Empowering Students: From Apathy to Autonomy in the Global Age Paul Doyon (Asahi University) Brad Deacon (Nanzan University ） CoLT 2002 Wed, Oct. 16, 2002
Outline• Background• Beliefs and Perceptions• Audience’s own Apathy Experiences• Anecdote: The Dog and the Carrot• The Lewinian/Kolb Experiential Learning Model• Experience One• Some Key Concepts – Engagement and Empowerment – Control, Compliance, and Defiance – Learned Helplessness – Resistance – Reciprocity – Intrinsic Motivation – Psychoacademic Needs – The Need for Autonomy• An Anecdote: Experience Two• Conclusion
Beliefs Perceptions A great deal of what is perceived is, in actuality, inferred (Kearl).
Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim ofthe linguistic tradition into which he has been born -- thebeneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to theaccumulated records of other peoples experience, thevictim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reducedawareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils hissense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his conceptsfor data, his words for actual things.Audous Huxley,The Doors of Perception
Have you had students that you felt were apathetic (orhave you yourself felt apathetic as a learner)? What did you do?
Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not a hard duty.--Albert Einstein
The Lewinian (Kolb) Experiential Learning Model Concrete ExperienceTesting Implications Observationof Concepts in New and ReflectionSituations(Experimentation) Experimentation Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations
Experience One: Background• Intermediate-level college conversation class/social community.• Approximately 20 motivated students ranging in age from 19 to 60.
The Experience• Students doing conversation pair work.
The Reflection• Noticed some not engaged.• Recalled previous class feedback where a learner commented: – I discuss with other non-native speakers which is not very exciting sometimes, because we are all non- native speakers. So even if we discuss long, I feel it doesn’t improve my English skill.• Recognized a conflict with teacher’s beliefs about pair work.
The Conceptualization: Perceived Value (PV)• Need to determine what others in class think specifically about pair work.
The Experiment:• Invited and gathered focused written feedback on pair work and gave students an experience in reframing their learning.
The Results• Most wrote that they perceived value in pair work in myriad ways.
Future Work• Continue to get more intermental with students.• Research additional ways of offering the “helping hand” (Sheerin, 1997) to provide more choices to develop autonomous student learning attitudes.• Continue to get more interemotional with students.
The Concept ofEnhancing Perceived Value Increased Engagement and Motivation Enhanced Value Perception Belief System Shift Satisfaction of Psychoacademic Needs (Competence, Autonomy, Self-esteem, Autonomy Belonging and Relatedness, Fun and Enjoyment) Learned Helplessness
Some Key Concepts–Engagement and Empowerment–Control, Compliance, and Defiance–Learned Helplessness–Resistance–Reciprocity–Intrinsic Motivation–Psychoacademic Needs (The Fuel)–The Need for Autonomy (The Spark)
Engagement & Empowerment– If we look at very young children engaged in the learning process, one thing most salient is the fact that it is a very empowering process for them. Every time they learn something new, it empowers them to do something more.– We see the act of learning itself as an empowering process as long as the student is engaged in the learning process as an act of his or her own volition.– However, when a child starts school, more often than not, something negative happens to this natural learning process -- what might be called a process of disempowerment.
Control : Defiance and Compliance• To the extent that a behavior is not autonomous it is controlled, and there are two types of controlled behavior. The first type is compliance, and it is compliance compliance that authoritarian solutions hope to accomplish. Compliance means doing what you are told to do because you are told to do it…. The other response to control is defiance, which means you defiance do the opposite of what you are expected to do just because you are expected to do it. Compliance and defiance exist in an unstable partnership representing the complementary responses to control. (Deci, 1995) control
Learned Helplessness– Learned Helplessness is “an apathetic attitude stemming from the conviction that ones actions do not have the power to affect ones situation” (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001 p. 1). Dr. Martin Seligman, of the University of Pennsylvania, originally found that rats, upon repeated exposure to unavoidable electric shocks, became “unable to act in subsequent situations where avoidance or escape was possible” (p. 1). In extending these findings to the human population, Seligman found that one’s lack of control over his or her environment also undermines one’s “motivation to initiate [italics added] responses” (p. 1). Thus, students’ beliefs in their own powerlessness, not only undermine their ability to act in a learning situation, but also color how they perceive that learning situation.
The Idea of Reciprocity• “There is an emphasis on reciprocation, reciprocation that is, the importance of the learner reciprocating the intentions of the mediator or teacher. This means that the learner is ready and willing to carry out the task presented, and that there is an agreement as to what should be done” (Williams and Burden, 1997).
Intrinsic Motivation• Raffini (1996), an educational psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, defines intrinsic motivation as: – “…choosing to do an activity for no compelling reason, beyond the satisfaction derived from the activity itself--it’s what motivates us to do something when we don’t have to do anything.”
Five Psychoacademic Needs• Raffini (1996) goes on to state that intrinsic motivation is fueled by five psychoacademic needs: – The Need for Autonomy (e.g. Choices) – The Need for Competence (e.g. Vygotsky’s ZPD) – The Need for Belonging and Relatedness (e.g. Cooperative Learning) – The Need for Self-Esteem (e.g. Unconditional Positive Regard) – The Need for Involvement and Enjoyment Consider these needs and how the presence or absence of them may affect students’ beliefs and perceptions about learning and themselves as learners.
The Need for The Need for Autonomy Autonomy• Individuals seek a quality of human functioning that has at its core the desire to determine their own behavior; they have an innate need to feel autonomous and to have control over their lives. This need for self-determination is satisfied when individuals are free to behave of their own volition -- to behave in activities because they want to, not because they have to. At its core is the freedom to choose and have choices, rather than being forced or coerced to behave according to the desires of another. (Raffini, 1996, pp. 3-4)
Experience : Background• Low-level university English conversation class.• Students were non-English majors.• Most appeared not to have much of an interest in studying English.
The Experience• A teacher had a class where many of his students were especially rebellious. Some were -- not only -- not nice but outright nasty. In fact, one day when this teacher was teaching, one of his students answered his keitai denwa and continued to speak. When the teacher went over to warn this student, the student responded: “shinê” ( 死ね！ ).• How would you react?!
The Reflection• During the summer break, the teacher reflected deeply on this experience in particular and apathy in learning in general.
The Conceptualization: Perceived Value (PV)• Through reflecting on this experience and drawing generalizations from other experiences he concluded as follows : if the students do not initially perceive value in the lesson, there is no way that he can get them to participate actively and enthusiastically in his class -- no matter what he did.• Therefore, he...
The Experiment:• …on the first day of the fall semester, he went into the classroom and told the students the following: – I, as a teacher, do not want to teach students who do not want to learn and who will not participate in class. I know that some students do want to learn and do want to participate. However, the ones that don’t are interfering with the ones that do. It is for this reason that I am giving each and everyone of you the option of not having to attend the class and just taking the final examination at the end of the semester, which will be taken straight from the textbook units 5-8. All you have to do is study this textbook and I will base your grade strictly on the score you receive on the final examination. I am not angry. I just don’t want to teach students that don’t want to learn. It’s plain and simple. Otherwise, it is just exhausting for me.
The Results• All the students decided to continue to take the class, and from that day on their attitudes changed and the rest of the course went well.• In other words, they were able to perhaps perceive value in taking the class.
Back to the Raffini Quote• This need for self-determination is satisfied when individuals are free to behave of their own volition -- to behave in activities because they want to, not because they have to. At its core is the freedom to choose and have choices, rather than being forced or coerced to behave according to the desires of another. (Raffini, 1996, pp. 3-4)
Apply Your Own Experience to the Experiential Learning Model Concrete ExperienceTesting Implications Observationof Concepts in New and ReflectionSituations(Experimentation) Experimentation Formation of Abstract Concepts and Generalizations
Conclusion: Empowering Students through the Enhancement of Perceived Value• Students may not be able to perceive value in a class or activity when they feel that they are being forced or coerced into doing it.• Through satisfying their psychoacademic needs -- and allowing Ss to have some choice in the matter -- we can enhance their perception of value, and get so-called “vapid” students to participate more actively in our classes.• By becoming “Intermental” with the Ss and allowing Ss to become intermental with each other, teachers can also help students shift possible self-defeating and “class-defeating” belief patterns. This can then lead to the enhancement of value perception with regards to certain activities that the teacher will present.• Through the enhancement of value perception, students expand their learning choices, and thus develop their autonomy and empowerment.• Autonomous Learners are Empowered Learners.