Archive for November, 2011


Communicating Effectively

While viewing “The Art of Effective Communication” video, these are the impressions I was left with after reviewing the lessons taught through different modalities. My responses will be analyzing how I understand the tone, changes in interpretation, and content through each modality.

Written Text

There was a definite sense of urgency in the email for Mark to finish up his portion of the project. Timing appears to be critical, and Jane’s work will be directly effected by Mark’s work. This email implies that Mark should have been done with the work already and that Mark is late in getting it to Jane. Jane uses a very sincere writing style and is pleading for the documents to be finished up and given to her.

Audio

Again there was a sense of urgency because Jane asked several times for the report to be sent over. Her voice was sincere, but also to the point. I could sense a little bit of frustration in her voice, that did not come across in the email.

Video

It is interesting that when I saw her face to face, I didn’t feel the urgency as strongly as I did through the voicemail and email. Seeing her also made me feel more calm, and probably more responsive to her needs.

Implications for Working with Project Team Members

I found the email was the modality that created the most urgency. In this situation, the email appeared to be the most effective in creating the needed urgency to assure that Mark would do his portion of the work in time for Jane to be able to act upon the data.

Relationships are key in working with other team members, and the face to face communication was the most effective for maintaining a positive working relationship. The voice mail and the email on the other hand were able to create the needed urgency that this work needed to be done.

To create the urgency and maintain a strong working relationship, it would be best to have a face to face conversation about the needs, and then follow up with an email to restate and formalize the needs that were expressed.

Background

Measurement is a difficult subject to address in my eighth and ninth grade courses. When students come into my room 50% of the students know how to measure and 50% of them have no clue. When deciding to address the learning gaps, I decided that there were enough students that didn’t know how to measure so the entire class would participate in the lecture.

During the lecture based lesson, I called for answers and received them quickly from the students who already knew how to measure. Being comfortable with what I was saying and being reaffirmed by quick responses from students, I assumed that the lesson was a success.

Reality

After I completed the lesson, students were then expected to know how to measure to a 1/16” accuracy on their projects. I was disappointed to find that about the same number of students still did not know how to measure properly. Looking back at the lesson, I realized that I did not address the needs of the students who did not know how to measure, and my lesson should have been focused on these learners.

Instructional Design to the Rescue

The planning phase is essential to a successful project, and a part of the process is learner analysis. In specifically analyzing the students who did not know how to measure, I would have developed a lesson that would have better met their needs. I could have asked myself and the students with the need what kind of experiences with measurement they have had, how have they been taught to measure in the past, and how they feel about math subjects. By analyzing theses learner more in depth, I could have formulated a better lesson for them.

Application

Since that failure of a lesson, I have approached measurement very differently in my classroom. Although I did not formally run through the learner analysis laid out in ADDIE, (because I didn’t know about it), I did recognize that there had to be a better way of reaching these students.

I ended up having conversations with these students about their learning to determine how to approach the subject. From this knowledge, I was able to build a new approach, that tackles the issue from more than one angle.

New Approaches to Addressing Learning Gaps

Students often don’t want to learn something until they need to know it, so I have put more emphasis in creating attractive projects that students will want to build which also requirethem to know how to measure. With these motivating projects, I now have students who come to me asking how to measure.

Measurement is more easily taught in a one on one or small group setting, where it is easier to check for understanding. As I discover students do not know how to measure, I pull them aside and have honest conversations about their ability. Most admit that they do not know how to measure and then I can take next steps.

References

Greer, M. (2010). Theprojectmanagementminimalist: JustenoughPMtorockyourprojects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.