The light is peeking through…..making progress

light through clouds

…..connected with my assignment partner today and looking forward to developing our joint response to the Professional Ethical Dilemma (Assignment 4).  I guess you could say the light is peeking through the clouds much like this picture taken during a very smoky Okanagan fire season.

Chapter 2 of our course text “The Skillful Teacher” (Brookfield, S. 2006) speaks about the changes students experience as they move through the learning continuum, specifically “They often feel in limbo, that they are leaving old ideas and capacities behind as they learn new knowledge, skills and perspectives.  Sometimes it feels as if learning is calling on them to leave their own identities in the past.  However, if they can find others with whom they can share these fears — a supportive peer-learning community — many of their anxieties apparently become much less corrosive.”

This reflects the impact of change, as even “good” change includes an element of stress, and in the case of new learners, the potential exposure to new a culture and peer group.

I think it is critical that people with leadership or teaching responsibilities are sensitive to the social and cultural impact of the changes their students experience as they learn and grow.  Brookfield’s observation sheds light on the “new normal” being created by the student group, and the support they can provide each other as they move forward to achieve their educational goals.

Another interesting element in adult learning is the use of a collaborative learning environment.  We can see that demonstrated through the structure of this PIDP course as groups are created for portions of the course work.  Why is this important?

A variety of studies shed light on the value of student interaction and collaboration as it fans the flames of learning.

“Collaborative learning teams are said to attain higher level thinking and preserve information for longer times than students working individually…..By definition learning is social in nature.  Using different mediums, whether it be books, discussions, technology or projects we study and develop new ideas.” (Clifford, M. 2012)

Odds are, groups of students will include introverts, extroverts, high, medium and low achievers all with different agendas and perspectives — after all–  they are individuals.  With that in mind, creating an intentional collaborative environment, rather than one that is more isolated i.e. strict lecture instruction — teacher speaks and student listens….provides opportunity for group and individual development, genesis of new ideas and sharing that delivers richer learning outcomes for students.

I am looking forward to sharing ideas with my course partner as we work together on our assignment on Ethics, Values and Professionalism.

Brookfield, S. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Clifford, M. (2012) Facilitating Collaborative Learning: 20 Things You Need to Know From the Pros. Retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/facilitating-collaborative-learning-20-things-you-need-to-know-from-the-pros/

Reflective Writing Assignment

tulips DebIn the busy ebb and flow of everyday life, introspective personal reflection can be a luxury rather than a regular activity.  Completing the first reflective exercise for PIDP 3260 was a pleasant suprise.  I completed a draft version a few days ago, then revisited the document and finished it up tonight.  I found the structured approach very useful.  When you open the door to thoughtful and focused consideration, particularly in the context of personal development, you find the gems…..those ah ha moments that help you understand your own learning “magic moments”.  This personal insight positions you to notice the “magic moment” opportunity with other people you are teaching or training.

The quote I was focusing on in my reflective exercise had to do with use of a Learning Audit mentioned in “The Skillful Teacher” by Stephen Brookfield (2006) 2nd edition.  Self evaluation and reflection is a valuable tool for the student and useful when shared with the teacher.  It can help both parties discover what worked, what didn’t and perhaps shed light on why….. in the learning relationship between the student and teacher it  provides the opportunity for both to grow.  My picture takes me to spring time and “how does your garden grow”…..?

A new course begins…..3260

The wintery landscape seemed appropriate for my first post even though I am blessed to be on the balmy west coast.  Watching television footage of meter high snow banks for the folks living in the eastern United States makes me heave a sigh of relief that I am not outside shoveling snow.  I have my own path to clear as I find my way through my latest course in the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP).

My name is Deborah and I would classify myself as an “older” learner.  I keep getting older and somehow I keep learning new things.  It is one of the mysteries of the universe that I get great pleasure from.   I am interested in everything from fine art to aviation and project management.  I dabble in acrylics, watercolour and coloured pencil work…..the picture at the top of this post is a watercolour and salt creation I made a few years ago.

I am an experienced civil servant having worked for both Federal and Provincial organizations.  My lifelong passion has been development of people and staff training.  That interest in learning pointed me towards the PIDP with Vancouver Community College.  I continue to chip away at the program, now jumping into “Professional Practice 3260”.

One of the elements of the course is reflective writing and development of a Blog.  So, here I am and more to come…..