Category Archives: Provincial Instructor Diploma Program

Exit PIDP

PIDP Books

I did it! I completed the Provincial Instructor Diploma at VCC!! What a fantastic learning and growth experience these past few years have been. I feel like I am ‘living the dream’ because I have a clinical position in an OMS practice, and I recently accepted a position as a substitute instructor in the Dental Assisting program at Okanagan College! To me, professional practice is about being authentic, relatable, and creating a legacy.

The final Capstone Project in the PIDP asked me to reflect on my instructional goals, and encouraged me to remain a reflective practitioner (there is A LOT of reflecting in this program). Reflection can be done in many ways, and this post paraphrases my final project. Have I addressed the diverse learning styles of my students? Have I applied the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy to encourage higher forms of critical thinking? Are some learners better at retaining theory (cognitive)? Do others prefer a hands-on approach to learning (psychomotor), or do they learn best by how a lesson makes them feel (affective)? I believe that a combination of all three learning domains is the key to active learning.

My greatest ‘aha’ in the PIDP moment was the realization that it does not matter how well I know my subject, although this is extremely important. I discovered that what matters most is how well I can convey my knowledge, skills, and attitudes to my learners.

Learning how adults learn is key. Initially, I thought I was a behaviourist because dentistry is a vocation that requires strict knowledge and skills: pedagogy; an ‘I teach, you learn’ approach. However, the assigned readings introduced me to Carl Rogers’, Freedom to Learn (1969), and Malcolm Knowles’, The Adult Learner (1973 & 2015), and to the humanistic learning theory which focuses on a student-centred approach to learning: andragogy. I discovered that I can do this! I HAVE been doing this throughout my career as a dental assistant, and now I can articulate and improve upon how to teach adults:

– Value: Do learners know WHY something is important?
– Information: Have learners been given all the tools that they will need to learn?
– Relatability: What knowledge or understanding do students already possess?
– Readiness: What will motivate students to learn?
– Reflection: Have students been given the opportunity to critically reflect and act on what they are learning?

I elected to take the PIDP to become an educator, and it has exceeded my expectationsand I can see the value in what I have learned because I feel more confident as an instructor. Thank you, Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. Thank you, Vancouver Community College. Thank you, Jenny Leong (Program Assistant), and thank you to my instructors, Glenn Galy, Jacquie Harris, Bob Aitken, Jeff May, Brian Cassell, Alison Dewhurst, and Karen Brooke 🙂


Bloom’s Taxonomy Link:

Clark, D. (2015, January 12). Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. Big Dog’s & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

References:
Knowles, M. S. (1973). The Adult Learner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Knowles, M. S., Holton lll, E. F., Swanson, R. A. (2015). The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (8thed.). New York: Routledge.

Rogers, C. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill.

My Butterfly Effect🦋

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3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 8): Professional Development Plan

Now that I am almost finished the PIDP, this week’s blog assignment is to reflect on, and share my future plans as a dental assistant, and aspiring educator. I plan on continuing to be a lifelong learner. I am not an over-achiever; I am just innately and insatiably curious.

As a CDA, my licensing body, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, mandates profession-based continuing education, and continuous practice. I am happy about his because it means that I can continue to work as a surgical assistant AND pursue a position as a college instructor. Continuing education for a dental assistant is typically offered by local dental associations. Every October, Kelowna hosts the Thompson-Okanagan Dental Society meeting. The four-day event facilitates a trade show with all the latest technologies in dentistry, offers hands-on clinics, and lectures on an endless variety of topics that pertain to dentistry and healthcare. In addition, my Health Care Provider CPR re-certification is required annually, which gives me another opportunity for continuing education. And, I am fortunate that my employers sponsor my attendance in both instances.

Continuing education as an educator will require more autonomous research. I want to continue pursuing higher education. I am enjoying the PIDP, and I want to keep learning. My goal would be to complete a master’s degree. I put my education on hold while I raised my children; now it’s ‘my time’ and I feel the ‘sky is the limit’. I am considering several avenues, and I need some serious advising, because education is time-consuming and it can be expensive. Do I continue at Vancouver Community College and enrol in the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction? Or, the Simon Fraser University Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Post-Secondary offered in partnership with Vancouver Community College? Do I consider applying for the Business Studies Certificate for Healthcare Professionals at Okanagan College? OR, do I apply to my dream program at Royal Roads University in Victoria, for the Graduate Diploma in Learning and Technology? Do I enrol in a free Edx course on Health Professional Teaching Skills at the University of Toronto? AND, I want to design an online course some day: Edx offers a free course on Creating a Course with Edx Studio.

I really appreciate this assignment because it has organized my goals, and the PIDP has certainly inspired me to continue my scholarly pursuits, while continuing to practice as a dental assistant. One of the questions in this week’s required blog post is: where will I be in 5 years? I can only say that I hope I’ll still be practicing as a dental assistant in some capacity, and I know that I will still be learning. I call this my butterfly effect: The idea that a small change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photo this May in Christina Lake, BC. The fauna is a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, and the flora is Washington Hawthorn flower.

🎬Me & My Survey Monkey® (Round Two)

Alas, YouTube© has blocked my video. But that’s okay because Vimeo™+© is now supporting my school project. I have the utmost respect for an artist’s work, and would never use content without attribution or for commercial use. I didn’t want to remove the Beatles’ song because it works well with my film (and I love the song). The video isn’t even that great, but the hype surrounding it has become interesting and controversial!

🎬Me & My Survey Monkey®

Making an instructional video is challenging and time consuming. It is also a lot of fun! However, the content of the film almost becomes secondary to its production. The video is part of a digital assignment in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. The criteria was to highlight a strategy used to solicit student feedback on the instructional process. I chose to feature online instructor feedback forms with the help of Survey Monkey. I made the video using  QuickTime® on my 2011 MacBook Air® and iMovie®. I uploaded the video to YouTube©. I guess EMI® isn’t happy with me using a Beatles’ song because YouTube instantly sent me a warning and threatened to block my video! I am disputing YouTube’s decision under the ‘fair dealing exception’ in the Copyright Act because my video is for educational purposes only. I hope my dispute holds, and I hope you enjoy my amateur production. Please keep in mind that I’m a dental assistant and a fledgling educator, and not a film maker.

Wait for it . . .

I’ve learned a lot about making a movie since my last post, and have probably spent way too much time playing around with software, but I’m in my happy place because I’m very comfortable around technology. I wish my movies reflected my drive. None-the-less, my ‘soon to be released’ instructional video has its own trailer! I know what you’re thinking: I should be working on actual course work. I can justify this diversion because I am still learning. I just hope my forthcoming video lives up to all the ‘hype’. Enjoy the preview 🙂

 

🎵 A special thank to the late and great Chuck Berry for his contribution to the world (and my movie trailer)

Semi Pro🎥

PIDP 3260 Assignment 5 is a digital project showcasing a feedback strategy designed to assess instruction. I can assure you from experience that the digital project will take longer to create than my feedback instrument, and my project will look amateur, unless I step up my game!

In the Mid-Course Formative Questionnaire, I complained about relying on student exemplars in the form of amateur videos for direction throughout the PIDP. My goal in Assignment 5 is to feature a digital instructor feedback instrument that will improve my instruction, AND to learn how to create a professional looking tutorial video, that will also improve my instruction.

For previous PIDP digital assignments, I relied on the Faculty Focus website for direction. 10 Tips for Creating Effective Instructional Videos is great resource, and I especially love the ‘bonus tip’ (Smedshammer, 2017).

While ‘surfing the net’ for more tips on making tutorial videos, I stumbled upon this DIY video on how to make a DIY video. Very entertaining and informative🍹 (Pull My Focus, 2017).

Stay tuned for my video 🐵 : I plan on ‘releasing’ it sometime this coming weekend!

References:

Pull My Focus. (2017, June 6). Make Your Videos Look Professional: 6 Editing Tips to Create Great How To Videos . YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haOe_yqciEc

Smedshammer, M. (2017, March 31). 10 Tips for Creating Effective Instructional Videos. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from
https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/10-tips-creating-effective-instructional-videos/

Walking the Talk

My previous post discusses the importance of lecturing creatively. Stephen Brookfield argues that lecturing can maximum student engagement. This can only happen if you know your subject well, and you are prepared. I just wrote a reflection based on a quote from Brookfield on instructors who ‘walk the talk’ (2015, p. 49). Brookfield suggests that instructors need to be authentic. If you’re an expert in your field and can easily convey this to learners, you are a walker and a talker! But what if your material is relatively new to you? Can you still appear like you’re authentic? What if you know your material but you’re nervous? Can you still ‘engage’ your crowd? Can you ‘fake it ‘til you make it’? This parody of a Ted Talk featuring comedian Will Stephen and created by Ted staffers is brilliant and inspiring! Enjoy!

 

References:

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

Stephen, W. (2015, January 15). How to Sound Smart in Your TEDx Talk . TEDx. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S0FDjFBj8o

 

Creative Lecturing

Lecturing Creatively

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

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 🙂

Program Accreditation ‘PART ONE’

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Featured Image: Amphitrite Point Uclelet, BC

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 6)

I want to talk about program accreditation because it’s important to appreciate an institution’s commitment to their learners, their faculty and support staff, and the public.  I do not think most people know how much preparation and hard-work is involved in offering a program in which validity is the focus. Learner outcomes are strict especially in vocational programs because certification and licensing of the student is at stake, with the major stakeholder being public trust. I want to talk about Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assisting program because it is where I received my certification. I am not a faculty member of the college; I am simply a proud alumna. I explain on my ‘about’ page what is involved in maintaining a license to practice as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) in British Columbia, and I was impressed to learn from a colleague and a faculty member of Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assisting department how much is involved in receiving and maintaining an accredited program designation:

– The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) is an external organization that “evaluates oral health educational programs and health facilities to determine eligibility for and grant accreditation” (CDAC, 2018).

– For dental assisting programs, The CDAC retrieves its standards from The National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB). “The NDAEB’s mission is to assure individuals have met the current national baseline standard in the knowledge and skills required by Canadian provincial or territorial regulatory authorities for recognition as an intra-oral dental assistant” (NDAEB, 2018).

– Accreditation requirements involve every aspect of a program from admissions to relationships with regulatory bodies (College of Dental Surgeons of BC).

The institution submits the CDAC report to the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. The ministry uses this information to grant an Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation.  “An EQA designation ensures quality standards that are above and beyond: Institutions carrying the EQA designation meet criteria beyond what’s required by legislation, regulatory bodies and accreditation processes. This means:

  • Students can be assured they will receive a minimum standard of educational quality
  • The institution also meets legislated requirements
  • The institution is in good standing with related education bodies
  • The institution meets EQA suitability requirements and is abiding by the EQA Standards of Conduct” (Government of BC, 2018, para. 3).

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, are there non-accredited dental assisting programs?

To be Continued . . .

References:

CDAC. (2018). About CDAC. Retrieved from https://www.cda-adc.ca/cdacweb/en/about_CDAC/

Government of BC. (2018). Education Quality Assurance. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/education-quality-assurance

NDAEB. (2018). National Dental Assisting Examining Board. Retrieved from http://www.ndaeb.ca

Program Accreditation ‘PART TWO’

3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 6)

A dental assisting program that is not accredited cannot grant a certification designation to dental assistants. What this means is that the dental assistant cannot perform any intra-oral duties (inside the oral cavity). For example, a non-certified dental assistant cannot take x-rays, or polish teeth. There are too many restrictions to list. This link provides a list of duties that a CDA can perform: Canadian Dental Assisting Legal Scope of Practice,(CDAA, 2016).  So, it is really important for a potential CDA to ensure that the institution of their choice is accredited, and believe it or not, of the 11 dental assisting programs in British Columbia, 2 are non-accredited. I’m confused as to why a person would register in a non-accredited program . . .

A publicly funded institution, like Okanagan College, solicits an assessment every 3 years (new program) or 7 years (established program) from the CDAC. My colleague who teaches at Okanagan College shared that the program was last assessed in 2013 by the CDAC. The accreditation package is lengthy and extremely comprehensive; it can be found on the CDAC website (CDAC, 2018). The staff begin working on recommendations immediately, and they also begin preparing for the next assessment which will be in 2020.

To be honest, the accreditation process of dental assisting programs is new information for me, and I am very impressed with the program’s commitment to the profession. All staff must have a vested interest in learner success, in the program’s success, and ultimately in the institution’s success as well!

References:

CDAA. (2016). Canadian Dental Assisting Legal Scope of Practice by Province – 2016. Retrieved from http://www.cdaa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Canadian-Dental-Assisting-Legal-Scope-of-Practice-2016.pdf

CDAC. (2018). Dental Assisting. Retrieved from https://www.cda-adc.ca/cdacweb/en/accreditation_requirements/dental_assisting/

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM Follow the link in the above image’s caption to learn about the historic lighthouse. I love lighthouses, they remind me of safety and trust.

Value and Expectancy

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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.

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 😉

Power and Responsibility

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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).

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.