EDG-521 Reflection Questions for Viewing Renaissance Man

Purpose: This is the third contextual example used in this course. It utilizes a context that involves post-high school students who have entered the Army with a somewhat unsuccessful high school experience. Both motivational and learning issues are involved. Different theories about motivation and learning are presented from conflicting perspectives. This is not a typical “school” context so the term “teacher” is used to fit the context. 1. How did the attitude of the teacher initially affect student learning? What were the similarities or differences between the attitudes of the teacher and the attitudes of the students?  The initial attitude of the teacher affected students in several ways: first, the establishment of the level of authority (superior-inferior) between teacher and student, second, the type of issue to be addressed (interesting-boring) if it is something new or something interesting or boring, third, the level of trust in relationships (trust-lack of trust) of friends or teacher-student. Similarities: the professor was a failure in his job and in his role as father prior to his coming to work for the army as a teacher. He was unmotivated as a teacher and didn’t take opportunity to prepare lessons. The students were failing in their previous schools and were without an atmosphere that encouraged excellence. In short, they were a group of losers with low self-esteem and united by a factor of chance. Differences: While in the background both teacher and students want to find motivation and a way to overcome their failure, the attitude of the teacher is different. He is "seeking a job commensurate with what he knows." The students, however, reject any classical form of opportunities and consider themselves unable to pass standardized tests in education.

2. What did studying Hamlet represent to the students? For example, how did they regard themselves in relation to the assumed difficulty of the material?  The way the teacher presented the story of Hamlet to the students was the cause of motivation: "It's a boring story of sex, incest, murder, violence." This description caused not only interesting, but curiosity to know more about the book. Hamlet was written in a language used 4 centuries ago, for a normal student it is difficult to understand the context of English used in that time, so the teacher needed to explain after reading the content and answer questions related to the reading. Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then takes the throne and marries Gertrude, Hamlet's mother.

The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.

3. How did viewing the play Henry V influence further learning?  Henry V represents an almost mythological character, who achieves what is considered impossible: winning a battle and uniting two kingdoms. Students see someone who succeeds in spite of adversity which inspires and encourages a belief in their own ability to achieve goals and objectives more difficult than they look “…This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.. etc”  Henry V is perhaps best remembered for his victory at Agincourt, a chapter in his life immortalized in Shakespeare's play. By the time Henry died, he had not only consolidated power as the King of England but had also effectively accomplished what generations of his ancestors had failed to achieve through decades of war: unification of the crowns of England and France in a single person.

4. Why was there fear of summative evaluation, how did the teacher overcome those fears, and what was the value of the summative evaluation for the students? For the teacher?  Summative evaluations (i.e. final tests) attempt to assess a broad wealth of information, knowledge and skills. Because there is usually a high volume of material to recall, the students become frightened and are unable to recall many details of the subject or views. The teacher conducted a review and tried to focus the students on the basics and more important points to make it easier to memorize. Although the students would be given a passing grade no matter if they really succeeded or not in comprehending the subject matter, the teacher encouraged the students to take the test anyway saying they would feel it in their heart whether they passed or failed. For students such summative evaluation represent a major challenge not only because of its difficulty but because it represents your overall knowledge in this

regard.  For the teacher the summative evaluation is a measure of his own work. If students fail, it indicates that he has also failed in the transmission of knowledge

5. Reflect on the personal problems of the teacher (lost a job, broken marriage, conflict with his daughter, humiliated by having to hunt for a job, forced to be in unfamiliar surroundings, confronted by unruly or low performing students). How might these factors have influenced his initial behaviors?  Like any human being, being humiliated, frustrated by a lot of problems in his marriage and work, and being in an environment completely different from the usual one, affects not only his performance as a teacher but also his health. People with this level of stress are more prone to suffer hypertension, diabetes, stroke, obesity, baldness etc. His behavior in his early school days was uncertain. In truth, he did not want to be there, because although the money was his basic need, his self-esteem was lower. His motivation and desire to be at least a regular teacher was not his goal. He still thought of himself as a publicist. Even later, when his students began to show interest and curiosity to learn, he still did not respond with an equal enthusiasm and interest as the students. The sergeant mentioned it to him in a discussion: “I do care about the soldiers and you don’t care about them or even yourself.”

6. Why did Rago and the Platoon Sergeant have conflict? There are at least three reasons. The teacher had conflicts with the sergeant in particular:  First. When the sergeant emphasized the authority of the teacher, asking for more discipline in the classroom. The Sergeant expresses "I care about what I do." Second. After the incident of David and the bracelet when the soldier came late to the row. The teacher interrupted the sergeant at the time when he was punishing the soldiers. Showing an excess of authority by being late. Third. The teacher followed the students to the tower of victory. The teacher wanted to be heard. He wanted to tell them that he had a mortgage, bills to pay and other payments to be made. He went to a job interview for a better salary so he could take care of those things. But also, he wanted to tell them that he cared about them. In the end he tore up his application and decided to remain with them. Mariano Guetio, Concordia University, 4-8-09

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