Muddiest Point

Check out this powerpoint I made on the Muddiest Point

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My PIDP Journey

I began my PIDP journey just over a year ago. I’ve had the opportunity to do both in class and online courses. I have found both of the class types valuable for different reasons.

 

The class I both enjoyed and benefited from the most was 3230, evaluation of learning. The program I teach in is only 8 weeks long per intake, and often includes 4 exams in this period. As instructors in the course we are responsible for creating the exam. The resources we were given in 3230 and the practice we had working on making valid and reliable assessments has paid off huge in the classroom. I took the appropriate steps after taking this course to go over the exams I was in class. After making the appropriate changes to ensure proper question construction and content validity, I have noticed positive results. The marks have not increased, however I am receiving better interrater reliability when other instructors use the same exams, and also because of the proper item construction students have stated little to no confusion on what questions are asking about.

 

Every PIDP course has caused me to reflect or think about some aspect of teaching, however the 3230 has had the biggest and most immediate impact in the classroom. I am looking forward to wrapping up my PIDP journey with the Capstone starting in May.

 

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Lifelong Learning

Strolling down the halls of the offices of post-secondary instructors I think you would get many varying opinions on the importance of lifelong learning for instructors. I think it all comes down to the reason you choose to teach. If it happens to be for the summers off, perhaps lifelong learning isn’t as important to you.

 

I think that in order to be a true professional in the field of adult education, lifelong learning is crucial. Courses such as the PIDP that I am in right are a great step, however I think there is just as much value in almost any other type of course. I would argue that is doesn’t necessarily matter the content you are learning and keeping you mind active that is important.  Have found when taking courses, other than PIDP, now as an instructor I pay very close attention to the different instructional techniques used to see if they could be valuable in a class of my own. It’s like learning two things at once!

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Creative Lecturing

I teach a riveting course. Canadian Electrical Code. Of course, as you would assume it is everybody’s favorite class when they come to electrical school. Seriously though it’s pretty much at the bottom of all of our students lists, both in interest and priority.

Due to the nature of the content and the short time limit of the course, as instructors we often have to lecture quite a bit to make sure we cover all the important concepts. It definitely is a great opportunity to experiment with some creative lecturing. Talking up at the whiteboard for one and a half hours about electrical code is a very easy way to put a room of 30 students to sleep.

In the 18 months I’ve been teaching I’ve learned the hard way about the importance of organizing lectures so that students can easily follow my sometime unique train of thought. I have developed a workbook with note taking section which follow along in the order of the lecture, I now know these are called scaffolding notes. I am also beginning the understand the importance of very good verbal cues and how crucial timing is during the lectures. I like the idea of incorporating some chunking giving 10-15 minutes of me talking followed by short work periods for the students to use the knowledge they have just gained.

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Policies are there for a reason

SAIT is a huge organization. In such a big machine having policies and procedures in place helps the wheels turn relatively smoothly, although sometimes it seems to cause them to slow down a huge amount.

 

I recently had an experience where I had to reference the Policies and Procedures handbook at SAIT, something I never really thought I would have to do. In our program, we review all of our exams with our students. We do this because one of our main purposes at school is to prepare them for a final government exam, so reviewing the exams helps us, help them get better at writing that style of assessment. During take up of the exams we always enforce a strong position of no electronic devices. We do this so that the exams do not become compromised and we can use them (or something close to them) for the next group of learners. While reviewing my final exam, I was in an auditorium style room, which is great for teaching, but a little bit tougher to keep an eye out for cellphones. I took the exam up like normal with no issues. After I was done we took a break, and during the break I received an email from one of my students stating they typically don’t rat on people, however somebody in the front row was taking pictures of the exam during the exam take up. Obviously, this is quite a serious accusation which needed to be handled appropriately.

 

Luckily there is a great support system in place including, but not limited to, colleagues and academic chairs. I chose to go talk to my academic chair about the situation really quickly and he quickly emailed me the section of the policies and procedure that deals with this type of academic misconduct. This type of offense is up to the teacher’s discretion how far up the ladder they choose to take it, so he left it in my hands. Taking the applicable policies into account and discussing it with the instructors who are also teaching the same group, we came to a decision. We had no proof about the photo taking, so we decided to address the entire class all at once. We just took the opportunity to remind all of the students in a non-confrontational manner about the strict policies we have against academic misconduct. In addition, afterwards we did individually address it with the accused student to make sure he understood the consequences “IF” he had done this. I guess we will never know the truth, but I feel like as an instructor group we did the right thing in this case. We utilized the existing policies and procedures to point out the importance of our action and potential con=sequences in the classroom.

 

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Teach to your strengths

I was recently plugging away on my reflective writing and I chose to write about a quote from Brookfield which read “As teachers we all bring different gifts and handicaps to the table.”. During this process I found this interesting article titled Teach to your strengths.

 

This was a good opportunity for me to reflect on some of my gift/strengths and handi-caps/weaknesses. I think it is a great practice for all instructors in adult education to take a step back and reflect on the way they are taking advantage of their strengths and combating their weaknesses in the classroom.

 

Enjoy the read!

 

CC

Where am I? And where am I going?

That’s quite the questions. Professionally I am relatively new in my current position as an instructor at SAIT. However, in my 9-year career so far as an electrician I feel like I have done quite a few different things and have a bunch of great experiences. I started in high school as an apprentice on a construction site, moving into a service electrician environment. As an apprentice and fresh journeyman doing service work I learned a ton about the work and about the business side of things. It also gave me the opportunity to run a service van and eventually start running multiple projects with multiple crews of guys. Then it was time for a change and I took the opportunity to become an instructor at SAIT. Although it has been filled with a huge amount of challenges, so far, the rewards outweigh the difficulties.

 

I am only in my second year now as an instructor, so it’s tough for me to say where I want to be in five years. One thing I do know for sure is that I am loving all of the opportunity of my new position to learn and grow. SAIT has a wonderful professional development program which is already giving me the chance to get my PIDP and next year I plan to do a certificate of business skills which has potential to lead into a business degree.

 

I believe in keeping skills as relative as possible, so I am often attending code upgrading courses to stay current with what is happening in the field. I also believe it’s always a good idea to keep an updated resume, but hopefully I won’t have to use it anytime soon.

 

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