Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8611 Spring 2021

Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8611 Spring 2021

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Course: Critical Thinking and Reflective Practices (8611)
Semester: Spring, 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 1

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  1. 1 What are essential aspects of critical thinking? Describe in detail.

All contemporary political communication is in a specific way critical because it consists of speech acts that normally question political opinions and practices of certain actors. Modern politics is a highly competitive system, in which elections and warfare are ways of distributing and redistributing power. Tis understanding of critique stands in the tradition of Kantian enlightenment that considered the Enlightenment as an age of criticism. In contrast to Kant’s general understanding of critique, Karl Marx and the Marxian tradition understands the categorical imperative as the need to overcome all forms of slavery and degradation and to unmask alienation. Tis school of thought points out a more specific understanding of being critical, namely the questioning of power, domination, and exploitation, the political demand and struggle for a just society. Critical theory is understood as a critique of society. Scholars in the Marxian inspired tradition employ the term “critical” to stress that not all science is critical, but that a lot of it has a more administrative character that takes power structures for granted, does not question them, or helps to legitimate them.

Some define critical theory as the Frankfurt School’s works, a tradition of critical thinking that originated with the works of scholars like Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and andTeodorW. Adorn. Herbert Marcuse was a philosopher, born in Germany in 1898, who fled Nazi Germany to the United States in 1934, where he spent the rest of his life. Max Horkheimer was director of the University of Frankfurt’s Institute for Social Research in the years 1930–1959.Tis institute was the home of what came to be known as the Frankfurt School. Teodor W. Adorn was one of the Institute’s directors from 1953 until his death in 1969. Horkheimer and Adorno also emigrated, together with the Institute, to the United States, but unlike Marcuse they returned to Germany after the end of World War II. Critical Theory’s starting point is the work of Karl Marx.

Jürgen Huberman (1984, 1987) built his approach on the classical Frankfurt School and at the same time worked out the concept of communicative rationality, by which he went beyond the classical tradition. He distinguishes between instrumental (nonsocial, success-oriented), strategic (social, success-oriented), and communicative action (social, oriented on understanding). For Huberman (1987, p. 375), critical theory questions that so-called steering media (money, power) attack “the communicative infrastructure of largely rationalized life worlds.” (Huberman speaks of money and power as “steering media” because he argues that these are structures that elites use for trying to control and dominate society.) He conceives instrumental action and communicative action as the two fundamental aspects of social praxis. What he wants to express is that the human being is both a laboring and a communicating being. In a way, Huberman retains the classical Marxist distinction between base and superstructure, but inverts it by putting the stress on communication. Doubts arise if labor can be so strictly separated from communication in a dualistic way. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen a rising importance of communicative and cultural work in the economy. But if such activity takes on value-generating form, then culture and communication must be part of the economy themselves, base and superstructure become integrated, and labor and communication cannot be separated. Communication is one of the crucial foundations of the economy: The latter is not just a system of the production of use-values, and in class societies of exchange values. It is also a social system because production in any society takes on complex forms beyond individual self-sustenance. The only way for organizing the relational dimension of the economy is via communication, in the form of symbolic interaction and/or anonymous forms of indirect communication (as for example via money, markets, the price system, etc.). Human thought is a precondition for human communication and existence. When humans produce in the economy, they do so with a purpose in mind, which means that they anticipate the form of the object and how it will be put to use. Te economic existence of man requires anticipative thinking just like it requires communication. It is in these two specifc senses— the importance of communication and thought— that the economy is always and fundamentally cultural. Capitalism has had a history of the commodification of culture and communication, especially since the 20th century. Tis is not to say that culture and communication necessarily take on the form of a commodity, but that in capitalism they frequently do so in the form of content commodities, audience commodities, and cultural labor power as commodity. In this sense culture has been economized, or, to be more precise commoditized, that is, put under the influence of the commodity logic. Communication is certainly an important aspect of a domination-free society. Under capitalism, it is however also a form of interaction, in which ideology is with the help of the mass media made available to the dominated groups. Communication is not automatically progressive. For Huberman, the differentiation is between instrumental/strategic reason and communicative reason, whereas for Horkheimer the distinction is between instrumental reason and critical reason and, based on that, between traditional and critical theory. Huberman splits of communication from instrumentality and thereby neglects to understand that in capitalism the dominant system uses communication just like technology, the media, ideology, or labor as an instrument to defend its rule. Structures of domination do not leave communication untouched and pure, they are rather antagonistically entangled with communication. Hagerman’s stress on communication is not immune against misuse for instrumental purposes. The concept of communication can be critical, but is not necessarily critical, whereas the concept of a critique of domination is necessarily critical.

Te six dimensions of a critical theory of society can also be found in Karl Marx’s works. Tis circumstance shows the importance of his thought for any critical theory. Critical theory uses dialectical reasoning as method of analysis: The dialectical method identifies contradictions. Contradictions are the basic building blocks of all dialectics. Dialectics tries to show that and how contemporary society and its moments are shaped by contradictions. Contradictions result in the circumstance that society is dynamic and that capitalism assures the continuity of domination and exploitation by changing the way these phenomena are organized. In a contradiction, one pole of the dialectic can only exist by the way of the opposed pole, they require and exclude each other at the same time. In a dominative society (such as capitalism), contradictions cause problems and are to a certain extent also the seeds for overcoming these problems. They have positive potentials and negative realities at the same time. Marx analyzed capitalism’s contradictions, for example: the contradictions between no owners/owners, the poor/the rich, misery/wealth, workers/capitalists, use value/exchange value, concrete labor/abstract labor, the simple form of value/the relative and expanded form of value, social relations of humans/relations of things, the fetish of commodities and money/fetishistic thinking, the circulation of commodities/the circulation of money, commodities/money, labor power/wages, subject/object, labor process/valorization process, subject of labor (labor power, worker)/the means of production (object), variable capital/constant capital, surplus labor/surplus product, necessary labor time/surplus labor time, single worker/cooperation, single company/industry sector, single capital/competing capitals, production/consumption, productive forces/relations of production.

Critical theory is connected to struggles for a just and fair society, it is an intellectual dimension of struggles: Critical theory provides a self-understanding of a society’s self-understanding, struggles, and wishes. It can “show the world why it actually struggles” and is “taking sides […] with actual struggles” (Marx, 1997, p. 214). Tis means that critical theory can help to explain the causes, conditions, potentials, and limits of struggles. Critical theory rejects the argument that academia and science should and can be value-free. It rather argues that all thought and theories are shaped by political worldviews. Te reasons why a person is interested in a certain topic, aligns himself/herself with a certain school of thought, develops a particular theory and not another one, refers to certain authors and not others, are deeply political because modern society is shaped by conficts of interests and therefore, for surviving and asserting themselves, scholars have to make choices, enter strategic alliances, and defend their positions against others. In confict-based and antagonistic societies, academic writing and speaking, scholarship and science are therefore always forms of political communication: Tey are not just discovery, knowledge construction, or invention, but besides knowledge creation also a production and communication of knowledge about knowledge— the political standpoints of the scholars themselves. Critical theory holds not only that theory is always political, but also that it should develop analyses of society and concepts that assist struggle against interests and ideas that justify domination and exploitation.                                                            

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8611 Spring 2021

2 Describe in detail the phenomenon of social exclusion and marginalization. How is it less threatening than poverty?

Two German theorists, Karl Marx (1818–83) and Max Weber (1864–1920), influenced the field of sociology, particularly in terms of theories of social class. Both of these theorists wrote extensively on issues of social class and social inequality, or the unequal status and access to opportunities that different groups have within a society. Sociologists continue to use and respond to ideas that Marx and Weber developed.

Marxism, Conflict Theory, and Social Class

Marx defined class as a group of people who have the same relationship to the means of production—the facilities and resources for producing goods—such as tools, machines, and factories. Marx wrote extensively of the relationship between the privileged classes—the “haves,” or the bourgeoisie—and the oppressed classes—the “have nots,” or the proletariat. The bourgeoisie is a class that owns property, including owning and controlling the means of production. The proletariat is the working class, who own only their own labor. Members of the proletariat are forced to sell their labor because they have no control over the means of production. Marx argued that this relationship is exploitive of the working class because the surplus value derived from work is unfairly appropriated by the bourgeoisie. In Marx’s view, the economic system of capitalism automatically creates social stratification, or class differences, in which members of different classes are in an adversarial relationship. Sociologists incorporate Marx’s ideas in an approach known as conflict theory. Conflict theorists suggest that social inequality creates intergroup conflict—such as the rich versus the poor—and that the different interests will cause them to be at odds as they attempt to secure their interests.

Marxist theory continues to be important in sociology, but many sociologists have expanded upon Marx’s ideas in order to apply them to postindustrial, postmodern societies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. American sociologist Erik Olin Wright (b. 1947) elaborates on Marx’s model of class structure. While Marx analyzed society in terms of two major classes, Wright identifies four classes in the United States: capitalist, managerial, small business, and working class. He argues that power is connected to the control of the means of production but also control over work processes and other workers. Wright’s model is less polarized than Marx’s but remains focused on questions of which groups dominate a society and which groups are oppressed. He looks at why some workers might behave or think more like capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and notes how people can belong to more than one class. His term contradictory class locations describes how people can occupy more than one class position, based on what type of control they exercise. For example, an executive assistant at a large corporation has a relatively high level of control compared to other administrative workers but is also under the control of a more powerful CEO. The executive assistant may identify more closely with the upper-class managers at the company, although outside of work the executive assistant has less social and economic power than managers do. Wright proposes a larger definition of the working class than Marx did, including those in occupations that involve what he terms “mental labor” but who do not receive high salaries, such as clerical workers. He analyzes modern types of work, arguing that levels of control tied to various occupations are crucial markers of class in contemporary society. For instance, master electricians and architects who work at small firms may have similar levels of income, but they hold different social positions. Their occupations grant them different levels of control. Like Marx, Wright is concerned with dismantling systems that oppress the working class. However, he argues that “taming and eroding capitalism are the only viable options.” Whereas Marx envisioned the end of capitalism, Wright considers how the working class might impose reforms on oppressive state and capitalist structures.

Weber and Social Class

Weber agreed with Marx that economic markers are important, but he advanced the idea that other factors, such as education and occupational prestige, determine class hierarchies. Weber described class structure as being based on three major factors: wealth (income and assets), prestige (status position), and power (ability to achieve goals). Weber saw ownership of the means of production, including companies, as important, but he also noted that holding a high position within a company or profession is also a means to acquire social and economic power. For example, a high-level manager in a corporation does not own the business but does benefit from the profits that the business generates. Owning property grants economic power, but it also grants higher levels of prestige. Someone who owns land, for example, has social prestige. Weber pointed out that prestige can also be gained in other ways that do not involve ownership of property or the means of production. Gifted athletes or intellectuals can acquire prestige without owning the sports teams or universities that frame their work. Both wealth and prestige can give individuals greater power in society. Weber saw wealth, power, and prestige as intertwined elements of social class. Weber’s multidimensional work led sociologists to use socioeconomic status to understand class.

Influenced by Weber’s theory of class, American sociologist Dennis Gilbert (b. 1943) described six separate classes in the United States: the capitalist class, upper-middle class, middle class, working class, working poor, and underclass. The capitalist class is defined as the most elite and powerful group. As the richest one percent of the population, they own most of the wealth in a society, including the vast majority of stocks and bonds. Their large investments have an impact on the rest of society, because their investment choices can have a significant impact on the overall economy. They mostly interact with one another, remaining separated from the other classes. The upper-middle class is relatively wealthy and is characterized by high levels of formal education—a minimum of a college degree and usually a graduate degree. Members of the upper-middle class work in white-collar, fairly high-income professions. They may often purchase status symbols, including expensive homes and vehicles that serve to identify their class status. The lower-middle class is composed of people who earn enough to afford basic expenses. They generally have at least a high school education and often some education beyond high school including specialized training, some college, or a college degree. They typically work in semiskilled professions, for instance as flight attendants or security guards. The working class has relatively low levels of income and is employed in factories or in low-paid white-collar professions such as retail sales workers. Members of the working class sometimes qualify for public assistance programs, such as free or reduced lunch for children at school. The working poor are people whose incomes are minimal and often not enough to pay basic living expenses. They often work in service jobs, which include occupations such as food preparation workers, house cleaners, or lawn and garden maintenance workers. Most members of the working poor do not hold high school diplomas. They may qualify for public assistance, such as housing and food assistance programs. The underclass is a social group composed of individuals stuck in poverty because of high unemployment, low education, or other forms of marginalization such as homelessness. Multigenerational poverty, or poverty that lasts across several generations in a family, is also a characteristic of the underclass. Occupations that involve stigma can also place people in the underclass. For example, impoverished sex workers are part of the underclass, both because of poverty and because sex workers are marginalized by society. Gilbert’s model of six social classes provides a framework for discussing social stratification in more precise terms, acknowledging that the lived experiences of members of these groups can be quite different, although there is some overlap between groups.

Gilbert’s Model of Social Class in the United States
Capitalist class Elite, powerful; richest one percent
Upper-middle class Relatively wealthy; highly educated, work in white-collar professions
Lower-middle class Can afford basic expenses; work in semi-skilled professions
Working class Relatively low income; sometimes qualify for assistance programs
Working poor Not always able to afford basic expenses; work in service professions
Underclass Marginalized members of society; stuck in chronic poverty

Functionalism and Symbolic Interactionism

Functionalist and symbolic interactionist theories of social class focus on the social functions of class and stratification, or on class as a factor in social identity.

In addition to conflict theory, two other influential schools of thought in sociology are functionalism and symbolic interactionism. Functionalists think of society as composed of many parts that work together as a whole to maintain stability. A functionalist approach to social class might analyze the roles that class structure and social stratification play in society as a whole. From a functionalist viewpoint, stratification works to ensure productivity and efficiency, and to ensure that all types of necessary work get done. Thus a functionalist argument is that social stratification is both necessary and inevitable. Functionalists point out that some jobs require more skill or training or are more important. Few people have the ability to become highly skilled and do these important jobs. Furthermore, people have to make sacrifices, in terms of time, effort, and money, to obtain the education, training, and experience to do these jobs. The functionalist view is that society attaches significant rewards in the form of prestige and income to ensure that these important jobs are filled. Doctors, for example, fulfill an important role in society. To become a doctor, a person must invest a great deal of time, effort, and money in education and training. Society rewards this by bestowing high levels of prestige to doctors, as well as high incomes. However, class inequality is only functional as long as it is sustainable. When the working classes decide that society is not functioning well for them, they might seek social change through actions such as protests and strikes. Functionalists look at how these acts contribute to balance in a society. Symbolic interactionism strives to understand macro-level patterns (patterns found in a whole society) by examining microinteractions (interactions between individuals). An approach using symbolic interactionism tries to make connections between micro-level interactions and how they can help explain macro-level patterns. Using this lens, social class and social inequality are seen as factors in how people understand themselves and present themselves to others. For example, sociologists using symbolic interactionism note how individual social interactions, such as those between supervisors and employees, are shaped by people’s understanding of social class in their society. A symbolic interactionist approach might consider how body language, greetings, personal space, use of slang, and eye contact are connected to class. Consider the social behavior of workers in a high-end restaurant. They may use more formal patterns of speech with customers and restaurant managers than with other workers. This behavior can be understood as a reflection of how the restaurant workers understand their social position as well as an indication of class divisions of the overall society.

Free AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 8611 Spring 2021

3 What is “connectivism”? Critically analyze that how can cooperative classroom activities result in student’s striving for mutual uplift.

Cooperative teaching and learning has been a popular area in educational circles for more
than a decade. This area gained its strength with the emergence of two major schools of thought one is “Constructivism and the other is “Connectivism”. Researchers and practitioners have found
that students working in small cooperative groups can develop the type of intellect ual exchange that fosters critical and creative thinkin•p, and productive problem solving. Cooperative teaching is a successful strateqv in which small teams, each Student.s have always congregated together to perform  and learn. Rat there is a growing recognition that combined with whole group instruction and individual learning, cooperative learning should be a customary part of the classroom instruction. Student communication makes cooperative learning meaningful. To accomplish their group’s task, students must exchange ideas, make plans, and propose solutions. Thinking through an idea and presenting it collectively can be very helpful and understood by others in a better way. Such interaction promotes intellectual growth.
The exchange of different ideas and viewpoints can enhance the growth and inspire broader thinking. It is the teacher’s job to persuade such exchanges and organize the students’ work so their communication is on-task and creative. In addition to academic growth, cooperative learning helps in students’ social development.
Students’ lives are full of interactions with friends and family members and their futures
will find them in jobs that require cooperation. The skills that are essential for productive
group work in the classroom are relevant for today and the future. Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small groups, with students of different ability levels, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding. Each member of a team feels responsible
for learning what is being taught and also for helping group fellows thus creating an atmosphere of achievement.
Cooperative classroom activities result in students striving for mutual uplift so that all group members:

  1. · benefit from each other’s efforts.
  2. · recognize that all group members share a common goal.
  3. · realize that one’s performance is mutually caused by oneself and one’s team members.
  4. · jointly celebrate when a group member is recognized for achievement.

Relative to .students taught individually; cooperatively taught students to show higher academic achievement, determination, better high-level reasoning lower anxiety and stress, greatest motivation, grgater ability to view .

CRITICAL QUESTION-ANSWE R FORUMS

Articles on the subject of classroom questioning often begin by invoking Socrates. Researchers and other writers concerned with questioning techniques seem to want to ‘‘ remind us that questioning has a long and venerable history as an educational strategy.
And indeed, the Socratic method of questions and answers to challenge assumptions, expose contradictions, and lead to new knowledge and wisdom is an undeniably powerful teaching approach.
In addition to its long history and demonstrated effectiveness, questioning is also of interest to researchers and practitioners because of its widespread use as a contemporary teaching technique. Research indicates that questioning is second only to lecturing in popularity as a teaching method and that classroom teachers spend anywhere from thirty- five to fifty percent of their instructional time conducting questioning sessions.
A question is any sentence which has an interrogative form or function. In classroom settings, teacher questions are defined as instructional cues or stimuli that convey to students the content elements to be learned and directions for what they are to do and how they are to do it.
The present review focuses on the relationship between teachers’ classroom questioning behaviors and a variety of student outcomes, including achievement, retention, and level of student participation.
This means that certain other subtopics within the general area of questioning are excluded from the present analysis. It does not deal, for example, with the effects of textual questions or test questions, and it is only incidentally concerned with methods used to impart study skills, including questioning strategies, to students. Questioning plays a critical role in the way instructors structure the class environment, organize the content of the course and has deep implications in the way that students assimilate the information that is presented and discussed in class. Given that questioning can be a tremendously effective way to teach, and recognizing that teachers are willing to engage in the process of asking questions while instructing.
Numerous researches indicate that teachers largely have been asking the wrong questions.
The focus has been primarily on questions regarding the specific information students
In such an investigation
l) one asks questions to identify the reason or reasons for the investigation
2. questions are asked to direct been discovered the search for information and to synthesize what has
3. The conclusions resulting from investigations are evaluated vs questions.

Free AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 8611 Spring 2021

4 Discuss in detail the advantages of using classroom assessment techniques.

Classroom assessment techniques (CAT) are relatively quick and easy formative evaluation methods that help you check student understanding in “real time”. These formative evaluations provide information that can be used to modify/improve course content, adjust teaching methods, and, ultimately improve student learning. Formative evaluations are most effective when they are done frequently and the information is used to effect immediate adjustments in the day-to-day operations of the course.

When CATs are used frequently, they can have the following impacts for faculty:

  • provide day-to-day feedback that can be applied immediately;
  • provide useful information about what students have learned without the amount of time required for preparing tests, reading papers, etc.; allow you to address student misconceptions or lack of understanding in a timely way;
  • help to foster good working relationships with students and encourage them to understand that teaching and learning are on-going processes that require full participation.

For students, CATs can:

  • help develop self-assessment and learning management skills;
  • reduce feelings of isolation, especially in large classes;
  • increase understanding and ability to think critically about the course content;
  • foster an attitude that values understanding and long-term retention;
  • show your interest and support of their success in your classroom.

CATs fall into three broad categories based on what they are used to evaluate:

  • Course-related knowledge and skills
  • student attitudes, values, and self-awareness
  • Reactions to instruction methods

Following is a chart that indicates what the CAT is intended to evaluate, its name, how each is conducted, what to do with the information you collect, and an estimate of how much time is required to complete it.

  1. Techniques for Assessing Course-Related Knowledge & Skills
  2. Assessing Prior Knowledge, Recall, and Understanding

The CATs in this group focus on assessing declarative learning – the content of a particular subject.

  1. Background Knowledge Probe:  Short, simple questionnaires prepared by instructors for use at the beginning of a course or at the start of new units or topics; can serve as a pretest
  2. Focused Listing:  Focuses students’ attention on a single important term, name, or concept from a lesson or class session and directs students to list ideas related to the “focus”
  3. Misconception/Preconception Check:  Intended to uncover prior knowledge or beliefs that may hinder or block new learning; can be designed to uncover incorrect or incomplete knowledge, attitudes, or values
  4. Empty Outlines:  In a limited amount of time students complete an empty or partially completed outline of an in-class presentation or homework assignment
  5. Memory Matrix:  Students complete a table about course content in which row and column headings are complete but cells are empty
  6. Minute Paper: The most frequently used CAT; students answer 2 questions (What was the most important thing you learned during this class? What important question remains unanswered?)
  7. Muddiest Point:  Considered by many as the simplest CAT; students respond to the question “What was the most unclear or confusing point in (lecture, homework, discussion)?”
  8. Assessing Skill in Analysis and Critical Thinking

The CATs in this group focus on analysis—the breaking down of information, questions, or problems to facilitate understanding and problem solving.


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  1. Categorizing Grid:  Student complete a grid containing 2 or 3 overarching concepts and a variety of related subordinate elements associated with the larger concepts
  2. Defining Features Matrix:  Students categorize concepts according to the presence or absence of important defining features
  3. Pro and Con Grid:  Students list pros/cons, costs/benefits, advantages/disadvantages of an issue, question, or value of competing claims
  4. Content, Form, and Function Outlines:  In an outline form, students analyze the “what” (content), “how” (form), and “why” (function) of a particular message (e.g. poem, newspaper story, critical essay); also called “What, How, & Why Outlines
  5. Analytic Memos:  Students write a one- or two-page analysis of a specific problem or issue to help inform a decision-maker
  6. Assessing Skill in Synthesis and Creative Thinking

The CATs in this group focus on synthesis — stimulating the student to create and allowing the faculty to assess original intellectual products that result from a synthesis of course content and the students’ intelligence, judgment, knowledge, and skills.

  1. One-Sentence Summary:  Students answer the questions “Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?” (WDWWWWHW) about a given topic and then create a single informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence
  2. Word Journal:  Involves a 2 part response; 1st the student summarizes a short text in a single word and 2nd the student writes 1-2 paragraphs explaining the word choice
  3. Approximate Analogies:  Students simply complete the 2nd half of an analogy—a is to b as
    ? is to ?; described as approximate because the rigor of formal logic is not required
  4. Concept Maps:  Students draw or diagram the mental connections they make between a major concept and other concepts they have learned
  5. Invented Dialogues:  Students synthesize their knowledge of issues, personalities, and historical periods into the form of a carefully structured illustrative conversation; students can select and weave quotes from primary sources or invent reasonable quotes that fit characters and context
  6. Annotated Portfolios:  Students assemble a very limited number of examples of creative work and supplement them with their own commentary on the significance of examples
  7. Assessing Skill in Problem Solving

The CATs in this group focus on problem solving skills — recognizing different types of problems, determining the principles and techniques to solve them, perceiving similarities of problem features, and being able to reflect and then alter solution strategies.

  1. Problem Recognition Tasks:  Students recognize and identify particular problem types
  2. What’s the Principle?:  Students identify the principle or principles to solve problems of various types
  3. Documented Problem Solutions:  Students track in a written format the steps they take to solve problems as if for a “show & tell”
  4. Audio- and Videotaped Protocols:  Students work through a problem solving process and it is captured to allow instructors to assess metacognition (learner’s awareness of and control of thinking)
  5. Assessing Skill in Application and Performance

The CATs in this group focus on students’ application of conditional knowledge – knowing when and where to apply what they know and can do.

  1. Directed Paraphrasing:  Students paraphrase part of a lesson for a specific audience demonstrating ability to translate highly specialized information into language the clients or customers can understand
  2. Application Cards:  Students generate examples of real-world applications for important principles, generalizations, theories, or procedures
  3. Student-Generated Test Questions:  Students generate test questions and model answers for critical areas of learning
  4. Human Tableau or Class Modeling:  Students transform and apply their learning into doing by physically modeling a process or representing an image.
  5. Paper or Project Prospectus:  Students create a brief plan for a paper or project based on your guiding questions
    Techniques for Assessing Learner Attitudes, Values, and Self-Awareness
    A. Assessing Students’ Awareness of Their Attitudes and Values
    The CATs in this group are designed to assist instructors in developing students’ attitudes, opinions, values, and self-awareness within the course curriculum.

    28. Classroom Opinion Polls: Students indicate degree of agreement or disagreement with a statement or prompt
    29. Double-entry Journals: Students record and respond to significant passages of text
    30. Profiles of Admiral Individuals: Students write a brief description of the characteristics of a person they admire in a field related to the course
    31. Everyday Ethical Dilemma: Students respond to a case study that poses a discipline-related ethical dilemma
    32. Course-related Self-Confidence Surveys: Students complete an anonymous survey indicating their level of confidence in mastering the course material

    B. Assessing Students’ Self-Awareness as Learners
    The CATs in this group help students articulate their goals and self-concepts in order to make connections between their goals and those of the course.

    33. Focused Autobiographical Sketches: Students write a brief description of a successful learning experience they had relevant to the course material
    34. Interest/Knowledge/Skills Checklists: Students complete a checklist survey to indicate their knowledge, skills and interest in various course topics
    35. Goal Ranking and Matching: Students list and prioritize 3 to 5 goals they have for their own learning in the course
    36. Self-Assessment Ways of Learning: Students compare themselves with several different “learning styles” profiles to find the most likely match

    C. Assessing Course-Related Learning and Study Skills, Strategies, and Behaviors
    The CATs in this group assist students in focusing attention on the behaviors they engage in when trying to learn.

    37. Productive Study-Time Logs: Students complete a study log to record the quantity and quality of time spent studying for a specific course
    38. Punctuated Lectures: Students briefly reflect then create a written record of their listening level of a lecture. Repeat twice in the same lecture and 2- 3 times over 2 to 3 weeks
    39. Process Analysis: Students outline the process they take in completing a specified assignment
    40. Diagnostic Learning Logs: Students write to learn by identifying, diagnosing, and prescribing solutions to their own learning problems

    III. Techniques for Assessing Learner Reactions to Instruction
    A. Assessing Learner Reactions to Teachers and Teaching
    The CATS in this group are designed to provide context-specific feedback that can improve teaching within a course.

    41. Chain Notes: On an index card that is distributed in advance, each student responds to an open-ended prompt about his or her mental activity that is answered in less than a minute
    42. Electronic Survey Feedback:  Students respond to a question or short series of questions about the effectiveness of the course.
    43. Teacher-designed Feedback Forms:  Students respond to specific questions through a focused feedback form about the effectiveness of a particular class session
    44. Group Instructional Feedback Technique: Students respond to three questions related to their learning in the course (basically, what works, what doesn’t, and how can it be improved)
    45. Classroom Assessment Quality Circles: A group or groups of students provide the instructor with ongoing assessment of the course through structured interactions

    B. Assessing Learner Reactions to Class Activities, Assignments, and Materials
    The CATS in this group are designed to provide instructors with information that will help them improve their course materials and assignments.

    46. RSQC2 (Recall, Summarize, Question, Connect and Comment): Students write brief statements that recall, summarize, question, connect and comment on meaningful points from previous class
    47. Group-Work Evaluation: Students complete a brief survey about how their group is functioning and make suggestions for improving the group process
    48. Reading Rating Sheets: Students complete a form that rates the effectiveness of the assigned readings
    49. Assignment Assessments: Students respond to 2 or 3 open-ended questions about the value of an assignment to their learning
    50. Exam Evaluations: Students provide feedback about an exam’s learning value and/or format

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8611 Autumn 2021

5 How can a teacher’s diary be helpful for the reflection of a teacher?

A key finding of the report revealed that 30% of the technology budget should be used for teacher training. The focus up to that point had been mostly on purchasing hardware and software. This report helped bring the importance of effective professional development for teachers to the forefront. It is not surprising that during 1995, the Technology Innovation Challenge Grant (TICG) program funded the first 19 grants, which set the stage for the 91 that followed. From 1995-2000, 100 projects from 46 states and a total of $609.9 million invested have produced some of the most impressive, innovative education technology products, models and curriculum.

This article will focus on the models of professional development used by a variety of U.S. TICG programs. You will notice that a large number of 1998 projects are highlighted. This is because for that year’s competition, grant guidelines specifically mandated professional development by providing support to consortia that had developed programs, or were adapting or expanding existing programs, for technology training. The models to be explored are coaching and mentoring, face-to-face, train-the-trainer, and Web-based training.

Coaching & Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring is a research-based, highly effective professional development model that has been used extensively by Project Venture (1998, www.creighton.k12.az.us/projectventure/index.html) in Ph’enix, which is a diverse consortium consisting of urban, suburban and rural school districts. At the heart of the districts’ professional development model are 21 Technology Mentor Teachers (TMTs) who work with more than 330 teachers across the consortium.

TMTs are highly trained, certified teachers on assignment who use coaching and modeling techniques to help teachers effectively integrate technology in their classes. TMTs work one-on-one with teachers who are chosen through a rigorous application process, and receive five computers and a presentation system in their classroom. They build important relationships with their teachers that allow for the planning, modeling and reflecting of technology integration techniques with a focus on core curriculum and state standards.

This model has built great capacity and created a natural process of sustainability by having a significant number of highly trained teachers who are becoming technology leaders in their schools. Our project’s evaluator, Dee Ann Spencer, Ph.D., found that 65.6% of teachers were integrating technology to a great or seamless extent by the end of the project’s third year (2000).

Distance education poses the problems of professional development in a particularly acute form. These problems have been defined, broadly speaking, in relation to debates about the relation between theory and practice:

  • does theory address issues which concern practitioners as they do their job ?
  • how is theory applied to practice?
  • what counts as theory: are academic disciplines the only valid basis for the development of theory?
  • could there be a theory of practice, developed by practitioners themselves reflecting on their own direct professional experience?

These issues are confronted in a particularly acute form in the distance education context precisely because there are so few opportunities for face to face contact and therefore for the participant sharing which is the life blood of so much staff development. However there is potential in distance education for the achievement of more than a narrow banking concept of learning and in the area of professional development, for more than a utilitarian form of �updating�.

Multi-media course materials and carefully designed project assessment are just two of the strategies which can be used to engage students in deep rather than surface learning, and to enable them to relate course content to their own direct experience. Stainton Rogers for example, reports the success with which materials can be used in areas where there is very significant emotional content and where some might argue against any form of distance learning:

One of the most effective teaching items I have observed in use is a tape-recording of one woman�s problems – and her emotional reactions – arising from caring for her elderly mother … No class teacher�s description could have the impact of this harrowing story as told by the person who experienced it.1

Stainton Rogers identifies two major advantages in using a multi-media package of materials: the wider range of learning experiences which can be documented and portrayed, and the creation of a basis of common experience through course study which learners can use in their interactions with each other.

Group sessions are thus freed for the process of mutual interaction and engagement with new ideas, rather than the communication of material by a tutor in order to enable the process to begin. There is evidence therefore that distance education can be used successfully to communicate different approaches to �good practice� and to the development of understanding within professions such as nursing and social welfare. It does not of course resolve the basic problem of which elements of a large body of theory to present and how to work with practitioners in �appropriating� such knowledge and developing theoretical perspectives which can be productive in their own context. Usher and colleagues have commented on these issues as they apply to the professional development of adult educators and have suggested a move away from the technical rationality model which sees practice only in terms of the application of rules or principles derived from theory.2

These issues have been most consistently addressed in relation to teaching within compulsory education. Stenhouse and his colleagues developed the model of teacher as researcher during the 1970s, at a time when it might have seemed possible that the profession would develop in a fashion which would allow time for teachers to engage in problem definition, data collection and analysis as well as teaching. Research, particularly the action research model, was promoted as an informative and sensitising process, aspects of which might be undertaken by practitioners themselves as a means of refining their awareness of interaction and outcomes in teaching. Others have also focused on the interface between researcher and practitioner, and the teacher as researcher model is still alive in the projects and networks created by members of the British Educational Research Association, among others.

The application of these issues to the field of post compulsory education and training has been made more recently, especially in relation to the in-service development of adult educators. The practical implications of this debate however, could cover a very wide range of professions. All those who now have some role in the preparation and continuing education of adults- including therefore professionals in industrial training, management education, nurse education, youth and community work and the social services-have an interest in the facilitation of adult learning. This list draws attention to problem areas particular to the post compulsory sector: the heterogeneity of staff and the differences of culture and expectations over what constitutes appropriate professional training. Add to this the much less developed basis for practice, in the form of a theoretical and research based literature, and the scope of the problem is daunting.

Notwithstanding the difficulties created by these factors, there has been a noticeable growth during the eighties of postgraduate course provision in the area of post-compulsory education and training, and a growth of staff development opportunities in particular technologies for adult learning and development – open learning, student-centred learning and guidance to name some of the most popular. The Open University has also moved into this area, with the presentation in the early eighties of courses in policy and management for the post compulsory sector, and in adult education more generally.3 In 1988 students could add to these courses by studying quarter credit modules and by designing their own half credit project, to accumulate two full credits of OU study and thus qualify for the Diploma in Post Compulsory Education. There are now over 200 students studying for the Diploma, and the first fifteen were awarded the qualification in 1989.

One of the modules in this diploma, Approaches to Adult Learning (AAL), can be developed as a small case study illustrating the potential as well as the constraints for distance learning in this context.

The AAL Module is about how adults learn, learning being seen as a social process in which individuals demonstrate significant differences between each other over a number of dimensions. The Module is process as well as content oriented, and practitioners are asked to begin with reflection on their own learning and development prior to the course, and to build on this through activities and self review exercises. The focus for this student initiated work is the assignment, where students are offered a choice between a task exercising purely intellectual skills, and two where there is an element of practical experimentation. The fourth option is to design their own assignment and thus far none has chosen this, the most challenging of all.

The most popular choice has been the task of interviewing a small number of adults (in most cases their own students or clients) in order to explore their approach to learning – identifying similarities and differences between individuals, drawing on the theoretical perspectives introduced in the course. Underpinning the pedagogy of this module is Schön�s concept of the reflective practitioner, developed through application of ideas and approaches identified in the recent work on reflection by Boud and colleagues.4 For example, students are asked to keep a portfolio or journal during module study, not only to record reflection prompted by the activities included in the course, but as a means of working with and through the feelings as well as thoughts which are generated by their learning. An evaluation of this module during 1989 revealed a number of key features in the response of a sample of approximately 10% of those who had studied it over two course presentations. First was a strong sense of relevance in the content of the key ideas which had been used in the text. With one notable exception (see below), practitioners welcomed the particular areas of theory and research which had been used in the course materials. Specifically mentioned was the concept of reflection as a key process in adult learning, Sylvia Downs�s work on learning blockages5 and the exploration of differences between individual learners. Practitioners spoke of the illumination of their own practice which these ideas generated, and the sense of a new legitimacy being created for aspects of their intuitive learning based on direct experience of working with adults. The relevance of much of the content of the module is affirmed in the interview responses which have been selected below:

I think when (the tutor) suggested that reflection is a legitimate part of learning and one�s own learning, then I realised that I was a reflective practitioner, although I�d never had that theory to theorise before … there were some things that were particularly pertinent to the work I was doing at the time, which was … looking at training unqualified care assistants. And I think that reflection was one of them, but I think also that looking at concepts of learning and theories of learning was very important to me because … up to then, all my teaching had been teacher orientated and by intuition and by default, in a way � l don�t think it has changed my style, … but it has reinforced what I intuitively felt was the right way to go about teaching. And I think that it has given me authority so that I can now argue with people that this is the right way to go about it.

Manager, Social Services Centre for People with Senile Dementia

You know I�ve used the module very much as a means to an end, to improve my teaching practises, and there has been a definite change … in my general approach … I�m letting students find their way a lot more- just intervening when necessary … and think from looking at the way my trainees are working now, I think it�s helped them a lot more as well. It helped them to get a lot more independence in their learning and in their work.

Training Officer, private sector

Well I did the assignment on individual differences in the factors which affect learning and I feel that I�ve done that quite thoroughly and I�ve got a lot out of that. I think I�ve actually learnt a lot. I wasn�t consciously aware that there were so many differences in the way people learn and how opposite they are, you know, how contrasting they are, and I think for a teacher items obviously essential to be aware of that, so I think I�ve learned a lot from that point of view� I found that the section on reflection was quite useful and I think it has reinforced things that I already knew unconsciously, probably, things that I was already aware of, but that I had never read about and never thought that there were theories about it. So I found that quite helpful … the things I enjoyed doing and the things which resonated really were the ones which had a direct application in my work.

Tutor Organiser

I�ve always worked with adults, but this is actually giving what I see as the technical back-up and specific knowledge about my experiences and its slotting in together very nicely and very helpfully and it means that I feel that I can actually talk with more authority about adult learners. Which is very important-in terms of my interacting with other people in the Education Authority for example.

Field Officer, Open Learning

It is significant however, that Gagné�s information processing model of learning, which was also used in the module, was not found relevant by students, many of whom could not see how it applied to what they were doing as practitioners. Their appreciation of the rest of the content of the module refers to work where the practical implications had to some extent been developed by the authors already – areas of applied research (as in the work of Sylvia Downs) and the careful analysis of practitioner accounts of innovative practice using theories of reflection (Boud et al). we may conjecture that these ideas were picked up and used immediately because they incorporated a developed version of the practical implications of theory as the theory itself. Practitioners might have been able to interact more productively with the information-processing model if its practical implications had been similarly more developed in the text. The Approaches to Adult Learning module has been described as process oriented, and two of the key mechanisms for achieving this were the assignment and the use of a portfolio by students as they worked through the module. The evaluation revealed that the assignment was the most powerful in its immediate impact on the students. Those who chose to interview their own students often commented spontaneously on the surprise at what they found, and on the value of the exercise as a whole:

The most important part of studying Module 1 was the assignment that I did because I interviewed people for the first time ever on tape. I did an assignment concerning the different ways in which adults learn, and it suddenly made all sorts of pennies drop for me. I could actually suddenly feel something that I could understand that I hadn�t understood before, which was that people who had done well at school and so on, it hadn�t just happened. They�d actually had a way of doing it. The people I spoke to who had been �successful� learners had had actual strategies for doing it, even when they were just at school, and they developed those strategies as they got older � I used (Boud) extensively in the assignment because it just fitted in exactly to what people had said. I could underline bits and say �Kate said this� and �Helen said that�. And these are all people that I knew reasonably well and it was quite fascinating to do it, so I really enjoyed doing the assignment.

Job Club Organiser

By contrast, students were less clear about the portfolio idea. Although students had readily taken up and used the idea of reflection, they had not all used the portfolio idea as enthusiastically. About half those interviewed felt they had not used the portfolio idea as suggested, for reasons which will now be familiar to those with experience of part time higher education – lack of time, lack of contact with other students and tutor, study habits difficult to change and so on. These students felt that they needed more than the course materials to motivate them to keep a portfolio. They wanted time devoted to it in tutorials and to feel that there would be opportunities to share their perceptions with other students. Isolation they found demotivating, for this purpose. Unlike the assignment, the portfolio was not mandatory for successful course completion, and the tutor was not required to see it. What can we learn from this experience? I intend to develop some general ideas through relating the student experience I have outlined, to Kolb�s model of learning.6 Kolb identifies four dialetically opposed modes of knowing and of learning: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract analysis and active experimentation. Traditional course study, especially in the university context, emphasises the abstract analysis mode of learning. Kolb�s contention is that the most complete and integrated learning requires skills in all modes, and that we have tended to under value the concrete experience mode in particular. The Module 1 experience would seem to support his case and for two main reasons.

First, in studying part time, these students were immersed in their own direct experience of adult learning and able to compare it with their comprehension of abstract ideas presented through the course materials, in a continuing way. This is evidenced in a number of comments where students refer to the immediate context of their work where they were applying the ideas to which the course introduced them. This acts to reinforce those understandings which fit with their direct experience but also provides an arena where new understandings which appear superior to existing frameworks can be tried out. one student for example, referred to the impact of her OU module course work on training courses she was involved in running for part time tutors of adults:

Well the way we ran the ACSET course (a course for part time teachers of adults) is being looked at very carefully now. I�m not saying it�s only as a result of doing the Module but it�s certainly contributed to that. And I�m not saying everything was black before and its white now-you know I don�t think it�s as clear-cut as that – but I think it�s a general awareness �

Tutor Organiser

But apart from opportunities for reviewing practice in the light of theory, the part-time study context also enabled students to engage in active experimentation in the form of their assignment. The interview exercise required students to explore the implications of the assertion that there are significant differences between adults in the way they learn and in their experience of learning. The exercise required them to apply abstract analytical thought to the design of questions and the analysis of the responses their interviewees made. However it was the experience of finding out new information about their students� lives and experience of learning which made the greatest impact. This concrete experience of diversity generated powerful learning and placed the propositional knowledge familiar to them from the course materials, in a new light.

Whether or not Kolb�s view is right, that learners should develop their abilities in all four modes of learning, this experience does suggest that course work which creates a legitimate context in which practitioners can use their direct professional experience, and alternate between abstract analysis through course work, and reflection on concrete experience, creates a more powerful learning context than one which relies solely on abstract analytical thought. In this case the legitimacy was created by the use of theory which (after Schön) argues that practice is a significant source of learning, and can be used to generate theory. The concept of reflection was introduced as the key process through which experience is appropriated for learning and the �mechanism� for transforming both experience and theory. The active scheduling of time within the study plan for the students to make use of their own direct experience was a feature of this distance learning module and one which could be transferred readily to face to face contexts especially where students are studying part time.

The second point to make concerns the difference between propositional knowledge and active experimentation. Most students seemed to have identified with the centrality of reflection as a key process in adult learning, especially learning from experience. However not all were able to transfer their comprehension of the idea directly to their own practice in using a portfolio. Several needed more time to develop practical strategies for the portfolio, in the context of discussion with their peers, and would have valued peer feedback on their entries. This suggests that we cannot take for granted the learning processes on which the reflective practitioner strategy rests. Reflection is something we engage in every day, but it is being proposed in this context as a means of achieving specific learning outcomes – staff development in particular. Its deliberate and strategic use in this way is not an everyday phenomenon, and the experience reported suggests that non-threatening experimentation and peer group support are required.

Apart from the underlying epistemological problems of the theory-practice relation, there are also context specific factors which doubtless operate in the ease of experience reported by Usher et al. Courses aimed (in part if not completely) at goals of professional development have particular problems arising from the university context. Universities and higher education generally, characteristically value abstract analytical knowledge more highly than other forms of knowing, and assess in terms of outcomes defined typically in the form of �academic� essays. On a regular basis, however, the professional context is more likely to create opportunities for learning from concrete experience and active experimentation. This may be one reason why the assignment in the Open University experience reported was so fruitful as a learning opportunity. Theory may be so difficult for practitioners to use, partly because of lack of recent experience in learning from abstract analytical knowledge. Time is needed therefore, and a structured context of the kind provided by an Open University assignment, to explore the concrete implications (even in terms of the implications for �my students� and �my teaching/facilitation�) of abstract theories.

Professional development courses are more likely to succeed for their students if the number and scope of theoretical concepts and approaches is matched by �space� within the programme for active processing of the new ideas. Active processing can take many forms, but the key processes reported here are reflection and active experimentation. Students need time within the allotted study hours of the course to think through (reflect upon) the implications of their study, and to learn from concrete experience in using new ideas, (preferably in their own professional context) within the bounds of the course. The learning processes that students need to develop to achieve the outcomes of professional development however cannot be taken for granted and need explicit discussion and facilitator and peer group support during the course of learning itself.

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