Lesson Planning — Characteristics of Adult Learners

Characteristics of Adult Learners

Malcolm Knowles’ work in forwarding the concept of andragogy (the teaching of adults, as opposed to pedagogy, the teaching of children) is not new to me. I use many of these concepts and assumptions about adult learners already. However, the Clinical Educator’s Resource Kit page include some quality reminders that can be worked into daily interactions with students.

I plan to explore the difference between traditional views of pedagogy and andragogy in the course introduction next term, in hopes it will encourage students to more quickly claim ownership of their own educational path. At the very least, it will inspire a discussion about differing expectations, teaching styles and learning preferences.

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“The Clinical Educator’s Resource Kit.”Adult Learning Theory and Principles. Queensland Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Collaborative. Web. 5 Jan. 2014. < http://www.qotfc.edu.au/resource/index.html?page=65375&pid=0 >.

 

This chart from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning might make for an interesting discussion on the first or second day of term.

This chart from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning might make for an interesting discussion on the first or second day of term.

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Lesson Planning — Assessment

"Adding the assessment of multimodal skills, and attempting to  prove links between multimodality and literacy skill development amid these other factors, is, I contend, akin to opening Pandora’s box" (Pandya 181). Image sourced from Myths and Legends.

“Adding the assessment of multimodal skills,
and attempting to prove links between multimodality and
literacy skill development amid these other factors, is,
I contend, akin to opening Pandora’s box” (Pandya 181).
Image sourced from Myths and Legends.

Assessment

It seems as though language instruction in BC — and across the country for that matter — is moving toward portfolio-based assessment. Articles such as Jessica Zacher Pandya’s Unpacking Pandora’s Box suggest that expanding portfolios to include multimodal content (audio, video, etc.) as well as traditional writings and test results will both empower and energize students who face the unenviable task of proving college-level literacy in a non-native tongue. I spend a lot of time trying to build my students’ confidence; I will consider adding a pairs’ podcast or team videocast assignment to each term.

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Pandya, Jessica Zacher. “Unpacking Pandora’s Box: Issues in the Assessment of English Learners’ Literacy Skill Development in Multimodal Classrooms.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56.3 (2012): 181-185. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Lesson Planning — Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs

Bloom’s Taxonomy

As instructors, we sometimes fall to give clear instructions. Despite telling students to avoid general verbs like do, give, have, get and make, we tend to use them ourselves for the sake of brevity: do this homework, we say, or complete this exercise. The Clemson University Office for Institutional Assessment offers this worksheet, breaking down Bloom’s Taxonomy into six areas of assessment, and providing more robust instructional verbs. I will use these in two ways: 1) to better outline how student work is assessed, and 2) to encourage students to produce clearer theses and/or statements of purpose.

“Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs.” Office for Institutional Assessment. Clemson University, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://www.clemson.edu/assessment/assessmentpractices/referencematerials >

This graphic from the blog Keep Calm and Solve It is an easy reference to keep scaffolding of tasks in mind. Assessment of students should be fair — this requires fairness of assignment as well as judgement.

This graphic from the blog Keep Calm and Solve It is an easy reference to keep scaffolding of tasks in mind. Assessment of students should be fair — this requires fairness of assignment as well as judgement.

Reference review — Gateway Tools

I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of technology in the classroom. Whether I’m enrolled in a class or teaching it myself, I find that all too often, smart boards and video screens distance the instructor from the student. Frequently, and especially in private ESL schools, where instructors are not always career-focused, professionally motivate teachers, videos and websites are used as last-minute time-savers and lesson plan replacements, as opposed to enhancements to the learning process.

So it is that I chose to read Gateway Tools: Five Tools to Allow Teachers to Overcome Barriers to Technology Integration by Laren Hammonds, Lisa H. Matherson, Elizabeth K. Wilson, and Vivian H.Wright.

The Luddite Laptop, by Big Time Attic.

The Luddite Laptop, by Big Time Attic.

Hammonds et al  write, “Having grown up immersed in technology, the students of today are digital natives, but many of their teachers are often playing catch-up because they are digital immigrants” (36). They cite numerous examples of teachers being uncomfortable with technology in their pedagogy, especially where the instructor lags behind students in the understand and usage of said advances. Hammonds et al suggest that the impetus behind true integration of a given tool in the classroom should not come from students; it should be student-centred, sure, but it needs to be led by an enthusiastic, engaged, computer-literate teacher to be successful.

More after the jump.

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Reference review — Touching, Tapping… Thinking?

Maureen Walsh is one of the authors of Touching, Tapping... Thinking? Photo from the Australian Government Office for Learning & Teaching.

Maureen Walsh is one of the authors of Touching, Tapping… Thinking? Photo from the Australian Government Office for Learning & Teaching.

The first piece of reading I did on the topic of technology in the classroom was written by Maureen Walsh and Alyson Simpson, scholars from the University of Sydney in Australia. The article is heavy on academic jargon, perhaps not surprisingly given the authors’ history of research and peer review in the area of digital communication in literacy and pedagogy.

In Touching, Tapping… Thinking?, Walsh and Simpson examine the effect of the physicality of touch screens upon the reading experience — previous articles had explored the differences between traditional texts on paper and modern milieu such as computer screens. Results fell in line with other research, all of which questioned the already fluid definition of literacy, and suggested a difference between linear communication and the multimodal intake of information that comes with online reading.

The emergence of portable touch screens (on tablets and smart phones) adds a new wrinkle, as tactile interaction now moves from the indirect, limited motion of a mouse to the multifaceted, direct touch of fingers upon the text itself. Swiping, pinching, expanding and flicking pages all present physical contact with the digital page.

Literature is divided on whether touch pads provide positive or negative influences upon elementary school learning. The authors of this paper observed 11-year-old students with iPad tablets and a website called Corkulus. Through this site, students were able to collect texts, photos and videos in order to explain the life cycle of a star. Connections between textual and visual elements were described “as a sort of mental hyperlinking” (153).

Commentary after the jump.

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Collaboration by distance

Classroom teachers aren’t commonly called upon to get involved with conference calls, either the traditional voice-only phone kind or the modern, newfangled video kind. I’m not averse to Skype or Google Chat — quite the contrary, I float around cyberspace quite easily outside my work — but as a teacher I don’t have cause to use this technology at work very often.

This is not Zach Grant. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

This is not Zach Grant. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

As part of the first assignment for PIDP 3100, I was asked to Skype with a classmate named Zach. If he’d lived in the Vancouver area, I probably would have tried to turn it into a face-to-face meeting. There’s never a bad excuse to get together for a pint, or a coffee, or a pint of coffee for that matter. Zach, however, lives up in the interior, and as much as I like a drive up the Coquihalla now and again, the in-person thing just wasn’t going to happen.

More after the jump.

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The very humblest of beginnings

This photo has little to do with teaching, but I'm pretty chuffed about how I look in full kit at last year's inaugural Whitecaps FC Media Challenge.

This photo has little to do with teaching, but I’m still pretty chuffed about how I look in full kit at last year’s inaugural Whitecaps FC Media Challenge.

Having more than a decade of classroom management experience, plus a couple of years as an Workplace Essential Skills Coach, I found myself torn by the invitation to take courses in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. My status as a new faculty member at VCC allowed me to challenge courses through Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition, which would match up my training and experience with course descriptions and reduce how many classes I’d be required to complete. Alternatively, I could take the chance to revisit the materials I’d danced through at the turn of the millennium.

Surely there were things I’d missed that first time round. No doubt I’d find theories that agreed with, or more interestingly, flew in the face of my practical experience with students and colleagues.

So I skipped the PLAR and jumped on the first available class. What follows here will comprise observations, assignments and other materials explored and unearthed as I dig through the PIDP course load. First up, the introductory course, PIDP 3100.

I apologize in advance for off-topic posts, pictures and links. They will almost certainly appear — in fact, here’s one accompanying this very post. I have no soccer-related analogy to make this picture’s inclusion worthwhile.

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