Serious about humour?

I was disconnected to this topic in our forum- still am. I have yet to discover why. Its most definately not because I don’t believe humour is valuable, even necessary in a classroom. I understand and appreciate the cognitive process which takes place. I even wonder if the “process of resolution requiring the integration of conflicting alternatives (Jokes typically entail the opposition of apparently incongruous elements that must be resolved in a surprising way) is a model of frontal lobe function” is similar to what occurs when resolving congnitive dissonance. (Clark & Warren, 2014)

I experience the benefits of laugher, even forced laugher such as laughing budda from yoga. I use it in my classrooms, primarily self-disparaging humour. Self-desparaging humour has the effect of removing the power of the instructor – student relationship to one which is at least more equitable. It can relieve the tension in a heated discussion. Humour can relieve anxiety about learning and “making mistakes”. Humour is part of classroom management.

Essentially, what’s there not to like about humour? Maybe my disconnection is actually boredom, my learning peers and I found no disconnect on our thoughts about the value of humour? Interesting….

I’m a funny person (or at least I think I am!). And, yet, my blog posts are primarily serious! What’s that all about?

Reference: Clark, C.M., Warren, J.D. 2014. The Neurology of Humour. Clinical Review Article. Retrieved from:

metacognition and my learning journey

At some point in the journey of 3250, I became aware of how masterful the design of this course is (even more so than the others). The layering of the material between the reflective journal, blog, forum and even the digital project – the consistent, even relentless, thinking that is required. We have been immersed in the process of metacognition…. The journey has been like an extremely complex melody unfolding itself. Continue reading

On line forums as classroom discussions

The on-line forum discussion component of 3250 has been challenging. Not just because I’m required to engage so frequently which is difficult for someone who needs to think longer than most people it seems, but also because of how forum technology “works”. I understand the value of peer to peer learning, of discussion, of the constraints of on line learning, and of available resources. However, forum discussions are reminiscent of a classroom activity I participated in years ago.

The class was paired up with a partner, 1 of the pair was to read aloud in a loud voice a script / questions they had been provided. The other person was to respond. Then they swapped. Caveat, everyone else in the room was doing it at the same time, with the same script / questions. It was a smaller room, everyone was close together and there were about 20 people in the class therefore, 10 people were talking very loudly at the same time – essentially a bar with the same conversation repeated simultaneously throughout the room. Why? To demonstrate the experience of living with paranoid schizophrenia and trying to manage the voices. Not organized chaos but mass confusion.talking-stick

Online forums, are missing the talking stick. Its not that people are talking over one happening about the same topic, its that not everyone is sophisticated in their understanding of the technology, the technology doesn’t have editing capability (i.e. take the post out of one area and move to another) etc. – its confusing.

In a work setting, I would not conduct a conversation like this – meaning is misconstrued, multiple trails are started becoming confusing, information is missed etc. I would pull together a meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and that everyone was able to bring forth their points of view.

In my current role, if it were multiple clients in one room and it was a larger group, absolutely breaking into groups would work. However, when the group is smaller and its one client learning our methodology / software and sorting through how to operationalise it, breaking out into groups is counter productive. Essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

If faced with a decision to exclude classroom discussions from the lesson plan or use online forums (because all other options had been eliminated), I truly don’t know what I would decide. Would the value for half the learners outweigh the frustration of all our clients? Would it be worth it to try? I think trying new strategies in corporate training is significantly different and more challenging than in post secondary education. Or is it?

Image Credit: Talking Stick

Emotional Intelligence?

I’m just not sold on the concept of emotional intelligence. I think at one point in my life I thought “that makes sense”. Then an image was posted in our forum discussion that rubbed me the wrong way and I’m now on a hunt to understand the history of the concept.  eq-image

Essentially, EQ (or EI) was proposed as the response to IQ deficiencies. Its popularity rocketed and scholarly research was left behind in a scramble for testing, programs, deeper understanding etc. “Despite its popularity at the time, there was little to no evidence emotional intelligence was more important than IQ for job performance.” (MacCaan, n.d.) Fast forward 20 years and there is now enough evidence to warrant conclusions.

And, the conclusion is, EI intelligence is not more imporant than IQ but it still has value.  Mostly notably in “people’s emotional intelligence which explains 29 percent of the differences in people’s eudaimonic wellbeing (the aspect of wellbeing related to reaching one’s potential).” (MacCann, n.d.) Her research also shows that EI is important for emotion related jobs. Bottom line for an educator, it would seem high EI is in someway correlated to motivation – which I have yet to discover. If it is, this is another tool which can serve to assist both the educator and the learner unlock their potential.

Where did I get to on my initial reaction to the image? I simply do not like the categorizations of the image that produces negative labels of individuals and learners. I think this image does a disservice to the concept, maybe is even a misrepresentation.

Skeptic Cat Image Credit: 

Image Credit for EQ Chart: 

MacCann, C. n.d.Emotional intelligence: fact or fad? Retrieved from


The Ethical Dilemma in Reflective Practice Assignments

Reflection in action, reflection on action…. The first is like split second decisions in the moment, second systematic process of thinking about learning and teaching. Both are components of reflection. Our discussion forum tended to focus on reflection on action and the challenges and rewards associated with instructional strategies / assignments.

Here are some best practices associated with a reflective practice: Continue reading

Digital Story Telling (a 2nd post)

I can’t think of a single reason not to use of digital story telling as an assignment or an educator.

Learner’s perspective: it uses multiple literacy skills, researching, writing, organizing, problem solving etc. A group project would include conflict resolution skills, respect, support communication etc. The idea of pairing experienced with newbies in a group is a fabulous idea that came out of an on-line discussion. Learners are free to explore their own creativity, create skills for new media or enhance current skills which are required for a 21st century individual.

Educator’s perspective: digital media is more engaging, the amount of research (including from a marketing perspective) which documents the brain processing visual information more easily and effectively than text is vast, and the tools to create digital media continue to explode.

I’ve slowly started to delve into this world with our clients and the response is incredible. The appetite for a simple, clear but colorful Piktochart is rewarding.