recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : constructivecriticism   29

Stop Serving the Feedback Sandwich – Medium
"Problem 1: the positives fall on deaf ears. When people hear praise during a feedback conversation, they brace themselves. They’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it makes the opening compliment seem insincere. You didn’t really mean it; you were just trying to soften the blow.

Problem 2: if you avoid that risk and manage to be genuine about the positives, they can drown out the negatives. Research shows that primacy and recency effects are powerful: we often remember what happens first and last in a conversation, glossing over the middle. When you start and end with positive feedback, it’s all too easy for the criticism to get buried or discounted.

Giving a compliment sandwich might make the giver feel good, but it doesn’t help the receiver."
feedback  feedbacksandwich  damgrant  2016  trust  psychology  management  leadership  criticism  constructivecriticism  clarity  teaching  education  change 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Cheerful to a Fault: “Positive” Practices with Negative Implications - Alfie Kohn
"We live in a smiley-face, keep-your-chin-up, look-on-the-bright-side culture. At the risk of being labeled a professional party pooper, I’d like to suggest that accentuating the positive isn’t always a wise course of action where children are concerned. I say that not because I’ve joined the conservative chorus whose refrain is that kids today have it too damn easy and ought to be made to experience more failure (and show more “grit”).[1] Rather, my point is that some things that sound positive and upbeat turn out not to be particularly constructive.

1. Praise. The most salient feature of a positive judgment is not that it’s positive but that it’s a judgment. And in the long run, people rarely thrive as a result of being judged. Praise is the mirror image of criticism, not its opposite. Both are ways of doing things to kids as opposed to working with them. Verbal rewards are often more about manipulating than encouraging — a form of sugar-coated control. The main practical effect of offering a reward, whether it’s tangible, symbolic, or verbal, is to provide a source of extrinsic motivation (for example, trying to please the rewarder), and this, according to a considerable body of research, tends to undermine intrinsic motivation (a commitment to the activity or value itself).

While “Good job!” may seem like a supportive thing to say, that support is actually made conditional on the child’s doing what we ask or impressing us. What kids most need from adults, apart from nonjudgmental feedback and guidance, is unconditional support: the antithesis of a patronizing pat on the head for having jumped through our hoops. The solution, therefore, isn’t as simple as praising children’s effort instead of their ability, because the problem isn’t a function of what’s being praised — or, for that matter, how often praise is offered — but of praise itself.[2]

2. Automatic reassurance. Deborah Meier once remarked that if a child says one of her classmates doesn’t like her,
we need to resist reassuring her that it’s not true and getting the classmate to confirm it; then we must ask ourselves what has led to this idea. Probably there is truth to the cry for help, and our refusal to admit it may simply lead the child to hide her hurt more deeply. Do we do too much reassuring – ‘It doesn’t hurt,’ ‘It’ll be okay’ – and not enough exploring, joining with the child’s queries, fears, thoughts?[3]

A reflexive tendency to say soothing things to children in distress may simply communicate that we’re not really listening to them. Perhaps we’re offering reassurance more because that’s what we need to say than because it’s what they need to hear.

3. Happiness as the primary goal. How can we help children grow up to be happy? That’s an important question, but here’s another one: How can we help children grow up to be concerned about whether other people are happy? We don’t want our kids to end up as perpetually miserable social activists, but neither should we root for them to become so focused on their own well-being that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering. Happiness isn’t a good thing if it’s purchased at the price of being unreflective, complacent, or self-absorbed.

Moreover, as the psychologist Ed Deci reminds us, anger and sadness are sometimes appropriate responses to things that happen to us (and around us). “When people want only happiness, they can actually undermine their own development,” he said, “because the quest for happiness can lead them to suppress other aspects of their experience. . . .The true meaning of being alive is not just to feel happy, but to experience the full range of human emotions.”[4]

*

And here are four specific cheerful-sounding utterances or slogans that I believe also merit our skepticism:

4. “High(er) expectations.” This phrase, typically heard in discussions about educating low-income or minority students, issues from policy makers with all the thoughtfulness of a sneeze. It derives most of its appeal from a simplistic contrast with low expectations, which obviously no one prefers. But we need to ask some basic questions: Are expectations being raised to the point that students are more demoralized than empowered? Are these expectations being imposed on students rather than developed with them? And most fundamentally: High expectations to do what, exactly? Produce impressive scores on unimpressive tests?

The school reform movement driven by slogans such as “tougher standards,” “accountability,” and “raising the bar” arguably lowers meaningful expectations insofar as it relies on dubious indicators of progress — thereby perpetuating a “bunch o’ facts” model of learning. Expecting poor children to fill in worksheets more accurately just causes them to fall farther behind affluent kids who are offered a more thoughtful curriculum. Indeed, as one study found, such traditional instruction may be associated with lower expectations on the part of their teachers.[5]

5. “Ooh, you’re so close!” (in response to a student’s incorrect answer). My objection here is not, as traditionalists might complain, that we’re failing to demand absolute accuracy. Quite the contrary. The problem is that we’re more focused on getting students to produce right answers than on their understanding of what they’re doing. Even in math, one student’s right answer may not signify the same thing as another’s. The same is true of two wrong answers. A student’s response may have been only one digit off from the correct one, but she may have gotten there by luck (in which case she wasn’t really “close” in a way that matters). Conversely, a student who’s off by an order of magnitude may grasp the underlying principle but have made a simple calculation error.

6. “If you work hard, I’m sure you’ll get a better grade next time.” Again, we may have intended to be encouraging, but the actual message is that what matters in this classroom isn’t learning but performance. It’s not about what kids are doing but how well they’re doing it. Decades’ worth of research has shown that these two emphases tend to pull in opposite directions. Thus, the relevant distinction isn’t between a good grade and a bad grade; it’s leading kids to focus on grades versus inviting them to engage with ideas.

Similarly, if we become preoccupied with effort as opposed to ability as the primary determinant of high marks, we miss the crucial fact that marks are inherently destructive. Like demands to “raise expectations,” a growth mindset isn’t a magic wand. In fact, it can distract us from the harmfulness of certain goals — and of certain ways of teaching and assessing — by suggesting that more effort, like more rigor, is all that’s really needed. Not only is it not sufficient; when the outcome is misconceived, it isn’t even always desirable.[6]

7. “Only Positive Attitudes Allowed Beyond This Point.” I’ve come across this poster slogan in a number of schools, and each time I see it, my heart sinks. Its effect isn’t to create a positive atmosphere but to serve notice that the expression of negative feelings is prohibited: “Have a nice day . . . or else.” It’s a sentiment that’s informative mostly for what it tells us about the needs of the person who put up the poster. It might as well say “My Mental Health Is So Precarious That I Need All of You to Pretend You’re Happy.”

Kids don’t require a classroom that’s relentlessly upbeat; they require a place where it’s safe to express whatever they’re feeling, even if at the moment that happens to be sadness or fear or anger. Bad feelings don’t vanish in an environment of mandatory cheer — they just get swept under the rug where people end up tripping over them, so to speak. Furthermore, students’ “negativity” may be an entirely apt response to an unfair rule, an authoritarian environment, or a series of tasks that seem pointless. To focus on students’ emotions in order to manufacture a positive climate (or in the name of promoting “self-regulation” skills) is to pretend that the problem lies exclusively with their responses rather than with what we may have done that elicited them.[7]"

[Also posted here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/14/things-we-say-to-kids-that-sound-positive-but-can-be-detrimental/ ]
alfiekohn  education  listening  howweteach  teaching  pedagogy  praise  reassurance  happiness  reflection  expectations  grades  grading  effort  attitudes  positivity  behavior  manipulation  criticism  judgement  feedback  constructivecriticism  support  schools  selflessness  kindness  tests  testing  standardizedtesting  accuracy  deborahmeier 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Will · Can We Talk About Change Without Hurting Feelings?
“Last night, George Couros Tweeted this:
“I think when we say things like ‘school is broken’ it really demeans the hard work of so many educators who make school awesome everyday.”

As I would have expected, it was retweeted and favorited widely. The sentiment is, of course, that the failures of schools, perceived or real, shouldn’t be ascribed to the teachers who work with our kids every day. As George suggests, there are a great number of caring, smart, hard working adults in schools around the world who are trying to make school “the best seven-hours of a kids day” as my friend Gary Stager puts it.

What I can’t read in that Tweet is to what extent George feels schools are in fact “broken,” if he feels that way at all. And if they are failing in some aspects, is it possible to say that without “demeaning” the people that work in them?

As someone who finds the experience of traditional schooling to be increasingly out of step with the real world, and as someone who has come to believe that schools actually are “broken” in many ways, how do I write and speak about those viewpoints without being heard or read as hurtful or demeaning to educators in schools? Is that possible?

And if schools are in fact “broken” in either large or small ways, are we to hold all teachers blameless for that? Really?"
willrichardson  2015  georgecouros  sensitivity  education  schools  teachers  constructivecriticism  systemsthinking  policy  unschooling  deschooling 
march 2015 by robertogreco
CODE OF CONDUCT - sfpc.hackpad.com
"Purpose:
Better articulate the values of the community and encourage collaboration within the space. We want to create a safe space for all SFPC members. 

For this conversation, we will collaboratively develop a Code of Conduct 
• What do we want to create? 
◦ community, interactive projects, 
◦ respectful communication 
▪ (being empathetic, listening)
▪ room for direct communication; honesty 
▪ Explicit/ Descriptive /   
▪ using constructive criticism - "be tough on ideas, not people"
◦ a shared experience
◦ Relationships of trust
◦ a space that celebrates making
• How do we make this an internationally welcoming environment?
◦ be patient, listen
◦ ask questions; be receptive to questions
◦ be conscious of your language
• Create a space where everyone's opinions are valid, no hesitation in asking questions, welcoming of all skillsets


Our suggestions:
• Work openly
◦ sharing, collaborative documents, transparency
◦ "what's said here stays here and what's learned here leaves here"
• Be generous
• What you put into this you will get out of it; full-time participation
• Speak with respect, assume the most respectful interpretation 
• Step up, step back

Principles of Conversation (via andrew zolli)
• Together we know more
• tough on ideas, gentle on people
• avoid jargon (unfamiliar language)
• threads beat points (making a thread, connect the dots)
• proceed with generosity

Unacceptable Behaviors:
• Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person.
• Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
• Posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material nonconsensually. 2
• Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability.
• Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them.
• Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances.
• Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following (online or in person).
• Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

Zach, Taeyoon, Allison, Casey and Tega are available to discuss any sort of unwelcome behavior and will work towards a resolution."
codeofconduct  sfpc  constructivecriticism  allisonburch  behavior  community  generosity  transparency  sharing  andrewzolli  communication  collaboration  honesty  relationships  trust  patience  listening  conversation  jargon  2015  schoolforpoeticcomputation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Liz Lerman: Critical Response Process (CRP)
"Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process (CRP) is a feedback system based on the principle that the best possible outcome from a response session is for the maker to want to go back to work. Whether returning to the studio, the desk, the kitchen, or the laboratory, CRP gives tools both to people who are making work and people who are responding to that work.

In use for over twenty years, CRP has been embraced by artmakers, educators, scientists, and administrators at theater companies, dance departments, orchestras, science centers, museums, and beyond. The Process has deepened dialogue between makers and audiences; it has enhanced learning between teachers and students. It has proven valuable for all kinds of creative endeavors, work situations, and collaborative relationships within and beyond the arts, from kindergartens to corporations.

In 2012 Liz taught intensives at the University of Georgia, to theater practitioners in both Ireland and Scotland, and with the Blue Touch Paper new-works series of the London Sinfonietta. In 2013 she'll travel to Australia to teach CRP intensives on both coasts, and return to Scotland and to London for further CRP work.

CRP workshops and intensives can be designed to last anywhere from two hours to four days, depending on the size of the group, the desired amount of work on display, and whether facilitator-training is included. CRP is a process of response, so we need things to respond to: a dance-in-progress, a draft of a paper for a conference, a new lecture that a faculty member wants feedback on. Liz will discuss all of this with you to get an appropriate range."
feedback  criticism  art  artists  process  design  creativity  constructivecriticism  criticalresponseprocess  lizlerman 
october 2014 by robertogreco
9/15-9/28 Unit 1: Why We Need a Why | Connected Courses
"Title: The End of Higher Education

Description: As shrinking budgets, skeptical publics, and rising alternatives continue to threaten the end of higher education, we host this conversation as a contemplation of what the end – or purpose – of higher education should be. We will also reflect on how individual teachers might find their own core reason for teaching a specific class, and ways to build buy-in to that reason among students."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFcjrwaJV0E ]

"Why We Need a Why:

As we design our courses, we have to address three questions:

What is to be taught/learned?

How should it be learned?

Why should it be learned?

We usually start by addressing the “What” question first. We have a course title or subject area and we begin populating our syllabus with the “whats” to be learned. Or, we peruse textbooks looking for the text that we think best covers the field. If we have time, we address the “How” question by considering how we can best teach the material. We sharpen our teaching technique, seek out better examples for the more difficult concepts, compile photos and videos to improve our presentations, and seek other ways to get the students engaged with the material. We may jump to incorporate the latest tools and techniques, whether it is social or interactive media or a new technique like a flipped classroom. Our syllabus, teaching materials, and educational technology in order, we rush into the semester, rarely asking, “Why?”

Starting with “Why” changes everything. When I, Mike Wesch, first started contemplating the “why” of my digital ethnography course, I realized that what I was really hoping to do was to teach my students “critical thinking.” I place “critical thinking” in quotes here because I had not yet given a great deal of thought about what I meant by the term, but I did immediately recognize that my previous “how” was completely inadequate to the task. I had spent most of my time thinking up elaborate and memorable performances (like the “shake your tailfeather” dance featured in this video) so that they would remember the concepts. Their task in my class was to simply memorize the material as performed by the authority (me) at the front of the room. Indeed, all of my teaching to that point had been in service of a very thin, unquestioned, and ultimately wrong notion of learning as the simple acquisition of knowledge.

As I contemplated the “real why” of my course further, I soon recognized that anthropology was not a bunch of content and bold faced terms that can be highlighted in a text book, but was instead a way of looking at the world. Actually, that is not quite right. It is not just a way of looking at the world. It is a way of being in the world. To underscore the difference, consider that it is one thing to be able to give a definition of cultural relativism (perhaps the most bold-faced of bold-faced terms in anthropology which means “cultural norms and values derive their meaning within a specific social context”) or even to apply it to some specific phenomenon, but it is quite another to fully incorporate that understanding and recognize yourself as a culturally and temporally bounded entity mired in cultural biases and taken-for-granted assumptions that you can only attempt to transcend.

To adopt such an understanding is often transformative and psychologically disruptive. It is not to be taken lightly, and no student will dare take on such disruption if it is not clear that there is a good reason to do so. As Neil Postman has noted, you can try to engineer the learning of what-bits (The End of Higher Education, Postman), but “to become a different person because of something you have learned — to appropriate an insight, a concept, a vision, so that your world is altered — is a different matter. For that to happen, you need a reason.” This also means asking hard questions about how new technology and techniques can support real student transformation and not simply reinforce old patterns with new tools."
michaelwesch  cathydavidson  randybass  2014  highered  highereducation  purpose  education  colleges  universities  pedagogy  theywhy  learning  howwelearn  why  howweteach  teaching  crits  studioclassroom  criticism  designthinking  design  critique  constructivecriticism  writing  howwewrite  revision  peerreview  learningcontracts  classconstitutions  student-ledlearning  mooc  moocs  authenticity  tcsnmy  ownership  lcproject  openstudioproject  contracts  cv  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  community  communities  communitiesoflearning  learningcommunities  profiteering  difficulty  economics  engagement 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Design tutorials: the basics | SB129
Within design education, there’s little shared wisdom about how to conduct a tutorial. The tutorial is the bread and butter of design learning; the main pedagogic object of interaction. But we, the design community, rarely share the nuts and bolts of how to navigate and steer a student through a successful project; how to encourage, provoke, inspire and lead a designer into new and fascinating territories.

In this post, I’d like to outline a few basics. It’s me, stating the obvious, in what I consider good pedagogic practice; how best to support, guide and get the most out of students and their work.

I believe the things I’ve learnt over the last ten or so years are applicable to other disciplines and within the professional context of design. Whether as a Creative Director or a Design Manager, the following points are a good place to start when it comes to directing creativity;

Listening is Key

At the heart of a good tutor is their ability to listen. Understanding ideas, position and intent allows for more connected, meaningful feedback. Asking questions to clarify is key to aiding your understanding. Sometimes students take a long time to get to the salient point, they can skirt around the topic due to a lack of confidence, confusion or perception of expectation, so be patient, let them ‘talk out’, only respond when you understand what’s in front of you. Wait until nerves die down to get to the heart of the matter, then you’ll be in the best position to advise.

Ownership and embodiment

It’s all to common for design tutors to try to design vicariously – to direct a student in a way that they would do the project. This, in my opinion, is a flawed approach. It has a history in the master/apprentice model of education; watch, copy, admire, repeat (where learning is a happy side effect). However, it rarely allows the student to feel ownership over the content and learning experience.

Within Art and Design, intellectual ownership is a tricky subject to navigate. The messy and complex network of ideas become distributed across a number of different references, conversations and people, the genesis of an idea is difficult to locate. Tutors that have a ‘that was my idea’ attitude rarely survive or remain happy and motivated. Intellectual generosity is an essential quality of a good educator. Having the humility to understand and value that the adoption of ideas ‘as their own’ is an important part of learning – it allows for the embodiment of the ideas into the identity of the designer.

Mutual exploration

However, in the age of the Internet, the tutor as gateway to all knowledge is long gone. The ability (or illusion) of a Professor having read ‘everything’ in their discipline is a distant memory. When knowledge is acquired and disseminated in such a radically different manner, it calls for educational revolution. Sadly, the rise of the MOOC isn’t the revolution I was hoping for.

The abolishment of levels and the flattening of hierarchies are at the heart of how I believe education needs to change. Breaking the often fictitious boundaries between teaching and research to allow for the mutual exploration of ideas is a fundamentally different model of education. Sadly, due to financial scalability, this remains relevant only to an elite. But as a tutor, see your conversations with students as a space to explore ideas, be the learner as much as the teacher. Reframe higher education away from the hierarchies of expertise towards mutual exploration of the distant boundaries of your discipline.

Expanding possibility space

It’s important to remember that a tutorial should be expanding the cone of possibility for the student. They should leave, not with answers, but with an expanded notion, a greater ambition of what they were trying to achieve. It’s important to be ambitious and set tough challenges for your students, otherwise boredom or (heavens forbid) laziness can take over. Most student’s I’ve met love being thrown difficult challenges, most rise to the occasion, all learn a great deal. In order to move towards the goal of a self determined learner, the student should control the decisions of the design process. If you’re telling them what to design, not opening up possibilities and highlighting potential problems, you’re probably missing something.

Understand motivation, vulnerability and ‘learning style’

Every student we teach, learn in a different way, have different hopes and desires, react to feedback in a different way. Navigating and ‘differentiating’ these differences is really difficult. Some tutors take a distanced intellectual approach, where the content in front of them is a puzzle that needs to be solved, this is the classic personae of the academic, distanced, emotionally arid, intellectually rigorous. But this doesn’t alway mean a good learning experience. Other tutors operate on a more psychological level; the try to understand the emotional context of the situation and adapt their advise accordingly. Whatever happens, understand you have a individual in front of you, they have lives outside of the studio, they are going through all manner of personal shit that will effect their attention and engagement. They come from different cultures, different educational backgrounds, so their response to your advice is going to shift like the wind, be adaptive, read body language and don’t go in like a bulldozer (I have definitely done this in the past!).

In terms of learning style, without this becoming a paper on pedagogy, understand that your advice need to be tailored to different students. Some (a lot) need to learn through a physical engagement with their material, others needs to have an intellectual structure in place in order to progress. Throughout a project, course or programme, try to understand this and direct your advice accordingly.

Agreed direction

Tutorials shouldn’t just be general ‘chats’ about the project or world, they should give direction, tasks and a course of action. I have a rule: Don’t end the tutorial until you’ve both agreed a direction. This can be pretty tough to manage in terms of time, as I get more experienced, I get better at reaching an agreement within my tutorial time allocation, but I still often can overrun by hours. The important thing to work towards is the idea that you both understand the project, and you both understand how it could move. End the tutorial when this been reached.

Read and respond

It’s really important, in design, to respond to what is in front of you. To actual STUFF. It’s far too easy to let students talk without showing evidence of their work. This is a dangerous game. Words can deceive, hide and misrepresent action. Dig into sketchbooks, ask to see work they’ve done. If they haven’t done anything, ask them to go away and do something to represent their ideas and thoughts. Production is key to having a productive tutorial. Only through responding to actual material evidence of action can a project move forward. At its worst, students can develop the skill to talk about stuff, making it exciting in your mind, but fail to produce the project in the end. But this isn’t the main reason for this section, it’s more about the ideas of design residing in the material production, not just the explication. You can tell me what you believe something does or means, but it’s only when it’s in front of me that I can fully grasp this.

The art of misinterpretation

Another reason why it’s important to dig into sketchbooks and look at work, is that looking at something and trying to work out what it means – the space of interpretation – is an important space of learning. By interpreting and indeed misinterpreting work, you and your student can find out things about the project. If the student intended one thing and you understand something else by it, you’ve at least learnt that it was poorly (visually and materially) communicated. But the exciting stuff happens when misinterpretation acts as a bridge between your internal mental processes (with all references etc) and your students. Your reading of a drawing acts as a way to generate a new idea or direction. This is when there is genuine creative collaboration.

References

One of the roles of a tutor is to point students towards relevant and inspiring resources. In the age of the internet, when student’s roam the halls of tumblr and are constantly fed inspiration by their favourite design blogs, the use, meaning and impact of tutor driven references has changed. Be focussed with reading, ensure students know why they are looking at a particular reference and make sure that you contextualise the work within the ideas that they have."
mattward  2013  teaching  pedagogy  cv  howweteach  howwelearn  design  art  tutotials  canon  listening  ownership  understanding  interpretation  misinterpretation  embodiment  making  exploration  apprenticeships  hierarchy  hierarchies  possibilityspace  motivation  vulnerability  feedback  constructivecriticism  context  empathy  conversation  audiencesofone  differentiation  contextualization  process  documentation  reflection  reggioemilia  emergentcurriculum  evidence  assessment  critique  communication  collaboration  mentoring  mentorship  mentors  response  action  direction  mutualaid 
april 2014 by robertogreco
The Uncanny Valley of Earnestness — LadyBits on Medium — Medium
"No. Criticism is not negativity. Criticism is not saying you’re bad. Criticism is – it should be – a way of saying: I think you’re good. I know you can do better. I think you can figure out a way how.

I only saw about a third of the talks, but of those I did see, no one spoke of the value of criticism and iteration. It was beyond amazing to see people being honest and open about self-understanding and failure and feelings. Those of you who went there, and who I saw: Thank you.

But what about moving beyond that darkness and asking outside yourself for help? The hardest thing for me in all my darkest times has been knowing I am not alone, that people want to help me, that I am not a solitary soldier in a landscape of shit who will have to do it herself, over and over again, and the only way to celebrate this victory is to wait until I’m secure and have made it so I can reveal terrifying things for which I can finally be called a hero.

The Uncanny Valley of Earnestness is a place in between blindly shoring each other up and tearing each other down. This is the place where you give yourself the chance to be weirdly human and you try, with all your might, to give that chance to someone else. You will fail, on both an individual level and in big groups, and so will everyone else, but you will try again.

That space is where we teach each other, help one another to succeed, show each other where we’re failing and how we can do better — what we’re doing wrong and what the weak spots are — and turn amateurs into professionals and show professionals where they’ve let their fundamentals go weak."
leahreich  2013  xoxo  criticism  constructivecriticism  earnestness  community  conferences 
october 2013 by robertogreco
audience-driven storytelling
"When you write an abstract for a project, retweak it every time you tell someone about it. That way the story gets retooled at the speed of thought, matching your community and all the information you take in from them. Every time you retell the story for someone just on the edge of your social circle, you entertain another body of knowledge.  How would this story sound to scientists? to working-class folk?  Try to hear their thoughts in advance and tell them a story they'd find meaningful.  Then see how they actually respond, and take on what they know.

This advice particularly applies to graduate students at the end stage of a dissertation.  Retooling your methods won't work, but once you have your data, it can speak to many questions. Most book manuscripts that come out of dissertations suffer by responding to too shallow a literature, too narrow a public.  When you sit down to write the introduction and conclusion to a project, remember the best books you've read, the smartest people you've talked to, the most compelling conversations about changing the world."
workinginpublic  2013  writing  community  feedback  projects  prototyping  iteration  advice  retooling  joguldi  conversation  smallifying  collaboration  criticism  constructivecriticism 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Things We Don't Say — nicoleslaw
"It's easy to know everything when you're on your own, following the voice inside. I've always been independent. But things are better with other people involved, especially if we speak up and listen to each other. It takes work to be open to those ups and downs.

Lately, I worry about the things we don't want to publish or put on the record. The things held under our breath or sent in whispers. The things we don't say.

Because those things are what really bind us together when they get out. Those things make us feel normal. Not crazy, or alone. Therapists call this normalizing; I would call it just being honest. I hope we can share emotional stories and uncover happy gasps of relief that say, "I feel the same way!" or "That's totally normal." I hope we don't tell people they're crazy if we dislike their ideas. I hope we don't equate strength with silence.

This is our work. Let's find a way to be real with each other."
trust  honesty  learning  normalizing  individualism  collectivism  cooperation  independence  interdependence  2013  howwework  writing  sharing  vulnerability  emotions  constructivecriticism  workingitout  listening 
february 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: smallifying
"Kindle Book 53 was Little Bets by Peter Sims.

And we're up to date! That's everything I've read on my Kindle so far.

Affordable loss, that makes sense:

"Sarasvathy points to the value of what she calls the affordable loss principle. Seasoned entrepreneurs, she emphasizes, will tend to determine in advance what they are willing to lose, rather than calculating expected gains."

People are more honest when it's rough:

"Prototyping allows P&G staff to make things in order to think. “How do you let consumers experience it, even if it falls totally apart within five minutes?” Thoen asks: The level of feedback you get is so much more valuable and impactful…. The problem with showing something to consumers when it’s almost totally done, people don’t necessarily want to give negative feedback at that point because it looks like, “This company has spent a lot of money already getting it to this stage and now I’m going to tell them, ‘It sucks.’” On the other hand, if something hangs together with tape, and it’s clear that it’s an early prototype, the mindset of consumers often is, “These people still need some help, so let me tell you what I really think about it.” Thoen beautifully describes the value of prototyping: Potential users of ideas are more comfortable sharing their honest reactions when it’s rough, just as people at P&G are less emotionally invested in their ideas."

Accept the starting point:

"Throughout the Pixar creative process, they rely heavily on what they call plussing; it is likely the most-used concept around the company. The point of plussing is to build upon and improve ideas without using judgmental language. Creating an atmosphere where ideas are constantly being plussed, while maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness, is a central element of Pixar’s magic. The practice of plussing draws upon those core principles from improvisation: accepting every offer and making your partner look good. Rather than criticize an idea in its entirety (even if they don’t think it’s good), people accept the starting point before suggesting improvements"

Thank God for moderate importance.

"what organizational psychologist Karl Weick refers to as small wins. Weick defines a small win as “a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance""
russelldavies  2013  small  smallifying  prototyping  pixar  p&g  petersims  relationships  trust  plussing  judgement  criticism  risk  incremental  increments  emotions  emotionalinvestment  making  collaboration  sharing  rapiditeration  workinginpublic  feedback  constructivecriticism  r&d 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Guilty Particulars
[Now at this URL: http://tanmade.com/writing/2012/12/10/guilty-particulars/ ]

"It takes attention and patience to learn the particulars of your own taste. Saying you liked a bad movie doesn’t mean you have to like everything about it – maybe the score was genius, or one character’s lines were spot-on. Being able to pinpoint what’s good about your guilty pleasures lets you talk about them without feeling ashamed by the bad parts.

Otherwise, it means being bound by a vague sense of what you’re supposed to like, and being instinctively skeptical of things that seem a bit too popular – as if that’s an automatic black mark. And the most dangerous thing as a critic is to feel like you’re learning to be discerning and critical when really, you’re only learning not to look foolish."
irony  skepticism  constructivecriticism  patience  noticing  attention  why  judgement  preference  bias  shame  guiltypleasures  allentan  2012  pleasure  criticism 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Look at yourself objectively (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
"Looking at ourselves objectively isn’t easy. But it’s essential if we ever want to get better. And if we don’t do it, we leave ourselves open to con artists and ethical compromisers who prey on our desire to believe we’re perfect. There’s no one solution, but here are some tricks I use to get a more accurate sense of myself:

Embrace your failings. …

Studiously avoid euphemism. …

Reverse your projections. …

Look up, not down. …

Criticize yourself. …

Find honest friends. …

Listen to the criticism. …

Take the outside view."
constructivecriticism  vulnerability  humility  honesty  oprah  mindchanging  mindchanges  change  behavior  ignazsemmelweis  learning  feedback  advice  self-improvement  wisdom  fear  failure  psychology  self-image  perspective  euphemisms  criticalfriends  collegiality  criticism  self-criticism  selfimprovement  2012  aaronswartz 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Getting To No
"Structural Obstacles

To begin with, teaching differs from most professions in being such an idiosyncratic craft. The immediacy of the classroom, its unpredictability and social complexity, makes teaching not just an intensely involving occupation but also an innately individualistic one. In many respects, teachers are, as Michael Huberman, author of The Lives of Teachers, observed, “independent artisan[s]” — tinkerers, intellectual craftspeople who use whatever they can find in their workshop to solve the problems presented by the project they are working on — and who work autonomously. Teachers are not deliverers of highly scripted, linear, instructional sequences; they are skillful, adaptive improvisers who must be able to modify a lesson plan on the fly whenever necessary. Much of what any educator does is highly personal, and over time, every teacher develops a unique instructional repertoire, a set of personal, artful, but often tacit assumptions and responses.5 This is true even for those who team-teach together and those who employ a similar classroom methodology.

“The entrenched norms that prevail among teachers have always been those of autonomy and privacy, not those of “open exchange, cooperation, and growth.”

What this means is that technical communication among teachers is more difficult, less necessary, and in some ways even less appropriate than it might seem…

[…]

Personal Obstacles

The nature of teaching and the structure of schooling pose significant challenges to collegiality, but the larger obstacles are personal; they lie in the make-up of teachers themselves. They were captured bluntly for me by a veteran history teacher, known to his administrators as “The Grouch,” who objected to his school’s effort to create PLC’s this way: “We don’t see the necessity. Plus, if — if — we had any time available, we’d rather spend it with students.”"

[…]

Conflict Avoidance

These tendencies in teachers help explain why so few schools go beyond congeniality. But there is an additional personal obstacle, one that is powerful and pervasive: educators are profoundly conflict avoidant. Teaching attracts people with a strong security orientation and a strong service ethic, not entrepreneurs with a thirst for risk and competition. It also attracts people who tend to be less worldly than, say, corporate professionals. Teachers try to accentuate the positive. They wish to help, foster, inspire, and encourage the best in students. They generally like people and want to be liked. And they take their work very personally. All of which makes them loathe to risk direct disagreement with or criticism of one another.

[…]

Avoiding conflict is not a terrible flaw. Schools have never resembled corporations. They’ve always been more like villages — venues where feelings are often powerful, but their expression must be measured. The price of civilization is restraint — and gossip. No village — no relationship — can survive total candor. Villagers, including the elders, often can’t speak their minds fully, but they also can’t contain all the feelings that are stirred in the course of living and working together. Hence, when they disagree or feel inclined to criticize, they often talk about one another instead of to one another. So it is in schools.

No wonder, then, that efforts at collaboration and collegiality are ever fragile — hard to start, hard to sustain. But although the obstacles are significant, there is much that can be done. And most of the key steps are simple. They’re not necessarily easy, but they are plain rather than fancy, straightforward rather than complex, and they draw in part on skills that teachers routinely apply in their work with students. Coping begins with commitment."

[…]

Disabling Avoidance: The Third-Time Rule

It is easy to get educators to agree that conflict avoidance interferes with their work and that they should take up significant issues directly with those involved. It is something else again to translate this into action. To many teachers, the very norms of avoidance they acknowledge as problematic also feel insurmountable, especially in one-to-one interactions. One way to cope with this dilemma is to formally adopt a simple agreement: Don’t be the third party the third time about any issue that bears importantly on the work of the school. This means that if Teacher A complains about Teacher B to Teacher C, C can listen, make suggestions, and so on, and can do so again if A returns to complain. But the third time, C must invoke the Third-Time Rule and insist that A take the issue to B. Otherwise C has become part of the problem, even if she didn’t create it, and is reinforcing a culture of avoidance, of talking about one another instead of to one another.

As noted above, there will always be static and irritations in relationships, and we all need occasions when we can just vent or complain. The Third-Time Rule is for concerns that involve the work of the school. It does not mean that C must simply turn A away. C can offer to meet with A and B together, or can suggest that A engage an administrator to help, and so on. The key is to keep the focus on improving the faculty’s working relationships.

Resolving Conflict
The prospect of actually abiding by the Third-Time Rule makes many teachers fearful. They can’t imagine what they would say to A if they were in C’s shoes. If they are to be more appropriately candid with one another, they usually benefit from learning concrete ways to improve communication, especially ways to resolve differences constructively. The relevant approaches are those taught in conflict-resolution seminars and are neither complex nor outside the range of teachers’ existing competence. They include:

1. Confront the issue, not one another. The goal is to resolve the difference and preserve the relationship. This means, among other things, assuming good will — not leaping to negative assumptions about a colleague’s views or motivation, not reading the effect of a remark or an action as its intent.

2. Listen carefully. Seek clarification and make sure to understand a colleague’s point of view (Can I ask you about that? Can you say more about what makes you think that?).

3. Share views honestly but respectfully — by, for example, making “I statements” (I find our meetings frustrating when we wander off topic, instead of, These meetings are a waste of time).

4. Speak as directly as possible, preceding it with something that makes it “hearable” (I don’t know quite how to say this, but I’m reluctant to speak because every time I suggest a solution you dismiss it, or, Can I disagree for a minute? I’m not sure you’re right. I think I see it differently).

5. In serious disagreements that persist, look for options, rather than full solutions (Is there part of the problem we agree on, even if we don’t see it all the same way?)."
robertevans  criticalfriends  collegiality  congeniality  2012  leadership  candor  honestry  constructivecriticism  via:carwaiseto  michaelhuberman  teaching  teachers  communication  honesty  feedback  avoidance  conflictavoidance  conflict  conversation 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Power of Feedback | blog of proximal development
"In my last post, I wrote about the value of Assessment for Learning as an approach to supporting and engaging students. Whenever we talk about Assessment for Learning, we must also address its key element — timely, effective, and meaningful feedback…

Corrections, like the ones in the image above, never focus on things that a student performed well. They zero in on what went wrong. They are also very definitive and authoritarian. They show weaknesses in student work, they point out mistakes and errors.

Feedback, on the other hand, is about supporting the student in the process of moving toward the goal and closing that gap between where she is now and where she needs to be. As teachers, we must help our students answer three questions:

1. Where am I going?

2. How am I doing?

3. What actions do I need to take next?

In other words, effective feedback focuses on goals, progress, and next steps."
writing  goalsetting  goals  reflection  constructivecriticism  howweteach  corrections  learning  education  tcsnmy  assessmentforlearning  teaching  assessment  2012  konradglogowski 
february 2012 by robertogreco
P2PU (beta) | Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything
"LEARN ANYTHING WITH YOUR PEERS. IT'S ONLINE AND TOTALLY FREE.

At P2PU, people work together to learn a particular topic by completing tasks, assessing individual and group work, and providing constructive feedback."

"The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities. P2PU - learning for everyone, by everyone about almost anything."
education  learning  p2p  p2pu  hourschool  teachstreet  schoolofeverything  universities  highereducation  highered  peertopeer  teaching  unschooling  learningnetworks  networkedlearning  networks  lcproject  online  constructivecriticism 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Why People Avoid the Truth About Themselves — PsyBlog
"1. It may demand a change in beliefs. Loads of evidence suggests people tend to seek information that confirms their beliefs rather than disproves them.

2. It may require us to take undesired actions. Telling the doctor about those weird symptoms means you might have to undergo painful testing. Sometimes it seems like it's better not to know.3. It may cause unpleasant emotions.

…I offer no answers, merely to point out that avoiding information is a much more rational strategy for dealing with the complexities of a frightening world than it might at first seem. There's a good reason we value the innocence of youth: when you don't know, you've got less to worry about.

When we laugh at the hypocrisies of a sitcom character, it's also a laugh of uncomfortable recognition. As much as we'd prefer to avoid the information, in our heart of hearts we know we're all hypocrites."
psychology  information  behavior  discovery  feedback  self  constructivecriticism  confirmationbias  emotions  innocence  ignoranceisbliss  worry  hypocrisy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
ZURB – How Design Teamwork Crushes Bureaucracy
"People who can’t communicate w/ each other get stuck making complicated ‘stuff’ to make up for it. Frustration turns into PowerPoints, complicated charts, & lots of meetings…requires layers upon layers of management to keep organized…weighs companies down…creates no direct value to customers. This is why there are so many lame products in the world. There’s not a wireframe or chart or design method that is going to save you if you can’t look your team members in the eye."

"Our teamwork made up for the lack of ‘stuff’ other companies would use because we:

Shared a clear goal that we all understood…Worked physically close to each other & stayed connected by IM and phone when we didn’t…Shared feedback w/ each other & from customers out in the open every day, which builds confidence in arguing & makes new conversations really easy to beginStayed together through thick and thin to build trust in one another"
teamwork  teams  administration  management  tcsnmy  toshare  bureaucracy  organizations  goals  purpose  community  communication  collegiality  feedback  constructivecriticism  argument  arguing  discussion  proximity  powerpoint  irrationalcomplexity  rules  control  missingthepoint  trust  2011  zurb 
july 2011 by robertogreco
What’s the point? « Re-educate Seattle
"What I learned from that class and had clarified by that assignment was what I wanted from my education. I wanted my learning to be supported, not required of me. I wanted an environment where I could experiment and fail or succeed with someone to give constructive feedback and encouragement regardless of the outcome. This was not always possible in the education structure of my high school, but it stuck with me when teachers made an effort to provide it."
stevemiranda  tcsnmy  pscs  learning  education  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  thinking  engagement  risk  constructivecriticism  constructivism  failure  success  teaching  schools  pugetsoundcommunityschool 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Gunnian principles for design critiques - Bobulate
"Dan Saffer tallies what he’s learned about design critiques from watching Tim Gunn of Project Runway. Gunn’s principles for critique seem to be:

• The purpose of a critique is to make the design better.
• Be supportive.
• First, figure out what the designer was trying to accomplish.
• Offer direction, not prescription.
• Humor and metaphor work better than criticism alone.
• Accept multiple styles.
• Know the domain.
• If you don’t understand it, be cautious in critiquing it.
• Don’t take it personally.

These principles are positioned here for brevity, so head over to see them in full at Kicker Studio."

[Link: http://www.kickerstudio.com/blog/2010/11/everything-ive-ever-learned-about-giving-design-critiques-i-learned-from-tim-gunn/ ]
lizdanzico  dansaffer  constructivecriticism  criticism  howto  design  tcsnmy  classideas  glvo 
november 2010 by robertogreco
About me – confused of calcutta
"I’m passionate about education. When I retire from normal work I will build a school. A school that is built for the 21st century, with the requisite connectivity, hardware and software infrastructure. A school that’s willing to borrow teachers rather than own them, as long as the teachers see what they do as their calling, their vocation. A school where students are encouraged to use the web in class, where critiquing the teacher is accepted. Where critiquing students is also accepted. Where the focus is on equality of opportunity rather than outcome; where diversity is celebrated. Where learning takes place. Which means mistakes get made. Where making mistakes is encouraged." [Sounds a lot like what we're doing at TCSNMY.]
jprangaswami  education  schools  schooldesign  mistakes  failure  risk  risktaking  technology  cv  learning  tcsnmy  constructivecriticism  teaching  vocation  diversity  outcome  lcproject  assessment  evaluation  process 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Nervous Writing / Well-Trained Teachers
"Last week when I told this story, a tech director raised her hand and said “You know, I think it’s interesting that your son is nervous about sharing his writing. Does he ever get nervous about his writing for school?” I thought for a second and said “Um, no…you know you’re right. He hardly thinks twice about that stuff.” She said “I’m guessing he’d be more motivated to work on his Percy Jackson story to make it good than he is his homework.” And ever since I’ve been wondering why we can’t instill a healthy nervousness every now and then into our writing process, now that we have these ready made audiences (or at least easily found audiences). All it would take is a willingness on our parts to let kids write about the things they truly love from time to time and connect that to an audience larger than the classroom. Shouldn’t be too hard these days…"
fanfiction  education  willrichardson  writing  apprehension  children  audience  importance  authenticity  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  learning  anonymity  sharing  criticism  constructivecriticism  discussion  schools  teaching 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Jack Dorsey: The 3 Keys to Twitter's Success :: Videos :: The 99 Percent
"Jack Dorsey outlines three core takeaways from his experiences building and launching Twitter – and more recently – Square, a simple payment utility. 1) Draw: get your idea out of your head and share it, 2) Luck: assess when the time (and the market) is right to execute your idea, 3) Iterate: take in the feedback, be a rigorous editor, and refine your idea."
creativity  drawing  entrepreneurship  howto  inspiration  process  success  luck  iteration  maps  mapping  twitter  texting  sms  dispatch  information  socialmedia  jackdorsey  tcsnmy  glvo  sharing  criticism  constructivecriticism  rapidprototyping  rapid  prototyping  failure 
may 2010 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » TEDxNYED Metadata [Forgot to bookmark this—thanks to Basti for making it resurface. Also, see the comment from Michael Wesch.]
"I'm not saying that the only people capable of describing or critiquing classroom teaching are classroom teachers. There are people who don't work in a classroom who know a lot more about my business than I do. I'm saying it's difficult, as one of public education's foot soldiers, to do much with inspiration. I don't have many places to put inspiration, certainly not as many as the edtechnologists walking away from TEDxNYED minds buzzing, faces aglow, and so it tends to settle and coagulate around my bile duct. It's too hard to forget that tomorrow I and three million others will have to teach too many standards of too little quality to too many students with too few resources. What can you do with this?"
danmeyer  education  tedxnyed  curriculum  math  reflection  reform  theory  practical  doingvsimagining  wcydwt  teaching  schools  doing  inspiration  doingvsinspiring  edtech  hereandnow  now  implementation  constraints  frustration  flexibility  constructivecriticism  power  control  jeffjarvis  michaelwesch  georgesiemens  davidwiley  andycarvin 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Indirect Collaboration: Collective Creativity on the Web: Q&A With Shawn Allen of Stamen Design
"The tighter our connection with the client, the faster things happen. We appreciate that some clients are going to defer to us on every design-related decision, but the smart ones who can call us out and involve themselves in the process are typically more fun to work with. We thrive on fast-paced projects, rapid iteration, and constructive feedback."
via:migurski  iteration  design  collaboration  interviews  process  clients  stamen  feedback  constructivecriticism  projects  tcsnmy  howwework 
february 2010 by robertogreco
haters and hecklers - a grammar
"I just want to mention: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the mainstream adoption of the “hater” idea took place during a decade that also saw a massive explosion in people’s access to one another’s lives and opinions. Because I don’t think we as a culture have yet come up with any particularly great coping mechanisms for that explosion."
haters  heckler  commenting  online  etiquette  criticism  constructivecriticism  opinion  maturity  socialmedia  sharing  exposure  celebrities  bullies 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The End of Fail - Anil Dash
"FAIL is over. Fail is dead. Because it marks a lack of human empathy, and signifies an absence of intellectual curiosity, it is an unacceptable response to creative efforts in our culture. "Fail!" is the cry of someone who doesn't create, doesn't ship, doesn't launch, who doesn't make things. And because these people don't make things, they don't understand the context of those who do. They can't understand that nobody is more self-critical or more aware of the shortcomings of a creation than the person or people who made it."
anildash  culture  fail  blogging  creativity  criticism  empathy  etiquette  language  community  tcsnmy  online  internet  constructivecriticism  society  humanity  antisocial 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Kids Create -- and Critique on -- Social Networks | Edutopia
"Digital Youth Network runs...Remix World...modeled on popular online social networks such as Facebook...students & mentors who use it have Web pages that contain pictures, profile information & links to their friends' pages. They can post digital artwork -- such as videos -- on their pages, comment on friends' pages & participate in discussions with other users through the Remix World forums. By providing students a place to share their work and ideas, Remix World allows them to solicit feedback and give constructive criticism. Some students have found the process of sharing on Remix World so compelling that they've gone on to post to public sites, such as YouTube or open social networks...Self-Directed Learning: When students are motivated to create work that they share online, it ignites an independent learning cycle driven by their ideas & energized by responses from peers...Internet makes it easier and less daunting for students to find information or plug into expert communities"
education  technology  teaching  edutopia  socialnetworks  youth  socialmedia  tcsnmy  peerreview  constructivecriticism  self-directedlearning  digitalyouthnetwork  ning  remixworld  internet  online  sharing 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Archinect : News : Op-Ed 04 | Generous Criticism: Don't Be Lazy
""generous" is beautiful term for type of criticism I would like to see more...isn't about not hurting people's feelings or giving praise of parent...about elevating discourse for all of us, so entire discipline benefits from intelligent & fair criticism - which would make praise more meaningful. Simply being called pretty isn't meaningful...takes no skill by either party; having your skills & efforts recognized & acknowledged along w/ helpful criticism that challenges you to improve even more...is level of conversation we all deserve." ..."So when my turn with magic wand comes...I'll use it to turn snarkiness dial...way down. Criticize, sure - if something's bullshit, say so, & if you have insight about how something might be better, sing it...But when you feel yourself about to criticize something because you just can't stand how good it is (we all do), at that moment, stop."
architecture  writing  criticism  critique  society  constructivecriticism  clayshirky  discourse  classideas  tcsnmy 
october 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read