Monday, October 27, 2008

How do we deal with emotions in a network?

Ed Webb, Sara Stewart and Francis’s comments in my post “Design. Following my hearth, prompted me to write this post. The tone of my previous post has also influenced my decision, my emotions are somewhat obstructing the way.

Edd comments: “But I was most struck by your personal note at the end, about your 'core network' and the emotional impact of the course. This, too, is learning, and I think we should be open to sharing and discussing our emotional insights and reactions as well as our more cerebral ones. Those are also important elements of connection and something we need to consider as educators as we design connectivity into our teaching and learning. Does your core have hard boundaries, do you think, or is it more a question of degrees of connectedness, of a more fuzzy notion?”

As usual I see an example of the importance of Context. One member of my core network passed away recently, I am still in mourning. He was 85 years old and left me as legacy the custody of his Templars books to share them with others; he left me clear indications about how to do it.

My core network does not have hard boundaries, as Ed mentions is more a question of degrees of connectedness, it’s also emergent. Sometimes I am connected with part of the network depending of the issue at hand and the rest becomes kind of dormant. Sometimes it shifts in a day to day basis and sometimes it takes weeks to shift. There are even times when it shifts several times the same day. I feel I have been blessed with the core network I have, that feeling and my resent loss brought about the tears.

Sara mentions “Thanks you Ed and Maru for starting a thread on the emotional aspects of connectivism. How would you do that with your students, in a way that keeps both you and your student’s safe?”

I believe that if you communicate frequently with your students, deliver prompt feedback and keep a netiquette code in your course, you and your students would be safer than if you leave them wandering around on their own. To do that you will need a bunch of trained moderators. Sometimes it’s not possible because there is no money to pay them but you can have willing connections within your network that will do the job on voluntary basis. It’s easier said than done, you need to have a strong tie with your moderators and be sure that if they need to abandon they will place at least someone to cover their position.

While Sia Vogel writes about her feelings in Being there and suddenly very lonely. I think that if CCK08 course had spared a week for introductions, as again my dear Webheads usually do in their EVO workshops (sorry for being so redundant), we could have acquired a sense of belonging and then move to the content itself with more ease and a sense of recognition. I see clearly that my views regarding online learning and teaching may be biased, I believe that if you set a friendly and warm tone with participants it’s easier to get them focused on the content.emotions

Regarding emotions, as a private email points out and Frances comments: The emotional aspects are important but can be difficult to discuss 'in public'. I noticed that Stephen D had praised someone sharing their grade as 'living the spirit of connectivism'. What is the place of private discussion in networks? Important to me.”

While I a agree with Ed, on that “we should be open to sharing and discussing our emotional insights”

I am finding that it’s complicated to do it in public as Frances comments, it may also be risky. I would like to find out more about this issue because it may have deep implications, I think that if by sharing your feelings you are bringing something valuable to the network it will be appropriate to do so.

In the case of my last post the valuable thing for me was to bring emotions to the table but… Will others consider it valuable?, Are we willing to discuss our emotions openly?, Does dealing openly with participant’s emotions really promotes learning? The netiquette suggest to deal with flame messages by private email, is this the only way?, If we do it in private how will the rest learn about it? Emotions are important for connections but how and where do we deal with them in a network?. I bet some research been done on this, could any of you share links on the subject?

6 comments:

Sia said...

Hello Maru. I don't know if you think my post was about emotions as you mean. If so, for me it is no problem to share in this way. But there are many different kinds of and levels in emotions I belief. And there are feelings that a only want to share in an other network than cck08 I think. I am chronically ill so I have often problems with pain in day and night, no problem to talk about, but my tears are mostly for my nearest relations and that feels alright to me. In order of learning and my feelings about the session, I used my being troubled in the night to let see I was thinking it over and over before I wrote the post. In this way I think we should do it with students also. Let them think it over and over before share emotions who had better not be shared with teachers and classmates. But I thin they have to learn to share more than only intellectual thoughts, thus training is necessary. Authenticity is the most valuable I think.

Sarah Stewart said...

I totally agree that authenticity and transparency are paramount. But I also agree that there is a time and a place when you are a teacher. Sometimes, you have to put your feelings and emotions to one side in order to be professional.

Frances Bell said...

Maru,
Such a strange thing has happened, and I am trying to make sense of it. I thought that I had hidden the blog you link to in your post but I think I mush have revealed the hidden blog by logging in with my google id (haven't done this for this comment). That just goes to show how it's difficult not to be public on the Internet. If possible could you change the link in your post to http://francesbell.com

Frances Bell said...

Maru,
Such a strange thing has happened, and I am trying to make sense of it. I thought that I had hidden the blog you link to in your post but I think I mush have revealed the hidden blog by logging in with my google id (haven't done this for this comment). That just goes to show how it's difficult not to be public on the Internet. If possible could you change the link in your post to http://francesbell.com

Ed Webb said...

I think there is no single answer to how to do this as a teacher - whether mediated via distance learning technology or other networking technology, or meeting students in and out of class in a more traditional setting. We have to meet the students where they are, and where they are varies widely. The best we can do is be as honest and open as professional ethics permit, and to recognized and validate the emotional components of educational relationships, rather than pretend it is all some kind of cerebral mind-meld or purely contractual, 'nothing personal' business relationship. I'm sorry not to have anything deeper to offer at this point.

Lisa M Lane said...

Maru, since I just posted about neglecting the affective domain in the realm of personality, I was really glad to find your post.

Although I got some heat for it in one of our sessions, I do try to avoid too much sharing both with and by my students. I am too empathetic and tend to carry other people's problems, so I do better if I keep a little distance. I also tend to be, believe it or not, a rather private person.

I do acknowledge the role of emotion in learning. I begin each discussion session with a prompt designed to encourage emotional response, and then work with student to bring it into the cognitive domain, understanding the response and the implications of that response. Our society does not tend to talk about emotions in a mature way.

I think I was the student Frances notes who first posted my paper grade. Please understand the I did this as a part of the learning exercise, not as a personal or emotional thing. I do not "reveal" much about myself or my personal life or feelings in an internet environment. I feel it is a dangerous and insecure place. If I talk about emotions, fine. But when I express them, I always have the sense there is a record being kept, that emotional expressions could somehow be used against me to gain some sort of power over me. We let young people in on this when we suggest that maybe they shouldn't put things in MySpace they wouldn't want employers to see. On the web, nothing is really private.

I am currently reading Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence, hoping to learn more.