Category Archives: PIDP 3250

PIDP 3250 … Check!

As the course draws to a close, I reflect on what I have learned, and the learning still ahead of me. Instructors have to be life-long learners, for as soon as we stop learning, we cannot be effective in our teaching. And there is no one to make us keep learning. We must be self-directed and motivated. We must strive to be at the forefront of our fields and of new educational strategies, and always aim to maximize the achievements of our students. Because at the end of the day, teaching is all about the students. It doesn’t matter if we’re power teachers, gamified, or flipped upside-down; nor does it matter that we have motivational posters, or use circular questioning, group work, or fancy instructional strategies. What matters is:
Did we help our students be the best that they can be?

I had fun creating this blog, and I’ve come to enjoy writing blog entries. Will I keep it up? I hope to. If I take another PID online course, I’ll likely need to revive the blog anyways…and I have followers that I don’t want to leave hanging! But mostly, I hope to continue with this blog because it has been a great place for me to reflect, make connections between theory and practice, explore new resources, and continue to learn…

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A Little Light Reading…

Look what I just got from the library!!!visible-learning-for-teachers-by-john-hattie-book-cover
I can’t wait to start reading it. I love that Hattie has taken his research and applied it in this book geared specifically for teachers. From quickly skimming through the book, it looks like he provides some very practical instructions for making lesson plans that incorporate visible learning, lots of checklists, case studies, guidance for providing feedback, etc. It looks to be very promising as a valuable teacher education resource…

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For My Children

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And how fortunate I am to provide this gift to others…

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More Questions than Answers…

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In a recent discussion forum for the PIDP 3250 course, colleagues posted about the ethics and issues regarding talking about their students. For the most part, the consensus was that instructors shouldn’t discuss their students with other instructors, lest we ‘taint’ their impression of the student. And initially, I agreed with this concept as well. But after reflecting on an experience I had in the clinical setting with a group of LPN students, I learned that perhaps sharing some information with the instructor taking the group after me would’ve actually benefitted the student.
The particular student was struggling in many areas, but did well enough to pass the field experience portion of the clinical rotation. The instructor who was taking the group for 4 solid weeks asked me about the students and how things went. Being new, and not all that confident in myself at judging students, and also not wanting to give her pre-conceived ideas about the students, I simply told her it was a good group. When I ran into her after she had completed the rotation with the students, she said “it was a disaster!”
I thought about it for a long time afterwards…what could I have done differently that might’ve made a difference for this student? I think that it may have been helpful for me to have at least let her know that one student was struggling. Doing so would’ve allowed her to focus in on them right away to try and put supports in place to help them be successful. Would this have changed the outcome? Maybe or maybe not. And then where does confidentiality fit in with all of this?? (Research for another day…)

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Student-Teacher Relationships = Greater Student Success

John Hattie, the founder of visible learning, has research that supports a very important message: what teachers do matters, especially those who teach in an attentive and reflective way. These instructors teach in thoughtful and meaningful ways to change the direction of learning in order to achieve the desired goals. I was surprised that student-teacher relationships ranks 11th on the list of highest influences on student achievement, and upon learning this, I reflected on ways I can create relationships with my students in my own teaching experiences.
I was initially very surprised that student-teacher relationships have such a huge impact on student achievement. Other factors such as gender, psychological variables, instruction styles, motivation, and teacher training and knowledge expertise – which I had thought were important – ranked far below student-teacher relationships in their impact on learner success (Hattie, 2012). When I entered the teaching profession, I didn’t consider that I would be creating relationships with the students. Of course I assumed that I would get to know some of them throughout the course, but I hadn’t thought that in doing this I could help them to achieve higher successes in the course. Through the ‘visible learning’ discussion forum, the importance of being a visible learner and teacher became instantly clear, as I immediately recognized that I need to evaluate my own teaching and how I am creating student-teacher relationships to help my learners be successful.
As a new instructor, I have discovered yet another area to improve upon – the building of relationships with my students. In a webpage link shared by a PIDP 3250 colleague, blogger Jon Gordon writes about building positive relationships with the students. He states: “educators realized they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement” (Gordon, 2013). To develop positive student-teacher relationships, Gordon suggests that instructors “need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them” (Gordon, 2013).
In all of the post-secondary experiences I have had, the ones in which I learned and retained the most are those where it was evident that the instructor made an effort to make a connection with their learners. The instructors did this in various ways: learning our names, finding out about our work/life/educational background, asking about our hopes and expectations for the course, etc. The proof that they were invested in the relationship was that they referred back to our responses in their teaching activities, examples, and feedback. By them doing this, it felt as though they were making the effort to personalize the course for each of us, and this helped boost my motivation to do well in the course.
The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. How can I create my own unique way to show my students and colleagues that I care about them? Micari and Pazos (2012) suggest three areas an instructor can help learners to feel comfortable in creating a teacher-student relationship: sense of instructors’ approachability, instructor accessibility, and respect for students. In regards to approachability, I feel that learning each student’s name is essential. I believe that providing icebreaker activities helps build a connection among the students and also the instructor. Particularly it would be important that the instructor also participates, which equalizes them with the students. Having the personal sharing reciprocated by the instructor indicates that the instructor is also a willing participant in the student-teacher relationship. Additionally, using the information the students share, the instructor can personalize the lessons (with relevant examples or anecdotes) to show an interest in the students as people. In regards to approachability, I feel that offering the learners a variety of options for personal communications will build the relationship. This could be through office hours, availability via email or phone, or even virtual office hours. By making myself available to my students, and by encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities, I would be demonstrating a genuine interest in helping them learn.
One other way that I feel might help create a connection with my students would be to bring myself to the classroom. I can do this by sharing personal anecdotes, talk about my own nursing experiences, and talk with the students about their personal interests and experiences. Of course, I must be conscious to do this in moderation, as it would probably turn-off the students if I only ever talked about myself. I never hope to be the “expert” in my classroom, but I feel that offering this personal touch in a lesson will help to develop a more personal relationship with my students. Doing this will also help me to feel more positive myself, and will help develop positive learners who will hopefully go on to create a more positive world. I believe that in creating a positive relationship with my students, I will help them to become active, passionate and engaged learners, all of which will help them to achieve greater success in their studies.

References
Gordon, J. (2013, July 15). The power of a positive educator. In Developing Positive Leaders, Organizations and Teams. Retrieved from http://www.jongordon.com/blog/the-power-of-a-positive-educator/
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London and New York: Routledge.
Micari, M. & Pazos, P. (2012). Connecting to the professor: Impact of the student-faculty relationship in a highly challenging course. College Teaching, 60(2), 41-47.

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Pep Talk from Kid President

Sometimes it takes the words and wisdom of a child to help us remember that what we do matters.
Teachers help make the world awesome. What are you teaching the world?

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Motivating Adult Learners

http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/isd/30-ways-to-motivate-adult-learners/

For those of us who struggle with motivation in the classroom, this is a great resource that is specifically geared towards adult learners. As I read through the list, I could really see that they incorporate Knowles’ theory of andragogy and the characteristics of adult learners. It’s helpful to see how the characteristics are directly incorporated in the teaching tips. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how to keep the adult learner characteristics in mind when trying to plan a lesson – this really helps!

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Why Teachers Matter

What a moving video clip – it brought tears to my eyes. Although that might have something to do with the postpartum hormones. haha.

Seriously though, it’s a great reminder that teachers can have a huge impact on the lives of their students. We probably don’t even realize it…and maybe the students don’t realize it at the time either. It’s important to keep our teaching alive – when we become complacent we cannot make a difference in the lives of our students.

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Something’s Missing…

The idea of all this technology in the classroom is still daunting for me, though I realize that it has value and is also inevitable. If teachers want to keep up (and keep their jobs), it’s important that they start to embrace technology and use it to benefit their learners. I recall when I was in nursing school (2005-2008), and the college had purchased some very expensive, realistic simulation mannequins for use to use in the lab. These were serious mannequins…they could expel fluids from their orifices, they had a huge repertoire of breathing sounds, could switch from a regular pulse to irregular using a remote control. Apparently.

I say ‘apparently’ because we never got to use them. Why? Because no instructor was trained to use them. It was unbelievable to me that the school would invest so much money in equipment, and then have it sit unused. This was a lesson for me that teachers need to be prepared and willing to learn new skills in order to better teach their students. Not only that, instructors should take initiative to include new technology in their classroom! How come none of my nursing instructors stepped up to learn about the new mannequins so that we could use them? Instructors might feel that they have all the skills they need to teach a course effectively, but there is a good chance their teaching styles and activities may become outdated (or obsolete). if there is a new technology available, they should be willing to put in an effort to learn the technology and how it could best serve in the lesson.

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Teach/Learn Continued…

As a nurse, I know that you never stop learning.  And now, as a nursing instructor, I am in a teaching role, but am also continuing to learn – both about nursing and about teaching.

The last few days have highlighted the teaching and learning cycle and the value of being a lifelong learner.  Let me tell you about it…

Very early Friday morning, my husband and I welcomed a baby boy to the world.  Baby and I are both doing well – he’s my excuse for being out of the blogging world for a few days.  I had the pleasure of having a student nurse look after me and my son.  While many people are nervous to have a student look after them, I know from experience that patients are probably better looked after by students than by “real” nurses.  Why?  They don’t have huge workloads, they want to make sure they are doing everything exactly right, and they will always go the extra step.  This particular student was a male, he said trying out his third career (a fellow lifelong learner!).  Being a nurse myself, I might’ve been impatient with how long it took to complete an assessment (for example), but being an instructor as well, helped me to be patient and help the student have the best learning experience possible.  If that meant he needed to check baby’s temperature 6 times, I was okay with that.

Watching the way the student did an assessment, processed information, and evaluated for any concerns or questions was interesting for me.  It helped me to remember that everyone learns very differently, and while the process may vary, the end outcome is really what is important.  I find that sometimes instructors get stuck on a student doing a task a very specific way, and if you ask the instructor what the rationale is, they aren’t actually sure.

Students are great questioners…reminding us to always reflect, “why do we do things the way we do?”  And “is there a better way?”

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