Tag Archives: adult education

Teaching Perspectives Inventory

Today I started PIDP 3260 Professional Practice at the Broadway campus. My instructor is Joanne Reid who was my instructor for the first course I took in the program, PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education which I took on line. It was nice that she remembered me and the fact that this is my last course before the Capstone it has a nice circular rhythm to it. As part of our homework we had to take the Teaching Perspectives Inventory.  Here are my results and my reflections.

Reflections on my Teaching Perspectives Inventory Results

I learned that taking the Teaching Perspectives Inventory Results should be done by carefully constructing and reflecting on the specific group of learners that you create before taking the questionnaire otherwise you will get a fairly flat profile with a fairly low score out of 45. This I discovered after taking the test the first time without reading the instructions. Upon taking it and focusing on my class of 10-19 students taking my steel fabrication or shipbuilding course I got the following results:

TPI

As much as I believe in the need for social change and reform, and love the work of Friere and Ivan Illyich it is not what I would be doing in my class.

I am glad to see that Nurturing is above the mean as I through my experience mentoring apprentices in the workplace that apprentices learn best when you point out their mistakes in a respectful manner and come up with solutions rather than rancour. Yelling at someone and mocking them for their mistakes might make you feel bigger and feed your ego but it doesn’t contribute to good learning.

Transmission is also above the mean as “Teachers primary responsibilities is to represent the content accurately and efficiently.” To be a good journeyperson means mastering the skill sets and obtaining the knowledge that comes with being a master of the trade. I want to push my students to strive to be the best they can be and constantly strive to improve their skills and knowledge. I have seen how depressing it is when you view your trade as merely a job and a paycheque.

Not surprisingly Apprenticeship scored highest. I believe that in order to be good instructor one has to have been a good tradesperson. If not your students will soon question your authenticity because of your lack of congruence. The people I had the least respect at work are those that have that “do as I say not as I do” attitude. A trades instructor must be the model of what a good tradesperson should be after all the apprentices would worked with a variety of journeypeople have seen a variety of approaches to the trade, not all of them appropriate.

What the TPI does is give you an insight into the lens that you view your teaching. One thing I was happy to see in my results was that my intentions and actions matched if not exceeded my beliefs. Hopefully this means that I will truly develop a teaching practice that I can be proud of because it matches and is true to my core beliefs.

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Good Bye PIDP 3240

I am writing this on the eve of submitting this blog to my Instuctor Brian Cassell for grading.   This is my 8th blog posting since my Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PDIP) 3240  “Media Enhanced Learning” course started at the beginning of March.  I set myself the goal of making one blog post per week along with the regular discussion forum postings and journal assignments that were part of the course curriculum.  I was also part of the Social Media component so blogging, Facebook and Twitter became part of my life.

As a “digital immigrant” coming into the digital age of the internet at the age of 48 and someone who’s “smart” phone is an old Blackberry (I just upgraded my old Playbook to a new Samsung Galaxy Note  8.0) this was fairly challenging.  Looking around I can see why the younger “digital natives” are glued to their wireless devices.  Pocket size cell phones can make videos and sound recordings, take photos and within minutes it goes out to a global audience.  Your 15 minutes of fame is just the right #hashtag, likes, hits or social media strategy away.

The most important thing that I learned in the social media component is that I had to develop a social media strategy in order to use the medium effectively.  I learned that people will follow people who provided good content, not just re-tweeting or sharing the latest cat meme.  Google does has its limits so I looked for sites like Scoop.it and Redditt where you can set up tag searches and find content posted by others with a similar interests.  Good content is curated content, ask any librarian.  With the vast amount of dubious content on the internet it is important to verify your sources before posting or reposting their content in order to maintain your own credibility.  This is something that has to be passed on to our students.

I used the keywords:

social media, technology,construction, apprenticeship,teaching and Canada 

as tags and set up the topic of Adult Education in general keying in on Apprenticeship Training in order to narrow my subject field further.  I am interested in teaching in this field upon graduation and I am also teaching some general interest welding and fabricating courses at the Vancouver Community Laboratory (CoLab).  In order to facilitate this I set up two RSS feeds from Google News.  This brings the content right to my blog and it is constantly being updated.  I also have accounts on Redditt and Scoop.it along with my Facebook and Twitter feeds in order to provide more sources for content for my blog.  I recently set up a Facebook page for the blog which I can use to regularly post content to and as I get into the habit, it will be easy to remember to sharing it with the VCC/SIE  Facebook page too.

I had a Twitter account that I never really used so I had to learn how it all worked.  I used to think it was place that people told the world what they had for breakfast.  I learned that #hashtags are useful for sorting through content and I will have to get into the habit of using them more often in my tweets,  which I will have to start providing on a regular, consistent basis.   At the same time realize that quality is better than quantity.

I found the Discussion Forums to be a useful place to share lots of interesting information with my classmates and learn a bit about their field of expertise and what their interests were.  The forum discussions are a fantastic learning resource with links to a vast amount of information on the discussion subjects.  I posted my contributions to the blog and I incorporated many of the Web 2.0 Tools and videos posted by my classmates into the resource section of my blog so they can be used for future reference.  Thanks to all my talented classmates for finding them for me.  I have also included some of the course materials I created for the PIDP 3100, 3210 and 3220 courses.  I look upon this blog as a research portal I can use as I complete the PID Program.

digital bloom pyramid author samantha penney cc

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Author: Samantha Penney

So what are my overall feelings as the course comes to an end?  Hopefully I will get to meet some of my classmates face to face as I continue my studies.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to access the ooVoo chats so I missed out on a crucial aspect of forming an online study community.  I don’t feel I made the same level of connection with my classmates as I have when I took classroom courses.  It is just part of being flesh and blood human beings we are part of nature and we need that personal connection.  A primevial part of me feels sorry for the people I see around me immersed in their digital devices.  How will they hear the predator that’s sneaking up to devour them?

Thanks Brian for facilitating the course and thanks to my classmates for providing such an immense amount of information on digital instruction and online learning.  I will continue to follow your blogs, your tweets and your Facebook posts.  I learned a lot about how technology is rapidly changing the delivery of education online from the brick and mortar institutions and how can this best serve our learners.  As an adult educators I realize that technology is just a tool I need to master in order to facilitate learning and understanding amongst my students.  This course is just a start.

e-apprenticeship

Thanks to Allen Beliveau from my PIDP 3240 course  for posting the paper by Bradley D. Hartwig from SFU Faculty of Education “e-Apprenticeship: Establishing Viability of Modern Technology in Traditional Practice”.  Published in 2007 the paper looked at the views of apprentices towards learning their trade online rather than at a traditional vocational institution.  It also looked at the history of the BC apprenticeship system and apprenticeships in general.

One of the problems of the present system is that many apprentices must travel to attend school.  This entails added expenses at the same time you are not working and earning a wage.  In some cases EI will pay you but this is still a reduction in income.  In an e-apprenticeship the apprentice would learn their theory online while doing their practical work in their workplace.  Since there is a 30% non-completion rate for BC apprentices it is simple economics to remove any barriers we can to make sure apprentices successfully become journeypersons.

One disadvantage of this approach is that many employers look upon apprentices as a source of cheap labour.  Many can spend their whole apprenticeship doing a limited variety of the trade related tasks.  Government and institutions would have to spend a large amount of money to develop a comprehensive curriculum and the learning tools to support it.  There would have to be follow up process to make sure that the apprentice was getting the proper coaching and mentoring that similar institutional classes provide.  One advantage of this system is I have heard apprentices returning from school complain about how school failed to replicate the real world conditions of the work place.

Another advantage of an e-apprenticeship is that you can quickly incorporate new technologies and procedures into the curriculum.  In this day and age change is occurring at an ever increasing rate.  A disadvantage of an e-apprenticeship system is that many small and medium sized businesses can not give their apprentices the wild range of training that the curriculum might require.  The government and training institutions would have to insure equality of opportunity for all apprentices right across the province.

The amount of labour and coaching required by online learners is another disadvantage of online learning.  According to Palloff and Pratt (1999) an online course would take 18 hours of instructor time compared to 6.5 to 7.5 hours for a face-to-face lecture course.  There would also be a learning curve in both learner and instructor learning as to how to best utilize the software and learning modules.  This would also require an IT support team as students and instructors ran into computer problems.

One advantage of having the employer take responsibility for the practical training of an apprentice is that it involves them to take more of an interest and ownership over the development of their apprentices.  Journeypersons would have to take on a more meaningful mentorship role.  However one of the main concerns of the apprentices surveyed was that they would miss the camaraderie and connections they get in a classroom.  Also they said they would miss the peer to peer learning and teaching that takes place.  This could be overcome by having gatherings of local apprentices from various trades coming together to learn material common to all trades.  This would also get apprentices out of their trade silos and get new perspectives.

Returning to in-house training of apprentices hearkens back to the days of the medieval guilds.  In some ways going forward is going backwards, but it must be done carefully at this time and involve all stakeholders.  The paper talked about some pilot projects that were using e-apprenticeship and I believe this is the way to proceed.  Since the BC government is investing over $30 million in a new Trades Education facility at Camosun College, e-apprenticeship isn’t on the top of their agenda.

How do you teach this type of welding

 

BC and Adult Education

BC faces a looming crisis.  In their submission the Select Standing Committee on Finance in 2013 BC Colleges stated that 78% of the job openings will require some form of post-secondary education while currently only 60% of the population has that level of education.  This they describe as a skills gap.

Recognizing this the BC government has proposed new funding to address the skills gap that the province faces.  Yet faced with budget shortfalls local school boards are cutting programs that are viewed as being outside their core mandate of providing basic kindergarden to Grade 12 education.  Recently the Vancouver School Board closed the adult education centre in the city’s west end and in Salmon Arm the local school board axed their continuing education program.

This seems like a contradiction to me and it suggests that maybe now is the time to reorganize our education system.  Governments have to start looking at education funding as an investment rather than a cost.  BC Colleges claim that they return $3.80 for every $1 of taxpayer financial they get.  One major problem that we face is that government is having to use their meagre resources to substitute for the lack of investment in training by the business community.

imgres Maybe it is time for the provincial government to either take the responsibility for adult and continuing education away from local school boards or adequately fund these programs on top of the grants that school boards already receive.   Perhaps this could be done in coordination with the BC Jobs Plan and the government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan to make sure that the training matches the needed skills.  In Canada the senior levels of government have more funding resources than the locally funded school boards.  It is their responsibility to make sure that valuable continuing education courses are available and that BC citizens can continue to be life long learners.

A “Connected Learning” Experience

Today I had a perfect example of what is meant by “connected learning” in the age of the internet. I was on my computer working on PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning a course I am taking in pursuit of my Provincial Instructors Diploma.  Part of the course consists of finding and evaluating Web 2.0 tools.  One such tool I found was Scoop.it a site that uses human curation, along with algorithms to sort and evaluate content into Scoops, pages that are organized according to tags that you provide.

I created an account and set up a topic called Adult Education using: teaching,adult,technology,social media,education, learning as my keywords.  One of the first articles of the 100 in the list was “Theory of Knowledge, Social Media and Connected Learning in High School” on the digital media and learning central site.  The article introduced me to the concept of connected learning.

cl spheres

A Learning Approach Designed for the Demands and Opportunities of the Digital Age: Powerful, Relevant, Engaging

Logging into my account today I there was a Scoop from the connected learning research network.  I went to their publications page to see if there was anything I could use for my PIDP course and I came across “Re-Mediating Current Activity for the Future” by Kris. D. Gutierrez.  It must have been something about the title of the the mention of “growing poverty and inequity” in the short description but I decided to read the paper.  The paper was about American educator Mike Rose and his methodology that has come to be associated with cultural historical activity theory (CH/AT).  I became intrigued by Mike Rose and googled him to read more of his articles and papers.

The first thing I read was an article in American Scholar “Blue Collar Brilliance”.  As a blue collar worker myself the choice was obvious.  It was an autobiographical piece that described his mother who was a waitress and talked about the cognitive skills involved in her job.  He described other relatives who worked in blue collar jobs and how they used their intelligence as well as their psychomotor skills in doing their jobs.

MikeRoseTheMindAtWork

Staying with the American Scholar I next read “When the Light Goes On” in which Mike Rose describes his high school education, how a mix up had him in the vocational stream.  Later he was transferred to the academic stream where he languished in mediocracy until he was inspired by his senior year English teacher.  This reminded me of my own high school years where we streamed into arts/science, business or technical courses for four or for those going onto university five years.  In Grade nine at the age of 13 or 14 we were supposed to have some idea of what career we wanted to pursue.

Next I read  Sara Goldrick-Rab’s paper “Comments on Mike Rose’s Essay “Rethinking Remedial Education and the Academic-Vocational Divide” which prompted me to read Mike Rose himself “Rethinking Remedial Education and the Academic-Vocational Divide”.

So what did I get out of all this?  Was I just surfing the web or did I actually have a learning experience?  It made me consider something I have been witnessing for a long time in my industry that more and more of the cognitive work and planning is being taken out of the scope of blue collar workers at the point of production and is being managed by workers in the office.  This is dangerous because it creates a disconnect which I have seen lead to many errors being made and much productive capacity being lost.  It leads to a disengagement of the workers and lack of a team effort between white and blue collar workers in a company.

In my teaching practice I want to be able to not only teach my craft but to teach it in such a way that it engages my student’s imagination and inspires their intellectual appetites to learn more.  I don’t want to turn out automatons who can perform tasks with machine like precision as they will soon be replaced by machines.  Rather I want them to develop the critical thinking skills, to be life long learners and to have the ability to work as part of a team as these skills will always keep them on track and current in whatever career path they choose.

Selkirk-College-Industry-Trades-Training-Equipment-4

Academica

Latest Top 10 news items about higher education in Canada from academica.   I was really interested in the story from Calgary about DeVry Institute of Technology shutting their campus and going online.  It seems to me anything to do with technology should have some hands on modeling involved in the learning process.  The importance is to instill in our learners the confidence to take on ever more challenges.

Anyway you can check out academica for yourself.

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