That came out of left field!

Jordan, M., McDaniel, Jr., R.R. (2014). Managing uncertainty during collaborative problem solving in elementary school teams: the role of peer influence in robotics engineering activity. The Journal of the Learning Sciences. 0(0), 1-47.

Yosso*, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91.

That came out of left field!

The articles that resonated with me this week are surprising to say the least. The first article that grabbed my attention was Jordan & McDaniel’s Managing Uncertainty During Collaborative Problem Solving in Elementary School teams: The Role of Peer Influence in Robotics Engineering Activity. This article focuses on the reasons why uncertainty can arise for an individual in various settings and also how those individuals cope with feelings of uncertainty. One other novel element about this text, is that it follows the causes of uncertainty and the coping mechanisms of 5th grade students in relation to their collaborative peers. The causes of uncertainty can come from the content or the relationships within the collaborative group. This particular article really struck me as I started to consider the content of the article through the lens of leadership. As an educator and leader within our communities of practice, it would be important and beneficial to be familiar with this information and its implications. Jordan & McDaniel (2014) state that some types of uncertainty can be good for a group because it can increase creativity and innovation. Other sources of uncertainty could be damaging to a group and its productivity because it pulls attention away from creativity and innovation. As the leader in a community of practice, I would want to be engaging the learning community in the examination of this research and the direct utilization of it to define better harnessing this “sustained” productive uncertainty.
Yosso’s article entitled, Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth, was a great article because of what it spoke about. For all the years that I’ve had in the classroom, I have heard countless educators critique my students’ parents or their students’ parents on all the things they are doing wrong in regards to parenting or what they lack. It seems that I’m more apt to hear why a parent is bad or can’t help their student at all rather than colleagues expounding on all of the essential and unique information that parents and students carry with them. It painfully reminds me of when I hear colleagues speak about their ELL students as if they have no knowledge or information at all and are a complete “tabula rasas” (or blank slates).
One of the other points of agreement that I had within this article, came from two quotes from outside this article. “We need to de-academize theory and to connect the community to the academy (Anzaldua, 1990). Now that I’ve concluded my third year working within higher education, I’m constantly plagued by the concept of community benefited research. Who could really use this new knowledge and put it to the most, good use? If we are educational researchers and our findings from our work never reach or positively benefit students, what good is that research? I’ll conclude with one last quote from this particular article and a comment. This quote is simple yet powerful and to me speaks to the importance of not only publishing our work and knowledge, but ensuring that it leaves the minimally intended impact on the target audience. “Change requires more than words on a page–it takes perseverance, creative ingenuity and acts of love “ (Azaldua, 2002). I truly believe that quote speaks to the short and long-term tribulations, responsibilities, and joys of being an educational researcher. Well, being new to this role, I hope it does.

Anzaldua, G. (1990). Haciendo caras/making face, making soul: creative and critical perspectives by women of color. (San Francisco, CA, Aunt Lute Press).

Anzaldua, G. (2002). Now let us shift…the path of conocomiento…inner work, public acts, in: G. Anzaldua & A. Keating (eds). This bridge we call come: radical visions for transformation (New York, Routledge), 540-578.

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Has spent six years in education as a classroom teacher and administrator at the K-12 level and another three more years as a clinical instructor and curriculum coordinator in higher education. Personally and professionally holds great interest in online learning K-20.

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