3250 – Humor in the classroom

In chatting about the use of humor in the classroom in our forum, I watched the video above and want to add it to my blog so that I can refer to it time and time again.  It is a great presentation about the use of classroom humour, when to use it, how to use it and how we can use it effectively.  The point of having subtle humor to build a relationship with our students is beautiful and so true. I think humor makes us ‘real’ to our students and creates a positive and open learning environment.

 

3250 – Education categorized

A description of Education 1.0, Education, 2.0, and Education 3.0My classmate introduced us to this table in her discussion forum.  I have to say that it is very interesting to me. Education 1.0 is simply like the education my children are receiving in their elementary and middle schools.  It is sad to me that parents actually see their children going to daycare when they are actually receiving a valuable gift from educators.  There is lack of adequate software and outdated hardware. This is why I made the sacrifice to put both of my children in private schools that I hand selected for them.  This comes at a great expense to my family, but it also provides a great piece of mind for me.  My children are so much more technologically savvy than when they were in public school.   I didn’t homeschool them due to my own lack of comfort, but I have gained a new understanding and appreciation for those who do homeschool their children.

Education 2.0 is where I feel my children are learning at this time as well as the university where I teach.  Both need to strive for Education 3.0 and teaching individual how to learn and that learning occurs in all ways and all parts of life.  I am not sure if I agree with parents seeing 2.0 as daycare, I think a lot do but probably a lot less than 1.0 parents.

3250 – Questioning Techniques

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I really liked watching this video. Thank you for sharing it.  It led me to do some research regarding thinking critically about critical thinking.  I found this very interesting report that provides a deeper understanding of such thinking. I would like to share the part that I’ve attached at the end of this discussion.  I wanted to highlight that critical thinking is a part of our last forum of being a self-directed/discipline/monitored/determined learner.  Such learners do not stop at route processing of information. They question and think and critically evaluate their learnings (heutagogy).    Like Melissa mentioned (as in PIDP 3100), learners constantly change their beliefs and understanding by critical thinking.

Critical Thinking is that mode of thinking—about any subject, content, or problem—in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by  skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It pre-supposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentricism and sociocentrism.

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way. People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathetically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked …They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers— concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking.  They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.”

3250 – Positive Learning Environment

There is posting from earlier in this course regarding creating a positive learning environment but I think it’s still worthy to include a few points from my colleague, John in this blog.

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Having a positive learning environment is critical to setting a place where adult learners feel safe and are able to learn.   John who leads our discussion forum in this area has done a great job of summarizing various aspects of this topic. I am going to copy the two main areas here as to highlight them.  John posted these helpful hints for teachers:

“Guide and support the learner throughout the learning process. (TEAL Center Metacognitive Processes Fact Sheet)

Offer evidence of successful learning outcomes (TEAL Center Universal Design for Learning Fact Sheet)

Provide a co-operative learning climate in the classroom; (Knowles 1984)

Assess the learner’s specific needs and interests;

Develop learning objectives based on the learner’s needs, interests, and skill levels;

Logically design activities to achieve the objectives;

Work collaboratively with the learner to select methods, materials, and resources for instruction; and

Evaluate the quality of and make adjustments, as needed, to the learning experience, while assessing future learning; (Knowles 1984)

Be aware of diversity, as each barrier is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development

Continuously improve”

As for the learner, John pointed out that their role is:

“Draw upon life experiences to aid learning;

·       Be ready to learn when assuming new roles;

·       Want to apply new learning immediately;

·       Be motivated internally, rather than externally “As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal” (Knowles 1984:12);

·       Become increasingly responsible for learning and constructing their own understanding (Glasersfeld, 1989);

·       Be punctual and courteous in the classroom”

References

Knowles, M. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education. From pedagogy to andragogy (2nd edition). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge. 400 pages.

Merriam& Bierma (2014)  Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice (1st edition) Jossey-Bass – 302 pages

Barkley (2010) – Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (1st edition) Jossey-Bass – 398 pages

James Bryson (2003) “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” http://northernc.on.ca/leid/docs/engagingadultlearners.pdf

 

 

3250 – Self Assessment

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Throughout our PIDP courses, we have reviewed and discussed self-assessment skills and development. With each course and discussion, I have gained a deeper appreciation of the need to teach our learners to self-assess their own work and performance. In one forum, we discussed various aspects of being a self-directed learner. This led us to discussion of how self-assessment aids improving our self-directive abilities. In another forum, we discussed the various aspects of heutagogy and again, this led us to the path of utilizing our self-assessment skills to further develop our learning needs and routes.

I plan to share my thoughts with respect to this area with my students. I have always requested self-assessment but never emphasized why this was important. Bringing the awareness to the students will allow them to understand and appreciate the power of this skill. I hope that they will carry this skill into their future professional lives in order to grow and continually improve and adapt their learnings.

One of our discussions in our forum pointed out the venerable nature of adult learners and specifically how adults are not comfortable with self-assessment. I think with practice and continued guidance from me as a facilitator, I can help my learners gain strength in this area. I also need to role model and share my own experience with my learners.

3250 – Self directed – determined Learner

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One of the discussion forums of the PIDP 3250 course is centered around ‘gogies’ and how self-directed and determined learners can be provided the skills to achieve higher level learning skills. One interesting question from a classmate was, “can we teach these skills”? One article (as well as this article) speaks about the skills needed by students to achieve such learning. Reading peer posts and reference articles, I believe that although some students may have a natural ability to be self-directed and determined learners, it is our role as facilitators to foster those skills. We can offer exercises in exploration and identification of such learning. We can offer projects to evaluate evidence in order to determine a plausible hypothesis. Through self-assessment, we can help students learn to critique their own skills. How could they obtain their information in a more efficient manner and what would they do differently next time? By continually challenging and pushing our students with higher level thinking skills and processes, we can help them gain the confidence to develop these skills.

A point of concern as a teacher is the amount time needed to make such changes in our course materials. We need to be dedicated to such changes but I find, for myself, it has been a matter of time and trial and error. Lots of time is needed to implement such higher level thinking. Our curriculum seems to be so packed already that students generally complain they don’t have time for challenging exercises and self-assessment. At times, I find the exercise that I have devised was not effective. I need to stop taking my failures personal. The last time I devised a problem based approach to treatment planning, a student said that he thought, “it was way too challenging and a waste of his time”. Other students followed with complaints. Putting personal matters aside, a new challenge was identified by me. If students are being provided route lectures and exercises to apply lecture materials, then they appear to resent my push for critical learning skills.   I can’t change other instructors. So, my new approach has been to let students know what I am trying to achieve and why. It is up to them to accept the process or reject it. I find those who have accepted my method usually come back in a few years and thank me for my method of teaching.

Finally, I find role modelling higher level thinking to be a very effective approach.  I consciously tell students about my own research and self-reflection, my failures and successes. I want them to see me as a professional that they would like to emulate.  Being a positive role model also creates a positive learning environment where students feel comfortable to ask questions and push themselves in a safe manner.

3250 -Classroom management Part I

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For my PIDP 3250 course, our instructor has asked me to facilitate a discussion forum related to classroom management. I have to admit my absolute sense of discomfort with this.  I have never participated, let alone facilitated an online forum.  So, I read and re-read Doug Mauger’s email instructions and listened to the online instructions.  I read over the sample forum summary and previous student advice and got started.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that Doug would assist me if I deviated from my role in any way. Reading past student thoughts also helped me feel better.

If I was going to facilitate a forum on classroom management, I had to understand what it was and why it was important to discuss.  After reading a few articles, I realized that classroom management is anything that may disrupt the smooth flow of our classroom sessions. This includes distracted students, disruptive students, students coming in late, eating in class, answering cell phones in class and much more.

I plan to post the discussion summary in Part 2 of this blog.  I would like to summarize some of my thoughts as I went through the first few days of the forum.

One thing that came out of the discussion was the need to motivate and engage students in learning in order to retain their attention.  Bowman (2012) discusses the mind of the millennium generation of learners and their need for engagement.  By making students feel like they are an integral part of the classroom teaching, they will want to participate and engage in learning.  By explaining why the subject of study is important to the learner’s future, the student will want to learn in order to gain future tools.  By providing a safe and supportive learning environment, students will be motivated to participate and engage.  This can be simply achieved by being kind and respectful towards our learners.

Classroom and school codes of conduct were discussed.  I have personally known about school codes of conduct, but have never personally viewed them. I think it should be a part of all course syllabus materials and student attention should be directed to this section.   I really like the idea of a group devised classroom code of conduct. I was introduced to this in my CTLT (Center of Teaching and Learning Technology at U.B.C).  By devising a group code of conduct, I found that the behaviour of all members was defined.  We as well as our course coordinator offered points of conduct that we wished addressed.  Turning our phones on to ‘vibrate only’ mode was one person’s request.  As a group, we agreed that if anyone needs to answer their cell phones, they are requested to go outside the classroom in order not to distract other learners.

Cell phones appear to be the new ‘hot topic’ of classroom management.  I am not sure where I stand on this.  I do think that adult learners rely so highly on their cell phones for most aspects of their lives that they will not be comfortable not using their phone.  Moreover, I keep my phone beside me in case my children have to reach me or in case there is a work emergency.  Most things can wait an hour or so till our classroom session is completed, however, there is such a social pressure for immediate response that we have been somewhat trained to keep our phone beside us.  For me, I think engaging and motivating students will stop ‘playing’ on phones.  I like the policy of asking students to turn their phone to vibrate only mode and be aware that cell phone use may distract peers during class.  I may even take the hot seat and tell the students that the ringing and use of cell phones distracts me as the facilitator, so I ask students to avoid using their phones and if there is an emergency, please step outside quietly for phone use.  As one of the principles of andragogy relates to recognition of the adult learner as an individual who has responsibility outside the class such as a family, children, extended family, work and much more.  They need to be treated as adults and given an environment that is not too restrictive; they may need phones to contact their family.  With respect to rules, an interesting discussion of striking a balance between being too rigid and too flexible was brought up.  Again, I believe this is very important for the adult learner; they should not be treated like children.  They need respect and flexibility while maintaining class ‘order’.

I look forward to more classmate thoughts and summarizing everything in part 2 of my blog on classroom management.

Reference

Bowen, J. A. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

3250 – Gogy review

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My classmate Melissa is leading a discussion on Pedagogy, Peeragogy, cybergogy, andragogy, and heutagogy.  Wow, a lot of “gogy’s”.  What is this all about?

When I first started learning about learning, I was mainly familiar with how children learn.  With my PIDP education, I learned that this was called Pedagogy.  Through my introduction to Knowles theories of adult learning, I learned about Andragogy.  This principle of learning addresses adults as being active learners and instructors as being facilitators of their learning.  With the principles of andragogy, the adult learner is distinguished as having different needs and styles of learning than children.  They should not be taught in the same manner as children.  We learned about various specifics of adult learning in PIDP 3100.

Now, we are introduced to new gogy’s such as Heutagogy.  What is this?  Well, this takes learning into even a higher level than andragogy.  Heutagogy refers to a learner who leads his own learning direction.  He chooses his own context of learning and direction in which to further learn and grow.  It is an exploration of his own learning direction and journey.  This is self directed and self-managed in each and every manner.   This learner may even develop their own concept with respect to their learning field – much like we see in research fields.

So, what is a gogy.  Simple it is a style of learning.  Peeragogy refers to peer to peer learning.  I am sure that more styles will be discovered and explored as we learn to recognize the various approaches to learning and the needs of each and every person and group.

In my readings, I came across a yet another “gogy”: e-gogy.  This new “gogy” encompasses learning  essentials  to guide eteaching, elearning and the co-creating of personal learning environments.