Change Strategies – ADLT 625

It was incredible to hear Demetria’s explicit tale of the layoff she experienced some years ago. Even though it was over 10 years (I think), her recollection was so vivid. I can imagine it would be difficult to be unaffected by such an event and that, indeed, it would take some time to let it pass and move on.

The reading on transitions was important for me. It really helped me have some perspective on a team situation I was in that ended with the team being disbanded. There were a number of factors that led to the disbanding, but essentially the full team could not work together. There was a subgroup of the team that could work together and did, but a key member of the team was really a solo worker. While this person was very creative, intelligent – even brilliant; there was not really an atmosphere where open feedback and dialogue was possible, even though efforts were made.

The atmosphere of respect and trust never really developed despite efforts. As a result two ‘camps’ evolved within the team. I was in one ‘camp’ and really didn’t want there to be two, but the issues couldn’t be reconciled. Ultimately, the team was disbanded, partly due to logistical reasons and, I think, a major part due to its dysfunction. The transition of letting that go, being in ‘the wilderness’ and being ready for wide open future took some process for me.

Development and Transformation

I’m finding a clearer perspective on what constitutes org development (OD) and what constitutes org transformation (OT).  I understand better now that OD is more evolutionary and OT rather revolutionary. So, OD is dealing with small groups – coaching, team building, skill building — most likely resulting in incremental changes in some aspects of an organization. It’s clear that these processes are needed in an organization. And yet, I am really fascinated with the idea OT. I can understand that OT sometimes just happens due to environmental circumstances and it’s kind of a reactionary process. However, to plan a large group intervention does indeed seem on the edge of something revolutionary!

I can imagine the circumstances would definitely have to be right and enough people interested and willing to go with it. I guess it’s really a bit of a mystery to me. I can read about Open Space, or Future Search or the others mentioned where ‘the whole system is in the room’, and find it quite fascinating. I see there would be totally different way of working than in most types of strategic planning events. Having large numbers of people with diverse perspectives and interests as well as a level playing field (at least for the time being) would really create a powerful opportunity for new ideas to come forward and commitments to take hold. I can see how important it is to create the space for the participants to fill. These type of events would definitely need facilitation skills.

Part of why a large group intervention seems so mysterious to me is surely because I have never participated in one! And while reading about it and even watching a video of participants describing it gives some clues, it’s just not the same as doing it! I look forward to sampling the three different types we’re doing in class. I would also really love to be a part of a real one with a topic for which I had a deep interest.

Image: M.C. Escher, Sky and Water I, 1938

Image: M.C. Escher, Sky and Water I, 1938

Assessment Factors

Instructional Strategies – ADLT 603

It was fascinating to hear the different perspectives on assessment last class when different class members shared the articles they found. One of the themes that i caught coming through many of the articles was the need for multiple forms of assessment and that assessment build on previous assessment. As I understood assessment can really be used as a teaching tool rather than evaluation tool – meaning to help the teacher understand where learners are and what their needs may be. It can also help to better understand strengths of learners. For instance if some learners have more knowledge or experience in a topic, then they can be invited to help others learn in some way.

It was interesting to hear about Alverno College where they have no grades. I’m sure that I read about Alverno in some publication within the past 2 years. I do recall that the college was in the Mid-West and basically had no explicit grading system like most colleges. It seems like it would be an interesting learning environment. I imagine the students learn to take responsibility for their work. I would imagine it would be more motivating.

I think I would have appreciated an undergraduate learning environment like that. As such, I went to a large state university that had mostly traditional style of teachers — lecture, lecture, lecture…. without opportunities to reflect, integrate, or dialogue with the teacher or fellow learners. I had a difficult time integrating all of the information and often it just seemed to go in one ear and out the other. As such I think this also affected my motivation because i could not see the relationship or relevance to other parts of my life, or life outside the classroom.

I think one of the main things I am catching about the idea of assessment is that there can be a human element or factor involved whereby it can be used to really help learners rather than grade them as pass/fail. To help learners there is then the need for feedback. How to give feedback in a helpful, constructive way? Ah, and that is quite a subject in itself from my experience — perhaps another blogday…

Responsibilities in learning

Instructional Strategies – ADLT 603

What is the role/responsibility of the teacher in meeting individual student learning styles?

I think the it is important for the teacher to attempt to vary their teaching style so that students with different learning styles can have more access to the subject. One of the things that struck me from last week’s discussion was the idea that we usually teach in our preferred learning style. I had to think about this a bit. I think that I learn better when I’m engaged with the material, often through socially mediated dialogue. For me, it helps to integrate what I have read or heard in a lecture or presentation to my prior knowledge.  I appreciate challenging questions and opportunities to express my views. I think these kind of situations help me connect more with the material and subject matter. It also helps me to hear other peoples views. In this way I can check my own views and consider other perspectives.

I admit that I often try to create learning events in a similar way that I think I learn best – with the idea of engaging learners and having them connect with their prior knowledge or experience. I have tended to shy away from pure lecture because I feel like I don’t learn so well this way.  If there is lecture intersperse with questions and dialogue, this helps me. However, I find that when there is a large group, only a few people get to share their views. In a smaller groups it’s possible to share my perspective and also hear others.

However, now I think I need to re-examine my approach and try to become more aware of the different ways/styles that people may learn. The learning inventory and the reading about ‘good’ teaching were interesting. I haven’t thought of myself as a teacher in the way of bringing about societal change, yet, I have conducted learning events around spirituality and self-development. I think these are probably views that could also be considered to have a societal impact.

I’m thinking more about different perspectives on teaching now and would like to have a deeper understanding of different styles and perspectives so I could be more aware of trying to meet the needs of different learners.

The many sizes of good teaching

Instructional Strategies – ADLT 603

It was interesting to read about the ideas of teaching for long-term retention and transfer as well as the different perspectives on ‘good’ teaching.

I was struck me by the concept of how when and what on is assessed on impacts transfer and that repeated assessment helps retention. It makes sense – that when the brain has to repeatedly establish connections to a concept/idea/relationship, it will more easily go back there. Also interesting that the more different ways of getting to that same point also develops a better connection and thus retention. Again, the idea we talked about in class last week of planning assessment before actual activities was a new concept for me (and that the assessment directly links with the goals/purposes/objectives of the learning activity). It makes more sense now after reading this article. I can see how important it is to have well thought out assessment approaches so they do connect with goals/objectives.

One of the other things that struck me from this week’s reading was the different perspectives on ‘good’ teaching.