Advice about Observation

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by snowflake24, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Backroads

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    I like what you're saying here, but I still think there is a plenty of territory between insubordination and properly engaged in learning.
     
  2. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What I'm saying is that there is a line somewhere between subjectivity and objectivity. You're calling them "minutiae", but really these things are points on the spectrum. A student can be fully engaged while not taking any notes whatsoever throughout the entire class. A student can be fully receptive to the content while refusing to stand up and participate in stupid role-playing activities. To an observer, though, especially one who may not know the students or understand the class dynamics, a judgment must be made. A subjective judgment, based on multiple pieces of evidence and the big picture.

    The big picture means that although students were objectively pulling out their phones to send occasional texts, they can demonstrate mastery of the material being taught. That end result points to teacher effectiveness, even though allowing cell phones to be used in class in violation of school policy does not.

    Billy who never takes notes but is leaning forward, answering questions, asking questions, and demonstrating mastery of the content is clearly engaged. Sammy who never takes notes and is listening to headphones while playing Candy Crush is clearly not engaged. Joey is taking copious notes but isn't processing anything and doesn't really understand what he's writing, and he can't demonstrate mastery of the material because he doesn't have a clue what's going on. The note-taking aspect is not the evidentiary part; it's the other stuff, even though notetaking is admittedly an activity you'd expect to see in a classroom where students are engaged. My point is that you can't say that students taking notes is an indicator of teacher effectiveness, because it's not really. It is an indicator of many other things, though, including compliance.

    Back to your earlier point about how you don't like how administrators rate "teachers as ineffective just because they think or feel they are"...I don't like that either. That's not a problem with subjectivity, though. That's a problem with evidence. Even a subjective judgment can be backed up by evidence.
     
  3. greendream

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    No--as your previous and subsequent posts have shown, you really don't understand the difference between subjective and objective. You might know the definition, but the application is escaping you. You think objective means "clear" or "uncomplicated" and subjective means "unclear" or "complicated." This is why you incorrectly used the word "intricate" as a synonym earlier when it has nothing to do with objectivity and subjectivity.
     
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  4. futuremathsprof

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    Having a good vibe is easy to ascertain, IMO. For me, it’s a matter of being to able to determine if the classroom environment feels inviting?

    To show this, answer most of the following in the affirmative: Is the classroom decorated and vibrant? Is the teacher smiling and/or amicable? Is the teacher approachable, meaning are the students comfortable walking up to the teacher and engaging that person in lively/scholarly conversation? Are the students solemn looking or cheery, that is, are they fearful to ask questions and timid or generally happy?

    I don’t know. It seems like you could make a checklist to me about this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  5. futuremathsprof

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    Correct, if I said that note taking means the students are engaged, then I misspoke. I meant to say it’s the combination of all of those things that indicates the student is engaged in the lesson.
     
  6. Caesar753

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    And you're not seeing how determining whether a student looks solemn or cheery is subjective? You're not seeing how it's subjective to surmise the motivation behind not asking questions?

    Subjective things can be part of a checklist. Are you suggesting that only objective things can be part of a checklist?
     
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  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Right, and the subjectivity lives inside that combination.
     
  8. futuremathsprof

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    No, I used the word intricate because, to me, it seems like you are making things more complicated than they need to be. Also, I’m not saying that complicated means subjective.

    Subjective things can be unclear whereas objective things can be clear. That doesn’t mean I’m saying those are their definitions.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

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    How is that subjective when I used the exact definition of classroom management. Look at the above definition.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

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    Posters on here keep arriving at conclusions that I’m not saying at all. I AM saying that objective things are more useful than subjective things. Explicit instructions are preferable to ones that are hinted at or not outrightly stated.

    You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be. You’re telling me you could not figure out if a student is sad, mad, or happy? How would you figure out if a classroom was cheery at all, then?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  11. greendream

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    If you had a firm grasp on the difference between objective and subjective, this conversation wouldn't be spooling out like this. You think just because something is in a rubric, it's objective. You think that checking a box that says the class is "generally engaged" is objective because it makes sense to you and doesn't sound too complex. That's just not what the term "objective" means when it comes to observations.
     
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  12. Caesar753

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    I agree that this is where the confusion is coming from.
     
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  13. Master Pre-K

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    Yep, I did everything right. Guess I’ll take my .40 raise and walk away and smile I guess.

    I got the highest score, but no ‘good job’ badge (that’s more $).

    What’s up with that?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  14. Caesar753

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    You are again talking about "explicit" versus "hinted at", and again this is not the difference between objective and subjective.

    Can we agree that "subjective" means "based on opinions or feelings"? My feeling or opinion or sense that a kid is happy or sad is subjective. That is not objectively measured data. It's based on my impression.

    Earlier we were talking about classroom vibe. If that's something that we can objectively measure, then we should be able to do so. Tell me: what is the standard unit of measurement for a vibe?
     
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  15. futuremathsprof

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    Computer scientists and engineers are working on and integrating artificial intelligence with robots and made quite a bit of headway in this regard. Said robots with rudimentary “A.I.” are able to correctly determine people’s moods based on their facial features when interacting/analyzing them, and with a high degree of accuracy (sometimes with 100% accuracy). How are these robots able to do it if it’s subjective like you when all they use metrics to do all decision making? Their “brains” are entirely objective in nature.

    Your move.
     
  16. futuremathsprof

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    Good grief. I have a solid grasp on both definitions. I’m not misapplying them. I use the definition of classroom management and engagement as they are stated in a dictionary. Why that is mystifying to you, is frankly scary.
     
  17. futuremathsprof

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    I agree with your definition of subjectivity.

    I don’t feel or have an opinion on someone’s feelings. My brain takes in information through my senses and I use those inputs to make a conclusion. If a student is smiling, laughing, and making a drum beat on their desk, are they sad? Mad? Fearful? No, they are in a good mood and happy. That is not my opinion. It is fact.
     
  18. Caesar753

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    What emotion is this child feeling?

    [​IMG]
    CC0 Creative Commons Free for commercial use No attribution required
     
  19. futuremathsprof

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    That’s how contradictory the field of education is. That’s why I prefer that evaluations be made as objectively as possible so that one person can’t say you’re effective and the next say you’re not. If we all used the same metrics, then we would virtually all arrive at the same conclusions. Then, there would be virtually no ambiguity.
     
  20. futuremathsprof

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    The child is either emotionally neutral or curious. There is no evidence that indicates any other emotion is taking place.
     
  21. greendream

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    What you're not getting is that just because terms on a rubric can be traced back to a dictionary definition (which is not comprehensive by the way), that doesn't mean the rubric itself is an objective tool. Rubrics can be objective, but the examples you gave previously were plainly subjective.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  22. Caesar753

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    How did you come to this conclusion? Is it objectively measurable? Is it your opinion? Could someone else come to a different but reasonable conclusion using the same data?
     
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  23. a2z

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    Using a dictionary definition doesn't make something objective when the definition explains a subjective situation or uses subjective measures.
     
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  24. czacza

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    But they dont HAVE to
     
  25. a2z

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    You are right.

    This is like so many other situations where people are put in situations where they don't have good choices. The admin's boss tells them they must even though the truth is it is just how they want it. Actions have consequences. The consequence of a boss making an edict means those being impacted have to make a choice. Follow the instruction or take whatever harm may come from making the decision to not follow.
     
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  26. futuremathsprof

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    If you type different facial expressions into your internet search engine, what expressions do you see and what emotion are those expressions associated with?

    Why is that? I think you know the answer, but humor me, please.
     
  27. futuremathsprof

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    If someone was convinced they could talk to toasters, does that make them correct because they believe differently than I do? No. They are still wrong.

    The difference is that I use evidence to make my conclusions. If I don’t have any evidence, then I say my results are inconclusive. There is zero evidence that indicates the child is feeling anything other emotion other than what I wrote in my previous post, so if someone said otherwise then they would be dishonest because they have no evidence to make that determination.
     
  28. futuremathsprof

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    This is your opinion, which is subjective.
     
  29. futuremathsprof

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    And you still haven’t answered my question on how the robots could guess people’s emotions correctly when all of their thought processes are objective.
     
  30. futuremathsprof

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  31. TrademarkTer

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    We have rubrics too, but I think the rubrics do leave room for interpretation.

    I think if the math supervisor comes to observe my lesson, she is going to focus on different parts of the rubric than if the assistant principal who used to teach social studies comes to observe me.

    One thing my district does to help with this is occasional "dual observations" where two different admins will observe the same lesson and compare scores afterwards. I've never experienced this, but some of my colleagues have.
     
  32. Caesar753

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    My opinion that she seems tired or expectant is no less reasonable than yours. We both have exactly the same data from which to draw.

    It seems like you are arguing that opinions and emotions and intuitions don’t exist because robots can be trained to make decisions based on the same data that shapes our opinions and feelings and intuition. Is that what you’re arguing?
     
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  33. Caesar753

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    There are parts of our evaluations that are always open to some interpretation. Even our contract language leaves some wiggle room, like where it says that admin can request a medical note when an employee is “excessively” absent or require a drug test when there is “reasonable suspicion”. It defines neither of those terms. It’s up to the admin’s judgment. Subjective.
     
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  34. a2z

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    Actually, it is not an opinion. It is fact. It is logic also.
     
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  35. futuremathsprof

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    I agree. This is a situation where subjectivity should be used because it’s not explicitly defined, as you, yourself, stated.
     
  36. Caesar753

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    It’s like a brick wall.

    The subjectivity doesn’t come from the part where it is not defined. It comes from the part where admin defines it according to what is suitable for the school and situation. There IS a definition for “excessive”, but it is not given in the contract. Rather, it is left to the discretion, or opinion, of the administrator.
     
  37. futuremathsprof

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    This is not what I’m saying at all. Where did I say emotions and intuitions do not exist? This is your interpretation of what I’m saying.

    Seriously, look up “facial expressions” on google images and tell me what images appear. (That was a rhetorical expression.) Answer: You will see the emotion listed for each facial expression. Similar images were then presented to the robots, whose only frames of reference are logic and mathematics. The robot was then asked to use its knowledge of said images to deduce what emotions were shown to it. All it was allowed to do was analyze their facial features. It was nearly able to correctly determine the emotive states nearly 100% of the time. How is that intuition or emotion or subjective?

    Answer: It wasn’t.

    Definition of “objectivity”: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

    The robot was doing exactly this because it has no emotions to speak of and it is not using its opinions in considering or representing facts. It’s just using its knowledge of facial features and deductive reasoning. That’s it.
     
  38. futuremathsprof

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    If the word “excessive” was clearly defined in the contract, then the admin would have zero discretion. Correct? Thus, it is because the word is not clearly defined in this context that he/she does have discretion.
     
  39. a2z

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    Could you please link your source for this information. I am interested in reading the research.
     
  40. a2z

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    ...
     

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