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domingo, abril 24, 2005

It's a good thing... 

that this is not a language class.... we had enough challenge with words.

Like "what exactly" is the difference between interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary? (Reminds me of my searching for understanding of what the difference is between a dilemma and a predicament.)

What a class! I am excited with meeting such a nice group of women who are invested in their lives with the understanding that education will improve their experience. How interesting the process of my meeting "strangers" and in 5 hours being able to reach some of them in a more than superficial fashion.

Yes, it was interesting, challenging and hopefully a significant experience for everyone. How can I start to describe that first day?

Read quite a bit in preparation for the class.... and did not pay much attention to the fact that I had to get dressed and ready to go... oblivious of the rain, colder weather.... oh boy, what to wear!!!! Yes, I managed to look presentable … the purple sweeter saved me. Although it is spring and fluctuations in temperature here in Amherst are quite dramatic. Can you believe it that it was warmer here last week than what it was in Puerto Rico?

Arrived at the faculty mailboxes to figure out the system there. Oh good, the copies where there and some of the forms about rooster and lists regarding the student’s desires to carpool (???) and contact information. Got to the classroom and thought to myself… good thing that it is early enough… I can move the tables and chairs around to make a circle…. I keep insisting on the circle. I really wanted to go to the brownbag lunch in which the new director for the Saturday program was going to be available to greet people… but no, not enough time.

So the group started to trickle in, and I had not eaten my lunch, nor had finished arranging all the handouts… what a mess of paper. I did manage to install YM in the PC. What an opportunity!!!! YM was available and so was Learning Times…. When I opened my office at Learning Times I noticed that the archives of the blended sessions and all other activities where not there… WHAT!!!!!! I swallowed deep and calmed myself… what is going on?

A few more minutes to start, the room is filling up…. Welcome, I would say to those entering… and attempted eye contact … and started passing out the syllabus, and other papers to be distributed!

Social Psychology and I am Dr. Karen Garcia…. Used the board a lot… wished I had taken notes I thought…. Maybe I can use the blog as the board and save the scribbles that way… hummmm to techie I guess.

Worked on definitions a lot… operational definitions paralleling education to psychology, looking at the trends in history of systems…. The scientific method, learning outcomes, objectives, goals and syllabuses where discussed, specially since the paper requires the APA format. Yes, a lot of questions about requirements and about how we are going to achieve the requirements… how in the world are there going to be 4 presentations for each student (4x19=76) in 25 hours? Very short ones…. What else? Omg….

Yes yes, grades…. And excellence…. How can we all achieve excellence? I gave each a 3x5 card in which to write their contact information and answers to questions coming up through out the class…. Like… are you going for “it”? (for the A?) and asking them to define what “it” is…. interesting to read the cards…. EVERYONE IS GOING FOR IT!!!! WOW

Reviewing again Doernyei, Z. Motivational Strategies I can see how I fell short at directing the communication at goals. We did focus on the grades and excellence, and that was clear, however the flow of the class went into setting up the structure of the class as it went along, instead of setting a rigid structure… which is fine by me. I liked having the image of a dance and following the beat of the rhythm. We are an orchestra and there are plenty of parallels with the theory… so the metacognition of observing while behaving was understood and practiced by those participating in the discussion. Yet, in the motivational framework goal orientation seems to be more important that what I can see at the moment. What “exactly” is Doernyei aiming at… I wonder? Generally, his framework seems valid….

It is interesting to address issues of whether self efficacy and optimism preclude success or if success is required for competence. The recursiveness of life was explained in issues of the like of what came first, the chicken or the egg? The nature vs, nurture argument, and the influence of fate and the will in one’s life. Yes, I also mentioned that psychology is an offshoot of philosophy, and of course, the power imbalances in theory building where also acknowledged. Ahh, so much more. We spoke about self-concept and filled a scale on the interdependent – independent score we each had. And after a break we came back to the topic focusing instead on introductions. That was a great moment to hear everyone’s name and choice of information to give us. Most being mothers, some of 6 children, two, on with one on the way. Another finally marrying the father of her two children, and another one who will be happily divorced soon. One of them is a biker and another a retail person in my healthfood supermarket—of course she’s seen me there and I hoped I was not caught eating from the bulk section---- to which she immediately responded… “everyone does!!!”. I could sympathized with the one who was single and not anywhere close to be having children, nor getting married… and who kept three jobs. Later I found out in the index card communication that another one is a widow who re-married recently. Ahh, we celebrated another member’s beginning of her “faith-based” company…. And focused somewhat also on career achievements and goals as we went along in the circle.

What a neat group of women…. Really sharp! At that point I spoke last about what I heard, and when I wondered what would be a good summary, the one next to me said something to the like of--- “you just did”! Which sounded about right. I looked at the clock, and gave them my farewell 10 minutes early….. Turned the computer off, making sure tracks where erased, wiped the board and made sure to pick up all the multiple choice tests… multiple choice test!!!! Oh boy!

And off I went, turned in the commuter list to the registrar and walked in the rain to the car. Amazing how a comparable rain rendered the freeway by the condo in IslaVerde flooded to about two feet days before! And I changed lanes when I noticed I was hydroplaning!

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