Value and Expectancy



3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 5): Understanding and Responding to Student’s Resistance to Learning

“As teachers we see clearly the value of learning and we all too easily assume students can see this too. The reason that certain understandings or skills are important is so obvious to us that we may feel they need minimal justification” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 234).

I am relieved that Stephen Brookfield expresses this sentiment. I have experienced firsthand similar frustration when I delegate a ‘duty’ to my learners, and they respond with apprehension: “I don’t feel comfortable performing that duty,” or “I don’t know what to do.” I take full responsibility in these circumstances: did I not place sufficient VALUE on the instruction of said duty? Is my learner EXPENTANCY unjustified?

I want to go slightly off topic and talk about my mentor and recently retired coworker, Marjorie Dunahoo. Marjie drove me crazy over the years trying to infuse me with all the knowledge, wisdom, and skills that she was driven to convey following decades of experience, and a work ethic that few possess. It was easy to dismiss her directives if I was uncomfortable with a task, OR, if I did not place value in her instruction. [Silly me]. ‘Reinventing the wheel’ is a waste of energy. I am not saying that discovering new and more efficient ways of doing the same thing is not important, but, there is a reason why ‘tried and true’ systems exist.

That said, “a common reason for resisting learning is misdiagnosing where students are in their command of skills and knowledge,” translates into: know your audience and do not ‘preach to the choir’ and do not “[push] them into a task before they feel they’ve been adequately prepared” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 224).

All I know is that some learners want to learn and others do not; you cannot convince people otherwise. Why someone would choose a vocation, or register in a course that they don’t care about is not my concern, and it’s a waste of my precious time trying to figure out how to engage these learners. I have experienced learners who refuse to write things down after I specifically tell them, “you need to write this down.”

I digress. Back to Marjie. Marjie cared, and as annoying as that was at times when she would tell me stuff that I already knew, she knew her stuff, and perhaps she recognized a discrepancy in me that warranted her harping.

So, I’m going to continue to harp, like Marjie did: unapologetically. After all, there’s a reason why Marjie was a dental assistant for over four decades; it’s because she was good at it. And, as annoying as her direction was at times, and as equally as recalcitrant as I was, I learned an immeasurable amount of valuable material from her, as much I (at times) resisted.


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

Wikipedia. (2018, February 14). Expectancy-value theory. Retrieved from

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM The above photo depicts an incredibly difficult X-ray to capture, and one in which, Marjie mastered (aka ‘nailed’). The face-shield, lead apron, and ‘thumbs up’ are directives for future discussion 😉

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.



Featured Image: Driving on a beautiful stretch of mountain highway on a clear blue sky day

I am trying to figure out exactly what it means to be mindful, while at the same time trying not to overthink it; I don’t want to be overly mindful, you know – live too much inside my own head where things can get distorted. The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as,

 “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”

To me, mindfulness means intentionally focusing on the task at hand and purposely/purposefully shutting out unnecessary distractions or judgements.

It’s important to be mindful when I’m performing tasks such as driving a car (really important), preparing a meal (important, but not life or death), or playing online solitaire (not that important, but it helps my personal stats to stay focused).

Being mindful helps me remember peoples’ names – I’m horrible at this and have had some embarrassing situations when I can’t remember the name of a patient or their family member that I met 5 minutes earlier. There are certain things that I want my students to be mindful of that will help them remember protocols; repetition will certainly be in their favour after they’ve set up an operatory for surgery multiple times. BUT, there are also certain things that I want my students to be particularly mindful of, such as the reason why it’s important to prevent healthcare associated infections by maintaining a strict chain of asepsis. I need to convey appropriate values on procedures and protocols. How do I teach mindfulness when I’m accountable to deliver a competency based education? How do I place value on importance? Certainly, attention is key. Educator, Dr. Jeremy Hunter, explains that knowledge and skill are important, but “as work orients towards information and knowledge, as the number of inputs and distractions increases, controlling our own attention becomes an essential skill to master” (2016). Please check out his full article on

Thank you, Dr. Hunter! I’ve got some reading to do 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photo (from the passenger seat) on the Coquihalla Highway enroute from Kelowna to Vancouver.



Featured Image: A photograph of a calm lake with mountains in the distance taken while crossing a bridge

Hello PIDP 3250!! This course on instructional strategies, outlines ways to facilitate the processes of adult learning, and I get to blog as a course assignment!! I want to begin by saying that I love my blog. My sisters and a couple of close friends are the probably the only people who read it, and that’s okay. It’s comparable to being anonymous, and that gives me the freedom to talk about whatever I want, and even contradict myself as I learn new things. Maybe someone out there on the Internet (likely one of my classmates at VCC) will ‘like’ something that I’ve posted or check out a link that I’ve recommended, but I need to warn you that because I’m completing an assignment, I will be blogging more than usual over the next few weeks (I’m in blog heaven).

As a recap, I created this blog in the first PIDP course (3100 Foundations of Adult Education). I am a Certified Dental Assistant and an aspiring Instructor.

Being in the sixth course of the PIDP has created an affecting momentum for me because I am almost finished my diploma! Blogging to me reflects my own thoughts and theories. Being given the opportunity to reflect on my profession and my research in adult education is moving me.

In my first blog post, I quote Albert Einstein. He states that “the ordinary human being does not live long enough to draw any substantial benefit from his own experience.” I’m sorry Professor Einstein, but I’m learning and I’m changing. As an example, I routinely recommend frozen peas in Ziploc® bags for post-surgical cold compresses because they conform well to the jaws. A patient recently told me that frozen corn kernels work better than frozen peas for ice therapy because the kernels stay cold longer, and will not melt or get mushy. In fact, corn kernels re-freeze quickly, AND, they remain pop-able after being frozen! I realize that frozen corn kernels do not compare with discovering the Theory of Relativity, but it feeds my perspective that there are things in my lifetime that I am still learning, and these things are affecting change in me. In another example, a classmate pointed out in our online forum that it is best practices to create blog posts that are accessible to learners with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairment, or cognitive challenges; I am now ensuring that my text is as clear as possible in my posts to accommodate assistive technologies like screen readers, and I’m including media captions to assist my audience as well. As I continue to navigate through the PIDP, I can see that gaining knowledge and building skills affects attitude and positive change, no matter what your profession, how small the changes seem, or the impact that the momentum has.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photograph on my cell phone from a car while crossing Okanagan Lake bridge. The focal point is the mountains and the lake in the background, but if you look closely, you will notice my movement in the side rails of the bridge.

The Other ‘F’ Word

Featured Image: Directional arrow with the phrase “you got this” on a farm fence against a desert mountain vista

Ah feedback (sigh)

We all like to be told how great we are. Even as kids, a medal, trophy or certificate for participation in soccer, science fair, chess club, dance (you get the point) reminds us how awesome we are, even when every kid gets one. God forbid we recognize special achievement, natural talent, hard work, or dare I say, room for improvement, clear deficiencies, and “not even close!” Why is it so hard to provide and receive honest feedback? Why is this process so difficult?

I recently completed the fourth course in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. The course, PIDP 3230 Evaluation of Learning, gives instructors the tools that they need to assess and evaluate learners. I’ve posted all the assignments on my PIDP 3230 page. Assessment and evaluation require feedback. Feedback is a process in which the effect or output of an action is returned (i.e. fed back) to modify the next action; it is used as the basis of improvement.

Assessment and evaluation are acts of judging a person, situation, or event. Judging?!! No wonder giving and receiving feedback is stressful! Instructors have a great responsibility to provide feedback that will lead to overall improvement. The first step is to define goals and outcomes, then provide clear criteria, practice, and preparation prior to assessment.

But feedback is only as valid as the assessment process. Is the assessment based on the knowledge, skills and attitude that were taught in the lesson? And more importantly, is the assessment based on the lesson’s required outcomes?

Then for feedback to be productive, the learner must be open to suggestion. If feedback is critical, it will not be well received. Giving praise where it is due is very important, but an adult expects honesty in a learning environment, and the feedback must be constructive. For example, an instructor can blanket feedback in groups of learners to highlight strengths, and use deficiencies as learning moments. There is no reason to be disrespectful, or brutally ‘single out’ an adult who is trying to improve themselves.

And be positive! Don’t tell a learner that they’re doing something wrong; offer ways that they can build on what they already know. And allow collaboration: we learn from ourselves when we make mistakes, and from our peers just as much as we learn from our instructors.

Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface. Feedback should help to bring out our strengths. Always move forward and don’t dwell on errors or negative feedback. “You got this” is my favourite motivational phrase because it implies success and builds confidence!

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photograph at my cousin’s wedding this summer in beautiful Savona, British Columbia. I love that it instructs people to move forward with positivity!

Registered Nurses in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Wick Beach

After having been employed in an Oral Surgery specialty practice for many years, I have learned that while RN’s receive extensive knowledge and training in the medical field, a “warm and fuzzy” connection with the oral cavity is lacking. I decided to compile a crash course for nurses entering our practice so that they will feel confident while they learn the new dental anatomy and terminology language. I’m sure that I will continue to add to this document as new questions arise daily from our RN’s such as, “what does luxate mean?” I love working with these intelligent and dedicated members of the oral surgery team, and simply want to make them feel comfortable in their new discipline. I hope this helps 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photo at Wickanninish Beach on Vancouver Island: a place that I love, but also one that makes me feel like a “fish out of water.”