Professional Development Plan

In the next 5 years, I plan to still be an instructor teaching electricians and and electrical theory to the public through continuing education courses. To continue on my path of life long learning, I will continues to take more courses to improve my skills and knowledge. I will be taking a safety codes officer course to help me further my understanding of codes and regulations guiding the construction industry.

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I will also look into taking some project management course to help with managing project that I may take on during my time as an instructor. I will become a member of CFAA to help guide and learn for the fire alarm industry.  I may continue my education in Adult Education and get a degree in adult education from the University of Calgary.

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Lecturing Creatively

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Lecture can be boring and as with most methods can be ineffective if used incorrectly (Freire, 1993). Brookfield (2015) gives several examples and methods to help make lecture more interesting and effective. Some of the methods I like to use the most is “Lecture from Siberia” (Shor, 1996) in this method we can engage the the learners who chose to exile themselves to the furthest point from the instructor, in hopes they will not be noticed or called upon during the class. I also like to break lecture up into several smaller blocks, also known as chunking, to allow the covered subject to sink in and allow time for the learner to reflect on the information provided. The other item we need to use is clear signals (Bligh, 2000), we need to ensure the that we the learners know what is going on in the class at all times and we are guiding them signs on important information and when we are about to change direction or move onto a new topic. By utilizing these tools and methods I believe we can make lectures more fluid and valuable for the learners.

References
Bligh, D. A. (2000). Whats the use of lectures?Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classr. John Wiley & Sons.
Freire, P., Ramos, M. B., & Macedo, D. (1993). Pedagody of the Oppressed. NY, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group.
Shor, I. (1996). When Students Have Power Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Accreditation

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As a trades instructor our accreditation is handles by the Provincial Government. The course I instruct must be approved by the provincial government and we must follow the course outlined by them (Apprenticeship and Industry Training, 2014).  We are required to evaluate the learning base don the objectives, these objectives include theoretical concepts as well as practical skills. The electrician trade is a 4 year program where the learner learn job skills on the job for 9-10 months of the year and then spends 2-3 months in technical training at an approved college of their choice.  The technical training is planned around a 240 hour course  for the first 3 years and 360 for the 4th year.  During this training we perform evaluations of the learners skills and knowledge. We perform both theory base written exams as well as practical exams to evaluate their skills. The school provides a mark to the office of Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT). AIT also administers their own 100 multiple choice theory based exam at the end of the course.  If enough students fail this standardized exam could cause a college to lose it’s accreditation for the trade if it is not meeting the requirements of the course. As this can mean that learners are leaving the facility without the proper training and could be a danger to their colleagues in the field.

Electrician apprenticeship course outline. (2014). Edmonton, Alberta: Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education. https://tradesecrets.alberta.ca/SOURCES/PDFS/course_outlines/003_outline.pdf

Power in the classroom

Brookfield (2015) speaks of the power struggle in the classroom.  In traditional education the teacher is the absolute power in the classroom. More and more classrooms are beginning to hand over more power to the learner. In adult education the learner take on more responsibility for their own learning and with this they must take on some of the power within the classroom. The instructors must be able to ensure that the learners have the best chance at capitalizing on their learning. As we have spoken before diversity in the classroom can also force us to change tactics in the classroom, which could also mean we may need to change the power balance in the classroom to accommodate this diversity. There are several possible methods of lessen the struggle can include;

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  1. Transparency – Ensure that everything you do is transparent, so the learner can know what is expected of them and how their learning will be assessed.
  2. Responsiveness – Respond to learners concerns, do not dismiss them or ignore them. Be honest and as clear as can be.
  3. Be Fair – Ensure that everything you do in the classroom is fair, this does not mean fair as in easy or does not require effort but is the same for each learner in the classroom.

We can use classroom assessment feedback tools to us help gauge the comfort of the learner and ensure we are providing a space in which we are fostering learning and maintaining a dynamic balance of power.

References
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classr. John Wiley & Sons.

Chapter 8: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms

culture-clipart-hand-raised-1.pngThere has always been diversity in the classroom. Differences between learning styles, social economical and cultural diversity in classrooms.  We have become quite adapt of overcoming the learning style and social economical diversity. We are moving into an age of a greater cultural diversity in the classroom as colleges and universities begin to draw from international markets and changing their admissions to encourage more diverse classrooms like the University of Manitoba(2016) did with their admissions.  Brookfield (2015) discusses several challenges such as cliques forming based on culture or race, potentially leading to possible conflicts and issues. we can use strategies to overcome these possible issues or to change them into new learning moments. We can encourage these learning moments through the use of group projects. These group projects can be done in several ways. We can assigned members to groups ensuring that each group is diverse allow for culturally different learners to work together and learn from each other.  We could also encourage learner to make their own groups, which can provide the entire class with a different perspective on the topic to be covered. By embracing diversity and working with all groups we can make the classroom a much more welcoming and hopefully encourage new levels of learning

 

References
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classr. John Wiley & Sons.
Janzen, M., & Cranston, J. (n.d.). The challenges of implementing a diversity admissions policy. Retrieved from https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/challenges-implementing-diversity-admissions-policy/

Chapter 1: Experiencing Teaching

pexels-photo-313690.jpegThe first day of teaching can be a major hurdle. How do I speak to so many people? How do I best impart my knowledge? How do I deal with potential issues in the classroom? These are some of the question I asked myself when I first started teaching. As Stephen Brookfield (2015, PP 1)  states “The truth of teaching is a gloriously messy pursuit in which shock, contradiction and risk are endemic.” These questions never go away there is no one answer to any of them as each scenario is different and everyone involved is a different person with different experiences, knowledge and temperament. You will find no answers here either only insight from my experience as a teacher in a classroom environment as there are no steadfast answers or solutions. I have seen students get frustrated to the point of punching the classroom whiteboard. I have had a learner with two degrees breakdown into tears due the frustration of the course load in our electrical trades program.  The course I teach is an 8 week physics course mixed in with some legal, this type of course has been identified as quite intensive and full of information which the learner must retain and be able to utilize to solve problems. The loading causes frustration, causing stress on the learners, this stress can cause the learners to act in unexpected ways and manners. There are several methods and techniques we can use to help to minimize the stress of the learner like the ones listed by DeNeen on her article “Why You Need To Manage Student Stress And 20 Ways To Do It“.  We can ensure that the learner can reach us and ask us for help as needed and within reason.  Give them reasons for everything they are learning beyond that of an exam or a certification. Let them know of your own experiences with learning and education, this may relieve some of their stress and give them more focus. We must remember that the learners in our classes are people and have many factors outside of the classroom that may also affect their learning  and stress levels in the classroom. Even though we cannot affect the external factors we can help to make the classroom factors more flexible.

 

 

References
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classr. John Wiley & Sons.
Deneen, J. (2013, February 11). Why You Need To Manage Student Stress And 20 Ways To Do It. Retrieved from https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/why-you-need-to-manage-student-stress-and-20-ways-to-do-it/

Introduction

Hello my name is Alex Hesse, I am an electrical trades instructor as SAIT polytechnic in Calgary Alberta. I have been instructing now for 4 years. Before I became an instructor I was an estimator for Cummins Power Generation estimating large industrial and commercial power plant jobs. My technical training has me certified as a master electrician working primarily in the commercial high raise buildings and in the fire alarm industry. In my time at SAIT I have become one of the colleges leading members of the Learning Management System team within my department and school. I am taking the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program 3260 to help me to progress and become a better instructor.

 

©2018 All rights reserved  Alex Hesse