Articles / Questions

A Cline of Internal Attributions

ClineStepsTrainers have been known to talk about a KASA (Knowledge, Awareness, Skills, and Attitude) in relationship to our work as trainers, teacher’s that we are training, and sometimes other areas of our life.

For example, I may talk about my guitar playing KASA. I know about the instrument—it comes in different types and styles, has a variety of sounds and can be played in different styles. I am aware of guitar sounds in music that I hear.  I have only skills that I could bring from playing the ukelele a long time ago, but that has 4 strings not 6 or 12. And as for attitude, I think I could learn to play one passably with lessons and perseverance and sheet music. In fact, I hope to give it a try soon.

But coming back to trainers of teacher training courses. Each trainer has his or her own set of KASA. Maybe they have an MAT in TESOL or Applied Linguistics or Literature or some other field entirely. Maybe they have been training alone, or are licensed with one of the internationally known licensing organizations, and as such have developed certain skills but not others. Maybe they like training and it is a learning experience for them—they can’t wait to start the day, or maybe it is just a job, like washing cars. Maybe they are aware of their impact on their teaching team or not, aware of their impact on their ‘students’ or not, aware of themselves as learners, or not. The thing is, everybody is different and not all of a trainer’s qualities can be neatly divided into one of these four categories, e.g. sometimes Knowledge slops over into Skills. And sometimes there is Experience, the amount of time spent doing training that in an of itself seems to be placed into one of the categories, though I not sure about that.

I have been thinking about trainers’ KASA—what qualities make up trainer KASA? I’ve come up with a list below, in no particular order, that I don’t hear talked about very often, but certainly pay attention to when I see them in other trainers. Which of these KASA do you have, aspire to have, don’t care about? Can you put them in a cline of not required to necessary, easiest to most difficult to learn, least to most important from the learners point of view, concrete to esoteric?

making connections between antithetical or seemingly unrelated things/concepts/ideas

creating a personal sense of safety for each person in the room and then be able shake it

(skill in) using the language to define/elicit nuances

accurately perceiving unstated needs

asking the tough questions in answerable ways

letting a student struggle/wrestle/get grimy with the answer

addressing the why of a activity/point of view/exception succinctly

separating their opinion from the content

References for Clines of Internal Attribution as they relate to linguistics and psychology: about clines in linguistics, about the concept of attribution in psychology.

This post was written by Tana.

5 thoughts on “A Cline of Internal Attributions

  1. Comment from Zhenya:
    I have divided them into 2 categories – emotional and intellectual (the latter including communication skills and critical thinking skills).
    (1)
    creating a personal sense of safety for each person in the room
    accurately perceiving unstated needs
    [what I would add: being able to listen and hear the needs of the group]
    letting a student struggle/wrestle/get grimy with the answer
    being able to ‘shake’ the personal sense of safety created earlier
    (2)
    addressing the why of a activity/point of view/exception succinctly
    making connections between antithetical or seemingly unrelated things/concepts/ideas
    using the language skillfully to define/elicit nuances
    asking the tough questions in answerable ways
    (overall)
    [what I would also add: enjoying the process of the course]

    Now, to the questions asked in the initial posting:
    Can you put them in a cline of not required to necessary?
    A hard one to me. I would put these two towards the ‘less required’ side:
    letting a student struggle/wrestle/get grimy with the answer
    being able to ‘shake’ the personal sense of safety created earlier

    Can you put them in a cline of easiest to most difficult to learn?
    I think the second group is harder to learn: let’s say, to elicit nuances you need to know them, or in order to ask questions in answerable ways you need to realize which answers the group might reach easier, etc.

    Can you put them in a cline of least to most important from the learners’ point of view?
    To me, the first ones in each group would be the most important things from the learners’ point of view; it is largely based on my own learning style plus from the feedback I received on courses in different places. They are different, at the same they both bring the clarity and safety which in my opinion help learners progress and develop.

    creating a personal sense of safety for each person in the room
    addressing the why of a activity/point of view/exception succinctly


    Can you put them in a cline of concrete to esoteric?
    This one is the hardest, mostly because it is hard to see which of the above mentioned skills are not concrete. Are we talking about ‘concrete’ as measurable? In that case I think each of those can be measured. Or… am I missing something?

    Like

  2. Your post is very helpful and I am very happy to see KASA as a discussion point in the public sphere. That being said, I’m feeling a bit stuck.

    I know this isn’t the topic of this post, but how can we tease out the difference between awareness and knowledge? I am sure that awareness comes before knowledge (i.e.: I become aware that the flame is hot when I put my finger in it. From that experience and the awareness it raised, I now know that it is hot.) But it doesn’t seem so black and white when I’m working with learning objectives: course goals and objectives in particular. As I work on these, I find myself repeating goals between these knowledge and awareness. Could you shed some light on my conundrum?

    Let’s take the Experiential Learning Cycle. A general goal might be: Teachers will understand how the ELC relates to their ability to reflect on an experience — of course I will add more specific objectives under this general goal. This general goal is just a start.

    Is this an awareness goal or a knowledge goal? Does it matter? For some reason I want to categorize it. Maybe I am making too much out of this. Thoughts?

    Thank you for the space to get this out of my head! 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Josette

      First of all, thank you very much for this comment: not only did it provide a space to think about it further, but it also pushed me to turn back to one of my favorite topics to think and write about!

      This comment is from the top of my head but I would love to take it more seriously and give it more attention.

      I do agree that the example about the flame is a little easier than the one about the ELC. (is always that way with more and less concrete topics, and objectives?) To me personally, the objective you gave as an example is about Knowledge. In your course, I imagine, you will be focusing on what the ELC is, its stages, etc. – the Knowledge, you will help teachers reflect on the specific lessons applying the cycle (the Skill) and you will hope that the process will help them appreciate, or at least respect, the systematic/structured approach (the Attitude). Now, Awareness will be raised through all these steps/activities/tasks – because the teachers will be more and more attentive to those important factors that make reflection successful.

      As I said, it is just the way I see it, but I am willing to discuss it further. I personally don’t believe in ‘pure’ awareness-raising goals, because I will ask myself ‘how do I know that the goal is achieved?’ and will need some evidence, which will result in either K, S or A specified into a ‘learning outcome’.

      Please let me know if the above makes sense. I am excited to learn what you are writing and to hear more about the project. So cool that you started this conversation!

      Thank you once again for the thought-provoking comment.
      Zhenya

      Like

  3. Dear Zhenya,

    Thank you so much for responding to this so quickly. I do feel a bit under pressure, so your response was a welcome relief. I’ll share more specifics — planning a full-blown TESOL course to begin at Keimyung in May — in a private email at another time. Things are not what they were, and I’m excited about that.

    When I read your perspective on how my example fit into a Knowledge goal, it seemed so clear to me (isn’t this the beauty of sharing? 🙂 ). Let me rephrase it to help me internalize this: what the ELC is and what ELC stages are = Knowledge; using the stages=Skills; appreciate/respect the ELC=Attitude. That makes sense to me.

    Below, I’ve teased it out based on how I see this KSA division. I’ll talk about Awareness in another comment. I have another idea for that one and I already have written a lot here.

    As you’ll see below, some supporting objectives repeat themselves — it might be helpful to know that I am using Kathleen Graves’s KASA goals and objectives framework from her book, Designing Language Courses. My remaining questions after drafting the goals and objectives are: Am I complicating the wording? Could I simplify this by combining the KSA main goals into one sentence? Why am I averse to combining (I think I can answer this on my own 🙂 It just came out)? Am I missing something?

    Main goal 1: (Knowledge) Teachers will understand how the ELC relates to their ability to reflect on an experience.

    Supporting objectives 1:
    1. Ts will read about the ELC, and discuss the various stages of the ELC with their peers and the trainer.
    2. Ts will reflect (in their journals) on their lesson using the stages of the ELC.

    Main goal 2: (Attitude) Teachers will gain an appreciation of how the ELC can be a beneficial aid to their reflective process and teacher development.

    Supporting objectives 2:
    1. Ts will read about the ELC, and discuss the various stages of the ELC with other course participants and the trainer.
    2. Ts will reflect on the pros and cons of using the ELC in order to reflect on their lessons in their reflective journals and in group discussions with other course participants and the trainer.

    Main goal 3: (Skills) Teachers will know how to use the ELC to reflect on their lessons.

    Supporting objectives 3:
    1. Ts will read about the ELC, and discuss the various stages of the ELC with their peers and the trainer.
    2. Ts will reflect (in their journals) on their lesson using the stages of the ELC.

    Again, thank you very much for your input. I know you must be busy, so please answer if you can. I’m also available to Skype if that sounds interesting to you. Would love to see you again!

    Josette

    Like

    • Hi Josette

      Thank you for the continued discussion! I am actually preparing a short post on KASA largely based on these questions and answers. Meanwhile, responding to your comment – to the question about writing out the detailed objectives based KASA elements:

      I think a lot will depend on how detailed you want the objectives to be (I mean, whether they are a formality, or a learning tool in itself) and on how explicit you would like to be about the ‘Why?’ behind those objectives in the training course. If you see that the teachers will have some kind of a ‘loop input’ by reading the objectives and seeing the KASA behind them, it should definitely help their learning — and growing awareness? If there is not so much time and space in the course for that, then you can either make them more concise (in this case the supporting objectives might become stage aims and/or the session objectives, for example)

      I really love how you are making the Journal an explicit reflective/learning tool during the course! This is potentially a great evidence of their learning, and a tool for communication — even if you choose to read them only occasionally, or use as a part of the training sessions.

      (all the remaining parts are coming in e-mails – talk soon!)

      Thank you for this conversation,
      Zhenya

      Like

We look forward to hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s