Course 1, Week 3: Lights, camera, action plan.

Last night I attended a Toastmasters meeting and as usual, we had our Table Topics session. In this session, you’re given a question to discuss impromptu in front of the group. One of the lesser know rules about this session is if you don’t understand or maybe don’t like the question, you can give a random answer on any topic of your choosing. Which brings me to this week’s blog post assignment. I’m having a heck-of-a-time coming up with a new skill or concept to learn. I’ve tried to brainstorm by taking advantage of my network-I’ve sent emails, I’ve messaged my COETAIL group for ideas, I’ve talked to colleagues to brainstorm ideas. After all this, I’ve still not come up with an idea, and now I’ve let myself get behind in the course. I believe I have enough I’m already learning and I am not motivated to learn something new. Taking a page out of the Table Topics rule book, I’m going to twist this blog post task to meet my needs.

First, I am currently learning Russian. I’ve been studying Russian for almost five years but I can barely comprehend or speak. I need to do something more so I have come up with the following action plan for the month of March.

  • Duolingo Russian app daily goal (currently 50XP)
  • Send at least one text (sentence) in Russian to a Russian speaker daily
  • Listen to at least one story on weekly
  • Add Russian language teachers on Twitter and read their posts
  • Add Russian language blogs on Feedly and read them
  • Add Russian captions to my English Instagram posts when possible

Second, I am currently learning to play the viola. I’ve been going to strings practice with my colleagues since the beginning of the 2018 school year. We meet once a week when school is in session. Recently I’ve decided to try and do more. I found a tutor and I’m attempting to practice more. We have a little concert on March 20th we are preparing for. I will play the three songs to the best of my ability. Here’s my plan:

  • Practice daily for 30 minutes
  • Attend weekly strings practice on Thursdays 4:30-5:15
  • Meet with my tutor on Mondays 12:15-12:45
  • Meet with my tutor on Saturdays 11:00-12:00
  • Watch videos of experts playing the songs I’m learning
  • Listen to the songs I’m learning on iTunes
  • Video myself playing the songs and ask for feedback from my tutors

Learning new skills is a lot on the front end and once you’re at the top of the learning curve, it’s a long row to hoe.

image created by me using Google drawing

My takeaways from The first 20 hours — how to learn anything (TEDx, Kaufman).

  • The 10K hour rule was based on people at the tipy-top of competitive professions.
  • The learning curve is the graph showing how incompetent people are when they start to learn a new skill. The early improvement happens fast then the growth slows or tapers off.
  • The speaker says with 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice into your new skill you will become decent at it.
  • First, decompose what it is you want to be able to do to discover the little skills, then practice those.
  • Next, learn enough to practice and self-correct. Find three to five resources to help you-books, videos, etc. Get better at noticing you’re making a mistake so you can do something different.
  • Third, remove the barriers keeping you from your practice-social media, etc.
  • Finally, practice 20 hours.
  • Kaufman makes the point you don’t have to learn the 100s of details, you really just need to learn the major important parts to get decent. The major barrier is to get over is feeling stupid (emotional).

My takeaways (favorite quotes) from Pages 4 – 12 Living with New Media (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

  • “…new media empower youth to challenge the social norms and educational agendas of their elders in unique ways.”
  • “What is generally lacking in the research literature overall, and in the United States in particular, is an understanding of how new media practices are embedded in a broader social and cultural ecology.”
  • “We aimed to transcribe and translate the ways youth understand their own use of new media and, at times, the barriers they encounter in their desires to use them.”
  • “An ethnographic approach means that we work to understand how media and technology are meaningful to people in their everyday lives.”

Messing Around

2 thoughts on “Course 1, Week 3: Lights, camera, action plan.”

  1. I love it Holly. You have created two very realistic and meaningful goals for yourself. I may try to adapt your Russian goal for myself to have a more positive attitude and dedication towards this fabulous goal. Remember like he said, 45 minutes a day for 1 month, right? Conversationally fluent by then? Let’s go! Have you identified other barriers that you feel were impending this goal in the past? I found that finding the right person to help you with your goal, such as this one, is of utmost importance. Learning some difficulty from someone you have zero rapport with was so challenging- which makes me connect that to our own students and how some educators truly believe, “I am here to teach them, not be their friend.” On a certain level, I agree and you need to maintain a high level of professionalism, but at the same time rapport building and a certain level of comfort and care also need to be there for true challenging learning to take place. Anywhos, Thank YOU for being MY learning hero, in AAS and out. Best of luck on your action plans.

    1. Thanks for the comment Shalene! There is a fine line as a teacher to build a relationship with students but not allow them to forget their role as a student. In some ways, I think it’s harder for middle and high school teachers. Good luck to you!

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