Link to What's New This Week UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:Week of January 19, 2003

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UWP Commentary from Lectures - Week of January 19, 2003

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 6, 2002
Latest Update: January 24, 2003

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Site Teaching Modules UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:
Week of January 19, 2003

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

* * * * *
Comments grouped by course.
Subject of comment in green.
susan's commentaries in bright blue. Template:

  • Student Name:

  • From CRMJ/SOCA 233: Criminology from Fall 2002

    On Monday, December 16, 2002, Roberta Prescott wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    I would suggest to the new students who will have you in the spring to be responsive to this course. The coursework is not difficult show your learning skills by communication to the professor. Also a lot of group work is highly recommended as well because, you may encounter some theories that you just don't understand and working with someone else in the class will overcome that strategy. Another suggestion would be don't let the course take you, you take the course, in which do all the work and come to class and trust me you will be satisfied with your course grade.Good Luck

    roberta -- thanks for the advice!

    On Monday, December 16, 2002, Nick Contreras shared in class :
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    Email, email, email .... and then when you think you've emailed enough, email more.

    nick -- i thought i had taken notes during our last class discussion but i can't find them, so i'm doing this by memory. i hope that i "captured" your point. and, i hope that other Fall 2002 crim students will email me their input so i can add theirs to this commentary page. i know that we had about five minutes left in class and there were so many excellent ideas but i didn't write them down. i think i told the class to email me but being the end of the semester, final exams, and the holidays, it was probably easy to forget to do so. maybe i'll email my fall classes before the semester starts and ask them to email me their advice so i can post them before the spring semester starts.

    On Saturday, December 28th, Merranda Houston wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    I would suggest doing creative measures that you will get something out of and to start off strong. I would also say that your grade is defintely one that you have to earn not deserve so taking that inconsideration, make sure that you do the readings and be prepared to have discussions in class following each reading. I would also highly recommend that you ask whatever questions that you have in the beginning so that you do not fall behind during any of the ROL's. Working in groups can be challenging but will go well with the 5 C's and can get into some great class discussions. Professor Takata is a great professor. Take advantage of going to her office and speaking with her on a one on one basis although email is important many people don't understand that perosnal communication is the best. The class is what you make of it so don't become a field mouse, speak your opinions.

    merranda -- yes, i agree with you 100% -- we are so into technology that some tend to forget that "face-to-face" communication is best.

    From CRMJ/SOCA 363: Corrections

    Seth Adams wrote on Thursday, January 23, 2003 :
    On Questions

    I am enrolled in your Corrections class and attended lecture Wednesday. I am unsure exactly what your expecting and how to accomplish this. I am a transfer student from Oklahoma and have never been exposed to this type of teaching style. What type of information am I suppose to be putting in the journal? In addition, I do not fully understand the Report of Learning (ROL). Do you have any suggestions?

    seth -- good questions. your journal should be your recordkeeping of your learning in this course. as for reports of learning (rol), check out this link -- Corrections Fall 2002 Report of Learning and let me know if this helps.

    Chrissy Knox wrote on Thursday, January 23, 2003 :
    On Advice for Spring 2003 Students

    I am really looking forward to this semester. I really enjoyed last semesters Race Crime and Law class. I think that students that are new to this learning process will enjoy it. I think that being able to learn about the things you are interested in really makes a difference. My advice to new students is to keep a journal, and keep a good one. It is hard to remember all of the things you have done when it comes time to fill out your grid form. Also keep up on your grid form, you do not want to rush to fill it out on the day that it is due; you will end up forgetting important things to put down. Also keep up the communication with Susan, it is beneficial to your grade, and more times than none, you get some good discussion out of it.

    chrissy -- good advice. thanks!

    Terence Jammerson wrote on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :
    On Questions

    What do you exactly mean by the 5 c's? Could you describe them and give me example of what you mean?

    terence -- a good question. check out this link -- Measures of Learning and let me know if this helps.

    Wil Hinca wrote on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :
    On Questions

    You had commented on a chart of some sort? Is this the same as keeping a journal?

    wil -- the journal is your record-keeping evidence of your learning. the grid form is a snapshot (summary) of five weeks of learning. i will bring the grid form and grade form to class next time. didn't want to overwhelm students with too much new information. good questions!

    Ryan Fornal wrote on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :
    On Questions

    . . . One quick question I have for you pertains to the Measures of Learning section for both of your classes. The reports in which we have to do, are those to be done individually or as a group? I wasn't quite clear from the directions given in class. If those are too be done individually, would it be allright to find an article on the internet pertaining to the proper subject, critique it, and then email the results to you? Thank you!

    ryan -- the "reports of learning" are done individually on the grid forms three times a semester. if you find an article on the Internet, you might want to do a website review. good questions!

    Romila Labender wrote on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :
    On Questions

    . . . I admit I am somewhat confused with what the requirements are for your class but I definitely have an open mind and I will be asking questions. What I am really confused about is what exactly is the report of learning?

    romila -- yes, it can be pretty confusing, and by the way, confusion is a normal response to this teaching/learning process, so don't worry. the report of learning is a paragraph summarizing your work during a five-week period. check out past reports of learning linked to my class page.

    Frank Conforti wrote on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :
    On Questions

    ... I have a couple questions, do you want us to start a journal today? Do yu want us to read the foreword, preface and ch 1-2 in the book Life with out parole, for Friday's class? Thank you, Frank

    frank -- yes, definitely start your journal today. i won't be going over the readings on friday but i try to assign a little at time before i actually go over the material. good questions!

    Laura Kristiansen wrote on Monday, December 16, 2002:
    On advice to Spring 2003 Students

    Knowing that you want feedback on the class, I want you to know that I enjoyed your class very much, but incoming students should probably learn the 5 C's early. Once I finally understood that the teach./learn. ideology was more realistic for the "real world" than the memorize/recite practice that actually goes on in school, I grew very comfortable with it. . . . Thank you again for the wonderful semester, I learned not only about corrections (especially in the areas of my own interest), but found a greater self-discipline in myself.

    laura -- you're very welcome! yes, jeanne and i were hoping for "real world" connections.

    Heather Schultz wrote on Tuesday, December 17, 2002:
    On advice for Spring 2003 students

    I think that if I were to tell a new student of yours, taking a class for the first time it would be that you have to be able to do all the learning on your own. In these classes, the student is the one who must be willing to put forth every effort possible to learn on their own. I had to restruct my methods of learning becuase this is such a different style of teaching that you have to be willing to do it all on your own becuase this is the only way that you will succeed in this class. The teacher is there to guide you not hold your hand.

    heather -- thanks! you got it! the teacher is a "guide" in this teaching/learning model. but you'd be surprised how much i'm learning during the dialoguing that goes on. thanks for sharing with me all semester long!

    Alex Leifheit discussed in class on Monxday, December 16, 2002:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    It took a long time for me to figure out the 5Cs.

    alex -- that's what i'm trying to wrestle with now -- how to introduce this teaching/learning model so that students can figure it out more quickly. any ideas?

    On Monday, December 16th, Laura Kristiansen discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    This is life learning. Different experiences and interests bring all kinds of things to the class discussions. I looked up stuff that interested me. At first, I didn't get the 5Cs.

    laura -- that's exactly our goal -- to bring back the joys of learning. so much of traditional learning is regurgitation of facts and figures that are not meaningful to the student. but in this teaching/learning approach, the student is motivated by what she wants to learn.

    Julia Stark discussed in class on Monday, December 16, 2002:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    The class is not that difficult if you communicate. Communication is an important life skill.

    julia -- yes, you are correct about communicating being a very important aspect of this teaching/learning approach. "communicate your learning" should be its motto, right? because without communication, the other Cs fall by the wayside.

    On Monday, December 16th, Karla Snopek discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    Have self-discipline.

    karla -- an excellent point! this learning/teaching model is based on the student's motivation to learn. remember the internal motivations (i.e., wanting to learn, being curious) vs. the external motivations (i.e., gold stars, grades)? you are correct in that i don't "police" students to find out what they're working on. it is too easy to become a field mouse if you don't have the self-discipline required for this teaching/learning approach.

    On Monday, December 16th, Monique Wilson discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    Be open-minded.

    monique -- an excellent point! yes, because this teaching/learning model is very different than the more traditional approaches, students must be very open-minded.

    On Monday, December 16th, Mindy Sporleder discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    After five years of student learning, this was totally different.I felt I "had" to turn "something" in.

    mindy -- yes, after a number of years of traditional learning approaches, it is not easy to transition into this learning/teaching model. and guess how many times, students told me that they were working on a term paper for this class and my response was "no papers."

    On Monday, December 16th, Heather Schultz discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    You prove to yourself. No tests. No papers. It takes self-discipline. After taking this class, I have a different outlook at work. I do things because I "want to"; not because I "have to." Also, provide examples of a good grid form and bad grid form.

    heather -- i hope that i captured your point accurately. i took notes but they were sketchy. at this point in the class discussion, there were so many excellent ideas that i stopped writing so i could listen more carefully. As for the grid form, i'm afraid if i provide such examples that it would students would tend to follow the examples rather than come up with their own way. There is no "right" or "wrong" way of completing the grid form, but certainly a sparse grid form is troubling.

    On Monday, December 16th, Karla Snopek discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    Explain the journal more. It is not required.

    karla -- i've been debating each semester whether or not to "require" the journal. every student should keep a journal because it is evidence of learning but you can opt not to factor in the journal as part of your course grade. but without a journal, it makes the grid forms difficult to complete.

    On Monday, December 16th, both Julia Stark and Heather Schultz discussed in class:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    With "25 words or less", you need to be quick and brief. No frills and B.S. [from Julia].

    I need to do a ten-page paper this semester. I did it in five. Now I'm having a hard time adding "fillers." [from Heather]

    julia and heather -- students are socialized into thinking that "more is better" and learn to endlessly fill blue books during an essay exam or to "stretch" a paper in order to meet the minimum term paper length requirement. What jeanne and i try to teach is "disciplined thinking." if you need to say something important, you can say it in "25 words or less." no frills. no fillers.

    From CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law

    On Thursday, January 23, 2003, Lindsay Weinstein wrote:
    On questions

    My name is Lindsay Weinstein and I am in your Corrections class as well as Race, Crime, and Law. I was wondering if it is necessary to attend the PC workshop for both classes or if one would be sufficient.. .

    lindsay -- you are required to attend one PC workshop because we're going to be navigating the Dear Habermas web site. It is a lot of material. It would not hurt to sit through the workshop twice to reinforce what Dear Habermas is all about.

    On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Alex Leifheit wrote:
    On reactions to first day of class

    My schedule, unfortunatly conflicts with your office hours, however my closest class ends 5 min afterwards. Question: Why is RCL a sensitive topic? It's reality.

    alex -- i'm sure we can schedule some time that isn't in conflict with your classes. RCL is a sensitive topic because there are some emotionally charged issues, and yes, i agree -- it is reality (but we all have different perspectives on what that reality is)

    On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Michael Jackson wrote:
    On reactions to first day of class

    I already have a lot of strong opinions about both classes, however I am interested in what other have to say about the classes and I'm looking forward to having class discussions and what others have to say about the classes.

    michael -- it is important to offer your opinion as well as listen to the viewpoints of others. should be an exciting class!

    On Monday, December 16, 2002, Amanda Heflin wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    My comments to new students are: 1)Don't get disappointed when the teacher does not communicate back. 2)Always expect questions like: "what would this author say?" 3)never assume that the teacher plans on holding discussions, but always know that you are expected to tell her what you have learned. Think of it as talking to a brick wall that can hear and grade you. It will make the class alot easier to bear. 4)Always understand that there is pretty much nothing you can do to please her, but don't give up trying. Do YOUR best regardless of the consequesnces.

    amanda -- first of all, i appreciate your very frank and honest input. it is very helpful. you see i post both the positive and negative. i think students have an important voice. i know we have discussed some of these issues before but for the benefit of others, especially new student who might read this, i will clarify several points: 1) i "try" to email responses back within 24 hours but no later than 48 hours. keep in mind i had about 150 students this semester and i do my best to respond as soon as i can. 2) i ask "what would the author say?" so that i can understand your interpretation of the readings. i've asked such questions of every student to see if he/she can apply the theories to his/her creative scholarship. and the reason for me asking questions is to "stretch the corners of your mind." 3) whether we were in small groups or as a class, much of the class is organized around discussions. i'm not sure what you're trying to say here. can you help me to understand? 4) my teaching/learning approach is NOT about pleasing the professor. if you think this is the case, then you have misunderstood the entire teaching/learning process. remember alfie kohn's discussion about the external vs. internal motivations of learning? learning should be internally motivated; not to please the teacher. again, let me stress that "learning to communicate your learning" is the key to this approach, but not to send a half dozen emails in one day, which would be a lack of consistency. again, i do appreciate your input and would welcome any additional input you might have.

    On Sunday, December 29, 2002, Amanda Heflin wrote:
    Responding to Susan

    I looked at the webpage today. I realized something important. You put up my input to the new students but your responses are what cought me. With number one (about how they shouldn't get disappointed when you don't communicate back) we seem to be thinking different things. I meant that you donot share your opinion back. You just want us to show that we can connect everything to the authors. I was referencing the fact that you don't share your opinions or thoughts or even your knowledge with us. That is not true communication. I agree that you are our guide, but even guides usually share their thoughts and opinions. Those thoughts can usually help jump start a train of thought that people can not come up with on their own. From there it is their responsibility, but your thoughts, I know could open thousands of doors for people like me if only you would share them! It takes two people to actually communicate and discuss. With number three I meant that you don't actually share back with us. But students are expected to share with you what they think and feel about readings or class. The problem lies in the fact that it is not fair and very hypocritical. Your classes are differnt and most students like that. But students would LOVE your class if we felt you were part of it. You come off as the ALL-KNOWING teacher who demands the work but has no intention of discuss ideas with us. We just want a teacher who treats us like people. Granted we are not your collegues, but you want us to discuss, so DISCUSS with us TOO! You claim that your teaching style is differnt, but in reality you just stand there like every other teacher. You expect us to respond and act, but you stand there untouched and non-friendly. Many people would think you were/are great (including me) if you would be on the same level with us. On number four we seem to have come to a huge road block. The problem lies in the fact that to us students it FEELS like we have to please the teacher. This is becasue you will not talk back. I still have no idea why you won't (maybe you think you are better then us or maybe you just aren't used to it) but it is a massive hurddle for us to overcome. You tell new students that you want them to communicate with you and the first thing they will think of (gauranteed) is that you will be sharing your thoughts also. They do not expect you to just say "well what does fellman think?" I asked around class, and noticed a pattern. You communicate on occasion with the students you LIKE. Those you don't like get what would fellman think. That is very unfair, and in a lot of ways biased. The only reason I struggle with you is because you will not communicate with me. I try with you. I was a new student to your class at one point. I had great visions of hearing the opinion of my teacher, which would truly have been a first. But I got nothing. You need to make a choice. Either communicate with all of us or not. If you choose not, then don't use the word communicate. Say "tell me what you have learned in emails. Tell me what you think." If you choose that, students will not get as frusterated. They will expect it. But when you say communicate or discuss, then we assume you will discuss back. When you don't we feel we didn't live up to your standards and that is the reason why you won't talk WITH us. So we keep trying hoping to live up to your standards, and finally get to communicate. But it doesn't happen. Look at you and me. I have had four, going on five, straight semesters with you. And this is the closest thing to communication we have ever had. And it is not even completely friendly. I understand the internal/external motivations for learning. I personally am very internally motivated. But this is not about that. This is about you treating your students how you want to be treated. This is about us feeling like you actually want to hear what we have to say. Otherwise students will do like I did. Learn everything they want to on a subject and tell you nothing. There is no point in talking to a person who has no desire to hear what you want to say. Kids will not talk to their parents if they feel that the parents don't want to hear it. It is the same with students. At least the parents have a connection to the kid. There is no compelling reason to talk to someone that you have no connection with, and who doesn't care what you have to say. I hope this helps you understand though I doubt that it will.

    amanda -- i am truly struggling to understand and your email response is very, very helpful. i'm listening. you are helping me to gain a much better understanding, which is one reason i'm putting our dialogue on the commentary page, (and i hope you don't mind). first of all, i'm not "all knowing" and don't claim to be. remember the "preface" of each course? "there will be NO I'm right. You're wrong." and that's teacher included. you can't imagine how much i'm learning from each student. the "teacher" in me is so fascinated with listening to students and finding out more about your learning that i keep asking questions to "stretch the corners of your mind" and to help me understand the process of learning and teaching. working with jeanne for nearly 30 years -- it has been a fun and fascinating process but not without a great amount of "trial and error." thank you for "knocking me upside the head" to remind me that communication goes two ways. i will try to share more but you know what often time happens when i present my opinion (and a reason for my reluctance to do so)? some students "think" that all they have to do is regurgitate the professor's opinion to get on her better side (which might result in a better grade). i would much prefer students to think on their own and not be so influenced by a professor's opinion. do you know what i mean? and i am NOT saying that you're one of those students. i don't think you are. so -- i am rather torn about sharing but i am certainly more cognizant of the need to share more. I "thought" i had been sharing. i am listening, amanda. and i will continue to listen. i hope you will continue to share.

    On Saturday, December 29, 2002, Heidi Schneider wrote:
    In response to Amanda

    I think you handled the comment from Amanda Heflin very well. I would tell students that if they are not ready to take a class that they WILL learn in, then they should not take your classes. If by the end of the semester she hasn't figured out that you DO respond to worth while emails and that we DO discuss things in class daily, then maybe she was in the wrong class room?!?

    heidi -- thank you for your response to amanda. i'm still struggling to understand how students learn and how to better introduce this teaching/learning model.

    On Friday, January 24, 2003, Kim Dexter wrote:
    In response to Amanda

    Wow. I just read Amanda Heflin's LONG commentary. This is why there is a 25 word limit - she kept repeating herself. I respect her thoughts and feelings, but I think your method of getting us to form our own thoughts and opinions and to evaluate the readings without a lot of "this is what I think" from the teacher is rather refreshing. The way your classes are set up makes the whole learning process interactive - we learn from everyone in the class (everyone who talks that is). I have never had the feeling that you think you know everything. You have told us many times that learning goes both ways. I guess you can't make everyone happy. And yes, I am aware that this is longer than 25 words.

    kim -- yes, as a teacher, i really don't like giving my opinion because i'm more interested in students forming their own opinions. and yes, the very reason for "25 words or less!"

    On Sunday, December 29, 2002, Akela Brown wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    ... I really enjoyed the class and the format you've created, I look forward to having you again another semester. . .

    akela -- i am looking forward to next semester too!

    On Saturday, January 11, 2003, Angie Siemers wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    i hope that you had a good christmas holiday and a great new years as well. mine was fantastic, just about ready to get back into the swing of things for school. i really enjoyed our last class as well. it was nice to have everyone speaking up. i always enjoy class discussions like that. it helps me to understand other points of view. hope all is well...see you next semester.

    angie -- so nice to hear from you. yes, i had a nice winter break and have been trying to gear up for the new semester!

    On Thursday, January 16, 2003, Shawna Lehmann wrote:
    On advice to Spring 2003 students

    well, I just wanted to also comment on the responses you have been getting over break about how you decide to run your classes learning/teaching wise. To all whom disagree with your style of teaching need to step back and realize a teachers job is to experiment and help students bring out their curoius sides, finding their own opinions and reasonings. I was just fustrated when I read the emails by my fellow classmate. I learned alot being in your class for the first time and loved to hear everyones opinion on certain race,crime,& law issues. COMMUNICATION has been a great deal of your class participation, and to set the records straight you did join in our converstions. I look foward to being in your law & social change class this semester.

    shawna -- thank you for your kind words!!

    From CRMJ/SOCA 352: Law and Social Change

    On Thursday, January 23, 2003, Kim Faulkner wrote:
    On Spring 2003

    I would just like to say that I am very excited about this class, it will be a little different with so many people. I would like to let other students know that I have taken a few of Takata's classes in tha past. I know how you all feel right now, a little lost maybe. But I really do enjoy this learning style but it does take time to get use to it, so give it time. If you need any help just let me know!

    kim -- thanks! i think it's important for students to help each other get acclimated to this teaching/learning approach.

    On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Stephanie Dallman wrote:
    On Spring 2003

    . . . I just wanted to let you know that I was a bit skeptical about taking this class, cause I have heard good and bad things about it. However, with so many people in our class willing to help out us newcomers to your methods, I think the class will be great!

    stephanie -- i believe that cooperative learning is the way to go. a lot more learning and teaching goes on when we teach and learn from each other, (and that's teacher included. i learn so much from students each semester!)

    On Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Krista Lindemann wrote:
    On Spring 2003

    Class today wasn't too scary for me since I was in your Criminology course last semester. I can relate to those new comers in class and their anxiety and nervousness, but I am willing to help whoever needs it. Advice I have for them is to constantly communicate. Whether it be questions, comments, or just something they saw on tv or read in the paper.

    krista -- yes, it's easier the second time around. and i do appreciate your willingness to help other students. thanks!.

    On Wednesday, January 16, 2003, Shawna Lehmann wrote:
    On Spring 2003

    wow what a big class this is going to be! I am looking forward to discussions.

    shawna -- yes, it's going to be a much larger class than i would ideally like but i cannot turn away students who want to learn. it goes against the notion of "inclusion." we'll just have to make do. and i did get a larger classroom -- Moln D139. spread the word and i will email the class soon.