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jueves, junio 30, 2005

Two Puerto Rican women and a civic group have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

This is big news because not only it acknowledges the work of women from Puerto Rico working for peace, but also people whose work have left an imprint locally in the Pioneer Valley (Western MA., USA… from where I am writing at the moment).

"Nilda Medina, co-founder of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, Maria Reinat-Pumarejo, co-founder of the Institute for Latino Empowerment (ILE), and the civic group "Alianza de Mujeres Viequenses" (Viequense Women's Alliance), have received the distinction for their work to demilitarize Viequez. This tiny Puerto Rican island was used by the US Navy for military exercise and weapons training and testing for 63 years." (AP)

go to Vieques Libre for more information

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martes, junio 28, 2005

a link with the translations of the Tao Te Ching 

The following comment was left on the post below and I am including it here deserving front page attention. A link is offered with many translations to the Tao Te Ching. I wonder which would be the best to start with? (This one is nice...)

Thanks for your comment!

"The Tao Te Ching was written in China roughly 2,500 years ago at about the same time when Buddha expounded the Dharma in India and Pythagoras taught in Greece. The Tao Te Ching is probably the most influential Chinese book of all times. Its 81 chapters have been translated into English more times than any other Chinese document.


The Tao Te Ching provides the basis for the philosophical school of Taoism, which is an important pillar of Chinese thought. Taoism teaches that there is one undivided truth at the root of all things. It literally means:


= tao (the way)
= te (strength/virtue)
= ching (scripture)

Here is a link with the translations of the Tao Te Ching. It is worth reading for the simple virtues it discusses.
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/taoism/ttc-list.htm"


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lunes, junio 27, 2005

words, writing and procrastination 

So while multitasking, I find this fascinating site through someone’s goggling of “correlation”…. :

Correlations: Taoist Thought Tools

Correlations, a psychological technique, disassembles your mind's dialectic process allowing your mind to reassemble itself with 'mysterious sameness' as its foundation. It gradually neutralizes bias - all bias - which makes it an arduous process; deep down we want our biases to be reenforced, not neutralized. Test it out and see for yourself.

I briefly looked and found it interesting as far as the use of a phpBB(an open source bulletin board) to convey an interesting idea and process of transforming opposites into “sameness”. While I am getting into words, my attentiveness travels into wonder and I loose the point at times… and I don’t know much about TAO, although I am deeply interested in knowing.

Back to work!

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jueves, junio 23, 2005

Are we teaching, training, preaching or what? 


It does not cease to amaze me! (a direct translation… of course!)

Just finished from facilitating a virtual session with Doris’ gang in Maracaibo, Venezuela over at the webheads office in Learning Times. Two seniors where there… Daf (and Sus appeared at the end...late in Denmark) whose presence always feels good… and the two of us roockies… a.k.a las “embelequeras”. Ay bendito… them folks in Maracaibo have a way …and an energy, that is why I go along with Doris!

It is interesting to see patterns in initial contacts with the technology in the virtual classroom. Amazing to move beyond the voice and the text and expand into the visual and software potential available to us. Although lately I have been stuck with just words… since I have not gone back to my html habit, nor moodling…. just absorbed with blogging… humm it is taking over my attention….

Are we teaching on-line or training? What are the virtues of live webcasting when a recording would convey the information in a cleaner/pristine fashion?

I just heard about 30 people clapping at the end of about 2 hours of our being on-line preparing and hearinging about engineering projects that participants developed. Their presentations were nice to hear. Not only was there the challenge of the language and the technology, but the message was about what they knew best! The level of comfort varied among the groups and I wished I had a camera to see their arrangements. So I let my imagination roam…

For the moment I must say that I firmly believe in learning by doing! Although lately I keep facing more difficult challenges in everything I do. Wondering if it is a function of middle age… my sin-cuentonas group would have an opinion about that! hummmmm do challenges become steeper as we move on in the learning curve … is it higher as we go along?

Looking back at the virtual experience I gather that I need to find a way to convey the essence of the contact I want to make with the audience through my voice, my choice of words and pictures. I must work on building my virtual persona. And then, how can we encourage interaction in the presentations. … It was another interesting experience. Here is the webcast.... Kudos Venezuela group !

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miércoles, junio 22, 2005

Back to virtual learning 

and delighted to witness how much I've learned in a year! It's been about that long since the virtual classroom in Learning Times has been a resource for coordination and development of learning experiences. I will be paying attention to how the motivational framework offered by Doernyei (2001) could be applicable there. I look forward to seeing how the colleagues in Venezuela fare with their Engineering projects.

One thing that has become evident in talks with others on-line is that blog entries should be shorter than what I've constructed during my face to face teaching. Ahhh, another topic to research... what is the ideal blog post length? Someone must have quatified that one!

Better go back to my paper on the Myth of on-line multiculturalism.... look at what I found at Doris' webpage... a machine to make citations!

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lunes, junio 20, 2005

Blogs as ethnographies. 

I am still at it, researching about “cultures” in the internet.

And to the extent that culture is accepted as text, then I will submit to the idea of “culture … presented as text, which the ethnographer is to read”(Beaulieu, 2004, p.155). … an idea explored by Schaap, (2002), attributed to Geertz in: Beaulieu, A. (2004) Mediating Ethnography: Objectivity and the Making of Ethnographies of the Internet. Social Epistemology, Vol. 18, No. 2-3, pp. 139-163.

According to the author, the internet (as context and content) allows for a multiplicity of venues to explore in terms of the technology’s potential to produce “objective knowledge”. The later being the ultimate purpose of ethnographies.

The main argument is whether “computer mediated communication” is a rich enough environment to “sustain meaningful social relations”, that is “the site of uniquely meaningful sociality” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 143). Actually, I agree with the realization that the internet is an ambient instead of an environment. Now watch the citation for that…. (Mitchell, 1995, 8-9; quoted by Pink, 1999, 114; in Beaulieu, 2004, p. 155). Ja!

Contrary to the traditionally unobtrusive and invisible stance attributed to ethnographies, knowledge comes from engagement and interaction… and “intersubjectivity” an important “theme in efforts …. to produce a new kind of representation of ethnographic knowledge” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 150). Interaction with others is the bases of intersubjectivity and allowable in blogs through comments. YES, PLEASE COMMENT!


About blogs:

“Blogs both help these ethnographers create the object, and make visible the subjectivity of the researcher. The blog is therefore felt to be a context and a mode of communication, a hybrid tool for making, presenting and reflecting on the object that is furthermore exposed in any way.” ” (Beaulieu, 2004, p. 151).

The whole idea of culture as text is interestingly discussed here in relation to the distancing and objectification that the ethnographer achieves by documenting a predominantly oral representation of reality. So in essence, once phenomena is documented the trained eye chooses the elements in the portrayal. In forums and blogs, the text is the expression and the choice of text to capture the ethnographer’s role.

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viernes, junio 17, 2005

It is nice to breath fresh air… indeed. 

And I am still vibrating with the classroom experience that just passed, wondering if there was enough time for constructivism to unfold.

I am convinced about participatory methods being crucial for learning. And in that last experience wondering what resources could have been added to prevent the strain, stress—“entropy” that detoured our hurried gain. Reflection acknowledged a comprehensive exposure to Social Psychology. And for some of the classmates a curiosity was sparked to pursue the field further.

Definitely the motivational framework was useful to maintain the focus on behaviors leading to learning. Must figure out how to translate those 35 items into a rubrics…. For the moment I will be reading an article on motivation which seems comprehensive: Latham and Pinder (2005) Work Motivation Theory and Research at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century, Annual Review of Psychology, 56:485-516.

Of course, there are many issues pending in the reflection about teaching and learning:

Should students witness the thoughts of their teacher? Must teacher’s be omnipresent, perfect? Is it detracting for students to witness a teacher’s uncertainty? This is a biggie. I struggle with power differentials. I don’t even like the use of the concept student/teacher in the classroom.

Another issue is the use of words used for descriptions of classroom phenomena. This one is also related to power, and education is political. Of course a description of an experience is recognizable by the actors! Otherwise, it would be fiction. The important realization is that upon recognition of ones behavior adjustments are then made to reach desirable descriptions in the future.

Since my intention is to be constructive, I’ve adjusted my accounts of the classroom to a generic and non-personal level. My understanding is that my voice, even as I describe others, projects me… my account of my experience. So even when I talk about personal issues I am ultimately representing myself. Read some about this issue of private and personal writing using blogs at: Blogging thoughts: personal publication as an online research tool by Torill Mortensen & Jill Walker

The use of blogs as instruments for reflection about teaching is gaining interest and in this experience has shown some benefits. There is a list of blogs available in the following blog which gathers Educational Weblog Articles

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martes, junio 14, 2005

Our last gathering 

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.

Social Psychology, how do I show my enthusiasm with the subject…. Well, my excitement as a researcher shows. I am critical about misleading generalizations based on weak evidence. And I convey my concerns as a contribution to students learning by my modeling and hope of transferring this awareness of fallacies as a stance they need to take in their careers. Now a personal learning relationship is formed and the crucial question is if the shortness of time in the course design facilitates or hinders the learning process and its outcomes. As the previous meeting, the classroom became a workshop in which learning about the content and the process took place at different levels: physically as well as mentally since reflection and discussion was shared. The environment in the room was managed by the group by the arrangement of equipment, air conditioner, group presentations and format for the discussion of the portfolio. In the review of the portfolio there was closure and projection into the future. Some students read their reflections about the challenges faced in the course and offered in their review of the impact of the class on their studies the thought of taking a closer look at Social Psychology as the branch of psychology they wanted to specialized in. Norms about time management guiding the structure of the session where maintained… and acknowledged by someone saying… “I know you would not let us out early today even though it is the last day of class” ??? Group cohesion was obvious in the small groups formed in their seating arrangements. I chose to encourage consistency in that regard as a means for support and due to the shortness of time together.


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.

Since reflection was central to the discussion about the class Portfolio the experience followed peer modeling and their own goal setting. The expectation about their success depending on their own initiative was highlighted in various occasions as issues about asking permission to speak were responded in a manner in which they where urged to behave assertively. Likewise their own managing of their time to present was clear with the use of the timer. It was most interesting to hear the timer go off while I was talking and realizing that I was being gauged by the same tool. There was humor, we laughed at my surprise of being “told” to stop talking !!! Rascals I thought…. And then of course, that was the tool for norm setting… and I followed that norm by finishing my statement.
The exploration of their achievements through the rubrics was again acknowledged and celebrated… the realism of self-assessment of their performance as directly related to their effort was clearly shown with the rubrics. Likewise success is presented as achievable and based on clearly established criteria. The rubrics serve as a basis for structure and I would have liked to have them creating them. Then the issue of intrinsic interest, relevance and empowerment would have been directly addressed.
An open minded disposition has been maintained through the positive feedback offered through out the class.


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 diminish 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.

Here again the assessment criteria is consistent and their comfort increased with repetition and familiarity with the rubrics. Today all of them where used: presentation, participation, paper and portfolio. Generally the success was attainable in each of these activities. Some goal setting was reviewed since students were still given the opportunity to review their work and send it to me for grading, thus, participating in negotiations about their final marks. The fact that they were doing peer assessments on the portfolio served for their review of performance by attaining established goals.

Sending messages to their peers serve to stimulate and increase their involvement in the portfolio activity. Likewise, receiving the notes served to motivate speakers and offered them opportunities to be successful. Anxiety about their public speaking was reported in their written reflections but not evident in their presentations. Autonomy and cooperation was clearly encouraged and enhanced by the task of peer-assessments and by the working environment reigning at various times in class. Still it is unclear how can the student’s self-motivating capacity could be increased. For one student the open ended looseleaf portfolio which she created was acknowledged as being the start for her senior portfolio. So the structure and the organizing achieved with the task is expected to serve her well as a tool for motivation in her future studies.


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.

Again, the self-based effort attribution would be evident by now in the use of rubrics and self-assessment. The motivational capacity of grades was most noticeable as students would confirm their achievements by consulting my spreadsheet with the current values for their grades. They would take turns to ask the score and make arrangements for re-submittal of their papers, quizzes…. At one point one student was with a calculator checking the correct totals and mentioning how hard she worked for a top score, which she had. I acknowledged how most had reached the excellent mark, while a few where not able to reach deadlines… how could the divergence be reduced remains puzzling to me. Most written reflection addressing obstacles to goal attainment focused on their life circumstances and demands. Statements of increasing their effort and organizing themselves were stated. In their self reflection, critical thought and aiming at excellence was acknowledged as a theme in class.

Difficulty in understanding tasks was also a norm… and remains to be explored if the uncertainty of designing activities as the course progressed was more counterproductive than expected. The required review and re-submission of corrected work seemed endless to some and troubling to others who needed more concrete achievement.


Motivational strategies refer to those motivational influences that are consciously exerted to achieve some systematic and enduring positive effect.” (Doernyei, 2001)


Here I am choosing what to say about this last class. Arrived as usual and headed to the faculty room to make copies for class. Also adjusted deadlines for submission of a student’s requirements for the grade. Looking at the variety of tasks I think we covered for all learning styles by not just reading, writing, speaking, presenting, creating… building a portfolio, we moved around. Certainly moving the tables required a bit of physical involvement… The room was chilled with the blinds being down, the air conditioner whining and the door kept close. Was funny to hear someone correcting our keeping the “central air” from functioning if the door was left open… keeping the door shut was certainly required for comfort with the temperature. We’ve also become used to our “places” in the room and the routine… rubrics, handouts, quizzes, papers… all in one table for distribution. Yes papers everywhere! And everyone was organizing their collection into a portfolio… “who has scissors” and “a stapler….” Yes, there was quite a bit of busy energy.

I started with the usual review of the previous session and acknowledged that they could multitask since this was a repeat, we heard these topics on last weeks presentations. “But please wrap it up at the start of the group presentations.” The first group wanted a cue of 10 minutes before their turn, to prepare. While they got ready, I showed them the discussion generated in the “learning container”. Immediately after I asked for comments on what it looked like, a classmate remarked: “a syllabus”… of course! And we realized the importance of maintaining logical direction and threads there and in e-mail communications under the subject field. So knowing about outlines will have remarkable benefits in on-line communication too.

And into the room came a cast of characters in interesting male attires… a tradesperson, a white collar bureaucrat, and someone into sports. Nice attention getter! Well suited for the module on Gender, Genes, and Culture. They facilitated quite nicely a participatory exercise in which words where associated with being a woman, a man, and outside that box, opposite characteristics of being of that gender. After that a nice informational statement was given about research on these attributions. I noticed that my assignment of characteristics into the expected boxes was difficult since by now I look at gender as an androgynous experience.

When the second module was to be presented, the speaker acknowledged her difficulty with the fact that her team member was absent. “Do the best you can, I am sure it will great !” She did… and as she was starting, the door opened.. (I though this was some arranged entry.. for the topic on Two Routes to Persuasion. The director of the program walked in ???? I greeted her and offered her a seat. She acknowledged her being there doing the rounds and that it was storming outside. Not a clue about outside, we were absorbed with our day’s agenda… 3 group presentations and portfolios. The director left after the presenter noticed her being also at the front addressing the group on her last visit… interesting coincidences on timing. And indeed, the presentation was very practical.. about how best to persuade!!!

At the ring of the timer time was up! No time for discussion—a whole half an hour was taken on presentations… and we acknowledged that the choice of information was great!

Next group… at that point we broke for a few minutes for set up, moving about …

The next group had a collection of video clips about greed that took about 8 minutes (about half their allotted time). A nice strategy… I was making connections with other movies… Shindler’s list, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful… and again… time flew! Nice coordinated presentation.. members flowed from one speaker to the next and the discussion had a nice touch in dealing with social influence and critical of materialism. One after the next all presenter’s where soo pleasing… clearly we gained considerable skills with the content and the process. The last presentation was also smooth, sophisticated slides where used and it was interesting…. What a treat! Hearing messages about social responsibility and about sustainability. Yes, the timer kept ringing and we were going! Applauses would signal our appreciation as an audience of the presenter’s work. We where also busy with the rubrics and their turning in all the support documents once they ended.

We took a break and organized our potluck! I had saved my appetite for the occasion and enjoyed the spread gathered on a table in the middle of the room! Everyone served themselves and went back to their chairs to eat. I distributed food around and sat right by the veggie tray totally teased by the keylime meringue pie and cookies… omg!

I returned the papers and gave a summary about the topics written about and pointed out some of the particulars about citing references. I also acknowledged that these papers could be the start of their careers as psychologists researching social phenomena. There were some common interests in issues of aggression and positivism, to name a few. I urged some of them to look at the comments and re-submit the papers for a better score, and some of them made arrangements for that.

Then we started with the portfolio presentations. I asked group members to pair up and to fill a rubric for each of them and then to choose something to show the larger group. I handed little sheets of paper for them to write a comment to each speaker. I read out loud some of the words gathered in the “short for words” posting below as words that could be used. A lot of energy was generated after each speaker, since papers were quickly distributed. Nice idea, thank you Renata… ! From the start of this portfolio sharing, there was a play with the idea that they where responsible for their outcomes… “Can I start?“ I heard someone say…. And I mentioned.. well, only if you say so… immediately she said.. OK, I am starting!!!!

WOW, and we rolled… one after the next. Someone else asked me to determine her time as she pointed that I was keeping the time… immediately I handed the timer to her… she would keep her own… time. Everyone got the point! (I think). Each took a turn to share anything of their choice. Most read their reflections and challenges offered them by the course. In one occasion I directed the discussion away from possibly turning into comparisons on performance among classmates. Generally the theme was of satisfaction.

Time was up! For real, this was the end of class. I acknowledged the hard work and urged them to stay in touch. Was going to do a summary of the comments, but someone commented—much like the first class that it was nice to end there and then. A class participant handed me back the egg timer with a grin… and a little piece of paper… I thanked her… later I read it… it said… Karen-- brilliance. It takes one to know one, I thought. I was pleased.

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viernes, junio 10, 2005

The 5th class according to Doernyei * 

(*Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press 2001):

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.

My enthusiasm about Social Psychology, how did I convey my enthusiasm? Other than the subjective excitement for the content, I think that the exploration and wonder about how the content is conveyed within the participatory structure of the class. We are not talking about it, we are being it! And by now we all are part of the learning and the Social Psychology of the process of learning. As a workshop we are sharing a collaborative atmosphere in which we cohesively discover our place in the whole experience. The norms, these are still being formulated and challenged. Am I promoting that challenge?



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.

There are plenty of peer models now assisting us in the presentations and assessment process. Our reflection within the discussions “hopefully” help raise the intrinsic interest… with a kick of external/ extrinsic motivation. How do you encourage anybody to be internally motivated? Quite paradoxical—don’t understand that one yet…. Please comment if you do… you’ll get an extra point indeed.

The expectation of success is attributed in just performing, acting, sort of an unconditional expectation… as in the “purely positive training” where you just look and notice the good. How rewarding is it by just noticing the positive only notice one aspect of an experience…. Ahh, I am always in wonder! Would that serve to reduce the value of the reward? (That would an instrumental value associated with the learning in item #12) There was a bit of focus on goals as we reviewed the learning outcomes for the class. As a consequence of the review, beliefs of achievement and success were formulated.



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 diminish 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.

Today, on that next to the last class there was quite a bit of the stimulating and interesting apprehension in witnessing and experiencing the last individual presentations. By that there was a sense of achievement since we were wrapping up the course. The participation rubric sheet is full of comments and reflection, and they have become a tool for communication to me. In that communication there is evidence of some of the anxiety with the paper subsiding now that it is done. The structure of setting work groups, time keeping, distribution of rubric sheets and setting breaks served for a sense of autonomy, and engagement.



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.

Right from the start of class I urge everyone to do the best they can with the opportunity facing us to learn in the classroom. The positive feedback is shared with the peer assessments and with the applause at the end of the presentations. I am still wondering how with a competitive grading structure you could reduce “demotivation”. Please comment on this one too and we’ll all get your point!



Ok, ok, now I have a chance…. At the eve of the end of class to transport myself to last Saturday. A hiatus reviewing in silence the experience of teaching an intensive undergraduate Social Psychology Class. Of course, expectations come to bear (sp?) about this being an upperclass group (seniors) and the syllabus being inherited… as in previously used and equivalent to other courses. Now I look in detail the performance and assessment issues implied within the design. And of course, the issue of power imbalances come to the fore as is the student’s subjective feeling that I am “giving” the grades. Interesting use of words…. Every single word I emit lately is measured---- and that is swell, since classmates are also guarding their use of words.. see, they “might end up in the blog”… and that is fine! If an outcome of the blog is for participants to see themselves and gauge themselves…. that is a significant outcome…. (I wonder under which item Dornei’s framework considers that?

In hindsight, yes, always easier afterwards….. we have worked hard… and it shows in the use of terms, comfort with the subject, discussion.

I started the session showing the power point presentation created by the publisher of the book. There was interest in the review since most class members had by then presented a module using slides and outlines created by them. I later learned in a comment included in the participation rubrics that looking at the slides from the publisher served of confirmation about our work, since the publisher’s version is quite limited…

Yes, we have really done a lot of work! Each group member has presented a module by now. But then, the last ones where also really interesting… since both the outlines and the visuals… and goodies… (yes… chocolate…) kept us going to the end of class. We took breaks… short ones… since we were involved!

For starters, we encountered technical difficulties…. I did a quick scan about needs for the group projects next week and time management details. Everybody seems to enjoy the idea of having a potluck for the last class. Although this will be a coordinated one… a list was passed around and everyone added what they would bring… (only had a peek at the list… looked gooodd!!!)

Facing the knacks of technology acknowledged how we need to think on our feet. By now most classmates had presented and had experienced using the equipment. The classroom feels like a workshop. People handing out rubrics, setting up the timer…. Presenting the concepts assigned, leading the discussion. Amazing!!!! I reviewed the assessment criteria on the board and encouraged everyone to give their performance their best shot. “Give me evidence of learning” I think it was then that I asked what would the participation rubrics mean if throughout the class they had always assigned themselves the top marks. Someone immediately, clearly and convincibly said that if the participant was steadily, and throughout the term performing at the top level…. Right!!! But then, how is learning acknowledged? And interestingly, comments in the rubric do serve to document evidence of learning. I will post some of the comments….

At one point I acknowledged my missing them on a Saturday once we where finished…. (was I the only one thinking in those terms…?)

There where themes in the group dynamics of issues of authority and of empowerment faced in the management of the structure and performance of the group. Mostly issues about what guidelines are used to assess performance. I do not recall in my experience being in a classroom in which the performance outcome was such a source of concern… almost a deleterious impact. Fortunately the rubrics offer each class member indication of their performance. (Wish to be using the word learning instead.) Actually, each single score has been either self assigned, assigned by a peer and/or guided by a previously established indicator. (hurray for Rubistar ) wink, wink.


Yes, there were still a handful of individual presentations, four of them, adjusted for one missing from a student who withdrew from class but who brought her 11 page outline !!! for classmates to include in their portfolio. …. Offered her the opportunity to present…. But she was no longer part of the class, she informed me. ...and with the start of the egg timer we called to order --the beginning of presentations. Their turn.

What a nice collection of activities…. The influence of the media in social behavior, the ups and downs of love, the blessed peacemakers…. We now have a nice tradition of an applause after each participant finishes… the atmosphere feels nice!

I shared my views about the topics… in essence how LOVE is all there is… “all you need is love, love…” of course… ohhh, but Peace. Peace and Love. And of course, at the start of the Peace presentation the leader had a wonderful ice breaker… of how she loved chocolate and passed along a bag full of hersheys bars.. and how we knew something new about her… in addition to her being a mediator and para-legal… and that it was our turn to share something we didn’t know about each other… (that I was a 70’s hippie living in the Height Ashbury?... noooo) "Love is all you need… Peace and Love… great topics…" I said.

During the discussion I talked about my learning with the blog and the activities around it. I stated how this medium has offered me the opportunity to reflect about my teaching process and about my learning about how within the context of psychology, issues of confidentiality would also be important to consider. I also acknowledged my quandary with understanding that SOME students perceive me as not caring, and how it would seem logical to expect that caring would clearly be evident if I deleted the blog. There was candid discussion about how personal information was publicly treated here and that such could conceivably be considered a breach of confidence. It is interesting that students in the group can identify who the actors are, but that for outsiders, their representation is anonymous. So in essence, an accurate ethnographic rendition would allow for familiarity in the actors experience. Interesting! That however is not the case in the comments, where they address me by my name. I stated how I contacted a few of the people whom I referred to in my story whom might have conceivably considered my posts too personal, and have been assured that not being the case. My bringing up the topic was generally found to be beneficial for some, and taking too long for others.

At the end of the discussion the mediator summarized our agreement as being directed at the choice of words used. I invited anyone with a request for a change in the use of words to let me know. One was stated… which checking back for it was revised a while ago. There were different statements around the whole group of the like of, I’ve heard positive accounts of us, to what blog are you talking about, to… I am upset and I have not even read it… to receiving a recent message by email that nothing offensive is evident. That last statement validates my intention about being constructive in this endeavor.

But I must say, the learning about power discourse and the choice of words used to convey the sentiment of all people when only a few are portrayed is a significant learning in this experience. I hope more about that will follow. There was one more presentation, about altruism and helping. Nice touch, no slides… relaxed posture and interesting discussion about what is significant helping or just “band aids”.

We used the last half an hour to review the portfolio’s rubrics and the course’s learning outcomes. We went one by one over each of the expected outcomes. .. and at a point acknowledged who much we had done during class and how everything we’ve done helped meet the outcomes.

At the end of class, a student handed me a copy of an article on Positive Psychology…. I was delighted and glad to received it in a colored cover, labeled and all… as well as a table full of participant’s rubrics, presentation rubrics and their papers… all full of thoughts, ideas, messages. We’ve done a lot of work. At the end of the class heard comments of satisfaction with the class from two students. I was pleased.

All week long I have been reviewing their scores, feedback, reading their papers. Now that I’ve met them it is time to say farewell. Fortunately this blog could serve as means to stay in touch.

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jueves, junio 09, 2005

Short for Words 

Where is the dictionary???? Actually, the Thesaurus.

marvelous- causing wonder or astonishment
amazing, astonishing, astounding, awesome, fabulous, miraculous, portentous, prodigious, staggering, stunning, stupendous, sublime, surprising, wonderful, wondrous
extraordinary, phenomenal, sensational, spectacular; singular, unique, outstanding, remarkable; impressive, striking; exciting, galvanizing, invigorating, stimulating; alluring, attracting, attractive, beguiling, bewitching, captivating, charming, enchanting, entertaining, enthralling, fascinating, interesting

awe-inspiring, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, exalted, formidable, grand, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing, moving, stunning, exciting

exhilarating
appealing, arousing, electrifying, exhilarant, eye-popping, far out, fine, flashy, groovy, hair-raising, impelling, impressive, interesting, intoxicating, intriguing, lively, melodramatic, mind-blowing, moving, neat, overpowering, overwhelming, provocative, racy, rip-roaring, rousing, sensational, showy, spine-tingling, stimulating, stirring, thrilling, titillating, wild, zestful

Fabulous-wonderful
best, breathtaking, fantastic, first class, greatest, groovy, legendary, marvelous, mind-blowing, out-of-this-world, outrageous, peachy, phenomenal, primo, prodigious, rad, remarkable, striking, super, superb, terrific, tops, turn-on, wicked

imposing
grandiose, imperial, monumental, moving, noble, ominous, outta sight, overblown, something else, striking

magnificent, noble, splendid, stunning, sublime, sumptuous, superb
memorable, illustrious, important, indelible, interesting, lasting, meaningful, momentous, notable, noteworthy, observable, remarkable, rememberable, terrific

moving
arousing, awakening, breathless, dynamic, eloquent, emotional, emotive, exciting, expressive, facund, gripping, heartbreaking, impelling, impressive, inspirational, inspiring, meaningful, mind-bending, motivating, persuasive, poignant, propelling, provoking, quickening, rallying, rousing, sententious, significant, something, stimulating, stimulative, touching

noteworthy, important
evident, exceptional, extraordinary, hot, meaningful, memorable, mind-blowing, notable, noticeable, observable, outstanding, prominent, remarkable, significant, super-duper, terrific, unique, utmost

consciousness-expanding, kaleidoscopic, mind-bending, mind-changing, mind-expanding, multi-colored, psychoactive, psychotomimetic, psychotropic, trippy

sensational, superb, dandy, divine, dramatic, excellent, first class, glorious, groovy, hunky-dory, keen, stupendous, colossal, enormous, huge, vast, thrilling

enchanting, exquisite, knockout, large, like wow, lush, rip-roaring, riveting, rousing, wild, touching, tender


Source:
Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.1.1)
Copyright © 2005 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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martes, junio 07, 2005

"The Personal IS Political" 

An important quote.

There are many issues to think about and I’ve been reading. About the choice of words used to convey a thought and a message. About how to best give and receive feedback. About learning and about growing... Constructivism... endless ideas.

There is though and action. Critical thinking... more. I’ve been reflecting about the feedback given to me and about how best to act.

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