3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 7): Brookfield, Chapter 6 Creative Lecturing

Lecturing Creatively

In my line of work, lecturing is an important component of theory introduction. I can assign readings, have learners watch videos, enact demonstrations, and stimulate discussion, but ultimately I need to spend time describing content to my learners in the form of a lecture. This is not to say that a combination of the above cannot be combined with a good lecture. Stephen Brookfield (2015) writes that, “the challenge is to make our lectures as helpful, enlivening, and critically stimulating as possible” (p. 70): I want to add memorable to this list.

I recently taught a class for the first time on a topic that is critical to healthcare: Preventing Healthcare Associated Infections. I talked about the pathogens that can survive on hard surfaces in the dental office, and the importance of a proper sterile technique. Brookfield outlines the reasons for lecturing (2015) and unbeknownst to me at the time, I followed his directives:

– introduce material (aka: objective and goal of lecture)

– explain difficult or abstract concepts (pathogens are microscopic!)

– introduce alternative interpretations (acknowledge diverse learning styles)

– model intellectual attitudes and expectations (place value on the topic)

– encourage learners’ interest (keep them entertained!)

The entertainment portion of my lecture consisted of student volunteers blowing whistles every time I contaminated something (touched something that I wasn’t supposed to touch) in a mock operatory. I managed to stump the students once, and they also ‘blew the whistle’ on me numerous times. Brookfield argues that deconstructing what an instructor has previously communicated is key to understanding; I also hope my demonstration was memorable and engaging.

Brookfield states that “varying the communication styles and modalities you use in a lecture has long been argued as an essential component of good practice” (2015, p. 73). I agree. I came across this fantastic website on how to engage learners during PIDP 3250 (Instructional Strategies): Tecknologic – Learn. Try. Share. It is a fantastic resource with free downloads for many virtual games that can supplement a lecture. The latest download is a Power Point spinning wheel that can be customized. A vocabulary review is one suggestion, and it looks like fun! And, what a great way for learners to remember terminology! Brookfield’s final statement in Chapter 6 will encourage me to continue to incorporate a variety of elements into my future lectures, “Well-situated presentations can be crucial to students’ development as learners” (2015, p. 82).

References:

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

tecknologic. (2018, April 30). The Spinning Wheel 2018. technologic.wordpress.com. Retrieved from https://tekhnologic.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/the-spinning-wheel-2018/

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM Brookfield forgot to mention how much fun creative lecturing can be for the instructor 🙂

Recharge

No books were cracked this weekend; I went camping with my family. I brought my laptop and my textbooks, however, I simply chose to photograph my school supplies against a natural backdrop instead of doing coursework. I intended to write a brilliant reflection on being an authentic instructor, I needed to write an assigned blog post on lecturing creatively (stay tuned folks!), and I was supposed to be working on an ethics assignment with a classmate: NONE of this happened. I literally spend the weekend sitting around the campfire in my lawn chair. I barely moved more than a kilometre for 2 whole days! I should mention that I have limited Wi-Fi at camp, and I used what data I could afford learning how to make photo galleries on my blog!

I guess you could say that I recharged my batteries. I found an online article on the 27 ways that one can recharge themselves. I won’t mention all 27 but I did accomplish three items in the top 5!

  1. Do a tech detox: ✅
  2. Drink a little too much wine with your friends: ✅ ✅
  3. Get out in nature: ✅ ✅ ✅

This post marks the halfway point in the last course of my diploma. I feel refreshed and ready to ‘crack the books’ once more.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM The photos in my gallery were all taken in Christina Lake, BC

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

Alternate Title: Value and Expectancy

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“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.

Resources:

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

Wikipedia. (2018, February 14). Expectancy-value theory. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expectancy-value_theory

 

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 😉