Completeness

two

All good things come in threes. This is not only a rule in writing but in education as well. A story has a) a beginning, b) a middle, and c) an ending. Teaching, according to Comenius (1) , allows for i) comprehension, ii) practice, and iii) repetition. Dewey, another founding father of modern pedagogy (2), grounds learning in the interplay of i) engaging with experiences, ii) problem solving, and iii) reflection. (and a bit more). A third key person in “leading the child”, Vygotsky, established the prominence of i) manipulating things, ii) talking about it, and iii) changing the level of support while doing it. For the sake of argument: what would happen if there were only “two”, that is, if we would take out one of the key ingredients? Well, a story would not finish, remain undetermined, which is ultimately unsatisfying. Because it needs a completion, the third ingredient. It would be nice to know if teaching and learning operate the same way. It is a kind of looking for “the third man” (3), the confidence in knowing what should be there is really there.
To be more concrete: a Swedish study looked at how individual students learned from group work. Of interest here is the setting: physical education. The gymnastic group task made it possible to externalize, i.e, make visible through bodily interaction, what is happening when one is learning from others. Learning was interpreted from a (post)Vygotskian perspective; therefore three ingredients had to be in place (i) social interaction, i.e, students engaged in talking to each other about the task; (ii) challenges given to each other during group activities, and (iii) incorporating, internalizing what is learned – in this case of group work- by reaching an agreement. The study concluded: two is not enough, reaching agreement is “the third man” to complete an individual understanding. Talking about and doing the activity will not be sufficient (as the alternative condition in their study made it clear).

The core idea the study brings to us is that learning happens when students working in groups will i) engage in activities and ii) interact with each other in ways that iii) they find appropriate or acceptable. To admit: that it “comes in threes” is not the essence; that it is complete is. It seems difficult to envisage that what we are trying to achieve in learning and teaching comes in bundles of ‘ingredients’. It is in the interactivity of our (teaching and learning) actions that confidence is found to complete a task successfully.

Source
D. Barker, M. Quennerstedt & C. Annerstedt (2015) Inter-student interactions and student learning in health and physical education: a post-Vygotskian analysis, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 20:4, 409-426, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2013.868875
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2013.868875

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Referencing
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Amos_Comenius

2. http://eepat.net/doku.php?id=dewey_john
3. http://www.filmsite.org/thir.html

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A Crack In The Ice

crack

“Smart girls get ready for the future” – a slogan that could be well fitted at a school hallway or up on a bill board. When you see it, you immediately sense a person with an advice to give is standing around the corner. But then again; what would be wrong with a little bit of advice? To get prepared for the future you need some help from your peers, or parents, school, administrators… And girl magazines!.
The cited study examined the impact of advice, wrapped in life stories, comic strips, and columns, as it was given in several girl magazines to see whether girls in the pre-school age would accept and follow (gender-related) recommendations. It turned out that the impact of advice was little. No ‘GirlsLife’ domination, no ‘Total Girl’ cloning was recognized in what young female pupils of that age moved (1).
From an advice giving perspective, it would be of interest to explore what lies beneath this apparent divergence. Advice giving has to deal with acceptance and following recommendations on part of the advice taker. Self-determination (2), i.e., not to follow the path outlined by others for you but exploring ‘unknown grounds’ on your own, may well be what it is all about, even at young age. It is much like stepping on an iced surface carefully listening to the steps you make on the ice to see how far you can safely go. It is exciting and fun, and above all: a source of learning. Advice is all too often obvious and plain. You know it already; it is the thing that you want to see it for yourself. It is seems that girl magazines, as we learn from this study, are walking on thin ice.

Source:
Preschool Girls and the Media: How Magazines Describe and Depict Gender Norms by Mikako Hata
International Journal of early childhood (2014) 46:373–389, Springer Science+ Business Media
www.DOI 10.1007/s13158-014-0123-8

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Referencing
1. http://thesciencenetwork.org/docs/BrainsRUs/Education%20Forum_Diamond.pdf
2. http://www.learning-theories.com/self-determination-theory-deci-and-ryan.html

Got stuck? Ask help!

DSC02192jpg

Maddening devices computers can be. Or help desks, or trying to explain your complaint to a service desk. Anger management is called for in these situations. But who will deploy them in awkward and stressful situations? The study cited gives some background on what works and what not.
The answer to deal with anger has mainly to do with self-regulation (1), it seems. Luckily the study gives some handles on what to do: arranging your environment (but who can?); monitoring your motivation (“I will get through”), and having a learning orientation (by saying “this is really an interesting situation”). In anger management the study found no gender effects looking at online group work. Apparently face to face interactions matter in this respect. Cultural differences in setting (by comparing US and Chinese students) did take an effect. Comments made by your peers (even online) had a considerable corrective effect.
But what if you got stuck?; which often triggers anger and despair. The study gives a captivating and worrying outcome: in order not to jeopardize peer relationships Chinese students did not seek help or call for information from their peers. If that is true and when we relativize the Cultural we are dealing with the nasty occurrence of being stuck, and not being able to bootstrap ourselves using self-regulation strategies. It means that you are at a dead end. Call for help would be the adequate coping strategy (2) but it needs courage to do so. Let’s realize: Group work (online or in vivo) is flourishing in schools but what if you fall behind in the group you are working with? And who monitors (silent) help seeking requests? (3). I would say: Teacher know your students.

 Source
Emotion management in online group work reported by Chinese students, by Jianzhong Xu • Jianxia Du • Xitao Fan ; Published by Springer in : Education Technology Research Development (2014) 62:795–819 ; DOI 10.1007/s11423-014-9359-0
Published online: 16 October 2014; Copyright: Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2014

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 Referencing
1: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&uid=2001-01625-013
2: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/dev/50/5/1350/
3 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959475210000563

Whistling the tune properly

vogel

Is it not strange ?: learners seem to benefit when acting as a teacher and seem to gain quite a lot in doing so. Why is that?
Of course, giving feedback lies at the heart of teaching. In fact, It is a highly influential way of maintaining conversation with students. The study’s outcome has been found repeatedly in the many studies on feedback (1). Students like feedback; lots of it when it comes to that. Not that they learn a lot from it all the time (2); which is also found. But why then is giving feedback such a gainful strategy, when pupils’ learning is concerned? We do not know for sure. Some tentative suggestions are given in the study under hand: May be it has to do with “raising awareness” on part of the peer reviewers, the author says. That is a plausible contention, but also a bit implied by the fact that the peer reviewer is giving feedback. Because: how can you in giving feedback not be aware of what you are saying to your peer. You need to be knowledgeable on what to comment; otherwise your peer will criticize you severely. We know that from peer assessment studies (3). So the ‘explanation’ is a bit self-referent, and not really satisfying. Nevertheless, the study triggers a deep ‘searching‘ for explanations, since feedback giving is such a central and profitable strategy in learning. As I see it the peer reviewers in the study under hand were very advantageous because they ‘possessed’ the appropriate teacher knowledge about the learning task. They were (partly, gradually, stepwise, or in other staged manners) attuned to teaching the stuff. And that helps. Giving feedback is much like gradually learning how to whistle the tune. The peer reviewers were, in fact, apprentices of teaching and that gives them momentum and focus on the content to be learned.

Source
Learning from giving feedback: a study of secondary-level students by Jessica Berggren
Downloaded from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org

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Referencing
1: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02602938.2013.795518#.VKpToXv-kaY
2: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0742051X14000766
3: http://books.google.nl/books?hl=nl&lr=&id=dHN9AwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=peer+assessment+review&ots=45wrQKpC0j&sig=ZPgKS7vxXbG8nQRxV79-RyPiZd8#v=onepage&q=peer%20assessment%20review&f=false