Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Roles of todays Educator

The role of the educator today is to create a positive learning environment that fosters and provides opportunities for students to become self directed learners.   Providing a safe and respectful climate where students feel that it’s okay to make mistakes and that they will not be negatively treated for “having a go” is vital to encourage students to develop into lifelong learners. 
Instructors must be aware of students backgrounds and assess their prior knowledge in order to know “where to start” when beginning a new topic or course.   Acknowledging prior skills or knowledge and being open to learning from students is a wonderful way in which to create a positive learning climate in the classroom. 
It’s important to be a credible and authentic instructor and have a passion for the subject to engage the participants and encourage enthusiasm in the classroom.  Being either a facilitator or instructor depends entirely on what is being taught.  The decision of what role the educator should take lies with which role will best fit the circumstance, content or task being addressed.   Using creative instructional strategies that foster critical thinking and active learning will promote student engagement. 
I believe today’s educator is ultimately about providing a high quality service that will assist students to achieve their learning goals.  

Retrieved from: Educator Roles and Responsibilities - My Personal Teaching Philosophy More anneinglisteachingphilosophy.weebly.com

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Student Engagement

Both motivation and active learning are required for student engagement to be a real and empowering process.    The two go hand in hand, when students are actively learning, the motivation to continue and keep making connections is increased leading to further participation in active learning activities.  
“Student engagement is a process and a product that is experienced on a continuum and results from the synergistic interaction between motivation and active learning.” Barkley, E., 2010. p8. 
Motivation can intrinsic or extrinsic and often is a combination of both.  Intrinsic motivation refers to a person’s attitudes, beliefs and values and is personal in nature.  Extrinsic motivation refers to factors outside the individual such as grades, professional development and money. 
Active learning involves students participating in reading, writing and discussion activities that encourage higher order thinking like analysis, creation, evaluation and problem solving skills.  Students are performing tasks and thinking about what they are doing and not just passively listening in the classroom.  Bonwell, C. 2009.
Being interested in the lesson motivates students to participate actively in the lesson.  There must be relevance to the lesson that links to the course objectives or outlines and the students must be aware of these connections.  Motivation comes from applying the newly acquired knowledge or skills and building it onto our current knowledge bases.  However, ultimately the level of a student’s motivation is linked to how the student feels about them self as a learner (self-efficacy), their intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors and their perceived success or failure in the course.   
Retrieved from: http://selfefficacybykristi.weebly.com/uploads/1/9/4/0/19406875/3684305.jpg?1366398330
Barkley, Elizabeth F. 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Print.
Bonwell, C. 2009.  Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/lct/hbcu/documents/Active_Learning_Creating_Excitement_in_the_Classroom.pdf

Friday, 23 October 2015

Learning how to Learn

In this video “Learning how to Learn” Barbara Oakley talks about having a focus mode when learning and a diffuse mode.  Your mind is in focus mode when you are focusing all your attention on a task or concept, the diffuse mode is when your mind is in a resting state.  She states that learning occurs when the mind jumps back and forth between these two modes.   Allowing the mind to rest when a challenge to learning is encountered, allows for a broader pathway to a new thought or solution to build in your brain. 

As she was talking, I thought about my reaction to discovering that using learning styles approach is not an effective teaching strategy.  My mind was racing and I had to go away from my work to rest in order to make sense of this new insight and my own thinking about it.  This is a clear example of how the focus and diffuse modes, Ms Oakley talks about, work together to orientate new thoughts. 

Ms Oakley gives some great examples of ways to develop your learning skills at the end of this video.  She suggests developing flash cards for yourself and working a problem through several times will help the brain develop and strengthen these pathways to recalling knowledge.  She states that understanding combined with practice and repetition in various circumstances is most effective when learning. 

PIDP 3250 Instructional Studies Digital Assignment #1- Case Studies

This was my first attempt at creating an infographic and I did think the process would be somewhat easier that it proved to be!  Navigating a new design tool wasn't so much the issue as Canva was fairly easy to use.  What I found most challenging was deciding what information to include and what should be left out.  My research gave me so much material that I became bogged down by too much information.
Coincidentally, this situation I found myself in is also a main challenge when creating case studies.  To find the right balance of enough information to make the case study real and challenging but not to frustrating the student by overwhelming them with facts and data. Barkley, (2010). p 274.  I am definitely going to use this format again, as it's a creative and concise approach to sharing information. 

Barkley, Elizabeth F. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San     Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Learning styles

There has been some debate whether learning styles are relevant or not.  Learning styles are common learning behaviors grouped together and of course not all persons learn the same so these behavior groups help educators to develop lessons that incorporate at least a few of these learning preferences into their lesson plans. After doing more research, I have come to realise that learning styles are a myth.  They are not as a method to which I must instruct for or towards, but sensory pathways to help students make connections or find meaning to the content or material they are receiving.  I will use sensory instructional strategies that best fits the course content I am delivering.  By doing this I hope to engage students, present more creative and diverse lessons which ultimately will help students learn more efficiently and effectively. 
Maryellen Weimer, (2014), suggests
The most powerful message of the learning styles movement is that content must be delivered in different ways.  Moreover, variation in instructional methods develops a broad range of learning skills. Students may have a learning preference, but that is not the only way they can learn, nor should it be the only way they are taught.”

Weimer, M. (2104). What’s the Story on Learning Styles? Retrieved from: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/learning-styles/whats-story-learning-styles/

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Self-Directed Learner


 This is a great graphic of the process in which a self-directed learner travels through, culminating in the formulation of new behaviors or beliefs which have developed throughout the learning process.  I will be sharing the article Becoming A Self-Directed Learner with my students as it outlines each dimension in detail and includes useful strategies students can do to develop their skills in the 4 dimensions.