GORUR (2016) SEEING LIKE PISA Seeing like PISA: A cautionary tale about the performativity of international assessments (READING 3 H) related: English lecture+ discussion with Saija Volmari -> 75 min





(3 h) After a short Easter break I am back to work with ALMS, and also my Bachelor’s thesis. Conveniently, I can work simultaneously with these two, since a lot of the articles I read for my Bachelor’s thesis are in English. I have had a bit of a hard time with them, but I’ve found that the support group for reading has helped me to figure out what kind of methods I can use to read more efficiently and to get more out of the text. Since I feel academic texts need more concentration even when they’re in my own language, it requires even more of a strategic approach when it’s in another language. 

For this task, I read the article “A Scoping Review of Constructs Measured Following Intervention for School Refusal: Are We Measuring Up?” by
David Heyne et.al, published 2020.,

I found both the language and contents of the article quite challenging, and to get started I had to split it up into smaller pieces and get an overview of what the article was about in general, an idea I got from the Reading strategies group.

In the support group there was also a list of things to do to make the reading more active, and not to use skim through it. I tried it out and found it worked quite well, not only for understanding but also for concentrating and staying alert. I also noticed it made a big difference to not just highlight parts that were important or I didn’t understand, but to actually write it down. I also, as in many other tasks, chose to do it by hand and not with the keyboard, since I’ve noticed I remember everything a lot better then.

The reading was more flowing when I just wrote down the words that were hard to understand, and didn’t try to figure them out while reading the article the first time around. IU did that separately from reading the text with the help of search engines. It was also easier to figure out the meaning of the word when I was already familiar with the context it was in.

While reading, I realized that the article actually wasn’t that relevant for my Bachelor’s thesis, but I’m still happy for choosing to read it, since I feel it was valuable for my English learning.

Remaining: 73 h


Week 1. Introduction and first writing task! (2 h)

The first task of the Writing in general support group was to write a text with the headline “Me as a writer”. I started by writing down the first things that came to mind. I tried to think of both things that are hard when writing and the things that makes it easier. 

After writing down my first thoughts, I realized how focused I am on some kind of productive writing like essays and other school work. In the introductory video for the Writing in general-group, the teacher talks about free writing, which basically means writing without a particular goal or for an audience. I think that sounds like a great way to develop a less stressful relationship to writing, or at least to get a little break from the kind of writing that is required for university.

I also thought about how many decisions you have to make every time you start writing something. You have to choose the style, the audience (is it just for you or other people?), the time you are ready to put into it, and many other things. No wonder starting out is almost always the hardest part of writing.

Remaining: 76 h


22.3.2021 First tasks in this group and reflection (2 h)

Now I have done the first task in a support group. Even though the task was simple – to write a personal introduction and replying to three others – it felt like a natural way to communicate in  English and get to know the other participants a little bit. The teacher in charge encouraged us to ask each other questions when replying, which led to further discussion. I also learned form reading through the other introductions.  I’m looking forward to the tasks that I will continue with in this support group.

Challenge accepted! Listening and reflecting (3 h)

“Listen to a music album with a focus on lyrics (such as rap, spoken word, any vocal music really – you name it). What made listening challenging, easy, fun or frustrating and why? Were you able to keep up with the lyrics during listening? What did you like or dislike about the lyrics or the way they were delivered? How does this kind of listening differ from listening to regular speech? “

This task was given by one of the participants. It immediately caught my interest, partially because it’s so different from something I would come up with myself and mainly because I think it supports my learning goals very well. Since I sometimes have a hard time noticing where my weaknesses in English are, this kind of analysis is a good way to spot challenging things. It’s also a kind of throw back to learning English as a child. I have vivid memories of how the English words in songs suddenly started to take form.

I listened to the album 3030 by a hip hop group called Deltron 3030. It’s a peak into an imaginary feature. It has some very entertaining and exciting dystopian vibes and a creative use of words and concepts throughout the whole album.

How did I benefit from this task?


Remaining: 78 h


22.3. Reading shower (1 h)

 Introducing myself to the group on Moodle, reading through the materials.

I just read through the material available for this shower, and now I feel a small sense of relief. I have been having a hard time with some academic texts that I am reading for my Bachelor’s thesis, and haven’t really figured out how I should be working with them to actually get some structure in my learning.

I was happy to see that there were very concrete things one can do to make the reading easier.

Remaining: 82 h




Conversations with a hair dresser (3h)

It’s funny how learning can happen in unexpected places. I had a day off work and decided to go to the hair dresser. The hair dresser spoke English, and I realized this was a brilliant opportunity to learn. She was originally from Indonesia, so neither one of us spoke English as our mother tongue. In this kind of communication you get really aware of what is actually important while speaking a language. The only thing that really matters is to make yourself understood, and all thoughts about whether the pronunciation is perfect or you have a big enough vocabulary are secondary things.

I was very happy to get to speak English with someone I don’t know, since this kind of organic meeting hasn’t really happened during the pandemic and I thought this is the kind of interaction that actually builds confidence when speaking a second language.

Remaining: 85 h


4.3 Work with Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Initial reflection about the tasks and the choice of book: The reason I chose a graphic novel for this task was not only that I like them and consider them a great form of storytelling.

Mainly, I thought of the pedagogical benefits of reading a graphic novel in the language you want to learn. Since a part of the story is told only in pictures, there is a lot of subtext that is not spelled out to the reader. I think that I will learn a lot by trying to verbalize this said subtext in English.

Persepolis is an autobiography, so I also thought I wanted to read something that differs a lot from the reading of academic articles I work with for my Bachelor’s thesis.

In this initial reflection I will present the tasks I have planned to do around this book, and also elaborate further on why and how I think I will benefit from it.

I will do five tasks that relate to this book.

  1. Reflection about the main characters and their personality traits.
    For this task I will take notes while reading in a mind map format, so that I can organically chain trails of thought together.
  2. I will try to analyze in what way Satrapi lets the reader get to know the characters. Is it through clear adjectives or does it in some way become clear through their actions and lines?
  3. Trying to pinpoint the roles and significance of the characters in the story.
    In this part I will try to see how the different characters move the story forward, and why they are important for the story.
  4. Study Satrapi’s way of telling a story and try to do a short comic in a similar manner. Since I know the best way for me to keep myself motivated as a learner is involving creative work in my learning, I’ve chosen this as a task. Here, I will try to use the things I’ve learned from Satrapi’s storytelling and write my own autobiographical comic.
  5. Write a review of my thoughts about the book
    I will look up examples of how book reviews of graphic novels are written, and aim to express my opinion about the book in a well written and elaborate way. The goal of this task is to try to express myself in a natural way that is easy to read, while still expressing my thoughts and opinions. I will also try to not let the language put boundaries for what I want to say, and look up words I need to express myself.

I will write down my reflections related to the learning that (hopefully) happens in every task. I’ve thought a lot about whether my focus is enough on the language and not on other skills, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the learning would be quite mechanical and not so long lasting if the
focus would only be on grammatics or vocabulary. Even while writing this initial reflection, my brain is constantly doing work to not write repetitive sentences with the same structures and make this text flow.



1  h min listening
3 h taking notes, writing diary, word lists
4 h My own podcast episode

About the podcast:
The Cult of Pedagogy has quite a hands-on take on teaching and education. Gonzales collects tips, tricks and experiences from teachers world wide via her Twitter-account. She then makes them into into about half-an-hour long both entertaining and inspiring episodes.

My reflections about listening and understanding:

Since the theme of the podcast is familiar to me and Gonzales expresses herself in a very padgogical way, I haven’t had that much trouble understanding what is said. After I listen to an episode, I briefly write down what I’ve considered to be the key points of the podcast, and if there has been any words I haven’t understood. First, I thought of taking notes while listening, but I noticed I wasn’t really able to focus on the podcast while only trying to notice things I couldn’t understand.

Episodes I’ve listened to and my reflections about them:

155: How to teach when Everyone’s Scattered
159: Connecting Students in a disconnected World

I chose these two episodes because the themes interested me a lot. I haven’t ever had to teach over Zoom, but as a participating student, I’ve thought a lot about why some Zoom-lessons seem to work better than others. In these episodes, Gonzales covers some of the ways a teacher can make students in a Zoom-room participate better and get more out of the lessons. She also mentions the importance of social interaction as a part of school days.

Word lists:

159: Connecting students in a disconnected world

Standpoint – opinion, attitude
Dreary – boring, repetitive
Peers – Someone in the same position
Superintendent – Someone in an administrative position
Grounded (as in ”not grounded in any formal research”) – based on
Remote learner – A student that is not in the same physical place as the teacher
Work around – Another way of doing something that is hard to do
Assign, assignment – to give a task to someone
Designated – someone that has gotten a certain job (add preposition) (how does she make it entertaining?)

My own podcast episode:
I will make my own episode on ways to keep yourself motivated as remote learner.

Remaining: 88 h

WELCOME! 15.2.2021

(2 h) Hello, and welcome to my ALMS-diary!

Here are som general thoughts I’ve had when starting out my work with the ALMS-course and some reflection about me as a learner.

About this diary:

On here, I will publish some samples of the work I’ve been doing during the course, and my reflections and notes about my learning process and thoughts while doing the tasks. At the start of each post I will also write the hours I have used on the task, and in the end how many hours that remain.

I will use the post as “categories”. For example, I will put all tasks related to a certain book or support group in one post and update it as I go along. I will write the actual dates in the posts with the hours I have done.

There will be a lot of visual content on here, since I’ve realized how much it improves my learning to do things in a way I enjoy, and since this is a semi-public page it might be good to mention that all the drawings och photographs on here are made or taken by me. I think this blog is a nice way to document my learning process. , since it gives the possibility to use many different tools to verbalize and visualize the learning. It’s also good to have it online, so I can always go back and look at it in the future.

The things I learn also seems to stick much better when I use pen and paper to structure my thought process. Sometimes just writing text is limiting, and an empty Word page can be intimidating. Under here is an example of a mind map I did to get started with planning my tasks. I also found it very helpful to pinpoint my CERF-level in English. It made me realize that my English skills aren’t that consistent, and that I am a strong listener and do well when speaking, but there are very many things where I can improve a lot .

Why did I choose ALMS?

I chose the ALMS-version of this course partly because I have a pretty tight schedule, and need to be able to work flexibly. The more important reason was that I study educational sciences and am very interested in the processes where learning happens. This course gives me the possibility to use myself as a kind of experiment. Since I can’t lie to myself, I will really have to focus on not taking the easy way out, and instead make tasks for myself that will improve my learning and not just get me through the course. So I find there is more for me to learn from this than English, which makes it even more motivating.

Remaining: 96 h