WHAT IS "PLACE" IN A VISUALLY-ORIENTED AND LINGUISTICALLY-DIVERSE FIRST- YEAR COURSE GALLAUDET SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING INITIATIVE INTEGRATING VISUAL LEARNING AND LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY: LESSONS FROM BILINGUAL ASL/ENGLISH CLASSROOMS A study proposed by Sharon Pajka June 2012
THE COURSE: GSR 102 CRITICAL READING & WRITING The SLOs for this course include: •Students will analyze and evaluate academic and/or creative works by considering the associated questions, issues, problems, opinions, facts, outcomes, contexts, solutions, concepts, theories, multiple sides of/views of, and the composition/structure of these works. •Students will compose logical discussions/arguments/solutions to academic and/or creative issues, questions, or problems, by synthesizing or merging information from sources with their own critical perspectives.
THE PROMISE OF THIS SECTION OF GSR 102:Mother Teresa wrote, "Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty." It ishuman to want to feel connected and to have a sense of belonging. The concept of "home" extends farbeyond a mere place. In her recent publication, cultural critic bell hooks [sic] asks: What does it mean tocall a place home? Who is allowed to become a member of a community? When can we say that we trulybelong? The World is a Text will help us clarify the usefulness of actively reading one’s surroundings.Using the lenses of rhetoric, semiotics and cultural studies, you will become effective academic writerswhile gaining deeper insight into such popular culture categories as movies, media, and public space.While reading and writing about the “texts” one sees in everyday life, we will read stories around a commontheme: leaving a safe, secure home to achieve maturation. All of the stories in the Leaving Home anthologywork to show the difficulties of establishing ones own identity, but also resonating with each other to showthe many sides of “leave taking” in different cultures. The anthology includes distinguished authors thatuniversity students, not only in this country but all around the world, will be reading during their first year ofcollege. The stories include Amy Tans tale of a young girls hurt and confusion as she breaks away fromher familys controlling influence, Norma Fox Mazers story of a young Jewish girl leaving Poland behind toforge a new and unexpected life in America, Tim Wynne-Jones heartening tale of a young boy in the midstof divorce, and Toni Morrisons "Recitatif," dealing with a reevaluation of the meaning of a past incident. Aswe read, and write our way to understanding, we will continue the quest of FYS in answering: Who am I,and how did I get here?; What is college all about?; Where am I going, and how do I get there? The editorshave varied the tones, the voices, and the meanings of the pieces, which provide both humorous andheartbreaking stories of the meaning of maturation. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
RESEARCH QUESTION:Before I can ask if it matters, I must ask:What is place in a section of GSR 102:Critical Reading and Writing at GallaudetUniversity?
CHAPTER 6: WHY DO STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND COURSE CLIMATE MATTER FOR STUDENT LEARNING? HOW LEARNING WORKS,(2010) AMBROSE ET. AL.Students’ current level of development interacts with the social,emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impactlearning.Students are not only intellectual but also social and emotionalbeings, and they are still developing the full range of intellectual,social, and emotional skills. While we cannot control thedevelopmental process, we can shape the intellectual, social,emotional, and physical aspects of classroom climate indevelopmentally appropriate ways. In fact, many studies haveshown that the climate we create has implications for our students.A negative climate may impede learning and performance, but apositive climate can energize students’ learning.
DEFINITION OF PLACE & INFLUENTIAL RESEARCH• World English Dictionary offers 47 basic definitions of “place” used as nouns and verbs. There are numerous others for idiomatic language in English.• Tim Cresswell (2004) defines “Place” arguing, “One answer is that they are all spaces which people have made meaningful”• Political Geographer John Agnew (1987) defines it as “a meaningful location” and outlines three aspects as 1) location, 2) locale, 3) sense of place.• Humanistic geographers argue “Spaces have areas and volumes. Places have space between them” (Cresswell 2004).• Yi-Fu Tuan (1977) likens “space to movement and place to pauses– stops along the way”.• bell hooks [sic] (2009) "A true home is the place- any place-- where growth is nurtured, where there is constancy“.• McInerney, Smyth & Down (2011) write “‘Place’ is a lens through which young people begin to make sense of themselves and their surroundings. It is where they form relationships and social networks, develop a sense of community and learn to live with others.”
INFLUENTIAL RESEARCH: LITERATURE PERTAINING TO AFFECTIVE LEARNING, COMMUNITY, AND CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT• The “between” (Buber, 1958). Hart writes, “Although a student can open a book or click on a CD ROM and access information, it is in a community that those ideas have a chance of being challenged, tested, played out, and discussed; these are precisely the activities that help grow knowledge and self.”• Krashen’s (1981) Hypothesis of the Affective Filter• Classroom climate affects student-learning. While a negative climate can impede, a positive one can energize student- learning. (Ambrose et al. 2010).• A strong sense of community is essential for student-learning. McMillan and Chavis (1986) define a sense of community as “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together”• Sergiovanni (1994) stresses the need for authentic community in schools, linking learners and educators through shared values and goals.
INFLUENTIAL RESEARCH: LITERATURE PERTAINING TO BLOGGING• The latest research points to numerous benefits of blogging which includes student engagement, authentic voice, and interaction and awareness of diverse perspectives. Researchers conclude that student blogging encourages engagement in learning (Ellison & Wu, 2008; Ferdig & Trammell, 2004).• Similar to Vygotsky’s (1978) belief that meaning is facilitated by social interaction, Wickerson and Chambers (2006) conclude that learning occurs when students engage in a hands-on, experimental environment that encourages interaction with peers and communication with instructors.• Many deaf and hard of hearing students are considered visual learners and are “best able to understand and remember content when they can see it graphically represented” (Kluth 2008).
RESEARCH NEED:• Place is a lens in which students begin to make sense of themselves, their surroundings and their connections to other people and objects. The classroom, the physical and the virtual, has a powerful effect on student-learning.• There is limited research on the effects of “place” in student-learning pertaining to Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners.
BACKGROUND: FIRST DAY QUESTIONNAIRE17 students (one added during the second week and did not complete the questionnaire)•2 non-traditional in that they are older and have returned college•One student disclosed having a learning disability•One student transferred to Gallaudet from another college. She is the only student who was new to the university.•Other students took courses in the ELI program, in non-credit, developmental English courses in the Englishdepartment, and a few are repeating the course after having failed during the semester.Linguistically diverse in comparison to students in past sections of this course.When asked about their mother tongue or first language, none of the students listed English.•6 students listed ASL•1 listed both Spanish and ASL•1 listed Spanish•1 listed Tagalog•1 listed Swedish•1 listed Setuwane- Botswana•1 listed ChineseMost of the students had previously taken English courses at Gallaudet University•2 GSR 102•3 ENG 70•2 ENG 80•2 ELI program•1 ENG 204 (30 yrs ago)6 listed that they had positive experiences 4 listed that they did not.Two students commented. One student wrote, “The material and the way the teacher taught was not enjoyable atall”. The other student wrote, “I wasn’t motivated [under the instructor]”.Additional Information: “I would like to keep this class upbeat and fun”
PLACE IN THE COURSE: EVIDENCEPlace as•Power/ Authority/ Ownership•Appropriate or Proper Position•Area used for a specific purpose
Place asPower/ Authority/ Ownership • Power dynamics: seeing my students laugh/joke while seated vs. serious while standing • their place in and out of the course; at the university level, as citizens • their role as students; staying in their "place"; student discussion leaders • designing their blogsAppropriate or Proper Position • the classroom is the place for learning • their roles as individual students and community members • “community of respect” • confidentiality (what happens in 102 stays in 102) • the time or place for specific behaviors (“Writing an Academic Email…OMG IDK”)Area used for a specific purpose • physical (class) & virtual (blog) space • blog as a place for academic writing FB group as a place for BICS English writing • Save my place... as in a seat/position • Classroom/seating arrangement- what works visually & what doesnt work • Having a place for multiple perspectives (“it depends”) • Interpreters place & CART place
METHODOLOGY: INSTRUMENTATION1) self- reflections (both mid-semester and end-of-semester)2) evidences of student learning from classroom activities, blog posts, questionnaires video tape three classes during the Fall 2012 semester: Tuesday, September 4th (Name Story Presentations); Tuesday, October 16th (Synthesis Paper Presentations); and, Tuesday, December 4th (Blog Reflection discussions).
SOURCES OF EVIDENCE OF PLACE TO EXAMINE 1) Recorded Class Sessions evidences of student learning from classroom activities, blog posts, questionnaires • film three classes during the Fall 2012 semester: Tuesday, September 4th (Name Story Assignment- Presentations); Tuesday, October 16th (Synthesis Paper Presentations); and, Tuesday, December 4th (Blog Reflection discussions). • Class Discussion Defining “Place”* • *beginning & end of the semester Academic Blogs- academic English & ASL Facebook Group- informal English practice Self- reflections (both mid-semester and end-of-semester) • student-experiences including questions regarding visual learning and linguistic diversity
METHODOLOGY: MIXED METHODSMixed Research methods, specifically mixed model research using both qualitative and quantitative researchwithin the research process.Journaling after each ClassClose Reading:•Description: a meticulous description of the source material based on your observations: a) Describe everything you observe in careful detail. Often seemingly insignificant observations become the basis for an original, innovative, analysis. Include the structure and style. b) Identify the type of source material: primary, secondary, text, artifact, etc.5.Context: Identify and explain the original context for the source material (historical, literary, artistic, etc).6.Meaning: Based on the data observed and the context identified, analyze and interpret the meaning andsignificance of the source material.Rovai Classroom Community Scale20-item Classroom Community Scale measures sense of community in a learning environment.It was concluded that the Classroom Community Scale is a valid and reliable measure of classroom community and thatthis instrument yields two interpretable factors:11.the connectedness (spirit, trust, interdependence), and12.the learning (shared educational goals and expectations satisfied through interaction)
VIDEOTAPED EVIDENCE CONTINUEDWhat I learned (or rather what I think I learned) fromwatching the three recorded classes: March 29, April 12, April 26•Filming needs to begin early in the semester • “community of trust” established… and now there are outsiders (one student even skipped class )•Specific lessons/ presentations need to be recorded•Consider seating arrangements (maybe I need to move!)•Classroom design is a major factor
WHAT WASN’T RECORDED AND NOW IS LOSTFreire (1968) stressed the importance of having students look at their individualhistories and cultures, to compare them with what they have been led to believe aretheir social places in the world- that is, to distinguish myth from reality.The use of the personal narrative has been justificed in terms of helping novicewriters find their “voice” (Elbow, 1995). JP’s story •New signer •Transgender •Oral Deaf •Punk •So excited about Gallaudet and this “place” let him down
THE COURSE: GSR 102 CRITICAL READING & WRITINGSeating and arrangements play an important part in classroom dynamics & rapportPlace as:•Power/ Authority/ Ownership•Appropriate or Proper Position•Area used for a specific purposeObservations from the filmed classes:Students laugh/joke while I’m seated but become quite serious when I am standing•Place as power; staying in their "place"•Role of discussion leader•Turn TakingGreetings•I greeted each student when they entered (even in the middle of teaching if they were late).•I smiled most of the time and I made numerous facial gestures.
THE COURSE: GSR 102 CRITICAL READING & WRITING- Seating and arrangements play an important part in classroom dynamics & rapport “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin” (hooks 1994)
During the class I noticed the physical barrier in the pictures above. The twopictures below support by initial observation. The male students huddle and the female students place a barrier between themselves and their student leader. March 29, 2012
VIDEOTAPED EVIDENCE CONTINUEDVideotaped Class connection to Krathwohl’s Affective DomainStudents listen to discussion of controversial issues with open minds•Respecting rights of others•Questioning new ideals, completing HW assignments•Demonstrates belief in democratic process (“It depends”)•Recognizes own abilities, limitations and values; and they acceptresponsibility for their behaviorThursday, April 12
VIDEOTAPED EVIDENCE CONTINUED“What is Art” and then lead into “What is Learning” beginning to discussRovai’s Classroom Community measure•turn taking occurs and is encouraged by the student leaders•I no longer have to manage the classroom as much•Students reference their work with their blogs Map (1961), Jasper Jones•They discuss their favorite stories and as a group we discussed theirsynthesis paper work•We discussed concern for each other in relation to the Rovai measurementand how we learn best. How Mali Lost Her Accent (1991), Pacita Abad Thursday, April 26 45:02
EVIDENCE: ACADEMIC BLOGSAcademic Blog includes English, ASL, and other visual media Freire & Macedo (1987) write, "Educators must develop radical pedagogical structures that provide students with the opportunity to use their own reality as a basis of literacy". The latest research points to numerous benefits of blogging which includes student engagement, authentic voice, and interaction and awareness of diverse perspectives. Researchers conclude that student blogging encourages engagement in learning (Ellison & Wu, 2008; Ferdig & Trammell, 2004).
EVIDENCE: ACADEMIC BLOGS A place for students to design and compose their thoughts about course readings. It is also a place for them to connect.
THE COMMENT SECTION- A PLACE FOR QUESTIONS Two students ask for clarification in this blog post. The first student wants to know how to link to another webpage (to cite it). The second student asks for clarification about the last paragraph of the short story and connects it to another text previously read. His question connects to “home” and “the sense of belonging” the character felt.
Instrumentation: Rovai’s Community Scale ResultsConnectedness items Learning items•I feel that students in this course care •I feel that I am encouraged to askabout each other questions•I feel connected to others in this •I feel that it is hard to get help when I have a questioncourse •I feel that I receive timely feedback•I do not feel a spirit of community •I feel uneasy exposing gaps in my•I feel that this course is like a family understanding•I feel isolated in this course •I feel reluctant to speak openly•I trust others in this course •I feel that this course results in only•I feel that I can rely on others in this modest learningcourse •I feel that other students do not help me•I feel that members of this course learn •I feel that I am given ample opportunitiesdepend on me•I feel uncertain about others in this to learn •I feel that my educational needs are notcourse being met•I feel confident that others will •I feel that this course does not promote asupport me desire to learn
Evidence: Final ReflectionStudents were asked to reflect on their work throughout the course. They were asked toaddress one of the Connectedness items and one of the Learning items from the Rovai ClassroomCommunity Scale and discuss how each worked together to affect their overall experience in the class andwith their work on their blog.The majority focused on: Connectedness items 2.I feel that students in this course care about each other •I feel connected to others in this course •I feel that I can rely on others in this course ) •I feel confident that others will support me) Learning items •I feel that I am encouraged to ask questions 6. I feel that I receive timely feedback •I feel that I am given ample opportunities to learn
EVIDENCE:FINAL REFLECTIONI feel like this course is a family because each student were required to read thesame information and materials, so everyone had that one thing in common. This allowedfor some great and wonderful class discussions.When it came to class discussions it was almost as seating at the dining table with thewhole family having dinner conversation. When one class mate made a comment or had adiscussion, it was either supported by family members or addressed through differentperspectives that were neither negative nor conceived as criticisms as would be the caseat a family dinner at the table.Each student was required to post their blogs for all to see, this was almost an act ofintimacy, because it showed a level of trust in the classmates as a family. The support waspositives and no one was judgmental of others. I truly connected to other classmates as ifthey were my brothers and sisters.
EVIDENCE: FINAL REFLECTION CONTINUEDFeedbackFor the final paper, the students gave me really good feedbacks. Professor Pajka gave me a lot of feedbacks. Some students evengive me some feedbacks for my blog.Learning from Each otherWe learned from each other. I love how everyone will share their experiences, their opinion and their thoughts. It made me personallycontribute to the class. I felt like they are not just students but my classmate that I can share my personal experience, my opinion, andmy thoughts without being judged.Overall, I actually learned so much in this class, not just from the class but from my classmates.ImprovementFrom the first day of class to the last day of class, I can see a HUGE change in the classroom!Before, I didn’t do anything else more than reading. Now, I do read and try to picture the story in my mind, and I asked myself somequestions such as what if, why, and how did…? It made me analyze the story more. The more I analyze the story, the better Iunderstand the story.I used to hate reading the book, but after this class, I started to like reading books.I improved my student, reading, writing, and express my opinion from this class.BlogsIt is also amazing how we can connect to each other even though we came from different cultures, different country, and differentlanguage.I noticed that my blogs are getting better every time. I learned how to analyze the story more.I improved my reading skills by analyze more, and when I am required to post the blog about stories, It made me actually read thestory again, again, and again to make sure I understand the story better.
THE SAMPLE:• Students in my section of GSR 102: Critical Reading and Writing• Typically 18 students• Diverse language/cultural backgrounds
LOCATION AND TIME FRAME• Where? • Gallaudet University• When? • Data collection: Fall 2012 semester • Written report complete: June 2013