PIDP 3260 – Chapter 2 Brookfield : Core Assumptions of a Skillful Teacher

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Brookfield core assumptions of a skillful teacher discusses four areas of awareness:

This chapter is very informative and to the point. I really like the practical explanation of why each assumption is important. With each assumption, we realize another point of consideration in making us a more effective facilitator of learning.

By obtaining a sense of our classes’ makeup, needs, strengths, and weaknesses, we can effectively modify our teaching. For example, if our class is comprised of many ESL students who are not very proficient with English language, we may need to simply our teaching in order to more effectively communicate with the class. We need to “mix and match our teaching approach based on our most accurate reading” of the class’ diversity (Brooksfied, p. 19).

Critical reflection of our assumptions and actions allows teachers to ensure validity, effectiveness and accuracy of teaching. We can do this by seeking feedback from other colleagues, students as well as reading educational literature and performing own self reflection of our experiences.

In order to be aware of the students’ experiences due to our actions, student assessment tools should be used. The anonymous method of feedback ensures a safe feedback environment. If the feedback is incorporated in our teaching, we can further seek open feedback by showing students that we actually care and want to deliver an learning experience that is most conducive to their learning. I try my best to incorporate student feedback when possible. It builds a solid, open and trusting relationship with students. However, by doing this, I found that my weakness comes from students feeling so open that ‘too many’ requests are directed to me. I am still struggling with the balance between welcoming feedback and keeping up with trying to incorporate them.

Finally, student at college level of education are either adults or just verging on adulthood (usually 18-22 age group). The younger adults are in search for increased self awareness as a person, learner, and moral being. They view learning as a way to give them a “sense of independence, identity, control over their destiny, and create meaning in their lives” (Brooksfield, pg. 25). In this section, Knowles principles of andragogy comes to mind (Merriam, 2013). With keeping these six principles in mind, we can ensure adult learning is met and respected.

All the assumptions are points to keep in mind to help us become more effective teachers. It is through visiting these assumptions that we find new challenges in our teaching. It is through these assumptions that we find new energy and make a difference in our learner’s experiences.

References:

Brookfield, S. D. (2000). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2013). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

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PIDP 3260 – Chapter 1 of Brookfield : Experiencing Teaching

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I started reading this chapter by taking notes.  Within minutes, I found myself putting my pen away and just enjoying the textbook.  The author has captured the reality of teaching. It is not a concrete science and there is no black and white.  Each class, each session, each hour is so different from the rest.  The same content taught in one class may or may not be effective for another group.  Teaching is sometimes about muddling our way through our class and handling surprises as they arise.

So what is one to do?  How do we prepare for these chaotic and challenging situations?  Can we prepare?  I agree with the author that surprises are just part of our teaching experience.  How we deal with them makes us learn and grow as instructors. How we interpret the outcome and make internal changes affects us in the future.  We need to accept ourselves for who we are, embrace our style, work on our weaknesses (as we perceive them) and understand that we will never be able to please all the people all the time. This is just the reality that we need to understand and appreciate.  With respect to problem solving and dilemmas, we have to accept that we may or may not be able to resolve them all.

With respect to experience, I really liked the author’s thoughts.  Experience itself does not mean that one has reflected, understood, nor critically analyzed their teaching.   Experience can be distorted, self-fulfilling, unexamined, and constraining in many ways.  I love the author’s explanation that experience happens but they are related to meaning that we grant them; the meaning is constructed by us to explain how we understand the event.  This understanding is from our point of view and affected by all factors that make us who we are and where we are in life.   Through experience, we can learn a lesson but this learning is affected by our interpretation of the lesson.  Experience may or may not be enriching such as cases of stereotyping on a regular basis.  Finally, experience can be narrowing and constraining and lead us to forming skewed results and opinions.

Finally, I really liked the author’s advice about teachers needing to trust their own inner voice, instincts, intuitions, and insight.  At a recent lecture, I had a confrontational student who continually asked stumbling questions. He was determined to “throw me off”.  I was amazed at how I was able to effectively respond and control the pace of the class at the same time. I was respectful to him and did not allow him to change the tone of the entire session.  At the end of the class, two of my co-instructors came up to me and told me how amazed they were that I didn’t even blink with respect to the tough questions.  They were impressed. I have to admit, that I did blink inside but kept my cool on the outside and kept focus on delivery and session objectives.   These skills are not ones we can be taught. They are ones we develop over time, practice and personal/professional growth.

References

Brookfield, S. D. (2000). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

 

 

PIDP 3260 – TPI Results and Comments

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http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/tpisurveyresult.html?surveyid=

My Teaching perspectives inventory (TPI) results are:

  • Transmission Total             37
  • Apprenticeship Total           37
  • Developmental Total           39   Backup perspective
  • Nurturing Total                   43   Dominant perspective
  • Social Reform Total             34   Recessive perspective
  • Beliefs Total                         57
  • Intentions Total                  65
  • Action Total                         68

My Dominant Characteristic was nurturing.  My mean score was 38 with a standard deviation of 2.97.  I thought it was interesting to find that all areas assessed were within the standard deviation except the area of social reform which was recessive in my teaching perspective assessment.  Although I have labelled a backup perspective of teaching, I believe that transmission and apprenticeship are also backup perspectives; they both scored within standard deviation of the developmental perspective total.

What does this all mean? Well, the first time I took the survey, I didn’t believe the numbers. So, I repeated the survey and found the results to be very similar.

I agree with the nurturing perspective being my most dominant teaching perspective.  I am very concerned about my learners and ensuring that they feel supported at all times. I try to develop a positive and challenging learning environment to help them accomplish tasks beyond their expectations. I try to be patient and supportive at all times.

With respect to social reform, I also agree that this perspective is a highly recessive area.  There just is not a lot of social reform perspective in teaching psychomotor and diagnostic techniques in dentistry.  Social reform is more applicable in other areas, but not really in my area of teaching.

What I found most fascinating about the results is how closely aligned the beliefs, intentions and actions areas of my perspective turned out.  I actually completed this survey in another class and asked the facilitator to help me understand this area.  She commented that the consistency in the three areas shows that I am practicing close to what I believe I should be delivering to my class.  There is a difference in the developmental perspective where my beliefs are lower than my intentions and actions. I will be looking at this more closely as I teach in future weeks.

How do I feel about the results?  I think overall, the results are consistent with what I expected.  There are educational constraints and faculty prescribed protocol that I cannot change in my teachings.  These factors do affect how I teach and most likely contribute to the few misalignments between beliefs and actions.

The TPI survey results can help devise a teaching philosophy statement to summarize my perspective in teaching.  They have also helped me become more aware of my own teaching style.  Specifically, where are my strengths and where are areas that I may want to further explore?

I would like to take the survey again in a year or so to see how it may change in time. It will also be interesting to have colleagues comment on the results of my survey to gain their perspective into the results.

References

Daniel D. Pratt & John B. Collins(2014) http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIDP 3100 – Simulation – a form of experiential learning

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Reference Source:  http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/ExperientialLearningReport.pdf

One of the most important aspects of dental training is ‘hands-on’ application of learned subject matters.  Lectures and problem solving which applies lecture content are useful ways to apply knowledge.  Problem solving allows adult learners direct application of knowledge and helps maintain motivation to learn.  However, dentistry demands a high degree of psychomotor application of knowledge.  Students must be able to prepare a tooth that has been damaged due to various reasons.  Simulation training is used in this area. 

Simulation training using mannequins placed in a dental chair surrounded by dental instruments as the operator will find in their own practice follow most lectures.  Students are provided simulated cavities and asked to prepare an acceptable cavity preparation for a specific restorative material.  This has been the most common mode of facilitating learning in adult dental students.  It is effective as it allows learner to apply lecture teachings to a direct problem – something they will be doing for the rest of their career.  Through practice and critical evaluation, students learn to master their skills. 

Through the recent learning from this course, I have learned to understand why our simulations have been so effective.  We seem to be following many of the principles and recommendations discussed in the reference source.  I would like to share our steps and utilize the reference source to further improve our current protocol.    We start with a lecture which introduces the learning problem with clear outlines in writing.  At times, we run an I-clicker quiz to ensure that all learners possess the required knowledge base.  Quiz results are confidential and only recorded on the learner’s learning site.  Results of the classroom response are displayed after each quiz and discussed with the class.  This has been found to be a good problem solving and discussion strategy. I am always amazed at how learners justify their points of view and help me realize that their ‘answer’ could be considered correct. 

From the lecture setting, we move into the simulation lab.  Each learner receives an exercise sheet at least two days before simulation clinic.  They are provided learning outcomes, steps for simulation as well as video support and evaluation criteria.  Learners setup their plastic teeth and infection control barriers and prepare and carry out the ‘exercise of the day’.  Upon completion of their exercise, learners are asked to self-evaluate their work.  I really encourage this and find a tremendous learning outcome from self-reflection. However, they tend to skip self-evaluation and seek instructor feedback on either an informal or formal basis.  To address this, I would like to add a graded self-reflection component to our exercises.  I think this will result in more participation in the activity and hopefully assist in forming a habit of self-critiquing one’s work. 

After self-reflection, students are asked to make any adjustment and corrections and re-evaluate their own work again.  If the preparation is not acceptable and/or cannot be corrected, then a new preparation is encouraged.   When the student feels that their preparation meets clinical criteria, they are asked to have a peer member evaluate their work.  They can choose any peer.  This has helped students learn from one another.  However, I find this area is not currently setup in a fair and kind manner.  Before any peer evaluation, facilitators should set certain ‘ground rules’ for respectful, kind, and professional feedback.  This tone needs to established at the beginning of the course and currently it is not.  Peer evaluation and feedback can be extremely helpful when offered in a constructive and respectful manner.  Peer members can share ideas and assist once another to further develop each other’s skills and form a collegial professional bond. 

Students are then asked to modify their preparation in consideration of the feedback they have received from their peer.  Once completed, the student should seek facilitator feedback.  Of course, the learner can seek assistance at any time during the simulation clinic, but facilitators are asked specifically to guide students and not simply provide ‘end process’ answers.  Learning through critical thinking is our goal and it can not occur when answers are easily provided.  Currently, we are struggling with facilitator ‘buy-in’ with respect to our teaching. I find the information in the resource article so supportive that I plan to share it with my group.  I am hoping they will read the article and understand the effectiveness of experiential learning.   I should point out that it is a lot easier for facilitator to simply provide answers than guide learners.   This method of teaching requires a lot of time and energy from facilitators in order to be effective.  

Finally, learners are encouraged to repeat the exercise from start to finish on a new plastic tooth.   I usually find that they run out of time or are ready to start another, more difficult exercise.   This can be changed by adding a grading component for several attempts of the same exercise.   Alternatively, we can choose the highest mark from all attempts to be posted on the learner grading report.    Another approach is to have the students choose the best preparation for grading.  I like this method as I believe it will encourage deep self-evaluation of preparation in order to determine the ‘best one’.  I do find that those who repeat exercises have a better understanding of the preparations and tend to perform well in most future exercises.  With limited funding, clinic time is not readily available. As a result, students who have the intention of practicing may not have adequate time to do so.   This limitation needs to be further assessed within our program. 

 

PIDP 3100 – Myth of learning styles

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Resource: http://elearninginfographics.com/the-myth-of-learning-styles-infographic/

Throughout my previous teaching experiences, I was taught to explore the learning style of my students.  I was advised by senior instructors to adapt my style to the need of students.  To my surprise, I found this article which has led me to believe that I need to rethink my approach to adult teaching. 

There are seven main styles of learning. Visual, aural, and kinesthetic styles are the three most common ones.  The other four styles are verbal, mathematical, interpersonal and intrapersonal.  All seven styles are generally accepted among educators.  However, learning is affected by more than ones’ style of learning preference.  People have varying degrees of intelligence. Their motivation to learn affects the speed and depth of their learning.  Adult learner’s background and diversity affects their learning outcome and may or may not be further influenced by learning disabilities and limitations. 

The myth in learning styles requires educators to understand andragogy principles and how they influence learning outcomes.   According to recent research conducted by major US universities, ‘there is no correlation between learning styles and successful learning.’  Teaching to a learning style alone lacks scientific support for success.  Learning is multi-factorial and as such one’s style of preference is not a determinate of learning.  For example, even if subject matter is taught using one’s style of learning, an unmotivated learner will not engage effectively in the learning process.  Knowles’ assumptions of adult learners presents educators with many learning considerations such as motivation and readiness to learn (Knowles, 1980). 

Adults should be presented learning opportunities based on andragogy principles rather than pure learning styles.  By adapting our learning methods and techniques, we will be able to enable adult learners to engage ‘multiple senses rather than just one sense’. 

I feel that knowing one’s style of learning is helpful for personal growth.  However, for my students, I would like to incorporate a variety of principles to assist with their learning.  Creating open communication allows learners to feel safe in participating in discussions. Having resources available to students will allow a point of exploration for subject matters.  Setting clear and concise learning outcomes will allow learners to know what is expected of them.  Learners need to be motivated in their learning.  I find I can achieve this goal by demonstrating ‘why’ my subject matter is important and how will learning affect the learner in the future.  Feedback must be respectful, timely and private in delivery. It should allow learners to make their own changes to improve outcomes.  For those having difficulty, a personal approach to understand the learner’s needs and limitations is necessary.  In this case, speaking confidentially to the learner may help me gain insight into ways to effectively facilitate learning.

Reference List

Malcolm Knowles and the theory of Andragogy. (2012, May). Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/knowls.html

Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2013). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice (3rd ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

3100 – Motivation of adult learners

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Resources: http://elearningindustry.com/17-tips-to-motivate-adult-learners

This article summarizes various motivational ideas into 17 tips to help motivate the adult learner for an elearning course.  Although it relates to elearning, its tips are applicable to classroom and lab settings as well. Each tip makes sense and can be easily applied to daily sessions.  It respects the concept that the needs of adult learners are different than teenage and children learners.

I will regularly look at these simple tips and apply them to my courses.  I think it’s easy to forget about these motivational tips and regularly revisiting them will allow me to check in with myself and remind myself about these tips.  I really like the specific examples in each tip which helps me relate to ways that I can apply them.  The tips will be used in my course planning, delivery, lecturing and assessments when possible.  By creating a motivational environment, students will feel comfortable and excited about learning.  They will want to participate and engage in their learning and will thus become active learners.

 

PIDP 3100 – Creating a positive learning environment

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http://www.brighthub.com/education/online-learning/articles/41064.aspx

 

Creating a positive learning environment for adult learners requires application of concepts related to the characteristics of an adult learners.   As such, it demands understanding of the differences between andragogy and pedagogy.   In andragogy, teachers are facilitators of the learning environment. In pedagogy, teachers are the primary source of information and guidance of information source.  Feedback in pedagogy is provided in a “reproved, corrected, and told what to do” format as opposed to andragogy where feedback is a process to “aid learners identify and self-adapt their corrections”.  In andragogy, feedback is provided privately, in a safe and supportive manner which sets clear expectations, open dialogue, and actionable points. 

In order to devise a positive learning environment, we need to set a learning experience that allows the adult learner to experience trust, open communication, and a shared learning environment.  Failure to do so will cause the adult to withdraw and creates a hostile learning environment.  How should educators create a positive learning environment?  Well, there is no clear answer.  Teachers need to accept the role of a facilitator and mentors rather than conveyers of information.    

I plan to develop this area of learning by starting each session with a clear set of expectations.  Each learner’s input must be respected and welcomed at all times.  Feedback will be given in person when possible but always privately.  Feedback will not focus on negative results, but will build on positive outcomes.  Learners experiencing difficulty will be given tools to empower and help them gain confidence.   As a facilitator, I also will ask for regular and timely feedback from my students. It is easy to assume one is meeting the needs of their group. Through feedback, I can modify my style and methodology to further address student needs.  Finally, I think humor, when used appropriately, is a great way to establish and maintain a positive learning environment.  At times, humor will lighten up a session and even alleviate stress.  For me, this is an area that does not come naturally. So, I’ve tried to encourage humor around me and welcome it. 

PIDP 3100 – Characteristics of Adult Learners

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Resources:  http://theelearningcoach.com/learning/characteristics-of-adult-learners/

“When it comes to learning, adults are not over-sized children. Maturity brings unique characteristics that affect how adults are motivated to learn. By appealing to the unique qualities of adult learners, we can design more effective and motivating” courses.  We can engage our learners and maintain their attention by adapting our lesson delivery to their needs.

The importance of understanding the commonalities among adult learners cannot be underestimated.  As teachers and facilitators of learning, in general, we must acknowledge the following with respect to adult learners: autonomy, goal-orientated, practical, desire in competence and mastery, learning by experience, possession of wealth of knowledge, desire for purpose, emotional barriers, result oriented, have outside responsibilities, physical limitations, big picture view, responsible for self and the need for community.

All these areas are explained at length in the resource.  It is though acknowledging these areas that I feel I can effectively connect with my adult learners and thus more effectively facilitate their learning.  Although not all of the characteristics apply to all learners, they must be acknowledged and respected.  I plan to tailor my lessons to provide reasons as to why the lesson is important and how it will help them in the future.  I plan to set clear learning objectives to avoid confusion about what I would like them to learn from each session as well the course.  Provision of regular, timely and private feedback will facilitate a safe and regularly positive learning environment.  By applying “real life” scenarios and sharing my own experiences, I hope to engage the adult learner in discussion of subject matters.  In planning, delivering and assessments of course materials, the characteristics of adult learners will be applied as much as possible.

 

PIDP 3100 – A Trend in Adult Education: Flipped Classroom

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Article resources:   Westerberg, C. (2011, December). The flipped class: Shedding light on the confusion, critique, and hype – THE DAILY RIFF – be smarter. About education. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-shedding-light-on-the-confusion-critique-and-hype-801.php

Flipped Classroom A Flipped classroom is defined as ‘an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of the instructor.’(Abeytsekera, 2014)

Traditionally, in a lecture, an instructor lectures to a class and delivers content to students.  There are required readings, but most information is passed on from instructor to student.  A flipped classroom asks learners to engage in a learning activity related to their subject matter.  This can take many forms such as watching a demonstration or problem solving video.  This activity allows the lecturer to explore topics more in depth and provide a more meaningful learning opportunity than in a ‘traditional’ setting.  By learning and at times, implementing the subject matter, learners come to class with some degree of basic subject understanding.  The lecture can build on this understand and focus on problem solving and exploring learner’s need for further exploration of the topic.

The flipped classroom allows teaching to take a learner-centered as opposed to a content-centered approach to teaching.  It allows for a self-directed adult learner to explore the subject matter and their needs before participating in learning activities.  It provides a safe learning environment for learners who may wish to repeat the learning activity at their leisure before classroom participation.  Those with the need to further explore and understand subject matters before a lecture can self-direct their learning as they wish.  This allows for deep learning through learning prior to lecture setting.  The teacher can then facilitate further learning by answering concerns and questions and providing resources as necessary.  Participants can share their experiences and thoughts in classroom setting, further assisting one another’s learning.  Classroom setting can be further utilized for exploration and implementation of learned materials to problems and situations.    I have used this approach in a classroom setting.  I enjoyed not having to lecture to students.  Preparation of adequate pre-lecture video’s and materials was time consuming and critical to achieving learning outcomes.  Short videos of 3-6 minutes have been found to be most effective in flipped classroom format (Rosenberg, 2013).  My only negative experience came from finding that some of my learners did not watch the prescribed videos.  Their lack of participation slowed down the learning of other colleagues.   I have addressed this problem by sending a personal email to all learners emphasizing the importance of our pre-class activities.   I have also implemented a short, graded i-clicker quiz at the start of lectures.    I now have an increased participation from learners.

References:

Abeysekera, L., & Dawson, P. (2014). Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: Definition, rationale and a call for research. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(1), 1–14. doi:10.1080/07294360.2014.934336

Flipped classroom (2015). . In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipped_classroom#Flipped_mastery

Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2013). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice (3rd ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Morrison, D. (2013, December 13). Three social trends that will influence education in 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/three-social-trends-that-will-influence-education-in-2014/

Olitsky, N. H., & Cosgrove, S. B. (2016). The better blend? Flipping the principles of microeconomics classroom. International Review of Economics Education, 21, 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.iree.2015.10.004

Rosenberg, T. (2013, October 9). Turning education upside down. New York Times

Westerberg, C. (2011, December). The flipped class: Shedding light on the confusion, critique, and hype – THE DAILY RIFF – be smarter. About education. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-shedding-light-on-the-confusion-critique-and-hype-801.php