Getting all organised before the last workshop in May

I managed to return my learning journal for my Approaches to English Linguistics course this week. This week I was reading something on conversational analysis and a  study of social action as sense making practices by Anita Pomerantz and B. J. Fehr, (Conversation analysis, An Approach to the study of social action as sense making practices) as well as

psycholinguistics and work by Tanya Stivers and Federico Mossano on Mobilizing Response  and how they are proposing a model for how responses to social actions are regulated across the species rather than for speakers of one language. Both of the before mentioned articles fall into the category of linguistics but are a bit different from grammar for instance. The latter writers argue that speakers of different languages rely to different degrees on response mobilizing resources, across languages, ethnicities, and cultures and say that people rely on the same four resources: gaze, lexico-morphosyntax, prosody, and epistemic asymmetry, to mobilize response. (=mobilizing response meaning getting an answer from a recipient).

I also accidentally returned my final essay (1200 words) on Skinner for our Academic communication course I. I got the essay done and then sent it through our learning management system Optima to the return box. I almost immediately realised it wasn’t due until the end of the month; and that we were supposed to get some extra instructions for the last part of writing it some time soon… Ah well.

I don’t think I can withdraw it anymore now, but I’ll try and see if I manage to pass the course with this version. Could be a bit risky, but I did work hard on writing it so maybe it’s okay.

I have also been working on a pair teaching assignment online with Jaakko. We should be presenting together in our next workshop as a pair on the topic “B.F. Skinner and Jiddu Krishnamurti and educational philosophies”. I think we need to meet to get the material sorted out. It’s always nice to be able to start working online, but after the initial collecting of material phase, it’s necessary to have a chat face to face. Hope he will have time next week, I have to have my car fixed end of this week so I won’t be driving anywhere I think.

Before our next workshop in mid-May we are to read more short stories; not novels like I wrote earlier. ( I had no idea the stories were so short, we used to read novels when I was a student doing my Master’s degree, but that was last century!). I haven’t yet started on those, so I shall be doing some short stories reading next, I think.

After the workshop we still have a term paper on literature to write & return before mid-June. The paper shall be a critical analysis of ONE of the following short stories:

  • James Joyce:  “A Painful Case”
  • Katherine Mansfield: “Life of Ma Parker”
  • V.S. Naipaul: “The Mechanical Genius”
  • Carson McCullers: “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”
  • Flannery O’Connor: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

I haven’t read any of the short stories yet, but we are recommended to read them all and then pick which one to write the term paper about. We will see if I can get them all read or if time runs out and I only manage one.

In addition to all the above we also have a home exam coming up in English grammar I! We have something to read for the exam. I doubt it was the Glossary of English Grammar Terms even though it’s given as a resource to us in Optima. I have to start finding out… It’s coming up soon. Have a great rest of the week!

Working on the speech and improving my essay about Skinner (vol 3.)

I’ve been holidaying in Palma de Mallorca (image of a tram in Port de Soller!) for a week. After returning it took me a while to get myself back to being an organised student at home. Now I’m finally continuing work on improving the essay I have to write on Skinner.

PS: I have not made a trip to the library to find “more academic sources”, like I should have, according to the peer review feedback. I added the academic source Approaches to Learning: A guide for teachers that was used for my teacher studies, where I learnt about Skinner the first time.


I’m learning more about the “fellow” so I can prepare the 5 min. speech we also have to give next week. I vaguely remember I need to provide some sort of a plan for the speech by Wednesday…


Operant conditioning theory and behaviourism again

In our Academic Writing course we have to start writing on an academic essay.  It’s already some time since I wrote these kinds of things. I didn’t get to pick the subject which makes it harder, I will be writing about B. F. Skinner.

Skinner’s behaviourism and operant conditioning theory are luckily something I find interesting and there are many options for different angles one could write about.

Research says that operant conditioning theory applies to issues like class and student management and it is said to be useful in shaping skill performance, so I think I’m going to argue that it can very well be used when creating learning environments and learning experiences, digital or not. It’s a tough topic for me, because I am not all that familiar with Skinner’s work, even though I had learned the basics of his theories before during my educational science studies last year.

Since the essay is supposed to have only 800-1000 words, it really needs to be well structured and I guess that is one my weakest points. Hopefully I can develop my skills in structuring an essay this spring.  It’s easy for me to write down words, writing down everything I know. It’s harder to get a hold of the structure, to make it right. Also presenting an argument is something that feels hard.

Can I maybe use Skinner’s theories to create better learning habits for myself on the way? Cut my writing sessions into shorter chunks? Award myself with a cup of coffee when I feel I have learned something new about how to structure my argument? Should I scold myself if I go for a walk with the dog instead of reading about the topic I’m supposed to write about?

– Maybe just take the dog for a walk and think about this.