Tag Archives: Visible Learning

Somewhere lies the truth…

I’ve been involved in an interesting discussion with my PIDP colleagues.  There was a suggestion (backed by research evidence), that a student’s social environment can have an impact on their academic success.  Authors stated that most students who surround themselves with high-achievers improved their performance over time; the opposite was also true.  (To see the article, click here.)

But, what about John Hattie’s synthesis of over 800 studies that looked at student achievement?  I’ve discussed his idea of Visible Learning earlier in my blog, but just to review, he designed a meta-analysis and came up with a way of ranking various influences related to learning and achievement.  And where did peer influences fit on his list?  Nearly halfway down the list of positive influences.  At the top of his list is the teacher’s estimates of achievement.  So…perhaps the teacher estimates similar achievement for certain pockets of students?  If this is the case, both studies could be true…  Or does peer influence not really matter all that much?

Here’s a neat infographic depicting Hattie’s results:

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3240

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!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3260

Maximizing student achievement

John Hattie, an Australian professor and educational researcher delves into what factors influence student achievement.  According to his research, structural issues, student attributes, deep programs (such as problem-based learning) and technology have very little impact on the success of how well students learn.  Unfortunately, these factors generate the most attention from media, students, parents, and even teachers themselves.  Hattie calls these the “politics of distraction”.

So what has effect in our student’s achievement?  WE DO!  The teacher’s expertise and the collaboration of their expertise with other teachers has the biggest positive impact on student success.

Hattie suggests that teacher’s need to promote a ladder of excellence whereby teachers can develop and expand their expertise.  Yes, experience may be a factor, but it takes more than simply ‘years’ to become an “expert” teacher.  Teachers should be encouraged (or required?) to have a professional development plan so that they are continually striving to better themselves as educators.  For myself, the PIDP courses have been a great starting point for learning how to teach.  I don’t know if I’d ever consider myself to be an expert though!  The greatest impact of student achievement is to be a life-long learner.  I guess it’s a testament to my teachers that I have a desire to learn and always increase the level of expertise I strive for.

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3260

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…

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3250

More Questions than Answers…

gossip
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…)

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3250

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3250

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3250

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?”

2 Comments

Filed under PIDP 3250

Teach/Learn = Visible Learning

Visible Learning was a new term for me to learn in this course, but it provides the perfect definition for the image I have chosen for my blog homepage.  I first saw the Teach/Learn reflection image in a Centre for Instructional Development workshop at VCC, and I really connected with it, as I feel very much that when I am instructing, I learn more than I teach.  This is partly because I am a fairly new instructor, especially in the area of adult education, but also because I feel that I will never stop learning.  As a general surgery nurse, working on the same unit for 6 years, you might think that I know what I’m doing and that my learning has tapped out.  But this is so far from the truth.  I learn each and every shift – from the unit educator, company representatives, my colleagues, my patients and their families.  I take this same attitude of life-long learning with me into the beginnings of my teaching career.  I never hope to be the “sage on the stage” as I heard someone describe a teacher; I would always like to be a learning guide, mentor, facilitator and motivator.

Hattie (who founded visible teaching and learning), says that “the more the student becomes the teacher and the more the teacher becomes the learner the more successful the achievement outcomes”.  And the whole purpose of teaching is not that the teacher imparts their expertise to the students, but that the learners are active, passionate and engaged, and become their own teachers.

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/research/ravisiblelearning.pdf

Leave a comment

Filed under PIDP 3250