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).

Muddiest Point

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Brookfield Chapter 12- Responding to Resistance

For this weeks required posting I have decided to provide an overview of the chapter as a future resource for myself when I encounter student resistance to learning.  In this chapter Brookfield examines some possibilities for why students may resist learning and provides multiple responses for instructors to attempt in order to minimize the resistance or its effects.

Firstly lets look at some possibilities from Brookfield as to why students may resist learning. p.217-224
  • Poor self-image as learners - due to previous failure or humiliation, or ongoing self-doubt.
  • Fear of the unknown - the process of learning requires a person to enter into a period of an unknown or altered state for a time.
  • The normal rhythm of learning - the enthusiasm experienced when something new is learned is followed by a dip as the students understands how complex and unfamiliar the new territory they have entered is. 
  • Disjunction of learning and teaching styles
  • Apparent irrelevance of the learning activity
  • Level of  required learning is inappropriate - misinterpretation of students learning readiness due to use of unclear language to describe a new activity or confusion or misunderstanding of course content.
  • Fear of looking foolish in public - sometimes people will only attempt a new skill or task in public which they know they can do well.   
  • Cultural suicide - some cultures may not tolerate higher education unless it supports that culture.  Participants may not be supported by their families in pursuing a higher education and thus will refrain from learning
  • Lack of clarity in teachers instructions - confusion is created when instructors do not use clear language to communicate their intentions or criteria for evaluation.
  • Students dislike of teachers
 Brookfield outlines some responses to attempt when faced with resistance to learning. p.224-233
  • Try to sort out the cause of resistance - thru the use of CIQ, one minute paper, one on one meeting, or asking a colleague for their take on a situation
  •  Ask yourself if the resistance is justified - check for possibilities like the ones listed above
  •  Research your students backgrounds - get to know students and be willing to make adjusts to teaching approaches when appropriate
  •  Involve former resisters - organize for past students to come in for a short talk on their experience of the course
  • Model - exhibit the behaviors we'd like student to show
  • When appropriate, involve students in educational planning - as it increases the connections to learning
  • Use a variety of teaching methods and approaches - more effective learning for all students
  • Assess learning incrementally - to show where students are in their learning  and see what needs to occur to move forward
  • Check that your intentions are clearly understood - check, check and check again
  • Build a case for learning - share why it's important for students to learn the task or skill and how it will benefit them
  • Create situations in which students succeed - "scaffolding learning into logical, sequential and small increments"
  • Don't push too fast - be aware of rhythms of learning
  • Admit resistance is normal - talk about personal resistance to learning or past students reason for resistance, some may be applicable to present students and they may relax when they realize their feelings are normal
  • Acknowledge the right to resist- the learner has to make the internal commitment to learning
Finally Brookfield states
" Remember that resistance to learning is normal , natural and inevitable.  The trick is make sure it interferes as little as possible with classroom activities that others see as important and helpful." p. 233

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).

Monday, 22 February 2016

Professional Ethics in the Cosmetology Industry

In Western Canada our industry has a Non-governmental Beauty Council which has taken on the role to provide Federal and Provincial guidelines and a Code of Ethics for members of our industry.  Unfortunately these are guidelines and we are not monitored or regulated by a Government body.  The Beauty Council requests Hairdressers, Nail Technicians and Estheticians in the industry to become active members with an annual membership.  This non-compulsory industry established license for technicians is attained by passing a industry standards exam to show they are upholding a level of professional standards. 

The Beauty Council Code of Ethics states:
Cosmetology Professionals shall:
  • be guided by honesty, accountability, fairness and integrity in all business transactions
  • uphold established industry qualifications
  • commit to ongoing professional development
  • strive to enhance the public image of the cosmetology sector
Standards of Practice  
  • Members will ensure clients are respected and the clients' best interests are served at all times
  • Members will ensure clients' privacy and modesty is safeguarded and all client information is kept confidential
  • Members will ensure services are only provided within the scope of respective certification(s) and not utilize any technique/procedure in which adequate training has not been received
  • Members will ensure all usage instructions and guidelines provided by product and equipment manufacturers are strictly adhered to
  • Members will ensure all services provided follow the health & safety recommendations of the association and public authorities
  • Members will ensure they are abreast of current industry knowledge and the latest techniques  
  • Members will ensure clients are provided clear and realistic information regarding the goals and outcomes of service and/or products and only accurate and truthful claims are made regarding the potential benefits of the techniques rendered or products recommended
  • Members will refrain from making statements on the efficacy services that are not supported by the generally accepted experience of the profession
  • Members will ensure that clients' issues are handled in a fair and expeditious manner
  • Members will ensure that work is to the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct
  • Members will provide a positive image and promote excellence in the cosmetology industry

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Where to next?

Retrieved From: 

I love this picture, it speaks to me of growth with balance.  A oxymoron, can there be growth without tipping the balance scales even slightly.  I think not.  But a little agitation can sometimes lead to incidents of unsuspected learning. That is my main goal for the next few years, growth with balance.
Reflecting on my journey thus far in the PIDP, I have realized the enormous learning journey I have been involved with and at times it has completely consumed my life.  My apologies to my family and gratitude for your support.  Okay some detail to my 5 year plan to becoming a more competent and effective instructor.
  • gain full time employment as an Esthetics instructor
  • complete the PIDP within 12 months
  • take a short course to improve my nail enhancement skills
  • improve my critical and creative thinking skills by keeping a journal on my experiences as an instructor
  • improve my presentation skills thru organizing a mentor or peer coaching time with an inspiring colleague
  • be a guest presenter with other Esthetics programs
  • develop a short course that focuses on making connections with clients. There is much focus on the practical skills of performing a safe and enjoyable treatment which of course is essential, but I want to focus on how to build and retain clientele. A successful career which is also financially satisfying requires emotional connections to be established with people who will more likely return to you because of the relationship which has grown. 
Of course, the consuming feelings I have experienced in learning are entirely my own doing but going forward I will commit to my learning with a healthy balance with my personal life by setting a schedule for study and sticking to it. 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Culturally responsive teaching and learning

Another insightful article from Faculty Focus with a focus on effective instructional strategies to enhance teaching and learning in a diverse classroom. 
To view the entire article please go to Five competencies for culturally competent teaching and learning.
 Below I have shared from the article those points which spoke to me.
 1. Culturally competent teaching and learning facilitates critical reflection.
Culturally-responsive teaching engages students in self-awareness activities that lead to reflection on cultural assumptions.
 2. Culturally competent teaching and learning demands respect for others.
Culturally responsive methods such as inter-cultural communication stimulate respect for the needs of all learners and allow every voice to be heard.
 3. Culturally competent teaching and learning involves accommodating individual learners.
Teaching that is respectful and learner focused will naturally involve individual accommodations. Learning about the cultures and languages of individual students provides a foundation for implementing effective accommodations that facilitate learning.
 4. Culturally competent teaching and learning requires the use of intercultural communication skills.
Effective communication with others who are linguistically and culturally different includes the use of techniques like active listening, elaboration, paraphrasing, and restatement.
 5. Culturally competent teaching and learning requires focused activities and intentionally structured environments.
Intentional groupings of students with others from different racial groups have been shown to have a positive impact on students—especially white students.

Irish, C., Scrubb, M., (2012). Faculty Focus. Five Competencies for Culturally Competent Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from:

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Six Ethics of Life

Monday, 15 February 2016

Brookfield Chapter 9: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms

In our classroom the breath of diversity is substantial.  Our class of 6 students includes Canadian First Nations, European descendants, Hawaiian and Australian.  Allowing students to get to know each other first and then gently increasing the group work components of lessons perhaps make students more comfortable with each other.  There are a lot of times when students must practice new skills on each other before they can perform the service on the public, so our students do get to know each other very well.  They are also required to rotate who they work with daily so that they are exposed to different skin types and the unique conditions they represent.  Establishing very clearly and early in the class, that we treat each other with respect and kindness helps lessen the challenges of student hostility as the program progresses. 

An Esthetics class has a lot of “demonstration as a teaching approach.” P.165. This is to give students a clear view of the procedural treatment and show what is expected of them and how to get there.  Brookfield explains the “double edged sword” where students can be inspired or intimidated.  P. 166.  We give the students many opportunities to practice their new skills and build competency.  I hadn’t thought of my demonstrations as being intimidating as I am initially pretty nervous when having to talk or perform a treatment in front of others.  I am now aware of this possible reaction and will try to remember to speak clearly, smile and make eye contact with the hopes that it lessens any anxiety.    

When presenting new concepts I do follow up with an example to help make a learning connection.  What I discovered thou is to ensure all students are connecting the new information there needs to be at “least three practical illustrations from the teacher followed by the students’ attempt to provide a fourth.” P. 166.  Given the diversity of students, examples must be relative and familiar not only to the instructor but the student as well.  It’s the instructors’ responsibility to provide a range of illustrations and help students formulate connections to new material and using formative feedback like a minute paper, muddiest point or CIQ to monitor my instructional approach will assist me in knowing where and what needs further attention.   

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).

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Effective Teaching

Another great article What Students Want: Characteristics of Effective Teachers from the Students' Perspective from the files of Faculty Focus, written by Ellen Smyth.

"Researchers had asked their students this question: What characteristics are essential for effective teaching from the student perspective? Analyzing and combining reasonably synonymous characteristics, researchers isolated the top nine for online and for face-to-face students"

The top result for both platforms was respect.  This was not surprising for me.  I am a big believer that a classroom must be a mutually respectful environment for any effective teaching and learning to occur. 

Smyth writes "Students should be shown all the respect we can muster. We need to regularly analyze and question our attitudes. We need to empathize with students by imagining role reversals and by believing in them whenever possible. We need to humble ourselves so that even the least are worthy of our attention and admiration."

There are nine characteristics examined in this study and I aim to foster my personal development of these characteristics by committing to the following actions in the future:
  • Respect-  be kind and thoughtful of others particularly when I am feeling frustrated or disappointed.
  • Knowledgeable - keep current with trends and research in education and esthetics
  • Approachable - use welcoming body language (smile, arms uncrossed)
  • Engaging- make eye contact with all students, alter my pitch and tone when speaking, be enthusiastic no matter the topic   
  • Communicative -use dialogue that fosters open communication and listen with my full attention
  • Organized- be well prepared for class and keep detailed lists 
  • Responsive - set and keep to a time frame to respond to emails and student inquires
  • Professional - make professional development goals and work regularly to achieve them
  • Humorous - don't use sarcasm as humor

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Brookfield Chapter 2: The Core assumptions of Skillful Teaching

"Treating students as Adults." p.31
The foundation of building a trusting and open relationship with students is to treat them as adults.   All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and feel they are a valuable member of a community.

"Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn." p.18
Brookfield speaks the need of instructors to be aware of his or her personal beliefs and habits and how they impact on a student.  It may be to leave the student alone to enable learning to occur or intervene at an opportune time or even suggesting a break from an activity or task.  Knowing how and when to make these decisions involves an instructor using their experience and intuitiveness to decide what is best for the student.

"Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance towards their practice." p.24
I really liked how Brookfield outlines ways in which instructors are able to make "informed teaching" decisions and actions by looking at four conditions. p.25
These include:
assumptions that can be explained and/or justified to ourselves and others
are actions implemented researched, is there accurate evidence
does the action achieve the consequence it intends
view our teaching thru different perspectives
I will most certainly be using this analyzing format to when reflecting and have a acronym to help me remember to check for each condition which for me is PERC (Perspectives, Explained, Researched, Consequence).

"The most important knowledge skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving their actions." p.28
Instructors need to know where students are in their learning and how to move forward.  Using feedback strategies like surveys, questionnaires or Brookfield's Critical Incident Questionnaire or CIQ are some ways to gain this information to enhance student learning.

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).