Diane Rubino
Diane Rubino
AUBG Department of Journalism and Mass Communication Instructor

Though I didn’t say them, a few choice words erupted from a primitive lobe of my brain. My annoyance was a reaction to a harmless request to participate in a name-recall exercise with other teachers. I was fine once the activity started. But my initial response was odd, even to me.


Still, it wasn’t the first time I was aware that learning translated into irritation. I originally noticed it a few months ago during yoga with a tough-guy instructor. He pushed hard while letting us know he was “going easy” on us, a drop-in class of ever-changing novices.


I grew more exasperated and determined to tell the instructor, after the course was over, that I was dissatisfied. I wanted him to know he was driving us too hard. I wanted him to know I was furious.


I noticed anger was a common emotion despite the range of effort required, from the very idea of learning to actual, complex physical exertion. It struck me that the desire to express myself in a surly retort was ridiculous. My annoyance had to do with me, not the yoga instructor. In a flash, I realized that the gulf between my skills and his expertise was no one’s fault. Nor was it a problem. His desire to hold us to high standards was the definition of learning. Then came the second wham of consciousness: The feeling I experienced was perhaps the same my students channel at me.


Whose Problem Is It Anyway?

I noticed some of my student evaluations reflected outright fury. I also occasionally registered student irritability at other points via eye rolls and glares.


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I never gave the why behind this dynamic much consideration. It was easy to blame myself, feeling guilty for every negative reaction. I also vaguely attributed student annoyance to various factors without knowing what I was talking about. Perhaps, I imagined in my haughtier moments, it was my uncompromising standards or grading. Maybe the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves. Personality—mine and/or theirs—was the source of trouble.


All of that might be true. But when I became aware of being the disgruntled student, I realized something else was happening. Surely, I’d experienced this before, but somehow just became cognizant that learning itself was ire producing.


It seems like conscious learners on both sides of the desk know anger is “a thing,” though not something that necessarily requires action. “Oh sure,” said a friend with teaching experience, “that happens.” I mentioned my insight to a teacher of mine who noted with a laugh, “So now I know. During the first part of the class Diane hates me.”


Evidence Of Anger

In fact, researchers of emotions in education documented that anger occurs “frequently” in students and used it as one of the “major emotion categories” to craft educational psychology assessments.


While I’m late to the party, those who study learning have been aware of this phenomenon for decades. “Significant learning and critical thinking inevitably induces an ambivalent mix of feelings and emotions, in which anger and confusion are as prominent as pleasure and clarity.


Now it all began to make sense…


What Now?

In the ideal world, this awareness about my irrational irritability should’ve triggered a change. No such luck. Now I noticed this trend any time I was in a learning environment, as if I was powerless to turn it around. I was peeved when my new yoga instructor started with Down Dog rather than an easier pose. The musical theater class where I had no background knowledge? Forget it. (My capable instructor somehow managed to teach me a few tricks. But with a lot of growling from me.)


Without the ability to adjust my own behavior I struggled to help students avoid the hurdle of annoyance that negatively impacts learning. The only idea I had was honesty. This past semester I emailed a class a few weeks into the semester:


Dear all:


I recently began studying yoga. Sometimes learning is great. But sometimes it stinks. I feel frustrated and embarrassed--especially when it seems EVERYONE knows more than I do. I wonder if I will ever do yoga right. I get bored or annoyed with trying--and failing anyway. I get mad at the teacher. Instead of acknowledging my own limited knowledge, I blame him.


“He’s working us too hard. What a jerk!”


Why am I lashing out at others? It’s hard to say. But I think that's just how learning works at times. It's difficult. It can be irritating or even painful.


When it feels like too much and you hit a breaking point, STOP. Stop working. Stop thinking. Do something else. Relax. Walk around the block. Ask for help. 


At some point you may have to come back to the same place and start again. But knowing your limits is a key part of professional development.


Best wishes,



Honesty Is A Policy—Though Perhaps Not The Best One

It’s unclear if honesty made a difference to my class. I had a pair of back-of-the-room grimacers much of the term. One reported on her evaluation: “I feel really uncomfortable and stressful in professor Rubino class [sic].


Going forward I could promote further reflection through writing and in-class discussion rather than communicating this concept via email. This may influence some borderline students. It could also be a lackluster endeavor since, as Brookfield states, “student resistance is socially and politically sculpted.” In any case, much further effort is needed to change the hearts and minds of someone like me—the angriest learner around.


Thanks to Asana Soul Practice’s James Calleo and Columbia University’s Christine Bean for their insights.


Image Credit: pixabay


    Sharifah Sharomsah
Sharifah Sharomsah
Publicity & Content Marketing, Knowledge & Learning Asia

New technologies are driving companies across industries to digitize their operations and processes. According to recent research by Cognizant, organizations find that the digital skills gap has prevented them from achieving their objectives. To meet this growing demand for digital literacy, many universities in Asia have begun to expand their digital learning curriculum to boost employability and improve student experience.


The rise of digital connectivity is also transforming how students learn in the classroom. Students in this digital era are generally familiar with communications, media, and digital technologies; and by incorporating technology into every aspect of campus life, students will learn the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the digitally integrated workplace.


When it comes to online learning, it is not surprising that the traditional offering of a legacy Learning Management System (LMS): downloadable PowerPoints, links to static text and long form recorded lectures is driving poor student engagement, low retention and unsatisfactory student outcomes.


A recent survey of higher education student needs conducted by Navitas highlighted this need to focus on the ‘basic expectations’ of digital learners.


Fortunately, higher education innovators have responded by building deep and engaging learning experiences that deliver on the expectations of digitally sophisticated learners.


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Figure 1. Infographic illustration of what the new generation of digitally-savvy learners expect from their digital learning experiences.


A unique challenge for Asian institutions will be to serve a population that is quickly becoming one of the world’s most digitally-savvy. The rapid growth of online, mobile and social across the region will impact both businesses and educational institutions alike.


Learn more about the leading examples of how Asian faculties and institutions are seeking to engage and delight a new generation of students through a bold and sophisticated digital vision from the white paper, ‘The Rise of the Digitally Sophisticated Learners’. To download the white paper, click here.


    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

I recently spoke with Professor Kyle Anderson of Clemson University. Professor Anderson is a unique intersection between accountancy and technology, and, between practitioner and academic. In this podcast he discusses his approach to use technology to move his students beyond the mechanics of accounting and to develop a  bigger system-level understanding. He includes practical ideas for implementing such an approach in other courses.



James Bowen, your host, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship, project management, and ethics.

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    Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

There are legitimate excuses, and then there are questionable ones. Some, while honest and candid, still fall into the unacceptable bucket. We recently asked over one thousand instructors for the most common and dramatic excuses they have heard from students who fail an exam or miss turning in an assignment. Here are some of their responses.



Excuses For Not Passing An Exam:

  1. “I had no idea what I was doing.”
  2. “I studied everything you didn’t ask on the exam.”
  3. “The exam was nothing like the homework.”
  4. “I didn’t expect Chapter (X) on the test.”
  5. “I don’t consider myself good at time management.”
  6. “I was set up to fail.”
  7. “I expected the study guide to tell me exactly what would be on the test.”
  8. “I thought it was going to be easy.”
  9. “The questions were worded differently than the homework problems.”
  10. “I don’t do well on exams.”


Excuses For Not Completing or Handing In An Assignment:

  1. “The WiFi stopped working.”
  2. “It seemed easy when we did it in class.”
  3. “I was on social media.”
  4. “I had a date last night.”
  5. “I have other classes.”
  6. “It’s not you, it’s me.”
  7. “I left my sunroof open and a raccoon stole the assignment from my car.”
  8. “I was at the carwash and the bumper fell off my car. I had to deal with insurance, etc.”
  9. “I was arrested for selling tee shirts on the interstate.”
  10. “I made the Olympic national team.”


While course management systems and e-learning environments may not completely eradicate the need for students to supply excuses, they can certainly help.  After all, it would take a crafty raccoon to steal a laptop and log in to an LMS.


Learn more about the next generation of Wiley’s courseware here.


What excuses have you heard to add to the above? Let us know in the comments below.


Image credit: Pexels.com/pixabay.com


    Douglas Petrick
Douglas Petrick
Physics Teacher, Pittsburgh, PA

Following up on my most recent post, Professional Learning Communities: What’s In It for Me? I discuss how I work within a Professional Learning Community to develop best practices for coaching high school track and field. My goal is to provide concrete examples backing up the five tips listed in the article. Are you part of a PLC related to teaching or any other area in which you desire to grow your professional skills? I'd like to hear about how it has helped you learn and succeed in new ways.



Image Credit: pexels/startupstockphotos.com


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