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

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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).

Resources:

A Collection of Knowledge. (2017, January 27). Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly – a reflection of Brookfield. Retrieved from https://acollectionofknowledge.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/exercising-teacher-power-responsibly-a-reflection-of-brookfield/

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 https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/different-sources-of-power-that-affect-the-teacher-student-relationship/

 

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.

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 3): Impostor Syndrome

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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 🙂

References:
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 https://hbr.org/2008/05/overcoming-imposter-syndrome

Craven, J. G. (2014, September 16). Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome: Advice for New Faculty. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-careers/overcoming-imposter-syndrome-advice-new-faculty/

👩🏻‍🏫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

The Final Stretch

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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.