…..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/