Much has changed over the years from my days of stating “This is a pen” and singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. Having spent my first 27 years being mostly a learner myself, I found it a challenge to teach concepts and ideas to others, and had to learn to see my own world and reality through the eyes of others who saw me, my language, my culture, my beliefs, and even my sense of humor as ‘foreign’. As I began to see myself from the outside, I started to better understand who I was and startlingly realized that I have long been an educator, even before I took on the career of being one. But even more than being an educator, I realized myself as being an awakener, much like the quote from Robert Frost.
As I progressed from language schools, to Junior and Senior High school, and on to teaching internationally educated nurses (IENs) Medical Terminology and medical language for entering a competitive work force, I have often questioned my teaching skills and abilities to help others understand and use the knowledge that I have imparted.
When I decided to challenge the Provincial Instructor Diploma Programme, I had no idea what to expect beyond that it was going to challenge me greatly. Instructional Strategies is my 3rd course in the programme, and I was correct in my assumption that it would be a challenge but in ways beyond what I expected. I have taught for a long time, and have been very successful according to student and class evaluations, as well as stake-holders evaluations of outcomes. The challenge for me has not been in realizing that many of the skills and strategies I use in class with my students are strategies used by many others, but that they get all broken down and dissected in ways that, to me, takes away their beauty and grace of how they evolve in a class along with students to make unique learning experiences for each unique individual who progresses through my class.
The more I learn about the strategies I unwittingly developed as I strove to provide learning to students sometimes deemed “unteachable”, and how students scientifically experience knowledge in the classroom, it seems all the more clinical, detached, and calculated to me, and I don’t particularly like it. I don’t really want to read about whys and wherefores of how it works in a textbook, because I can clearly see the effects of it in my class and with students’ success and it therefore has so much more meaning and intensity when I can see it all first hand. And yet I understand that in order to become a better educator, I need to know how it is all put together, or even just falls together, in order to create newer and better ways to reach out to students to more effectively enable them to learn in ways that I have not even thought of before.
PIDP 3250 will continue to open my eyes to the world of andragogy, and now heutagogy, in ways I never imagined and still at times find a little unbelievable. Feel free to follow me along this crazy journey through adult learning and teaching of an old dog, new tricks!