Stress and Procrastination

I procrastinate.  There is no doubt in my mind.  It was a part of my life when I was a full-time student.  It is a part of my life now as an instructor, parent, house-owner, volunteer, and general go-about-life individual.  Somehow, though, things always get done and get done on time.  I do not like being late and lateness is not an option for me.  The idea of being late is stressful to me.  Just under the wire is, however, acceptable.  This is why I enjoyed this TED talk by Ted Urban so much.  It really encouraged me to reflect on this character trait.  Is it a flaw?!?  I think it serves some purpose.  When I get down to work, I am focused and determined.  If I have too much time I tend to dawdle and get distracted.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!!

I wonder if my students procrastinate?  My students come to class to learn how to communicate more effectively.  They want and need those skills in their lives.  I believe that most of the procrastination evident in my students happens before they commit to register for Speechreading.  That is not uncommon.  Research tells us that people typically wait 7-10 years from the time they first notice a problem with their hearing until they actually do something about it.  When they find the Speechreading course and learn how to understand and cope with their hearing loss, they bemoan taking so long to finally make the commitment to act earlier.  I’ll share the TED talk with them, but really, I’d like to share it with everyone who has not taken that step yet– so they learn the skills and improve their connection with others sooner!

If you want to see more from Ted Urban, take a look at his blog.  Here’s one of his posts that talks about the decisions we make of how to spend our time on a daily basis.

 

Digital Project Review: Flipped Classroom

Donna Perry’s digital project on flipped classrooms can be seen here and provided a lot of information on the technique.

I like the idea of starting with a focused question: does this type of teaching work in the 21st-century classroom?  With this technique, students get exposure to new material outside of class via videos and then use class time to do the “harder work”.  The steps:

  1. the instructor provides online lectures for the students to watch before coming to class,
  2. the students watch the videos in preparation for focused engagement during class time,
  3. active learning tools are used during class time: pre-assessment, group activities, and post-assessment.

Research shows increased test scores, and students report enhanced learning, more active engagement, and appreciation for increased opportunities for collaboration.  The time spent teaching also yielded greater returns.  Although more time was spent creating the online lectures, these could be re-used and students could rewatch as needed.  This provided more valuable in-class time for discussing and applying the material.  Students are able to learn at their own pace and can come to class with more insightful questions. Students must fulfill their responsibility to come to class prepared for this technique to work appropriately.  The flipped classroom ultimately allows for more dynamic learning.

I liked the platform used for this project- Go Animate.  I used it for my digital project in 3250 and found it relatively easy and adaptable.

I first became aware of the concept of flipped classrooms last summer through PIDP 3100.  Here is a link to the blog post I made then.

I am still interested in trying to include some flipped classroom components in the Speechreading courses.  I do believe that this technique would provide some much-needed time in the classroom for more active engagement; we would have more opportunities to practice the communication strategies that we talk about in class.  This is where the true learning will flourish.  Making time for active learning in the classroom will allow me to take advantage of all the great instructional techniques I’m learning about through this course.  Incorporating the flipped classroom needs to become a priority for my upcoming professional development time.  This project review was a timely reminder for me!

 

Spaced Repetition

I’m learning so much about spaced repetition through the forum discussion this week.  Here is a video that provides a solid introduction:

If you’d like more information on spaced repetition, take a look at this website:

https://collegeinfogeek.com/spaced-repetition-memory-technique/

For me, the takeaway messages about spaced repetition as a learning strategy are:

  • One of the most important parts of the learning process is actually forgetting.
  • Instead of studying more, you are studying more efficiently.
  • It involves adding progressively longer and longer time intervals in between each of your study sessions, e.g 1 day, 7 days, 14 days…
  • The neural pathways-  once we begin to forget and then review-  become much stronger so that we forget more slowly.
  • You modify the time periods in which you study but can use whatever study method you choose.
  • You spend less time confirming concepts you understand well and give priority to the information you need to review.

 

Reflection on The Power of Introverts

Objective

In this reflection, I will discuss the issues brought forward in Susan Cain’s (2012) TED talk entitled The Power of Introverts.  This thought-provoking and poignant talk provided a multitude of worthwhile facts on what is seen as the introversion/extroversion dichotomy.  One-third to one-half of people are introverts, but many of them feel that the quiet, introverted way is not appropriate, and they spend much time trying to pass as extroverts.  Cain describes her journey as an introvert from a time at summer camp to the journey of writing and promoting a book on the topic. She believes we need to allow introverts to do “what they do best” and makes a call for three things: time away from constant group work, time for personal revelations, and time for everyone to share what they have to offer to the world.  I will reflect on this introvert/extrovert personality trait from a personal point of view and also reflect on its impact in the classroom.

Reflective

This talk reinforced my belief that I am an introvert.  Many people who only know my work or volunteer persona are often surprised to hear this.  My close friends and family members understand and know this is the truth.  I crave alone time.  I am very happy to be by myself.  Have you ever seen the Facebook ads with a picture of a cabin in the woods with a caption “Could you live here for 3 months alone for $100 000?”.  I wouldn’t hesitate!  My husband is an extrovert, and we do have to negotiate how to manage social engagements.  At times, I am keen to participate.  Other times, I am happy for him to go solo.  Knowing the basic premise of the introvert/extrovert definitions helps us to support each other and our sometimes very distinct needs.

I often wonder if I am becoming more of an introvert as I get older.  I don’t remember craving alone time so much when I was younger.  I self-identify often these days and am accepting of what and who I am- proud even.  I have come to a place where I seldom participate in events that I am not interested in, but there are plenty of times when I do want to be involved.  I choose carefully.  The balance is very comfortable for me.

This morning, my son (13 years old) asked me what this paper was about.  I asked him if he knew what introverts and extroverts were, and he replied with a very eloquent and accurate answer.  Then he said, “I am definitely an introvert…but I love group work.”  When I asked why he replied that he liked it because he got to work with others on bigger projects but focus on what he was best at.  I think he’s got a good balance figured out too.  It’s unfortunate that there are so many people who are not comfortable with their own identities and are not supported for, or encouraged to embrace, their own strengths.

Interpretive

Many people misunderstand this character trait.  Introverts are not necessarily shy.  I read some of the comments responding to Cain’s TED talk; one person said she spent “19 years of my life being ashamed of it.”.  Cain also alluded to this idea when she admitted she “made these self-negating choices [to behave as an extrovert] so reflexively that I wasn’t even aware I was making them”.  A basic google search gave some explanation to these feelings of negativity.  Oxford dictionary (n.d.) defines an introvert as a “shy, reticent person”.  Thankfully, the Urban dictionary (n.d.) is more inclusive and recognizes more components of the truth; it says introverts may have great social lives, but they need time alone to reenergize after those encounters.  They enjoy and seek out solitude and like to think and be alone. The key factor that is vital to understanding the implications of introversion is about how they respond to social stimulation. Introverts harness energy from within themselves, feel drained by too much outside stimulation, and recharge with time alone.  They prefer to cultivate a few close friendships and prefer to learn through observation (Schmitt 2015).  Since introversion has such an impact on my life, how I feel about my interactions with others, and how I take on the world, I realize I should definitely invest some time thinking about different personalities in my classroom.  How do my teaching style, instructional activities, and assessment and evaluation choices impact on the various personalities in Speechreading?

In my Speechreading courses, we have recently begun to talk about conversation styles, personality, and the continuum between introversion and extroversion.  My students are typically surprised to find out that I am a self-proclaimed introvert, perhaps because, in my classroom, I am comfortable, confident, and personable. Occasionally they actually seem relieved to be told that it is acceptable!  Until our discussion, many still believe that being an introvert means you are shy.

There are many sites that provide guidance on how to address the differing needs of both introverts and extroverts in the classroom and how to help both personality types do their best work (Higgin 2017, Shmoop Editorial Team 2008, and Thompson 2012).  These tips give guidance on how to create a balanced classroom, for example: provide choice, embrace back channeling through digital options, redefine participation, be mindful of how class discussions are moderated, allow time to think, and be cognizant when you set up your physical space.  It is vital to think about all the students’ needs and provide options that support the whole spectrum of personalities.

Decisional

This reflection has made some things clearer for me. I will definitely continue to self-identify as an introvert, both socially and in the classroom.  I want to make sure that I promote the true definition and what that means.  I will also support my son to continue to be a proud and confident introvert.

I am committed to making changes in my teaching environment regarding this topic of introversion.  I want to address both instructional strategies and assessment/evaluation procedures.  I want to make a commitment to continue to use a variety of instructional activities that support the learning journey of both sides of the spectrum.  Further examination of the sites referenced above will provide excellent guides in this respect.  Evaluation of class participation is a large part of the Speechreading course.  Although I don’t feel that I have been harsh on the more thoughtful and quiet students, I need to be sure the evaluation criteria are fair.  I want to continue and perhaps expand the use of reflection in my courses, to capture these thoughtful insights.  When you know better, you need to do better.

In my classroom, the learners may need encouragement to reflect on their own personalities, not only in regards to their social beings but also in thinking about any impact on becoming a more effective communicator when hearing loss is in play.  I need to do more research about the impact of hearing loss related to introversion and extroversion.  We had an interesting impromptu discussion on this topic in class last week.  I need to follow-up to give the discussion more theoretical and research depth to support the experiential stories and provide a more solid foundation going forward.

Finally, I want to encourage my students to identify their strengths and embrace them, whatever they may be.  As Cain (2012) promotes, take a good look at what’s inside “your own suitcase” and figure out why you put it there.  Everyone needs to open up their suitcase and share with the world what they have to offer.

References

Cain, S. (2012, March 02). The power of introverts.  Retrieved April 13, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

Higgin, T. (2017, January 11). 5 Classroom Strategies That Help Introverts and Extroverts Do Their Best Work. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/5-classroom-strategies-that-help-introverts-and-extroverts-do-their-best-work

Oxford Dictionaries – Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

Schmitt, P. (2015, April). How Personality Type Affects Your Student’s Experience in the Classroom | Parents Newsletter. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://parent.wisc.edu/newsletter-story/how-personality-type-affects-your-students-classroom-experience/

Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). The Differing Needs of Introverts and Extroverts in the Classroom. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.shmoop.com/teachers/classroom-management/students-classrooms/introverts-vs-extroverts.html

Thompson, S. (2012, January). Introvert? Extrovert? Tips for a Balanced Classroom. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.canadianteachermagazine.com/archives/ctm_teaching_ideas/janfeb2012-introvert-extrovert.shtml

Urban Dictionary, April 26: introvert. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.urbandictionary.com/

Digital Project Review: Triad Listening

Bryce Walker’s VideoScribe digital project on triad listening can be found here.

The basics: Three people- three roles- per triad:

  • Speaker: present clear ideas while supporting it with concrete examples
  • Reflective listener: actively listen and reiterate message back to the speaker
  • Referee: must enforce rules. Watches for interruptions, aggressive behaviour or speech, sarcasm, judgments, joking around.

As instructor, you must:

  • Explain why good communication skills are important to the class.
  • Describe how this activity is helpful and relevant
  • encourage them to take risks, say with they think and believe.

This works best in a classroom setting where you can have moderation and application.

All three roles must have active participants.  It’s important to rotate students through each of the roles to experience and benefit the various responsibilities.

This activity format would be appropriate and beneficial in the Speechreading class.  Since communication is often the vehicle we use for practicing communication strategies and assertive behaviour, triad listening provides the structure for multiple people to benefit from a conversation.  It is often difficult for the two initial participants (speaker and listener) to be aware of the strategies they use.  An added task for the referee could be to observe and comment on the strategies attempted to solve communication breakdowns and their perceived success.  This conversation and reflection help all involved to be aware of how effective their communication efforts are.

 

 

Digital Project Review: Role Play

I have wanted to introduce the idea of role play into the Speechreading courses in the past, but haven’t taken the leap yet.  These digital projects gave me enough information to peak my interest and try them out in the classroom.

Kelly Chhor’s video gave me several things to think about:

  • Participants pretend to be someone else (instead of a simulation, where they play themselves)
  • Situations can be unfamiliar
  • You should assign an observer to provide feedback

Carmen Chan’s video reminded me of additional factors:

  • Role playing promotes problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • It’s important to connect the lesson to the purpose
  • Decide before you start how the roleplay will end
  • Ensure time for debriefing
  • Roleplay can help to introduce other perspectives

We spend a fair bit of time brainstorming troublesome communication situations.  Instead of general class discussions, roleplays would give a different way to encourage student participation and engagement and provide different insights.

Some ways to bring this activity to life in the Speechreading class:

Students who typically behave more passively with regard to their hearing loss could be asked to ‘act’ like someone who is more assertive.  Students could be asked to be accommodating to requests (or not!).  Scenarios could take place in the classroom, or in other areas (e.g. cafeteria), and noise could be introduced through a babble sound file to make the situation more challenging and realistic.  The discussion following the roleplay would be important to share the various observations and perspectives and could promote lessons not easily described through group discussions.

Digital Project Review: Learning Logs

Sabrina Ngo’s digital project on learning logs can be viewed here.  The video is very well done and told me what I needed to know about the topic: purposes, pros, cons, roles of learner and instructor, and possible prompts.  The video captured my attention from the beginning and kept me engaged till the end.

Learning logs provide a means for students to explore their learning experience.  I want the students in my class to apply the strategies they learn in class to their communication experiences in their own worlds.  I also want them to come to class with challenges that we, as a group, can help solve.  A logbook would provide a place to capture those experiences and processes and help the students to see the changes in their attitudes, skills, and beliefs over time.  Learning about their hearing losses, their personal theories of communication, and the changes that are happening as a result of what they are learning is something they have told me they are interested in capturing.

This past semester, I did introduce the idea of a reflection journal.  I did this as a direct result of my realization of the benefit of reflective writing, which I am experiencing through the various PIDP course requirements.  I think the learning log is not so different from this, but I like the idea of giving the students prompts that will help guide their entries.

I don’t feel the need to analyze their learning logs.  They can be quite personal and private.  I like the idea that the design of the “log” can be very individual: bullet- points, prose, sketches, in actual logs books or online.  Setting the guidelines and expectations from the beginning are important. Learning logs provide a way for the students to capture their lifelong learning journey.  I like the idea of providing a rubric for self-assessment.  It would be great for the students to write a summary or rationale for assessment purposes.  This would give me evidence of their growth and would also provide an opportunity for each student to review his or her own journey.

Time to plan for next semester!

 

 

How to Take Advantage of the Structure of Storytelling in a Presentation

This is a great TED talk that addresses the potential flatness of lectures and presentations.

The speaker, Nancy Duarte, talks about the structure of great talks.  Essentially, she looks at how to capture the benefits of storytelling, which are inherently engaging, for presentations and lectures.  She explains that you can do this by alternating between what is and what could be.

Watch the talk here.

I certainly use stories when I teach.  I use stories to set the scene for a topic.  Many of the stories I use recount the experiences of past students as they recount humorous blunders, describe challenging communication situations, or demonstrate fruitful attempts to communicate what hearing loss is all about.  They demonstrate the benefits of humour. They demonstrate that when you have hearing loss, you are not alone.  They demonstrate creative roads to success.  How can I be sure to capture these benefits on a regular basis?

As I watched the talk, I was thinking ahead to a presentation that I will be giving in a month at a Hearing Health Fair to an audience who may or may not have diagnosed hearing loss but who are certainly faced with communication challenges.  I can incorporate some of these stories into my talk, but this video gave me great guidance for a plan that will (hopefully!) be engaging and informative- with a call to action.

The Puzzle of Motivation

I enjoyed Dan Pink’s YouTube video “The Puzzle of Motivation”, explaining his theory of ‘drive’.  The video describes what research tells us about motivation and how businesses use motivational strategies, and it questions the mismatch between the two. He describes what he believes are the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  I love RSA Animate videos, and I found one on a similar lecture.  Take a look!

 

 

His book, Drive, details his theory and gives techniques for putting these motivational strategies into action.  The book describes “the surprising truth about what motivates us”.

Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake…The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drive

Understanding this theory will improve my teaching and enrich the experience and motivation of my students if I keep these elements in mind as I plan my course and interact and teach the students:

  • Autonomy: our desire to be self-directed
    • In Speechreading, ask the students for real-life examples of miscommunication they would like to problem-solve.  Ask the students for topics they would like to address in class; many are universal (e.g. restaurants, telephone conversations, group conversations),  but getting the ideas from the class gives them some ownership of the topics.  Plus, they might come up with other great ideas!
  • Mastery: our desire to improve
    • In Speechreading, if activities are fun and the students see that they are improving at trouble-shooting difficult listening situations, or gaining the confidence to be more assertive, and it is making a difference in their interactions with others, they will be motivated to continue to learn and improve.
  • Purpose: our desire to make a contribution
    • In Speechreading, group discussions allow students who have more experience, skills, and knowledge to share those talents with other students (and me!) and make a contribution to learning in the classroom.

I think this view of motivation applies not only to our students as they learn but also to us, as teachers, as we facilitate that learning in others.  Pink suggests that we continue to learn and grow and make the world a little bit better if we combine motivation with the answer to these two questions on a daily basis:

  • What’s my story?
  • Am I better today than yesterday?

With a better grasp of Pink’s theory of ‘drive’, maybe motivation is not so puzzling after all.