PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education
This course introduced me to various teaching philosophies. It taught me that not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. I learned that motivation for learning can vary tremendously from person to person. Understanding and accepting these differences exist helped me to be more empathetic when individuals were having a difficult time with their learning and to adapt instructional delivery to the classroom situation whenever possible.
PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development
This course was an eyeopener for me. The focus of this course was developing skills for course learning objectives, outcomes, DACUMS, course outlines and other instructional materials. Working on these skills made me aware that there was a purpose for everything that was taught within the classroom. Of course, we need to be flexible, but a skillful teacher uses the process to optimize the students learning by staying on track and creating a logical flow if information. Well thought out curriculum and course development was a sign of best pedagogic practices. This course was invaluable when I began to be involved in the course development project for our department.
PIDP 3230 Evaluation of Learning
As I was taking this course I reviewed many of my existing evaluations/assessments, these included quizzes, exams and assignments. I discovered most of them were sadly inadequate and did not always reflect solid pedagogical principles. This course gave me the skills to restructure my existing assessments to an acceptable level and allowed me to incorporate best practices when developing new evaluations.
PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies
As instructors, we are always looking for the right mixture of instructional delivery and learning activities to engage our students and to create an atmosphere of effective learning. This course introduced me to the many instructional strategies that I could use to nurture motivation to want to learn. The most important thing I learned was that just simply teaching a subject does not necessarily correlate with the students learning. There are physiological, behavioral and physical factors that affect how students comprehend and retain knowledge. We need to be aware of these conditions and align instructional strategies to complement the students learning preferences to provide effective learning.
The most important thing I have learned.
The most important thing that I have learned from the PIDP courses was that education is a complex subject. Much academic research has been done to explain the why, how, what and when to use recognized pedagogical principles to optimize student learning. Yet, much of what was happening in the classroom are the implementation of pedagogic best practices modified to reflect the actual situation. As educators, we need to be flexible and adapt to these unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable situations.
How has my thinking changed?
I have come to realize that the classroom environment and student engagement are dynamic. No matter how well you prepare for a class you should be ready for the unexpected. Brookfield suggests that “learning – particularly that involving risk, discomfort, or struggle – is highly emotional” (Brookfield, 2015, p.55). I should not be too hard on myself if every lesson does not go perfectly. I need to understand that predictability is not part of the equation, uncertainty is the norm.
Actions I will take based on what I have learned.
I will carefully consider the complexity and diversity of the classroom environment when choosing the instructional strategies and learning activities in my future classes. I need to be aware of and understand the myriad of emotions students may be experiencing during the learning process. My response must be honest yet meaningful to the students.
The PIDP courses I have taken to date has helped me to realize my job as an educator was not just to teach, but to assist students in their learning by providing guidance, relevant knowledge and skill sets to want to become lifelong learners. I will continue to apply what I have learned into each of my classes to improve the students learning experience.
Brookfield, S. D., (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. 3rd.ed. San Francisco: Jossey – Bass.