Category Archives: Provincial Instructor Diploma Program

Impostor Syndrome

Impostorship

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3260 Professional Practice Blog (Week 3)

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.

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.

What is Real?

Featured Image: Bare tree bathed in fresh snow against a clear blue sky

Virtual reality, my favourite oxymoron. But how do you define real? Technology has changed our world forever. A Luddite[1] will argue that the physical quality of education is lost in a digital environment. I wholeheartedly disagree with the Luddite’s mentality, and I want to talk about how digital media enhances LEARNING. A digitally enriched environment creates a more authentic learning experience in my opinion.

For example, what difference does it make in a learning environment whether the lesson is hands-on or virtual? They’re both simulated, they both allow for mistakes and practice, and they both contribute to mastery.

I took the picture of the snowy tree this morning. The snow on the tree is special because it captures something momentary. Every intricate branch and twig was bathed in fresh snow, and the sky was so blue that I had to photograph it. The picture isn’t real; it’s just a snapshot of a moment in time – you can’t touch the tree or the snow. But, I needed to capture the image so that I could remember it exactly how it was! I am struck by the similarity of using technology to clarify and capture an intended lesson, which learners can refer to in case they can’t remember all the intricate points of a class.

As I wrap up PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning (please check out my assignments), I’m driven and inspired by the verb, ‘enhanced.’ Technology does not replace an in-class experience, or diminish an online environment in comparison; it simply captures and improves the quality of a learning moment.

So, what difference does it make if education is derived in a ‘real’ live environment? Instruction, demonstration, practice and application can take place in a ‘virtual’ environment as well. A slideshow, video, online game, or a field trip on a sunny day following a snowstorm are all genuine ways to learn.

Luddites are fighting a losing battle, because we all win when information is documented and shared, and not just described as being ‘real.’

[1] A person opposed to technology

Copycat

Featured Image: Fennec fox Attribution: Floridapfe from S. Korea Kim in cherl/Getty Images

I am in the midst of the fifth course in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. The course is Media Enhanced Learning; I’ve been creating instructional documents and posting them online, and you will see them on  my PIDP 3240 page once I’ve completed the course. However, I want to share my video on Using Copyright Protected Images in Education. Creating media is very time-consuming, but super fun, because I love technology. The 5 minute video that I produced using the stock software (QuickTime and iMovie) on my old and reliable 2011 MacBook Air took me 10 hours to make; this included doing research on using copyrighted material, writing a script, filming my segments, and editing. I now have a sincere and increased appreciation for the work involved in videography. Enjoy the video! I hope it clarifies the use and reproduction of internet images.

 

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!