What I Have Learned From CT 101 Class

This class is a great learning experience for me. The main thing that I have found most interesting about this class is that students have the autonomy over what they want to learn throughout the course. From my point of view, if the students have control over what they want to learn in the classroom, students are willing to work harder than usual. I think this class is a perfect example of this situation. I have learned and explored many things throughout this fifteen weeks and write blog posts about them. This current blog post is the summary of what  I have explored and learned from this class through the last fifteen weeks.

How to use wordpress.com :

In this class, one most important thing that I have learned is how to customize the WordPress website. Through this learning process, I not only have happy moments but also have trial and error moments. Sometimes it is easy to learn how to add new posts and sometimes it is challenging to figure out what themes would work the best for me. That being said I want to mention what I have learned about the customization of a WordPress website with the links that have helped me to learn it.

Posts & Pages: As a class, when we start to work on our websites there is a common question that almost every student asks the professor. The question is “What’s the difference between pages and posts?” After professor replies to our question, I am able to find a small video that is similar what professor tells us about the difference between posts and pages. “Posts are content entries listed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s homepage. Due to their reverse chronological order, your posts are meant to be timely” andPages are meant to be static “one-off” type content such as your about page, privacy policy, legal disclaimers, etc. ” The link to the video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alIf-elvWUs

https://ithemes.com/tutorials/wordpress-posts-vs-pages/  

Media:  In order to explain the use of the Media option, I will provide a link that explains almost every function that we can perform through this option. The link: https://ithemes.com/tutorials/using-the-wordpress-media-library/

Comments:  One of the important factors of writing a blog is getting feedback. Sometimes the feedbacks come in the form of appreciation, sometimes as constructive criticism and other times the comments come in the form of discouragement. Thus, to manage the comments when writing a blog can be crucial and important. The following link will provide effective information that will help us to learn the management of comment on our blog posts:

https://ithemes.com/tutorials/managing-comments-in-wordpress/

Appearance:  It is an important option for customizing the look of our website. There are six categories under this option including Themes, Customize, Widgets, Menus, Header, and Editor. Each one of this option performs the specific function to make our website professional and presentable. The following link has an elaborate explanation of the use of Appearance to make our website professional and presentable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfbXVG_hob8

Plugins: A WordPress Plugin is a program or a set of one or more functions written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress site. We can seamlessly integrate a plugin with the site using access points and methods provided by the WordPress Plugin Application Program Interface (API). It allows us to easily modify, customize, and enhance a WordPress site. Instead of changing the core program code of WordPress, we can add functionality with WordPress Plugins. Here is a basic definition. This video will explain how to use Plugin or how to install new  Plugin on the WordPress website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SglJxhhSA7o

Users, Tools, Settings: These options also play important roles to customize and manage WordPress website. The following link will help to understand the function and  use of these options: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1AA4lQ26_0

Contact form: Having a contact form is very important for a website. I was having little difficulties to put this together. So, I take help from a video that helps me out to put together my contact form and publishes it on my website. This is the link to that video:  http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-create-a-contact-form-in-wordpress/

GIF: For the first time ever, I have learned how to make a GIF in this class. We use Imgur and Giphy to made our First GIF ever. This is the link to a tutorial thathave  helped us to learn how to make a GIF :

https://ct101.us/2015/09/03/making-your-first-gif-using-youtube-and-imgur/

This is my first GIF ever:

View post on imgur.com

 

View post on imgur.com

Animated GIF: I wanted to make this kind of animated GIF from the first day when I saw a similar GIF like that. Instantly I asked the question to my professor “how can I make one like that?” Professor explained it to me since I was looking for a chance to make it. So, here it is-http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/animated-gif/

The provided link is the link to the post that I have made about this animation. In that post, there are links to the videos that can help anyone if they are interested to learn the process.

Animated GIF (II)

The link above described the significance of each GIF  and the process of making animated GIFs as the following.

Vaporware: The following link describes what vaporwave net art is and how we can create vaporwave net art using Newhive, Photoshop and Ispring.

 http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/my-attempts-to-make-vaporwave-net-art/

The first attempt at making propaganda posters: The following link describes what propaganda poster is and where we can find a template for making a propaganda poster. This blog post also contains links to some videos that will help anyone who is willing to make a propaganda poster.

http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/first-attempt-of-making-propaganda-posters/

 

Creating different effects using Photoshop and PIXLR:

Double Exposure: I use PIXLR to create this work. It is really fun. The following link contains the process of making this double exposure effect. It also contains several links to the videos that help me to learn how to make this kind of exposure.

http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/double-exposure/

Splatter Effect: This is another effect that I have tried. In my blog post, I elaborate the process of making it and as usual, add several links to the videos that have helped to learn the effect.

http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/splatter-effect-with-pixlr/

 

Out of bounds effect: As you all know, I am working with the PIXLR for a couple of weeks to learn and create new effects. This week I am learning the out of bounds effect. I have found it relatively easy to make and the outcome is amazing. The major steps of creating these effects can be found through the following link:

http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/learning-the-creation-of-an-out-of-bounds-effect/

Galaxy Effect: Galaxy effect is really a cool effect and it is very easy to create using Pixlr. When I was scrolling through videos to get some ideas for my next project, I saw this effect. I was very enthusiastic to learn this effect. So, I took the picture of my favorite actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The final product of this effect is very beautiful.

 http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/galaxy-effect-using-pixlr/

3-D effect: This 3-D effect on Pixlr is similar to the Glitch effect in Photoshop. Using Pixlr to this effect is much easier than using Photoshop. I take a photo of Cinderella for doing this effect because it is one of my favorite fictional character from Disney world. When I tried to do the 3-D effect on this photo, it was not that hard for me. I have watched a couple of youtube videos and tried to create this effect. The links to the videos are given below:

 http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/3-d-effect-using-pixlr/

Glitch Effect: Working with photoshop is complicated and interesting. Complicated because it has many unexpected cool features and there are thousands of ways to create one certain effect.Photoshop is interesting because if one knows how to use it, he/she can conquer the web world with own creativity. I never used Photoshop before taking this class. My first Photoshop Gif took hours to complete because I was struggling to figure out the functions of each command. Though every week I try to do something new and struggle a lot, I believe this is a great learning opportunity.

This week I tried to create GIF using Glitch effect. These following links will take you to my blog post that I have already written and in these blog posts, I have added additional links that will help other students to learn these effects.

 http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/gif-animated-glitch-text/

http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/gif-animated-glitch-picture/

Pic Collage: Pic Collage is a great app that makes collages out of pictures. It is free to download.  It is available for Apple, Android and Windows users. People can use it through phones, tablets, and laptops. The layout of this app is pretty simple. However, if anyone needs help, there are a couple of videos on Youtube. I take help from some of these videos when I have made my collages.

 http://syedahussain.com/uncategorized/pic-collage/

I enjoyed this journey being a student in that course. I am looking forward to taking more courses in this field. I am planning to maintain and post my works on this website. As my major is mathematics education, I believe my habit of writing blog posts about my learning experience can inspire my students positively. They can gain enthusiasm or can learn something new from this website. On the other hand, they can share their valuable points of view or ideas with me and I can learn from them too.

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring My Classmates’ Websites

I went through most of my classmates’ website and all of them did a great job in terms of organizing their websites and publishing their creative posts. I chose four of them that attracted me the most and wrote comment on their posts.
The first piece of work that I like is the following GIF.  It expresses it’s theme explicitly and the cropping of the photo is so good that it almost seems real to me.

 

 

This work impressed me and inspired me to make one of my own.

Dragons Den Yes GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

This is the link of the website That I have visited next: http://thebedouinsworld.com/I really love the theme, the animation and the music of this website.

In a simple word, this website makes me happy. I want to install similar theme to my website. In the comment, I appreciate her and I ask her to share a video tutorial to help me to install similar themes. I am looking forward to get a response.

View post on imgur.com

The next work that impress me is from the following website: http://juliancajigas.com/. I remembered that I struggled a lot to find ideas about making my own propaganda posters.  When I saw the work of the following website, I thought it is interesting and simple.

Jennifer Aniston Yes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In the comment, I appreciate him/her for sharing the work with us and ask for a tutorial that will help me to learn from his work.

When I visited the following website, I was surprised. http://digitaldee.com/. The theme, the color, the organization of this website is very professional.

I appreciate the hard work that the admin already puts into his/her website.  In the comment, I request for a video tutorial that will teach me how to make my website a professional one like this.

View post on imgur.com

Last but not the least, I like this assignment a lot. This assignment not only helps us to get new ideas about improving our own website, but also provides us with the opportunity to appreciate each others hard work.

Creating a Contact Form in WordPress

When I was exploring some of my classmates’ websites during the last class, I found out that most of them did not have a contact  form. So, I decided to write a blog post that would help them to create a contact form in their own website.

Before creating the contact form, I added a new page using the page option and named it contact. This is a link to the video that helps me to create a new page in my website : https://ithemes.com/tutorials/creating-wordpress-page/

After creating a page, I moved forward to create the contact form. The process was simple but I took help from the following webpage: http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-create-a-contact-form-in-wordpress/ . This webpage contained both video and text that described how to create a contact form  in word press. Though this webpage explained clearly how to create the contact form from the beginning, I would still try to explain it in my own words.

  • At first, I selected the Add New option from the  Plugins tab.
  • On the right hand corner side bar I wrote contact form and selected the required form from the given options.  Install it and activate it. After activation, there would be a guided video that explained how to use it.
  • Then on the left hand corner side bar we would be able to find WPForms tab and selected the add new option.
  • Then we would find options to create our form from the scratch or select a template.
  • After selecting the template named simple contact form we would find lots of options to customize it.
  • Then using the newly added page, I put it on my website.

After doing the last step, I felt like the following GIF from Giphy.

Well Done Good Job GIF by DallasK - Find & Share on GIPHY

My contact form looks like the following:

First Attempt of Making Propaganda Posters

Propaganda posters used in World War Two to motivate millions of Americans in the successful effort to defeat the Axis Powers in World War Two. Today, propaganda is commonly thought of to be false or misleading and the term is commonly used in a derogatory way.

If anyone is interested to make a propaganda poster, they can find a lot of examples through Google or they can find propaganda posters’ background on Google. When I was struggling to find how to make propaganda posters, I have found one video that teaches me the basics of making propaganda posters. this is the link to the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me7eti1zRFcThere are also some long videos that teach the professional way of making propaganda posters using Photoshop. The links are given below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FclpthtQhao

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2_YwylZaDE

The following posters are my first attempt at making propaganda posters :

 

 

 

Pic Collage

Pic Collage is a great app that makes collages out of pictures. It is free to download.  It is available for Apple, Android and Windows users. People can use it through phones, tablets, and laptops. The layout of this app is pretty simple. However, if anyone needs help, there are a couple of videos on Youtube. I took help from some of these videos when I made my collages. The links are given below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXIJktQwWGk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdfKy7_rcyQ

I made my first college with the pictures of one of my favorite place Bethesda Terrace in the different seasons. In this app, there are many options to place pictures like grids, templates, and freestyles. I have used freestyles to made my college.

After clicking on freestyle, the following dialogue box will appear and we have to select the photos option in order to insert the photos.

When the photo selection is done, the pictures will show up on the screen randomly. However, we will be able to move them around, change the size, apply frames, change the background, add stickers and we will be also able to apply different effects to the pictures. My other pic collages are the following: 

My Attempts To Make Vaporwave Net Art

When the Professor told us that this week we would work on vaporware, I was confused. I did not know what did vaporware mean and what was the history behind this name. Then I found an online article that helped me to learn the history behind vaporware. In class, our professor shared some resources with us about vaporware which helped us to make some net art based on that theme. At first I made these two GIF using NEWHIVE, Photoshop, iSpring (screen recorder) and animated pictures from Google.

These GIF were  really fun to make. Next I used  Trianglify Generator to create low poly backgrounds and  used  this website   https://snorpey.github.io/triangulation/ to formulate triangulated image. After making the low poly background, I took a transparent photo from the web and used Photoshop to place one over the other.

Then with the help of triangulated image website, I turned the photo into the following one:

One more interesting website that professor showed us was click drag click. This website is really cool for making animated website. The process of using this website is really simple. In order to use this website one only has to know how to click and drag. Using this website I have made the following stickers:

These stickers are easy to make but require creativity to project.

All the things that i have learned are pretty new for me and I am working hard to improve the quality of my work

Paint Splash Effect

This is really a cool effect and I am interested to learn it. So, I took the help from a couple of youtube videos to create this. But, this is the first time I failed. I tried for hours but I was not able to create anything similar. The real effect is supposed to be like this:

But, my effect came out like this:I am confused about what I did wrong. I followed the following steps:

  • I created a new frame that is 1366X768 pixel. Then I unlocked the background and used different brushes to create the brush effect.
  • I opened the photo that I wanted to work with and placed it as a new layer.
  • Next, I opened a new layer and fill the layer with the white background color. Then I arranged the layers such a way that the layer 1 would be the white background, layer 2 would be the brush effects and layer 3 would be the photo of the girl.
  • Then I went to the select tab and selected the color rage option.In that option, I increased the fuzziness to 200 and made sure that the selection button is selected.
  • Then I selected the first layer (the white background one) and pressed CRTL+Shift+i to thumbnail it. Then I used this layer as the layer mask for layer 3 and converted the layer 3 to a smart object.
  • Then I opened a new layer before layer 3 and choose a gradient for that layer.
  • Next, changed the layer setting from normal to screen. But, my outcome was different than the video that I have used.

This is the link to the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j0v9c-f_to

If anyone knows a better way to construct this effect, please let me know.

One Image Double Exposure

I did the double exposure effect before with PIXLR, but this time I became interested to try the same effect with Photoshop with a small twist. The twist called one image double exposure. This is my version of this effect.

The steps of creating this effect are:

  • First, select the photo, open it with photoshop and unlock the background.
  • Select the desired shape that you want to enlarge using quick selection tool.  Make sure that the auto-enhance key is checked.
  • Open a new layer. Press Alt+Back to fill the layer with the black background color. Then press Ctrl+D to deselect everything.
  • Press Crtl+T to open up the transform channel and press alt+shift to make the selection bigger. Then use this layer as a clipping mask over the first one.
  • Press Crtl+Tto play with the background layer. Go to create new fill or adjustment layer to select a solid color for the background. Then copy the background layer and place the copy layer over the solid color background layer.
  • Go to filter, select blur and apply the Gaussian blur and lower the audacity around 50%.
  • At last, we can choose curves from the adjustment tool and play with it to give the photo more professional look.

All these steps are taken from a Youtube video. This is the link to the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47B–tOMRAA. This video has explicit instructions that make easy to follow each step and re-create the effect.

 

The Analysis Of My Educational Ideas

 Classroom Management:

“Classroom management refers to the skills and strategies that teachers use to organize instruction and maximize the productive use of their instructional time” (Moreno, 2011, p.408). According to Roxana Moreno, classroom management consists of many variables like the lesson plan, organization, wittiness, overlapping, adapting, leadership, physical arrangement, classroom rules and classroom procedures” (Moreno, 2011, p. 410-419). Among these variables, one of the important variables is setting classroom rules and imposing them on the students.

The intense use of classroom rules only has positive impacts on students inside the classroom. Classroom rules are “The “dos and don’ts” of classroom behaviors and corresponding consequences” (Moreno, 2011, P. 417). “For effective learning, classroom needs to have a peaceful environment, because a disruptive class will create stress for teachers and other students” (Buluc, 2006,p.31). In order to create that peaceful environment classroom rules are needed. According to “Educational Research Quarterly” written by Bekir Buluc, classroom rules are important because rules give the students an idea about teacher’s role in the classroom. He also wrote that rules should prevent the unexpected behavioral problem and “rules should be designed to teach effective behavior and to create a stable foundation from which children learn to face a risky world” (p.31-32). “Well-established rules and routines are more important for providing structure and orientation to the students; to relieve the teacher’s’ daily work and to create a daily routine for students” (Steffensky, Gold, Holdynski & Moller, p. 355). At the beginning of the school year, a teacher should construct a set of classroom rules with the help of the students and discuss the consequences of disobeying these rules ( Steffensky, Gold, Holdynski, Moller, 2015, p.355). If teachers do not stick to their own rules and do not impose the consequences of breaking these rules, it gives the students impression that they can do whatever they want in the classroom (Tartwijk, Brok, Veldman & Wubbels, 2009, P.457). Teachers can take help from the students to establish the classroom rules because it will provide the students more clarity about the rules and “promotes their sense of self-determination and self-esteem” (Moreno, 2011, P. 418). During my fieldwork, I have observed a 6th-grade class where the teacher has made and discussed the classroom rules with the students at the beginning of the school year. So, the students are clear about what their teacher expects from them in the classroom. If some students disobey the classroom rules, the teacher never forgets to impose the consequences. These rules are helping her to manage the classroom effectively and increase the students’ “time-on-task”. After observing her class, I am positively influenced by her classroom management skills.

If the teachers try to control their students intensely by the use of classroom rules, students can experience negative impression from their teachers. “Extreme controlling and checking of the classroom rules creates anxiety, a monotonous atmosphere in the class, even unfairness, prevents the flexibility of some various rules and mechanize the relations” (Buluc, 2006, p.48). Students feel less trustworthy when their teachers impose a lot of strict rules inside the classroom in order to control them (Arslan & Polat, 2016, p.87). After considering these facts, I will still support that the classroom rules are important for students. Because these rules teach the student’s lifelong value of becoming responsible for their own action and as individuals showing respect towards each other. On the other hand, to resolve the problem of controlling the students too much with classroom rules can be solved with few steps. Buluc wrote that “Nonfunctional rules should be reviewed and the necessary changes and precautions mechanism should be taken immediately; both teachers and students should not be confused by too many rules. With the sole goal of fulfilling this objective, students, parents, the other teachers in the school should organize meetings from time to time and discuss classroom problems and their solutions” (Buluc, 2006,p.48).

Motivation:

“Motivation to learn can be defined as the psychological process that direct and sustain student’s behavior towards learning” (Moreno,2010, p.328). In his book “Educational Psychology” Roxana Moreno said that “some experts have argued that learning and motivation are so interdependent that it is impossible to understand learning without understanding motivation” (2011, p.328). In his text, he also said that highly motivated students are more likely achieve academic success than students who are less motivated (Moreno, 2011, p.328-329). Moreno described two types of motivation, they are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. “Intrinsic motivation is defined as the motivation to be involved in a learning activity for its own sake” and “extrinsic motivation is defined as the motivation be involved in a learning activity as a means to an end” (Moreno, 2011,p.329).

In classrooms, a teacher should promote intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation. “The primary theoretical explanation of intrinsic motivation defines intrinsic motivation as engagement in a task for reasons inherent to the task itself, such as interest or enjoyment, rather than for external use, such as monetary rewards” (Kover and Worrell,2010,p.473). During several studies, a positive correlation was found among intrinsic motivation and academic achievement and the researchers suggest that declining in intrinsic motivation may negatively affect the student’s’ achievement (Lepper, Iyengar, & Corpus, 2005, p.185). “A number of studies have indicated that rewards, or other concerns that are external to the task at hand, can diminish the intrinsic motivation to engage in that task” (Kover & Worrell, 2005, P.471). “Researchers believed originally that extrinsic motivation implied a lack of self-determination in the behaviors performed” (Noels, Clement & Pelletier, 1999, P..24). “Individuals are most intrinsically motivated when they feel that they exercised some personal choice in pursuing the valued actions” (Kover & Worrell, 2010, p. 473). “What was found, was that, if given a choice, students were willing to do much more work on their own towards mastery of a subject than if told exactly what to do, how to do it and when to turn it in” (Gillard, Gillard & Pratt, 2015, P.3). “By interacting with students in ways that develop their autonomy and competence, teachers may change the student’s’ type of motivation and thereby contributes to better learning” (Noels, Clement & Pelletier, 1999, P.310). “Teachers can create classroom conditions that help the extrinsically motivated student become more intrinsically motivated such as when they present challenging activities, allow students to gain control over their own learning or speak their curiosity with attitude toward thought-provoking question” (Moreno,2011,p.330).

Critics may argue that students are more responsive toward extrinsic motivation than intrinsic motivation. “ Extrinsically motivated behavior are those behaviors that are performed not because of inherent interest in the activity, but in order to arrive at some instrumental end, such that the source of regulation is external to the activity per se” (Noels, Clement & Pelletier,1999, p.24). “When a teacher always focuses on the importance of learning a concept because students will need it to perform well in high-stakes tests, she creates an environment that induces extrinsic motivation” (Moreno,2010,p.330). Uses of incentives have a great impact on motivating students extrinsically. For example, when Ms.Shang understood that her students were not intrinsically motivated for learning fraction, she used incentives (getting extra points and exchanging accumulated points for privileges) to motivate them extrinsically. As a result, students became immediately responsive towards learning fraction (Moreno,2010,p.333). Praise, rewards, social recognition, obligation removal are effective incentives for motivating students extrinsically. “For unpleasant and unappealing academic activities, extrinsic motivation might represent a strategic process to support learning” (Lemos, Verissimo, 2014, p.931). After considering these facts, I still think a teacher should promote intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation in her classroom.  It may be easier for a teacher to engage students in learning using extrinsic motivation. But, research showed that children who are extrinsically motivated by “a desire for easy work and an aim to please their teachers, they performed worse both on standardized tests and in regular classroom assessments” (Lepper, Corpus & Iyengar, 2005, p.192).“Students with an extrinsic motivation to learn are more likely to process information and to meet only minimum classroom requirements” (Moreno, 2010, p.329). This type of motivation towards education can keep students away from the perception of competence and enjoy the learning experience. “Extrinsic motivation (e.g. performance goals) indicates that extrinsic motives may be associated with adaptive patterns of learning but only under certain circumstances, depending on the outcomes assessed, on student’s age, or on the classroom context” (Lemos, Verissimo, 2014, p.931).

Multiplicity:

“In the average U.S. classroom approximately 50% of students are girls and 50% of boys, 40% of students are in free or reduced lunch programs, 20% are English language learners, and 13% are in special education programs” (Moreno,2010,p.26).These numbers represent the diversity of a regular classroom in this country. “The percentage of students with disabilities served in general education classroom has risen steadily” ((Burstein, Sears,Wilcoxen,Cabello & Spagna, 2004,p.104). “Traditionally, children requiring special educational needs are segregated into several learning environment”(Wang,2009,p.154). Many educators, critics, and analysts argue over the fact that students with special educational needs should or should not be included in mainstream schools and they bring several benefits as well as issues relating to this important educational matter(Wang,2009,p.154).

Students with disabilities should be a part of the mainstream classrooms. “In the 1970s, a series of major special education laws were enacted, starting with public law 94-142, the education for All Handicapped Children Act, which prescribed a free, appropriate public education for every child, and ending in 1990 with public law 101-476, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)” (Moreno,2010, p.49). According to Roxana Moreno’s “Educational Philosophy,”  “In 1982, the Supreme Court defined appropriate education as one that is specially and individually designed to provide educational benefits to a certain student” (2010, p.49). In agreement with this law, children should be educated in the least restrictive environment which has brought the idea of inclusion means “moving students with exceptionalities from segregated setting into regular classrooms” (Moreno,2010,p.49). “The inclusion of all pupils in mainstream schools is part of an international human rights agenda which calls for the full inclusion of all people with disabilities in all aspects of life” (Florian,1998, p.107). “Inclusion, a philosophy of acceptance, belonging and community, also means that general education classes are structured to meet the needs of all the students in the class” (Moore & Gilbreath,1998,p.2). “Specifically, inclusion aims to benefit special children through improvements in their learning outcomes, including their social skills, academic achievement and personal development” (Wang, 2009,p.155). “The current strategy of The Centre for Studies in Inclusive Education is to transform education so that everyone can feel welcome and respected in their own local school. They see inclusion as a way to eliminate prejudice making anyone school appropriate for all” (McMurray & Thompson, 2016, p.634). “There are no legitimate reasons to separate children for the duration of their schooling. They belong together rather than need to be protected from one another” (Florian, 1998, p.107).  “The literature suggests that successful inclusive schools provide a unified educational system in which general and special educators work collaboratively to provide comprehensive and integrated services and programming for all students” (Burstein,Sears,Wilcoxen,Cabello & Spagna, 2004,p.104-105)”. “The evidence for the potential effectiveness of shared education for pupils with severe learning difficulties is strong. It provides disabled pupils with the chance to engage in interaction with other nondisabled children, which could lead to improvements in social confidence, social interaction and a more in-depth integration into the community” (McMurray & Thompson,2016, p.637). “Inclusion is capable of enhancing children’s academic achievement through speech and language programs, improved parent-teacher communication, greater use of group work, a student participation in class discussions, and increased community acceptance of people with disabilities” (Wang,2009,p.155). “Several studies have found that students with mild disabilities who have been included in general education classrooms make better gains than those in pull-out programs or control schools” (Moore & Gilbreath,1998,p.5). “For students with more moderate or severe disabilities, studies have demonstrated that participation in general education environments results in some academic increases and behavioral and social progress” (Moore & Gilbreath, 1998,p.6). “Hollowood, Salisbury, Rainforth and Palombaro(1995) found that the quantity and level of time spent on instruction for students without disabilities was not adversely affected by the presence in the class of students with severe disabilities” (Moore & Gilbreath,1998,p.7). “Evans, et al.(1994) found that children who attended classrooms with fully included peers with severe disabilities were able to display sophisticated judgments and suggestions when presented with scenarios of common situations” (Moore & Gilbreath,1998,p.8). “ A further study(Cole,1991)  examined the social integration of children with disabilities in 43 Minnesota classroom. The two-year study compared integrated and segregated (special education only) sites and determined that developmental skill progress was similar in both types of schools, but that children in integrated sites progressed in social skill development while the segregated children actually regressed” (Wang,2009,p.155). “Connolly, Purvis & O’Grady, recorded that education stakeholders believed that shared school networks would allow a more effective coordination of services and support for children with disabilities” (McMurray & Thompson, 2016, 637). “Teachers consistently reported the benefits of inclusion for students and faculty in both general and special education” (Burstein, Sears, Wilcoxen, Cabello & Spagna, 2004,p.113).

Students with disabilities should not be a part of the mainstream classrooms. “Although the movement for full inclusion is a part of a broad human rights agenda that argues that all forms of segregation are normally wrong, difficult implementation problem arises when the movement’s ideas are applied to education for pupils with special educational need”  (Florian,1998,p.107). “Consistently, the evidence has suggested that general education teachers feel unprepared to serve students with disabilities, have little time available to collaborate, and few accommodations for students with special needs” (“Hollowood, Salisbury, Rainforth,& Palombaro,2004,p.104). “In fact, inclusion in some situations (for example, of a student with autism) may be more like exclusion because the student’s need is not being met and appropriate services not provided in the regular classroom. The stigmatization of students with labels will not disappear by simply placing students in regular schools as they, and their peers, will need to be taught appropriate social and academic skills” ( Knight,1999,p.4).“Schnorr’s (1990) seven month investigation of the way in which a classroom of first graders viewed and interacted with a student with moderate disabilities who was mainstreamed only on part-time basis revealed that the part-time student was considered an “outsider” by the other students in the class”(Moore & Gilbreath,1998,p.2). “High profile critiques on inclusion, most significantly Warnock(2005), have identified that for some groups, such as children with ASD or severe learning difficulties, the experience of inclusion in the mainstream can be very negative” ((McMurray & Thompson,2016, p.634). “The results of some of the studies show that parents of children with severe disabilities who moved from integrated from inclusion programs believe that their children lost services, were mistreated and were isolated by peers who were not disabled” (Duhaney & Salend, 2000,p. 122). “For parents of children without disabilities, concerns related to fears that the needs of students with disabilities would be so great as to interfere with or compromise their children’s education, and to the availability of qualified and trained educators”(Duhaney & Salend, 2000,p. 122). “20 percent of students [in a regular classroom] require special education, but because they are not categorized as ‘disabled,’ they are not eligible for special services.This current system defines children as either disabled or not disabled, with no in-between” (Knight,1999,p.4). According to Huei Lan Wang, evidence set by Jenkinson, in his survey, showed that in an inclusive classroom “students with disabilities receiving too much attention and concerns with inadequate resource provision for these special students meant that students without disabilities were missing out on the attention and encouragement they needed” (Wang,2009,p.155).

Though there are lots of convincing evidence about “disabled students should not be a part of the mainstream classroom,” I will support my claim that “disabled students should be a part of the mainstream classroom.” By studying in the same classroom with the disabled students, regular students will learn that disability is not a disease and students who are disabled require friends as much as they do. Regular students will also get the chance to develop competency towards their health and mental condition as well as their privacy. A regular teacher may not have enough training to help students with severe disabilities in an inclusive classroom, so every classroom should have one special education teacher with a regular teacher. On the other hand, by studying in the same classroom with the regular students, disabled students can become emotionally strong by making friends can retain self-esteem because they will not feel segregated from the society.

Meaning:

“Group work is a useful component of classroom activities because, intuitively, it is an ideal tool for stimulating acts of true communication”(Davis,1997,p268). Group work means “where small groups of students work together to make sense of new information or solve a new problem” (Moreno,2010,p.303). Many educators support the use of group work inside the classroom and many educators feel that group work is a waste of valuable classroom time. In the following paragraphs, I will try to show how group work contributes positively and negatively towards students’ learning.

Through group work, students can get better opportunities of learning. “Group work contributes to a learner-focused classroom: based on the format, group work can allow for both student-student and student-teacher interaction” (Davis, 1997, p269). “In their discussion of teaching culture, Moorjani and Field suggested that today’s students prefer functional, global type explanations and oral modes of communication. Group work can help to bridge the gap between what Moorjani and Field (1988) have identified as an inherent mismatch between teachers’ and students agendas (Davis, 1997, p268)”. “The particular feature of group work-perhaps its defining characteristics is that the balance of ownership and control of the work shifts toward the pupils themselves” (Blatchford, kutnick, Baines & Galton, 2003, p.155). “Through group work, students can learn new facts and skills, reconstruct their knowledge, change attitudes, and best of all achieve all of this in a friendly environment” (Sorgo, 2017, P.28). “Working in groups allows learners to achieve higher order thinking skills and retain knowledge longer than working individually” and “ in groups students discuss, argue, explain and negotiate meaning, they become more responsible for their learning” (Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.53). “As the children engaged in more paired and small group activities, they reported that they could “think better”, “learn more”, and “try harder” in the social pedagogic context (Kutnick, Ota & Berdondini, 2006, p.92). “Students’ critical thinking skills are enhanced in group work. They learn how to argue, defend their position, question other students’ ideas and convince others of their own”(Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.56). “Group work can reduce anxiety in certain types of classroom interactions (Davis,1997,p268)”. “ Group work promotes a positive affective climate” (Long & Porter, 1985, P.211). For ESL students “Group work increase language practice opportunities” and it allows for a greater quantity and a richer variety of language practice, practice that is better adapted to individual needs and conducted in a more positive affective climate”  (Long & Porter, 1985, P.208, 212). ).“ Group work improves the quality of student talk” (Long & Porter, 1985, P.208). “It has been found, for example, that small group, independent study can lead to increased motivation to study Spanish among beginning students; learners responding to a questionnaire reported that they felt less inhibited and freer to speak and make mistakes in the small group than in the teacher led class” ( Long & Porter, 1985, P. 212) “Webb(1985) and Peterson and Janicki(1979) have found that the students who learn best from co-operative interaction are those who give and receive elaborated explanations (i.e., are not simply given answers or ignored by their group mates)” (Slavin, 1987, P.33). “Research findings suggest that group work technique helps students learn better and improves their achievement” (Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.53). “Previous literature has further documented differences in performance between those who performed at the group level and those who performed at the individual level. It has shown that group work helps students learn and remember knowledge better than individualistic learning”(Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.53).

Group work does not offer students better opportunities of learning. “In everyday reality, collaborative work [or group work] does not suit all situations and some traps are hidden within, traps that include the grouping of students, fairness in grading, and absenteeism” (Sorgo,2007, p.28). “The main disadvantage of group work, however, is the dominance of one member in the group. This dominance was either affected by GPA or by nationality. It was found that when groups were multinational, one nationality would be dominant and the rest of the members would hesitate to interfere”(Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.62). “When one group member dominates the group, group performance reflects the group’s’ member level instead of the whole group together”(Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.56).  In the group, “some students get praise for doing very little work while others do most of the work” (Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.56). “Many of the learning tasks that are assigned to pupils are not cognitively challenging and not structured for group working”(Kutnick, Ota,& Berdondini, 2008,p.84). “Competitors would prefer to work alone and would gladly escape group work if that was possible. They are always first to take additional material after it is delivered, and will rarely bring it back to the others at the right times”(Sorgo,2007, p.30). “Teachers often do not develop or support group work, and children show dependence on their teachers and are insecure and lacking trust when working in the presence of peers” (Kutnick, Ota,& Berdondini, 2008,p.84).  “Teachers had little faith in pupils’ ability to work in groups. This attitude is mutually reinforcing, in that pupils had little opportunity to work effectively in groups and were not prepared for it” (Blatchford, kutnick, Baines & Galton, 2003, p.156). “Noise is one of the outstanding disadvantages that discourage many teachers from using group work. Some teachers also believe that once students are in groups, they lose control of the class”(Taki & Al-Nouth,2014,p.56). “Instructors who have used the technique can attest to the fact that students can easily get off-task during group work when out from under the watchful eye of the teacher”(Davis,1997,p271). “Teachers typically plan for their interactions with peoples, but not for interactions between pupils. This is not surprising given that a sizeable number of pupils and teachers do not appear to have specific preparation in the use of group work” (Baines, Blatchford & Chowne, 2006,p.664). “Teachers also hold the view that some pupils, particularly boys, will misbehave during group work and that this will adversely affect others and the quality of group work and its performance”(Baines, Blatchford & Chowne, 2006,p.665). “Naturalistic studies focus on the quality of children’s talk when seated in groups suggest that, although high-level communication is a necessity for promoting cognitive understanding, this type of talk is rarely found in the classroom” (Kutnick, Ota,& Berdondini, 2008,p.85). “Some highly analytical students who prefer individual work report that they expressly dislike group work and feel it be a waste of class time”(Davis,1997,p270). “The cultural background of some non-north American students who are accustomed to a teacher-centered classroom may not willing to accept instruction from another student”(Davis,1997,p270). Though there are lots of negative aspects of incorporating group work in the daily lesson plan, I still support my claim that “through group work, students get better opportunities of learning.” I think the negative aspects of group work can be changed by providing effective training to the teachers. Group work should be designed according to the students’ cognitive ability so that the group does not become too easy or extremely hard for the students. More attention should be given to the group formation and each group member should have a clear idea about their role in the certain group project. By following some rules like these, I think, teachers can reduce the negative aspects of group work inside the classroom.

References:

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Davis, R.(1997). Group work is not busy work: maximizing success of group work in the L2 class. Foreign Language Annals, 30, 265-280.

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HARDWORK

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Hard work brings prosperity; playing around brings poverty.

I learned the value of hard work by working hard.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Nothing will work unless you do.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

The world belongs to the energetic.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic

No shortcuts, work for it.

It’s a very long road but it will be worth it.

If hard work is your weapon, success will be your slave

Success belongs only to those, who are willing to work harder than anyone else.

 

As anyone can guess, by reading the title, the theme of this poem is hard work. I used quotes from famous personalities that support my definition and conception of hard work to build this poem.  This was a great learning opportunity for me. When I gathered these quotes, I noticed that all of the quotes were not only talking about hard work but also talked about persistent hard work. I was inspired by these quotes because they described my experience and support my points of view towards hard work.