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 🙂

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

A Mother’s Love

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I am going to use a prose that would indicate my first mom is still alive for two reasons: It will make this post more readable, and most important: she is alive and well in my heart. I can see her face and hear her voice and this is so comforting. I’ve posted previously on my adoption and reunion, but I’ve yet to set the record straight as to how much my first mom meant to me and the reasons why. I’m going to call her mom #1 simply because she is the first mom that I can recall, and I know that mom #2 will be okay with this because she is eternally grateful to my first mom for loving me and looking after me when she was not afforded the opportunity to do so. I wish they could have met. They are both so funny and beautiful, and they love life and love their children. I am so blessed.

I want to begin by saying that without a doubt, there is no one on earth, not even your spouse or your children, who love you as much as your mom. I am not minimizing the love of another family member, I am just stating that a mother’s love for her children is unsurpassed as an instinctual and absolute reflection of unconditional love.

Doreen was the was the last of six children in her family born in the small mining town of Haileybury, Ontario during the Great Depression. Her parents both died of tuberculosis when she was a child. Mom was raised by her sister, and left for the big city after high school to pursue a teaching certificate from Toronto Teachers’ College. She finished her career with a degree in Canadian History and an education degree (BA, BEd). Not bad for a girl from Northern Ontario! She spent most of her career teaching Grade Two. I’m talking about teaching six and seven year olds how to read, write, calculate numbers, zip up their own snow suits, tie their own shoes, be kind to others, etc., etc. She loved her students and her job, and she never came home stressed out. She’d be exhausted, but always had time to let my brother Mike and I know how much she loved us: THIS IS WHAT MOMS DO, AND SHE WAS REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT! Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly after she retired from teaching, but as the above photo depicts, she never forgot how much she loved me. So, thank you mom #1 for loving me 🙂

Considering all that I’ve shared about a mother’s love, it should not have been a surprise to discover how much mom #2 loves me. Catherine loved me for decades, without knowing where I was, or knowing who I was. When I was reunited with her we bonded immediately; maybe it’s because I was missing my first mom so much but I don’t think so. I was very protective initially of the relationship that I had with Doreen, and I did not want anyone to replace her. Catherine did not replace her at all, she simply loved me in that unconditional and proud way that moms do. Thank you mom #2 for loving me.

I just hope that my children know how much I love them. It will be hard for them to fathom this until they have children of their own. This is when I truly discovered how much my moms love me.

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 😉