3250 – Power of Introversion

TED Talk video: Power of Introverts

In the Ted Talks video, Susan Cain shares her insight into the power of introversion.  This is a beautiful talk and it goes beyond just speaking about introverts and their talents, abilities and inner power.  To me, it speaks about the general beliefs and trends in our society with respect to the personality types that we tend to gravitate to – the personalities that we ‘adore’ and value.  She discusses the current ‘push’ in our community, work and school settings for group activities.  We seem to like being around extroverts. We ‘dominantly follow the opinions of most famous persons in the room even though there is no correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas’.  By doing this, we are taking a chance that the best talker has the best ideas. This may or may not be true.  Introverts comprise half to third of the population. Their difference makes them who they are and should be encouraged and celebrated as much as the characteristics of extroverts.  Cain closes her talk with three beautiful calls of actions that respect both personality types: one, stop the madness of constant group work, two, go to the wilderness, and three, take a look at what’s inside your suitcase.

Upon watching the video above, I was shocked to find I had tears half way through the video.  So, I turned it off, regrouped and watched the video again.  By the end, the tears started again.   I thought, “yes, someone gets me!”, “someone who likes their alone time thinks it’s ok to be alone and not be social all the time”, “someone else likes to think about ideas and thoughts before making decisions and that’s ok”, and “here is someone who sees differences in personality and is speaking to the world that the differences are ok”.

My gut reaction came from my own challenges as an introvert. I like being social and having social interaction.  Like Cain mentions, being shy is the fear of social interaction.  Family has asked me many times about my shyness and this has always confused me.  I like people but I also like alone time. Much like Cain, I like learning and reading. I like being alone with my thoughts and use this time to ‘recharge’ for my social interactions.

Cain’s states that people dominantly follow the opinion of most famous people in the room even though there is no correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.  Although I think the best talker may in fact have the best ideas, I prefer to follow what Cain refers to in her talk.  I prefer to be aware of my own ideas and opinions. I prefer to do my own research and problem solve and then come together with a group to discuss my findings. I like hearing the findings of others and want to know more about the basis of their findings.  I love discussing and tweaking ideas to devise a better plan or a group agreed plan – if possible.

Cain does a great job of opening up the world’s perception from an introvert’s point of view.   The societal push, encouragement and judgement felt by introverts needs to be understood in order to help us understand those around us. If someone is an extrovert, they are happy being social and living life the way they do.  If someone is an introvert, they are happy being who they are and need to be valued as such – not made to feel different or odd.  Unfortunatley, society seems to value extroverts.  However, there is value and beauty in introverts.  By shutting them down, we are missing out on the impact that half to third of the population could contribute to our culture and society.    As an introvert, this has been one of my biggest frustrations.  I find those around me are extroverts and if I choose to spend alone time, it is viewed as a problem.  I usually am greeted with, “are you ok?”, “why don’t you want to go out?”, and “why are you spending your time reading when you could be out drinking with us?”.  I get energy from alone thinking time and resting time. They are energized from social time.  I don’t judge them and ask them to do something different.  This is where Cain’s talk comes into play. We are all different and exist somewhere along the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  This is ok.   Our position on the spectrum should be accepted and valued – regardless of the position of others.

Cain’s video was eye opening for me.  It made me look back at my life and my preference for individual activity and my exhaustion with socializing.  As a result, I have taken many steps to ‘protect myself’.  My career allows me to seek alone time and study time in order to read, evaluate and treatment plan procedures.  It has allowed me to have short interactive sessions where I know there is an end in the socialization coming.  I know the consultation and treatment appointments are set for a designated time frame.  Cain’s video has actually helped me see how lucky I am to do what I do for a living, even with respect to teaching and lecturing.  I have lots of alone time reading and preparing for course hours.  I prepare handouts and resources for students on my spare time.   This excuses my need for alone time.  I know the lectures and labs are confined to a set time schedule.  I feel safe as I know my presentations and topics very well and do not feel anxious presenting my knowledge to others.  In fact, I love it.  I think in a way, it helps me prove to myself that I can be social.

With Cain’s video, the distinction between the two personality types has brought a new light to my teaching.  It has brought an awareness for me that I need to foster a learning environment that will allow students to flourish regardless of their personality type.  Perhaps I can help teach respect and tolerance of others’ being and needs to my students. I hope to be able to role model such behavior and respect for my students.

The last part of Cain’s talk is especially helpful for teaching.  She leaves her talk with three calls of action: first, stop the madness of constant group work.  I have to say ‘YES!’ to this.  I really like group collaboration and group work but they are always geared for extroverts who I feel dominate the group.   Strong extroverts are intimidating and overpowering at times.  They seem to make up their mind quickly and groups seem to gravitate towards them.  Teachers need to still encourage group work as individuals must be able to work together in all settings. However, activities need to be adjusted to allow introverts to be contribute and feel safe and valued.   The other part of this first call of action is that extroverts will gain a lot from not working in a group setting.  There are times when we all have to work alone and this skill needs to be developed and strengthened in extroverts.  Just as introverts need to work in group settings, extroverts need to learn how to work alone.  There are some great reference ideas that teachers can use in their classroom teaching in order to involve introverts and extroverts.   I really like the one in (lsaacs, 2009) which recommends the use of group activity with designated student leader (through rotation of classroom students) and at home preparation of questions.

Cain’s second call of action refers to meditation and solitude: “go to the wilderness”. In other words, she is asking listeners to unplug and go inside their own head and thoughts more often.  Cain’s third call is to look at what’s inside your own suitcase and why you put it there. If you are an introvert, don’t be worried or embarrassed to share your suitcase.  After all, it is who you are and what makes you, ‘you’.  I think a teacher can help students come to acceptance of who they are by providing a respectful, positive, and encouraging learning environment.  Helping adults feel safe will help them be themselves and share their thoughts openly.

There are a few ideas that I would like to take into my teachings to address the needs of all students regardless of their personality traits.  Group discussion is still important but there should be a balance of group and individual activities.  Individual activities will help the introverts showcase themselves and extroverts learn to work by themselves.  Group activities should include everyone and give an opportunity for everyone to participate and express themselves.    Allowing students to research topics in advance of the session will allow introverts to prepare for group activities.  Rotation of student leaders will give a chance to everyone to ‘step up’ and lead.  I think peer marking one another’s support and participation will encourage introverts to participate more in activities.  In order to create a safe learning environment for everyone, I am a believer of setting class expectations at the beginning of all courses.  This is a list of expected behaviors where I as well as students contribute to devising.  I think this will create a safe environment for the introverts where everyone will be helpful, respectful and supportive.

I like regular muddiest point evaluations to help me hear from everyone in the class.  This is a quick and easy way to hear from everyone.  Even introverts who may be too shy to participate will be able to communicate their concerns and needs.   Anonymous I-quiz and polling programs are also a good way to allow everyone to participate in class activities without having to speak out loud.

I look forward to implementing these ideas and evaluating their outcomes accordingly.



Cain, S. (2012, March 2). Cain ted talk – Bing video Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cain+ted+talk&view=detail&mid=5C6C8A8B8149973EEE635C6C8A8B8149973EEE63&FORM=VIRE1

Isaacs, T. (2009, July 27). Introverted students in the classroom: How to bring out their best. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from Teaching and Learning, http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/introverted-students-in-the-classroom-how-to-bring-out-their-best/


3250 – Motivation of adult learner

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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.

3250 – Classroom Management

Mature students whispering

Article about classroom management for adults

Classroom Management is “the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despite disruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classroom_management)

At times, teaching can be challenging especially if one is faced with disruptions that affect their classroom in one way or another.  The link above provides five great strategies to use in order to set a smoother classroom environment.

These include:

1. Setting a ‘classroom norm’ where you have identified expected behaviours.  This is especially effective if one starts with their own expectations from the students (such as no cell phones use during class) but also asks students to participate in voicing their  expectations (such as peer support and no scents).

2.  Saving questions for a later time. You can encourage questions, but write them down on a side board or a piece of paper. Establish a designated time to address the questions. This is usually at the end of the class session.

3. Plan how to manage mild disruptions. The article states various methods which are great resources when needed.  My favorite ones are redirecting disruptive behaviour to the list established in item 1, rearranging seating or groupings or calling for a short class break.

4.  Handling persistent disruptions in order to confront them and assist yourself as to  decrease future recurrence.  The article lists many great ideas, all of which direct teachers to address the disruption directly and professionally.

5.  Sharing challenges with confidents who you trust will be able to assist you with their experience and resources.

Hopefully, each instructor will be able to have a smooth running classroom. However, this does not always happen. As such, we need to be equipped with classroom management skills that will help us overcome such challenges.


3250 – Metacognition Strategies


Metacognition is one’s thinking about their own thinking. It is broken down into two areas: metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation (Darling-Hammond et al., n.d.).  Metacognitive knowledge refers to the awareness of one’s knowledge. Metacognitive regulation refers to one’s ability to manage his own thinking process.  Both areas can be developed through encouraging active reflective and strategic methods of instruction in our teachings.   Teachers need to model and encourage “reflection, questioning, evaluating, and thinking about one’s thinking” in order to help learners internalize metacognitive strategies (Darling-Hammond et al., n.d.).   This all sounds great, but what are different strategies that we can use to help our learners reflect on their own learning and regulate their thinking and work accordingly?

Various strategies of consideration in order to metacognition are presented below (Darling-Hammond et al., n.d.):

  • Predicting outcomes— this is mostly seen in math and science classes where information is applied to problem solving.  After making predictions, students are asked to problem solve and asses their original prediction.  For example, what do you think the sum of 12+28+33+222 is?  Once you add the numbers, you are asked to reflect on your original prediction? How close did you come? How could you improve on your prediction? What strategies can be used for future fact checking?
  • Evaluating work— Upon reflection on own work, students determine their own strengths and weaknesses on their work, thinking and thinking process.  In dentistry, we use this method on a regular basis.  Once an initial attempt at a simulation procedure is completed, students are asked to compare their results to pre-determined critical criteria check list.  They are then asked to reflect on their weaknesses and strengths. How can results be improved in the future? Where are areas of weakness and how can they be addressed in the future? Where are the areas of strength and how were these results achieved?  Finally, how can you maintain the positive outcome and modify your approach to improve your weaknesses?
  • Questioning by the teacher— As students work, they are asked questions by the instructor to reflect on their actions.  They are asked “What are you doing now? Why are you doing it? How does it help you?”(Schoenfeld, 1987).  This strategy allows students to constantly and consciously think about their work.  They further link their work to a specific thinking process.
  • Self-assessing—Self reflection on one’s work in order to identify learned concepts and skills.  How well did you do? What skills have you developed? How does your learning compare to the learning outcomes of the session? How can you improve on your learning? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?
  • Self-questioning—Commonly taught for use in reading tasks, but also useful in writing and problem-solving of all kinds, students use questions to check their own knowledge as they are learning.  When students learn to ask questions (of themselves or of others) while they work, they intentionally direct their thinking towards their learning concepts and clarify the areas where they need assistance.
  • Selecting strategies—allow students to identify strategies that they feel are useful for a given task. This will help them understand their own learning needs, styles, weaknesses and strengths while examining the instructional task.   In dentistry, I like to ask students which bur will allow them to produce a given set of critical criteria.  Student evaluation of bur shapes, their own grip, their cutting style and material knowledge will have to be examined in order to determine “what works for them”.
  • Using directed or selective thinking— Given a specific concept or approach, students are asked to devise answers to a problem.   In a workshop, students are provided caries diagnosis concepts and ideas.  They are then given a set of photos and radiographs and asked to identify caries that would need surgical intervention.  This is direct application of concepts.
  • Using discourse— Teachers identify a learning concept. Students are asked to research the concept and / or part of the concept.  They are then asked to discuss their findings with their instructor and peers.  Discussion among peers and colleagues allows students to identify gaps in their own thinking and formulate a new idea accordingly.
  • Critiquing— Using constructive feedback, students are asked to provide feedback to other students.  By providing feedback, the students use critical thinking and evaluation skills to revisit their learning concepts and applications.  I really like this approach.    Activities in simulation lab are subject to self evaluation as well as peer evaluation.  Peer evaluation is a great method of revisiting learning concepts.  Moreover, this method of teaching helps students develop their communication and professional peer development skills.
  • Revising— Students are provided feedback and asked to use this feedback in order to improve their performance.  For example, given feedback on a procedural outcome, students are provided new simulation teeth in order to apply their feedback and create a new result.

I hope these learning strategies will provide a way to help instructors develop teaching strategies that will encourage student self reflection, self evaluation and questioning skills.


Darling-Hammond, L., Austin, K., Cheung, M., With, D. M., From, C., Barron, B., … Shulman, L. Thinking about thinking: Metacognition. Retrieved from http://www.learner.org/courses/learningclassroom/support/09_metacog.pdf

Schoenfeld, A. H. (1987).  What’s all the fuss about metacognition?. In A. H. Schoenfeld (Ed.), Cognitive science and mathematics education (pp. 189-215). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


3250 – Creating a Positive Learning Environment



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 3260 – Personalized learning

I have to share this video as it summarizes so much about teaching and learning in a short, concise video.  Personalized learning is what each and every person should try to figure out for their own learning success.  Personalized learning method should be understood by facilitators in order to teach their students in the most effective manner – one that they will be able gain the most learning experience from.

PIDP 3260 – Reflections on courses

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This is a blog to reflect on the courses taken to date with the PIDP program.  I will list each course and a brief reflection below. 

PIDP 3100 – Wow, what a wonderful course.  I really enjoyed this course. It was my first PIDP course through Vancouver Community College (VCC).  The course helped me integrate what I already knew about teaching with further principles with respect to andragogy.  It has made me aware of why certain methods of teaching work and provided thoughts on possible improvement of teaching approach.  It reinforced the concept of adult learning and an instructor being a facilitator rather than rote information deliverer.    All these learnings for me have been through focusing on andragogy principles and related types of teaching approaches.  I use experiential teaching in my method of classroom and lab teaching.  The course helped me reflect on my methodology and I feel as a result, I am a better teacher.  Finally, the course helped me understand how much I ‘didn’t know’ about teaching. It reinforced the concept of lifelong learning for me as a teacher and not just in my professional dental career.  It motivated me to look forward to the next course and further teaching development. 


PIDP 3210 – I took this course through the Center of Teaching and Learning Technology (CTLT) at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  I really liked the course and found it to be very intensive.  It helped me design a curriculum for a generic as well as my own course.  I found the main thing I learned here was to be organized and build the course step by step. I learned about the backwards approach to course design and found that very interesting.  Perhaps my favorite part of this course was meeting colleagues from different faculties and learning how they approached teaching. What were their difficulties and how did they approach areas of concern that I had experienced?  I learned a lot from my colleagues and have now made new friends who are rich resources for me and my teaching. 


PIDP 3220 – This course was fun and educational at the same time.   As a result of this course, I am a better lecturer.  I delivered three short lectures to a group of faculty from various departments.  After deliver, we met in a circle to discuss my lecture.  I loved it.  I had great positive feedback and some extra suggestions.  They loved my energy level and said they couldn’t wait for me. This helped me realize that my body language and delivery is good.  Content was hard to deliver in 10 minutes but the challenge was my motivator.  It was also challenging as many of the faculty were from non-science department, so teaching had to be tailored to them without loosing my science faculty members.  Again, the course gave me a lot of confidence with respect to lecturing and it allowed me to develop a great approach to my lecturing format.  The lecture after this course was interesting.  My supervising faculty member came up to me and said she saw a great degree of improvement in my lecture.  She was very pleased and so was I. 


PIDP 3260 – I really enjoyed the textbook and will definitely keep it as a future reference.  It is full of helpful information.  It was a bit hard to go through this course. It was interesting but not all the teachings are applicable and it covers a lot of concepts.  It made me aware of areas of concern that I may encounter in the future teachings. That’s why I think the textbook will be a great future resource for me.  The other thing I learned from this course is that even senior instructors with experience will and can encounter classroom difficulties.  It’s not always me and although I can address concerns, the learners will ultimately decide if they want to learn and how much they will participate in learning.  Finally, I learned about evaluation techniques to seek feedback from learners.  It was harder than I imagined to devise a summative evaluation form but I did it.  Now I feel more confident devising an evaluation form and am in fact going to administer my course assignment feedback form to an upcoming class. I look forward to seeing its results.  Seeing how much I don’t know and will need to learn in the future has helped me realize the importance of being a lifelong learner and continually participate in teaching course to improve myself.

A final overwhelming thought that has been an inspiration to me is meeting role models.  From CTLT to PIDP teachers, I have learned a lot about styles of communication and interaction with students.  Watching effective instruction has been an inspiration.