Monthly Archives: April 2018

Power and Responsibility


3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 4): Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly

In, The Skillful Teacher (2015), the title of Dr. Stephen Brookfield’s Chapter 18 sounds like a Public Service Announcement: “Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly” (pp. 239-251).

Teachers of adults aren’t meant to stand at a pulpit and preach, that is so pedagogical: I teach, you learn! They aren’t meant to be authoritarian figures either. Educators have a responsibility to their learners, their institution, their profession, and to the public to produce successful members of society (dental assistants, nurses, doctors, managers, teachers, social workers, etc.). To do so, an educator must control the classroom, AND facilitate a positive learning environment where learners meet prescribed expectations.

Brookfield warns that “you can use teacher power to inspire, guide, and encourage, just as much as to punish, diminish, or massage your ego” (p. 240). There is  a lot of responsibility associated in exercising power in the classroom, and our intent must be to promote policies and curricula that are “inherently valuable or socially beneficial” (p. 241). He outlines systems that promote the facilitator’s correct use of power:

Transparency: Be up front with objectives. How I will use my power. Give clear expectations.

Responsiveness: Let students know that you will address any problem that arises, and talk to them about how you will respond (to concerns they’ve expressed). Use weekly “Critical Incident Questionnaires” (Brookfield, p. 34).

Consistent Fairness: Follow through on objectives. Create a level and positive ‘playing field’ for all types of learners e.g. introvert/extrovert.

Knowing When to Exert Power (Ethical Coercion): Identify the material that is crucial (mandatory) for meeting objectives, and deliver it with authority and civility.

When researching this topic, I stumbled upon an awesome PIDP alumnus’ blog post on Brookfield’s chapter. The blog’s author, ‘Thea’, includes a link from Faculty Focus that outlines the different types of power that a teacher can exert. Check it out: Different Sources of Power that Affect the Teacher-Student Relationship (Weimer, 2009).


A Collection of Knowledge. (2017, January 27). Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly – a reflection of Brookfield. Retrieved from

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher (3rded.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Weimer, M. (2009, December 22). Different Sources of Power that Affect the Teacher-Student Relationship. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from


Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM The featured image in this post was taken at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Impostor Syndrome


Image AttributionFacebook SAS

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 3)

In Chapter One of his book, The Skillful Teacher, Dr. Stephen Brookfield discusses “Growing into the Truth of Teaching” (pp. 8-11) from an experiential perspective. He explains truths as personal “understandings and insights” (p. 8) that stem from his 45 years as an educator. Brookfield goes on to list his important truths, and the ‘truth’ that affects me the most, and the one that I truly identify with is, “I will always feel like an impostor and will never lose the sense of amazement I feel when people treat me as if I have something valuable to offer” (p. 9).  It’s been somewhat of a theme throughout my blog posts that while I know my subject well, I’m panicked at the thought of ‘putting my money where my mouth is’ and getting out of the sanctity of surgery, and actively pursuing a faculty position in a dental assisting program.

What Brookfield is referring to is called impostor[1]syndrome. Executive coach and writer Gill Corkindale explains,

“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They seem unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field. High achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so imposter syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, especially in women and among academics” (2008, para. 3).

Perfect! I am a woman and an aspiring academic. Fortunately, I know my stuff, so why do I feel like an impostor? Why do I feel that I don’t have anything important to offer my learners? How do I overcome these feelings of self-doubt? Educator Jennifer Craven experiences what Brookfield describes as well, and in her 2014 online article she outlines a way to overcome impostor syndrome: She creates an alter ego for her self-doubt and names it “The Imposter,” and then simply ignores it by telling herself that The Impostor is not real and that it is not visible to others. I love easy fixes, but for me, I think that self-affirmations in this regard must be continuous 🙂

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher (3rded.). San Francisco; Jossey-Bass.

Corkindale, G. (2008, May 7). Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Craven, J. G. (2014, September 16). Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome: Advice for New Faculty. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

👩🏻‍🏫For more on this topic, please check out my reflective essay on Impostor Syndrome posted on my 3260 page.

[1]impostor or imposter: both spellings are correct

420 (plus 1)


That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet – William Shakespeare

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was afraid. Afraid because while marijuana is in the process of being legalized in Canada, I feel that there remains a needless stigma surrounding the plant and its recreational use. I do not want to come off sounding condoning or judgemental, but in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with recreational marijuana use. Okay, I’ve said it; I’m out! Maybe if more people would educate themselves on the pros and cons of any drug use (alcohol included) they would discover that in the big scheme of things, marijuana is the most benign. I don’t want to enter into a discussion of ‘gateway’ (1) drugs, or point fingers at ‘bad’ (2) drugs either. I simply want to discuss that legalization is happening, and that we as a country should be proud of yet another freedom afforded to us🇨🇦

I want to be blunt though (pun intended), because as seldom as I do partake, I am responsible: I do not drive, work, look after children, operate potentially dangerous machinery, wield an axe (you get the point), unless I am sober. And, I am not ‘outing’ anyone (including myself), except to say that stigmas stem from fear. I’m not sure why people are afraid: are users afraid that they’ll be negatively judged, which could result in personal consequences: do you want your boss to know that you smoke weed? Are non-users afraid that ‘stoners’ will corrupt society? The issue is complicated to say the least.

None-the-less, I am happy that discussions are happening, and I love this article that I read on Castanet News (Kelowna, BC) on the responsible and organized participants of 420 at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach yesterday:
And, this article from Castanet on Friday on the origin of 420 is an interesting read as well:

I did not use marijuana yesterday because I am not a typical pot smoker, but I did listen to my favourite 420 playlist because the songs are positive, upbeat, at times ironic and satirical, and controversial, and so is this blog post. Were it not for the following artists, and the culture that their art reflects, change (and freedom) would not have been initiated.

My Personal 420 Playlist:

Bang a Gong – T Rex
Because I Got High – Afroman
Call Me the Breeze (or anything by JJ Cale)
Come As You Are – Nirvana
Custard Pie (gives me the munchies) – Led Zeppelin
Dave’s Not Here – Cheech and Chong
Drugs In My Pocket – The Monks
Exodus (the song, the album, and the entire collection of Bob Marley)
Get Off My Cloud – The Rolling Stones
Give It Away (because the RHCP cite Bob Marley)
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Good Vibrations (a masterpiece) – The Beach Boys
Hash Pipe – Weezer (an obvious choice)
Hits From The Bong – Cyprus Hill (another obvious choice)
I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
Kickapoo – Tenacious D
Kitty (cool title) – The Presidents of the United States of America
Know Yourself – Drake
Let The Good Times Roll – The Cars
Lookin’ Out My Backdoor – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Loser – Beck
Monkey Man – The Rolling Stones
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
Santa Monica – Everclear
Stacks O’ Money – Eagles of Death Metal
Standing On The Rock (and anything by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils)
Stoners Anthem – Snoop Dogg
Sweet Leaf – Black Sabbath (in my opinion, the original Stoner’s Anthem)
The Joker – Steve Miller Band
What I Got – Sublime
You Don’t Know How It Feels (and everything from Tom Petty’s Wildflowers)

Kitty out☮️

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I am the photographer of the above image, but until legislation is official, I cannot say where I took the photo 😉

(1) Alcohol is the number one gateway drug
(2) A drug that requires a reversal (lifesaving) antidote

The Final Stretch


Featured Image: A lone runner on a long path

Hello PIDP 3260 participants, and welcome to my blog! I’m off and running and ready to learn about Professional Practice in this final stretch of the PIDP before my Capstone Project. I am a Certified Dental Assistant, and a lifelong learner: please check out my About page to learn more about me. I elected to begin the PID program in September of 2015 because I want to be an effective adult educator. In addition to studying at VCC, I work full-time as a surgical assistant in a busy Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery group practice in the Okanagan, where I also train and develop the dental assistants entering our specialty. As I wrap up my diploma, I want to share what I’ve learned in the PIDP (so far):

Foundations of Adult Education: There are many different theories of how adults learn. I teach dental assistants, so a mastery approach that is also learner-centred is required. Dental Assisting is a profession that requires the proficiency of clearly defined outcomes, and I want my learners to feel comfortable.

Lesson Planning: Be organized and have a plan, be adaptable, and create lesson plans that are transferable to a colleague.

Delivery of Instruction: Don’t be boring! Use all 3 leaning domains (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective). Be relatable!

Evaluation of Learning: Discover who my learners are (don’t ‘preach to the choir’). Feedback must lead to overall improvement. Do not focus on mistakes; focus on learning moments.

Media Enhanced Learning: Have some fun with technology!

Instructional Strategies: Try to engage my learners! Apply a variety of instructional approaches. Again, don’t be boring!

Professional Practice: I hope this course will help me become a more authentic educator, and I look forward to learning how to solicit feedback from my learners.

My PIDP assignments to date, are displayed on pages under the course headings on my sidebar as a personal archive, and as reference material. On my sidebar, you will also find all the links and resources that I’ve used in this program. I have included a Creative Commons license so that my work can be shared (if it’s attributed). Mostly, I enjoy interacting with my classmates, and I am learning a lot of valuable teaching tips from everyone in the PIDP 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM The above photo was taken while pounding the pavement during a visit to my parents home in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Québec.

Sticks Out


The heart-breaking loss of 16 individuals from the Humboldt Broncos hockey club reverberates far and wide. There are no adequate words to express the profound sadness associated with the accident. It is however, a good reminder for me not dwell on the day to day stuff that does not matter, and I’ve consciously spent the past week being more appreciative of my life and my privileged circumstances.

The outpouring of love and support for the community of Humboldt that I’ve witnessed is moving and inspiring. People want to do something to help and to connect; we are trying to feel better. On my way to work one day last week I saw hockey sticks outside of my neighbour’s homes, and when I arrived at work my boss had put his sticks out at the entrance to our office. The respect that this small gesture represents has created a solidarity that goes beyond words, and it is extremely comforting; I hope that it consoles those directly affected by the tragedy too.