(1 min read) My students will present in a research series at my university. I had the idea last semester when they submitted final essays for my Psychology of Learning and Teaching class. One was so good I found myself taking notes on it, and then I got thinking-
Hey, what happens when you are a student?
Well, you go to class and do the assessment and sometimes that’s it.
It just so happened these essays were due just before the December Holidays and so I usually get a stack of work to take home as my sort of ‘present’ from the students. Read more
This year my students and I keep reaching out and opened doors, to see where it will take us. Before Christmas, as a creative exchange we sent various bits of recorded music to a class of art students. They listened to the music and they created. Nearly half a world away, receiving this 6 second video from the teacher made us feel like we were in the next room. Can’t wait to meet in person in May!
(read time 2 min) That’s right. The sketches on the post it notes in the photo all represent the same object. They don’t look the same?? Well that’s what happens when you only know something second hand. They were the visual interpretation of a single verbal description of the object. This week we were exploring the importance and impact of clear communication, and I started us off with a ‘bad’ example to show just how things could go awry, and the result was these adorable cheeses.
How many times have we had to say, ‘no- that’s not what I meant…’ even in a casual conversation? Clarity becomes all the more poignant when professional interaction relies on being able to communicate well. For me, as a teacher, I am aware that communication and the descriptions that introduce students to new things and ideas – as if showing them shadows of what they will later experience as reflections, and then embody in their actions – can be the first step in their own understanding, and if this is presented with clarity that students can use it as a tool to move forward, but if it is vague then the resulting interpretations can be as varied as our cheeses.
Everyone took a turn explaining and the importance of feedback and ‘checking up’ along the way was easily demonstrated, even when the explanations seemed clear, the results could be a bit wonky if we didn’t communicate along the way…
Exhibit A: The broccoli, explained by 10 people collaboratively, but without viewing the progress – only the result. We thought this broccoli might be called Sponge Bob.
For our purposes, the concept of clarity and communication was translated into musical explanations – as often, in the beginning stages of learning, students don’t know what they are doing until they have done it.
You know that phrase… I hear what you’re saying… yes, but do you understand?