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Welcome to PIDP 3260 Professional Ethics

ABOUT ME

I am an environmental/development economist with extensive training in valuation of environmental and natural resources, rural and regional development issues, and social science research methods. My career goal is to be a professor at a teaching or research University in Canada. My professional goal is to make significant contribution to strengthen body of knowledge of economics of food and resource studies through research and teaching. I conducted research on economic policy reforms, food security and poverty reduction, and economics of natural resource management. I published my research findings in academic peer reviewed journals, such as Regional Development Studies and Asia Pacific Journal of Rural Development. I also presented some of my research findings at annual conferences of Association of Environmental and Natural Resource Economists (AERE), Canadian Society for Ecological Economists (CANSEE), and Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA). In addition, I have teaching experience from post-secondary in Canada and Sri Lanka.

WHY I AM TAKING PIDP 3260

My career goal is to be an instructor/ a professor at teaching or research University in Canada. In the context of globalization, class rooms at post-secondary institutes in North America are full of diversity, online learning, and application of social media in teaching and learning. Therefore, current class rooms at post-secondary institutes have become complex places where, conventional lecture based teaching style fail to address issues related to diversity, use of social media, and developing soft-skills or employability skills among graduate students. Due to such changes, teaching and learning have become context dependent.

I selected PIDP 3260 because it teaches me themes and concepts of effective instruction and elaborates upon strategies to develop instructional competencies. These competencies will help me to address the above mentioned complexity of class rooms. In addition, PIDP 3260 provides a good description about formal and informal assessment procedures for the instruction. Furthermore, this course will help me to gain more knowledge on professional practice in teaching and learning at post-secondary institutes. The course also teaches how to use feedback mechanism to improve instructor’s professional practice in teaching. It also highlights the purpose and methods of course evaluation. Furthermore, PIDP 3260 emphasizes the importance of professional development plan in career management. Considering the above facts, I would say that PIDP 3260 presents necessary inputs for participants to build a successful teaching career.

 EXPERIENCING TEACHING

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In the emerging context of globalization, post secondary education in the world has subjected to numerous changes. This chapter describes those changes and points out current class rooms at post-secondary institutes in North America are full of diversity, use of online learning, and the application of social media for communication among students. Based on my teaching experience at Canadian post-secondary institutes, I would say that this chapter critically elaborates upon the emerging characteristics of post-secondary education. Thus, this chapter provides valuable information for teachers and policy makers about the changes in the class room structure at post-secondary institutes.

Due to the above changes, class rooms in post-secondary institutes becomes complex places where, there are diversified student population, use of online learning, application of social media for teaching and learning. This chapter attempts to provide strategies to create positive and interactive learning environment in those class rooms.

As shown by the chapter, there is no well defined teaching and learning approach to address complexities at those class rooms. The chapter identifies muddling through as a good approach to address issues related to the teaching and learning in such class rooms. An instructor could use his/her own experience in dealing with diversity related to culture, religion, level of English knowledge, and computer literacy. In some instances, instructor’s experience works and sometimes, it did not create expected results. As shown in this chapter, teaching is context dependent and therefore, instructors should have necessary skills and competencies to select teaching and learning strategies based on that particular context.

Considering the above description, I would say that chapter one elaborates upon the changes in post-secondary education fairly well and high lights some potential teaching and learning strategies to address such diverse and complex class rooms. Therefore, I would suggest teachers and policy makers to apply the details of chapter 1 in Brookfield (2015) for preparing lesson planning and designing curriculum at post-secondary institutes.

References:

Barkley, E.F., 2010. Students Engagement Techniques: A Hand Book for College Faculty. John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Bowan, J.A., 2012. Teaching Naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will   improve student learning. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John  Wiley & Sons Inc.

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TEACHING IN DIVERSE CLASS ROOMS

            This chapter shows that in the context of globalization, education becomes a marketed commodity and many post-secondary institutes engage in selling education as a source of finding financial resources. In addition, many governments cut or reduce funding on post-secondary education in both developed and countries. This situation creates the budgetary pressure on post-secondary institutes.  As a result, post-secondary institutes in North America have to invite foreign students to study their countries who live in different parts of the world. This chapter indicates that the above changes lead to create diversified student groups and complex class room structure at post-secondary institutes. According to Brookfield (2015), that diversified and complex class room structure creates new challenges for instructors and administrative staff. Based on the information on chapter 8, I would say that Brookfield (2015) provides an excellent overview of the nature and characteristics of current class room structure at post-secondary institutes. Furthermore, he mentioned that we need diversified academic and administrative staff to deal with the issues related to teaching and learning at such diversified class rooms. According to (Brookfield, 2015), such diversified academic and administrative staff may able to bring different skills, knowledge, and competencies into the class room.

According to him, team teaching may be one of the best strategies to address such complexity in the class room. For example, English is not my second language and I noticed that in some instances, some students face difficulties with catching my pronunciation. Therefore, employing instructors whose, first language is English as guest lecturers or co-lecturers may help to solve language issues. Furthermore, some instructors are not sufficient skills in applying new technology or social media in conducting lectures. Under such circumstances, conducting lectures jointly with instructors who have specialized skills in computer literacy and technological knowledge may lead to encourage students’ engagement in teaching and learning. Considering such information on teaching strategies, I would recommend instructors who teach in diversified class room to use Brookfield (2015) to identify strategies to deal with issues in complex class rooms.

In reality, there is no such a teaching or learning strategy which is universally applicable and acceptable. The effectiveness of teaching depends on the situation, where such teaching is conducted. Therefore, Brrokfield (2015)  shows that teaching is context dependent. However, keeping a balance between being supportive to the students and challenging them through academic activities is a challenging task. None of the teachers are able to conduct a teaching method which, is equally appreciated by all students in the class room where diversity exits. Therefore, Brookfield (2015) identified strategies such as team teaching, mixing student group, mixing modalities, and visual or oral communication.

References

Bowan, J.A., 2012. Teaching Naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will   improve student learning. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Finlayson, J., (2014). The changing world of post-secondary education. Retrieved from     www.bcbc.com/bcbc-blog/2014/the-changing-world-of-post-secondary-education,            on the 30th August 2016

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John  Wiley & Sons Inc.

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What Students Value in Teachers

As shown by Brookfield (2015), teachers have power and authority to take decisions which, influence on student’s life. Teacher can influence on students’ future education, career choice, and grades. Therefore, students expect certain values from their teachers. This chapter describes those values and explains how to apply those values in the class rooms at post-secondary institutes during the 21st century. In doing so, this chapter elaborates upon two main qualities such as credibility and authenticity which are related to the authoritative power of a teacher. According to this chapter, to maintain the credibility among students, teachers should be well planned, well organized, and genuinely concern about their students. This indicates that teachers should reflect such attributes through their teaching activities. In short, to build credibility, instructors should prepare lessons, rubrics, grading, and take home assignments with the expectation of helping students.

Based on the above description, I would say that an instructor can use this information to create positive class room environment where both instructor and students interact professionally and collaboratively to achieve their learning goals. It is my opinion that both credibility and authenticity are very important qualities which lead to build student centered learning environment. Furthermore, this chapter elaborates upon three indicators that students use to measure credibility of their teachers. They are known as expertise, experience, and rationale. based on this information, I would suggest that instructors at post-secondary institutes should read chapter 4 and should apply for their daily teaching.

References

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John  Wiley & Sons Inc.

Barkley, E.F., Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass A Wiley Print

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Grading for Participation in Class Discussion

According to chapter 7, Discussions are one of the best strategies to create professional interactions between students and instructor.  This approach also leads to build professional and friendly relationship among students in the class and therefore, known as good students’ engagement techniques. Currently, many students at post-secondary institutes use digital technology and it is difficult to engage them in class room discussions or physical engagement in learning process at the class room. Under such environment, class room discussion is an innovative technique which, pursue students towards self-directed learning. Therefore, I agree with the idea in this chapter which, indicates that class room discussion creates more democratic learning environment through allowing everybody to equally participate in the discussion. However, my own experience at both Canadian and Sri Lankan post-secondary institutes brought me disappointment because students do not take serious this approach if there are no enough incentives for them to participate in class discussions. I felt that I put considerable time and energy on this meaningless work. Chapter 7 in Brookfield (2015) shows that good approach to increase students’ participation in class discussion. I agreed upon the idea of Brookfield (2015) because my own experience indicates that allocation of 5% to 10% marks for participation provides considerable incentives for students to engage in class discussion.

It is interesting to note that Brookfield (2015) shows that class room discussion aims to socialize students and to train them listen carefully to others’ ideas. This discussion method also provides opportunity for students to synthesize and analyze comments which are already made by other participants. Therefore, class room discussion method increases active engagement of students in the learning process. Based on the information provided in chapter 7, I would argue that instructors should allocate some marks for participation so that they can increase the participation rate of students in class discussions.

References:

Barkley, E.F., Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass A Wiley Print.

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John  Wiley & Sons Inc.

Student_Resistance

Understanding Students’ Resistance to Learning

This chapter shows that learning is related with behavioural change of students. Due to learning, students are opened to new ideas, novel skills, and innovative ways of doing things. In this chapter, Brookfield shows that nobody stays at same after learning something. If learning is effective, there should be a change in students’ thinking pattern and actions. According to him, the change occurred through learning is not a dramatic process. It is an incremental process. As instructors, we all intend to gain new knowledge and skills to our students through the learning process. Therefore, they use various strategies to create positive and interactive environment in the class room. However, in some instances, students face resistance in the learning process. This is very unpleasant experience for teachers. Brookfield (2015) shows that to create positive class room environment and to conduct effective teaching, instructors should understand the nature and causes of students’ resistance.

This chapter further shows that the causes for student resistance may related to teaching strategies or environmental factors which, are determined outside of the class room. However, as shown in this chapter, teachers should give strong attention to the students’ resistance to learning. Considering the above information, I would say that the chapter 16 emphasizes the very important aspects of teaching and learning process. Effective instruction cannot be conducted without taking into account the students’ reaction to learning process in the class room. However, this chapter does not provide potential approaches to find nature and causes of students’ resistance to learning. I would say that after observing students’ resistance, instructors should find the causes of such resistance because instructors are not able to find solutions without knowing causes for the resistance. Formative evaluation using minute paper, critical incident questionnaire or teacher designed feedback forms may be good instrument to get the feedback about students’ resistance. Such an evaluation may help instructors to identify strengths and weaknesses of his/her teaching style.

In short, instructors should implement good students’ engagement techniques to remove students’ resistance and crate effective instructional process. However, if students’ resistance occurred due to external environmental factors, instructors have to face difficult situation in creating effective learning process. This chapter did not make attention on strategies which, can be applied for such a situation. As mentioned in Merriam & Bierema (2014), class rooms at post-secondary institutes in North America is full of diversity related to the computer literacy, culture, technological knowledge, and English language competency. Under such situation, there is a high probability of the impact on environmental factors on students’ resistance. However, chapter 16 does not provide a sufficient description about the strategies, which can be used for the removal of the impact of environmental factors on students’ resistance on learning.

References

Barkley, E.F., Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass A Wiley Print.

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Lecturing Creatively

Creativity

This Chapter indicates that lecturing is not considered as an effective instructional strategy in the class rooms which are full of diversity related to culture, language skills, computer literacy and technological knowledge. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of the discussion method as a good learning strategy for such class rooms. Traditional lecture style is teacher centered learning approach and it may not be much productive in the class rooms at current post-secondary institutes in North America. Considering the changes occurred in post-secondary education during the 21st century, I would say that chapter 6 provides a novel approach for conducting teaching at post-secondary institutes. In doing so, the chapter elaborates upon the validity of discussion method in creating positive and interactive class room. Furthermore, this chapter shows that discussion method leads to students’ centered learning approach because it promotes self-directness in the learning process. However, Brook Field (2015) questions about the validity of such an assumption and describes the role of lectures in promoting critical thinking in the class room.

According to him, discussion method is not a substitute for a lecturer. Similarly, discussion method may dominated by group leaders and interest groups in the class. Therefore, such classes may not allow for the principle of equal participation of each member of the group. Sometimes, group leaders dominate the discussion through controlling the students, summarizing the discussion, and reframing the students’ comments. Thus, discussion method is always not democratic and students’ centered. Considering the above description, I would say that chapter 6 carries out a well balanced critical review of discussion method.

On the other hand, the chapter indicates that lecturing is not a teacher centered approach. Currently, instructor can conduct creative lectures following an integrated approach that combines theory, computer literacy, and use of social media in the learning process. According to this chapter, clarity is the very important element of creative lecture. In addition, an instructor should provide a description of the purpose of the lecture, course goals, and syllabus at the beginning of the lecture. It is my opinion that this chapter does not underestimate the value of lecture as a tool of learning. The chapter emphasizes the characteristics of creative lecture such as use of social media, application of new technology, clear organization, and model of learning behavior. I would say that such elements of a lecture lead to create positive class room environment where, instructor and students maintain professional relationship in achieving learning goals. Considering this information, I would say that chapter 6 provides guidelines for conducting a creative in the diversified class room.

References:

Bowan, J.A., 2012. Teaching Naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will   improve student learning. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Finlayson, J., (2014). The changing world of post-secondary education. Retrieved from     www.bcbc.com/bcbc-blog/2014/the-changing-world-of-post-secondary-education,

on the 30th August 2016

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

 

Teaching on Line

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Currently, many education programs such as cooperate learning, military training, public administration, and medicine are using online educational components as a method of delivering their teaching materials. In 2009, 29.3 percent of post-secondary students enrolled in at least one on line course unit. An impressive progress in information technology opened up new online education opportunities for adult learners in the 21st century. As a result, 6.1 million students took at least one online college course. Thus, there were 560,000 more students compared to 2009 (Bowen, 2012). Generally, when there is an increase in economic growth, there is also an increase in enrolment in high education. However, online educational courses attract students more than the share of their students.

In the context of globalization, post-secondary education has become a marketed commodity and this increases the monetary cost of post-secondary education. Similarly, there is a price differentiation of adult learning and currently elite universities such as MIT, Cambridge, and Oxford are able to charge high price for their products due to their brand names. However, online educational opportunities created a considerable competition in current high educational system. Demographic changes, improvements in information technology, and changes in human lifestyle created huge demand for online education regardless of the quality of the product.  According to Bowen (2012), while 48.8 percent of institution increased demand for face to face instruction, 74.5 percent of institution increased demand for online education.

Due to the inability of liberal arts education to address real world needs, many countries are considering to revise their expenditure on such programs at public universities. This situation created a big challenge for educational experts, administrators, and managers at post-secondary educational institutes. Similarly, current job market competency has a high correlation with computer literacy. Currently, many employers intend technological skills from their employees. These emerging changes under the globalization emphasize the importance of redesigning liberal arts curriculum at universities to reflect the current needs and aspirations of human society. In other words, current liberal arts education should be integrated with computer applications and social media such as Face book, Tweeter, and Linked in etc.

References

Bowan, J.A., 2012. Teaching Naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will   improve student learning. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint

Brookfield, S.D., 2015. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the       Classroom. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley-Brand.

Finlayson, J., (2014). The changing world of post-secondary education. Retrieved from     www.bcbc.com/bcbc-blog/2014/the-changing-world-of-post-secondary-education,            on the 30th August 2016

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L., (2014). Adult Learning linking theory and practice. CA: John  Wiley & Sons Inc.

Program Evaluation

 

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Source: http://transformconsultinggroup.com/2017/02/26/4-steps-complete-program-evaluation

Evaluation is a systematic collection and analysis of the data needed to make decisions. Evaluation is conducted on the process where, most well run programs at the beginning. In this blog posting, I discuss about the issues and important elements of educational program evaluation. Program evaluation is related to learner evaluation but, it is broader-based and serves different goals. Michall Sriven (1991) presents an overview of program evaluation. According to him, program evaluation begins with the problem statement. The problem statement elaborates upon the following areas:

(i)  What is to be evaluated? (ii) What are the causes of evaluation?  (iii) What will evaluation finding be used for?

In the forth coming paragraphs, I will elaborate upon the discussion of elements of educational program evaluation. Such evaluation report consists of the following elements and it provides very important information for the faculty and university administration to redesign the program to achieve institutional goals and learning outcomes. I engaged in evaluating B.A. arts degree program at the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka in 2004 under the project titled “Improving the Relevance and Quality of Undergraduate Education in Sri Lanka (IRQUE)”. This evaluation report consists of following elements.

Description:

This section provides introduction to the nature and operations of the program. In doing so, this section provides answers to the following questions:

(i)  What does the program attempt to do?  (ii) How does program do it ? (iii)  What are the strategies that help to continue the current bachelor degree program in arts?

To answer these questions, we conducted focus group interviews with students, parents, people from the private sector institutes. These interviews helped us to understand the nature and operations of the current program. It further revealed that the problems and potentials related to the current program.

Clients:

This section describes about person/agency formally conducting evaluation and other stakeholders . For example, IRQUE evaluation is conducted by instructors (professors, lecturers & senior lecturers). In addition, World Bank consultants were engaged in providing directions and advices for program evaluation because this project was funded by the World Bank. Other stakeholders include students, parents, research institutes, representatives from private sector companies and officials from University Grant Commission in Sri Lanka.

Background and Content:

             This section provides information on variables that influence the outcome of evaluation. For example, background and content of IRQUE project includes past history and current status of the educational program, recognition of the course, and qualification of the teaching staff.

Resources:

             This section provides the details of resources available for delivering the program and conducting the evaluation. For example, instructor time, student time, student feedback, and supportive staff etc.

Consumers:

Consumers mean all the people who use the program and people indirectly affected by the program. For example, students, faculty members, parents, students’ spouses, and university administration.

Values:

             Values indicate the criteria that use for determining the worth of evaluation and whose criteria used for the evaluation. In case of IRQUE project, we used students’ needs, their ability to find employment after completing the program, program goals/objectives, and professional standards.

Process:

             This means the aspects that include in the evaluation process such as timing and facing of the course, adequacy of facilities, students’ satisfaction etc.

Outcome:

            This indicates the impact of educational program after implementation.  This aspect of evaluation attempts to capture intended and unintended, short-term and long-term impacts such as students’ knowledge of the course content, students’ ability to apply concepts of the job after six months, and research opportunities for instructor etc.

Genaralizzability:

              Under this scenario, project analysts consider the ability of program to operate in other instances such other times, different places, or with different people.

Costs:

            This element of the program evaluation takes into account who bears the costs, what kinds of costs incurred, and when such costs occurred. Here costs include both monetary costs (i.e. students’ tuition amount, books, transportation, etc) and non-monetary costs (i.e. students’ time and energy, enthusiasm, and self-esteem).

Comparisons:

           Under this scenario project analysts take into account other programs or options which have similar effects or less cost or better results (i.e. online delivery, mentorship program, international training etc)

Significance:

      This means that project analysts should synthesize the all the above element in order to make overall decision. In doing so, they should list all the above points, measure the relative importance, and decide the merits of each elements. Then, weight the performance of each aspect.

Recommendations:

            In this step, project analysts should write down all the procedure that should be taken into account to make further improvement of the program. Particularly, this element can be listed if there is sufficient information for making recommendations. i.e. reducing total number of reading materials for students, English language training, and developing internship program etc.

Report :

             Under this scenario, project analysts should list all the audiences (i.e. clients and other stakeholders).  They should decide what findings are most useful and what report vehicle is appropriate for reporting purposes (i.e. technical report, with charts and tables, written summary in students’ newspaper, oral presentation at the faculty council, or scholarly article in peer reviewed journal for professional community).

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Praise and Feedback

Instructors who care about students and who are supporting to create positive learning environment in the adult class room use praise and feedback to motivate students in learning. However praise and feedback are not able to achieve intended outcomes. Some students do not give high value for teachers’ praise and do not take such actions seriously.  As a result, students do not feel rewarded when they receive praise. To create motivation among adult learners, praise and feedback should be productive and constructive. If the praise is productive, it should be focus on right mind set and skills. It is impossible to create motivation among learners through praise without such a focus. In general, praise is not purposeful and it is used to encourage learners. In many instances, praise is used to compensate other negative comments. On the other hand, intention behind the feedback is blame. Therefore, in many instances, praise and feedback are not able to achieve expected results. In short, they are not able motivate learners for active learning. Some educational experts show that following elements should be associated with productive praise and constructive feedback.

Productive praise should be consisted of following elements:

i  Be specific and use straightforward sentence without theoretical questions

ii  Praise the accomplishment or achievement using specific criteria that is related to  learning

iii  Praise personally instead of appreciating in front of  other members of the group

iv  Do not praise everything. It devalues your praise.

Constructive feedback should be consisted of following elements:

i   Make the feedback objective and descriptive using correct examples of the relevant issue

ii   Conduct self-assessment to understand mistakes and errors related to particular topic or  learning

iii   Do not provide a answer and lead the learner to find out the correct answer

iv   Provide the feedback on the behavior not on the person

I think that the above elements related with praise and feedback may help instructors to create active learning environment in the class room.

 

Background Knowledge Probe

This is very important strategy that uses to examine knowledge, skills, recall, and understanding. It is also very important to create appropriate challenge for motivating students in active learning.  Learning activities which are too boring or too hard do not encourage many students in active learning. In many instances, such learning activities lead to disengagement. Background knowledge probe is known as a class room management technique that instructors can use to examine the background knowledge of students. This strategy assists instructors to determine the most appropriate level of instruction at the beginning of the class. In applying this strategy in the class room, instructors prepare a focused questionnaire at the beginning of the new class or new topic and students to answer such questions. This strategy helps instructors to identify the suitable starting point for the class. It also helps instructors to design additional learning activities for students who do not have sufficient knowledge. Furthermore, based on the outcome of the test, instructors can design more challenging work for students who are well prepared for learning activities. This strategy also leads students to memorize their previous knowledge and so that they are able to interpret and give meaning to new information. In applying this strategy, an instructor should use following steps:

(i)  Before starting the lesson, an instructor should know what students have already   known about the topic or new concept. At this point, an instructor should prepare a list what students want to know by participating in this lecture.

(ii)  Based on the list, an instructor should prepare a two or three open ended questions to     determine the current knowledge of students. In doing so, an instructor should avoid the use  of technical terms that are unfamiliar to students.

(iii)  An instructor can use white board or handout to present those questions for students.

(iv)  An instructor should provide clear instruction for students about the purpose of this      exercise. It is also important to give assurance for students that their answers will not be     graded.

(v)    When students provide answers to questions, form small groups to share their responses.

 

Intellectual Standard

Critical thinking is governed by clear intellectual standard. Clear intellectual standard is associated with developing someone’s argument through identifying and analyzing arguments in favor of his/her claim and overcoming biases. It also takes into account opositional views and identifies strategies to select rationale choice based on his/her belief. Clarity is one of the standards of critical thinking and it indicates the communication of our thoughts, beliefs, and argument clearly.  For example, we discuss about poverty. To maintain intellectual standard, we should clarify what is the aspects of poverty that we are going to discuss. i.e. health, income, education etc. Precision is also identified as an important standard in critical thinking. To achieve, precision we should take into account the considered issue in particular way. In doing so, we should ask following questions: (i) What is the problem? (ii) What the potential answers to this problem? (iii)  What are the strength and weaknesses of each answers? When critical thinkers answer to a question, they consider the accuracy of available information. The selection of the right strategy for particular problem is dependent on the accuracy of information. Relevance is also become one of the very important standards because it influences on the solution that we are going to select for particular problem. In many instances, discussions related to socioeconomic and political issues lose the relevance of the considered issue. Consistency of thinking process is other vital factor that determines the effectiveness of the solution for particular problem. If our thinking process is not consistent, it is difficult to find logical and accurate solution for the problem. When we argue A>B>C, to consistent our argument, A should be greater than C. However, if we say A is smaller than C, then our argument is inconsistent. Logical concreteness is other element of intellectual standard. This means that we come to the final conclusion based on our previous facts and assumptions. Furthermore, when we use intellectual standard, we engage in depth analysis and thorough evaluation of the considered problem and potential solutions. This is known as completeness. It avoids the superficial criticism of our thinking process. In addition, as critical thinkers, we attempt to find impartial and unbiased solutions to a given problem. This is called fairness.

Adult Learning in Digital Age

In recent time, online learning has become a key element in adult learning programs in the world. Currently, adult learning is happening in many areas such as work place, continuing education, and communities. This brief posting examines the negative aspects and challenges of online learning in the context globalization. Some researchers show that online learning is very important for increasing effectiveness in changing jobs and work environment. Online networks and communities have created innovative lifelong learning patterns such as helping novel ways of both intentional and non-intentional learning. These online networks and communities conduct lifelong learning including skill development and personal growth. Such a move encourages participation within positive sociable community. However, due to the advancement of technology, many adult face frustration in online learning. This situation creates challenges for both learners and educators. Online learners engage in both formal and informal education. Particularly, online learning is occurred in higher education, social networking, and communities of practice. National Online Learners Priorities report shows that 67% of the sample is female online learners and 85% of the sample age twenty five and older. Furthermore, this report indicates that online learners overall satisfaction remains at high level compared with learners who reside on campus and take online courses. There are several factors such as flexibility, convenience, institutional reputation, and cost influence as determinants of online education. Furthermore, social media such Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter plays significant role in adult education. This social network offers opportunities for learners explore topics of interests and share information. It also provides opportunities for skill and leadership development. Technological advancement creates opportunities for learners to form online communities to practice and share information about the topics of common interests. Online communities are different from social network because they need experts to share information about the relevant topics. Therefore, they use virtual space to create collaborative learning and activities shared interests. These online learning communities actively engage in communication of interested topics such as adult learning, professional job postings, and sustainable development etc.

 

Culture, Context, and Adult Education

Culture can be analyzed using perspectives in adult education such as personality, privilege, context and power. Personality may be visible or invisible. It is limited to the attributes such as age, class, culture, language, and sexual orientation etc. Personality influences on our experiences about the world. It also affects how world influences us.  For example, our position such as gender, socioeconomic status, and age influence on our world experience. Kids who born in rich families are easy access to high education and jobs in many communities in the world. Privilege means inherited power related to race, gender, education, and occupation. For example, doctors and lawyers have more privilege compared to teachers in daily activities in any community. Culture refers a set of values reflect through action in a certain community or institute.  Furthermore, culture influences the social context. Education is happened in the social context where learners have multiple agendas and conflicting interests.  For example, learners at post-secondary institutes in Canada come from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with different kinds of job expectations. An instructor has also learning agenda to teach earn income and gain promotion. He/she also comes from different socioeconomic and cultural background. When these two groups make interactions and engage in social context leads power relations. Culture and social context play significant role in adult education in Canada. Due to changes in global economy (i.e. information age, immigration, scholarship, etc) class rooms in post-secondary institutes in Canada have become considerably multicultural. Teaching methods based on andragogy may be comfortable for learners who grow up in the western society. Foreign students who immigrate here with different socioeconomic and educational background

meet difficulties in following such learning approach. Furthermore, access to education in Countries like Canada depends on availability of funding, technology, power, and privilege. As mentioned one of my previous postings, internet has become increasingly important for not only in adult education but also in daily transaction with different commercial enterprises. As a result, people and countries have easy access to new technology have more resources to engage in adult learning compared with people who do not have access to such resources. Therefore, unequal distribution of educational opportunities and other resources lead to make teaching and learning increasing become a challenging task in the global context.

Role Play

Role play is also a popular strategy that used for practicing creative thinking in the class room.  This is a participatory technique that allows students to gain experience the emotional and intellectual responses of assumed identity or imaginary environment.  The word “Role” implies that students actively apply knowledge, skills, and understanding to critically analyze the given problem. The word “Play” indicates that students apply their imagination and act their parts in nonthreatening environment. When an instructor uses role play as a learning strategy he/she should give sufficient time for students to understand the purpose of the role play. If students do not understand the learning goals they may be in off track and role play seems to be artificial. In this strategy, students should have sufficient understanding about the character that they are going to perform. If so, they may be more effective in the role that they play. When the role is more complicated students needs to conduct prior research to understand the nature and activities assigned to the character. However, in some instances, some students may be not enthusiastic about the role play. Under such a situation, an instructor should have to take necessary actions to reduce their discomfort and create nonthreatening environment. In doing so, an instructor can conduct ice breaker activities at the beginning of the term. The objective of this exercise is not to improve acting skills but rather to achieve specific learning goals.  Therefore, eventually, an instructor should lead students to assume observer role.

Case Studies

Case studies can be used to train problem solving skills among students at post-secondary institutes. This strategy is used to carry out in depth analysis of a single situation or set of circumstances over time. In the education literature, this method is known as very popular method that can be used to engage students in problem solving, team work, and creative interactions. This strategy is used in professional fields such as medicine, law, and business as well as humanities such as history, sociology, and political science. When an instructor applies case study approach as a learning method he/she should use well-designed case for analysis, problem solving, decision making, and justification.  This strategy gives more emphasize on active learning, real world application, and the drama and excitement.  Therefore, this strategy is known as a good method to engage students in learning activities in the class room. This strategy also provides opportunities for students to identify personally with decision makers and problem that they have in their hand. There are several steps that can be followed by an instructor when he/she applies case study approach for problem solving. They are given as follows:

(i)  Identify a situation or set of circumstances that create a challenging problem. In doing so, instructor can use new papers, research articles or his/her own experience.

(ii)  Prepare number of questions that guide students in their approach to the case. i.e. What is the problem?  What the causes of the problem? What conclusion can be drawn?

(iii) Decide the structure of your group report or statement

(iv)  Form groups that include five to six students and distribute hand outs to them

(v)   Lead students to analyze the case by sorting out data, identifying the problem, and        finding solutions, and providing recommendations

(vi) Facilitate the students through asking questions, guiding discussions, and not telling   the  write answer to the problem

Gamification

Gamification is a very popular strategy in current adult learning environment. In gamification, game based mechanism and game thinking is used to engage students and motivate them in adult learning process. Recently, online games, videos, and computers have become common elements of the life of college students. There are some commercial games such as civilization and rise of nations that have academic and intellectual elements. Furthermore, there are games that are developed for college level classes. Currently, teachers and vendors display some games that are design for educational purposes in the academic and disciplinary conferences. Teachers can use electronic game characteristics to teach study goals and interactions among adult learners. In addition, games are easily applied for role playing, problem solving, and board games. Researchers showed that using interactive games lead to high level of retention of information. In gaming, teachers can use both verbal and visual information. As a result information retention dramatically increases. This does not indicate that lectures are not important components of adult learning. However, lectures accompanied with gaming may assist to increase the level of retention of information.

There are number of best practices related with using games in adult learning. They are given as follows:
i. Gamification should be used only for improving and motivating learning
ii It should aim to engage learners in attractive manner
iii Game should be used for learning through trial and error
iv Follow simple and clear rules on scoring and wining
v Conduct evaluation and testing on every elements of the game

Go for the Goal- Presented by Alisha Wood

Alisha makes very interesting and attractive presentation on goals using Powtoon. This presentation applies both visual images and written texts throughout the presentation to engage students in the learning process. As a result, the presenter is able to provide active learning environment for students in the class. At the beginning of the presentation, Alisha provides the definition of goal in attractive manner using the letters “SMART”. I think that such an approach is very helpful to retain attention of students in learning process. Then, she discusses about the role of teachers and role of learners in setting goals. In presenting these slides, the presenter uses written text, visual images, and sound system throughout the presentation. Therefore, the presentation is able to create active learning environment and lead to engage students in learning process. However, it is not clear that Alisha does follow learning rubric. She does not discuss about the best practices related to setting goals. However, the presenter shows how instructor can integrate written text, visual image, and sound system to create a learning strategy that leads to student engagement.

LINK: https://www.powtoon.com/online-presentation/b7UGBicU8pW/?mode=movie#/