Flow

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Featured Image: Choppy waves and a lone surfer on a craggy beach

I am going to be in front a class tomorrow for the first time; I’m actually going to be teaching a lesson!! The mini lessons that I delivered in PIDP 3220 don’t count because they were mock lessons that I presented to my classmates and to our instructor: I learned a lot from that experience, like how NOT to deliver a lesson! That is, do not stand at the front of the class and recite boring information that ‘I’ think is important.

A recent PIDP 3250 class discussion topic has been on Flow in the classroom, whereas the instructor and/or the learner experience complete immersion and involvement in the task at hand and time seems irrelevant. One of my classmates introduced the following link from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkley:

8 Tips for Fostering Flow in the Classroom

And another classmate paraphrased the 8 tips (my intentions are in parenthesis). I will follow this advice tomorrow because the purpose is not how well I know my topic, it is how well I can convey it in an engaging way to my students.

  1. Challenge, but not too much (I can do that)
  2. Make material relevant (read my audience and do not ‘preach to the choir’)
  3. Encourage choice (allow learners to choose their activities: I’m not sure how this will work)
  4. Set clear goals (and give positive constructive feedback along the way)
  5. Build positive relationships (focus on learner-centred instruction, and be authentic)
  6. Foster deep connection (I’ll try not to interrupt the learning process if students are engaged in a discussion or activity)
  7. Offer hand-on exercises (got it)
  8. Make ’em laugh (either at me or with me: I will try to please!)

Wish me luck!!

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the photo in this post at Wickininnish Beach BC. My daughter Rachel is gleefully shredding the gnar! If she can do it, so can I.

I’m Tired

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Featured Image: A tiny chihuahua engaged in blissful slumber

Sleep, you elusive and indulgent beast. I recently participated in a PIDP 3250 forum regarding the quality of sleep and our brain’s capacity for memory. Sleep ‘experts’ study the restorative effects of sleep on consolidating new memories into long-term memory: blah, blah, blah. I’m getting defensive about this because I’m sleep deprived, and it’s not by choice!! I usually don’t make generalized statements, but: I don’t think anyone chooses to not get enough sleep, especially the kind that the ‘experts’ say we need for ideal human functioning.

I’ve been researching how much sleep an adult requires, and there’s a lot of information available. Just Google© it and you’ll see what I mean. All the websites, blogs, and scholarly articles that I’ve read all agree that you need an average of 7 hours of sleep each night, and for an efficient rest, they all suggest reducing caffeine and sugar intake, reducing screen time before bed, and optimizing your sleep environment (comfort, darkness, temperature, etc.). But, none of the resources addressed OPPORTUNITY!!! Personally, the lack of opportunity to sleep is the number one cause of my sleep deprivation.

My instructor in 3250 talks about time management often because it’s a busy and demanding course. I need to work on time management for sleep (even 6 solid hours a night would be a great improvement).

I’m tired.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM The above photograph is of my little dog in his frequent state of blissful slumber. He has the memory of an elephant! I’m so jealous.

Teaching Tips

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Featured Image: A beautiful waterfall in a rocky canyon flowing into a deep and calm pool

I can stare at a waterfall for hours, mesmerized yet attentive, and surrounded by the freshest air! A great instructor can be a metaphor for a waterfall: powerful and compelling, fluid, and contemporary.

The University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence is a fantastic resource for instructors, especially the Teaching Tips page.

I love that this resource is available online and available to use without a subscription. The fact that it’s free certainly does not reflect or diminish its quality.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the photograph at McRae Creek in Christina Lake British Columbia. I want to be like the waterfall 🙂

(G)Oh Canada!

 

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Featured Image: A lone snowboarder at the top of a snowy mountain

I’ve been reading a lot lately about motivation. My go-to is Daniel Pink’s Drive (2009). Pink argues that having autonomy is the key to motivation, and I agree: at work, at home and in a self-directed learning environment. Pink explains that rewarding people for hard work decreases motivation. He calls it “if, then” (if you do, then you’ll get – also known as the carrot and stick approach). This attempt at motivation takes the control away from individuals to do great work on their own accord, because it “requires people to forfeit some of their autonomy” (p. 36).

In Student Engagement Techniques (2010), Dr. Elizabeth Barkley explains that motivation requires two elements: expectancy and value. People must expect that they will be successful at performing a task, and they must value the work that they are doing (p. 58). I suspect that a combination of expectancy and value is what motivates our Olympic athletes in PyeongChang. I’m not sure if autonomy has anything to do with their success at the Winter Games though. These athletes must rely on family, coaches, communities, and the support of their country to excel at their sport. I suppose it’s autonomy that drives them to work harder than their competitors because the goal is not just to represent your country and your sport, the athletes are also trying to achieve a medal or an Olympic record. And these athletes must be motivated even when they are sick or tired or COLD or in pain. Such drive!

As a Canadian, watching the Olympics this winter, I’m inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of our athletes, and I am so proud of all of them for their motivation to represent us all.

2000px-Maple_Leaf.svgThe above photo was taken on a very cold day at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia

Pecha Kucha

I’ve created a Pecha Kucha showcasing digital projects on the topic of Instructional Strategies created by PIDP 3250 students. A Pecha Kucha is a Power Point presentation which incorporates 20 slides, each no more than 20 seconds long. It applies imagery and sound “to create a seamless, memorable, meaningful and concise presentation” (Watanabe-Crockett, 2016, para. 2). I think a Pecha Kucha is a great instructional strategy to introduce new material, or to summarize a lesson. A Pecha Kucha can also be assigned as a project to assess learners. This post is part of an assignment where I had to choose 6 student exemplars of digital projects. As I started viewing the multitude of presentations, I couldn’t narrow my selection down to just 6 projects, and I thought a Pecha Kucha would be interesting and inclusive. The pros of creating a Pecha Kucha is that it is an engaging technology. The cons is that creating a Pecha Kucha is time-consuming (my short video took hours to create). None-the-less, I plan on using Pecha Kucha in my professional practice because I love cool technology, as well as trying out some of the instructional strategies portrayed in my presentation.

Enjoy

🙂 I would like to thank the students who shared their projects so that I could create My Pecha Kutcha. The links to their full presentations can be found on my Resources page.

I would also like to thank the Black Keys (Auerbach & Carney, 2010)

 

Mindfulness

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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 mindful.org

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.

Momentum

Bridge

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.