In the fall of 2001, I changed positions as a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa. For the previous nine years, I had worked as a professor within the English Department, some of that work being with methods students studying to become secondary English teachers. My new position is in the Department of Teaching where I am currently coordinator of student teachers in Northwest Iowa. In the English Department, I was teaching an English methods course, The Teaching of English, which students took the semester before doing their student teaching. It was my intention to center my project on technology issues in that course and that classroom. However, with my new position came the need to find another project, one which would in some way deal with links between new technologies and pedagogy.
Part of my new job involved teaching a mandatory three credit course in human relations. I taught this course in the fall of 2001 and the spring of 2002. During each semester I implemented a one week, five hour Daily Computer Activities unit in which InTime videos and the InTime model played a central part. The goal with the InTime videos was for students to practice their critical viewing skills in the analysis of teacher method employed in various videos, especially those videos in which teachers practiced those Tenets of Democracy important to the TFQE model.
Each day of the InTime Analysis Activity offered student teachers opportunities, alone or in groups, to critically view and respond to various InTime videos according to the following procedure: (SEE APPENDIX B for the actual worksheet used.)
Day #1 was an overview of the InTime grant, the TFQE model, and elements, like the Tenets of Democracy, which made up the framework of that model. Students were also introduced to the make up of the InTime Videos, their common structure and content and relation to element, model, and grant goal.
Day #2 involved students focusing on one part of the model: the four Tenets of Democracy. Students were asked to relate these tenets and elements important to human relations in the classroom like “thinking together,” “power sharing,” and “tolerance” to mention a few. Students then spent the rest of the time randomly screening videos to see if/how the tenets of democracy were integrated in instructional methods, especially those using technology.
Day #3 students formed groups of two and selected one video to work with for close analysis to see which practice addressed notions of democracy and/or if there was other practice which might even work against these notions. Student also looked at/ and listened closely to determine the videos truthfulness.
On day #4 small groups presented their findings to the group at large, using a part of the video to support their contentions.
The InTime model acts as the theoretical framework for understanding the methods visualized in all the InTime video classrooms. The essence of this frame --and that which lies at its core --is the belief in the notion of student autonomy: students being allowed and encouraged to make their own learning decisions, construct their own learning strategies, and form their own conclusions in/during the learning process. The nature of this “autonomy” is what I call “critical pedagogy,” and a pedagogy which is “critical” in two senses: “critical” in that it is “important” or “essential” (i.e. valued by the student) and “critical” in that it is “thoughtful” and “analytic” (i.e. related to “critical thinking”).
What follows from the center of the model --and that which complicates its framework—is the relationship between elements of learning, of processing information, of meeting various content standards, of implementing certain principles of democracy within student centered classrooms. It is not surprising then, that the video vignettes --and the methods employed, especially technologically, by both teachers and students in them --connect to these elements and eventually together form a strong framework for viewer analysis.
My project asked students to critique the strength of the theoretical framework of the model by analyzing a video in terms of how well it presented its own understandings of that framework as it found its expression in classrooms which were videotaped and edited.
In this case, students focused on one element of instruction: the tenets of democracy. For students, this meant implementing four steps. First they looked closely and critically at classroom practice before listening to the narration supplied by the video makers to find examples of practice which was “student centered” as well as “democratic” or which questioned the model by being “teacher centered” and “undemocratic.” Next students analyzed the verbal text of the video to see if the narration pointed out worthwhile examples of “student centered,” “democratic” instruction or whether any of those examples were misinterpreted. Student also looked for examples not included in the narration but found in other sections like the Activity Overview, which supplied little if any narration. Finally students looked at how technology was used in the classroom to see if it supported “student centered,” “democratic” instruction in the taped lesson.
IMPROVED STUDENT LEARNING
During my week long project conducted the spring semester of 2002, twenty students were asked to analyze elements of the InTime model as they were explained visually and verbally in various InTime video vignettes.
Student learning was driven by a series of critical viewing questions which students used individually and in small groups of two to determine the value of the videos they were analyzing, especially in terms of how they met certain Tenets of Democracy. Students in small groups of two made reports of their finding to the group at large. Their findings were quite interesting, especially in terms of the commonalities students found from video to video
One, students recognized how classroom practice reflected theory. In other words, what students saw teachers doing in their classrooms seemed to support the goals of the lessons, especially those which related to certain tenets of democracy.
Two, students realized that not all democratic tenets were equally addressed in all the lessons analyzed. Some tenets, however, were pretty consistent from one to another, like “critical thinking” and “thinking together,” while another, “tolerance” was missing from most.
Three, students generally found the narration track played over the video pointed thoughtfully to examples of democratic methods within the lessons. Students found no misinterpretations of the classroom data nor did they find important data which was not identified or discussed.
Four, students felt that the technology in the classroom was not merely there for “show.” To them it did seem to support the lessons and therefore the democratic tenets integrated in them.
MODEL ELEMENTS & ONLINE VIDEOS
The focus of my project was on how well --how clearly and correctly—the InTime videos represented and explicated the TFQE’s model’s Tenets of Democracy. I chose this focus because the tenets were appealing in two ways. First, of all the elements of the TFQE model, the tenets seemed mostly closely aligned with those elements common to my students’ study of human relations, not just how issues of “tolerance,” “empowerment,” and “civility” related to issues of “multiculturalism” and “diversity” but how these issues affected instruction. Second, I was also interested in students learning how to integrate technology democratically and humanly into their future classrooms as well as being able to critique its use once it was in place. The InTime videos offered students opportunities to see and hear and learn how tenets of democracy can be integrated into a classroom at the same time as they were learning how to question the tenets value there.
Personally, I used The Harry Potter Research Project video in the class initially to introduce and demonstrate the critical approach I wanted students to use in our class project. With the Potter tape I began by demonstrating the make up of an InTime video and its relation to the TFQE model and the Tenets of Democracy section. My students and I, after looking at the overall makeup of the model, then looked at the Activity Overview for the Harry Potter video and then the Tenets of Democracy section of the video. We began with the Activity Overview because it was less cluttered with narration than other sections of the video, and this gave students at the end of the viewing a chance to critique parts of the lesson by themselves, i.e. to see if/how the tenets were integrated into instruction shown without a narrator telling them so. Then the students and I looked at the Democracy section of the video in which the video was edited and narrated to show the tenets at work in/through instruction. Finally we discussed how the technology itself was --or was not-- an integral part of instruction.
It should be noted that in our large group discussion of the Activity Overview section of the tape, we generally thought the video to be thoughtful and informative. We did feel, however, that at times in the Democracy section the teacher --and/or the way she is depicted in/through the video and narration-- contradicted or questioned some of the tenets she was supposedly exemplifying. For example, for a student centered classroom, some of what we saw in the name of “thinking together” and “power sharing” was filtered in and through the control of the teacher. Some of my students felt that the teacher directed the large group discussion too much; others felt there was a need to
see and hear students working together in small groups without the teacher involved in entering and controlling those groups.
In the past two semesters, Fall, 2001 and Spring, 2002, I have integrated my InTime Project --or what I call an InTime Analysis Activity-- into my Human Relations Syllabus. (SEE APPENDIX A for syllabus, Spring 2002. Read Course Make-Up section, Part II, and Requirements/Grades section, Daily Computer Activities.) In both of these semesters the InTime Analysis was the central feature of the Daily Computer Activities. (SEE APPENDIX B and C, examples of InTime Analysis Activity worksheets.) The Analysis activity has grown from a three day activity to a four day activity as students are given more individual analysis time with the videos and choice in which videos they want to use. Also the questions supplied are a little more focused from the Fall 2001 worksheet to the Spring 2002. These changes have improved student learning in/though this activity.
FACILITATING FACTORS and/or HINDERANCES
The last two semesters, I was able to have students work on the InTime Project in a computer lab on campus at University of Northern Iowa; however, (1) getting access to a lab (2) with technology in working condition and (3) available for each student were three factors which affected the smooth flow of the project over a four day period.
Also the opportunity to integrate InTime videos into instruction for student teachers while they are in the field is limited by access to the technology outside of campus.
CONCLUSIONS and RECOMMENDATIONS
One recommendation: I think it would be helpful to have various CD’s of InTime videos which record the practice without the narrative track and a good deal of editing. These could then be used in conjunction with the other videos as a means to see how/why raw data is interpreted the way it is and whether those interpretations are correct.
SYLLABUS: Human Relations 280:070:07
Spring Semester, 2002
Instructor: Dr. Rich Fehlman
January 7th (Fort Dodge) or January10th (Spencer)
January 8th (Fort Dodge) or January 11th (Spencer)
March 11th –15th (UNI, North Room, Maucker Union)
State of Iowa Human Relations Requirement
Preparation in human relations shall be included in programs leading to teacher certification. Human Relations study shall included interpersonal and intergroup relations and shall contribute to the development of sensitivity to and understanding of the values, beliefs, life styles, and attitudes of individuals and the diverse groups found in a pluralistic society.
University Catalogue Description
This course helps students to develop a greater awareness of various societal subgroups, to recognize and deal with dehumanizing biases, and to learn how to relate effectively with various groups in order to foster respect for human diversity. Emphasis in this course is placed on self-awareness in human relations issues and how this awareness can be translated into positive relationships with others.
Our goal this semester, therefore, is to raise our awareness of the need to form positive relationships with other people, especially those who, because of their membership in various social groups, are different than we are. As teachers, this means helping ourselves and our students to learn how best to get along with others, especially those who might look, think, and behave differently than we do.
The objectives -- or -- state standards for this course are listed below.
To be aware of and understand the various values, life styles, history, and contributions of various identifiable subgroups in our society;
To recognize and deal with dehumanizing biases such as sexism, racism, prejudice, and discrimination and become aware of the impact that such biases have on interpersonal relations;
To translate knowledge of human relations into attitudes, skills, and techniques which will result in favorable learning experiences for students.
To recognize ways in which dehumanizing biases may be reflected in instructional materials.
To respect human diversity and the rights of each individual.
To relate effectively to other individuals and various subgroups other than one’s own.
Think of this course as loosely divided into two parts –then think of each of these parts as a collage of activities, each asking you to think about their connection to issues of human relations, relevant to school as well as the world outside of school.
Part #1. The first part of the course will take place during our two day meeting in early January. During this time, we will begin by emphasizing the importance of “personal reflection” as a very human act and one which is very important in any teachers’ professional life. We also want to emphasize that stories can/do play an important part in this process of reflection, especially as a way of trying out and experimenting with ideas about learning and teaching. From this point, then, we will spend some time considering how stories might help us reflect upon issues of human relations, especially with regard to how individual differences might create conflicts and how those conflicts need to be resolved.
Part #2. The second part of the course will take place March 11nd to the 15th when we will meet in the North Room of Maucker Union to consider issues and ideas related to human relations and how they might become integrated successfully into classroom practice. Each day will be divided into approximately six focus areas (SEE BELOW) starting with a half hour “review and reflection” period and followed by a “miscellany” section for working with various methods of instruction dealing with human relations. This is followed by a “presentation” section where students will be in the teacher role, organizing and presenting short mini-lessons for their peers. The morning will end with a “speaker” whose focus will be on some aspect of human relations and its relation to instruction. The first post-lunch section will involve various daily activities scheduled for the “computer lab” and the day will end with viewing/discussing a “feature film” in which the key conflict focuses on character inclusion or exclusion from various social groups.
Tentative DAILY SCHEDULE:
8:00-8:30 REVIEW & REFLECTION
8:30-9:30 MISCELLANY ACTIVITIES
9:30-11:00 PEER MINI LESSONS
1:00-2:00 COMPUTER LAB
2:00-4:30 FEATURE FILM & DISCUSSION
ONE final note
The specific direction and content of this part of the course might be modified or altered in some ways as we come to improve our own human relations skills and get to know one another better. As this happens, your interests and abilities will affect the specifics of what we focus on during this week, so be communicative and flexible. Let me know if you have ideas about ways we can adapt and adjust our practice.
Attendance at all class sessions is required
Preparation for and attention/participation in large group discussions, small group work, short presentations, speaker visits. [CRITERIA: totally involved, often responding (4-3.5); involved, responding on occasion and/or generally listening (3.4-3.2); somewhat involved, not responding and only listening occasionally (3.1-2.8) often uninvolved and not listening (2pts); absent (No Points)]
Peer Mini Lessons (Directions will be given when these lessons are assigned.)
Daily Computer Activities: Genealogy search, Webquest review, Software analysis, Diversity search, and InTime video analysis.
A series of “Critical Probes” and other prompted/assigned writing, including a final paper. (Directions will be given as each paper is
As a part of this course, you will be awarded points for your performance in each of the areas noted above. These points will be totaled and averaged at the end of the course, converted into a percentage, and figured as a final grade using the following scale:
F (59- )
One of the things we will learn in this course is that everyone ultimately has his/her own ideas and can respond quite differently to a situation than you do. Some of the issues we delve into this semester may contain content which certain individuals in class might find objectionable or shocking. It is certainly not my intention to offend anyone, to needlessly shock –or challenge-- anyone’s sensibility or value system; however, learning in this class will involve sorting out and examining beliefs and understandings of what is and what is not right or wrong, good or bad, normal or abnormal –and sometimes this will mean addressing and analyzing material which startles and questions personal “schema.”
InTime Analysis Activity
Fall Semester, 2001
DAY #1, October 23rd, SEC #127, 1:00-2:00
Introduction to the InTime Model and Videos
(with emphasis on Tenet of Democracy and Democratic Elements in Model).
If time remains, students may explore some of the videos related to the grade level they intend to teach. Pay close attention to the Teacher & Activity Overview sections.
DAY #2, October 24th, SEC #127, 12:45-2:00
Students may continue to look through the videos.
Students will form groups of two and select one of the videos for close analysis/study.
The small groups will then do the following:
Look closely through the Overview section (if it exists) as well as Teacher section.
Then students will listen/watch the section in which elements of democracy applied to video. (Watch this multiple times.)
Answers the following questions:QUESTION: How does the narrator link the teacher’s practice in this section of the video to notions of democracy? More notions which are not discussed by the narrator that you could see working?
QUESTION: Do you think the interpretation of the data is Complete? Correct? Have interpretations been left out? Have parts been misinterpreted?)
Review section on technology and respond to this question. QUESTION: How important is technology in presenting this lesson? How familiar are you with the technology being used? How does the technology help to make the lesson more or less democratic?
DAY #3, October 25th, SEC #127, 12:45-2:00
Student will report about their findings to large group,
10 minutes per group. Students must make specific
reference to the videos and/or show a short portion.
InTime Analysis Activity
Spring Semester, 2002
DAY #1 (Tuesday, March 12th, SEC #123, 1:00-2:00)
Introduce students to InTime Grant and Videos.
Review the InTime model and its relation to InTime Videos (Screen ACTIVITY OVERVIEW of Harry Potter Research class.)
Focus on Model: discuss the Tenets of Democracy and their links to notions of Human Relations. (Review basic tenets and then Screen Harry Potter Research with Democracy narrative.)
DAY #2 (Wednesday, March 13th, SEC #123, 1:00-2:00)
Allow time for students to explore InTime Videos individually. (Students should start by watching the videos for the grade level and/or discipline they are teaching. Begin screening each video with the ACTIVITY OVERVIEW section.)
Students will form groups of two and select one of the In Time Videos for close analysis/ study. Each group should be working with a different video.
The groups will then do the following:
Watch/listen to the section of the video in which the Tenets
of Democracy are applied. (Watch/listen to this at least two times.) Then write out the answers to the following questions: QUESTIONS: How does the narrator link the teacher’s practice in this section of the video to the Tenets of Democracy? Are all the tenets applied? Could they be? (5pts.)
QUESTIONS: Do you think the interpretation of the data is Complete? Correct? Have interpretations been left out? Are their other notions of democracy/human relations which are not discussed by the narrator that you could see working in this class? Has any actions in the class been misinterpreted? (5pts.)
Review the section on technology and write out a respond
to these questions: QUESTIONS: How important is technology in presenting this lesson? How familiar are you with the technology being used?
How does the technology help to make the lesson more or less democratic? (5pts.)
DAY #3 (Thursday, March 14th, SEC #123, 1:00-2:00)
If necessary, finish answering questions.
Prepare a short presentation of 5-10 minutes. Make sure each of member of the group shares equally in the presentation. Play the ACTIVITY OVERVIEW for the tape your analyzing, share your findings with the large group. Be specific. Use specific examples. (10pts.)
Start the Presentations.
DAY #4 (Friday, March 15th, Sec #123, 10:30-11:30)
Finish the Presentations.