Developing functions in Excel
Many people will use Excel for years and never be familiar with some of the more advanced features. For example, there are ways to develop your own functions and even programs inside Excel using Visual Basic Application (VBA). This powerful tool is sitting there waiting to make life easier for Excel users. This post will explain how to create your own functions using Visual Basic Application in Microsoft Excel.
Load the Developers Tab
First, you need to add the developer’s tab to your ribbon. To do this, do the following
- Click on File->Options->Customize ribbon
- Then click “customize main ribbon” and click on the developers checkbox as shown below
Setup for the Function
Now that the developer’s tab is available. We need to click on it and then click on visual basic, as shown below.
Once you click on “Visual Basic,” you will see the following
To make a function, we need to add a module. This is done by clicking
You will see the following
We are going to make a simple function that calculates the area of a triangle. The code is only three lines and is shown below.
Function area(base As Double, height As Double) As Double area = (base * height) / 2 End Function
Line one is declaring the function and giving it the name “area.” Inside the parentheses, we have two parameters, “base” and “height.” Each of these parameters is a data type called double in VBA, which can be used to store decimals. The function itself is also a double data type as this is outside the parentheses.
Line two shows the actual formula for the area of a triangle.
Lastly, we finish the function by adding “End Function.” Generally, VBA does this for you automatically.
Test the Function
Now we can see if the function works by going to Excel. You don’t have to save the function or anything like that in this example. Go to excel and call the formula, place two numbers inside the parentheses, separated by a comma, and press enter. Below is an example.
Below is the output after press enter
This was a simple example of how to make a function in Excel using VBA. There is so much more to explore and learn, but this is a great way to get started.
Simple demo of JOINS in SQL
In this post, we will look at several significant theories of sociology. These are basic ideas that anyone familiar with the field would know.
The functional perspective in sociology sees society as structured in a way that the parts of society are interrelated and connected. Each part or piece of society’s primary purpose is to meet people’s social and biological needs. The ideas behind this thought were developed by Herbert Spencer, who compared society to the human body. As the various body parts work together, so do the various social institutions of society.
Social institutions are the organizations in a society that meet the social needs of people. Examples of social institutions include schools, government agencies, churches, families, hospitals, etc. When these various institutions work together to benefit individuals, a state called dynamic equilibrium is met, and society is generally stable.
With the development of any society, specific laws, morals, values, etc., govern individual people’s behavior. These rules are called social facts. These rules protect society from social unrest and insecurity. For example, perhaps all countries have rules against theft and murder as allowing such behavior to go unpunished would unleash chaos.
There are times when society tries to improve the general condition of members, and these are called manifest functions. An example would be encouraging people to buy a home and providing ways to do this. Latent functions are unsolicited outcomes of manifest functions. An example would be an increase in do-it-yourself repairs as more and more people buy homes. When a social process has a negative outcome, it is called a dysfunction. One example of this would be bankruptcy, as people cannot pay for the homes they purchased.
Conflict theory is a theory proposed by Karl Marx, one of the leading proponents of Communism. Marx saw the world as a battle between social classes. This battle can be seen in the inequality in which people have access to the various social institutions of society such as schools, homes, money, jobs, etc. The people who have the most access also work nefariously to ensure others never obtain the same amount or maybe none of these resources.
Out of Marx’s ideas of conflict theory came the contribution of the Frankfurt school and their work with critical theory. Critical theory expands conflict theory to include race, religion, sexuality, gender, and essentially anything that is not a part of the majority’s values. The majority oppresses all minority positions in one way or another. This further expands into ideas developed in intersectionality and critical race theory, queer studies, and more.
The idea of conflict has had a significant impact on the average person. Few people are familiar with functionalism, but almost everyone in the West has heard of inequality and how some have more than others. In addition, Conflict Theory is not content to be a theory but encourages rectifying the inequality in society. Communism, critical theory, critical race theory, Queer Studies, Feminism, and more do not just describe society but want to change it actively.
Symbolic Interactionist Theory
Symbolic interactionist theory is focused on relationships between individuals rather than the broader society. Proponents of this perspective look for patterns in the relationships among people. Instead of looking at inequality and oppression as a conflict theorist, a symbolic interactionist looks at the relationships between activists as they challenge the system. There is an emphasis on symbols and the meaning behind them.
Constructivism is the belief that we construct reality. A term commonly associated with this is social constructs. For example, people have proposed that race, sexuality, and gender are social constructs. In other words, these ideas only exist because people say they do. Naturally, this is highly controversial, but specific ideas that used to be considered fixed are now considered fluid as people challenge existing norms.
These major sociological theories are used as a lens through which many experts see the world. Most of these theories do not have a direct impact on the average person. However, these views influence educators and leaders who either train the next generation or are leading the current one.
This post will begin the exploration of sociology. Whenever possible, connections will be made to education and teaching. For now, we will look at some fundamental terms of sociology and a brief look at the history of this field.
Sociology is the study of the interaction of groups and societies with each other. This study can take place at a macro or micro-level, depending on the interests of the researcher. A micro-level analysis would examine small group and even individual interactions, while a macro-level analysis looks at the interaction between societies.
One aspect of society that sociologists study is culture. Culture is the beliefs and practices of a group. Culture is often studied using sociological imagination, which is an awareness of a person’s behavior and experience as it contributes to shaping the choices and perceptions of a person.
A concept closely related to culture that is also studied in sociology is called social facts. Social facts are the cultural rules that govern life. For example, a sociologist might look at how communication norms have changed since the arrival of social media.
History of Sociology
Sociology appears to have been around much longer than when it was first considered its own independent discipline. Greek philosophers study subjects and concepts associated with sociology, such as social cohesion, conflict, and power. Enlightenment philosophers such as Kant, Voltaire, and Hobbs also developed principles, such as calling for social reform, considered a part of sociology.
Auguste Comte is credited with reinventing the term sociology and popularizing it. Comte proposed that scientists could study society the same way that it was done in the natural sciences. When this happens, the world’s social problems, such as poverty and education, can be solved. The term for scientifically studying society is called positivism. This optimism that science can improve society may be what inspires the push for so much social reform today.
The ideas of Comte were translated from French to English by Martineau, which helped Comte’s ideas to spread. Other early pioneers of sociology include Karl Marx and his Conflict Theory. George Mead is the person who created the term “significant other,” which was initially not limited to a person someone was married to but rather to any important person in someone’s life.
Max Weber may have been one of the most influential of the early sociologist. He challenged Comte’s views on positivism with antipositivism. Antipositivism is simply rejecting the traditional scientific notion of objectivity for being subjective in one’s research. Weber also contributed quantitative and qualitative sociology as distinct research methods.
There is more to the background of sociology than what is provided here. One clear thing is that perhaps the pioneers of this field did not know the impact this discipline would have on the world in the near future
NOT, AND, & BETWEEN Commands in SQL
Stress can be highly detrimental to teaching. High stress can lead to such problems as turnover/absenteeism, burnout, and health problems. All of the examples mentioned are enemies to the teachers. Teachers need to find ways to process stress to be available to support and guide their students. IN this post, we look at strategies for dealing with stress in the teaching profession.
Social Support/Group Cohesiveness
Social support involves a teacher’s sense that they have colleagues they can trust and that the teacher is not alone in facing the stressful challenges of teaching. Teaching can be a uniquely isolating experience because you often work alone in a classroom with children the entire day. Outside of breaks, lunch, and meetings, a teacher does not have the same adult-to-adult interaction level that is found in many other occupations.
As such, schools often need to work on developing group cohesiveness among their teachers. Group cohesiveness is a measure of a social strength of a group. One way to develop this is to have team-building exercises and opportunities to socialize.
People need to have other interests besides teaching to take a productive break from the classroom. The type of hobby is up to the individual, but anything that allows for a break that encourages rejuvenation can potentially be beneficial to the teacher.
Just having a hobby to look forward to can reduce stress. Hobbies can also lead to insights in teaching or stories to share with students for illustrative purposes.
Little needs to be said of exercise. Unfortunately, skipping exercise is typical behavior among virtually everybody. However, exercise is a powerful way to destress after a hard day in the classroom. Often, when people are stress, they may also feel tired and drain. This is all the more reason to move around so that you can release the tension with movement and sweat.
Self-awareness involves understanding one’s self. Examples include knowing what brings stress into your life and avoiding it. Knowing one’s limits is also essential, as well as knowing when to withdraw from a situation.
Hardiness involves the ability to channel negative stress into positive challenges. One example is making it a challenge to deal with a difficult student or implement a flawed policy. The challenge is in getting the child to work or to use one’s talents and skills to realize poor policies. Instead of getting discouraged or stressed, looking at stressors as challenges can help develop the motivation to make it happen.
Professional development is an overlooked way of managing stress. However, by developing new skills and abilities, a teacher can solve existing problems, work more efficiently, and thus potentially reduce stress. For example, if a teacher is struggling with classroom management, this will probably cause stress. IF this same teacher receives training in classroom management, they can use this knowledge to deal with students and reduce their frustration.
Relevant professional development helps teachers solve problems that may cause stress. Therefore, a teacher should always look for ways to improve their talents as this may come in handy when a stressful situation arises,
Everyone deals with stress, but the real success is in how we all deal with it. Teaching does not have to be stressful if a teacher changes their perspective and sees stress as an opportunity to meet a challenge.
Teaching has its stress as any other job. This post will identify some of the familiar sources of stress in a teacher’s life.
Role ambiguity is defined as a person who is unclear in terms of their job responsibilities. Teaching is a field where high ambiguity can be expected, and academic performance can be highly subjective. Attempts have been made to remove the ambiguity through such things as standardized testing. However, people, including children, are unpredictable, and adequately doing everything does not ensure the results that leadership expects.
When expectations are unclear, it can lead to a great deal of frustration and dissatisfaction for a teacher. There can even be a sense of powerlessness as if the teacher has no control over what happens to them in their classroom. The ambiguous nature of teachers may be why teachers quit, as it is challenging to obtain the expected results without a clear sense of what the expectations are.
Role conflict is the placing of contrary expectations on a person. For example, teachers are expected to be gentle and nurturing while also maintaining order. An expectation of being nice and being mean simultaneously may be an example of role conflict. Teachers are often put in the position as others are in other occupations.
The effects of role conflict are similar to role ambiguity and generally lack job satisfaction and higher stress levels. Teachers may also lose confidence in leadership as they struggle with competing aspects of their job responsibilities. One common coping mechanism is withdrawal or avoiding others.
Role overload is essentially feelings or a sense of being overworked and unable to complete all assigned tasks. Overload can take two forms. Quantitative overload is having more work than time, while qualitative overload is being pushed beyond one’s skill set, such as being asked to teach math when you are a music teacher.
Teaching can be overloading in either way. Teachers frequently have more to do than time, especially with the amount of documentation, preparation, and grading that are a part of the job. In addition, as mentioned above, having to teach outside of one’s expertise is a common experience for many.
The opposite of overload is underutilization and is another stressor for teachers. Underutilization is a lack of the use of a person’s skills and abilities. This can lead to the stress of boredom, low self-esteem, and job dissatisfaction. The experience of role utilization may happen with experienced teachers who need new challenges.
There are several factors concerning the personality and the teacher’s life that can cause stress. For example, teachers with a type A personality are often at a greater risk of stress. Type A personalities are characterized as people who are impatient, restless, and competitive. Type B personalities are generally the opposite of type A and have a more easy-going attitude.
Another personal life stressor is the amount of change and turmoil in a teacher’s life. Illness, death of a loved one, divorce, or any other major life catastrophe can manifest itself in a teacher’s life and lead to a great deal of stress. This may carry over into the classroom and impact job performance as well.
All jobs have stress, but we all need to be reminded of how this stress can occur. Teachers have to know what stressors they may experience so they can find ways to deal with them. Otherwise, the job challenges may be too much for them, leading to the loss of people who have committed to helping others.
Stress is a bitter part of any job. Even a job that is not stressful can cause stress from boredom. Teaching can be a stressful occupation as teachers have to deal with many unique individuals with distinct personalities. This post will look at stress, how people deal with it, and the types of negative stress.
Stress & Strain
Stress is the physical and emotional responses people have to various aspects and experiences within their environment. Stress can be harmful, which we call distress, or it can be positive, called eustress. Examples of distress in the classroom can include disruptive students, marking assignments, or dealing with parents. Examples of eustress can include working with engaged students, developing new teaching methods, and learning something new to share with students.
When teachers experience stress, it can lead to something called strain. Strain is the damage inflicted on a person because of stress. In other words, strain is the cumulative effect of stress. It is not one or two stressful moments that wear a teacher down but rather the stress over time.
Stress is pervasive in a classroom as dealing with young people generally is. However, no two people handle stress the same way. Some strive in a stressful environment while others struggle tremendously. One person’s classroom of chaos is another person’s classroom of collaboration. However, there is a model of how people respond to stress.
General Adaptation Syndrome
General adaptation syndrome is the name for the steps people take to deal with stress. The three steps are…
Alarm is the initial response to stress and is often known as the “fight or flight” experience. In the classroom, this can be a teacher reacting to students arguing over something. Step two is resistance and is how a person tries to return to a state of equilibrium. For example, when the teacher notices the arguing, the intervening to break up the fighting and get everyone back on task. Lastly, exhaustion results from experiencing the first two steps and represents the long-term effects of stress such as illness or high blood pressure.
Types of Negative Stress
There is positive and negative stress. Under negative stress, there are also two types, which are frustration and anxiety. Frustration is a person’s reaction to not being able to achieve a goal. For example, a teacher is excited about teaching a new concept or idea to the students, only for the students to be completely disruptive. Since the teacher cannot teach, it is probably that frustration will set in that can lead to exhaustion or, worst.
Anxiety is a sense of helpless to rise to the challenge of a stressful situation. For example, if a class gets out of control, a teacher may experience anxiety as they have no idea how to handle that current situation. Anxiety can also happen in a novel situation. For example, an experienced teacher may suffer anxiety when dealing with their first special needs child or a challenging child.
Even though stress is a reality for a teacher, it does not have to take and lead to discouragement. Understanding what stress is and how it manifests itself is one practical way to deal with this enemy of teaching.
Filtering commands in SQL
Adjusting to the workplace or school is a challenge for teachers and students. This post will look at five ways people respond to the adjustment, as first researched by W.S. Neff.
The first type of person who struggles in the classroom is a person who has no motivation. They have a negative view of their role in the classroom and want to avoid work to avoid discomfort.
Teachers who lack motivation are often considered to be suffering from burnout. In other words, these were teachers who use to be on fire but have struggled to keep the flame burning. Burnout and loss of motivation have also become acute problems with the move to online learning. Essentially some teachers have lost motivation because they are struggling to cope with the changes in teaching that have hit the entire world.
It is more common to see students who lack motivation. In an entertainment-driven world, sitting still in class is challenging and lacks relevance for many young people. With learning online, it can be even more torturous to have to endure sitting in front of the computer for hours. Some students have to study through their small cellphone for hours each day.
Some people respond with fear and or anxiety about coping with work or school. The stress and demands of work can weigh heavily upon them. Teachers, as an example, may be worried about students who have real and severe problems. They also may be struggling with the workload of teaching as they try and support dozens of students at any given moment.
Any student can suffer from anxiety and fear about the school, but students who suffer from bullying and/or high performers are often at risk for this. The bullied student has to worry about the people who are mistreating them, while the high performer is worried about maintaining high performance.
The Hostile Ones
Some react with anger and aggression towards stress. These are the people who are identified as having a short temper and are hard to get along with. Such individuals dislike the strain of their role by attacking those around them. Teachers do this, but it can be challenging to keep a position long-term with this sort of behavior.
Students also do this, and given their age; there is more effort to work with them through aggressive, emotional issues. Students are already dealing with change as they mature into adults, and coping with their role at school could cause problems. For example, students who have family problems may also act aggressive at school as they try and cope with the issues they face at home.
People who become dependent cannot take the initiative for anything and have a sense of helplessness. For a teacher, this can manifest itself with a lack of decisiveness in the classroom and unclear instruction. The teacher is so overwhelmed that they literally cannot think and make choices. Anybody who is in a highly stressful situation will look for guidance to attain the stability and/or safety that they crave, which happens to some teachers.
Dependency among students can happen if they lack support at home. When home support is missing, friends are often the ones who provide stability. These students turn to friends for advice and decision-making in place of what could be provided by parents.
Some people have no idea how their actions affect those around them. They have no clue about the feelings and needs of others. These individuals are classified as socially naive. Task-oriented teachers and students often fall into this category. They are so focused on achieving something that they lose track of the people around them.
Introverts can also suffer from being socially naive as they have their minds that they are trying to keep track of and thus do not focus on what is happening in the heads of others as much.
Helping these Types
There is no single way to help people who fall into one of the examples above. It takes a holistic view of the life of the teacher or student to determine how to help them. Teachers often want to do at least the minimum to keep their jobs (hopefully). Therefore, if they are not even meeting the lowest standard, exploring causes can help them rebound in performance.
Students are more complicated as they often do not have the life burdens of bills and family. As such, they can be in a perfectly stable environment and still not perform or care as the struggles of reality have not hit them yet. In such a situation, it will take serious work to help them.
Everybody is different, and we all respond in different ways to the same situations. This post provided five types of roles people assume when coping with stress.
Make a user-defined function in Libre Office Calc
This post will explore the use and application of the WHERE, LIKE, and IN commands in SQL.
The WHERE command is generally used as a way to filter data in SQL. The database we are using in this post contains data on basketball players from 1950-2017. What we want to do is filter the data so that we only see data from players who played in 2017. In the example below, we will filter our basketball players by year be set to 2017
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE year = 2017
If you look at the year column you can clearly see that the value is set to 2017 just as we wanted it.
The WHERE command is not limited to numbers as it can also be used with text. In the example below, we filter our data with the WHERE command so that we only see players who played for the Golden State Warriors (GSW).
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE Tm = 'GSW'
If you look closely at the “Tm” column you will only see the initials for the Golden State Warriors.
The WHERE command is often teamed with the LIKE command when you are looking for a text but are not sure of an exact match. You can specify a pattern you are looking for similar to regular expressions. In the code below we use the LIKE command with the WHERE command searching for any player whose name begins with L.
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE Player LIKE 'L%'
The percentage sign (%) after the letter L tells SQL that anything can be after the letter L in the search and meet the criteria. We can also put the % at the end of or text or put one on both sides are some other combination as shown in the examples below.
In the example below, the last letter must be an L. After this example, is one in which an L must appear anywhere in the name.
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE Player LIKE '%L'
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE Player LIKE '%L%'
The IN command allows you to filter your data based on several values. This command is also combined with the WHERE command. In the example below, we filter our data so that we only see players whose position is small forward or shooting guard.
SELECT * FROM Seasons_Stats WHERE Pos in ('SG', 'SF')
You could also insert numerical values in the parentheses when using the IN command.
The command shared in this post provide more information on basic tools you can use and apply in SQL. Filtering using the WHERE, LIKE, and IN commands get helpo you to focus the breath of your research to find answers to your questions.
Intro to SQL
This post will look at Kotter’s Change model, another model of change for an organization. In all, there are eight steps for this process, as shared below. There will also be several brief examples of how one educational leader has perhaps unknowingly used this model, at least in part.
Step one of bringing change, according to Kotter, is to develop a sense of urgency. Since most people are emotional by nature, they may need an emotional push to accept and work for change. Urgency can be developed through creating a narrative about why change is necessary and sharing some of the prophesied consequences if change does not happen.
I once worked with an administrator, and we will call him Jim, who was a complete master of establishing urgency. Whenever he wanted something done, Jim was sure to mention how the entire school was endanger if what he wanted was not done. However, because everything he wanted was a “do or die” scenario, people started to ignore him. What happened to him is similar to “the boy who cried wolf” or chicken little and the sky is falling.” Urgency can be a great tool, but it must be used sparingly; otherwise, it will lose its power to mobilize.
Once urgency is established, a leader needs to build a team of influential people within the organization to shape the change. The people involved in this colation should be influencers who are affected by the change. These people serve as local go-to contacts to influence the masses within the institution to support and make change happen.
Jim was also an expert at building coalitions. When he wanted to change, he knew he needed help and had the political acumen to build complex alliances. One mistake I think he made was that sometimes he would team with people who were established and influential but maybe not popular. When unpopular people are pushing change, it is often rejected because people often value relationships over performance.
Make a Vision and Communicate it
Once the team is in place, they work together with the leader to develop the scope and rationale for change. By scope, it is meant the breadth and depth of the change and rationale are the motives behind the change. Creating this vision helps the team determine what they are focusing on for a change and how they will know when they are successful.
Once the vision is set, it needs to be communicated with the institution. People need to know where they are going and how they will get there. Communication can help people to buy in and accept the change.
Jim was always good and sharing the vision even if nobody else contributed to it. Once his colation was aware of the plan, it was shared with the institution. One thing to be careful of is how much of the vision to share. If your plans are overly ambitious, people may be intimidated by what you want to do. Tell people enough to get things started and slowly reveal more details as small goals are achieved.
Remove Obstacles and Strive for Small Wins
Removing obstacles is about problem-solving. Whenever people try to accomplish anything, some surprises try to disrupt the process. The leader must solve these problems by providing training, resources, encouragement, supplies, etc., so that the vision can be achieved.
Small wins relate to sharing the vision. Many people struggle with the big picture as they are more detail-oriented. If you tell some people all the work they have to do, they will become discouraged. Breaking the large vision into small wins or goals is critical for managing people psychologically.
Small wins are created when the leader develops milestones that help to achieve the vision. These milestones are shorter and less complex in nature compared to whatever the final vision is. Therefore, they are easier to attain. When people begin to have success completing small goals for wins, it helps motivate many individuals.
Consolidate Improvements and Anchor Changes
Consolidation involves reinforcing what has worked well so far and removing what has not worked well. As success is experienced and momentum develops, people begin to get excited about the changes they have been a part of making happen. In other words, focus on sharing the success to help push people to finish the changes.
The final step is anchoring changes. Anchoring changes involves making what changes were made permanent. Doing this requires discipline to support change long-term. It is common for people to get so excited about the change that they do not make an effort to maintain the new normal. The same energy that was brought to bringing change must be used to maintain it.
Change is part of the journey of any institution. Having a process to guide the change process can help leaders who need to push for change. Kotter’s model for change is one tool for walking through change and making it a reality.
SQL (structured query language) is a programming language used with databases. A database is essentially a collection of tables that all contain information in a text or numerical form. SQL can be used for developing and maintaining databases for various purposes. Our goal is not to learn how to become database administrators. Instead, we are going to focus on using SQL for data analysis.
The data used in this example is NBA Salary and Statistics 2016-17 (SQLite version), a database file available at Kaggle. This database contains information on basketball statistics from 1950-2017. There is more that could be said, but for simplicity, we will learn as we go along.
The software used to explore the database in these examples is DBeaver, a free, open-source software database manager. You can run SQL from a terminal, but it is a little bit easier for beginners to have a GUI interface most of the time. If you want to use this database, you can download it and connect this database to whatever database manager you are using.
In this post, we will focus on using the following commands.
- ORDER BY
SELECT and FROM
The SELECT and FROM commands almost always work together at the beginning of an SQL query. The SELECT command tables which column(s) you want SQL to pull from a table. The FROM command indicates which table you want to pull data from. Below is code and a screenshot of using these two commands together to pull data from the database.
This is what the output looks like in DBeaver. What you see is different. The asterisk after SELECT tells SQL to pull all columns in the table. You can also see a combination of text and numeric data in the columns we can see.
The next command that we will learn is the LIMIT command. This command limits how many rows of data are returned for an output. The code and output are below.
By using the LIMIT command, only five rows of data were pulled. How many rows you want is up to you, but this example was set to 5.
The ORDER BY command allows you to sort the data from highest to lowest or vice versa based on one or more columns in the table. In the example below, we will sort the data by the age column descending to determine who are some of the oldest players to play in the NBA since 1950, which is the first year data is available in this data set. Also, note that only the first five rows are listed because of the LIMIT command. The code and output is below.
order by Age DESC
From the output, it appears that Kevin Willis is the oldest player to play in the NBA since 1950. The DESC argument next to ORDER BY sorts the results from highest to lowest.
There is much more to learn about SQL than what was shared here. However, the most important thing to know whenever doing a data analyst is to make sure you know what you want to know. This involves developing straightforward questions that can be answered with available tools.
Lewin’s change model is a famous model that tries to describe the experience of change as it happens in an organization. This post will explain Lewin’s model of change in the context of educational institutions.
For Lewin’s model, there are three phases: unfreeze, move, and freeze. We will learn about each below.
Phase one of change, according to Lewin, is unfreezing. Unfreezing involves examining the current situation are state of the organization. This is often called a needs analysis in education. Once it is clear what problems the organization is facing, the next step is to identify what needs to change and create motivation for accepting change.
Accepting change can be challenging to do in large institutions such as schools. Therefore, leaders must look for ways to lower resistance to change. This is often done in the second step of Lewin’s model.
Educational institutions are frequently conducting needs analysis for accreditation and are thus often experienced with the unfreeze phase of Lewin’s model. For example, a school may make adjustments to its curriculum based on input from stakeholders. This is an example of change that requires unfreezing the courses offered at the institution.
Lewin’s second phase is called “move.” The move phase involves taking action or making the plan developed in the previous step a reality. If a school needs to make changes, it may support the transition through training, support, or information about the change. The goal is to empower people to adjust to the change that is necessary for whatever reason.
Another important aspect of this step, according to Lewin, is involving stakeholders. Letting people be a part of the solution often helps these same people accept change. This means having a dialog and considering the concerns and fears of the people who will be affected by the change.
It is common for organizations, not just schools, to miss the opportunity to include others in the change process. For example, administrators often will announce a change that is needed, such as changes to submitting grades, without talking to teachers about how this works. Sadly, many leaders will address complaints or concerns from their subordinates, but they never go to these same people when trying to solve the problem.
The final step of Lewin’s model of change is “refreeze.” Refreeze involves making whatever changes that were implemented permanent. Accomplishing this involves putting in place a system of accountability that is palatable to the stakeholders. The word that is commonly used today for refreeze is “the new normal.”
Refreezing may be the most challenging stage of the change process because it involves maintaining discipline for behavior that becomes a habit. For example, schools often implement many great ideas that are not sustained for the long term, such as grading policies, attendance, or even protocols for discipline. This usually happens because human nature often wants to be responsive rather than prescriptive.
Lewin’s model provides a basic idea of the change process that many of us have experienced in one way or the other. It does assume that organizations are freezable, which in today’s dynamic environment is perhaps unlikely. Despite this, Lewin’s model is a traditional way of envisioning the experience of change in an institution.
This post will explain the various factors related to change. In particular, we will look at the scope, level, and intentionality of change.
Scope of Change
The scope of change relates to the amount of disruption change will cause. The scope of change can fall along a continuum with two main categories: incremental change and transformational change. Incremental change involves making minor adjustments to an existing organization or school. For example, a university might adjust the attendance policy to be consistent across departments.
Transformational change involves change that has a more significant influence on the function of the institution. An example that many educators are familiar with over the last few years was the sudden shift to online learning. This has had a tremendous influence on all stakeholders involved in an educational institution.
Although not related directly to scope, strategic change is a type of change that helps an institution align its tasks with the mission and objectives of the institution. For example, when schools moved online (transformational change), they had to continue providing quality education. AS such a strategic change might provide training to faculty to deal with the change to online learning while also providing a quality experience.
Level of Change
Another factor in the change process is the level of change. Level change is another way of saying how many people are affected by the change. The level of change moves along a continuum of three levels: individual, group, and organization. These levels are primarily self-explanatory, but individual change involves helping individuals make changes to rectify a weakness or boost performance. For example, a teacher struggling with classroom management may work with administrators to develop strategies for dealing with students.
Group-level change focuses on helping people work together and involve team-building activities and or training as examples. For example, the English department at a high school may put together training on classroom management for all teachers and not just individual teachers.
Finally, organizational change is change across the entire institution. For example, many schools have some sort of training or announcement of new policies at the beginning of a school year. This often indicates changes that impact almost every one involves in the school.
Intentionality relates to the fact that the changes brought, regardless of scope or level, were either planned or unplanned. Planned change is thought out in advance and implemented at the discretion of the individuals involved. For example, an institution develops a new attendance system to improve efficiency. Such a change helps to achieve the specific goals of the institution. Naturally, this is the preferred way of doing things for most institutions.
Unplanned change is a change that is ad hoc or in response to an emergency. Generally, this type of change may not necessarily help an institution to achieve various goals and objectives that it may have. For example, moving online was an unplanned change. Few schools were dreaming of such a move, and it had a considerable impact on achieving the goals and objectives of providing education for students.
Change is a significant factor of life that impacts the world in various levels of breadth and depth and whether it was planned or not. Leaders need to be aware of these multiple factors that shape the change experience their institutions may have.
Change is a part of life, and one thing most people have in common is a dislike of change. This post will look at change and its relationship with the organization of schools.
Types of Change in an Organization
There are at least three ways that an organization, such as a school, can change. These three ways are structural, technological, and cultural.
Structural change relates to redesigning how the school is organized. For example, a school might add or remove departments, change job responsibilities, and or create new positions within the institution.
Technological change refers to having to make adjustments to the use of various electronics. It is common for there to be resistance to changing technology because people generally do not want to waste time learning new things. Technology can also, at times, lead to downsizing, which is something people do not like as well.
The final form of change is cultural change. This form of change has to deal with how people think about the organization. In other words, cultural change causes a shift in the beliefs and assumptions about the company and how things are done. Each school has its unique way of seeing the world and teaching and helping students—cultural change involves modifying these views.
Points to Ponder
The scope of change can affect people’s willingness to accept it. For example, suppose a school hires an additional teacher because of the overload of the current teachers. In that case, there will probably be little resistance to this form of change because the current system was so intolerable. However, if the change calls removing teachers, it is safe to assume strong resistance.
This same line of thought applies to the other forms of change, technological and cultural. Minor changes will be tolerated, and significant changes will be tolerated if they relieve a significant problem. However, if the changes are unpalatable due to their size or inability to solve a problem, resistance is more likely.
It is also important to realize that all of these types of change can happen simultaneously in a school. For example, a technological change such as incorporating e-learning could lead to a need to change things in terms of the organization. For example, it may be necessary to restructure the IT department by splitting responsibilities and hiring additional people. In addition, cultural changes may also be affected by e-learning adoption through the need for the organization to be more receptive to the rapid changes of the IT world.
The point being made here is to remember that change cannot happen in a vacuum. Unfortunately, when change comes, it will affect things that the leadership did not want to be changed. This has led in part to disdain by many leaders of change. It is not so much the change that is the problem but the unforeseen consequences of the change that bothers many educational leaders.
Change will always be a threat to a school. However, when it is time to make a change, leaders need to know how change can impact an organization.
The culture of an organization is one of the main factors in motivating the actions and attitudes of employees. The culture of an organization is what brings people together for a common purpose. As such, since these ideas on culture come from business, this may be something that administrators and teachers need to be aware of as they set up the institutional culture or classroom culture.
Therefore, this post will look at several common types of organizational cultures and their relationship or similarity to what happens in a school context. The ideas discussed below come from the Competing Values Framework and include four main quadrants in which cultures can be found, and these are.
An organization that has a clan-style culture is perhaps the one most similar to most schools. A clan organization emphasizes relationships, mentoring, development, and other personal growth characteristics. Most teachers want to see their students develop into responsible young adults and take satisfaction from this. The same can be said of many administrators regarding seeing their teachers and their students grow and develop healthy relationships.
An adhocracy culture is one in which there is an emphasis on innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking. This style of culture may not be the most common in schools. Schools often tend to focus on preserving the social structure rather than pushing the edges of the envelope. However, this is not to say that no innovation and experimentation is happening in schools. The real point relative to the industry and companies like Google and Facebook is that schools are not highly innovative.
Efficiency is the name of the game for hierarchy culture. In this culture, there is a focus on precision, expertise, cautiousness, and conservatism. A hierarchical culture has found a system that works and does not want to disturb said system. Like the clan culture, the hierarchy culture is widespread in the educational setting.
Last but not least is the market culture. This culture focuses on delivering value, fast decision-making, and a general sense of getting things done. Educational institutions are not generally known for their speed and decision-making. However, this may be because of the focus on relationships and a preference for a clan-like culture.
The main benefit of this information is reflection. Every teacher and leader needs to ask themselves what kind of culture do I want to develop. Having insights into what types of cultures are common can help any leader develop their unique approach. The culture of a school can be firmly in one style or the other or be a mixture of various techniques to facilitate success.
Cheating has always been a problem in education. Students struggle to learn content, or perhaps they are too lazy to put in the effort, leading to temptation. When this happens, some students decide that getting the answer in any way possible is better than knowing the answer themselves.
As teachers, there is an obligation to make sure that students know what we say they know. If a student can complete a course or degree through dishonesty, it reflects on the student’s incompetence and the institution(s) that the student was able to deceive. As such, there are several ways to address cheating in the online context.
In a traditional classroom, it is common for teachers to use traditional forms of assessment such as multiple-choice, fill in the blank, etc. There is nothing wrong with this form of assessment in the appropriate context. However, when students are taking assessments online, it is easy to collaborate, share and answers, and copy from one another.
There are several ways to address this. One is to avoid traditional assessment altogether and have students complete various authentic forms of assessment. Examples can include projects, presentations, papers, etc. In other words, create assessments that match the real world and even may encourage collaboration.
Even though traditional assessment is an acceptable form of gauging a student’s knowledge, almost nobody makes a living taking tests and quizzes. The real world is based on collaboration in which somebody has the answer, and the real test is finding resources to accomplish something. This is where the beauty of authentic assessment becomes so practical in the online context.
Writing papers is another tried and true way of assessing students’ knowledge of a given subject matter. However, there are practical problems if the class is really large, and of course, plagiarism has been a problem before online assessment was around. For large classes, writing papers may not be practical unless the teacher wants to spend all of their vacation reading student papers. As such, each teacher needs to set their upper limit of how many papers they are willing to read.
For plagiarism, there are already many different websites and software that can detect plagiarism. However, if plagiarism is detected, the teacher needs to investigate the paper personally as computer algorithms are never 100% accurate. Remember that this is a student’s grade, and there must be care in any accusations of dishonesty and negative effects on the final grade.
For Traditional Assessment
If the only appropriate way to assess a student’s knowledge is through traditional means, there are ways to still maintain academic integrity. Some teachers have chosen to monitor students’ desktops during an exam. This is not the most efficient way of proctoring, but the psychological impact is often enough to deter cheating even if the teacher cannot see everything the student is doing.
Another strategy is to have a pool of questions rather than have each student see the same questions. For example, perhaps the teacher creates 40 multiple-choice, but each student only sees 10 of these questions. In addition, the letter answer for the same question can be scrambled so that for the same question, one student would mark “A” for the correct answer, and another would mark “B.”
Cheating can be further discouraged through something called individualize timed assessment. This technique involves giving students sections of the exam at certain times rather than giving them all of the exam at once. For example, you can make several separate assessments that students have to complete during the exam time, such as the following
- Multiple choice
- Short Answer
You can set things so that maybe one student completes each section at a time or multiple students. For example, some students might start with a short answer while others start with matching. It is completely up to you. In addition, you set a time limit for each section, such as may be students get 20 minutes per section before they have to move to the next one.
You can be even more specific in some learning management systems where you can set a time limit for individual questions. Doing this in combination with a pool of questions, scrambling the correct answer, and using individualize time assessments makes cheating much more difficult.
Students will continue to evolve new ways to beat the system. Despite this, teachers must be ready with their own bag of tricks to discourage students from going down this path.
Everybody seems to love music, but nobody seems to want to put in the time and effort to learn how it is structured or performed at a high level. Most people would make music at an amateur level or for fun. However, the grind of perfection is unappealing for most people, even for many musicians.
It is hard to criticize this approach. There is little momentary award or respect for high-level music-making. It’s always okay to sing in the shower, but reaching the excellence of someone who can sing Bach oratorios is not something that many students or their parents want for them.
What makes this all the more interesting is how everyone claims to be so supportive of creative subjects like music. However, just look at how much time a child spends practicing and developing whatever gifts they have in music. It indicates that, generally, music is a neglected second-class citizen of education. It’s something most people want to have around without really putting any serious effort into it.
Music performance is something appreciated, but when it comes to music theory, which is essentially the structure or how composers make music, there is no sympathy from many parents and students for an additional academic subject at the K12 level. Especially a matter that has little direct financial gain. There are several benefits to learning music theory, even for students who will never touch an instrument after completing high school.
A significant benefit of studying music theory is the development of analytical skills. Analytical skills involve splitting something apart into its component pieces down to whatever fundamental level is necessary. When learning music theory, students have to look at the music structure, such as the Ternary form (ABA) or sonata form.
Music theory can be focused on the overall structure mentioned above or on the chord progression of a single measure. In other words, a student develops the ability to analyze complex information at different levels of analysis. Such a skill can be transferred to whatever field the student chooses as their profession, whether it is a detailed work level such as a personal account or a big picture form of thinking as a company leader. Learning to think analytically is always valuable, and studying music theory can help to some degree.
Learning a Language
Every domain has its specific language or terminology, whether physics, chemistry, math, or some other discipline. Music theory is yet another discipline that has its form of communication. The benefit of learning the language of one domain is that you use this knowledge to understand a different field better. This is what people do when they are learning foreign languages. We take what we know about our mother tongue and compare it with the language we are learning.
People who are well-versed in music theory can take this knowledge and compare it to whatever profession or discipline they plan on learning for their employment. For example, there are many patterns in music and patterns in mathematics. The patterns of music can also relate to other fields such as architecture and physics, in particular sound physics.
It may sound strange the rules of music theory can help with creativity, but anything that forces someone to think differently can lead to creativity, and music theory truly forces people to think differently. Creativity needs to be guided by some sort of restraint, such as rules.
Music theory provides rules for the development of music that can be applied in other domains. This is because it is rare that a person can do whatever they want. Often, there are some sort of constraints that someone has to work around to achieve success. The alternative is to find a brilliant way to break the rules that push things to a new level. Either way, creativity is about finding great ways to follow or break the rules.
By studying music theory, students are exposed to how great composers found clever ways to make music that followed the rules or how the composer found a clever way to break long-standing rules to create fantastic music. If you don’t know what the rules are, you cannot find brilliant ways to follow them or break them.
Music theory is not the direct cause of success for most people. However, music theory can play a decisive background role in helping people develop the thinking skills they need for success in whatever domain they choose. Not too many people will be disappointed if they develop the analytical and creative skills they need, as these are skills that are hard to find in most disciplines.
Conflict is a part of the classroom experience. Students constantly disagree with each other and with the teacher. No matter what a teacher does, there will always be someone upset or disappointed about what has happened. As such, this post will look at several strategies to reduce and prevent conflict in the classroom.
Rules & Routines
Nothing can prevent conflict and disagreements like clear rules and procedures. Rules help students to know what they are supposed to do and when. When rules are established, expectations for behavior are also in place.
Routines are similar to rules and maybe the same. The purpose of routines is to guy students during specific moments in the classroom. Examples can include coming in from the playground or putting materials away at the end of a period. Whereas a rule applies at all times (i.e., be respectful), routines apply in certain circumstances.
However, the strength of rules or routines is limited by the enforcement of them. Many classrooms and teachers have reasonable if not excellent rules but do not consistently enforce them. It is a disaster to apply rules part-time. Students will see the inconsistency and will become eager to test whether or not they can get away with something, which leads to conflict.
Conflict happens when students interact. Therefore, another way to limit conflict would be to limit interaction. Used intermittingly, limiting interaction can be beneficial, especially as a deterrent to poor behavior. If students know that conflict leads to no more interaction, it may motivate them to monitor their behavior.
The key again is consistency. Consistent behavior from the teacher leads to consistent behavior from the students. If limiting interaction is an appealing strategy for you, it must be used predictably based on the students’ behavior.
Avoid Win-Loss Scenarios
When there is a conflict between students, there are times when one student gets all that they want while another student gets nothing. This is an example of a win-loss situation. When such cases occur, it leads to hostility between the losing student towards the winning student and all kinds of accusations against the teacher who chose one side over the other. For example, if two students are fighting over a ball and the teacher sides with one. The other student will be upset, which will lead to future conflict.
Of course, there are times when this is appropriate, but if it’s possible, a teacher should try and make sure that both sides give and take in a disagreement. There are even times when both sides should lose. For example, if students are fighting over a ball, the teacher may choose to take the ball away, which leads to everyone losing. Being “mean” to everyone is perceived as fair, even if students do not like it.
Teachers must develop ways to help students through conflict as well as to learn how to avoid it. The strategies presented here provide some ways to work for some teachers who are facing challenges with conflict.
Microlearning is learning that is done in small, short pieces. In other words, microlearning is essentially a form of chunking of learning material. The rationale behind microlearning is that it helps a worker to digest material as part of their job. This approach to teaching is widespread in industry as well as in education from kindergarten through graduate school.
Microlearning has been claimed to be highly effective at helping people to retain information learned. In addition, microlearning allows people to continue to work while being trained, at least in the working world. The information that is shared is learned just in time for workers.
Students experience many of the same benefits with the added benefit of focusing on less content at one time. Given that students are often taking several courses at once, information overload is a common challenge that must be addressed.
Microlearning in E-learning
An example of microlearning in the context of e-learning is the making of short videos to share content. Naturally, no two people agree on what “short” means when making a video. However, generally, most would agree that a short video does not explain an entire topic in one video/
Another example of microlearning in e-learning could be infographics or podcasts. Again, an infographic is a visual summary of a large amount of data. A podcast is just a verbal form of instruction whose length can vary.
Microlearning is not for everyone. When everything is given in small pieces, it can make seeing the big picture complicated. For students who need to see the larger framework, this can be frustrating. In addition, because the content is supposed to be small, there is a danger of neglecting deep thought and fostering critical thinking skills. The focus seems to be on speed over depth generally.
In addition, microlearning may even be boring for some students. The piecemeal approach to it may not have enough depth to it for intellectual students. Therefore, the tool to use teaching begins with the students require
Microlearning is another tool available to the educator to help students. It doesn’t matter how students are taught as long as they know that they have learned something and can use it in an appropriate context.
As people generally dislike conflict, it would make sense that leaders use some familiar strategies to avoid conflict. Below are several strategies leaders use to avoid conflict.
Administrative orbiting involves a leader looking like they are doing something when in reality, nothing has happened. For example, a teacher goes to the principal with a problem. The principal acknowledges the problem and communicates to the teacher that they will look into it. When the teacher returns for a status report, the principal stalls by saying, “we are still looking at this” or “these things take time.” The reality is that the administrator isn’t going to do anything and is just presenting an air of action.
This is naturally frustrating, but it is hard to prove that the leader hasn’t done anything. Who wants to call their supervisor a “do nothing liar.” Administrative orbiting is a brilliant strategy for dealing with a problem without dealing with the situation.
Due Process Orbiting
Similar to administrative orbiting is due process orbiting. In this approach, it is not the administrator who is not doing anything. Instead, the petitioner is kept busy with an endless assault of rules and regulations they have to go through to get a problem addressed. This approach aims to exhaust the complaining teacher to get them to give up their conflict or problem.
This approach gives the appearance of transparency and conflict resolution by creating a bureaucratic nightmare. The brilliance involves keeping the complainer busy while doing nothing until they tire. However, if the complainer is persistent enough, it raises the stakes for the administrator to do something when the process is completed. This is because now there is documentation that the teacher cooperated with the process, but their problem was not addressed.
Non-action, as its name implies, means doing nothing to address a problem. The leader assumes that if they ignore a conflict or problem that it will go away. There are times where the cure is worst than the disease. However, ignoring a conflict can also lead to it growing larger and becoming a significant distraction.
Non-action can be helpful if experience shows when to use it. The problem is that it is hard to tell when to use this strategy. There are times when people need to work things out themselves and when the leader needs to intervene.
Character assassination involves acting the person who is complaining. For example, a teacher complains about a serious safety concern on-campus. The administration labels this person a “troublemaker” or someone who is not a “team player.” This ostracizes the teacher from others and can set the stage for eventually turning the school against them.
If this happens, the teacher may be quiet, or they may quit. Either of these works for the administrator, but the conflict was never really resolved. Instead, it was silenced through psychological means. Naturally, all this is happening discretely through rumors and gossip, which is distressing for most people.
Secrecy is related to character assassination while also be a different strategy. The purpose behind secrecy is to complete controversial actions without others knowing. Doing this minimizes resistance and supposedly reduces conflict. However, when people finally find out what is going on, they are generally more upset because of the secretive nature.
Whenever administrators move secretly, they run the risk of losing the trust of their teachers. Any action that must be done secretly is probably a poor decision. If you can’t tell the people under you what you are doing, why should they be open with you? This can lead to a passive-aggressive climate in which everyone is moving around in the darkness.
Conflict avoidance is something we all desire. However, when this is taken to an extreme, it only delays the inevitable. Leaders must develop the courage to address conflict because people will respect this even if they do not like the conflict results. Using the strategies above will cause people to lose faith in the system and respect for the leader.
Conflict is a reality that few people enjoy. Whether we like it or not, students often disagree and challenge each other and even the teacher at times. In this pos4t, we will look at conflict types and levels of conflict.
Affective conflict is emotional conflict. In other words, there is an emotional incompatibility between two individuals or groups of people. Students are notorious for hurting each other’s feelings leading the teacher to sort out the problem. When affective conflict takes, there is often a general lack of getting along among the parties involved.
A student’s emotional state can be unpredictable. As such, avoiding affective conflict can be tricky at times for students and teachers. What is does cause harm one day can lead to a severe outburst the next. Many people want to be sensitive, but the line of sensitivity can be hard to determine at times.
Cognitive conflict involves a significant difference of opinions. When people argue about the best way to do something or ideas, it often involves cognitive conflict. Many conflicts can begin cognitively but quickly devolved into affective conflict. Generally, cognitive conflict is not as common as people often rely more on their emotions than their intellectual capacities when in conflict. Evidence of this is how people substitute “I feel” with “I think.” For many people, these two phrases mean the same thing.
Conflict can also occur because of the actions of a person or group that offends another. When the behavior of one person or group offends the other, it is an example of behavioral conflict. A student talking in class could lead to behavioral conflict with the teacher, for instance. Like affective conflict, behavioral conflict can be tricky because people can be unpredictable in terms of acceptable behavior.
Group desiring different outcomes can come to a significant disagreement. Goal conflict happens when people are fighting over achieving different goals. A classic example is watching any sports game. It is generally not possible for both sides to when the game.
All of these different forms of conflict can be interrelated. For example, a student is talking in class, which leads to behavioral conflict with the teacher. During the behavioral conflict, the teacher or student may become angry, which is affective conflict. To further confuse things, goal conflict can be happening because the teacher wants the talking to stop while the student wants to keep going. Lastly, cognitive conflict can occur because the teacher thinks it is wrong for the student to be talking while the student doesn’t see anything wrong with it.
Therefore, it may be wisest not to focus so much on the type of conflict but instead focus on defusing the conflict.
Scope of the Conflict
Conflict can happen at several levels. Interpersonal conflict is conflict within an individual. An example of this is a student struggling to decide or do the right thing. This internal struggle is a form of intrapersonal conflict.
Interpersonal and intergroup conflict is conflict between individuals and groups. Lastly, inter-organizational conflict is conflict between organizations. Each of these forms of conflict can involve complex alliances and negotiation. For example, two students in the same group or school who generally hate each other may work together if an outsider offends the group. This is similar to the proverb, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” For the sake of the group, these two enemies will unite temporarily because of the outside threat.
Conflict is part of life. Students need to be aware that conflict is something they will always have to deal with. Teachers need to understand the forms and levels of conflict to help students learn from the battles they face when dealing with each other.
Power is the ability to influence others. Several things affect power in the classroom. In organizational behavior, these factors are called power dependencies. Some common power dependencies in the classroom include student values, the relationship between the teacher and student, and counterpower.
Student values can play a significant role in whether or not the teacher’s power influences a student. In other words, if the student cares about what the teacher wants them to do, it is more likely they will be affected by the teacher. For example, it is common for students to love PE. If the teacher wants the students to complete specific assignments to have PE, students will comply because they care about PE. However, the converse is true that if students do not care or value PE, they may not comply.
The second dependency of power is the relationship between the student and teacher. If the two parties hate each other, there will be little hope of compliance except through coercion. A bitter truth of teaching is that sometimes a teacher can foster good relationships with students, and sometimes they cannot. It is essential to realize that there could be student resistance to the teacher’s power if there is tension between a student and teacher.
Counterpower is essentially the power the student has to influence the teacher. If a student possesses a high amount of power, it is possible to expect a high resistance level. For example, there is a common stereotype of the student-athlete not complying with completing academic assignments. The athlete can do this because they possess some counterpower due to their athletic status. This stops the teacher from holding the athlete accountable for not completing assignments.
Use of Power
There are also several ways that a teacher can use power. A teacher can control the flow of information to students. This is common when the teacher is still making decisions about something or withhold information to elicit a desired behavior. For example, a teacher may not share the details of the amount of PE time students will get if they complete assignments. This may be because the teacher is unsure how much they can give at that moment and need to work it out. Information can also be shared to encourage behavior, such as a teacher being honest about why the students can not play outside due to unforeseen circumstances.
Teachers can also control access to people. For example, it is common for teachers to separate from students who might be talking too much when together. This is a classical power move to encourage compliance with on-task behavior. A teacher can also award good behavior by allowing students to work together.
Another everyday use of power in the classroom is controlling the choices that are available to students. A teacher may want to give the students a specific range of options for various activities. By shaping the choices, the teacher exercises power while also allowing the students a say in what happens in the classroom.
A final exercise of power is the students’ perception of the cooperation between the teacher and the administration. If students know that they will not get in trouble if they are ever sent out of class to the higher administration, this can seriously hamper the power of a teacher. Therefore, the teacher and administration must show that they have a strong alliance and work together to address students’ misbehavior.
Power is a an important aspect of the teaching experience. Teacher need to be consciously aware of how different factors can affect their power. Without this knowledge a teacher can struggle with determining the best way to handle a particular situation in their classroom.
The proposed mathematics framework in California has placed a heavy emphasis on equity in the teaching of math. The document makes several statements to support this, such as the following.
“All students are capable of making these contributions and achieving these abilities at the highest levels,”
In other words, all students can experience success in mathematics. Living in a subjective world of “lived experiences,” this statement does not appear to make sense alone. However, the document goes on to state that.
“We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents.”
Again this does not make sense. The world is full of highly talented people who obviously have superior abilities. Pick any field or industry, and you can find an Einstein, Newton, Mozart, Bach, Keynes, Shakespeare, or others. To reject natural gifts and talents is almost akin to dismissing reality.
The goal of the mathematics framework is summarized as follows
“to replace ideas of innate mathematics ‘talent’ and ‘giftedness’ with the recognition that every student is on a growth pathway.”
All students are indeed on their own “growth pathway” but given that there are differences in all students, it implies that the growth will be different. There is no such nonsense found in sports. Nobody will say everyone can play basketball at the highest level and that nobody has a natural talent at basketball. Playing professional basketball requires at the minimum unusual height and a plethora of other skills that can be partially developed. If someone is under six feet tall, it will be a long road to professional sports, even with supreme talent.
Athletes also receive special training and classes as it becomes apparent that they have potential. If someone can demonstrate superior athletic ability, is it not possible for someone to demonstrate exceptional mathematical ability and thus the need for specialized training and development?
The framework also disagrees with such ideas as
- Finding the correct answer
- Showing your work
- Individual practice
Finding the correct answer is critical for anybody who wants to work in a math focus field. Who would feel comfortable flying in a plane designed by an engineer who was not worried about getting the “correct” answer? Showing your work helps students understand what they are doing and allows the teacher to see where mistakes were made and how to intervene. Again, who would want to go into surgery with a doctor who cannot explain what they will do? Lastly, individual practice means that the student can do the work and does not lean on friends.
Not allowing students to grow and demonstrate their innate talent and abilities is crippling for them. All students need to be challenged and pushed but how this is done depends on the students. All students have talent in something, and schools should helping students determine what they excel at and how to survive what they are weak at. Nobody excels at everything, and nobody fails at everything either.
In the state of Idaho, located in the United States, lawmakers have banned the teaching of critical race theory in class. Here is what one person had to say about critical race theory in Idaho education
We need to protect our teachers from being forced to teach this social justice garbage, including critical race theory.
The penalty for violating this law is the withholding of state funding. According to the NPR report,
So last month, lawmakers wrote a bill to withhold state funding from schools if teachers compel students to believe certain viewpoints, which lawmakers say are, quote, “often found in critical race theory.”
Conservatives primarily support this law, and Democrats had some criticism of this law. At least one lawmaker did not see the teaching of critical race theory as a problem as they were a former educator and administrator.
In my 32 years in two different school districts, a public charter school, I never saw any of this happening, and I still don’t see that happening.
Critical race theory has been in the news lately as the beliefs of this philosophy stress that race is the primary motivating factor in the world and has led to the systemic oppression of various races that done have power. As people have come to embrace this worldview, there appears to be a heightened push for social justice ideas by regular Americans and increased coverage of oppression and inequality by the media.
The history of critical race theory harkens back to Marxism and the struggle of the rich and poor. Marx’s ideas of a class struggle were mutated to develop critical race theory, which does not see a financial struggle but instead focuses more on a racial struggle. In other words, critical race theory is the expansion of Marxist ideas beyond economic and material concepts to other areas of culture such as race.
Many of the various movements of today are rooted in Marxist thought as they often pit one group that lacks “power” against another that has the power either through means or numerical advantage. Examples include feminism, postcolonialism (colonizers vs. colonized), and fat studies (overweight vs. not overweight).
Recently, there is a movement in Texas to ban critical race theory in schools there. The bill is currently in committee and has a strong chance of passing. The complaint against critical race theory in Texas is its divisive nature and the depiction of White Americans as implicitly racist and complicit in a system of oppression against minorities.
This struggle over critical race theory has also taken place at the federal level. Donald Trump removed critical race theory training among federal workers with an executive order as president. However, this executive order was overturned by an executive order by Joe Biden when he assumed the presidency.
The outcome of this battle is yet to be determined. People are still deciding if the values of critical theory are in agreement with theirs.
Recently, there has been a rising trend in companies dropping the need to have a four-year college degree. This has raised several interesting questions as to whether this is a wise decision or not.
However, whenever a decision is made, it is essential to look at the pros and cons of the decision. As such, there is no benefit to attacking companies that have chosen to remove a four-year degree from their expectations. Instead, it is better to look at what is gained and what is lost when such a decision is made. This discussion will limit the pros and cons to businesses, workers, and higher education. There are other stakeholders in this situation, but they will not be covered here.
For business, dropping the requirements for a college degree opens up a much larger pool of workers. Some statistics estimate that about 35% of Americans have a degree. This means that companies are currently limited from considering almost 2/3 of the population if they stick to their degree requirement. By removing this standard many, more people can be considered for employment.
As the workforce expands, it will also provide many employers with more flexibility in hiring, firing, and perhaps wages. With so many more potential employees could potentially put in a stronger position of power in terms of employee relations. Of course, this assumes that people without degrees have the skills and training necessary to do the job.
For the worker, there is a reduction in the cost of school. Now, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars while often going into debt to secure a job. The price of college has skyrocketed to the point of being unreasonable priced for many individuals. As such, a shortcut into the tech field without spending time in school is an attractive idea for many people.
Barriers to entry is a term often discussed in business. For workers, a barrier to entering decent employment could be a degree. With companies removing this requirement, people can potentially find not just a job but a decent paying career through which they can support a family.
One benefit of higher education is that only students who want to go to college will continue to go. The current expectation of going to college has often coerced many students who do not want to be there to go because it was assumed to be the only way to find a decent job. This left colleges with many students who were “putting in the time” and pressuring schools to lower standards so that they could succeed. Grade inflation has also been an important topic in higher education, and this may be due in part to people studying who may not want to study.
Of course, those who want to study should study, and colleges should work with them to be successful. However, if a student is genuinely not interested in school, a pathway to employment should be available as well. It is not about having one answer for all people but many options for different types of people.
No plan is perfect, and dropping college is going to cause problems as well. For business, they will have to spend more time training workers for the various skills and knowledge they need, negating whatever savings they make on wages.
College is frequently criticized for not being practical. However, what college does provide is the development of communication skills, learning how to work with others, as well as a general body of theoretical knowledge that the student will learn to use upon graduation. Remove college from the equation, and developing these and other skills falls on the employer.
Another potential problem for both workers and employers is the lack of advanced skills. If someone does not have a bachelor’s degree, they obviously will not have a master’s or other forms of advanced training. This could lead to workers who are only good at one particular thing and cannot branch out and see connections among various concepts and skills related to their employment.
Lastly, there could be a loss of many students at college. This has not happened just yet, but if there are attractive careers out there that do not require a degree, many colleges could lose many students. This will impact professors, staff, administrators, and others who are connected with higher education. It is not clear how popular removing the bachelor’s degree requirement will become, but it could be financially disastrous for higher education institutions.
Dropping the requirement to go to college is not a bad idea in of its self. This idea will solve some problems, but like all solutions, it will also cause problems. Instead, multiple answers should be developed to help employers find workers and young people who may not be interested in higher education.
Power, authority, and leadership are terms that are used frequently. In this post, we will look at these three terms in the context of the classroom.
Power is the ability to get something done despite resistance. In other words, a powerful person can get what they want. The assumption in education is that the teacher is the primary source of power in the classroom. However, a powerful person may not necessarily be in a leadership position. For example, a problematic student can be extremely powerful through disrupting class. Their behavior can grind instruction to a halt while the teacher looks for ways to remove the distraction.
There are several forms of power that a teacher or even a student can tap into in the classroom. Coercive power is the ability to make someone comply with orders. Such as when a parent makes a child do something they do not want to do. Normative power is a form of power that implies that the people in the organization or classroom should act a certain way. An example of this would be peer pressure which can get even adults to do crazy things.
Utilitarian power is a form of give and take. In other words, a student might cooperate to gain or avoid losing a privilege. These forms of power are derived from a teacher’s expertise, ability to reward, and there role as a teacher. What this means is that if a teacher knows their material, it can be a source of power. If Teachers can grant or take away, privileges students will notice this as well. Lastly, the position of the teacher ensures that whoever is the teacher will by their title have a specific power in the classroom.
Students can also tap into some of these forms of power. FOr example, athletic students have shown expert power in sports which is often an appreciated skill in school. Older students often have a form of legitimate power due in part to their age and, in some cases, size.
Authority is the context in which power can be exercised. For example, a teacher has the authority, or permission, to tell a student what to do. However, it is a rare situation in which a teacher can tell an administrator what to do. The same applies to students. Generally, students lack authority. Yet, there are situations in which a teacher will obey a student, such as when they are having problems with technology or their cellphone.
A common mistake teachers and students have is understanding the boundaries of their authority. There are times when a teacher has the right to exercise power, times when they can exercise power and shouldn’t, and times when they cannot exercise power. For example, teachers have the authority to give out assignments and homework. However, generally, a teacher has the authority but probably should not fail all the students on a given assignment because it indicates that the students were not adequately prepared for the assessment.
In addition, teachers have less authority over students who are not directly in their classes. As such, when one of these students is disruptive, the teacher should typically communicate with the disruptive student’s teacher. Crossing disciplinary lines like this can become confusing due to the lack of a prior relationship with the problem student.
One definition of leadership is the ability to get others to do things willingly. Leadership is more of a measure of a teacher’s soft skills when compared to power or authority. When students are choosing to cooperate because they want to, this is an example of leadership. When a student stops misbehaving of their own volition, this is another example of leadership.
Leadership is another tool along with power and authority that can mix to make each teacher’s unique approach to classroom management. It is impractical to say that power and authority are not acceptable tools for student compliance. The only mistake a teacher can make is to use any single approach exclusively. A one-tool teacher is always going to alienate students who do not respond well to the only tool the teacher has. Some students need coercion, while others need inspiration. A good teacher identifies the needs of the students and makes adjustments appropriately. This is yet another form of leadership.
This post look at power, authority, and leadership in the classroom. Each of these are practical ways to work with students. It is also important to realize that all of these tools work together to help students succeed in the classroom.
Leading in the classroom is a serious challenge for even experienced teachers. However, teachers can take actions to enhance their leadership in ways that do not require more work. This post will look at leadership substitutes and leadership neutralizers and how these ideas help and hurt a teacher in the classroom.
Substitutes for leadership are things that are in place in the classroom that do not require leadership from the teacher. In other words, substitutes replace the teacher so that certain things run by themselves. The more substitutes a teacher can put in place, the less active management they have to do because the students already know what to thanks to the substitutes that are put in place by the teacher.
One example of leadership substitutes would be to have routine or procedures in the classroom. When students know what to do in various situations based on the training they received in the past, it is unnecessary for the teacher to actively control these situations, such as procedures for coming into the classroom or going to lunch.
Developing student leaders is another way to create substitutes for the teacher’s leadership. How this is done varies from school to school and from teacher to teacher. However, the point is that if students can assist in the supervision of the students, it can serve as another form of substitution of the teacher’s leadership.
There is a term in education call withitness, which means knowing almost subconsciously how to respond to a problem in the classroom or having “eyes in the back of one’s head.” If students understand that a teacher is “withit,” it can serve as another form of substitution of leadership in the classroom because students know they cannot get away with whatever they are thinking of doing.
There are also more intangible ways in which leadership substitutes can be established. If a teacher has a strong reputation for expertise and leadership among the students and the school, this reputation alone can serve as a substitute for leadership. The students know that this teacher is good and will sometimes modify their behavior because of the teacher’s leadership ability.
Neutralizers are the opposite of substitutes in that these are things that block leadership and lead the teacher to spend time trying to manage instead of leading. An example of a neutralizer would be the absence of any of the ideas presented in the substitute section of this post. When these ideas discussed above are missing from a classroom, a teacher cannot get many other things done because the focus of their work is on managing behavior.
Another neutralizer is a poor or a lack of communication. This is related to the previous paragraph. If students do not know what the teacher wants them to do, they will find something to do themselves. Again this takes away from the learning experience and leads to chaos in the classroom.
Some neutralizers are outside the teacher’s control. One example would be family problems in the homes of students. In this day and age of broken families, students often have unstable home situations that often bleed over into the classroom. There is little a teacher can do about the home setting, and if home problems impact student behavior, it will also neutralize leadership.
When there are a lot of neutralizers, this means that there will be little leadership. The teacher is not able to set aside management challenges and has to focus on controlling students. People generally do not like to be controlled but would instead manage themselves. If there is no system in place to allow this, the teacher has to be the one to control students. Rather the goal should be for the students to follow the example of the classroom through the expectation of the teacher and the standard of peers, which serve as substitutes to overt control of behavior.
Hate is a strong word, but everyone has things that they dislike. The explosion of e-learning has left many teachers frustrated trying to determine what is going on? In this post, we will explore some of the significant changes that teachers hate about elearning.
The greatest enemy in e-learning for most teachers is technology. Everything must be in some sort of electronic format. Forums, chats, assignments, videos, powerpoints, etc., all must be upload to the mysterious LMS (learning management system.
Speaking of the LMS, it could Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas more something else. It could be something offered by Google, Microsoft, Zoom, loom, or else for video streaming. The average teacher has to learn some of this technology in a relatively short amount of time. However, all of the things mentioned so far relate to software. There are also concerns involving hardware.
Is the internet fast enough for streaming? Is the camera compatible? Is there a way to write on the screen? Many teachers also cut corners when it comes to their own personal technology devices. The laptop from 2012 problem won’t be helpful for teaching online (I’ve seen this attempted). This means spending money to update dead tech to teach in the 21st century.
Another problem is that if the larger institution doesn’t have a clear plan for teaching online, it leads to everybody doing whatever works for them. This torments students who have to adjust to 30 different websites for grades, ten different websites for videos, five websites for uploading material, etc. Each teacher borrows from some other teacher a neat idea, and it leads to an assortment of unique styles that tortures everyone connected to the institution.
The second great enemy of online teaching for teachers is planning. This is especially true for experienced teachers. When a teacher starts to become more experience, there is an immediate drop in planning because you just “know” what to do based on prior planning. However, online teaching is not as forgiving as improvisational teaching based on experience.
Units have to be planned and set up on the website in advance. Links must be there, along with instructions and additional resources. This cannot be set up during a live teaching session as it must be there preferably before the semester. What makes things even more frustrating is that the planning is slightly different in the context of online teaching because of how communication takes place, which is discussed below.
For someone who no longer plans or who was always bad at planning, this is discouraging. It takes a great deal of discipline to look ahead and plan in such a manner when you are used to a more informal way of doing things.
The human element of teaching is almost totally lost when teaching online. The looks of confusion, the smiles, the laughter, even discussion are lost partially online. Discussion is lost because we all know what happens when more than one person talks over the internet. This loss of interaction makes teaching and learning difficult for the teacher. It is hard to tell if the students are learning because many of the cues that we have used in the past as formative assessment are hard to use in the online context.
Another problem is the need for everything to be in the text. Whether it’s messaging, assignments, or grading, communication is through typing and not as much through talking. This can be draining for even the most enthusiastic typists.
Returning to planning, a teacher will often lean on student questions and discussions to clarify things, whether in the classroom or outside of it. For example, a student might come to your office, or you bump into them in the hallway. Whatever you reexplain is often shared with others. These random moments of informal communication are lost, and this obscures the communication process in social interaction is not possible.
Adapting is part of life, but the pace at which e-learning has become a standard teaching tool is remarkable. As teachers struggle with this new experience, there are naturally going to be concerns and complaints.
It is always hard to predict who will make a great leader. Some students do not seem to show any potential for this but eventually become highly influential. Other students who show great promise never seem to reach the level that many anticipate. Despite this, there has been a great deal of research that tries to predicate who will become a great leader and who will not.
One overarching theory of leadership is called the “Great Man Theory of Leadership.” This view holds that some people are born with the traits of leadership. Essentially, this view holds that nature and not nurture are the primary factors in leadership development. Within this paradigm, scholars have wanted to know what these traits were, and we will look at some of them right now.
One researcher in this field was Stogdill. This research found that leaders often exhibit such traits as a strong drive, problem-solving skills, persistence, initiative, self-confidence, tolerance of interpersonal stress and general frustration, a sense of personal responsibility, and are influential in others’ behavior.
The real question is whether these skills are skills students are born with or can be developed. This is a difficult question to answer. The teacher’s job is to put students in a situation in which these traits can be developed. Some students may grow in such situations, while others may not. In other words, it’s more important that students are allowed to develop leadership skills rather than that they become leaders. Everybody is not interested in influencing others, whether formally or informally.
Another researcher named Locke found results similar to Stogdill. Locke found that leaders are often driven, motivated to lead, display honesty, self-confidence, demonstrate expertise and cognitive ability. Lesser skills that leaders show are charisma and creativity.
What is essential for students regarding Locke’s research is that there are different ways to lead. Some students may be traditional leaders who are often people who always stand at the front and are at the center of the action. However, another way to lead is through expertise. For these types of leaders, the maybe in charge during certain situations are serve as advisors for the main leader. This is a way for people who don’t want the constant stress of leadership to have their moment in influencing the team. If students are not aware of this, they may believe that they are not cut out for leadership, which is rarely the case. Some people lead all the time, but everyone should lead some of the time.
Other traits that leaders often possess are high energy and enthusiasm. Energy is contagious, and enthusiasm helps people to keep pushing through discouragement because of the emotional boost. This implies that the cheerleader type personal can be advantageous. However, a leader cannot only be enthusiastic as they must show that they can work and have skills to offer the team besides encouragement.
There is also this idea of self-monitors. These are people who observe verbal and nonverbal cues and adjust their behavior to influence others. People who are highly sensitive to monitoring themselves are often better leaders because they are worried about influence. People who don’t care usually lack the popularity and social capital to be in leadership positions. Students tend to be highly sensitive to what others think, but only those who are the best at monitoring their actions will achieve the leadership positions in many situations.
What leaders do
So far, the focus has been on what leaders are. Now we will look at what leaders do. Leaders often show a willingness to trust others, which is difficult to do these days. Leaders also have a vision of what they want and either know how to make it happen or find someone else who can. Leaders also show a willingness to take risks and encourage others to do so. Failure is where learning begins, and this is something that many people do not like.
Leaders help teams focus on tasks and even encourage dissent or disagreement because challenging ideas help determine what works and doesn’t work. Lastly, many leaders can stay calm in the face of adversity, at least outwardly. This strengthens the team that may be experiencing strong emotions during a problem or crisis.
As teachers, we must show these actions in our classroom. Showing students that we know what we want and how to get there and that we want students to take risks in their learning is essential. Furthermore, teachers need to encourage discussion and dissent to develop critical thinking skills.
Perhaps the best way to develop leaders is for students to see excellent leadership. The real problem may be that it is so hard to see examples of leadership. If students can witness leadership rather than hear theories about it, this may lead to more leaders who can make a difference. The primary purpose is to provide students with the tools they need for success. However, it is always the students’ decision if they want to develop and use these tools to benefit themselves and others.
Intro to circles
Classroom leadership can take one of many forms. Here we will look at several different leadership styles. The purpose is not to determine which is best but rather to suggest when it might be better to use one over another. Looking at these leadership styles may help teachers see what their preferred or natural leadership style is.
Tannenbaum and Schimdt
In the 1950s, researchers by the name of Tannenbaum and Schmidt created what they called a continuum of leadership styles. For them, leadership was a combination of one of the three below.
- autocratic-Leader centered dictatorial style
- participative-Workers are involved and consulted about decision-making
- free-rein-Work is assigned, and the workers determine how to complete it
The three examples above are a part of a continuum that means that a leader can be somewhere between these categories in what could be considered a gray area.
In the classroom, depending on the context, any of these styles of leadership may be appropriate. Younger students may need more of an autocratic leadership style, while it may be appropriate to have more of a participative style of leadership for students such as high school. A free rein may also be right at times, such as with advanced or highly mature students.
Theory X and Y
Another older model of leadership is Theory X and Theory Y by Mcgregor. According to this theory, a theory X leader thinks that the average worker, or in our case, student, dislikes work and does not have the self-control to get things done. Therefore, the leader must maintain a high degree of control. Theory Y leaders believe the opposite that people motivate and desire self-control. Thus, theory Y leaders allow more participation and autonomy for their workers.
The context should dictate the leadership style. However, most leaders and perhaps teachers often support Theory X when dealing with students. Self-motivation and discipline are rare traits to find in many students today. Another concern is that participative leadership is a slow process, as anyone who has lived in a democracy may be familiar with. There are specific time constraints in teaching that make it difficult to allow for the democratic process to play out in the classroom, even with willing and cooperative students.
Directive/Permissive Leadership Style
The final model in this post is the Directive/Permissive Leadership style. This style involves four types of leadership, as explained below.
- Directive Autocrat-High control in decision making and directing people. Applicable when there is little time for discussion, such as during a crisis or emergency. Also useful when the expertise of the followers is low.
- Permissive autocrat-High control of decision-making but low power in directing the people. The leader makes the decision, but the workers decide how to get it done. Similar to the free rein style.
- Directive democrat-Decision making involves participation, but the leader highly controls the execution. Useful when the followers have valuable expertise or opinions to strengthen decision making, but strong leadership is needed to make it happen.
- Permissive democrat-Decision making involves participation, and followers are allowed the freedom to determine how to implement the decisions.
Moving to the classroom again, each of the styles has a place as determined by the context. The maturity of the students plays a vital role in trying to decide which type to choose. As maturity increases, participation in decision-making and execution should be able to increase as well. As responsibility is placed on the students, it lessons the management of the teacher of the classroom. As such, looking for ways to switch to a more democratic leadership style empowers students and lowers the burden on the teacher. However, the students must be ready for the freedom unless chaos erupts, and this requires the teacher to switch styles as the students mature gradually.
There is no such thing as the “best” leadership style. A classroom leader must be able to adjust to whatever situation they are facing. At times, freedom is appropriate, but there is also a time when even a dictator is needed to maintain stability. In general, the less directing a teacher has to do, the less of a burden on them and also on the students who may have to suffer at times from a lack of autonomy that they may desire.
Educators have constantly been searching for ways to engage students in the traditional classroom. With the push towards e-learning, the focus has switched to finding ways to engage students online. What may surprise some teachers, or perhaps not, is that not all students want to be engaged and active in the classroom. Thanks in part to laziness or poor teaching, some students prefer to be passive in the classroom. This is even true when these students are online.
This post is going to discuss some of the teaching strategies passives students hate when studying online.
Interactive videos allow the student to click on things for various reasons, such as answering questions about the video. Passive students hate interactive videos because it forces them to pay attention. The problem is that every student has to answer the question rather than the student the teacher calls on during a Zoom meeting if teaching synchronously.
In other words, interactive videos compel participation for an individual who does not want to participate. There is no excuse for being shy because the student answers a question that the server grades. However, a passive student does not want to be engaged. Instead, they want to watch the video while doing other homework, surfing the web, or simply putting their head down. With the questions and the grading, the student has to be active, which leads to anger. There is no zoning out during interactive videos unless the student wants to keep watching the video over and over to get the points.
Forums are another enemy of the passive student. It follows the same thinking as interactive videos. Forums force everyone to participate and not just the one student a teacher may call on in class or during a Zoom meeting. However, what makes forums even more frustrating for the passive student is that the question has to be graded by a human generally. What this means is that the question can be more open-ended and involve critical thinking.
Passive students despise critical thinking because they cannot copy and paste an answer from the internet or repeat what the teacher said, like in an interactive video. In other words, critical thinking forces them to think, and they never thought they would have to think at school because they have never thought before (this applies even to university students). In addition, thinking takes time, which angers the students because they have other assignments that they need to complete through memorizing. They don’t want to have to form an opinion since there is no way to know if it’s right or wrong immediately.
It is okay to compel a class to think critically face-to-face or even synchronously because the teacher cannot engage every mind simultaneously. Since the teacher cannot check everyone every time, the passive students can hide or just say anything when working in groups. However, asynchronous online learning forces a higher level of participation in which the passive student cannot hide, which can be a source of complaints about the teacher.
Passive online students also hate due dates. This is because they don’t understand how to manage their time. For some reason, these students are convinced that online assignments should be submitted almost whenever as long as the assignment is not “too late.” However, for the teacher, students submitting work whenever means that feedback and grading are done whenever. When this happens, the teacher has to continuously check and add grades to the grade book, and students never really know how they are doing because everyone is doing what they want.
A key component of online teaching is communication and feedback. Students need to see their grades go up and, when necessary, go down as assignments are marked. This motivates students to continue doing the right thing or to reflect on their actions and make changes. When assignments are submitted chaotically, this crucial component of online learning is lost, which is celebrated by the passive student who wants more time to waste time.
Misunderstanding of Time
A major hurdle that I have encountered online is the passive and maybe even the active students’ misunderstanding of time. Since students have to be active online, they develop the impression that online learning takes more time. In reality, the time is the same, but the activity level has increased. This means that the student is mainly responsible for their learning while the teacher has become a facilitator or a coach rather than the sage on the stage. Since the student has to go through the material, it is now “heavier.”
Again passive students do not enjoy being active. They desire to be passive. They want the teacher to share the content while they memorize it for the exam. This teaching style is possible online, but it is hard to be passive in the real world. Active workers are the ones who get and keep employment.
Everybody has their preferred learning and teaching style. Online educators need to be aware of the pitfalls of dealing with passive students. When passive students are held responsible for being active, there will be some frustration and complaints. This means that teachers need to be prepared for this when they try to help students learn in a manner they are not comfortable with.
Leadership and management are two skills teachers need as they work with students. We are now going to try and understand the similarities and differences between leading and managing, along with trying to understand the role of followers are.
Leadership is defined in a variety of ways. One way of looking at leadership is to see it as an interpersonal influence. In other words, great leaderships have great relationships with people. This focus on relationships means that it is common for leaders to focus on maintaining group needs in their position of leadership. This means supporting others with the skills they need, materials, and or supporting group norms of behavior. Often, a person will lose a leadership position when they are no longer able to meet group needs.
Leadership also involves making sure things get done and a vision for the followers to follow. In other words, a leader knows where they want to go and can find ways to inspire others to follow.
This naturally applies to a teacher as well. A classroom teacher, like a teacher, must be able to connect with students and support students to have academic success. This can involve providing a stable learning environment, expertise, ad social support for students. If any of these things are considered missing by the students, the students may reject the teacher’s leadership. A teacher also must make stuff happen in the classroom while inspiring students to enjoy the journey of learning.
Leader, Manager or both
managers and leaders have overlapping yet different functions and origins. Leaders often emerge while managers are appointed. Leaders are focused on influence, while managers are focused on control. This is because a manager’s power comes from the organization, while a leader’s power comes from their expertise, charisma, etc.
Perhaps it is clear that managers and leaders have a lot in common. Successful managers often have leadership ability, while successful leaders show some management ability. A teacher is appointed as a manager by the school but needs to be seen as a leader by the students. This requires the ability to both managed and lead.
Followers are generally the people who are not seen as having a leadership or management position. A follower’s primary role is to accept or reject leadership. Accepting is good news, but rejection may lead to the followers picking their own leader.
When dealing with followers, a leader must look at the group’s general characteristics because different types of people need different types of leadership. Some followers need authoritarian leadership, which is strong direct leadership. This type of individual needs a leader who tells them what to do, and there is little need for a large amount of choice. Followers who need authoritarian leadership also tend to have less self-confidence and require more motivation to have success.
The other extreme in terms of followers are followers who want autonomous leadership, which means they want to participate in decision-making. These followers are often more confident and require support from leadership. Rigidness in leading does not usually work with this group of people.
In the classroom, a teacher needs to determine what style of leadership their students need. In addition, the style may not always be the same with the same students. In some situations, the students may need authoritarian leadership while requiring autonomy in another situation. Furthermore, as the students mature over the school year, this may mean an adjustment in the leadership style.
It is also vital to avoid condemning any particular leadership style as inferior because the situation determines how to lead. Authoritarian styles are viewed negatively at times. However, what’s terrible is always using the same style no matter the situation. A leader needs to provide his followers with what they need, whether authoritarian or autonomous.
A teacher must possess skills in leadership and management to support and help students. However, these skills must also be flexible because different students have different needs at various times from their teacher. As such, few would say that excellent teaching is something that is easy to do.