Opportunity for Self-Direction
I am pretty stoked to take Russ and Ike’s advanced class. I learned more pragmatic and immediately useful information in their first class than just about any other class I’ve taken at WSU. As I was attempting to understand how to properly write this, our first blog assignment, I read some of the previous blog posts from last semester. It was pretty shocking to see how quickly the train derailed as the class was allowed some self-direction. In other words the students blamed the structure for the chaos they themselves created. I find this interesting. Ike and Russ always have instruction for their expectations clearly articulated somewhere, although sometimes it requires a little investigation to get the information.
Self-Direction Inspires Autonomy
These guys offer a relaxed and informal setting to their class, allowing us to discover and engage with our studies in a self-directed manner. This is a rare quality at WSU, or at Sinclair (these being my only first hand experiences) although I suspect it is a rare quality at any college. It may require us to focus a little more to realize the full impact of the knowledge they are providing, but we are honing our skills in self-direction. I can tell you from life experience this is a highly valued skill in any workplace environment. The ability to be self-directed may arguably be the best character trait available in any attempt to justify your value to your employer.
Realizing Self-Direction as Communication Majors
The blog posts I read that reflected students frustrations are not the first time I’ve heard students complain about their perception of ambiguity with the expectations of their professors. I know I have complained more than once. One day in an interpersonal communication class I heard my professor say, “You guys are communication majors and you should be held to higher standard of communication”. The penny dropped, of course she’s right. If we were on the job and complained about having to research information to complete expectations, or give the excuse that we didn’t know because no-one told us even though it was clearly articulated in a memo, or syllabus, we probably wouldn’t be employed for long. In Russ and Ike’s class at the maximum it’s a little more work to realize what to do, and they are always willing to answer questions. I just hope they aren’t too shell-shocked to give us the same shot at honing our self-direction skills.
1. Would you rather have the option of self-direction in our class?
2. Do you think self-direction is a valuable skill?