Lazy is Underrated – Unmanaging Our Time Through Embodiment

Contrary to my previous promise, the focus of this post is not necessarily about making the lives of teachers easier. It does, however, take a look at how we view time in Western civilization, the idealization of time and how we can move toward other, equally valuable, ways of knowing outside of our thinking minds. This current study is about how we view time, how to embrace less linear paths and how to get back to our bodies through mindfulness in the classroom.

In “Being ‘Lazy’ and Slowing Down: Toward decolonizing time, our body, and pedagogy” Riyad Shahjahan (2015) uses the provocative word “lazy” to get our attention. And it works. I don’t know a single teacher I would describe as lazy, but most could use a little more lazy in their lives.

Shahjahan looks at the history of the Western view of time being, in many ways, equivalent to worth. Time is a tool for staying in the mind and disassociating from the body. This is especially true in higher education, where logic and reason rule, and time is seen as a scare resource. The way in which we use time, whether we are efficient, or not, can define our value. If you miss an opportunity to go to a conference because you’re too busy, how do you feel? The workload of the academic is immense and thus so is the importance we place on time.

Our bodies have become an extension of this Westernized, superior version of time. We have now turned our bodies into gangly houses that hold our precious time management system, our brain. Time is the god that we worship and disconnecting from the body helps facilitate this. Our bodies have become an obstacle to knowledge, rather than the rich source of information that it is.

Continue reading “Lazy is Underrated – Unmanaging Our Time Through Embodiment”

Self Regulated Learning Isn’t the Same as Grit

Although much of my (our . . . my . . . ugh! I never should have tried being cute with pronouns) work here is about helping teachers understand technology better, as well as providing some guidance into current research in the field, that’s not all there is. I personally think – and since most of us here are teachers, I’m sure you’ll agree – that we are one of the most overworked and underpaid group in the workforce. And I think we need to look at that more closely, pay attention to it and provide some resources for our exhausted educational personnel out there. The next couple of posts take a more holistic view of learning, first from the side of the student and then from the instructor.

The painful reality of any kind of creative work is that it’s not always going to be a home run and this post may well be a perfect example of just that. However, I’ve taken this into consideration, and I’m going for it anyway. This post is a poem. That’s right. YOU try and write a poem about peer-reviewed academic research. At some point in the future I might work on a song and then you’ll really be sorry. But for the time being, I’m taking a lesson from my own work, and I’m adding a little more grit in my life.

Continue reading “Self Regulated Learning Isn’t the Same as Grit”

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2

Guest author: Mark Garton

And so eventually I grew up and got a job. And then, well, another one. The point is, I’ve been teaching ESL ever since, and I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’d like to share with you now:

Through all my experience and studies, I’ve found that there are about three basic ideas to keep in mind when you’re either practicing a language yourself or teaching it to others:

  1. Conversation is good.
  2. Reading is good.
  3. Motivation helps too.

Those aren’t too hard to remember. So now my question is: How can I help my students in these three areas?

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2”

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1

Good news! I finally will no longer sound schizophrenic by calling myself “we.” Starting today there will be a real live other person involved – at least temporarily. My good friend Mark has kindly offered to write a guest post. Besides generally being a good guy, he has taught ESL for many years, was the director the Intensive English Language Institute at Divine Word College, and for you erudite academics out there, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Soon I will get back to making the singular role of blogging sound like a 24-hour party by calling myself “we” again. In the meantime, enjoy his take on language learning part 1 of 2.

 

 Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught

by Mark Garton

So why do I teach the way I do? It’s going to take some time to explain.

First a little background: My adventures in language learning and, eventually, teaching, all started for me when I was in third grade at West Elementary in Knoxville, Iowa. My teacher had just married a Mexican, and she came in one day with little Berlitz phrasebooks for her students. We learned a few numbers and other simple words, and I remember taking the book home, riding my bike up a hill overlooking the highway, sitting under a tree and reading it.

sunny-man-person-legs-medium

I must have been a bit of an unusual child. My teacher’s husband came to school one day, and we got to practice what we’d learned. I suppose this was my first exposure to language learning. If you’re from rural Iowa, you don’t get much of that.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1”

A Teacher Blogging about Teachers Blogging about Teachers

When I posed the question, “Since instructors are so busy, how could they implement technology into their teaching,” one of the responses I got was, “We don’t.” True, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are small, manageable tools that you can use in your teaching tomorrow. And by tomorrow, I mean . . . tomorrow. Technology integration is not an urban legend. It exists. And it doesn’t have to be hard.

One way to do this is through blogging. One simple lesson you can use is student reflections. Choose your most recent assignment and simply ask the students what they learned. If they already have a Google account – and I bet they do – then they have Blogger, so you don’t even need to deal with the hassle of creating a new account.

The following video is my version of the research written by Giuliana Dettori and Valentina Lupi (2009) called, “Using a Narrative Blog to Support Reflection in a Blended Course.” Student language teachers were asked to use reflection blogs, and it might have gone something like this.

Using the scale by Saadé at al. (2007) (as noted by Dettori, 2007), the instructors found value in this exercise for, “several [reasons] that can be taken as indicators of success: affect (i.e. pleasure or discontent), learner’s perception of the course, perceived learning outcomes, attitude, motivation.” The teachers liked this type of exercise and one reason for this was the feedback they got from their colleagues. A writing format is also ideal for reflective exercises. This type of work is not easily done through conversation, at least with as much openness and honesty.

Some things to think on:

  1. Does this seem manageable to you? Could you ask your students to do an online reflection in the next week?
  2. If not a blog, could you start with a notebook then build up to an interactive blog?
  3. Other thoughts?

This is a crazy easy exercise you can use. Think about it. I would love to hear from you all. Please post comments! Stay tuned next week for a guest blogger!

References

Dettori, G. & Lupi, V. (2009). Using a Narrative Blog to Support Reflection in a Blended Course. Wang, F., Fong, J., Zhang, L. & Lee, V. (Eds.) Hybrid Learning and Education: Second International Conference, ICHL 2009, Macau, China, August 25-27, 2009. Proceedings. DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-03697-2_26

Saadé, R.G., He, X., Kira, D. (2007). Exploring dimensions to online learning. Computers in Human
Behaviour 23, 1721–1739.

First Post! For Reals!!!

Welcome to blog post number 1! Lord I never thought this day would come. But here it is! If you haven’t checked out my info page then here’s a synopsis. I will reimagine a research article about Education or Educational Technology and present it to you. It may come in the form of fiction, a video or any other medium that inspires me. There you go. You’re all caught up.

The following is a fictional interpretation of the research study done by Pasfield-Neofitou, Huang, and Grant (2015) called,Lost in second life: virtual embodiment and language learning via multimodal communication.”

 

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The Princess and the . . . Dragon Slaying Warrior Girl

“Actually, I don’t want to be the princess. I’d rather be the prince or the dragon . . . oh wait, even better, I’d rather be a fighter princess that saves the other princess.”

After having won the coveted role of princess without a fight, Genevieve nodded her head vigorously.

Aalimah continued,Anyway, my mom says princesses have, ‘Dubinous intellectual capabilities and that ‘We need strong Muslim women role models instead.’”

Clearly seeing the value of agreeing with this train of thought, Genevieve added more enthusiasm to her head nodding.

Aalimah’s family supports her active imagination. Her father even plays her games with her and often agrees to be the princess because, “Someone has to be rescued.” She likes these games better than any others. She likes to play different characters “as long as they’re not mushy.”

Continue reading “First Post! For Reals!!!”