Archive | June 2014

Self-Assessment: not as easy as it first appears

My course 3250 – Instructional Strategies is winding down and the final 2 assignments are about assessment. Assessing both our contribution to forum discussions and our blog. I was eager to submit my assessments but on sitting down to tackle these assignments, I’ve discovered they are harder than first appeared. And I’m curious. It has generated much more thought than I expected. I know the purpose behind self-assessing i.e. there is great learning in self-assessing and I know deep reflection can generate transformation and lead to enhanced insights. Barkley (2010) explains that ” helping students evaluate their learning allows them to take responsibility for determining whether they are in their optimal challenge zone and adjust accordingly by doing additional review, seeking help, or challenging themselves to do more advanced work.”
Assessing oneself isn’t about listing all the new skills you have learned, or about saying this was great or I liked that or my strengths are such and such. It may partially be those things and yet it is so much more. Thinking about my thinking has become an everyday occurrance! Keeping Barkley’s comments in mind, I have determined that indeed I am in my optimal challenge zone and I will challenge myself further to take all I have learned in this course to my future instruction.
Self-assessment is more for the student than the instructor. It has generated some deep thought on my part. It has kept me honest. It has demonstrated my strengths and my opportunities. Yes, it can help to evaluate and lead to a “score” or a final mark but to me that isn’t what it is all about!
I have learned so much in this course and I am thankful to my fellow classmates who have contributed to my learning and my instructor for constantly fueling questions to make me think.
Most of all, I am excited to continue to challenge my learning!


Barkley, E. (2010). Student engagement techniques – a handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

This entry was posted on June 24, 2014. 1 Comment

Blog Envy

I’ve been sifting through my blog trying to figure out how I can organzie the content better, or at least have it more organzied and user friendly and I seem to be at a bit of a roadblock. I became curious if it is my skill level, my creativity (or lack thereof) or my motivation. So I thought it would help to really delve into the blogs of my classmates that I had previously been impressed with and critically dissect how they were presented and designed and….. well….now I have blog envy!
Oh my goodness, such wonderful expressive blogs and all so uniquely different. Darn it…why didn’t I design mine like theirs? How come I chose that template? Why did I pick those colours? Is my content even remotely interesting? I had so many questions running around in my mind with the overwhelming thought that I have my work cut out for me if I want to change it.
After sleeping on it and reflecting further I decided to take a step back for a bit and reflect further on the 2 questions from the article on self-regualted learning that I posted on a previous post (see The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning).

In the meantime I happen to check out our forum and came across this post about resistance and how to keep motivation going from my fellow classmate James. James shared a quote from the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
He identifies the ‘Resistance’ that is, ‘when we defer from doing what we know we need to be doing to achieve our goals we have’, and instead get distracted by something else. He also focuses on the notion that the resistance only needs to be overcome for that one session, ‘right now’. Later you can defer but right now you need to overcome for the good of the goal.

This quote resonated with me in two ways. It signifies self-forgiveness and suggests that resistance is okay. It also suggests you ask yourself what do you really want? And if that is your goal how can you overcome resistance for the short term? My aha here is that I can break my big goal of creating a more savvy, slicker blog into into small goals that are more attainable and realistic and ultimately of least resistance – which will then support my big goal!

Okay – blog envy no more! Time to get motivated.

This entry was posted on June 20, 2014. 1 Comment

Teacher, Instructor, Educator, Facilitator

In some of the forum discussions in my 3250 course, we have questioned the differences between the titles of “teacher, instructor, educator, facilitator”.  Do they mean different things?  Do they refer to different types of people?  Are they one and the same?  What sets them apart and what similarities do they have?  Lot of great questions to think about.
I have posted a short video on the definition and roles of a facilitator.

In my work environment, my job title is that of a facilitator.  One of my co-students found the definition below that describes a facilitator.  I strongly identified with this and wanted to pass on. Thanks Nicolette!

One of the most effective approaches in helping students learn is facilitation of learning. Brockett (1983) views an educator of adult’s primary role as one of facilitating learning. He bases this view on the assumption that adults tend to prefer settings in which they have primary responsibility for directing their own learning.  Another advocate of the facilitating approach is Knowles. He believes that adult educators should serve as facilitators of learning rather than content transmitters.
Aker (1976) studied effective facilitators in detail and believed they were individuals who exhibited the following characteristics:
1. Have great empathy–i.e., try to see things as seen by their learners.
2. Consistently use reward, seldom if ever use punishment, and never ridicule.
3. Have a deep sense of their responsibility, enjoy their work, and like people.
4. Feel secure in their own abilities, yet believe that they can do better.
5. Have a profound respect for the dignity and worth of each individual and accept their fellow learners as they are without reservation.
6. Have a keen sense of fairness and objectivity in relating to others.
7. Are willing to accept or try out new things and ideas and avoid drawing premature conclusions.
8. Have high levels of patience.
9. Recognize the uniqueness and strengths of each individual and build upon such strengths.
10. Are sensitive to the needs, fears, problems and goals of their fellow learners.
11. Reflect on their experiences and attempt to analyze them in terms of success and failure.
12. Are humble in regard to their role and avoid the use of power which is assumed by some educators.
13. Do not pretend to have the answers and enjoy learning along with others.
14. Are continuously expanding their range of interest.
15. Are committed to and involved in their own lifelong learning.

Aker, G. F. (1976). The Learning Facilitator.

Brockett, R. (1983). Facilitator roles and skills. Lifelong Learning: The Adult Years, 6(5), 7-9. 

One teacher’s passion

The TED talk below is from an elementary school teacher in the Bronx. She describes a moment in her classroom where her training as a teacher didn’t help but instead it was her passion, her intuition, her values and her beliefs that got her through. Very inspiring! I wonder how many of us rely on those skills to get us through difficult times?

The Secret of Self Regulated Learning

My instructor posted the article below and I must say it is quite timely for me. As I am reflecting and rereading many of our forum posts and discussions, I am somewhat overwhelmed at the amount of content we have learned and how I can remember everything. I am also very excited to be able to share my knowledge and try out new skills. Posting the articles that resonated for me on my blog is certainly one great way of keeping the knowledge close at hand.

The article talks about how we as instructors are self-regulated learners and how we can support our students to become self-regulated learners.

2 questions from the article really stood out to me and I have posted here for you.

1. What can I recall and what should I review?
2. How well are my learning strategies working? And what changes would I make (if any)?

Open the link below to view the entire article.

Reflections after 7 weeks

I’ve been looking back through all the posts and information I have shared since my 3250 course on Instructional Strategies began a few short weeks ago.
There has been a wealth of information passed on by my classmates and instructor. So much so, that I have forgotten some of it….okay well, a lot of it! Hence, that is why reflection is so important.
As we approach our last 2 weeks, I will be rereading and digesting again the fantastic information I have gotten since staring this program.
I am discovering that a blog is a great way to trigger the memory and confirm what I have learned. I have enjoyed this much more than I thought I would.
It is so interesting to see how perspectives change.

Motivation – forum discussion

What really is motivation? I agree it is very personal for each of us so how does one instructor motivate many?

In this forum we discussed the how the what and the why’s of motivation. Below are a few links to articles that stood out to me.

We began with describing John Keller’s motivational theory called ARCS. Below is a video of him describing his theory – grabbing attention is key in engaging a student. It is an hour long but if you have the time a good video. Recognize your limits – Don’t motivate the motivated. What is the perceived gap?

I also enjoyed the TED talk from Dan Pink on motivation. We submitted a journal entry on this talk. I’m curious for all of you how you can tap in to your students creativity.
Motivation and how our brains work is an interesting concept. The article below explains the what behind the brain and the link to motivation.

And this next one is defintitely one that strikes a chord with me. How we use our words can motivate each person so differently. Sometimes as a trainer or instructor you need just the right word or a different person with the right word for the penny to drop and motivation or learning happen.