is just another place to turn around. The trip is not over and I am picking up the pieces from where I have almost stopped.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Frozen Delight

I was a bit disappointed this morning to learn that the most anticipated magical memorandum for holiday was a no show. Teachers, I mean, let us face it. We may not express our joy publicly, but holidays are a slice of heaven. It is the only time, aside from weekends, when we can relax from the daily rigors of our teaching.

But instead of mourning, I want to still celebrate the cityhood of my hometown with a bowl of cherries. Although I have comfortably lived in the Tuna City of General Santos for almost seven years, I virtually consider myself still a legitimate son of the city of my birth - the City of Koronadal. So, ladies and gentlemen, listen to a true blue Koronadaleño.

I remember it was a year when people were saying "jubillee" and I was still in elementary when a suffrage was held for the cityhood of Koronadal. Koronadal became a component city of South Cotabato by virtue of Republic Act 8803 dated October 8, 2000. Since then, it has become the bubbling crossroad of business, education and culture in SOCSKSARGEN area, being turned also into the regional seat of the region.

As a kid twenty years ago, I know KCC Mall and Ace Centerpoint. Then, there was the defunct Fit Mart Mall, which was recently converted into Gaisano Grand. I was a witness of their respective evolutions up to the present. These shopping centers have definitely become a part of the life of each Koronadaleño.

But more than shopping, Koronadal is one of the cities in Mindanao which its native speakers are Ilonggos. So, growing up here, I learned to speak this romantic language fluently although not a single drop of Ilonggo blood runs through my veins. As a friend of mine commented years ago, an Ilonggo speaking visitor from Visayas would not definitely be homesick staying in Koronadal, but would surely feel at home.


The famous Round Ball at the heart of the city, a landmark that is 
synonymous to every Koronadaleño life.

Sometimes, I feel guilty cursing this city about what it is not. It is so unfair of me to dislike it for personal reasons that I only know. When I feel at the end of the rope with my ever dramatic life, it is still so good to be back in a corner that I am welcome to call a home. As the saying goes: Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home. And I'm happy to be back for real to serve.

So, why should I still fret? A very happy 12th charter anniversary, City of Koronadal! Kanami guid ya!