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Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam

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William. D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition. Bloomington, USA. Solution Tree Press. 

Dylan Wiliam is to formative assessment what Chris Witty is to Covid

I’m getting used to Dylan Wiliam - I think of him as the David Walliams of Education, the Will-I-Am of Formative Assessment.

I’ve been pointed at his webinars, sat through a keynote or two, read the book and the read pamphlet ‘Inside the Black Box: raising standards from classroom assessment’ which he produced with Paul Black in 1998 and established his reputation. 

In my first pass of note taking I had over 60 quotes and ideas here, not all from Dylan William. With some editing I’ve got this down to 19 ‘Top Tips’ which are all set out ready to quote. 

I’ll go back to the book if needs be for clarification. In this case it is an eBook which makes it very easy as the digital version will correlate to actual print page numbers.

This is how I learn. 

It’s a slow and repetitive process: skim read a book to get the lay of the land, read it with an open notebook, then transfer the notes to a document like this. Then edit the notes and where necessary go back to the original book. Most important of all - give it a go. Over the last five weeks I’ve had a chance to apply some of the thinking to both online remote teaching and in the classroom face-to-face.  

When a book strikes me as really important I am likely to have it in print and eBook - they read differently and you take different things from each. 

These notes are for me to browse, refer back to and use when I next have a formal rationale or observation to write, as well as for every day reflection on the learning and e-learning experience I am currently going through. 

Myth Busting

Wiliam puts the evidence of learning above myth and has a number of bugbears. 

Good teaching is difficult

It is relatively easy to think up cool stuff for students to do in classrooms, but the problem with such an activity-based approach is that too often it is not clear what the students are going to learn. (Wiliam 2017 p.94) 

Wiliam disregards learning styles, ‘which have no discernible impact on student achievement at all’. (Wiliam 2017 p.11 also Adey, Fairbrother, William, Johnson, & Jones, (1999). Rather - ‘as long as teachers vary their teaching style, then it is likely that students will get some experience of being pushed beyond it’. (Wiliam 2017 p.48) 

Nor is Wiliam a  fan of ‘performance of a learning task’ as a predictor of long-term retention of learning (Wiliam 2017 p.47 from Bjork, R.A. (1994) Any mention of ‘neuroscience’ as the panacea annoys him. (Wiliam 2017 p.50) 

There is no shortcut

Wiliam’s firm belief is that formative assessment improves performance. (Wiliam 2017 p.11) His view - ‘the use of assessment for summative purposes - grading, sorting, and ranking students - gets in the way’ of learning. (Wiliam 2017 p.56) Education is overly prescriptive with rubrics. (Wiliam p.93 in Alfied Kohn (2006)

No one can do the learning for the student who does not engage.

Our classrooms seem to be based on the principle that if teachers try really hard, they can do the learning for the learners. (Wiliam 2017 p.225) 

According to Wiliam there is little evidence that the following ‘tricks’ have any impact of student achievement:

  • Summarisation

  • Highlighting

  • Keyword mnemonic

  • Image use for text learning

  • Rereading (Wiliam 2017 p.225) 

Wiliam sets out five key stages of formative assessment : 

  1. Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and success criteria.

  2. Eliciting evidence of learning

  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward

  4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another

  5. Activating learners as owner of their own learning

The Assessment Reform Group puts it this way. Assessment to improve learning requires five elements to be in place (cited Broadfoot et al., 1999) (Wiliam 2017 p.61)

  1. Providing effective feedback to students

  2. Actively involving students in their own learning

  3. Adjusting teaching to take into account the assessment results

  4. Recognising the profound influence assessment has on student’s motivation and self-esteem, both of which are crucial influences on learning.

  5. Needing students to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

Challenge them!

I like Wiliam’s thinking that ‘good instruction creates desirable difficulties’ - that we learn and retain knowledge through struggling with it. (Wiliam, 2017 p.11) I know from personal experience that the greater the struggle I am willing to endure, the deeper and the longer lasting my learning. It is when I can face the struggle … that I struggle.  Good instruction creates what he describes as ‘desirable difficulties’ (Wiliam, 2017 p.47) quoting Bjork (1994, p.193).

Pedagogy Over Curriculum

‘A bad curriculum well taught is usually a better experience for students than a good curriculum badly taught’. (Wiliam, 2017 p.11) I rather think we can apply this to many situations, for example, that pedagogy comes first - not EdTech. 

Formative Assessment above all else 

The Wiliam mantra is that, ‘attention to minute-by-minute and day-to-day formative assessment is likely to have the biggest impact on student outcomes’. (Wiliam 2017 p.42) He defines formative assessment as ‘the process used by teachers and students to recognise and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning, during the learning’. (Wiliam 2017 p.59). Formative assessment, according to Bloom (1969) is a kind of evaluation - ‘a brief test used by teachers and students as aids in the learning process. (Wiliam, 2017 p.53 in Bloom (1969) It is ‘the process used by teachers and students to recognise and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning, during the learning. (Cowie & Bell, 1999 p.32) It is ‘assessment carried out during the instructional process for the purpose of improving teaching or learning’. (Wiliam 2017 p.59 in Shepard et al., 2005 p.275) 

I like this : ‘Frequent, interactive assessment of students’ progress and understanding to identify learning needs and adjust appropriately.’ (Wiliam 2017 p.59 from Looney 2005)

And if you need more ways to think of it, try this: ‘assessment, for learning tells ‘us’ ‘what progress each student is making toward meeting each standard while the learning is happening - when there’s still time to be helpful (Wiliam 2017 p.62 from Looney 2005 (pp1-2) Stiggins (2005)

All kinds of formative assessment are not equal

(Wiliam 2017 p.62) 

‘The evidence is clear that the shorter the assessment - interpretation - action cycle becomes the greater the impact on student achievement’. (Wiliam, 2016). He continues, ‘short-cycle formative assessment has to be the priority for schools and teachers, because the impact on students is greater. (Wiliam p.75) 

‘ … regular use of minute-by-minute and day-to-day classroom formative assessment can substantially improve student achievement’. (Wiliam 2017 p.81)

Design backwards from the learning outcome

(Wiliam 2017 p.81 from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2000)

Three issues in the development of learning intentions and success criteria that may be useful to think about. (Wiliam p.95)

  1. Task-specific versus generic scoring rubrics.

  2. Product-focused versus process-focused criteria

  3. Official versus student-friendly language

NOTE :> By being specific about what we want, we focus the students learning too much. ‘He who never made a mistake, never made a discover’ (Wiliam 2017 p.95 quoting Samuel Smiles (1862 p.275)

There are a number of techniques which appealed when I read about them and I have used them. These are techniques to help students understand and achieve learning intentions. (Wiliam 2017 p.104 from Clarke (2001)

This is simple, these phrases work 

WALT ‘We are learning to … ‘

WILF ‘What I’m looking for … ‘

TIB ‘This is because … ‘ 

Student Engagement Techniques

The teacher asks a question, selects a student to answer the question and then responds to the student’s answer, which is generally some kind of evaluation of what the student said. (Wiliam 2017 p.124) Teacher-Led classroom discussion.

Try some of these:

  • Wait time

  • Evaluative listening

  • Interpretive listening

  • Questions shells

  • Hot-seat questioning

  • All student response systems

  • ABCD Cards

  • Mini Whiteboards

  • Exit passes

  • Discussion vs. diagnostic questions

  • Alternative questions

Pose a question, pick a student at random

Pose-pause-pounce-bounce

  • Pose

  • 5 seconds - pause

  • Pounce-random choice

  • Bounce-what do you think (Wiliam 2017 p.129) 

App or Lollipop sticks (Wiliam 2017 p.129) 

These techniques are used to ensure that all students realise that all are expected to tke part and that it is ok to make mistakes. If someone does not provide a response then come back to them and tell them  “OK, I’ll come back to you”.  (Wiliam 2017 p.132) 

Then seek Response 2 and 3 and then return to the person who gave no response and ask them which reply they liked the best and ask them why.

‘Engagement and responsiveness - are at the heart of effective formative assessment’. (Wiliam 2017 p.142) 

Managing Challenging Behaviour

To change the behaviour criticise the behaviour not the student. (Wiliam 2017 p.171) 

It is quality rather than the quantity of praise that is most important - teacher praise is far more effective if it is infrequent, credible, contingent, specific, and genuine. (Brophy, 1981 in Wiliam 2017 p.171)

The use of feedback improves performance when it is focussed on what needs to be done to improve, and particularly when it gives specific details about how to improve. (Wiliam 2017 p.180)

Motivation

“It's up to me, and I can do something about it”.  (Wiliam 2017 p.183)

When students have to struggled in the learning task, the quality of their performance on this task reduces, but the amount of learning that takes placed increases (Wiliam 2017 p.190)

Feedback functions formatively only if the learner uses the information feedback to him or her to improve performance. If educators intend the information fed back to the learner to be helpful but the learner cannot use it to improve his or her performance, it is not formative.

Motivation is not a cause but a consequence of achievement (In Wiliam 20176 p.234) from Garon-Carrier et al., 2016)

Like sports coaching, teaching takes time to master

It takes years for even the most capable of coach to break down a long learning journey from where the student is right now - to where he or she needs to be. (Wiliam 2017 p.193)

Feedback should cause thinking

Feedback for Future Action. (Wiliam 2017 p.194) 

To be effective, feedback needs to direct attention to what's next, rather than focusing on how well or poorly the student did on the work, and this rarely happens in the typical classroom.

The response from the student to feedback should be ‘cognitive rather than emotional’ (Wiliam 2017 p.205) In other words, feedback should cause thinking by creating desirable difficulties.

Peer tutoring can be more effective than one-on-one tutorial instruction from a teacher. This is because of the ‘change in power relationships’. (Wiliam 2017 p.209)

And regarding students online not using their webcams he believed you can see how a student is really taking it by seeing their faces (Wiliam 2017 p.209)

Student Reporter

Put students in a group towards the end of the class so that they can discuss then report back on what has been taught.

Two Techniques that work 

(Wiliam 2017 p230)

  1. Practice Testing 

  2. Distributed Practice

These received high ratings because they were effective with learners of different ages and abilities and were shown to boost students’ performance across many kinds of tasks, and there was plenty of evidence that they worked in educational contexts.

If students complete a practice test and get immediate feedback on their answers, students will get the benefit of the hypercorrection effect for those questions where they were correct. (Wiliam 2017 p.231)

Setting Goals

Students are more motivated to reach goals that are specific, are within reach, and offer some degree of challenge. (Wiliam 2017 p.236 in Bandura, 1986)

When the goals seem out of reach students may give up on increasing competence and instead avoid harm, by focusing on lower-level goals they know they can reach or avoiding failing altogether by disengaging from the task. (Wiliam 2017 p.236)

TIPS

  1. Think ‘how am I going to teach this and what are the pupils going to learn?’ (Wiliam 2017 p.79) 

  1. Having an in-depth understanding of the curriculum may be of more benefit to student progress than advanced study of a subject on the part of the teacher.

  1. Students don't learn what we teach. (Wiliam 2017 p.77) 

  1. Teaching the goal. Driving as teaching. (Wiliam 2017 p.78)

  1. ‘When the pressure is on, most of us behave as if lecturing works but deep down inside we know it’s ineffective’. (Wiliam 2017 p.80)

  1. The teacher’s job is not to transmit knowledge, nor to facilitate learning. It is to engineer effective learning environments for students. (Wiliam 2017 p.80)

  1. Learners of all ages need to understand what it is that they need to learn and be able to monitor their progress toward their goal. (Wiliam 2017 p.95) 

  1. Don’t simply plan the instructional activity, but also plan how you are going to find out where the students are in their learning. You need to be clear about what we want students to learn (Wiliam 2017 p.115)

  1. Ask questions either to cause thinkin and to provide information for the teacher about what to do next. (Wiliam 2017 p.126)

  1. Beware - those avoiding engagement are forgoing the opportunities to increase their ability.

  1. The most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows - the teachers job is to ascertain this and to teach accordingly. (Wiliam 2017 p.166) 

  1. Much of the feedback that students get has little or no effect on their learning, and some kinds of feedback are actually counterproductive. (Wiliam 2017 p.167) 

  1. Do not mix grades and comments, just stick to comments. (Wiliam 2017 p.167) 

  1. Oral feedback is best. (Wiliam 2017 p.174)

  1. Too often feedback is counterproductive. (Wiliam 2017 p.178)

  1. Don’t provide students with feedback unless you allow time, in class, to work on using the feedback to improve their work. (Wiliam 2017 p.195) 

  1. Feedback should be more work for them than you! (Wiliam 2017 p.195) 

  1. A simple approach to feedback. Pick out two things to praise, then express what they need to do a constructive wish. He calls the technique ‘two stars and a wish’. (Wiliam 2017 p.214)

  1. Teachers have a crucial role to play in designing the situations in which learning takes place, but only learners create learning. Wiliam 2017 p.246)

REFERENCES

Adey, Fairbrother, William, Johnson, & Jones, (1999) p.36 A review of learning styles and learning strategies. London. King’s College London Centre for Advanced Thinking. 

Ausubel (1968) Educational psychology. A Cognitive view. New York. Holt, Rinehart & Winston

Bjork, R.A. (1994) Memory and metamemory consideration in the training of human beings. In J.Metcalfe & A.P. Shimamura (eds) Metacognition : Knowing about knowing (pp.188-205) Cambridge, MA MIT Press. 

Bloom, B.S. (1969) Some theoretical issues relating to educational evaluation, In H.G. Richey & R.W. Tyler (Eds). Educational evaluation : New roles, new means, part 2 (Vol.68, pp. 26-50_ Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Brophy, H (1981) Teacher praise: A functional analysis. Review of Educational Research, 51 (i), 5-32

Clarke, S (2001) Unlocking Formative Assessment. London, Hodder & Stoughton

Cowie, B & Bell, B (1999) A Model for formative assessment in science education. Assessment in Education : Principles, Policy and Practice. 6(1), 101-116

Looney, J (ed) (2005) Formative Assessment: improving learning in secondary classroom. Paris. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

Shepard et al., 2005 p.275 in L.Darling-Hammon & J.Bransford (Eds) preparing teaching for a changing world : what teachers should learn and be able to do (pp.215-326)

Soderstrom, N.C., & Bjork, R.A. (2015) Learning versus performance : An integrative review. Perspectives on Psychological Science 10 (2), 176-199. 

Stiggins R.J. (2005) Assessment for learning defined. 

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2000) Understanding by design. New York. Prentice Hall.

William, D. (2016) Leadership for teacher learning . Creating a culture where all teachers improv so that all students succeed. West Palm Beach , FL, Learning Sciences International.

William, D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition 

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After three months teaching online I take a class face to face

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Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

To get their attention at the start of the class and to get them thinking I showed a series of artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat. In part this played into the final task of the module which is to create a ‘Poster’ which will be part drawing, part text, diagram and infographic but it also introduced today’s theme on mental welfare and the mind. 

I used this quote from Jean-Michel Basquiat.

“I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life.” (Basquiat, 1986) 

I also pointed out that Basquiat died of a heroin overdose when he was 27 and so introduced the theme of mental well-being and the way we cope with stress. 

A student suggested that as well as writing down mechanisms of coping with stress, we also included ‘how not to … ‘ to which the class put ‘alcohol’ and ‘drugs while also recognising that silence, or ‘going crazy or being aggressive was not a solution. This related back to Basquait, who we understand was “attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain” and the Laurie Anderson quote from Radio 6 Music on an uncle who went ‘crazy in the attic’ for three years suffering from ‘shell-shock’. (Anderson 2021) 

Throughout I wanted to make use of the evidence-based research of Dylan William (2017) regarding formative assessment, especially on the ‘Five Key Stages of Formative Assessment”. (Wilaim, p.11) With this in mind, the first step was ‘Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and success criteria’. (Wiliam, p.11)

The goal of this class was stated within the context of the end of the module task to create a poster. That by the end of this session students would understand how all the previous sessions on the hands, feet and face would fit together. I took an A3 sheet and drew up my impression of one approach for this poster: a roughly sketched human figure with head, hands and feet, with elements from each mind map added to, in turn, a hand, a foot, the face and the mind/brain. It was also suggested that the page might be split left and right between how personal hygiene protects you on one side of the page while looking at how personal hygiene protects others on the other side. 

Having got them to write ‘mind’ or ‘brain’ in the centre of an A3 sheet we then recapped the set of enquiry questions we have used before: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? I took this opportunity to try the technique proposed by Wiliam (2017, p.126) he learnt from a teacher called ‘Pose-pause-pounce-bounce. Here I would Pose > a question, ‘Pause’ 3 seconds for a response, then ‘Pounce’ on someone else who would hopely provide a response and then go back to the original person to seek confirmation and clarification. In the moment, despite having these steps written out, I found I would pose a question, not give adequate pause, pick someone else who may not reply either then fall back on taking a response from someone who was ready with an answer. I then missed the chance to go back to the person to whom the question was first put.  To achieve this in future I should slow down, as I still don’t know the students, I should use the floor plan, and be quite specific about marking down who is asked the first question and even use arrows to point back to them once I have moved on. This floor plan should also show the layout from the teacher’s perspective from Front to Back to make it easy to use. 

I also used a phrasing technique that is also suggested in Wiliam (2017, p.104)  “to help students understand and achieve learning intentions”. This is known as WALT, WILF and TIB as in  “We are learning …” “What I’m looking for …” and “This is because …”. I found I use the second of these most frequently so that I could take any discussion back to the task of this session and the end of module poster assignment. 

I realised after the event the value of each student having a chrome book and access to the Internet as when being taught remotely this formed an important part of the class as they were expected to do their own research, ideally looking at Medical News Today and other reliable sources of information, as well as creating a Pinterest gallery of visual ideas. The issue in class, which may have been the same when working from home, would have been to have had a surface large enough, such as a kitchen table rather than a small desk, or working from a laptop, tablet of phone so that they could do their mind map. I also realise that I naturally worked on an A3 sheet clipped to a drawing board while they were working with whatever pad of paper came to hand. 

Regarding access to the Internet I should also have encouraged those who had used the App Simple Mind to continue to do so, while introducing Google Draw, Adobe Spark and Canva as additional tools they could use for the end of module assignment > a poster. 

I could have prepared in advance a short introduction to the brain/mind - indeed there are surely many on YouTube that are suitable. We should be amazed at the 86 billion neurons and our capacity to think and feel - wherein lies the problem when it comes to mental wellbeing. 

I repeatedly tried to bring the topic back to Mental Health and Uniformed Services looking at the topic from the perspective of your own mental health and that of others. Three clips were used. In the case of content from Twitter I talked through a short exchange on different kinds of trauma from a Clinical Psychologist and someone sharing their state of depression. I had a short piece from Radio 6 Music with Laurie Anderson talking about an uncle who spent three years ‘going crazy’ in their attic from ‘Shell Shock’. 

In this way an attempt was made to get a discussion going on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for example around questions on rape, compared to anxiety and depression. We also considered how an individual copes with PTSD, anxiety and depression. A range of responses were given: talk to others, seek professional help, relax with music, a walk or playing electronic games. However, it was a struggle, now that I could see the students in front of me, to get them to take all of these opportunities to jot things down on their mind map. Time and time again with the video clips it was as if the default practice was ‘put your pens down, look at the screen’, rather than listen and take notes.

Whereas working online, 90 minutes at a time, we could take a 20 minute period to work on producing the mind map, here it was kept to 15 minutes. Here at least I could go around, see what they were doing and guide them. It was surprising how little was being done in some instances, that the repeated opportunities to add detail from the information provided were being missed. 

With the one to one the opportunity came for immediate spoken feedback. Here I took note of Knowles (1980) regarding using non-judgemental feedback. Although the students are young adults, age 17 typically, I felt that an approach developed in adult-learning would be most helpful - after all these young people are in an FE college, not school. 

Ample time was given to students to respond to my questions with the expectation that other students would be listening, taking notes on their mind map and contributing. I would have liked to have given a short insight into concepts such as ‘positivity’, Kolb’s spiral (Kolb, 1984 ) being ‘In The Flow’ (Cskiszentmihalyi, 1990) and motivation coming from a good coach.  We did discuss mindfulness and the website Medical News Today was once again offered as a reliable, uptodate and clear source for research.

REFERENCES

Basquiat, J-M (1986) Quoted in the New Yorker. Wikipedia (URL) (accessed 11 March 2021) Interview with writer Isabelle Graw in 1986. Jean-Michael Basquiat on How to be an Artist on website Artsy > https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-artist-jean-michel-basquiat (accessed 11 March 2021) 

BBC Radio 6 Music - The First Time … Laurie Anderson talks to Matt Everitt (accessessed 14 March 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000sqnr

Cskiszentmihalyi, M. (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York. Harper & Row. 

Knowles, M.S. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From pedagogy to andragogy (revised and updated). Chicago, IL: Association : Revised Second Edition. 

Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Reprint electronically produced by permission of Pearson Education Inc., New York (First Edition). 

Medical News Today.  Medical website. Accessed 11 March 2021 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ 

William.D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition 

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Digital Literacy - Making sense of a complex world online

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Though hollowed out by 'stage fright' for most of the day I last night deliverd a formal, observed 90 minute online class to a group of students. To get my head in order I successfully used the UCL Learning Designer; I have been learning how to use this on the UCL FutureLearn Massive Open Online Course which has been running for the last two weeks and end this week.

Summary and Pie Chart Introducing a 90 minute online class on Digital Literacy

This is one the Learning Designs I created > Digital Literacy  

The session was recorded. Though I'll need some breathing space before I revisit it. I will also have formal feedback from the person who observed.

I have to wonder why I put myself through this kind of thing! I guess I wanted to wake up my sleepy soul and have succceeded in doing so. 15 minute before I would have (I had the line in my head) "Eat Shit". This is somewhat exaggerated - I would have made excuses. I would have preferred to have been going on stage to deliver Hamlet in a thong.

But I settled in quickly. I am not delivering a TED lecture.

The pacing was about right. Introduce this, show about of that, seeking their point of view. And I purposively kept the Tec low key (despite the subject). This is not the place for me to show off my skills - it is all about them.

My insight into teaching and learning could not be greater. As I realised a decade ago, even 20 years ago when I first did an OU Module on Open and Distance Learning - the theory has to complement practice, not be something that is done in isolation. Who does? How could I think I can study education without doing it myself? You can't learnt to dance only by reading books - you can only acquire an appreciation. But you can be an art critic without being able to paint? 

I've attached my rationale and a 'running order' with timings for the lesson I delivered. The timings were spot on - more or less. We took a 10 minute break an hour in which I readily accommodate and just added 10 minutes to the plan and continued accordingly. 

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This week

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Views around the South Downs during a January 2021 hoar frost

This week could run to 73 pages of A4 with screenshots. It is a Google Doc I keep. Actually, that's just for the four days Tuesday to Friday. 

Teachers will be 'live' with students teaching online next week. All are on a quick learning curve both technically and culturally. The cultural shift is nudging towards greater communication, networking and collaboration. Teachers need to stop being soloists and work as an ensemble - or as they do at the OU in an orchestra with the conductor the Chair who lead the unit craetion, not the tutor 'delivery' any part of the unit syncrhonously and being the 'face' of a course for a particular intake. 

We are exposed and challenged as teachers and students and so learning a lot. More than ever before it matters to take notes! I feel at times like the last person on the planet to take notes with ink on paper, as well as digitally in mindmaps, or like this, supported with audio and video recordings. I don't go back through it all, but I do go back through much of it. I will even have some of it transcribed electronically so that I can verify what was said, by whom and get the wording right. 

It leaves a lot undone. A hoar frost the other day and I took loads of photos on an extensive walk around the edges of Lewes onto the South Downs. I've not posted a single one, though I have at lost gone through them. 

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A poor learning experienced remembered

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Joining a class that would run over several weeks that would teach his improvisational writing and rehearsal technique used by Mike Leigh I found that the class would watch as a direct, three actors and a write did exactly this. We didn't get to improvise - I enjoyed acting at the time. We didn't get to work with the actors - I wasn't so much into directing yet. And we didn't even write. This was meant to inform our own projects. I didn't. I found it hugely frustrating to be watching others do stuff, have fun and learn from the experience, while we in the 'class' were meant to pick it up from a chair at a distance. All we were taught was how, through demonstration, to run an improvisational session. 

LESSON > if you aim is to teach someone to do something, have them do it not sit on the sidelines.


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The best student blog platform ever

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Nothing beats this platform. I felt this from the start in 2010. I guess it migrated from a Notice Board List Serve thing I even remember from 2001. 

It works because it is a hybrid, part blog, part noticeboard. It is simple. You write into a template and have parameters. Parameters are old school, like writing copy for print editorial. Parameters help too. I can't prattle on for too long (or cut and paste an essay). I could add it as an attachment though, and media file sizes have to be compressed too. Wise in 2020 when an image from a fancy phone can be so huge. Just learn to make them smaller and lower resolution.

I can chose to keep this entirely private to me, shared to the OU or shared to the world. 

I wish other institutions took blogging by students seriously and did this too. It worked when I was studying here as fellow students knew exactly where to find me and we could talk/collaborate between each other - fellow OU students only invited. So comments ran well. 

All I was meant to note here, now that I have 'education' on my mind courtesy of the PGCE is that I stumbled upon a letter from my later mother from 2005 in which once again she tried to sell me the virtues of taking a PGCE, even if I didn't have the degree in Art, which is all I could then see me teaching, not Geography (my first degree), perhaps History (gained in 2016) or Education (my MA here gained in 2013) or even sport given my loft Swim England Coaching qualifications. 

Of what value were our school 'reports' from Prep School in the 1970s? Everything is about place in term, place in exams, and the disparaging remarks such as 'Rather disappointing! He is VERY careless over elementary and his oral work is weak'. As I was 10.2 I rather blame the dreadful teaching practices of Mr Denis Sullivan who caned boys who couldn't recall accurately vocab lists he drilled into us. Mathematics > excellent. As it remained throughout school - have I missed something all this time? Geography 'faultless'. Art 'Excellent'. It all makes me cringe. And I learn 50 years on that most of the teachers had no qualifications to teach. What did our parents pay for? 


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My School Years

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When you are asked to reflect on 'classes' observed it is inevitable that you begin to recall the best and worst of your own education, those 13 of 14 years from the age of 5. I'm helped by a diary kept from the age of 13, should I care to dig through it, as well as School Reports from the age of 9 or 10. Even 'letters home' being one of these rare, pour souls, who was sent to a boarding prep school when barely out of his infancy.

It rancours now less than it did for the first few decades on leaving. As a parent I cannot understand what would posses anyone to send an 8 year old away to such an institution 'because it was the thing that was done' my mother would say. It had never been 'done' in our family until then, short of my father being sent away during the Second World War at a similar age. 

The best lesson, I recall often, out of the mire of Latin which I loathed and was dreadful at, was the story of Romulus and Remus. Telling stories is the way to create memories.

The worst lesson was French. Words and phrases were drummed into us to learn parrot fashion. We were tested on the fly and I could rarely keep up. Given a written test, two of us with very poor marks were threatened with corporal punishment unless out score were higher coming back from half term. The troublesome side of school was not discussed at home; perhaps my mother took no interest. Parents divorced there was not father to quiz me further. Somehow I got the required mark, though I don't recall trying to learn any of the phrases. My friend did not get the mark and was caned. Years later we know he was dyslexic - and that I am ADHD. I was slow to read. My spelling terrible - and that was in English. I loved France and French though. I had to learn it in context, through total immersion and a French exchange in my teens (even though by then I had given up French as a subject). Oddly, I do still learn French 'parrot fashion' using Lingvist. But it is a gentle, supportive, measured method with repetition, replay. Early on I would attach a visualisation to a word in order to help its recall. I've gone, over three years, from a vocabulary of 753 to over 3,300. My plan is to get to 5,000. I speak French from time to time to through a group of French speakers (including mother tongue speakers).

I could recall other classes. I'll save them for now. Reading out in class? Lines of Shakespeare and Hardy. What was that about? To make sure we got through the text before we analysed it? Could I only enjoy the classes I was good at, like art? Whilst Maths never appealed the teacher was brilliantly attentive and keen: I got A grades at Maths and Advanced Maths, even a B in physics. We had some good teachers ... and some bad. Oftentimes we learn despite them.

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Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills

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This MOOC on Coursera from Melbourne University looks interesting.

This MOOC is designed principally for practicing teachers who are wondering exactly how they can incorporate teaching and assessment of 21st century skills into their classrooms, labs or workshops. It will also be useful to trainee teachers, school leaders, teacher educators and curriculum and assessment specialists, providing them with an understanding of the challenges associated with teaching and assessment of 21st century skills. This course explains the social and cognitive skills that are known as 21st century skills. It reviews how they can be represented in the curriculum, in terms of developmental progressions. It also explores how teachers can recognise these skills in students, how the level of skill of a learner can be assessed, and then how learners can be supported to develop their skill. In this course we work through two detailed examples of 21st century skills. The first is collaborative problem solving, a 21st century skill which combines the capacities of collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and communication. The second skill is a meta-cognitive skill of knowing how to learn in a MOOC. In each example, you will explore how to understand the nature of each skill from a teaching perspective, how to teach it, and how to assess it. These two examples show how any 21st century skill can be tackled in the classroom. The approach to teaching and assessment in this course derives from the application of a developmental, evidence-based, clinical approach to teaching practice. The course provides a mix of theory and practice, of thinking and doing, and opportunities to share ideas, experience and resources with other participants. Join Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffin and the team from the Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, hosted on Coursera.

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Learning to Teach

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I’m not doing a PGCE but I am doing all the reading as if I were. Taking a Masters in education does appear somewhat forward having not gained a PGCE or taught, however close to learning I may have been throughout my career. 

Much of what Geoff Petty can teach me in his seminal books is familiar. 

The need for clarity of purpose

The need for planning

This is because for VR to be adopted I need to reverse-engineer it. To understand the problem for which such a tour is the solution.

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Props

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 26 Jan 2015, 10:29

 

Fig.1 Mussel shells

Three times a week I teach swimming to kids age 7-12. All classes run for 45 minutes. Each week we work on a different stroke or school. Every time include some fun in the session rather than having them bash up and down the pool doing drills or parts of the stroke. The fun brings them back. At this age make it a drag and they either play up or don't show.

I do this thing called 'sea otter'. For one length, 25m, they have to pretend to be a sea otter. I don't need to show them a picture. Most can visualise it from a natural history film. The sea otter swims into the kelp and pulls up mussels. They bring a rock to the surface too, then lay on their backs, breaking open the shells and eating the content. I take them through the actions: long armed doggied paddle, duck dive to the bottom of the pool, onto their backs at the surface, a gentle flutter kick while they break open the shells, eat the contents, throw away the shell pieces then roll onto their fronts and repeat the exercise. I expect them to do this four to five times as they swim the length of the pool. Some like to make squeaking noises. All grin. All take their improvisation seriously and do a great job.

I tick off the long armed doggie paddle, the duck dive, the push off the bottom, the flutter kick on their back, and developing fluency and love for the water as all worthwhile. From this they improve their front crawl and back crawl, they make steps towards a tumble-turn and even diving (several don't, none do well) and they have fun - always deserved after 15/20 minutes of 'real' swimming: lengths up and down the pool to warm up, kicking with a float or on their back.

I play other games. Maybe three such interludes for a couple of minutes at most across the session.

Six years of doing this with this club and the teenagers laugh about 'otter' some even insisting once in a while to add it to their coached session where they are swimming over 2200m in an hour. 

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What do you learn from a TV series like 'Breaking Bad'?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 09:14

I cracked some ten days ago; unwell, not so unwell I couldn't flop about the house, bored and managing to read, but my brain too lacklustre to take notes or think. So I tried this.

The pilot episode was magic - like the second act of Macbeth. It all happens and you're left eager for more. 36 episodes later and it goes through a slow patch, but now I'm on the home run and can see the premise of it all. This happened to coincide with a sessions I attended on writing fiction in which I learned that 'character is plot' - in this case character is also premise and story arc. So, not on a creative writing course but there's a load to learn about writing fiction here.

$3m an episode!? Shot on 35mm film. $200m for all six series?!! 

It shows. The production values are those of a movie.

The Open University has equivalent production values; you get into bed with the BBC on 'The Frozen Planet' or some such and spin off Open Learn tasters and various modules. But as a learning platform does video teach? Rather does it inspire and motivate?

Drama is about how you are made to feel, not how you come to think?

Advertising persuades, it has to. Why are 'educational videos' more like TV commercials then?

Donkeys years ago we made 'advertorials' - extended, persuasive, corporate, sponsored learning content put out on video, then distributed by satellite and eventually put on internal networks. I have to wonder if a leaflet would not have worked better and achieved as much for less, but as it was pointed out, no one read the leaflets, at least a training manager knew his workforce had watched 'the video' because they had the attendance sheets.

Were they given a test afterwards though?

That's the way to turn it into learning. 'After this video, or episode you will be given a test on .... '

 

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 20 Feb 2014, 08:34

Fig.1. Rescue having failed a 4 tonne whale is dragged from Stinson Beach. 

 What I'm doing here is thinking through a five minute online presentation I need to prepare.

Sharing this, if and where feedback can be garnered, then informs the decisions I take.

My immediate idea, often my best, is to do a selfie-video talking to camera while hurtling around a roller-coaster at Thorp Park. It would sum up the terror, thrill, highs and lows of taking a day long workshop with a class of some 40 year 9s (12/13 year olds) in a secondary school that had/has a checkered history.

The second idea, to change the setting radically, would be a workshop with nine on creative problem solving - the objective was to come up with answers to a messy problem, though the motivation to be present for most was to experience a variety of creative problem solving activities that I had lined up. This nine in an organisation, included MBAs, prospective MBAs, a senior lecture, junior and senior managers and officers: colleagues and invited guests from different departments. This example is probably the most appropriate.

A third might be something I attended as a student - apt because doing this in 2009/2010 in part stimulated me to take an interest in learning: I wanted to know what was going wrong. Here we had prospective club swimming coaches doing everything that was unnatural to them - working from a hefty tome of paper, sitting through a lecture/seminar and expecting assessment to be achieved by filling in the blanks on course sheet handouts. This from people with few exceptions who left school with few or no qualifications - often troubled by Dyslexia. They were swimming coaches to dodge this very kind of experience. It was, you could tell, hell for some. The misalignment could not have been greater. Here the immediate visual image, apt given the subject matter, would be to watch a fish out of water drown - or nearly drown and be rescued. What really grated for me in this course was the rubbish that was taught - too many gross simplifications and spurious science.

Based on the above I should challenge myself to do the video as I need to crack loading and editing.

The 'fish out of water', whale actually, I can illustrate from photographs and the experience this summer of being present as a 4 tonne whale beached and drowned on Stinson Beach, California (See Fig.1. above).

We have surely all felt at some point in our school careers like a fish out of water - when we just don't belong. In fact, I wonder if the child who does brilliantly at everything isn't as troubled, and as likely to struggle 'in the real world' as the person for whom classroom teaching is purgatory.

What I couldn't handle when briefly faced with 40 kids is that despite my best efforts I doubt I could fully engage more than five ... and lost five each at both ends of the spectrum - the ones who naturally found it easy and wanted to be stretched and the ones who were like unbroken horses tethered in a rodeo desperate to get up and kick off.

For the rest it was being put in a room for the day away from their TV, computer and phone. Some were at least with their mates. 

With the 'mature students' it was the gross miss alignment between how we were being taught and assessed and the outcome we all wanted - we wanted to qualify as a 'senior club coach' - for many, simply to 'tick the box' as they had been coaching national swimmers for many years. The only place to 'teach' practical skills is on location, in situ. In this case, as some basic swim teaching rather than coaching skills are taught, you are 'poolside' with swimmers. Even astronauts have simulators.

Historically we have the inertia of the school and classroom. We have shot our selves in the foot too by needing the kids looked after most of the day while we work too. For that to happen schools need to be more Kibutz-like or like a public school ... and teachers or support staff need to be around from 7.30 am to 6.30 am.

Am I going to experiment with my kids though and home educate? Pick my tutors from the very best online?

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Reflection: we are all so very, very, different when it comes to learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:25

Just ten minutes. A live presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?

I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people's words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.

Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:

My grandfather's funeral

My groom's wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)

My father's funeral

My mother's funeral 

...

Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul. 

Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.

...

Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?

...

We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.

I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn't a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything. eLearning can be the subject matter expect - 'IT' (literally) thinks it knows it all.

So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators - worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and manger those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they'll never be satiated.

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Reflecting on H818: The Open Studio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:06

I'm getting a sense of deja vu as the rhythm of this module reveals itself.

Openness comes with some caveats. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

As people we may change or behaviour in different environments.

I am not saying that we as individuals necessarily behave in the same way in an Open Studio online (a virtual studio no less) than we do or would in an open studio, as in a collective in a workshop or 'atelier' that is 'exposed' to fellow artists -  but is nonetheless human interaction with all the usual undercurrents.

What I believe will not work is to put a gaggle of creators in the same room and expect them to collaborate.

The studios of the 'open' type that I am aware of are either the classic Renaissance workshop with a master artist and apprentices at various stages of their own development, or,  with a similar dynamic in operation, the 'occupants' of the studio are exposed LESS to each other and more to external commentators and contributors and this requires some formality to it .i.e. not simply 'the person off the street' but an educator/moderator in their own right.

Is H818:The Networked Practitioner too dependent on chance?

The foibles of a small cohort and the complex, messy, moments 'we' are in. Three years of this and, by chance only, surely, six of  us in a subgroup jelled. More often the silence and inactivity of the majority makes 'group work' a myth - partnerships of two or three were more likely. The only exception I have come across in the 'real world' have been actors working together on an improvisation - they have been trained however to disassociate their natural behaviours.

Some of us study with the OU as we cringe at the 'exposure' of a course that requires us to meet in the flesh - distance learning suits, to some degree, the lone worker who prefers isolation.

By way of revealing contrast I am a mentor at the School of Communication Arts

Modest though pivotal role given their format and philosophy - exposure to many hundreds of kindred spirits who have been there ...  a sounding board and catalyst. NOT a contributor, but more an enabler. 

We'll see. My thinking is that to be effective, collaboration or exposure needs to have structure and formality in order to work.

At the Brighton Arts Festival the other evening I wonder how the 80 odd exhibitors would cope if the Corn Exchange was also their workshop?

In certain, vulnerable environments, the only comment should be praise. Feedback is invited from those who are trusted.

A school setting is different again, as is college ... people share the same space because they have to.

Open Studio apears to try to coral the feedback that comes anyway from a connected, popular and massive sites such as WordPress, Linkedin Groups, Facebook and even Amazon. Though the exposure, if you permit it, is tempered and negotiated - Facebook is gentle amongst family and friends, Linkedin is meterd and professional in a corporate way, Wordpress is homespun while Amazon, probably due to the smell of money can be catty - and in any case, the artefact is a doneddeal, it's not as if, to take a current example, Max Hastings is going to rewrite his book on the First World War because some in the academic community say that it is weak historicaly and strong on journalistic anecdote.

We'll see.

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Design Science Research

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Fig.1 Hevner (2009) on the whiteboard. From Laurilard (2012)

From time to time an idea stops me in my tracks - taking notes won't do, I have to get it out of my head in bigger ways. I'll mull over this for days as it succinctly states where or how any e-learning intervention might occur and in what ways research can then be undertaken. I guess this is of relevance to most of the MA ODE modules, though H809 Researched-based practices in e-learning appears particularly appropriate. 

The temptation is to BluTack sheets of backing wall-paper to the wall and continue my doodles there. 

One to develop. I'll go and get the Hevner paper from the OU Online library.

REFERENCE

Hevner A. R. (2009) Interview with Alan R. Hevner on 'Design Science' Business & Information Systems Engineering, 1, 126-129.

Laurilard, D (2012) Teaching as design science. Building pedagogical patterns of learning and technology.

 

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Why study the electric car if you goal is to understand motor transport?

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To study e-learning before studying learning is like coming to motorised transport via the electric car. Perhaps I need a decade in teaching.
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What's the difference between teaching a 14 year old compared to a 42 year old?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 15:01

Fig.1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Both would learn from each other if given half a chance.

In swimming we talk about Long Term Athlete Development to differentiate by age and gender from around sge 4/5 to adult competitive swimmers in their 20s. Being a Masters swimmer too I reckon we regress.

What role does context play? I'm sure the 41 year old learns differently at a desk in an office than on an iPad at home.

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Gagne's nine steps for instructional design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 12:22

Picking through the OU Library for something on Gagné I found two great articles:

How to use Gagné's model of instructional design in teaching psychomotor skills

and

Using Gagné's theory to teach chest X-ray interpretation

However, no one can tell me how to put an acute accent on Gagné (neither of these reports did so).

Any suggestions?

And how to put an umlaut on Engeström.

I ask as I am fed up having this pointed out in every assignment I submit.

 

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New blog post

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Interested in swimming? Interested in being a swimming teacher or coach? What about water-polo? Once again I am blogging about my poolside/teaching experiences in my swim teach / swim coach blog.

The Welly Man

(Named thus because I also used to instruct sailing and took to wearing sailing wellies poolside. They keep you feet dry, unlike trainers and are more comfortable than flip-flops. I was nicknamed 'the welly-boot man' by the young swimmers).

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4 digital scholar

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 31 May 2012, 16:10

'If Boyer's four main scholarly functions were research, application, integration and teaching, then I would propose that those of the digital scholar are engagement, experimentation, reflection and sharing'. Weller (2011).

Reference

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar. How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury

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You don't learn to swim by reading a book ... An applied degree must therefore be situated in the workplace?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 11:17

Too much theory without practice was described by the owner of a successful specialist engineering firm in Germany today as 'like trying to learn to swim from a book.'

Apprenticeship in Germany run for 3 1/2 years of which 8 months a year is practical. The remainder of the year they go to a special school. 'If you  only learn theory it is like learning swimming from reading a book so you need both.' Leonardo  Duritchich, Chief Technial Water, Sief Steiner Pianos.   The Today Programme, 27h36, Wednesday 17th  August.

I agree, though when it comes to swimming, there are some great books made all the better in electronic form. This is 'The Swim Drill Book.'

Putting into practice what you learn, learning construction rather than simply knowledge acquisition; I believe this to be the case with something like The OU Business School MBA, something I needed each time I started businesses in the 2980s and 1990s.
As a swimming coach it matters that you swam competitively and/or still swim. A flightless bird cannot teach a bird to fly. So engineers learn through doing, often from apprenticeship. Junior Doctors need to put in the hours, solicitors start as trainees, the list goes on. It is particularly the case in the TV business where after starting as a trainee producer I was happier with kit, shooting, editing and drafting scripts, learning my trade, something that an a degree had not prepared me for.

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How positive leadership spreads like a Mexican Wave

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Dec 2012, 00:01

How a ‘contagion of positive emotions’ from and of the right leader or teacher will greatly enhance the learning experience and project outcomes.

The problem is, you need to be there to get the vibe. I dare say parenting therefore has a huge impact on the developing child - nurtured or knackered?

But what does this say about the role of distance learning?

A bit, not a lot. Tutorials from time to time may pay dividends. We should stop being such e-learning purists and meet face to face when and where we can … at least online, if not in the flesh.

And before I go anywhere, thanks to someone for the link to this which I received in my daily maelstrom of Linked In forum threads, emails, comments and what not.

Advances in neuroscience may help us understand the internal mechanisms that enable some people to be effective leaders, and some not. Boyatzis (2011)

The leadership role is moving away from a “results-orientation” towards a relationship orientation. Boyatzis (2011)

People who feel inspired and supported give their best, are open to new ideas and have a more social orientation to others. Boyatzis (2011)

The difference between resonant and dissonance in relationships was tested, for example the difference between an inspired and engaging leader, compared to one who makes demands and sets goals.

While undergoing an MRI scan people were asked to recall specific experiences with resonant leaders and with dissonant leaders. When thinking about ‘resonant’ leaders there was significant activation of 14 regions of interest in the brain while with dissonant leaders there was significant activation of 6 and but deactivation in 11 regions. i.e. people are turned off by certain kinds of leadership. Boyatzis (2011)

The conclusion is that being concerned about one’s relationships may enable others to perform better and more innovatively– and lead to better results i.e. be an inspired, motivating leader, not a dictatorial or demanding one.

How therefore if running a course online does the course chair or a tutor engender these kind of feelings in their students?

The other lesson from this is to appreciate how quickly impressions of others get formed or the neural mechanisms involved.

First impressions count

They impact on how one person responds to another for some time to come. We are emotional beings, however much we’d like to control our behaviour.

The other idea is of ‘emotional contagion’ or ‘emotional arousal’ being picked up in the neural systems activate endocrine systems; that imitation and mimicry are important i.e. you cannot lead at arm’s-length – you have to be there, as must be your team, and by implication, where learning is involved, you students. Boyatzis (2011)

What you pick up in the presence of others is:

  • the context of an observed action or setting
  • the action
  • the intention of the other living being.

‘A sympathetic hemo-dynamic that creates the same ability for us to relate to another’s emotions and intention’ (Decety & Michalaks, 2010).

There are three implications of these observations Boyatzis (2011):

  1. the speed of activation
  2. the sequence of activation
  3. the endocrine/neural system interactions.

Our emotions are determining cognitive interpretation more than previously admitted.

Our unconscious emotional states arouse emotions in those with whom we interact before we or they know it. And it spreads from these interactions to others.

Research has suggested that negative emotions are stronger than positive emotions which may serve evolutionary functions but, paradoxically, it may limit learning. Boyatzis (2011)

i.e. where the teacher shows leadership that engenders a positive response the learning experience is increased (think of the fictional character played by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, think of Randy Pausch the late Carnegie Mellon Professor of Virtual reality) … whereas negative emotions.

From a student’s point of view if you have a teacher you do NOT like (or no one likes) this will have overly significant NEGATIVE impact on your learning experience.

So it matters WHO and HOW you are taught, not simply an interest or passion for a subject.

‘A contagion of positive emotions seems to arouse the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which stimulates adult neurogenesis (i.e. growth of new neurons) (Erickson et. al., 1998), a sense of well being, better immune system functioning, and cognitive, emotional, and perceptual openness’ (McEwen, 1998; Janig and Habler, 1999; Boyatzis, Jack, Cesaro, Passarelli, & Khawaja, 2010).

The sustainability of leadership effectiveness is directly a function of a person’s ability to adapt and activate neural plasticity. Boyatzis (2011)

The SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System) and PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System ) are both needed for human functioning.

They each have an impact on neural plasticity.

Arousal affects the growth of the size and shape of our brain. Neurogenesis allows the human to build new neurons. The endocrines aroused in the PNS allow the immune system to function at its best to help preserve existing tissue (Dickerson and Kemeny, 2004).

I FOUND THIS PROFOUND

Leaders bear the primary responsibility for knowing what they are feeling and therefore, managing the ‘contagion’ that they infect in others.

(Is a disease metaphor and its negative connotations the appropriate metaphor to use here?)

It requires a heightened emotional self-awareness.

This means having techniques to notice the feelings, label what they are and then signal yourself that you should do something to change your mood and state.

Merely saying to yourself that you will “put on a happy face” does not hide the fast and unconscious transmission of your real feelings to others around you.

Leaders should be coaches in helping to motivate and inspire those around them (Boyatzis, Smith & Blaize, 2006).

But not any old form of coaching will help.

Coaching others with compassion, that is, toward the Positive Emotional Attractor, appears to activate neural systems that help a person open themselves to new possibilities– to learn and adapt. Meanwhile, the more typical coaching of others to change in imposed ways (i.e., trying to get them to conform to the views of the boss) may create an arousal of the SNS and puts the person in a defensive posture. This moves a person toward the Negative Emotional Attractor and to being more closed to possibilities.

What does say about parenting?

The role or the patriarch or matriarch in the family? And whilst your father may be an inspiring leader at the office, what if he is a nit-picking bore and a negative grudge when he comes home?

REFERENCE

Boyatzis, R. (2011) Neuroscience and Leadership: The Promise of Insights Leadership | January / February 2011

Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M. and Blaize, N. (2006) “Developing sustainable leaders through coaching and compassion, Academy of Management Journal on Learning and Education. 5(1): 8-24.

Boyatzis, R. E., Jack, A., Cesaro, R., Passarelli, A. & Khawaja, M. (2010). Coaching with Compassion: An fMRI Study of Coaching to the Positive or Negative Emotional Attractor. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Montreal.

Decety, J. & Michalska, K.J. (2010). Neurodevelopmental change in circuits underlying empathy and sympathy from childhood to adulthood. Developmental Science. 13: 6, 886-899.

Dickerson, S.S. & Kemeny, M.E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin.130(3): 355-391.

Janig, W. & Habler, H-J. (1999). Organization of the autonomic nervous system: Structure and function. In O. Appendzeller (ed.). Handbook of Clinical Neurology: The Autonomic Nervous System: Part I: Normal Function, 74: 1-52.

McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine. 338: 171-179.

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M-Learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 19 Feb 2011, 16:08

Armed with a Kindle with the Swim Drills book loaded I was poolside teaching and coaching swimmers for three hours.

For the last year I have run programmes based on drills in 'The Swim Drills Book' and have relied on lesson plans and sometimes laminated print outs.

Today I took the Kindle

Swim%20Drill%20Book%20Dead%20Swimmer%20GRAB.JPG


Never before have I found the swimmers so attentive, coming close to the side of the pool to look at the pictures.

Here is a great drill to develop streamlining

DSC00841.JPG

They start in what we call 'Dead Swimmer' then straighten up, arms first, then legs into the 'streamline position.' They then kick off, add a few strokes and continue up the pool.

They got, far quicker than my efforts to demonstrate and talk them through.

Simple.

The pictures say it all.

Is this mobile learning?

Whatever it is, this works.

Next step to blog about in my Swim Coach website www.thewellyman.wordpress.com.

We bought a dozen copies of the Swim Book.

Perhaps we need a dozen Kindles.

Could we have waterproof versions?

And perhaps A4 clipboard in size?

With a wireless link to a poolside whiteboard.

Better still, an LCD screen on the bottom of the pool!

REFERENCE

The%20Swimming%20Drill%20Book%20GRAB.JPG

Guzman, R (2007) The Swim Drills Book

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 19 Feb 2011, 21:25)
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Vygotsky and the need to nurture in education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 07:51

If I wished to define the way I lead, or teach it would be this:

 

As Vygotsky put it:

 

'The gardener affects the germination of his flowers by increasing the temperature, regulating the moisture, varying the relative position of neighboring plants, and selecting and mixing soils and fertilizer, i.e. once again, indirectly, by making appropriate changed in the environment. Thus it is that the teacher educates the student by varying the environment'. Vygotsky 1926 (Kindle location 1129)

And further on he says:

'The basic rule is that before imparting new knowledge to the child and before fostering a new reaction in him, we must be sure to prepare the ground for it i.e. arouse the appropriate interest. For an analogy, just think how we loosen the soil before planting seeds'. (Kindle location 1755)

Is this an e-reader location system? Page numbers no longer exists ... my world of reading books with pages numbers ended a week ago!

 

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H808 Interview with Dr Z A Pelczynski on teaching, essay style and leadership

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 Feb 2012, 05:24

ZAP

Interview with Dr Z.A.Pelczynski

How does teaching differ between school and university?

What do you look for in an essay?

Can leadership be taught?

Could leadership be taught online?

 

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