Tales From the Joint

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We did it! I'm still sweating a bit During the last two weeks of the semester, our Speech and Graphic Design students jointly wrestled with interpersonal conflicts, design snafus, confusion over expectations, and deadlines as they worked through their prototyping and testing phases of a joint design challenge. They experienced triumph when design ideas came together, frustration over incomplete work by absent teammates, and satisfaction over final products being displayed.

And on the final exam day, they presented what they learned to the full joint class. So what did they learn? I decided to dig a bit deeper with a post-project survey. Most of the students were able to identify roadblocks they faced with their teams and how they resolved them.

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This data, along with what I observed during the process and in the final presentations, tells me that our students successfully understood the design process and were able to identify how it could be used in other aspects of their academic lives. It also tells me that students gained experience with team communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Thus, our project objectives were met. Although many students offered positive feedback and comments about their experiences, a few threads in the feedback will need to be addressed the next time we try a project like this.

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While it is not ideal to have grades attached to a design process, it is difficult in a college preparatory school to spend three weeks on a project that does not result in a graded assessment. But when two teachers are involved, grades can get messy.

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We thought we had this figured out by having each of us grade only the students in our own class, with criteria that differed between each class, but we will need to work on smoothing that out a bit more. The rest seemed to be more motivated by the grades than by the project, or lacked motivation altogether. We will need to work on helping our students own the work But one thread of feedback worries me.


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Quite a few students expressed frustration over not being given specific expectations for the project--in other words, some of them wanted us to tell them exactly what to do right from the beginning. The inherently messy, uncertain nature of a design process clearly made them feel uncomfortable, and they saw that as negative.

This reflects the reduction in resilience and grit that education and youth experts have recently raised as a growing concern click HERE for a Pinterest board of materials on this subject , and it's one that I have become similarly worried about with regard to my own students. While being able to follow exact parameters and specifications might be easier, it does not prepare them for the astoundingly messy-yet-brilliant experience that is professional life in most fields.

Knowing that, I can't help but think we are not serving our students by making their academic experience too predictable. I want students to see a project like this as an opportunity to be creative, outside-the-box solution-finders. But I worry that our society's current systems and parenting styles have made it increasingly difficult for our students to do this.

Tales of Joint Design: Can Two Classes Really Work Together? - LEARNERS TOGETHER

Deci and Richard M. So we fall back on extrinsic motivators like grades. And even those are waning as our students discover and connect with other activities--sometimes benign and sometimes not-- outside school and home. Will I do this again? Mass Market Paperback.

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  • May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory Condition: UsedAcceptable. Tales From the Joint. Sean DuBois Day. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

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    View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis Joshua Milhoe is a 72 year old convict with a criminal record stretching back as far as even he could remember. Buy Used View Book.