Flip…can’t flop?

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Flipping the classroom…

Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Maybe because I haven’t experienced this as a student. Ever. I cannot think of a single instructor who challenged me with this model. Doing assignments, projects or discussions in class while listening or watching a lecture at home makes sense! Giving students information for them to take in on their own time, in their own environment can be better than expecting them to scribble notes while exhausted in front of the instructor. Also, doesnt every instructor want to be on hand to support and encourage their students while they try to master the material?

I looked into this further… what are the cons? There are a few, but that doesnt mean every instructor shouldnt give it a try. Check out the article here:

Pros and Cons

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Upworthy posted a video showcasing how Adjunct professors are at the poverty line, collecting food stamps and receiving welfare in the US. It’s an incredible video that needs to be circulated. When individuals invest in education to teach future students, how is it possible to have this inequity?


PIDP 3250 “A-ha” moment

Posted: November 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

In PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies Course, we viewed “The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain. In this TedTalk, she discusses how we undervalue Introverted individuals as a society. She uses examples of the classroom, where group work and collaboration are the new norm, where we once sat in rows and worked independently. She discusses how the “belief system” changed in schools.

I realized that instructors are asked to be extroverts and how we must re-shape that belief system. The maxim “sage on a stage” refers to engaging, captivating instructors who lecture from the podium at the front of the class. I can only imagine how many introverted educators require quiet contemplation and solitude after spending time in large classrooms of students. Are we undervaluing introverted instructors, or is the new classroom ideal for a more reflective, quiet force.

I am an off the spectrum extrovert. A former actress and daughter of a drama teacher, I never knew the definition of shy. I have been commended for my public speaking abilities and confidence in front of a crowd. Before PIDP, I believed that I would make a great instructor based on these skills alone. How wrong I was! Being extroverted and having an outgoing demeanour comes very far down the list of requirements. I’ve learned that bringing a passion and commitment to teaching is key to being successful, whether you are introverted or extroverted. Brian Little, a Harvard professor believes that passion can shape instructors and introverts can take on a “character” while they teach out of their love for the subject matter.

I believe that many instructors are drawn to the profession because of their outgoing personality. I know that’s part of what led me to this career. At the same time, I now know that extroversion will not get me far. The classroom I want to teach in will be collaborative but also independent. It will have lively discussions but also quiet reflection. It will not be a “counterfeit discussion” where I shape learner’s minds with my ideas, but me guiding students to think critically and form their own. Most importantly, I will work to assess how my lessons can be engaging to all levels of learners – both extroverted and introverted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ5o9PcHeL0

Life Long Learning

Posted: November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

I am starting a Masters Program in January through Royal Roads University. As a part of my two year program, I spend two weeks in Victoria living in residence. In a dorm. With shared bathroom facilities. I put my application in yesterday for my residence, and couldn’t help but panic. What am I doing? Who do I think I am? Aren’t I too old to be going “back to school”…again?

I quickly shook that feeling off. Life long learning is what I’ve signed up for on this journey to being an instructor. In order to follow my goals, I require a Masters to teach at the level I would like. At the same time, it’s something I desire on a personal level. I should have done this years ago, but like many things I put it off waiting for the ‘right time’. So, here I am stressing about if it’s too late?

Enough worrying if I’m too old, its time to get my shower caddy ready for residence. I am going to put my mind into this program and start thinking of the program after. In fact, I found out that SFU has a Seniors Lifelong Learners group that I might join one day. My grandmother emailed me into her 90’s, so why shouldnt I stay learning until I’m that age? (Mind you it wont be emailing 50 years from now… I’ll need to learn how to use the computer chip in my arm or whatever).

Macleans

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

One of my favourite times of year is when Macleans Magazine releases data on the University experience, from studies taken by the Universities themselves. This year, they are asking the questions instead. For the first time in a decade, Macleans wants to hear it from students directly. Questions on mental health, residence, safety… this is a new poll for a new generation.

Macleans Student Satisfaction survey is worth checking out where you can comb through the rankings and data. Even better is the Web Hub where students, instructors, parents and administration can learn about the varied perspectives.

What do these results tell you about how instructors should be adapting their teaching style?

Blooming

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Although by this point of the PIDP I’m very well versed in Bloom’s Taxonomy, I probably haven’t put the critical thinking into how critical this idea really is. This graphic is reminding me that as an instructor, I have a whole list of verbs to work with when lesson planning, teaching and setting the pace for instruction. I need to be exploring each spoke on this wheel along with my students to ensure the level of learning is varied, interesting and builds upon itself.

This is even better than a wheel of fortune! Where’s Vana White?

bloomwheel

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Foundations of Learning

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a University Program introduced me to some really amazing concepts related to learning. It was called Foundations, a program for first year University Students in the Arts program. It is no longer available at UBC, as Arts One is the more popular option. Nonetheless, the lessons learned stay with me as I look towards education in the post secondary environment. The innovative ways we learned were:

TEAM TEACH – five faculty members with varying backgrounds shaped the lesson plans and curriculum. This teach teaching benefited the instructors and the students, as each offered a unique perspective. I always appreciated the debates that the instructors would find themselves in, adding richness to the learning experience.

TUTORIALS – in these small groups, I would interact with my peers and discuss the week’s learning goals. It was guided by a graduate student. We were expected to show up prepared so we could really dissect the material and learn collectively.

THEME – We would select various broad topics and explore the themes through a variety of mediums. I recall even watching the movie Shrek to discuss postmodernism. Not to say the course was all cartoons, but the instructors thought of out-of-the-box techniques to engage our learning

Interesting now all these years later to revisit that first year of post secondary. More than an appreciation of being in the University environment, there are lasting lessons that continue. Obviously, they were solidifying my foundation in more ways than one.