What remains….from the beginning until now?  Students seem attached to “confusion,” even though most of them say the results are positive: increased comfort and familiarity with each other than occurs in other classes.  Most students provide descriptions of their experience with ambiguity: while one expresses fatigue, others mention optimism, excitement, even “wonderment.”  A few explain incremental increases in clarity, based in the recognition of “a set task” and an acceptance that the conditions are such that we have “had to think in ways many of us may have never been made to think before.” Some students articulate learnings (!) from the curriculum (!!), about the topic of group dynamics (!!!):

I am beginning to appreciate more the process we go through in order to make decisions…At first I did not like how we did not reach conclusions easily. Now I am taking a step back and really enjoying the process it takes us to reach a consensus. sunshine775

Decision-making is the key, core, crucial element of group dynamics.  All of the course material centers around this activity.  Specifically, we keep returning to

…learning how to organize our ideas and opinions. I think that this is greatly emphasized in every class. We are put into confusing situations sometimes, and instead of just thinking about how confusing it is, or what the solution is. We think about the process in coming to a conclusion, and how to organize and write about this process. We dont just try to find an answer, we also analyze how to find an answer, while organizing these ideas into something coherent… freshkicks6

As ontherecliner says, confusion per se is not “a bad thing because I think it means we are doing new things and moving on. As the group moves along I think there will always be confusion, but how that is dealt with is what really matters” (emphasis added).  In fact, the teacher’s pedagogy assumes responsibility of students for the learning process.  Summer22 provides an excellent example:

Since the beginning our group has been prompted to think outside the box and to question normative standards. As a group I feel like we have progressed on many levels, learning to understand individual frames, learning that it’s ok to question things and be confused, and that not all teacher/student relationships need to be on the formal level in which our culture generally expects.

At this point in the semester (week 12 of 15), with the major project material due (now), the major concern from the teacher’s point-of-view is the insecurity posed by a few students concerning “how to do well” and whether or not things are being done “correctly,” or if “the work we did for homework was right.”

moses84 is on to something – despite the surprise of being tested (!?!) – “our feelings about the class are the same as they were at the beginning of class, yet the way we frame it is completely different” (emphasis added).  I hope so!  And I would like to see this different framing reflected in the following comments concerning “questions and concerns” that arise during each wikiteam’s five-minute evaluation meeting. In other words, what is the most functional role you can play, at this moment in the life of our group, based on the issues in your sub-group (intra-group) in relation to the other sub-groups (inter-group) and within our group-as-a-whole?

Advertisements