Any topic (writer’s choice)
Respond to two or more of your colleagues postings in any of the following ways:
Build on something your colleague said.
Explain why and how you see things differently.
Ask a probing or clarifying question.
Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
Offer and support an opinion.
Validate an idea with your own experience.
Ask for evidence that supports the posting.
I actually was in a similar situation about four years ago. I worked for a Community College and transitioned into their Adult Education Employee Preparation Department. The community college had a state grant connected to the Department of Human Resources. The purpose of the program was to teach adults how to transition out of the state systems into jobs and or careers. The lady who literally built the program retired due to health issues and I stepped into the role. I knew this was going to be a humbling and different position than I’ve ever done but I was up to the challenge. I had to re-create and develop new material and new contacts, I wanted my learners to be up to date in all things jobs and education and training had to offer. Based on my readings this week, I had to focus on my learners’ attitudes and values. I wanted my learners to care about their purpose, feelings, opinions, and principles, not only for themselves but for other people they come in contact with (Barkely, 2010).
1. I teamed up with the local employment agencies to see who was hiring, what education was needed, and how could my learners benefit.
2. I worked with my Adult Education Department to see what programs offered certifications for free (6 to 10-week programs).
3. I sat with each learner and helped create new resumes (or updated resumes).
4. I spoke with my learners to see what they wanted and how they felt about themselves.
5. I reached out to the local business and created the first-ever job-fair for my department. In addition, I reached to Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, and other local food businesses for food donations.
6. I had my sorority and other employees help with mock interviews to help minimize my learner’s anxiety when it came to be interviewed.
7. I create an interview closet, where I took donated clothes for people who couldn’t afford the proper attire for the interview. I then had my sorority sister conduct a fashion show on how you can take what’s in your closet and make it professional.
All in all the program was a success until the funds were gone and my position ended. I then moved backed to the campus and continued teaching. Before I left the program’s job numbers increased, my learner’s self-esteem and confidence were at an all-time high, and jobs were being kept. I still keep in contact with some of the learners, I even update their resumes if asked. During that whole process, I made sure that my learners knew we were just alike. Meaning, I too sat on the opposite side of the table at one point in my life. I let them know that anything is possible, we all have choices, and falling down is not the issue, the issue is not getting up and trying again.
I like to believe I made a difference as an educator, even if it just was for few students.
Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
the second collegeued
When we teach a course, it is common to design the course with ourselves in mind. With the passage of time and technological advances, learning as also evolved for our students. A course designed on our own personal learning preferences (or experiences) might only work for a small population of current students in the class. I believe this is the case for the retiring instructor in our discussion. The instructor thinks the materials work fine, but he might be out of touch with his current students. It is important to continue educating ourselves about the students in our classes, how they learn and what their preferences are. I would welcome the opportunity to re-design the content delivery of the course to fit the needs of the current student. A course with a student-centered perspective can reach so many more students than that of from a teacher centered perspective.
The first change I would make to the course is to incorporate an online component to the class so students can have access to past and future lecture notes, videos well as other class resources. I would also post different you tube videos as well as virtual simulations that students can engage with. I would make this change because it would allow students who miss class to see what they missed, and other students to revisit the material at their convenience. Incorporating other learning resources would give students the opportunity to see the class material presented from a different perspective, other than my own.
One resource that I would put extra effort to make is something that worked for me as a learner. When I was in school, I was given a reader with notes that outlined the topics that were going to be covered in lecture. During lecture, I would write in my own notes, as the lecture went along. The reader I was given was designed to promote note taking, and I really found it effective. I plan to modify my own notes, and post something similar to my own website for students to download. This is in line with advice from Nilson, 2016 The best document to post in advance is a skeletal outline of your lecture. In fact, skeletal notes are the most effective learning aid you can furnish to your students for lectures Nilson, pg 143 I would also model good note taking for the students by writing on my own skeletal notes during lectures. I find that students prefer this because by forcing myself to write, it slows down the pace of the lecture.
During the class period, I would incorporate active learning exercises as well as group activities. The active learning exercises can include worksheets for students to work together, or an activity where students build their own review sheets. Students teaching and learning from each other is an important part of building a classroom community. I believe students learn best when they are directed to apply a particular concept in a low stakes environment, such as in a worksheet. Students are more comfortable working amongst their peers and less hesitant to make mistakes. The benefits of having a course designed this manner are that students can build confidence in themselves while engaging with the material in a different way.
The reason I would make these changes is because students are dropping the class early in the semester and the feedback from those who stay enrolled were not positive. It indicates that a change should be made. Examples of the retiring instructor delivering a monologue without discussion is a characteristic of the sage on the stage teaching approach and is not the preferred method of the adult learners in this scenario.
I would ensure my students are actively engaged by designing activities to promote engagement. The first few course meetings are important to build community, communicate my teaching philosophy and build class norms. If I give my students reasons to trust this approach and invest in their own learning I believe that students will appreciate my honesty and give their best effort. As part of my designed activities, I will also implement clearest sky or muddiest point and routinely solicit feedback from my students so I know if this the class is working for them. I do see myself as a learner in the classroom, and I can use the students feedback to improve and see if they are actively engaged.
I have participated in several professional development programs where I engaged in meaningful discussions as an adult learner. A few characteristics that stand out to me are a mutual trust between participants and a shared investment in the purpose of the exercise. At the beginning of the training, there are always exercises to get to know each better, as well as a presentation about why the training is important.
There is one particular activity where we were asked to make a poster about our why and how it is related to our profession. I remember the facilitator giving us an exercise that I have learned is an appreciation pause exercise. We were given post-its and asked to comment on each other posters. Appreciations can be given verbally or you can establish an Appreciation Board where students post comments on Post-It slips outlining how their peers have helped them progress with their learning Brookfield, pg 96
The discussion usually goes well unless someone is disrespectful towards others. There is a big responsibility on the facilitator to make sure that everyone is following norms and all voices are heard and respected. It has always been helpful to have time during the end of the day to reflect on what was learned and provide feedback to the facilitators.
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Nilson, L. B. (2016). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.