Tag Archives: Professional Practice

Meditation for teachers

A PIDP 3240 colleague commented on my recent blog post (Online learning -> brain damage???), thanking me for addressing the topic and shared her views on the importance of meditation.  And she’s absolutely right!  In this world where we are surrounded by technology, our brains will surely benefit from a little bit of meditation and striving for mindfulness.  I discovered this website: The Mindful Teacher, which aims to help teachers reclaim peace and cultivate attention.  The website provides opportunities for discussion, resources, online courses, and even daily morning, midday, and evening guided meditations.  To start your day with a meditation geared for teachers, check out the daily morning meditation here!

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Taking the Tech Out of Technology

it20students20lab20classI LOVED this article!!  I posted it on our PIDP 3240 discussion forum and it generated a lot of commentary.  Peers were intrigued, interested and totally engaged in discussing this article.  In the article, the author states that instructors who were involved in the Virtual College at his school were actually not interested in technology at all….they wanted to learn ways they could increase social interaction.  Likewise, students wanted instructor contact.  Although we get very excited about new technology and great new tools, we still need to maintain the human connection.  The author sums it up well: “A blend of teaching practices, technology, and basic human contact just might be the recipe needed” (Buemi, 2015).

I tend to agree very much so with Buemi.  Although I like the options that technology gives us, I still like the human connection, between students and instructor.  Linking back to the hybrid course delivery model, this is a great way to achieve exactly the perfect recipe that Buemi describes.  Does anyone else see the risk of technology interfering with human connection in the classroom?

“Our excitement over the latest technology has started focusing on the wrong thing. It ought to reside in the praxis of teaching, not the tool.”

Source: Taking the Tech Out of Technology

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Nursing: High-tech/Low-tech

home-image-1With all this discussion of bringing technology into nursing, it’s important to remember that there are some essential nursing skills that are very low-tech.  I kind of alluded to this in my post on Virtual Reality…these are the skills that can’t be taught with technology alone.  I’m talking about:

  • intercultural skills
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • caring qualities (kindness, warmth, compassion)
  • etc.

Don’t get me wrong…we need technology to help us learn and advance, but we cannot be nurses without these low-tech skills.  As the American Sentinel University states so clearly, technology may be fine for nurses, but “technology can only work for patients when it’s combined with highly competent, relationship-based care. And this is why nurses must embrace their low-tech skills, as well as develop new high-tech competencies.”

To read more of this article: http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/05/30/nursing-skills-high-tech-vs-low-tech/

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Who knew!?

podcastSo…I’m trying to explore different types of media to share on my blog, so I searched for podcasts related to nursing education.  Lo and behold, I found one – created right here in the lower mainland!  The podcasts come from prn Education and Consulting, a group of instructors who provide advanced courses for Emergency Department, Critical Care and Transport nurses.  Their podcasts are informative (and accurate), and very relevant to current health trends.  They post a new podcast every month, and it is broadcast in both English and French.  All podcasts are posted on a separate website, so that users can browse the episodes and also leave comments.  Check it out: http://nursem.org/en/home/

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Free Info!

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Faculty Focus is a free email newsletter that provides subscribers with various articles and information about aspects of teaching in higher education. (Link to their webpage from my blog!).

If you’re interested in the use of technology in the classroom, they have created a special report entitled Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning.  In their report, they include articles on 13 different topics that contain practical information and links to useful resources.  For those who are wanting some guidance on how to use technology in the classroom (be it online or face-to-face), this may be a useful report (and it’s free)!

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From the heart of a teacher

This is a beautiful, inspiring video.  It’s directed at highschool-aged students, but the message is relevant for first or second-year college students – and maybe beyond!

Teachers care.  They care more about the students than the students realize.  Teachers lose sleep over their students.  They worry about students.  And they aspire to help students learn…not just the course content, but how to face adversity, deal with harsh realities and the uncertainties of the future.

I found this to be motivating and relevant, even for teaching adults.  I hope you’ll get something out of it too!

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My first infographic!

It is well-documented that instructors must receive and respond to feedback in order to improve their teaching practices.  As instructors, we ought to seek out feedback from our students and our peers (self-directed learning).  One formal way of doing this is by using a Critical Incident Questionnaire.  I chose to design an infographic for the digital media project in PIDP 3260.  I had never made an infographic before, but I’m pleased with how it looks.  Next up is actually using the CIQ in the class!

CIQ Infographic

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March 13, 2016 · 4:22 am

PIDP (in)progress

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!

 

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Keeping Your Cool

Yes, college instructors are professionals, but they are also human.  We always try to be calm, cool and collected, but sometimes students make this very difficult!

There can be many factors that might lead to an instructor blow-up (or meltdown)…classroom behavioral issues, unmotivated students, being challenged on something, feeling attacked on a personal level, stress/pressures from administration, or maybe we’re just having a bad day.  Regardless, it’s our responsibility to keep it together.  Image result for college instructors angryThis can be challenging, especially in the heat of the moment.  In a recent experience with a disrespectful and disengaged learner (see The Resistant Learner), I found that my emotions escalated very quickly and could have gotten involved in a very childish (“Yes, you are!” “No, I’m not!”) kind of argument.  Luckily I stopped myself, saving myself from acting unprofessionally and becoming involved in a pointless argument.

So, to help this from happening to you, here are a few strategies to help you stay calm and avoid doing something that you will regret:

  1. Take a deep breath and try to understand the situation. Listen objectively and with an open mind.  Ignore rudeness, and respond to the content of what the student is saying.
  2. Call for a break.  Use the break time to either speak with the offending student privately, or take a break yourself.  Don’t bring your frustration back into the class with you.
  3. Request to speak with the offending student after the class, or if you need more time to simmer down, in your next office hours session.
  4. If you feel yourself getting worked up, imagine your department head walks into your classroom.  What are they going to see? hear?  This might help you keep things professional.
  5. Take time for reflection after each class.  If things went well, why?  If you “lost your cool” – why?  Was it something that could have been prevented?  Or should you have handled the situation sooner? or in a different way?

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Feeling Like an Imposter

I just read an article from Faculty Focus where the author writes about her experience as feeling like an imposter.  It is a very relevant article that touched on many of the feelings I have when I teach a class.  Being a new instructor, I, too, feel like an imposter when I am teaching.  Quite often, I am actually younger than the students I am teaching, and I feel like they probably question my experience, qualifications and ability to teach.  And if I was them, I’d be thinking the same thing.

Take the Imposter Syndrome Test here: http://www.empresshasnoclothes.com/articles-detail.php?aid=520&cid=4

Craven (2014) describes the Imposter Syndrome as a psychological phenomenon, where you experience “feelings of inferiority and fraud, as if someday (maybe even today) your inadequacies will be discovered”.  She states that it is a completely irrational, and when I read through the rest of the article, I can see that she’s right.  I remind myself that I was hired because I have the knowledge base and experience needed to be able to teach a particular subject.  Usually when students hear that I have been a nurse for 8 years, they seem a little more convinced that I am not an imposter in the classroom.  When I also use personal anecdotes about my nursing experiences, the students really seem to accept me as being “qualified” to teach.  (But the stories have to be good – acts of heroism, cardiac arrests, wound evisceration….the better the story, the quicker you’ll seal the deal as a qualified teacher).  Colleges do not expect new instructors to be perfect, and there are going to be times when the students may stump me.  I do not know everything.  But that’s okay.  I think student’s a very accepting if an instructor admits that they do not know an answer and then finds out for the student’s by the following class.  In fact, this might even boost instructor credibility in the eyes of the students. 

I don’t think I’ll ever completely lose the feeling of being an imposter, and I think that this actually helps keep instructors humble.  Being an instructor is a privilege, and not something that I should take for granted.  I’ve got an obligation to continually prove myself to my students, the college, and maybe most of all, to myself, that I belong in the classroom.  But as I become more confident, I think Imposter Syndrome might begin to fade away … and I’m looking forward to it!

Reference: Craven, J. G. (2014). Overcoming the imposter syndrome: Advice for new faculty.  Faculty Focus September 16, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-careers/overcoming-imposter-syndrome-advice-new-faculty/

 

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