I began taking the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma courses at the suggestion of my assistant department head when I was hired. She told me that the college values PID even more than a Master’s degree, and subtly hinted that completing the PID program was a way to climb up the pay scale. Although my motivation may have been kick-started with dollar signs, the financial benefits of this program are far outweighed by the educational benefits. The neat thing about PIDP is that it’s really about teaching and learning. The common thread in each of the courses I have taken is the importance of self-reflecting. For instructors to continually improve, they must always reflect on their teaching and reflect on their learning. The things we learn about ourselves, our students and our subject area must guide our practice so that we might always be improving.
I started with PIDP 3100 – Foundations of Adult Education. It was theory-based, but far from being boring! This course introduced me to ideas and terminology that have carried throughout the program. Andragogy: the way in which adults learn…this theory created a huge shift in how I view post-secondary education, both in instructional delivery and in how we address the characteristics of adult learners. We watched a pretty neat video on Changing Education Paradigms that really challenged the way I thought about educating adults.
I have also completed PIDP 3210 – Curriculum Development, PIDP 3250 – Instructional Strategies, and PIDP 3230 – Evaluation of Learning. Who knew that designing an exam was so complicated!? Just joking. Actually, I’m not joking. I had no idea that there were so many things to consider when designing evaluation instruments. Reliability, validity, weighting the exams, the types of questions, etc. This one was a lot of work, but very practical.
There was (and is) a lot about teaching that I didn’t know. What experienced instructors make look very simple actually takes a wealth of knowledge that the PIDP helps to provide. From setting up a classroom to planning learning activities so that students are successfully evaluated in achieving learning outcomes, each decision is made with a specific intended purpose. As I begin to teach more, I hope that I will be able to integrate what I have learned into my teaching practices. Only two more courses to go before the Capstone Project!