Instructional Strategies – Journal Entry #3


Objective: An effective adult educator must truly understand the assumptions of andragogy, and present course content in a classroom based on the following factors; the content presented by the educator must be useful to learners otherwise there will be monotony throughout the class.  The content presented should be in some way relevant to the learners everyday life, as adult learners learn best when they are able to determine a relevance to the content which needs to be learned.  The classroom environment should be motivating, welcoming, engaging and most importantly respectful.  Adult learners need to feel safe in the learning environment as this allows them to express themselves fully, which results in higher level learning (Northwest Center of Public Health Practices, 2012).  Once an educator has reached an understanding on the assumptions andragogy, then the strategies of instructing the course content can be explored.  But prior to this it is imperative to prepare course content ahead of time and understand that there must be an alignment within the curriculum, instruction and assessment.  When curriculum, instruction and assessment are aligned together within the educational system, there is a clear understanding between the educator and the learners; therefore, the learning outcome is evident. Each of these three components must meet perfect alignment which is consistent, in agreement, matched or work together (Nasstrom, 2008 pg. 14).  Once alignment has been achieved then the educator can work on delivering the course content, within this stage of instruction there are various instructional strategies that an educator can utilize.  Some of the common instructional techniques are interactive lecturing, case scenarios, small group discussions, or simulations.  All of these techniques, when incorporated into a lesson will allow for higher level learning and more importantly the learners are active participants in the learning process.  There have been many studies and experiments which have shown that what is remembered by learners depends on the teaching methods used (Lasky, Otto & Morrish, n.d.). The amount of information that learners remember increases when more learner-centered interactive teaching methods are used (Lasky, Otto & Morrish, n.d.). 

Reflective: The use of interactive techniques not only promotes higher level learning, but more importantly the learners are able to completely gain an understanding of the course content; therefore the content is retained.  It is imperative to use interactive techniques as this limits learners from playing games on their laptops, listening to their iPods, dazing off or just not paying attention due to monotony.  Novice educators will most likely use instructor-centered teaching, such as lecturing as this is the easiest form of instruction, and research has shown that with this type of teaching method learners absorb the least amount of information.  But as an educator gains experience and further instructor-educational programs are utilized, they will come to know how to implement interactive techniques and which strategies work best with their learner population. I personally have utilized multiple interactive techniques within my lesson plans as there is no one method that always works, but I have found the use of group discussions on main topics of lesson content works well with majority of my students.  I find that my students are able to retain, understand and remember content of a lesson far better than when lesson content is explained over an instructor-centered lecture.  During these group discussions learners are able to teach one another, as this technique promotes critical thinking, motivates, engages and allows learners to gain a sense of accomplishment.  The primary benefit of group discussion is intelligent discussion by learners which allows the further engagement in thinking and analyzing course content rather than listening to a lecture where to educator “does all the chatting.” 

Interpretive: Effective instructional strategies permits an environment of motivation, collaboration, engagement and most importantly allows the learners to participate in their own learning goals.  Teachers who actively engage students will use hands-on lessons that require students to use multiple learning skills and higher order thinking to construct meaning and knowledge (Resnick, 1987).  Multiple sources of research suggest that when interactive instructional strategies are used in a lesson and throughout the course there has been a greater level of overall achievement.  Today’s educational environments are changing and the use of interactive devices are commonly being used such as, iPads, social media network sites, blogs, wiki and multiple other technological devices.  With this in mind, our learners are also changing and need to be actively engaged within the learning process.  Educators can make use of any of these technological devices and incorporate them into a lesson and use them in a positive method to keep today’s generation of learners motivated and involved in the course content.  

Decisional: With a fair amount of research, I have come to know the importance of keeping my students motivated to learn.  When using the different instructional strategies, the effects on learning are phenomenal and overall a greater level of achievement among the learners is prominent.  I will continue to implement the various different instructional strategies within my lessons and continue to encourage learner participation.  Furthermore, educators need to understand the assumptions of andragogy, the numerous different learning styles and what instructional techniques need to be implemented based on the different learning needs of leaners to ensure a motivating educational environment. 

References:

Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (2012) Effective Adult Learning, A Toolkit for Teaching Adults.  Retrieved from: http://www.nwcphp.org/documents/training/Adult_Education_Toolkit.pdf on October 1, 2013. 

Nasstrom, G., (2008) Measurement of Alignment between Standards and Assessment. Department of Educational Measurement Umeå University.  Retrieved from: umu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:142244/FULLTEXT01 on October 1, 2013.

Lasky, B., Otto, M., & Morrish, W., (n.d.). Teaching Methodologies Practical Law for Law Students. Community Legal Education Course Manual.  Retrieved from: http://wordpress.babseacle.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BABSEA_CLE_Teaching_Methods_Manual-7-Sep-2010.pdf on October 1, 2013.

Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning to think. Washington, DC: National Academy Press

Video

Classroom Assessment Techniques – Focused Listing


3230 Evaluation of Learning
Informal Assessment Strategy Assignment
Provincial Insturctor Diploma Program
Vancouver Community College
Video Created By: Sabita Ram

Classroom Management – Journal Entry #2


Objective:  Instructing in an adult classroom is far more complicated and different from instructing a class in a grade school setting.  According to Malcolm Knowles, theory on andragogy and the four basic assumptions of adult education are; adults want control and responsibility of their learning, adults bring various life experiences to the classroom setting, adult learning is often problem-centered where they learn by solving life dilemmas, and lastly, adults are motivated to learn through intrinsic motivation (Nixon, 2007).  Knowing these assumptions of adult learners, educators must be able to transform the classroom experience to benefit the needs of the learners and further be able to elicit effective classroom management skills to allow all learners to succeed with their learning goals.   In order to effectively manage an adult classroom the educator must remember that some learners have not been in an educational setting for decades, therefore, it is essential to review basic note-taking strategies, study tactics, and time management skills.  Educators must ensure patience is preserved through this difficult adjustment, as this can take anywhere from one to two weeks in any given course.  Adult learners also bring years of experience into the learning setting and it is essential to relate material being taught to life experiences as adult learners learn best with material which is related to their lives.  When approaching adult learners you must ensure that you value their experience and input, you must also respect them as adults, which means you don’t have to take charge of their learning (Effective Classroom Management Tips of Adults, n.d.).   Another important aspect of adult education and classroom management techniques is that adults do not require too much supervision; therefore, they do not need an educator who displays themselves as an authoritative figure; this approach is ineffective and will cause the learners to withdraw mentally from the learning experience.   Learners may find it intimidating when the instructor stands in the front of the classroom and may refrain from asking questions which will impede learning and build a negative atmosphere within the learning environment.  In order to maintain an optimal learning environment an educator must take on the role of a leader or a team player which will further assist in building a rapport with the learners.   Most importantly, an educator should set classroom guidelines and expectations; adult learners will not respond to threats of disciplinary action but will respond to rational reasoning.  Allowing adult learners to have a voice while maintaining control is a gentle and yet an effective method for an environment which allows learners to thrive.  “Effective classroom management, especially in adult education programs, can help students feel comfortable, safe, respected, and challenged, leading to student empowerment rather than detracting from it” (Balliro, 2005).

Reflective: Classroom management is the process of establishing a set of rules, standards and expectations that keep classrooms organized and running smoothly (Sheahan, n.d.).  But also understanding the four basic assumptions of adult education will allow an educator to adjust their classroom guidelines to reflect Malcolm Knowles theory.  It is crucial to develop methods of applying the “rules” or as I preferably like to state “guidelines,”  in a manner so adult learners do not feel belittled and should be adjusted from time to time to maintain a successful learning atmosphere.  It is imperative to involve learners with guidelines for managing a classroom setting as this gives them a sense of independence.  Simple strategies such as suggestions boxes, furniture layout, or poster pictures on walls allows the learners to have some sense of control over how their classroom functions and will encourage each learner to make decisions collaboratively, solve problems successfully, think creatively, and exercise responsibility (Balliro, 2005).  Learners should be expected to follow course syllabus’s which must be handed out at the beginning of the course that outline weekly pre-readings, assignment and project due dates, homework tasks, dates of exams or quizzes and expectations such as; use of social media in class, tardiness, and acceptable behaviour.  In my classroom, on the first day of each class learners are made aware of all expectations of the course and are given a course syllabus.  I also have each learner fill out a form called the “student contract” which highlights all the expectations and guidelines of the classroom as well as important assignment and examination dates.  Once each learner has thoroughly read and understands the “student contract,” they then are expected to sign this contract and abide by the guidelines as stated in the contract throughout the course.  I find the “student contract” a convenient tool as each educator has a different set of guidelines and different classroom management skills which work best for their classrooms and this “student contract” can be adjusted reflecting each educator’s guidelines.  Ultimately adult learners should be held accountable for their learning and having them be aware of these guidelines instills a sense of responsibility they must uphold throughout the course.  Effective classroom management, especially in adult education programs, can help learners feel comfortable, safe, respected, and challenged (Balliro, 2005).

Interpretive:  Ensuring effective classroom management techniques will increase motivation and encourage learning within the classroom environment.  Passionate educators will reflect positivity, motivation, and ultimately heighten the learning experience and must be able to sense the climate of the educational setting and be able to involve learners in paying attention and motivate them to produce the best possible learning outcomes.  Instead of becoming an educator who continually lectures and “does all the talking,” an exceptional educator will become more of a facilitator and allow for active learning so learners can share their experiences and collaborate together on topics related to material discussed.  Group discussions are a common learning format in adult classrooms; therefore, having the classroom set up with the desks in a circle so everyone can see each other will further facilitate communication (Sheahan, n.d.).

Decisional:  Classroom management techniques are vital and must be implemented at the beginning of any given course.  Understanding the andragogy theory of adult learning will also assist an educator in the types of strategies and techniques to implement while maintaining a positive and successful leaning climate within the adult educational setting.  An educator must clarify expectations from the beginning and allow learners to be involved within the expectation process which further will enhance learner responsibility.  I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge while researching this material and have come to how imperative it is to implement management tactics in order to have a well-run, successful class.

References:

Sheahan, K. (n.d.).  Adult Classroom Management Styles. Retrieved from: http://www.ehow.com/info_7971301_adult-classroom-management-styles.html on September 26, 2013.

Balliro, L. (2005) Clues to Classroom Management in Adult Basic Education. Retrieved from: http://www.sabes.org/resources/fieldnotes/vol15/f152balliro.htm on September 26, 2013.

Effective Classroom Management Tips for Adults, (n.d.).  Retrieved from: http://adulteducation.answers.com/classroom-teaching/effective-classroom-management-tips-for-adults on September 26, 2013.

Nixon, R. (2007).  Not in High School Anymore: The Adult Learner in the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.emsvillage.com/articles/article.cfm?id=192 on September 21, 2013

 

Critical Thinking – Journal Entry #1


Objective:  Critical thinking can be defined in numerous ways; one definition is that it is an active, organized, cognitive process which allows an individual to come to an informed decision based on objectively.  As individuals we think on a daily basis, we think about loved ones, grades in school, places we want to travel and how to many increase finances in the bank account and so on but this is not critical thinking.  Critical thinkers strive to be clear, accurate, precise, logical, complete and fair when they listen, speak and act (Lipe & Beasly, 2004).  This is a disciplined was of thinking which is governed by clear intellectual standards and can be used in any professional field or work, therefore it is mandatory to learn so one can make informed, ethical and precise decisions.  The professional field of nursing benefits with this type of thinking because nurses are trained to recognize when an issue exists with a client, analyze the information based on the issue, evaluate this information and draw conclusions (Potter & Perry, 2010).  Critical thinking is not linear therefore, it is not a routine which can be memorized or standardized, each situation is unique and requires one to look and think beyond the obvious.  Critical thinking is not a set of skills that can be deployed at any time or in any context; it is a type of thought that even 3-year-olds can engage in and trained scientists can fail in (Willingham, 2007 pg. 10).  Critical thinking should be taught in all educational settings, so that learners can acquire to become competent problem solvers and make rational decisions in any given situation.  Research suggests that there is a lack of critical thinking within our educational settings, as we are too focused on scores and grade letters which undermines the educator’s ability to determine the extent of critical thinking on an exam or assignment.  We are finding ourselves “teaching to an exam” rather than allowing the learners to focus on their own learning, learners should be given the freedom and responsibility to explore content, analyze resources, and apply information on their own.  But we rarely give our learners this opportunity to think or learn independently, and they cannot “pick up” these skills on their own (Snyer & Snyer, 2008). The barriers to critical thinking within our education system are the lack of training, lack of information, preconceptions, and time constraints.  We are educating using tactics such as memorizing which is a temporary form of learning and is not supported by critical thinking.  Learning environments that actively engage students in the investigation of information and the application of knowledge will promote students’ critical thinking skills (Snyer & Snyer, 2008).  Educators can incorporate critical thinking into daily lessons, assignments and exams.  Problem-based learning activities will prompt critical thinking and the learner will develop problem-solving skills.  Active participation in the learning process including self-direction, identification of own learning needs, teamwork, creative discussion, and learning from peers will implement critical thinking tactics in education (Snyer & Snyer, 2008).

Reflective:  Personally, I feel critical thinking is necessary to make sound clinical decisions and judgments in the any professional field, especially in the nursing field since we are dealing with lives.  And any decision we make as a client’s advocate could mean life or death for the client.  I have been in the field of nursing for almost six years working in both acute and residential care settings, critical thinking now comes to me naturally as I use it in nursing practice on a daily basis to prioritize and make informed decisions with client care.  Critical thinking requires one to look at the bigger picture as a whole and take in all facts to make a rational decision.  Knowing that one should think critically is not the same as being able to do so; this requires the domain of knowledge and practice (Willingham, 2007 pg. 13).  In nursing practice one is educated on a specific subject and learners are given time to comprehend this new knowledge, once comprehension has taken place then this knowledge is applied to a skill or a case scenario which is simulated in a laboratory setting.   The learner in this situation is trained and educated to analyze subjective and objective information from the case scenario and critically think about prioritization, time management and best nursing interventions which eventually will benefit the client care.  The following step is the evaluation process and here one needs to determine if the actions taken were beneficial to client care or does the client need to be reassessed.

This enforces learners to critically think on their toes based on the knowledge and skill they have acquired.  Critical thinking is multi-dimensional and this allows learners to view a situation from more than one single viewpoint.  This in return permits learners to become efficient problem solvers which is central to nursing practice.  Again, critical thinking is a skill which one is able to develop; I personally developed critical thinking skills through experience and built upon these skills over time as thinking critically doesn’t come to one overnight.   Nurses are challenged to “think on their feet” in the multiple, complex, fast-moving environments of today’s nursing practice and critical thinking allows nurses to make judgments which in return will value their clients best interests (Yildirim & Ozkahraman, 2011).

Interpretive:  Critical thinking has a huge value in both professional practice and in one’s personal life; as effective problem solving strategies are necessary to ensure well rounded decisions.  Once one has adapted to this way of thinking then any complex situation has an optimal resolution.  As an educator, it is our role to ensure that each learner is developing higher level thinking skills as they progress though any educational course.  Currently in the practical nursing program, critical thinking is integrated in many ways throughout the course, from case scenarios to paper examinations; we have simulation mannequins in a laboratory setting which allows learners to deliberate through the nursing process and apply critical thinking in a case scenario situation.  Here the learner is faced with a problem and has to walk themselves through the nursing process, which includes, assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation, to make a well-informed decisions which will ultimately benefit the client.  Critical thinking enables nurses to discriminate between viable sources of data collection as they attempt to gain information about a patient’s condition and this knowledge is gained during in-class lessons and later applied to a scenario in a laboratory setting (Yildirim & Ozkahraman, 2011 pg. 180).  During paper examinations, each learner is given an exam which has a variety of questions ranging from, multiple choice to essay written questions; these types of question will further foster critical thinking skills when learners are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information given.  The questions on the paper examination relate to clinical situations, and they assist the learners to make the connection between theoretical concepts and clinical practice, and this in turn will further increase critical thinking skills (Yildirim & Ozkahraman, 2011).

Decisional:  In the end, we all need critical thinking skills to survive daily and professional life in this day and age.  Ensuring critical thinking skills are implemented in educational settings is compulsory and educators need to allow learners to participate in their own learning and further assist them in achieving their learning goals.  The expert educator enters into discussion with learners, listens attentively and speaks less, never ceases to ask questions, challenges students through a variety of instructional strategies, and encourages learners to reflect, and discover the answers for themselves.

References

Willingham, D (2007).  Critical Thinking, Why is it so Hard to Teach? Retrieved from: http://mres.gmu.edu/pmwiki/uploads/Main/CritThink.pdf on September 18, 2013.

Yildirim, B. & Ozkahraman, S. (2011). Critical Thinking in Nursing Process and Education.  International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 1 No. 13.  Retrieved from: http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_1_No_13_Special_Issue_September_2011/34.pdf on September 19, 2013.

Potter, P.,&  Perry, A (2010) Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing Fourth Edition Revised. Toronto, Canada: Mosby Elsevier.

Lipe, S.K. & Beasley, S. (2004). Critical Thinking in Nursing. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Snyer, L., Snyer, M., (2008).  Teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills.  The Delta  Pi Epsilon Journal, Volume L, No. 2.  Retrieved from: eforma.fen.uchile.cl/Papers/Teaching%20Critical%20Thinking%20Skills%20and%20problem%20solving%20skills%20-%20Gueldenzoph,%20Snyder.pdf on September 19, 2013.

 

 

 

 

Cheating & Plagiarism – Journal Entry #5


Objective: Cheating and plagiarism is not a new occurrence, it has gone on for years in schools, colleges and universities; the only change which has taken place is the way students cheat and their opinions towards cheating and plagiarism.  We are now considered “the net generation,” and the internet has opened doors to many educational resources which educators use in an educational setting, but this has also known to compromise academic veracity.  The internet age has brought tremendous opportunities for students and teachers in teaching and learning, and yet it has also brought challenges to academic integrity (Ma et al, 2008 pg. 197).  Students have access to journals, articles, websites and multiple other resources to improve their knowledge within a particular subject, but there are also multiple websites which encourage cheating and plagiarism.  Research has suggested that students usually cheat or plagiarise when they have procrastinated and will go to websites such as, www.cheathouse.com and www.123helpme.com for term papers and projects which can be downloaded and copied within minutes for a small fee (Sabella, n.d.).  Plagiarism is on the rise in all educational settings, since the internet is available to all students at their fingertips, it’s very easy to use someone else’s work and compromise academic integrity.  Sometimes, it is because students deliberately break the rules, choose to cheat, and have little or no interest in upholding ethics in academic integrity (Carroll, 2004).  Cheating and plagiarism doesn’t only cease at the internet, there are many other technological devices available to students to make cheating a tranquil process, such as cellular phones.  Today’s students do not think it is unethical to take pictures of an exam, send and receive text messages containing answers to an exam, or storing valid information such as notes from a class lecture on their cellular devices, and pass this information on to other students.  Students are using the camera feature on their phones as a means of copying another student’s test paper or taking pictures of their notes to use during a test (Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating, 2006).  At times it’s very challenging to verify if students are cheating during an exam, as they have mastered texting without looking at their device and keeping their cellular devices on silence makes it tougher to confirm students are cheating.

Reflective: In my opinion it is unacceptable to cheat on an exam or plagiarise a term paper, project or an assignment for any reason, bottom line there is no excuse.  There is no valid reason to compromise academic integrity, it is unethical and irresponsible.   When plagiarism occurs, and educator must take into consideration if they student is well educated on referencing and proper citations.  Educating students on plagiarism is an effective way to cease this process on day one of any lesson or workshop.  This allows students to understand the difference between, paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing well written work and using citations of these references appropriately (Lepi, 2013).  As educators we should model academic values and use references in our lectures, videos and in our PowerPoint presentations.  Personally, I have a zero tolerance for cheating on exams, and I’m sure there are many instructors who share the same outlook as I do on cheating.  As educators, we must be educated as much as possible about cheating methods used by students (Yee & MacKown, n.d.).  There are multiple methods that students use to cheat, such as, collaboration between peers during exams by using coughing or sneezing as a pattern, use of body or environment to pass along messages such as, tapping of the feet or pencils on a table and use of technology, such as cell phones, iPods and calculators (Yee & MacKown, n.d.).   Through education, as educators we can prevent cheating and plagiarism altogether.

Interpretive:  When a student decides to cheat or plagiarize, they are well aware of the consequences. In most cases, the student is given a zero and many schools, colleges or universities usually have set policies on cheating and plagiarism and ensure all students are aware of these policies as they are written in student handbooks. Students need to be educated on topics as it removes ambiguity and reinforces academic values.  And if a student has been caught cheating on an exam or plagiarizing, they must be disciplined; this sets a standard and prevents others from cheating or plagiarizing.

Decisional: In the college where I currently teach, it is a set policy that each instructor has each student sign a “student contract” for each course.  Within this contract are rules and regulations that the student must abide by for each course, such as class room management techniques, late assignments, and zero tolerance for cheating and plagiarism.  As an instructor, I ensure the students have an understanding of this contract and answer any questions to clarify any misunderstanding or misconceptions, I then have the students sign this contract on the first day of the course.  This contract limits misbehavior, cheating and plagiarism as the students are well aware of the consequences.  Since cheating and plagiarism is on the rise with technology, I ensure that during an exam each student turns their cellphones off and places them in a basket in front of the class.  As the students finish writing their exams and hand them in, they are allowed to pick their cellphones and leave the class quietly.   As a classroom rule no student is allowed to have earphone in their ears for any reason during an exam.  I usually sit one student per table to prevent cheating during examinations.  To prevent plagiarism, instructors at the college have created booklets which are handed out to each student in the first week of the course, on APA style papers and essays. In this booklet there is information on how to write an APA style paper, proper referencing and citations.  Many students find this extremely helpful as many are unaware of how to write a paper with proper referencing.  Through education the students are aware on the ABC’s of referencing and proper citations, which further prevents plagiarism.

References:

Ma, H.J., Wan, G., Lu, E. (2008) Digital Cheating and Plagiarism in Schools.  The College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University.  Retrieved from: https://www.puhsd.org/cms/lib6/CA01001144/…/digitalcheating.pd on June 16, 2013.

Sabella, R. A. (n.d.) Cheating and Plagiarism, A Practical Guide to Keeping Kids Out of High-Tech Trouble.  Retrieved from: www.education.com on June 16, 2013.

Gabriel, T. (2010) Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age.  The New York Times.  Retrieved from: www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/education/02cheat.html?pagewanted=print on June 16, 2013.

Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating, (2006). The University of Alabama Computers and Applied Technology Program. Technology Education: A series of case studies. Retrieved from: http://www.bamaed.ua.edu/edtechcases/ on June 22, 2013.

Carroll, J., 2004. Deterring, Detecting and Dealing with Plagiarism.  A brief paper for Brookes staff for Academic Integrity Week.  Retrieved from: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/resources/plagiarism.html  on June 22, 2013.

Lepi, K., (2013). The Current State Of Plagiarism In Education. Retrieved from: http://www.edudemic.com/2013/01/plagiarism-in-education/  on June 22, 2013.

Yee, K., MacKown, P., (n.d.) Detecting and Preventing Cheating During Exams.  Retrieved from: http://www.syr.edu/gradschool/pdf/resourcebooksvideos/AIBook/AIYee.pdf on June 23, 2013.

Reflection on Self-Assessment – Journal Entry #4


Objective:  Self-assessment is a process of formative assessment during which students reflect on and evaluate the quality of their work and their learning, judge the degree to which they reflect explicitly stated goals or criteria, identify strengths and weaknesses in their work and revise accordingly (Spiller, 2009 pg. 3).  Self-assessments allow learners autonomy within their learning to make decisions which will benefit their progress through the learning process.  It allows the learner to take ownership of learning and encourages building upon a natural tendency to evaluate the evolution of their learning.

Assessment processes in which the teacher holds all the power and makes all the choices limit the potential for learner development in all of these aspects (Spiller, 2009 pg. 2).  Allowing learners to engage within the assessment process contributes to greater efficiency in performance levels, increased intrinsic motivation, and stronger overall achievement.  According to Fenwick & Parsons, this type of assessment builds a trait within the learner which allows them to be aware of their moment-to-moment thinking process; they are able to learn from their inaccuracies and tend to seek feedback on a regular basis (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009).  A learner is able to develop a higher level of thinking and this further enhances learner opportunities for feedback and revision on their own, rather than having an educator articulate what is right or wrong.  Active participation by students in assessment design, choices and making judgments is a more sustainable preparation for subsequent working life (Spiller, 2009 pg. 3).

Self-Assessment with its emphasis on student responsibility and making judgments is a necessary skill for life-long learning (Spiller, 2009 pg. 5). Is self-assessment a reliable assessment technique? This is a question which educators ask routinely.   As learners assess themselves individually, they may rate their learning at a higher level if they are inexperienced with the form of this assessment.   Self-assessment by learners are usually rated higher than an educators ratings.  Learners must be trained on how to assess their work by an educator.  Instructors of adults should therefore be prepared to help them develop the skills and tools they need for self-assessment, and to work with them until they develop a comfortable level of experience (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 111).

Reflective: I feel self-assessments are beneficial as they allow learners to get involved and take responsibility of their own learning.  It encourages learners to reflect on their role and contribution within the learning process, and also allows learners to develop appropriate judgment skills.   There are various benefits with self-assessments but there are also many drawbacks such as, a risk of being perceived as a process of presenting inflated grades and self-assessment being unreliable.  Consequently, the ratings given by learners are often inflated and academically weaker learners may have greater motivation to inflate their self-ratings (Tan & Keat, n.d.).  Many educators find that self-assessments are inconsistent and learners will typically rate themselves on a higher scale, therefore, self-assessments should only be used over short time periods.  According to Ross, “there was less consistency with self-assessments over longer time periods, particularly involving younger children, and there were variations among subjects” (Ross, 2006 pg. 3).  Ideally, I believe that self-assessments should be used with learners who are well-trained and experienced in assessing themselves, and those who are cognitively prepared to assess themselves.  In my current practice, I will use self-assessments in reflective journal assignments or presentations.  The ability to self-assess is a valuable tool to use to determine if a learner is on the right path of their educational goals.  This will also allow the learner to develop skills for becoming a life-long learner.

Interpretive: Self-assessments permit learners to learn about themselves through reflective practice, and bring closure to unfinished emotions, unanswered questions, and unrealized relationships (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009).  Educators use self-assessment to include learner participation and feel that learners will learn more when they know that they will share responsibility within the assessment process.  The educator’s role in the self-assessment is to provide prompt and effective feedback to assist the learner in developing an appropriate criterion to enhance their own leaning goals.  Educators must assist the learners in becoming more comfortable with self-assessment and provide a clear procedural guideline in self-assessing appropriately (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009).  Support from the educator is essential as positive reinforcement and motivation allows the learners to develop strategies to assess themselves effectively.

Decisional: I have gained a vast amount of knowledge researching the benefits and drawbacks of self-assessments, but ultimately when introducing a variety of assessment techniques not only allows the learner to learn the new knowledge, but also improves learner performance, and can be a reliable and valid source in assessing learners.   The process for defining the criteria that students use to assess their work will improve the reliability and validity of the assessment if the rubric uses language intelligible to students, addresses competencies that are familiar to the students and includes performance feature they perceive to be important (Ross, 2006 pg. 8).  When introducing a self-assessment to learners, the educator must teach learners how to apply the criteria and ensure that there learners effectively understand the grading rubric.  I currently use self-assessment in group assignments, projects, and reflective journal entries.  I also ensure that the learners are receiving effective feedback on their self-assessments.

References:

Fenwick, T., Parsons, J., (2009) The Art of Evaluation: A Resource for Educators and Trainers 2nd Edition.  Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.

Ross, J. (2006) Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation: A Peer-Reviewed Electronic Journal Volume 11 Number 10. Retrieved from: pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=11&n=10‎ on June 10, 2013.

Tan, K., Keat L. H. (n.d.) Self and Peer Assessment as an Assessment Tool in Problem-Based Learning.  Retrieved from: http://www.tp.edu.sg/pbl_kelvin_and_ho_keat.pdf‎ on June 10, 2013.

Spiller, D. (2009) Assessment Matters: Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment.  Teaching Development. Retrieved from: http://www.waikato.ac.nz/tdu/pdf/booklets/9_SelfPeerAssessment.pdf‎ on June 8, 2013.

Video

Practical Nursing Video – Vancouver Career College Burnaby Campus


This is a short-video which was filmed at the Burnaby Campus for the Practical Nursing Department.  It was a great pleasure to work with all the faculty members to achieve great success! We achieved 100% pass rate in the last three writings of the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination. Way to go team! This type of quality teaching is what we strive to achieve!

Assessment for Learning – Journal Entry #3


Objective: Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there (Pettis, 2002). Assessment for learning requires the educator to assess the progress of all learners through informal assessment techniques such as, assignments, projects, and observations during class discussions. It thus differs from assessment designed primarily to serve the purposes of accountability, or of ranking, or of certifying competence (Black, et al 2004 pg. 10). The learners will have a productive and effective learning outcome when learning is through discussion of their own work. An assessment activity in class can assess the learners learning, either by the learner themselves or by the educator through appropriate feedback and collaboration. Ensuring the learner receives effective and constructive feedback is an essential component for this type of assessment; feedback can either be written or verbal. When providing learners with feedback on both written and verbal, it is the nature, rather than the amount, of commentary that is critical. Research experiments have established that, while student learning can be advanced by feedback through comments, the giving of numerical scores or grades have a negative effect, in that students ignore comments when marks are also given (Black et al, 2004 pg. 13). Learners will improve in their work tremendously, through engagement and collaboration during in class activities or assignments. Collaboration between teachers and students and between students and their peers can produce a supportive environment in which students can explore their own ideas, hear alternative ideas in the language of their peers, and evaluate them (Black et al, 2004 pg. 19). Providing feedback on learning errors and getting the learners to correct them and identify strategies to improve future work is directly linked to significant improvement in achievement rates (Guidance for Assessment and Learning: Assessment for Learning, 2008). Learners need information and guidance in order to plan the next steps in their learning, educators should pinpoint the learner’s strengths and advise them to develop these strengths. During this process the educator must be clear and constructive about the learner’s weaknesses and provide the learner with opportunity to improve in these areas. While the educator is providing feedback to the learners on their learning, it is also imperative that the educator receive feedback from the learners on their teaching technique. This will provide the educator with information they can use to make adjustments to the course immediately to further enhance the learning experience for each learner in the course. In assessment for learning, the learners are also encouraged to track their own learning through an individualized learning plan; the learning plan allows the learners to target their learning goals, review progression, identify new goals and allows the learners in setting their own individual targets and learning contexts. Educators must also encourage learners to complete and record on these learning plans on a weekly basis, this allows the learners to take responsibility and accountability for their learning progress. Assessment for learning has been proven to increase learner productivity, achievement and learning outcomes in many schools, colleges and universities around the world.

Reflection: This type of assessment is far more valued by the learner, as they are able to grasp and retain the new knowledge. Through collaboration with peers, constructive feedback and guidance by the educator the learner is less anxious, comfortable in the learning environment and confident in reaching learning outcomes. Assessment for learning supports in building a mutual language in which the educators and the learners are able to use to describe the growth and learning outcomes during the course (Davies, 2013). I personally feel that assessment for learning is beneficial to each learner as the educator is working side-by-side with the learner to improve learning progress and success on a regular basis. The educator is able to identify learner strengths and weaknesses and able to modify lessons regularly to promote high levels of learner achievement during the duration of the course. As stated in the article written by Professor Black and his research team, “Where assessment for learning is implemented effectively, it raises standards of achievement across the board, but particularly for low achievers. It reduced the spread of attainment while raising the bar for everyone. Where pupils are given better quality support and feedback, and are encouraged and empowered to take more responsibility, they learn more effectively” (Black et al, 2004). In the past, educators have used ineffective assessment methods, such as end of semester exams, created competition among the learners, and feedback on assessments has been a negative impact versus a positive impact in learning growth. Student achievement suffers because these once-a year tests are incapable of providing teachers with the moment-to-moment and day-to-day information about student achievement that they need to make crucial instructional decisions (Stiggins, 2002).

Interpretive: Assessment for learning is directed towards involving learners in the classroom to support their own learning and informing the educator on the following steps in achieving the optimal learning outcomes. This assessment technique is beneficial to each learner as the learners are far more confident in the learning process because they are literally able to watch themselves succeed. The students come to understand what it means to be in charge of their own learning, to monitor their own success and make decisions that bring greater success and this is the foundation of lifelong learning (Stiggins, 2002). The educators benefit from this type of assessment as they are able to further motivate the learners to learn, and tailor their lessons accurately based on informed decisions and learner achievement. Educators are able to use classroom time effectively and focus on areas in which the learners need further information, rather than going over information which is widely understood.

Decisional: Implementing assessment for learning is crucial to learner success and life-long learning. To promote assessment for learning in a classroom, the educator must, “conduct classroom dialogue in way which might assist learners to learn” (Black et al, 2004 pg. 11), provide feedback through grading in both verbal and written, promote peer and self-assessment strategies, and encourage collaboration through classroom discussion. Assessment has the power to transform both learning and teaching because it is so integrally linked to motivation, learning, and teaching (Davies, 2013).

References:


Guidance for Assessment and Learning: Assessment for Learning, (2008). The Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/pdf/4.2sflguidance_5.pdf‎ on May 28, 2013.

Pettis, J. (2002) Assessment for Learning: Researched Based Principles of Assessment for Learning to Guide Classroom Practice. Assessment Reform Group. Retrieved from: http://www.ealmb.ca/pluginfile.php/671/mod_page/content/15/2012-conference-plenary-handout.pdf on May 31, 2013.

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., Wiliam, D. (2004). Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 86 #1, pp. 8-21. Retrieved from:http://web.uvic.ca/~gtreloar/Assessment/Periodical%20Items/Working%20Inside%20the%20Black%20Box-Assessment%20for%20Learning%20in%20the%20Classroom.pdf on May 31, 2013.

Davies, A. (2013). What is Assessment for Learning? Transforming an Assessment: An Online Resource for Educators. Retrieved from: http://annedavies.com/assessment_for_learning_wafl.html on June 1, 2013.

Stiggins, R. (2002). Assessment Crisis: The Absence of Assessment FOR Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/assessmentcrisis.pdf on June 1, 2013.

Alignment in all Assessments is Crucial to Ensure Content Validity – Journal Entry #2


Objective: An alignment is the consistency among the components of the educational system which include the curriculum, the instruction and assessments (Nasstrom, 2008). Each of these three components must meet perfect alignment which is consistent, in agreement, matched or work together (Nasstrom, 2008 pg. 14). The curriculum is a set of standards, objectives and goals composed in a course which must be followed by the educator. The curriculum generally consists of a scope of breadth of content in a given subject area and a sequence of learning (Pellegrino, 2006 pg. 2). The instruction is based on the educator depending on instructional strategies and delivery methods, but ultimately the objectives and goals stated in the curriculum must be followed by the educator and conveyed to the learners. The instruction encompasses the activities for both the educators and the learners to perform in a particular subject (Pellegrino, 2006). The assessments are examinations, quizzes, assignments or projects based on the objectives and goals of the curriculum to determine if the learners have achieved and comprehended the new knowledge or skills. In the article written by Nasstrom, it is stated that the alignment of the educational system, which is composed of the curriculum, instruction and assessment, is compared to links in a chain and each link represents the three components of the educational system, the strength of each link decides how strong the chain will be and how strongly the chain will be held together. If one of the links is broken, then the chain will easily fall apart and some parts of this chain could end up lost and inconsistency of the alignment will cause incoherence and learners will be misled. But if the links of the chain stay resilient and composed, then the components of the educational system will be held together; this will further allow the learners to have an opportunity to attain the course goals and objectives (Nasstrom, 2008). When curriculum, instruction and assessment are aligned together within the educational system, there is a clear understanding between the educator and the learners; therefore, the learning outcome is evident.

Reflection: It stands to reason that if what is taught is not closely aligned with what is assessed, students will not have been adequately prepared (Align Teaching with State Curriculum, 2013). How can an educator expect learners to achieve the high grades in the assessments or evaluations when the instruction was not sufficiently delivered as stated in the curriculum? I personally faced this situation when I was in nursing school, in a particular course I always wondered why I did not do well in the exams compared to other courses. The content which was in the exams was not the same content which was delivered during class lectures. After writing two exams I realized that the instructor was missing vital content which was compulsory within this course, I then took it upon myself to thoroughly read chapters in textbooks given to us in our course outline. I also completed the guide books for these textbooks and finally started to see an improvement in my grades on the following exams. I realize now this was a feeble style of teaching, and promised myself that I would never make my students feel the way I felt during this course. I was lost in the material at first, but due to my self-directed learning style I was able to pull my grades up and guide myself through the course content. But I now know that not every learner is a self-directed learner, therefore, this was the reasoning why few of my classmates were not successful in this course. If assessments are misaligned with learning objectives or instructional strategies, it can undermine both student motivation and learning outcomes (Why’s and How’s of Assessment). Ideally, an assessment should measure what the students are actually being taught, and what is actually being taught should parallel curriculum one wants to master (Pellegrino, 2006 pg. 3). When curriculum, instruction and assessment are aligned, both learners and educators value the overall outcome.

Interpretive: It is imperative to ensure that alignment is parallel with curriculum, instruction and assessment. As educators we are knowledgeable and have experience in the field of instruction, and the learners are dependent on us for the accurate delivery of curriculum goals and objectives. How we assess student ability in content depends on what we define as “components of competence” for achieving “higher level thinking” and “deep understanding” (Farenga et al, n.d. pg. 51). In identifying content, cognitive processes and performance objectives, one realizes that curriculum, instruction and assessment are the three components in the learning equation (Farenga et al, n.d. pg. 51). Without this equation leaning requirements are not met, which leaves the learner mislead with new material, unenthusiastic about learning, and an overall poor educational experience. Alignment provides the learners with opportunities to absorb the new knowledge and apply this knowledge to a skill with confidence and desired competency levels.

Decisional: The importance of alignment in curriculum, instruction and assessment is vital to learner success. The three elements of this triad are linked, although the nature of this linkages and reciprocal influence is often far less explicit than it should be (Pellegrino, 2006 pg. 2). As an educator I must follow goals and objectives set out in curriculum and deliver this content to the learner efficiently to ensure optimal learner outcome in assessments. Delivery of instruction must facilitate factual, conceptual or procedural knowledge to the learners (Farenga et al, n.d.). Ensuring that content validity is present within delivery of instruction will reflect on outcomes and through observable behaviour of the learners during class sessions. In my current practice I always ensure I have read the goals and objectives to each lesson prior to instruction, and ensure appropriate delivery of this material is in relation to each individual learning style. Ultimately, my goal as an educator is that my students walk away from my lesson confident and competent with the new knowledge, and when being assessed or evaluated, each student is one hundred percent prepared with the content they are being assessed on.

References:


Align Teaching with State Curriculum (1997-2013), School Improvement in Maryland. Retrieved from: http://mdk12.org/process/student_achievement/Align_Teaching_and_Assessing_with_VSC.html on May 16, 2013.

Nasstrom, G., (2008) Measurement of Alignment between Standards and Assessment. Department of Educational Measurement Umeå University. Retrieved from: umu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:142244/FULLTEXT01‎ on May 16, 2013.

Why’s and How’s of Assessment, Eberly Center Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. Retrieved from: http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/assessment/basics/alignment.html on May 16, 2013.

Farega, S., Joyce, B., Ness, D. (n.d.) Reaching the Zone of Optimal Learning: The Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Learning Science and the Science of Learning. Retrieved from: drjohnscience.pbworks.com/f/Aligning+C,I,A.pdf on May 18, 2013.

Pellegrino, J. (2006). Rethinking and Redesigning Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: What Contemporary Research and Theory Suggests. National Center on Education and the Economy for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Retrieved from: http://www.skillscommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Rethinking-and-Redesigning.pdf
on May 18, 2013.

Adults Have Rather Fragile Egos – Journal Entry #1


Objective: As stated in the, Art of Evaluation, “adults have rather fragile egos,” each individual is left to construe this differently. As adults we have autonomy, competency and generally are exceedingly motivated and want to take control of our own learning process. Children are dependent on adults and are defenseless, therefore are informed by adults through the learning process with guidance and reassurance. As years pass and we grow from childhood to adulthood, we are faced with inaccuracies and independently develop a method to deal with these matters to the best of our ability. Therefore adult learners are, “competent, self-reliant and self-directing” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 20). Most of all we learn to trust ourselves as the most reliable judges of what is worthwhile, and what isn’t (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 20). In an educational setting, the adult learner will generally perform with high-quality when the educator uses positive feedback, constructive criticism, encouragement and motivation. Educators must ensure that self-worth must be fostered and not destroyed during the learning and evaluation process, as adults will, “protect self-esteem and tend to instinctively respond to criticism by being defensive” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 19). Once the adult learner feels attacked, “protective walls go up” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 19), the learning process is shattered and the overall experience becomes spiteful. The adult-learner will take fewer risks due to the lack of encouragement and negative feedback. The evaluation process is designed to assess the overall competency of what the adult-learner has achieved therefore, it is essential to heighten confidence and in return this will ensure positive personal growth.

Reflective: When reading the quote, “adults have rather fragile egos,” I realized that this is dependent on past experience in the learning and the evaluation process. Each individual will view this quote differently. Personally growing in the Canadian educational system, I was praised and encouraged to do my personal best. I can recall one of the few positive experiences from my elementary school teacher. Mrs. Wong my third grade teacher was instructing us in cursive writing, and I vividly remember her enthusiastic and continuously inspiring comments encouraging the class to perform to the best of our ability. At the end of the third grade, Mrs. Wong had displayed poems written in our penmanship outside the third grade classroom for all other students and teachers to view our astonishing hard work. This is just one example of how praising has been deemed successful in personal achievement and growth. As the years went on, expectations of doing well were on the rise, it is enforced by my parents to achieve high standards in education. This brought upon stress and the educational experience was not the same as it used be, teachers had high expectations and demand which in turn was draining and opening a textbook resembled a chore. Throughout high-school the only method of evaluation was the traditional written exam and occasional quizzes, this was beyond stressful and at times exemplified monotony semester after semester. Some of these experiences were positive and some negative, but through trial and error I learned and this has made me the individual I am today. Due to the thoughts of a change in career, I entered nursing as an adult- learner in 2006, in this educational setting I was encouraged to do my best throughout the course, and I had remarkable motivating educators who well experienced in the field. This is when I learned to take constructive criticism positively, learned while making mistakes, and lastly I had the ability to make decisions in how I learned throughout the learning process, which had proven to heighten my overall educational experience as an adult.

Interpretive: As adults we are always looking for a change, whether it is a lifestyle or a career change, we may enter into an educational institution. As educators we need to realize that adults come with a vast amount of life experiences, educational backgrounds, and the adult learner will learn with significance and motivation through a positive learning environment. Educators must involve the learner within the learning process through encouragement, and allow them to, “believe that mastery brings power and respect, and who have learned to hide their weaknesses and sell their strengths, to know risk making mistakes” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 20). There are various methods of evaluations we can use to assess each learner’s proficiency; we can make use of exams, quizzes, projects, group assignments and through demonstration of skills learned throughout the semesters. As an adult educator, I must be open-minded to all the different learning styles each individual attains, and ultimately thrive to accomplish learner success through inspiration and positivity during instruction and evaluation.

Decisional: After reflecting on this quote, I must ensure that as an adult educator I must create independence and allow each learner to engage within the evaluation process. I can use the various methods of evaluations, have frequent evaluations rather than one massive evaluation at the end of the semester which will further decrease the amount of anxiety a learner attains during the evaluation process. Ultimately the as an adult educator I want to ensure an optimistic leaner-educator relationship, be “honest and helpful, while being sensitive as possible,” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009 pg. 17), to not destroy self-confidence during the evaluation process. This will encourage optimal effort and the learner will walk away feeling competent and confident in the knowledge and skills which they have accomplished.

References:
Fenwick, T., Parsons, J., (2009) The Art of Evaluation: A Resource for Educators and Trainers 2nd Edition. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.