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Posts Tagged ‘bird

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When I watched this TED-Ed video last week, I thought about ways of thinking, i.e., old, new, and current.

Using the seasonal disappearance of birds as an example, one old theory was that birds transformed into other creatures.

A new theory was that the birds hibernated. While this was true of just a few birds, it did not apply to all.

Our now current knowledge is that those birds migrate seasonally. This is backed up by data and the phenomenon can be confirmed repeatedly and reliably with the aid of technology.

We have old, new, and current theories on how people learn and the virus that causes COVID-19. While those two examples seem incomparable, they share the facts that:

  • The old theories are almost comical because they rely on superficial observation.
  • The new theories have some support, but are not generalisable.
  • The current theories have broad support because they are tested rigorously by research and practice.

I am just about done with the formal grading of written assignments from teaching assistants. I would like to share a pattern I have noticed over several semesters of this work. I also suggest reasons for the pattern.

But first, a bit of background.

Previously I shared my practice of “first in-first out” feedback instead of following the alphabetical order by name in a register.

Providing feedback to learners who submit their work first is my way of acknowledging their effort. Furthermore, the longer the time between submission and feedback, the more distant the recall and the less meaningful the feedback. So why punish an ABC responder with an XYZ surname?

What is the pattern that I have noticed over several semesters? Early responders tend to do better in their assignments.

This should not be surprising because these learners are more likely to be better time-managers, more organised, more reflective, or quicker with content.

I have listed the traits in the order that I think contributes the most. The early birds do better not because they have grasped the content faster from the classes. They do better because they have better habits and attitudes.

Habits and attitudes are easy to talk about but difficult to teach. They must be modelled and insisted upon. This means working on my own habits so that I can be a good model and having the moral courage to discipline the wayward.

The early bird might get the worm, but it does so only because an older bird showed it how and why, and pecked junior on the head from time to time.

I love this Teens React video by the Fine Bros.

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I must remember to add it to my list of reflective resources for participants of my game-based learning workshops.

They might ponder on questions like:

  • What is the effect of failure in this game?
  • Why to the teens persist?
  • When and why do they stop?
  • How is the teaching and learning different from what happens in a traditional classroom?
  • How do you transfer these game-based principles to teaching (and even if you do not play games)?


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