MOOC USSV101x | Facilitator Engagement | Hard Academic Skills
Hello. Everyone and welcome to the, second. Week or, the second module, of the, facilitator, engagement, for university, studies for student veterans, during. This second, module we're going to be spending some time talking, about what I call the four hard skills. Modules. Of the curriculum, that's. Modules, two three four and five. Active. Reading and note-taking, how. To succeed in technical, courses, hard. Reading good, writing and. Effective. Time management. These. Four. Modules are. Send which between. The. First and last module which are about, softer. Skills. Really. Metacognition. And mindset, at the front of the curriculum, and navigating, campus culture at the back of the curriculum, are really. About helping students, think. About, how. To approach, or, how to conceive. Of or or or, how to imagine. Their place, within. Within, a higher education, environment, how. Do you navigate the, sort. Of hidden curriculum how. Do you approach. And, seek, out resources. How, do you advocate, for yourself how do you conceive, of yourself as a student, in. This new environment, and, how do you navigate, the, sort of sticky. Cultural. Issues, that come. With. Transitioning. From a military environment to an academic one, that's, really the work we do and those are really the questions that we asked and the first in the last module but in the, four modules in the center these, are are really in some ways that, the bread and butter, of the curriculum, this is where, students. Are going to be offered, and taught. You. Know hard, skills. Reading. Skills writing, skills. Quantitative. Skills time, management skills. This. Is where they're going to learn some, some proven. Strategies. For. For, managing. Their, academic, life this is where they're going to get some real tangible takeaways. Things. That they can they can lift out of the curriculum take, home and apply, to their study practice. Immediately. Now. One thing I want to be really clear about when. I talk about this sort of this, family, of modules, and this family of skills is that I. Want. To make it really clear and we try to make it really clear to students, that.
That. These skills, are not. Remedial. These. Skills are are skills, that any student. At any, level, at, any stage, of their development, should. Be practicing. Should, be cultivating. And should be honing as part, of their larger academic. Practice a lot, of times students. Conceive. Of academic, support as, remedial. As as something you do only when you're in academic, distress as as something, that you do when you, know when you when you do poorly on an exam or when you're struggling, to write a paper or when, you're having a hard time keeping up with the pace of a class and to, be honest part of the reason they do that is because institutions. A lot of times do. That a lot, of times you know colleges, and universities, couch. These. Skill, building activities. Within. A larger, discourse, of student deficits, and of, students. Who need help and of students. Who are struggling and one of the things we try really hard to do in. These in these four, modules is. Try to recast. Academic. Skill building, and academic, skill acquisition as. Something. That good students, do right, as part. Of what being a good student, is. And. And, something that can be done and should be done early. And. Actively. And often. And and. Sort of proactively. As part, of a good robust. Confident. Learning, practice, so, it's not just about, you, know when you've done poorly on an exam of course, when students are in academic distress they, should seek academic skill building they should get tutoring, they should learn how to take better notes they. Should learn some better strategies, for preparing for their exams but, these, are things that students can also do. If they're trying to achieve. More, ambitious, academic, goals you know maybe, they're trying to turn their their C to a B or there, or there B to an a-minus or there a - to an a-plus and an academic. Support is absolutely a place for, those students, to come do some a quick academic, skill building as well. Now, just. A logistics, note really quickly about this week it's, it's, really unrealistic, do you think you might engage with all of this material in a meaningful way it's, four, modules. Full. Of material, full. Of strategies, full. Of of study, techniques. Full. Of practices. Some. Of which are quite quite, detailed, things, like iterative, note review and the distributed, study model so, don't feel please, don't feel like you, need to engage with all of this material, in a in, a sort of robust, or, or detailed way it would, it really would be impossible to do that given.
The Amount of time we've allotted for this engagement you. Will have already received, an email from me, drawing. Your attention to a couple pieces of the, curriculum, that I think, that. I think you might be of particular interest, to you so so, do take a look at those I would also encourage you to just. Sort of skim through. The, material, maybe there are some. Skills gaps that you've identified in your students, places, where students tend to need a little bit of extra help you might want to pay special, attention to some of those parts of the curriculum but, mostly I just want you to go in there and get a sense of the kinds of things we're teaching and ask yourself, you know are the things that we're offering in this part of the curriculum similar, to the kinds of things you teach are. There disparities, between the academic skills you're, you're, developing in your students, and the ones that we're promoting here, and and I think that that will be a useful exercise. But. Even, though this is a lot of material I did want to group these modules, together because I think they talk to each other in important, ways. The, other piece of these four modules that you you may want to take a look at are the veteran voices videos they're instructive, always, but they're especially instructive. Here a lot, of times veterans will take the, strategies, that we've offered them and they'll, tweak them. To fit. More organically, into their existing. Practice. And and that's a great thing and I'm really glad that students have been transparent, about the ways that they adapt. And sort, of sort, of ream old strategies. To fit better with their own study practice, you know this. Material that we deliver is, not. Ideologically. Pure you know this is not holy ground we're standing on I want people to get dirty, when. They're when they're building academic, skills I want them to you, know to get dirt under their fingernails as, they figure, out what's, going to work for them and put a little put a little elbow grease into, designing. A practice, that works for them that's. Informed. By some. Of the best practices we try to teach them, now. What I'm going to do in this podcast as. Briefly as possible is just I want to tell three anecdotes, to, help, set, up your. Engagement. With the material this week and, their three anecdotes, about three meetings with students and I think they exhibit. Why. There's so much at stake in. Academic, skill building you know sometimes I think skills, get a bad rap because, somehow they're, they're. Sort of you know especially in colleges, and universities, sometimes, you. Know people want to focus on critical thinking and higher-order thinking skills and, the ability to synthesize and, strategize, and all these things and and, those those, skills, are important. But. These foundational. Academic skills are the things that allow folks. They're. The things that allow them to move on to the to the place where they can do those things with confidence, and I think that if if, the foundation, as we know is, shaky. You. Know if your foundation is made of sand you're gonna have a hard time building. A house. Anecdote. One is about a student who came to me a couple, of months ago young man. Combat. Veteran two deployments. Big. Guy covered, in tattoos bald, if. You if you saw him in the grocery store at the bank you'd probably be a little intimidated, by him came. Into my office for an academic support, session. On. The verge of tears. Three. Weeks into his calculus, 1 class. Having, a really, hard time, understanding. You. Know not not not even so much having a hard time on it on homework or exams but but having a hard time listening, in class. And understanding. What was being taught, an. Experiencing. Really acute, anxiety as, a result of that and, when. I said you know why. Do you think you're why, do you think you're feeling this way his. Simple answer was you know I'm not a math person I've never met a math person. How, am I expected to do this when, when. I'm when I'm just not I'm not that guy. Pretty. Powerful stuff and. We. Know that the idea of being a math person or not a math person. You. Know having the math gene or not I'm, having what, we would call a knack for it. It's. Pretty prevalent in. Our society in, our culture it's extremely. Prevalent on, college. Campuses, and, this. Guy was was, overwhelmed. And, basically. His feeling, was that since he was having difficulty.
What. He should probably do is he should probably drop the course and. Do something, to. Quote it you know to quote him, that. Was more in line with who with, who he was and what he was good at. We'll. Revisit him in just a few minutes. Anecdote. 2 is, about, a young woman who. Came to my office after, seven, years in the Army. Experiencing. The same kind of anxiety, that the former student was experienced, in his calculus 1 class except, she was experiencing, it and he in humanities, class. And. She. Walked in the door and she handed, me an excerpt. Of Nietzsche's. On truth and lying in an extra moral sense which she was assigned for, her writing. Seminar and, I. Said what seems to be the problem, and she said. English. Is my first language. Speak. It fluently, never. Had a problem and here's. This writing assignment this, this this this piece of writing I've been assigned to look at and, I. Can tell that it's written in English. I can understand, each of the individual, words as English words but I cannot. Comprehend. It I can't. Understand, the meaning of the sentences, and I can't understand the meaning of the paragraphs, and how is it possible that something is written in English. Is. Something that I can't. Comprehend. And of. Course. Her. Her, difficulty. Comprehending the, material. Registered. To her, as, proof. That. There was something broken about her, and that. She should have never come to college, to. Quote her that college probably wasn't for. Her. The. Third anecdote, is about another young woman I was talking to my. First meeting with her was prior to school ever starting, and. I. Met. With her she had a very short window of transition, between leaving service. And coming to school and I was able to meet with her about a week before school started, and. I asked her what she was most excited about and she said that she was most excited, about being it and and this is a quote the, author of. My own time, which. I thought was I mean I was kind of blown away to Leanback it was really, poetic. The, author of my own time and she talked a little bit about how. Toward the end of her service, she started to experience, a little bit of resentment about. The, extent, to which her time was controlled. By. Others. She. Talked about her time being controlled for her and on occasion, her time being controlled, it felt at, her. And, she. Prepared, herself sort, of mentally, and psychologically and. Emotionally to, make the transition to college one, of the things she reported looking most forward to, was. Was. You know sitting on the lawn throwing, a frisbee around, with a friend and and really, managing, her own time not being told what, to do all the, time. For, weeks later the. Same young woman came to my office and she was singing a slightly different tune. After. Four weeks of managing her own time she reported, to me. She. Was alarmed. By, the. Extent, to which having, ownership, her own time. Rather. Than feeling liberating. Was. Starting to feel, suffocating. Overwhelming. And, scary. She. Actually used the word scary, and. Here. She is she. Has 24 hours in a day that are completely hers and. Because. She had. Spent the last seven years not not overly, socialized, to make decisions, about her own time she was really happy having trouble doing so in a way that she felt was effective. She. Said the most extraordinary things she said you know Here. I am I've, gotten exactly what I want and now, I'm looking back at my time in the military when, I would wake up in the morning and knew exactly what, I had to do and I'm, feeling a real sense of of, nostalgia. And, again. Her. Struggle, to manage her time effectively, by her by her own account, felt. To her like proof that. That, she didn't, belong. She. Had reported being a little worried about feeling like an imposter and a higher education, setting and and this, felt to her like the way that she was gonna get called out, for.
Being In a place she shouldn't be. We. Have these conversations as. Educators, and higher education professionals. Not. Only with non-traditional students. And breakaway learners but specifically. With our military-connected, students. Day. After. Day after day. Students. Coming in and expressing. Some anxiety, expressing, being overwhelmed, and let me tell you and it won't be any surprise to. You to hear that a, military-connected. Student, who has, the gumption who, has the motivation. The. Courage, to come in and express a need, for help means. That they're probably in a pretty tough place, most. Of them report, not being socialized, to seek help or understanding. Help as an expression, sign, or admittance. Of. Admission. Of weakness and, so. The fact that they're in our chairs in our offices tell us that they're probably in the grip, and. They're probably feeling. Whatever. They're feeling pretty acutely. And in all three of these cases. Comes to the rescue our, skills. What. Becomes the antidote. To anxiety, our skills. Skills. Kind, of have a superhero, cape on their back and, they come flying in and they give the. Students, the tools that they need to. To. Manage. That anxiety because they're managing, the source of the anxiety, so the the student, that the gentleman who came in to talk to me about his difficulty, in calculus, one I had, the opportunity to explain, to him that that. Here's what's really cool about being a math person or not a math person the cognitive research tells us that there's no such thing as a math person, so. Tell me a little bit about your math education, and he said well it was 10 years ago and, honestly, I. Didn't really like it. My, teachers weren't that great and honestly he, admitted openly, as a, 16 year-old guy wasn't, that interested, in being instructed in math and, I. Said well maybe some of what you're feeling now is not. A product, of who you are but, a product of how you were exposed to math education, did you speak math in your home no, did you talk about math at the dinner table no. Did you know where your parents math teachers, know all. These, questions, about his background started, to draw a picture for him that maybe what he was experiencing. In his calculus 1 class was less about a personal, deficit, was. Less about being broken, and more. About a lifetime in which he hadn't really been socialized, to the language of math and. You. Know that the example I often use is you know if you if you walked into a conversation, with two French speakers, and you didn't speak French, you. Wouldn't immediately assume. That, there was something broken about you you would simply assume, that you. Know you didn't speak French because you'd never been taught French and so it would take time effort, and, good strategies, to learn French or if. You walked into a gym and everyone was lifting a lot of weight and you couldn't lift a lot of weight it wouldn't immediately indicate. To you that you're just a weak person, because that's who you are and that's it you. Would assume that you would need to put in work you know time effort, and good strategies, to get stronger to lift the amount of weight that everyone was lifting but, somehow, when students walk into a math class, and they don't immediately.
Understand, Everything that's being said for. Whatever reason, a lot. Having to do with with with fixed and growth mindset, students, immediately, assume that there's something broken there's, something, short-circuited. And they're, never gonna get it and they should just do something else and, so. By talking to him about that and then, by offering, him some of the skills that we offer through. The how to succeed in technical, courses module we were able to kind of change his mindset a little bit and get. Him on the road and you know what ended up happening is, he did end up dropping into a. Less. Advanced, math class he dropped from calculus 1 to college algebra but he succeeded in, college. Algebra. Went. On to take calculus and got, a B so. From a situation where, he felt he was broken, to, a situation in which he did well in a course that, he thought that he would never Excel. Him, my. Student who couldn't understand, the piece of Nietzsche you. Know knew. It was in English but couldn't understand, what, we really spend some time doing is is figuring, out how to breathe through, that moment and then, identify, what the next best step is. By. Talking to her about some of the skills in, the in. The active, reading section. Of the course and in, the hard reading good writing learning how to read something difficult and then write compellingly, about it I was able to give her some step-by-step, tips of what to do next you get a piece of writing that you can't understand, what do you do do. A little bit of internet research, give, yourself some context. Around that piece of writing maybe. Look up two or three of the words that are showing, up often, and try to get a better sense of what they mean, by. Giving yourself some context. By giving yourself a sense of what a couple of words mean, in the, text you can start to work slowly through, and slowly but surely, we. Work, together to understand, a paragraph, that when she had walked in the door seemed, completely. Alien. To her, and, I. Hope gave, her a sense that there is a next, thing to do when. You're feeling paralyzed. With. Anxiety, and, for. My my young woman who is experiencing, difficulty, with time management one. Of the things we really talked about was with, stakes, you. Know she admitted to me that the stakes, in college felt so much lower for most of our military-connected, students. Our student veterans they're coming from environments, where the stakes are massive. Where. The decisions, you make where how you spend your time where, how you execute, a task could be the difference literally, between life and death but more often the difference between something, a situation. That's dangerous, in a situation, that's safe that's, not. The case in higher education very. Rarely do. Your decisions, as a student, to determine whether, or not you and your friends, will be safe. And. So I talked a lot with this student about figuring, out how to develop a sense of urgency from. Within oneself. Rather. Than always reacting. To a sense of urgency that's, imposed on you by the outside, environment, it. Was a really productive conversation. And with some of the tools that that we give her in the effective time management section. By teaching, her how to create a homework, syllabus, by. Teaching her how to create both short and long term goals and, by talking to her specifically, about how she was, spending her time in the library we. Be able, to take some steps and. We made some progress on thinking about how to organize her. Days and weeks I. Think. That as higher education, professionals. Were socialized, to think about feelings. Of being overwhelmed, and when students exhibit anxiety, our. First thought is that this is probably a wellness, issue or a mental health issue but I have to say that more often than not what. I'm actually looking at is a symptom, of, a. Skills, gap, I'm. Looking. At an, expression, of anxiety around. Not, being sure, how to do something in the, classroom, and the. Reason that these hard, skills modules, are so important, is. Is. I. Think they are the tools the concrete, tools that we can give students. To, do the work that they're asked to do every, single day in the classroom and again, not, just to manage academic, distress not, just to dig themselves out of holes but, skills and strategies, that they can use to become more confident. Students, day, in and day out and achieve their, goals in more satisfying, ways as. You. Go through this material as you as you explore the tool as you pop from module to module and as you look, at some of the pieces of curriculum, I've drawn your attention to I want you to have a couple questions in your mind first, what, are the skills that you think the hard academic, skills that you think are most valuable to your military-connected, students, and the question that's implicit in that question is what are the most persistent pain points, for.
Our Vets, what. Are they coming coming. On with that they need the, most. What. Can we do to help them. Second. I want you to think just a little bit about, how you're delivering skills, content, on your campus, how. Are you doing academic, skill building how are you providing academic support. Are you providing it in a classroom setting, one-on-one. Conversations. Through an academic Resource, Center through a veteran Resource Center and if so, how. Can this resource potentially, help you do that how can it how can it supplement, or complement, what you're already doing and. Finally. As. You work through this material I'd like you to have that the, problem, issue, challenge. Aspiration. Or goal, that. You brought with you to this facilitator, engagement. That. That challenger, that goal that serves as a companion, text, for you as you think through this material I want you to have that in the forefront of your mind and. As you work through these, four modules and, and pop, around. Think. About that challenge or goal and ask. Yourself, can this resource, or pieces of this resource. Targeted. Specifically. Chosen pieces. Of this curriculum can they be used to, help me develop a plan to, address my challenge, or achieve. My, aspiration. For the military-connected, students, on my campus. You. You.