Saturday, 12 March 2016

PIDP Reflection

The PIDP has ignited my passion for learning with so many new discoveries and approaches I can put directly into practice.   I have realized its’ not just about providing content, great teaching is providing opportunities for students to gain and practice their new knowledge and skills, promoting deeper level thinking (why, how) and  setting high expectations for all students and being available to help them get there. My biggest AH HA moment was to realize that learning styles are not as relevant as using a multitude of instructional techniques and modes that which best suit the material being delivered.
Some examples of how I will help students achieve their learning goals and create positive learning opportunities are to:

  • Build a positive and respectful classroom environment
  • Create relevant and valid lessons and connect learning to prior or future knowledge and share how it will be beneficial to the students
  • Use BOPPS to create well rounded lessons with at least three different resources to enhance and support the lesson
  • Help students set SMART goals to foster both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • Develop assignments and tasks that provide active learning opportunities
  • Create authentic assessments to empower students
  • Use lots of formal and informal formative assessments to gain where students are in their learning and
  • Provide timely, relevant feedback which encourages the student forward
  • Embrace technology and use it to enhance a lesson and student learning (blogging/infographics/videos)
  • Use silence more
  • Be aware of my body language and personal habits and ticks
  • Continuously monitor and reflect on my teaching to modify and improve my knowledge, approach and skills
  • Share my own love of learning and foster curiosity and inquiry in students
 Mirror reflection by dandanfotoman on DeviantArt. Retrieved from:

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Lifelong Learning 

I have been and will always be a "lifelong learner".  On a personal level learning provides me with the intellectual stimulation I crave.  The satisfaction that results from me participating in the lessons my life and interests present is so enticing it motivates me probe further and never sit on the sidelines.  If I allow my mind to become stagnate I lose interest, and so I find learning critical to my mental health and well being. 
As a professional lifelong learning supports me in reaching my fullest potential and thus opening doors for greater opportunities in the workplace.   I hope by modelling my own sense of curiosity and passion for learning, I can inspire students to cultivate their own love of learning.  Creating space for learning can help us to broaden our minds and be open to differing ideas and beliefs.   I believe that keeping current with trends and new or changing information will assist me in meeting students needs in an ever changing world.  Lifelong learning provides the means by which I can continue to serve those in all aspects of my life with growing wisdom. 

Retrieved from: 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Dr Ken Bain; What the Best College Teachers Do.

From a 15 year study of almost 100 highly effective college teachers, Dr Ken Bain shares the results and insights attained from the study in his book, What the Best College Teachers Do.  He suggests that great teachers know how to:
  • ask great questions, 
  • encourage learning by doing, making mistakes and trying again, 
  • create authentic assessments, 
  • challenge student thinking, and 
  • hold students to high standards and help them achieve these high standards.  
I am committed to constantly developing my skills and attributes that will empower and assist students in their learning journey.  Some areas that I am focusing my attention on at this time are to improve my abilities to ask great questions and challenging students thinking.  Some ways that encourage and stimulate student thinking and discussion may include asking them to explain a issue or problem, why it exists and possible solutions.  Keep probing students for evidence to support their ideas and allow students to challenge each other. Bain (2004). p.128.  Taking risks and seeing mistakes and or failures as a positive opportunity to grow are also areas of interest to me as they are an uncomfortable place for me to be. 

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Teach like a pirate: David Burgess at TEDxLitchfieldED

Burgess is genius in the way he presents material that has the audience (students) cheering and laughing out loud. Of course, we include the course content and use an assortment of techniques and methods to engage students, but  he reminds us to ask questions, lot of them to help focus your thoughts and to take risks, fail and never be afraid to try new things.  David Burgess is energetic, passionate and a little crazy as he cleverly delivers ideas about teaching with creativity.  I encourage you to watch this video and let his enthusiasm inspire you.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Brookfield Chapter 6: Lecturing Creatively

We have all sat thru them, the mind numbing, snore inducing drone of a boring lecture. In the chapter of Lecturing Creatively Brookfield speaks of why and when lectures are an appropriate teaching approach and characteristics of lectures that are helpful in the process of learning.  Ask yourself does the use of a lecture help students learn, if so then use it, if not use an approach that is better suited to the material.  He states "a lecture should begin with a statement to students as to why it is being used and what is is intended to accomplish." p.100. Clarifying the relevance of the lecture topic and connection to previous learning is important so students can understand the intention of the instructor. 
Most students have an optimal attention span of about 12 minutes, therefore instructors should talk for no longer than 15 minutes before taking a mini break of at least 2 minutes. Include various modes of teaching, for example, visual aids, guest speaker, short video clips or periods of reflective silence to enhance a lecture.  Other essential components to a stimulating lecture include, speaking from untypical areas in the classroom,  using clear body language and signals to indicate an important point or moving on, using questions to stimulate thought at the beginning and close of the lecture and presenting alternate perspectives of view on the topic.
Most importantly an instructor should regularly review his lecturing thru student evaluation questionnaires like the CIQ, peer reviews or video taping yourself. This will help the instructor to become aware of habits and behaviors that may need modifying or eliminating in order to improve presentations skills.
Brookfield, S., (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom {Jossey-bass Higher and Adult Education Series; 2nd Ed.}. John Wiley & Sons, (US).

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