jueves, abril 21, 2005

Blogging the Social Psychology Class 

I am "urged" by Renata the great class blogger... to blog my experience of teaching a class. And since it has been a while since I go to a classroom in person... I will see how doing that will enhance the teaching experience.

For you the reader, I hope you leave your comments... yes, yes,.... I know it is hard to press a button and leave your words all over the place. But, it gets easier with time.

Hummm does it get easier? Immediately rules come to mind... like of course don't worry about the grammar and go wild with thought and words... but then even the fact that rules come to mind is of interest. Do we need rules in the classroom?

Rules in the classroom.
Of course by implication of its need we assume that chaos is that.... unwanted. And in a Social Psychology class, which this will be, rules are created, forced upon, and emergent. I rather see the later.... an ongoing acknowledgement of emergent rules (or norms for a more specific term.

To talk about social processes while they are taking place is an interesting experience. However, as I read the textbook I face new terms used to convey all concepts. It is a little bit disconcerting and I hope that by reviewing another book by the same author I will be able to relieve that first hurdle.

So the texbook is becoming familiar, the syllabus was posted in the course's web envionment. The students are writing emails with questions about the requirements and ohhh boy.... here I am back after almost 6 weeks being away from my desk! ... where is my microphone?

Challenges posed by technology
Ok, this is not at Learning Times, I won't need a microphone. Actually, I was offered a fully wired classroom to carry on the class... I realized that in a Social Psychology class in vivo, we didn't need all the bell and whistles. Now I wonder what I will be missing. My realization was of my needing a space where we could seat in a circle and encounter each other... sort of cozyly rubbing elbows as we shared a learning process. Would that level of bodycontact be threatening... I wonder... You, know.... all this fuzz about proper physical distance and vice versa, how threatening touch could be. I guess that is another interesting social psychology topic... I wonder in which module it is included?

A student wrote to me asking how the resources included in the cd which is included in the book become accessible to her since she bought a second hand book! Now, that is a first for me!!!! An interesting dylemma. She found the resources blocked by the password set by the original owner. I told her to go back to the seller and find out what to do. It seems to me that this issue becomes a political and obviously economic issue. Of course access should be given to those who buy the book used!

So other than the setting up and finalizing details about how I will use the time in each of the 6 five hour long classes, I need to review what I think about learning, collaborative classrooms, chaos, anarchism, creativity, social construction of reality, and the like.... all social psychology terms .

Identifying a framework

So in honor of my mentor, I will review if Doernyei's Motivational Strategies would be applicable in the non-language classroom. How about that for a start?

So for the sake of convenience, I will copy the categories here... and lead you to Renata's blog for your consultation of her unique work.

Creating the Basic Motivational Conditions
1 Demonstrate and talk about your own enthusiasm for the course material and how it affects you personally.
2 Take the students learning very seriously.
3 Develop a personal relationship with your students.
4 Develop a collaborative relationship with the students'parents.
5 Create a pleasant and supportive atmosphere in the classroom.
6 Promote the development of group cohesiveness.
7 Formulate the norms explicitly, and have them discussed and accepted by the learners.
8 Have the group norms consistently observed.

Generating Initial Motivation
9 Promote the learners' language related valuse by presenting peer role models.
10 Raise the learners' intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process
11 Promote 'integrative values by encouraging a positive and open-minded disposition towards the L2 and its speakers
12 Promote the students' awareness of the instrumental values associated with the knowledge of an L2
13 Increase the students' expectancy of success in particular tasks and learning in general.
14 Increase the students' goal-orientedness by formulating explicit class goals accepted by them.
15 Make the curriculum and the teaching materials relevant to the students.
16 Help to create realistic learner beliefs.

Maintaining and Protecting Motivation
17 Make learning more stimulating and enjoyable by breaking the monotony of classroom events.
18 Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for the learners by increasing the attractiveness of the task.
19 Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for the learners by enlisting them as active task participants.
20 Present and administer tasks in a motivating way.
21 Use goal-setting methods in your classroom.
22 Use contracting methods with your students to formalise their goal commitment.
23 Provide learners with regular experience of success.
24 Build your learners confidence by providing regular encouragement.
25 Help dimish language anxiety by removing or reducing the anxiety-provoking elements in the learning environment.
26 Build your learners confidence in their learning abilities by teaching them various learner strategies.
27 Allow learners to maintain a positive social image while engaged in the learning tasks.
28 Increase student motivation by promoting cooperation among the learners.
29 Increase student motivation by actively promoting learner autonomy.
30 Increase the student' self-motivating capacity.

Encouraging Positive Self-Evaluation
31 Promote effort attributions in your students.
32 Provide students with positive information feedback.
33 Increase learner satisfaction.(celebrate achievements, display work)
34 Offer rewards in a motivational manner.
35 Use grades in a motivating manner, reducing as much as possible their demotivating impact.

Taken from Grankageva who took it from Doernyei, Z. Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press 2001

Of course I could start discussing how these categories are applicable to the Social Psychology Classroom and in general, how does motivation exert facilitative forces in the learning process.

To do

Will look at these categories to see how they could be link to the setting of norms in the classroom. Also explore if this is the framework that I want to use as a foundation to structure my observations.

more to come....

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