My Journal of Face-to-Face Tutorials

STUDENT FEEDBACK

I felt that from my own expectations of face to face tutorials I wanted a fruitful experience; so I thought I’d journal my learning outcomes from each lesson that occurs in certain months for the duration of the social science course that I’ve undertaken, as so far listed and linked to directly the posted entry below:

17TH OCTOBER 2009
28TH NOVEMBER 2009
9TH JANUARY 2010

For as part of the Open University teaching methods, the face to face tutorials are equally informative as well as those being solely taught online, for face to face tutorials do assist in the learning process from the input of not only the subject being heard about but having actively engaged students as well, so I am intending to attend my tutorials for the course I am currently studying: Making Social Worlds (DD308).

For face to face course tutorials offers four things that I can think of to a student, that is, firstly, it allows a student to hear another students’ viewpoint and be able to listen or participate in the debates, which is a particularly important activity pertaining to the social science field, and secondly, face to face tutorials offers a student specific guidance, such as in how to read the assignment question correctly for a proper interpretation when writing the essay, and thirdly, support from tutors when clarification and other additional information that can be mentioned regarding the course themes, for understanding its purpose of how they relate to wider social issues, and lastly, in person tutorials reaffirms what you’ve learnt as a student in hindsight when meeting again in the classroom for the next lesson to discuss the social issues in hand.

Therein face to face tutorials can really pull things together as one progresses throughout the course and this can affect students’ learning styles, although my way is a bit eclectic, that is, for I personally where studying is concerned do not prescribe to one method, but try to utilise the advantages that can be gained to increase my knowledge of the subject.

Weblink: OU Podcasts – Making Social Worlds (DD308)

Blog Related Posting: What is Sociology?

Therefore, I’ll update this page from time to time; rather than start a new posting for each date entry, thereat the feedback will be all in one place; as in a fragmented composition and written in a colloquial style, for no doubt I’ll learn something to report back which was useful, giving my student feedback about my own learning outcomes as a result of attending the face to face tutorials. So to begin…..

Writing in student journal

17TH OCTOBER 2009

Okay, I arrived early at the LSE (London School of Economics) where the lesson was being held and found the location of the classroom, but required to freshen up my appearance in the ladies, so when I got back to the room other students had arrived, hence I wasn’t the solitary student looking lonesome. Once we had all gathered there was the ‘Icebreaker’ activity: interview the person sitting next to you, then inform the whole class about your fellow student as an introduction. Then the tutorial began after this. 

I’ve always a mission in classrooms: I ask whats on my mind regarding the subject at hand, for as a student you may not have the opportunity to ask again, because the tutor is sometimes assuming that once he’s finished explaining a point, he’ll think that you’ll know first off what his message was, and inevitably it will take alot more explaining than he first thought, for the information to sink into said student brain waves to become embedded as knowledge, and thus I focus solely on walking out of the class knowing what I need to know; such as KEYWORDS which I then noted down, for example the brief conversation that went with the tutor:

MAV: “So, the Actor Network theory is more visual, whilst the Constructionalist theory confers the meaning?”

TUTOR: “No, the ANT theory is the form which is for a prescribed action.”

Learnt two keyword words in that brief exchange with the tutor in front of the class: FORM and MEANING.

Therefore, to my understanding of these sociological theories was that the Actor Network Theory is the ‘Form’ eg. a bank, and Constructionalism is the ‘Meaning’ eg. language.

Notice also how I tried to summaries the tutor’s point after he explained the theories within the asked question, which he followed in answering with his statement revealing the keywords to remember regarding the concepts. And it also follows to reason that I had been paying attention to what he was imparting to us students afterall, so my speaking up confirmed this to him as an exchange in the learning process.  Therefore, I’m glad we covered the two theories, as it met my own objective as a learning outcome; to understand how they applied to the themes of the course. And the two theories were:

CONSTRUCTIONISM
Umbrella term for theories arguing that there are no essences: all taken for-granted phenomena are socially constructed.

ACTOR NETWORK THEORY (ANT)
insists on the materiality of the world and focuses on the ways in which matter is fundamentally implicated in the making of a social world.

We also went through two other terms:

DELEGATION
meant an artefact/matter doing the work of a human instead eg. an answer machine.

INSCRIPTING
meant the expectation of acting or behaving in a particular way as a social norm within a set of prescribed rules eg. when attending a theatre or cinema.

Which both terms and the theoretical concepts, mentioned above, particularly the Actor Network Theory (ANT), for the essay can be be quite relevant to write about to show my general understanding of the social concerns in my first course assignment. Thereat, all that’s left now is for me to write the Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) in some coherent and concise manner for saying everything that needs to be said in 1000 odd words.  Here’s hoping it turns out well!

28TH NOVEMBER 2009

As there was building works going on at today’s tutorial session, we had to move rooms to use for the duration of the lesson from what was originally allocated to us on the first floor, to a room on the second floor, due to the level of construction noise that was taking place at the same time. 

And as we’re a softly-spoken bunch of students generally, thereat shouting over the noise when it stopped suddenly, left the spoken sentence in mid-air, and it should be noted that hearing the tutor was equally hard going too; as one had to time what with being said to the next sound of banging, thump or clang. 

And added to this, all the Ladies lavatories were out of order, so it was either take the elevator to another floor that building work hadn’t effected and then walk through to the old part of the LSE building to use the lav facility, or go back to the main reception of the LSE building which was around a corner street and find out where the nearest ladies toilets were located in that particular building, although for the male students the Gents loo was unaffected by the building work in progress, so they had no problem in finding a urinating room. Which brings me nicely to the point of what I learnt as an outcome:

MATERIALITY means the state or quality of being substantial or material.

And this is because everything that is ‘material’ in construction has an expression with its relationship to the social world. For there’s the notion that materials do possess a certain and particular ‘nature’ that suggests appropriate uses or forms.

Its about the integration and action related to knowledge, which is immeasurably beneficial as a material artefact, that it inevitably enhances the tangibility and richness of materials in the process of social construction and the making of social worlds.

“…So, to size up the work done by [door] hinges, you simply have to imagine that every time you want to get in or out of the building you have to do the same work as a prisoner trying to escape or as a gangster trying to rob a bank, plus the work of those who rebuild either the prison’s or the bank’s walls. If you do not want to imagine people destroying walls and rebuilding them every time they wish to leave or enter a building, then imagine the work that would have to be done to keep inside or outside all the things and people that, left to themselves, would go the wrong way. As Maxwell never said, imagine his demon working without a door…” (Latour,1991, p.4)

Thus in short, it’s about translating critical ideas, such as security for example, into built realizations, for example CCTV cameras in cities.  Thereat, substituting symbols for substance, as ultimately regarding its state of values and qualities, that is, from its intention as a material to its materiality, which can be used to develop a better understanding of its significance to humans in society.

Now I’m desperate to go…as [ Nature the next TMA ] is a calling.

REFERENCE

Latour, B., (1991), Where are the missing masses? Sociology of a few mundane artefacts’, in Bijker, W.E. and Law, J. (eds) Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociological Change, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

9TH JANUARY 2010

I like to set the scene of the tutorials, so you lot reading this entry, are lead into it the long way round. And if anyone has been to the LSE building(s) knows, there are long passages and ways around, so I thought I’d share this too here by the use of words.

As this lesson took place in the actual LSE main building itself, on the second floor (liken to a penthouse suite), so maybe our class became somewhat privileged today, and maybe because there’s such a meeting of minds, (you’ll get the point later I hope), so just to make others feel a little perturbed once more if their tutorial rooms are chilly; our room was nice and cosy, with ambient lighting for the intellectual exchange, that is, a tutorial to yous lot, with only three small rows of desks and chairs that was set close enough to see the white board and the high tech equipment of the screen at the front, all done with such a lovely layout of the room by the facilities management.

Portently, the lesson was on ‘CONSTRUCTIONISM’ and the differing theories, which are:

PSYCHO-ANALYTIC meaning ‘an emotional investment’ theory ie. human experience is primarily unconscious in character, which mediates our conscious experience of people and things in the external world.

PSYCHO-SOCIAL meaning a ‘mutually constitutive’ approach ie. reading the experience by unconscious transference which operates externally with thoughts and feelings derived from the inner world. 

That’s one thing about our lessons, is you delve into the concepts alot more than reading a book, which the tutor has a deeper knowledge of; as he’s had to repeat them year after year to students who’ve only recently come upon them (even if we disagreed about the use of them for our essays). 

For example, he asked us to imagine a world without any language whatsoever (which included the exclusion of symbolism here too). Whatever it was you were thinking about here, now cease any thinking at all, not even the Word must be thought of, and hold that non-language activity (it’ll give awhole new meaning to the expression of ‘hold that thought’) until you read the next paragraph. I’ll leave a gap in this journal entry, so you get to do the activity; as signified with an empty thought cloud picture.

Didn’t take long did it. For I abstained from this lack of thought activity, I couldn’t even begin to imagine such a thing.  And informed the tutor of this, saying: “I have no recollection of any baby talk, gagga or non-wordiness.  I just talked as I’m talking today, as anyone who knows me well, knows I talk with the ‘words’ of language since childhood for thats all I remember.  And no psychologist was actually there when I was a toddler to say otherwise, that I didn’t use any language other than what I knew at the time.” [Aside comment: maybe that’s why I don’t go “blah, blah, blah” neither in adulthood whilst in chat mode, from such a gagga, gagga, gagga, early childhood development, and could and can yabba, yabba, yabba with the best of them].

Even though for some students, who managed the above task well in class, of a ‘no language’ world, and understood.  I didn’t and don’t see the point of such psychological regression in such a sociology discourse of  ‘attachment’, as nothing good comes of it except the sound of “uh” at the end.  And then you might get stuck and go no further, then there’s nothing to construct, except when someone, liken to myself, comes along into this world and socially constructs because I can, and you can’t, being ‘the other’ and all. 

For it seems to me, constructionalism is based upon the stable verisimilitude of the majority; who share the same world view and, as well as their conceptual points of their sociological view, that is, the ‘Psycho-social’ which does as a theory offer itself as an alternative to a ‘Psycho-analytic’ approach.  So in this case I’ll be the other again, as I get to argue me point in an assignment and you don’t. 

But be assured, it will be well constructed, thats if nothing else crops up; as I will also research material compiled from my own reading list, that I’m pretty sure will be added to in the form of a bibliography, such as the books: ‘Social Interaction and Personal Relationships’ by Dr Dorothy E. Miell and ‘Identity: A Reader’ by Dr Paul du Gay, which I believe are relevant, as well as, from the tutor’s ‘Further Reading List’ that he emailed to us after, which I think three items on the listing might come in handy to read pertaining to the essay due:

Hall, S., (ed), (1997), Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, London: Sage.

Rose, N., (1998), Inventing Ourselves: Psychology, Power and Personhood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Woodward, K. (ed), (1997), Identity and Difference, London: Sage.

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