Crossroads - The Music of American Cultures - Elizabeth F. Barkley - 3rd Edition.pdf

Crossroads - The Music of American Cultures - Elizabeth F. Barkley - 3rd Edition.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: C H A P T E R O N E Understanding and Remembering the Journey I’ve chosen Norah Jones’ mellow “Travelin’ On” to include in this first chapter as we start our journey exploring American music. In the lyrics she says, “don’t be too hard on yourself,” which should also apply to your participation in this course. If you put in a reasonable amount of effort, you are going to be fine, so relax and enjoy the trip! Chapter 1: Understanding and Remembering the Journey Playlist # Song Title Artist 1 Amor Prohibido Selena 2 Lose Yourself Eminem 3 Ohio Neil Young 4 Remember the Name Fort Minor 5 Travelin’ On Norah Jones Introduction As we begin our travels together exploring American music, I invite you to take a few moments to think about other trips you have taken. Which ones made a lasting impression upon you, and which ones have you pretty much forgotten? I traveled a lot as a child by car and by train. I re- E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g member looking out the window at the scenery passing by, and the images I saw then remain vividly in my memory now. As I watch children traveling today, many engrossed in their electronic games and portable DVD players, I wonder how much will they remember of their excursion? I have sometimes traveled for work and to conferences, checked in to the hotel, and never left the building to investigate the surrounding city. As a result, I did not learn much about my travel destination, nor do I even remember the hotel. If one does not make the effort to pay attention and engage in what is happening, one is likely to forget most of the experience. I would like you to be engaged in and remember our voyage together, so how can I help you do that? I explored this topic extensively a few years ago and concluded that student engagement results from the synergistic interaction of motivation and active learning (Barkley, 2010). To offer you insights on how you can help yourself be an engaged learner in this course as well as to explain why I have organized it the way I have, let us first explore basic principles drawn from the research and theory on motivation and active learning. About Motivation and Learning Motivation is a theoretical construct to explain the reason or reasons we partake in a particular behavior. It is the feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes us want to do something. Brophy defines motivation in the classroom as “the level of enthusiasm and the degree to which students invest attention and effort in learning” (2004, p. 4). Research demonstrates that motivation to learn is an acquired competence developed through an individual’s cumulative experience with learning situations. Some of you enrolled in this class with a high motivation to learn. Others of you may be more motivated by the economic opportunities associated with the professions and careers you hope to have once you graduate. Regardless of your general disposition, motivation is also activated or suppressed in specific situations: even if you are generally motivated to learn you may be less enthusiastic in a course which you feel coerced to take because it is a reHave you ever sat in class and thought, quired element of the general education “This is a waste of my time!” pattern. Conversely, you may be gener©Wavebreakmedia, 2012.Used under license from Shutterstock, Inc. ally unmotivated to learn but may become quite enthusiastic about learning E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !2 in a specific course. Motivation has been researched extensively and has led to many different theoretical models. Today’s theorists observe that much of what researchers have found can be organized within an expectancy x value model. This model holds that the effort that people are willing to expend on a task is the product of the degree to which they expect to be able to perform the task successfully (expectancy) and the degree to which they value the task itself (value). People will not willingly invest effort in tasks that they do not enjoy and that do not lead to something they value even if they know that they can perform the tasks successfully, nor do they willingly invest effort in even highly valued tasks if they believe that they cannot succeed no matter how hard they try. In short, your motivation is strongly influenced by what you think is important and what you believe you can accomplish. In this textbook, I have tried to create a context that you will find motivating by trying to help you find value in what you are learning and by helping you develop high expectancy about your own ability to succeed. Helping You Find Value in What You are Learning in This Course You may be genuinely interested in learning about the roots of American music and hence find the content intrinsically interesting. Alternately, you may have enrolled in this course because you hope it will be the least painless way to check off an annoying general education requirement. Your personal reasons for enrolling in the course will naturally influence how much value you find in what I am trying to teach you. That said, I have tried to help you find value in the course content by: • Attempting to make the content relevant by foregrounding connections between history and the present. • Organizing each music chapter into an easy-to-follow and standardized sequence consisting of Historical and Social Context, Structural Characteristics, Stylistic Categories, and Key Musicians. • Including Side Trips on topics (such as this chapter’s comments on the power of music) that I hope you will find interesting. • Choosing a wide range of music examples that have been carefully selected to be enjoyable as well as informative. • Bundling the textbook with a Rhapsody subscription so that you can pursue additional music examples as well as your own music preferences. • Focusing on significant learning rather than busywork. To do this, I have identified learning outcomes correlated to Fink’s Significant Learning Taxonomy (2013) as described in the following table. E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !3 Fink’s Significant Learning Taxonomy and Course Learning Outcomes Taxonomy Dimension General Definition This Course’s Learning Outcome Foundational Knowledge Understanding and remembering the information, ideas, and perspectives that form the basis for other kinds of learning in the subject area. By the end of this course, a successful learner will demonstrate detailed knowledge regarding the structural characteristics, stylistic categories, key musicians, and historical context of a variety of American music genres. Application Making connections between ideas, learning experiences, and different realms of life so that everything is put into context and learning is more powerful. By the end of this course, a successful learner will be able to distinguish between American music genres by applying knowledge of structural characteristics, stylistic traits, and performance attributes. Human Dimension Learning about the personal and social implications of what one is learning, thus giving the learning significance as learners learn about themselves and others. By the end of this course, a successful learner will be able to discuss with insight and understanding the multicultural context and the social and personal implications of American music genres. Learning How to Learn Learning about the process of learning and how to become a better, more selfdirected learner, which enables learners to continue learning and do so with greater effectiveness. By the end of this course, a successful learner will demonstrate self-managed learning in a comprehensive journal in which they reflect upon, evaluate, and describe their own learning process. Source: Adapted from Fink, L.D. (2013), Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, pp. 35-37. Helping You Expect to be Successful in This Course Whether or not you succeed in this course depends primarily upon the effort you invest, but I have implemented several strategies in an effort to help you feel confident that if you do try, you will succeed. I am trying to help you succeed in this course by: • Being clear and explicit about what you are expected to learn in stated learning outcomes (see table above) and then including “Travel Guides” for each chapter that identify how that chapter’s learning activity supports your achievement of the learning outcomes. • Including a number of “Travel Tools” that range from additional online resources to tips from prior students. E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !4 • Creating “Flash Cards” for both vocabulary and concepts that provide you with an opportunity to review the material you will be quizzed upon. • Providing you with a list of questions at the end of each lab from which the lab questions will be drawn, thereby giving you the opportunity to determine the correct answer before taking the quiz. • Allowing you to select an ‘alternate’ lab question if you are unable to answer the given lab question. • Ensuring that all of the assessments are clear and straightforward with no “tricks.” Motivation is the portal to engaged learning, but it is important to realize that motivation is internal and individual - I can’t ‘motivate’ you to learn in this class, but I have tried to create a context that you will find motivating by implementing the strategies described above that address the two key components of motivation: value and expectancy. Let us now turn our attention to active learning. About Active Learning Defining Active Learning “Active learning” is an umbrella term that puts into practice over a half-century of research that demonstrates that to truly learn, we need to take new information and make it our own by working it into our personal knowledge and experience. The term is often used as a contrast to “passive learning,” which is where the learner is simply ingesting information without taking part in processing it. This kind of learning rests lightly on the brain and is soon forgotten. It is easy to confuse active learning with physical activity, thinking, for example, that if you are in a class doing group work such as small group discussion, you are doing active learning. Although doing group work is more likely to promote active learning than sitting in a lecture hall quietly listening, active learning is not an automatic result. If you have participated in group work, you know that from a learning perspective, sometimes it is a waste of time. If group work is off-task, redundant, or superfluous, you might even feel that it is aggravating and frustrating. Active learning does not mean “activity,” but rather, it means that your mind is actively engaged. Its defining characteristics are that you are a dynamic participant in your learning and that you are reflecting on and monitoring both the processes and the results of your learning. Reading the text in this online book or even sitting in a lecture hall can be active learning if you are selfquestioning, analyzing, and incorporating the information you are reading or hearing into your existing knowledge. To better understand how active learning occurs, it is useful to have at least a basic understanding of its neurological basis. What We Know from Neuroscience E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !5 Neuroscientists are making amazing discoveries about what happens within our brains when we are learning. The brain is composed of cells called neurons. Although these neurons start out as round cell bodies, as we learn, each cell body grows a single long root called an axon as well as hundreds of thousands of short branches called dendrites. Neurons receive information through the dendrites then send it as a signal down the axon where chemical neurotransmitters are “fired” across a gap in a structure called the synapse to be received by the dendrites of a neighboring neuron. As the neurotransmitter enters the dendrites of the new neuron, it sparks a series of electro-chemical reactions that cause the receiving neuron also to “fire” through its axon. The process continues in a sequence from neuron to neuron until there is a pattern or network of neuronal connections firing together. This sequence is initiated in response to the thousands of stimuli we experience every Neurons with cell body, axons, and dendrites. moment of our lives. Our neurons stay in a state ©J u a n G a e r t n e r, 2 0 1 2 . Sh u t t e rs t oc k, I n c. of readiness for hours or even days after one of these firing events, but if the pattern is not stimulated again, the neuronal network will decay so that our brain does not get cluttered with useless information. If the pattern is repeated while the neurons are in a state of readiness and the pattern of neurons fires together again, the network of connections becomes more permanent. Each of the approximately 100 billion neurons and its thousands of neighbors intertwine to form an extraordinarily complex, integrated network of about 100 trillion constantly changing connections. Through repetition, these patterns of connections are strengthened and we “learn” and “remember.” On the other hand, if the connections are never or seldom repeated, the associated network dissolves and we “forget.” The axon is the primary mechanism for sending the information (teach), the dendrites are the primary way by which our neurons receive information (learn), and everything that we know and understand is preserved in the networks created by this exchange of information. You are an adult, so when you learn, you are building upon or modifying networks you created earlier in your life. If the new information fits easily with the old information, the existing network is strengthened and the information is said to be “assimilated.” If the new information challenges the existing information sufficiently that the existing structure needs to be revised, it is said to be “accommodated.” The more dendrites you have on which to hang or attach new information, the easier it is to learn and retain new information. This is why it is so difficult to learn information about someE l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !6 thing for which we have absolutely no background, and much easier to add new information in areas about which we are already quite knowledgeable. Furthermore, on a general basis, the greater number of basic neuronal networks you have, the easier it is to form more complex networks. Thus from the perspective of neuroscience, learning is long-lasting change in neuronal networks. When we are learning “actively,” we are helping our brains grow dendrites that activate and build on existing neuronal networks. What We Know from Cognitive Psychology Cognitive psychologists call this network of associations a schema, or in plural form, schemata. A schema consists of facts and ideas organized into a meaningful system of relationships. For example, our brains have schemata for events, places, procedures, and people. You are a college student, and your brain has a schema for the college in which you are enrolled. When you think about your college, your brain’s schema might include concepts such as how much time it typically takes you to look for a parking place, the architectural style of the Admissions building, and memories of courses, classrooms, professors, and fellow students. Your schema is the organized collection of bits of information that have gone into constructing your unique and individual concept of the college. Another student’s schema of the same college would be quite different, even if in other respects they were similar to you. Furthermore, one can easily imagine the ‘rich’ schema that would be in the mind of a student who has been at that college for many years and contrast it with the relatively sparse schema of someone who had simply heard of the college. The potential for errors and misunderstanding is readily apparent if you think about the erroneous connections that would result if someone confused the college with another college with a closely related name or a college that has the same name but is located in a different state. For example, there are nine colleges or universities in the United States that begin with “St. John’s” as well as one that starts with “St. Johns.” How important well-developed schemata are is evident in research on the differences between the learning of novices and experts. A college professor who is an expert in a subject quickly grasps new information about the subject because there are already a large number of connections to existing knowledge. A student who is new to that subject is a novice, and in contrast, has a very difficult time learning the same information, not because he or she is less smart than the expert college professor, but because there are few connections between new and existing information and every connection has to be “manufactured.” You have probably experienced this yourself if you have ever taken a course on a topic for which you have had no background. It takes courage to enroll in a course outside one’s comfort zone and persistence to stick with it because as you struggle to learn a whole new vocabulary and set of concepts, it may feel as though the teacher is talking in a foreign language. As with neuroscience’s neuronal networks, cognitive psychology’s schemata change and grow as we experience and learn new things throughout our life. E l i z a b e t h F. B a r k l e y • K e n d a l l H u n t P u b l i s h i n g • G r e a t R i v e r L e a r n i n g !7 The Role of Transfer in Active Learning When we encounter new information, our brain searches for any past learnings that are similar to or associated with something we have already experienced. If our brain finds something, the corresponding neuronal networks or schema are activated, reinforcing the already-stored information as well as assisting in interpreting and assigning meaning to the new information. Svinicki (2004a, p. 99) notes that there are many types of transfer, but two types are the most important for purposes of teaching and learning. The first is positive versus negative transfer. If the connections our brain makes between new and existing understandings are accurate, the search results in positive transfer that can aid us in integrating new learning. If, on the other hand, the connections are incorrect, the result is negative transfer, which creates confusion and errors. For example, if we are an English speaker learning Spanish, “mucho” in Spanish sounds similar to “much” in English and is an easy word for us to learn. On the other hand, “mano a mano” sounds like “man to man” and is often translated as such, though it actually means “hand to hand.” The second type of transfer is near versus far transfer, which refers to the type of task. Near transfer occurs between tasks that look very much alike and follow the same rules for responding, while a far transfer task is where the same rules apply, but the rules are transferred to a different setting. “Far transfer” requires us to think more than “near transfer.” Svinicki (2004b, pp. 100-101) offers driving a mid-level automatic sedan as an example: if you’ve already driven one, you can easily drive any other because the steering wheel, gear shift, windshield wipers, and turn signals all look alike and are in the same position. If, on the other hand, you get into a car that is very different from o...
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