journal article part 2 - FREIM:Easterm MI University-CT...

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Unformatted text preview: FREIM :Easterm MI University-CT?! FPIX ND. :734 487-3443 Feb. [215 2888 212:5le P2 \l'y'!‘ "'."‘ ME: The Southern Con-mmnicatz'on journal authors, interview transcriptions, and email messages between the instructor and stu— I. dialectical dents. We found no discrepancies among the three kinds of data. Second, we conduc- 1 Silent, Mm ted member checks by inviting two participants to read and to comment on the I to the inst; I accuracy of the report. These students confirmed that the themes presented here their self-i represented their experiences. Third, we used. direct quotes in the following expiir- 3; pariah] th. cation to allow readers to make their own assessment of the quality of the themes. I ' ‘ Teacher-re v Findings Students v ated the v Field note observations suggested that each class meeting followch the same general T d wu stu e y .‘ format: On most days students were required to take an online quiz over the textbook . Chapter before it was introduced in class. The instructor prepared. a brief one—page , ‘ handout. that served as an outline of the day‘s main topics. The class proceeded by Nlmle brief lectures (less than 10 minutes), interspersed with discussion, teachersled ques— ' tion-and—answer, and various other activities. including brief dyadic and group dis— H cussions, a role—play. a networking exercise, and student presentations. Grades were I Rosie: based on writing assignments of case studies, two longer papers, and three essay " exams. During the semester’s first six weeks, the class was conducted in standard fun mat with the instructor standing before rows of desks, During a particular classroom activity, the class was rearranged into a circle with the instructor seated. Students 5 L11“; many ' lilcecl this arrangement so well that they requested they continue meeting in a circle, ‘i pate by the , I which they did for the remainder of the semester. In interviews, all but two students .' be,- thc ma I reported liking the circle, believing that .it stimulated more interaction among 1 At the 1 ‘15 students and allowed them to see other students‘ reactions. ' inhibited t if; The instructor promoted a comfortable, open atmosphere in the classroom. All of ‘ flutes, W113 the participants in this study reported how well the instructor taught and how much ..' Particular ‘ they enjoyed the class, even if it was not their favorite topic. Most of the participants j: quite 011m; "3 reported that they enjoyed coming to class and felt a part of the class because it was , one Elsa?“ . the most interactive class they had ever taken in their college career. As a result they teacher war generally prepared for each class by reading the chapters and taking the online j. ambigmus quizzes, knowing that they would he expected to speak during the class. They inclim cated that they were willing to speak up during class because the classroom was a very Ale“: comfortable environment, and they felt that their ideas were welcome. Nevertheless, because the classroom is also a small group, interactions among the students created dialectical tensions beyond the control of the instructor. Daspite " Although [3 their ttnanimous acclaim for the teacher, these students had different reactions to the instruct each other and to particular events in the classroom. We identified three primary dia- I In inter-r lectical tensions concerning class participation, the structure of the course, and issues other class: related to time management. -‘ fl Elizabc‘ w Participating and Remaining Silent Although students held that this was a very welcoming classroom and they enjoyed Rehw being encouraged and expected to participate, they nevertheless experienced FREIM tEaSter‘n MI University-CW9 FFIX ND. :734 487-3443 Istrnctor and ate :ond, we conduc- 3ornnient on the s presented here following expli- of the themes. the same general wet the textbook a brief one-page tss proceeded by cacherwled ques- : and group dis- ins. Grades were and three essay in standard for- icnlar classroom seated. Students sting in a circle, it“: two students traction among :lassroom. All of and how much the participants s because it was As a result they ting the online lass. They indi— ‘ooin was a very 1E5. ions among the ructor. Despite ant reactions to tie primary dia~ urse,-and issues .d they enjoyed 55 experienced Classroom lJiut‘iri'tirs My dialectical tensions between their desire to participate and their desire to remain silent. Many factors pulled the students in these two directions, some of them related to the instrttctor, sortie of them related to other students, and some of them related in their self-image and personality. In discussing the tension related to class partici- pation, they sometimes compared this class to other classes they had experienced, Tericher- rein ted fa ctnrs ‘ Students were sensitiva to the invitation from the teacher to participate and appreci- ated the way the instructor invited, encouraged, and expected them to participate. Two students commented on enjoying participation in this class: Nicole: It’s one of' the most talkative classes 1 think i’ve ever been in like as far as the dialogue. between the students and the teacher goes. . , but maybe it’s becauso he asks for it more than other teachers. . . . A lot of teachers don’t even ask for interaction. Rosie: i like to participate . . . .lt makes me remember all the words and sttlfttnot'e. because then later when l have to rcgurgitate it, -I’m like, oh yeah, that one day when, you know, we were talking about this, I had this example For that. And so, that helps. Like many others, these two students indicated that they Felt encouraged to partici— pate by the teacher and that their participation helped thorn to learn and to remem— ber the material. At the same time, group members felt that sometimes the teacher’s responses inhibited their participation. For example, one day in class, as noted in the field notes, when the topic was norms, the students discussed openly the norms of this particular class, specifically how the instructor responded to answers that were not quite on target. Students commented that when the instructor responded with “Any- one else?" or gave a “brunt.” they knew that their answers were either not what the teacher wanted or just plain wrong. One student explained more directly how these ambiguous responses affected her class participation: Alex: I think there was one clay when I got a couple of those “l-lnnn“ like right in a row that I was like. ..“l am not going to say anything in this class today. . .hecause t'ihvit'iusly ilt'n just not on the right track." Although Alex usually felt encouraged to participate, she indicated that sometimes the instructor’s responses discouraged her from participating. in interviews, some students reported strong discriuragement to participate in other classes, as exemplified by these two students: Elizabeth: Our views are definitely suppressed in most classes because they don’t really want to leave it open For discussion. . . . Or they say there's room for discussion, and than someone says something, and you get this [negativei reaction. RElieCL‘a: ltpeoplc did choose to volunteer their opinion . . . a lot of the times the teacher [of another class] had something to correct them or students Feb. [215 EththB 82:51PM P3 :Eastern MI University-CTF‘I FF‘IX ND. :734 487-3443 HR The Southern Corrtmtmicnriort [titty-rm! felt that if you did tt‘t say what he wanted to hear. you knoW, they were: hesitant to voice their opinion. . . .T would almost say that they Were scared of him. "I ‘h ese two stttden ts reported that tea chers’ behaviors in other classes often discouraged them front speaking either by creating an impression that only certain views Were acceptable or that the topics had correct and incorrect opinions. Although not as severe in this class, students still sometimes felt a tension betWeen the teacher's invitation to participate and the teacher’s actual responses to their participation. Other students Although the instructor invited students to participate and students wanted to accept. that invitation, students sometimes felt pressure from other students to remain silent for a variety of reasons. Two students commented on this tension: Alex: Sometimes i feel like i talk too rrtttch in class. that i should stop talking in class. But i know it’s frustrating for [the instructorl, and it’s frustrating for tne when he asks a question and I‘m sitting there that I know the answer. No one. else is saying anything. Rosie: I may have an answer or something. bttt i don’t raise my hand right away, because it would be nice to hear from, you know, other people who don't talk much. And i. think students might think that too, that she likes to talk all the time, you know. (knicern over others‘ reactions limited these students participation. They Were silent because they did not want to be perceived as talking too much or as preventing others from participating. The concerns of these students were perhaps legitimate, as other students could be irritated. by those who talked too much. The tension between participation and silence was evident in Jake’s complaint: r‘And it kind of bothers me at times because... [a student] refers back to a lot of the same situations a lot. of the time. . . . But if he’s not talking, then who is, you know?” Jake clearly expressed the partici- pation tension because he both felt that the student talked too much and at the same time said it was acceptable if no one else was participating. Students sometimes felt pressure to be silent because of the reactions of other students to their ideas. Elizabeth explained what happened. to her one day in class: i raised. my hand and l ottercct something. and there was another person in class who looked back like at me like, “Weird. that was insane! Like that was the roost insane thing i eyer heard of!" . . .And so I didn’t think I said anything again that day. She felt censured by the response of another student to the content of her comments it: this case. 'l‘hcsc cit-ample: provide evidence: that students experience a dialectical tension between the invitation of the instructor to participate and the reactions of other stu- dents who would prefer that they not speak so often or who judged their ideas harshly. t t i: Feb. [215 2888 8%:52PM P4 internal student Students report Although they they participate used uniquenes tribute somethi: much as others Due to her own tributed when s pation for othe; Jake: M try as be Rebecca: 50 ha l‘lit 1T1] lake limited hit experience in ['11 she hesitated, sl‘ instructor’s recp: caused these stu Alternatively, created tension as Mark explain Mark: Som least can : And it? 9:: Because not e risk of being wrt ested, as the foil: Michelle: Researcher: Michelle: FREIM :EaStET‘r‘I MI University-CW9 FFIX ND. :734 487-3443 'IUW, they were that they were often discouraged :ertain views were tough not as severe :her’s invitation to s wanted to accept its to remain silent I: stop talking in . Frustrating for ow the answer. ind right away. :iple who don"t the likes to talk n. They were silent s preventing others r students could be participation and hers me at titnes l a lot of the time. pressed the partici ch and at the same reactions of other r one day in class: person in class e that was the anything again it of her tsjnntnents dialectical tension ctions ol‘ other stu-i their ideas harshly. FEJo. £15 2888 82:52PM (.‘irtsm‘mlm iiittit'r'lt’t‘s .ltt'l Internal student tensions Students reported being pulled by different internal tensions regarding participation. Although they all appreciated the instructor’s invitation to participate, in the end. they participated in response to balancing their internal tensions, For example, Kin-la used uniqueness as her criterion for participating selectively: “Usually, ] try to con-- tribute something that is not immediately obvious, which is why I don’t pa rtieipule as much as others sometimes. I just try to contribute something relevant and dillercnt.” Due to her own internal drive. she chose not to answer easy questions, and only con-- tributed when she had something unique to offer. Two other students limited part ici- pation for other reasons: lake: Most of the time . . , [’1] just sit there and let cvnrything soak in, and just try to get the information as accurately as possible. . . . And my. . . experi- expcrientc is very limited. . , .I don't participate that tnuch either, because I just don’t have examples For them. Rebecca: Sometimes I sit there and i really want: to say something, you know, you have something to say, or you just like hesitate, and one person will raise their hand and they‘ll say it, and you’re like, "I knew I should have raised my hand.” Jake limited his participation because he preferred to listen and felt he had less experience in the topic, whereas Rebecca wanted to speak up sometitnes, but because she hesitated, she often missed her chance by waiting too long. In both cases, the instructor’s request For participation was unable to overcome the internal issues that caused these students not to participate. Alternatively, enduring the silence that occurs when people do not participate created tension for the more outspoken students when they wanted. to participatt‘, as Mark explained: Mark: Sometimes I think it‘s almost Frustrating because it's a very clear answer, at least to me. it’s a clear answer. And I can look at other people’s laces and can see that they know the answer. but no one wants to speak up. , . . And And I’m sitting there, We all know the answer: why doesn't somebody say it? So then I always do it. Because not everyone was as confident as Mark, many students struggled with the risk ol‘ being wrong and the need to demonstrate that they were listening and inter- ested, as the following exchange demonstrated: Michelle: Maybe. sometimes i’m a little shy, like there’s so many times 1 know the answer, and I just don‘t: raise my hand. I guess I don’t have a lot of confidence. 1 think I might be wrong. So sometimes when nobody’s answering and l know I‘m right, 1 just get that like confidence in me like to raise my hand. Researcher: So what‘s the difference in this class? Like, why do you talk in this one? Michelle: Because some of the answers he’s looking for are not necessarily like right or wrong. They’re more like opinion . . . so it’s not like a fear of like being totally wrong. P5 350 The Southern Communication Journal Michelle only spoke up in class when she felt absolutely certain of the answer, or when she recognized that her opinion was as valid as any other. .ltesenrchers“ experience of this tension The instructor experienced the class participation tension as well. In his field notes, be frequently wrote about the day's participation level. For example, he wrote one day: “I noticed that. the class seems to have limited number of examples to provide despite my encouragement. I don’t know if they have very little organization /work experience to draw on or are just not a very talkative group.” On a later day, he wrote: “i think just about everyone spoke today. . . .I had to call on [two students}, but they both had something to say." The instructor expressed frustration when it was like “pulling teeth” to get responses and satisfaction when almost everyone in the class participated on a partiettlar day, Similarly, the observer experienced her own tensions between wanting to partici~ pate in class and wanting to remain silent, as evidenced in many of her daily field notes. Early in the semester, as a student herself, she wanted to contribute to class discussitms because she had experiences that. were relevant to the topics being dis— cussed, However, she restrained herself because she realized that she was not enrolled the class and that although her comments might be helpful to the class, they also had the potential to silence other students and overshadow her role as a. class observer. This tension was reduced for the nuast part when she was able to interview each par- ticipant individually. This one-on-one dialogue positioned her as a participant in the class and established relationships with individual stttdents so that the observer some- times chatted with students before or after class, or if they met on the sidewalk. Management. strategies These interrelated tensions surrounding class participation were managed by students and researchers in a variety of ways. Although the instructor might consistently invite students to speak and the class might be in general a warm and comfortable. environ- ment, on any particular day, a student might feel more or less confident in speaking up in class. The strategies the students used rellect spiraling inversion, segmentation, and balance in choosing when to speak, when to remain silent, when to let others talk, and when to let the topic drop. Sometimes the students were responding to the need to protect themselves from potential ridicule or embarrassment; at other times they were motivated by their own preferences or needs and preferred to remain silent even though they knew the answer. For students, the three factors related to the instructm‘, the classmates, and internal. needs interacted at specific times in different unpredictable ways, consistent with Balthtin’s (198.1) concept of clironotope, which captures the idea that every dialogue is unique to its time and space (Easter 8: Montgomery, .1996, p. 26). Therefore, although their management of this tension manifested in whether or not they chose to speak in class, the salience of the various poles was constantly in flux in a way that cannot clearly be pinpointed as one previously identified management strategy or another. FREIM :Eastern MI University-CW? FFIX ND. :734 487-3443 Feb. EIS EEIEIEI 82:53PM P6 The instructor activities, brief d activities commit the ice.” instead one or two other remain silent: w: partner. in addit specific students whether or not t the balance of ti others speak. Ho ring instead to a In contrast, t them in her fielt the instructor 0] uncovered by K; from the intervit substituted for a participation ter strategy of mint; Predictable rind . One dialectical t was the pull beti ity, as noted in (Kramer, 2004.») r students has be: and stimulation. for instructors ti in this study we describing all as firm due dates t, able. with a ha: think-pair-share liking the struc instructor achie an amazing feat knowing what t predictable and N icole: Ever tlir. bee: FREIM :EaS‘tET‘r‘I MI University-CW9 FFIX ND. :734 487-3443 ,._,,.,,—., of the answer, or In his field notes, tple, he wrote one :arnples to provide organization /work On a later day, he on Itwo students], tustration when it tlmost everyone in wanting to partici- y of her daily field contribute to class .e topics being dis- ae was not enrolled class, they also had as a class observer. interview each per- a participant in the the observer some- .tn the sidewalk. tar-raged by students .t consistently invite )rnfortahle environ- Infident in speaking 'sion, segmentation, when to let others were responding to irrassrnent; at other preferred to remain actors related to tire ic times in different i rhroaotope, which rd space (Baxter 8-; rent of this tension ience of the various pinpointed as one (.‘lassronttr iit'olr'r'iiis r-I The instructor managed this tension by including more frequent think pair sltat‘r‘ activities, brief discussions with partners before sharing with the large group. 'i‘hest- activities communicated the instructor’s interest in students’ ideas and alien “l'a'oitc the ice." Instead of addressing the entire class, students could try out their ideas with one or two others. In this one—to-one dialogue, the student’s individual preference to remain silent would he trumped by the social demands of interacting with the p...
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