Professional Development Plan (PIDP3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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The PIDP program that I am taking has been a great learning experience. Throughout my career in Hospitality, I have always been in a position to train people, but I had never done it in a classroom environment. So a few years ago when I started teaching the Hospitality Management Diploma program at a private College in Vancouver, I was not sure what to expect. I instantly developed a liking to it and realized that this is something I want to do, so naturally, I decided to enroll into the PIDP program to enhance my knowledge and skills as an Instructor.

Since I enjoy teaching so much, all my plans for the future are tied to that. My career vision is to be the department head for a Hospitality Management Degree program within the next five years. My personal and professional values are what shape my vision. I like to believe that that I bring in a lot of multicultural skills to my classes as well as to the department. I have lived in several different countries around the world; speak a couple of languages, and that brings a very solid diversified cultural understanding. This is very helpful when it comes to better understanding my Students, as well as my colleagues. On a professional level, I bring over thirty years of Hospitality industry experience and industry contacts, and a few years of teaching experience.

So how will I turn my vision into reality? To begin with, my first goal is to complete my PIDP this spring. After PIDP3260 I have one more course left and the Capstone project, so I can almost see the finish line. Another way of reaching my goals is to attend at least one International industry related convention annually. For example: I am working on attending the National Restaurant Association show that is happening in May in the beautiful city of Chicago. I am also heavily involved in the course / program curriculum development in the Hospitality department at my College, as we are making some changes, and trying to provide better value and learning experiences for our Students.

Of course, there are always obstacles along the way. To me, it is what you bring to the table that helps overcome these challenges. We have a great team at my College, so my department and my colleagues are of great support. Then there is my own expertise and knowledge that will support me in the programs / course that I teach. Financial support is also important for professional development, and this is where the College comes in. Last but not least, the family: they are always there to encourage me when I want to better myself professionally.

Our paths as instructors are all about a life time learning commitment.  Not only do we teach our Students, but we are always Students ourselves.  It is very important to stay up-to-date with the industry and new technology needs and expectations, as well as the Students needs and expectations. Students get motivated when they see that we as instructors continue to learn as well. They grow with us when we talk about courses we take, conventions or special events we attend, and explain to them the importance of all this. I will continue taking different courses to enhance my teaching; we always need to be prepared for the fast changing needs in the teaching field.  I teach Food Operations and Management, so a couple of years ago I obtained my Serving it Right certification. I also completed Advanced Food Safety, so now I am a certified instructor for that program.

I like to volunteer at different industry events; this allows me to keep up with the industry and my contacts. I am also very active and involved in the community I live in. Being engaged in a variety of different things is something that I believe will help me reach my goals and vision.

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Lecturing Creatively – Chapter 6 Brookfield (3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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In Chapter 6 “Lecturing Creatively” in his book “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, author Stephen D. Brookfield discusses the alignment of teaching practice to different learning styles through “creative” lecturing.

Teachers play a very important role in the learning process and development of Students. Creative teaching can be described as something that impacts improved Student achievements, effecting outcomes that matter to their future success. It is very complex, but it can be summarized by saying that the progress of a Student is something that we should use to assess the quality of the teacher. The Students performance is something that heavily impacts ones teaching method. In order to be successful, you need to convert the classroom into a competent, enthusiastic and accountable environment, and keep Students constantly engaged and motivated. An adaptable and well-managed strategy delivers a proven and practical way to create a culture of high performance, ongoing development and a commitment to high quality performance. In a best practices-based approach, you want to create a culture that says: How much can I learn if I stay open to the possibility of learning from all that is around me? For performance programs to be successful, it is important that both the Students and the teachers understand that conversations about performance are not a “once in a blue moon” event. Teachers have to clearly understand that working with Students on performance is an ongoing process that plays a critical role in Students satisfaction and success, and that it is a two way street: Students need to be very much involved in assessing the program, each other, and their teacher, and provide constant feedback on this. Students are taught that true leadership is shown through formal and informal interactions and their ability to connect the vision to the team or group, and more importantly how they react in the moment. They should be mentored on leadership clarity and on where Students and teachers need to be consistent, and where they have latitude to change messaging.

We need to implement a very careful teacher evaluation system, which will be based on continuous assessment and feedback, rather than accountability. In order to do that, a variety of measures should be incorporated, using different sources and methods. The first step is information gathering. It can be used for a variety of different reasons; however, the main benefit is that one will become aware of more diverse sources, opinions and approaches which can only enhance the planning process. Student focus is when everyone agrees on what is important and planning flows evenly. Important goals are key to supporting the overall goals of the Students and teachers. Everyone needs to self-correct and change direction to improve results, and results occur, which is the yardstick by which everything should be judged. For an evaluation system to come together and move forward, all the people involved need to have a common understanding of the mission, and practical understanding of the consequences of failure and the benefits of success. It needs to be clearly determined where they want to be, and then take the necessary steps to get there. Effective measurement and accountability is usually dependent on three factors: what is expected, what is an acceptable standard of performance, and a method of measurement that communicates the level of performance against the acceptable standard.

Planning should be relatively simple, set with realistic goals and what is most important for the learning progress. This can be accomplished by setting a few major pillars and then focusing on implementing strategies within those pillars. The other important factor is to “stick to the plan” and this often involves knowing what not to do. It is very important to set a time frame when reviews should be done; but typically it should be ongoing formal and informal feedback from both sides. A huge part of it is effectively measuring the progress and accountability, and this is why key performance indexes should be clearly indicated. This is very important in determining what you are doing and whether you need to make any adjustments. When it comes to learning outcomes, it is crucial to have a vision and plan going forward. In my opinion, there is no single best way of doing the planning, an alignment needs to be created that will bring the classroom together. Not everyone can see things the same way, and often times the results are not clearly visible. This is where the two way feedback and assessment plays a very important role.

References:

Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Program Accreditation and Evaluation (3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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When Students look for educational institutions, one of the standards is that the educational institution is accredited. Accreditation is a process by which an educational program is evaluated against defined criteria by a third party. If it is in compliance with the criteria, the program is awarded recognition attesting to its compliance. It should be a flexible mechanism that translates best practices in program development, delivery and improvement, and outcomes measurement into a defined set of criteria which can be used as a benchmark for programs. When the baseline criteria are met, programs are accredited. If a school fails to meet the necessary standards during the accreditation process, it becomes subject to further investigation, which usually results in a loss of accreditation. Some of the issues that can cause a school to lose its accreditation are, course hours that run well-below the mandated minimum of 110 hours, a shortage of qualified teachers, and students paying a fee to retake exams and have their grades inflated.

The best example is McGill University’s prestigious medical school program was put on probation and was at the risk of losing its accreditation after an inspection found the undergraduate medical education program failed to meet 24 of 132 required standards. Amongst other issues, the University did not meet the standards when it comes to the quality of women’s health education and Students’ overall learning experience. It was also noted that black and Filipino, as well as Indigenous Students are underrepresented, Low parental income and education levels are underrepresented as well. McGill was also cited for lack of progress recruiting students from rural backgrounds.

It is also important to do a thorough evaluation. This should be done in order to ensure proper decision making, judgements, conclusion, findings, new knowledge, organizational development and capacity building.

I work for a College that is accredited. All schools must have a clearly defined mission in order to be accredited. They have to better educate and serve Students, and demonstrate that the school has the resources to achieve its mission while showing evidence of the mission being achieved. Schools are audited on a regular basis to make sure that all the accreditation standards are being met.

References:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mcgill-medical-school-probation-lifted-1.4163794

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/closed-hamilton-dental-school-leaves-students-stranded-1.1166569

Brookfield Chapter 16: Understanding Students’ Resistance to Learning (3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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Author Stephen D. Brookfield  points out in Chapter 16 of the “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, that “The ground zero of resistance to learning is the fear of change.” (Brookfield,S., 2015, p.213).

He goes on to add 11 more possible explanations of resistance to learning.

Poor self-image as a learner (p. 219). This learner has a lack of confidence in their abilities as a learner and will resist efforts to move them forward (Brookfield, 2015).

  • A lot of Students at the College I teach are International, they come from different cultures and learning styles, so it is understandable that this is an issue for them. It takes a while for them to overcome this, and the Instructor plays an important role.

– Fear of the Unknown (p. 219). This learner is afraid how the learning will affect their status quo and will therefore be resistant to learn.

  • Another problem that is very present with Students, rather than making the effort to learn they choose to avoid the situation.

– A normal Rhythm of Learning. Brookfield states that while this processing state is temporary, it is “. . . experienced as permanent until some external prompt reignites forward movement” (p. 220).

  • It is up to the instructor to understand their Students and make sure everyone is getting the full value of teaching and learning at the same pace.

– A Disjunction of Learning and Teaching Styles. Brookfield explains, “ . . . an anal-compulsive, extremely organized learner who is taught by an improvisational intuitive teacher will resist that teacher’s tendency to make changes in the middle of a planned activity because of some change in the classroom mood or teachable opportunity she detects” (p. 220).

  • This is again about the Instructor understanding the classroom he/she is dealing with.

– Apparent Irrelevance of the learning activity (p. 221).

  • This one I have seen many times, many Students will “tune out” if they feel that they are getting no value from what is being taught.

– Level of Required Learning in Inappropriate. “Enthusiastic teachers who travel too far, too fast, for their students and don’t’ regularly check in to see if students are keeping up with the pace, quickly leave learners behind” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 222).

  • This is where daily feedback shows its importance. Helps the Instructor keep a pulse on the classroom and make necessary adjustments.

– Fear of Looking Foolish in Public. Brookfield states that  “students’ egos are fragile creations . . .” (p. 222).

  • All adult learners have this problem. As I mentioned, I teach in an International environment and not all my Students are comfortable with the level of their language. I find that making them work in groups is a good solution for this.

– Cultural Suicide (p. 223)

  • Again, I deal with Students from all over the world, and I see this particular issue all, the time, Students are taken out of their comfort zone. This is where the Instructor needs to pay attention and take corrective measures if necessary.

– Lack of Clarity in Teachers Instructions (p. 223). Expectations need to be very clear. If they are not Students will feel like “ . . . being set up for failure”               (Brookfield, 2015, p. 223).

  • To me, one of the most important things that an Instructor has to do is be absolutely clear on the Instructions, and provide the Students with all the necessary tools to be successful in the course.

– Students dislike of teachers (p. 224)

  • This can happen to anyone. I would have a one-on-one meeting with the Student and try and overcome this problem by making them realize that personal feeling do not have anything to do with a learning environment, and for their own sake they have to make an effort to move forward.

– Going too far, too fast (p. 224)

  • Teaching is not just about delivering the lecture and checking it of your list. As Instructors, we need to make sure our Students are following the curriculum and getting the best value out of it.

References:

Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in

the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

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Brookfield Chapter 8: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms (3260)

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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In Chapter 8: Teaching in Diverse Classrooms in his book “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, author Stephen D. Brookfield suggests that in order to effectively work in the diverse classroom you need to take the time to determine what the class composition is. Brookfield recommends the following broad strategies to cope with diversity in the classroom:

  • Team teaching
  • Mixing student groups
  • Mixing modalities
  • Visual or oral communication
  • Silent or speech filled classrooms

I am a big fan of team teaching. As an Instructor in a Hospitality Management Diploma Program, I very often engage other Instructors to teach my class. Sometimes I will leave the classroom and let them “run the show”, and sometimes we would teach together and share sections of the chapter that we are covering, and stories connected to it. The team-teaching approach allows for more interaction between teachers and students, and improves the quality of teaching, as teacher strengths are combined and weaknesses are remedied.

Another strategy that I like to use, is mixing Students groups. Teaching at a College that has a lot of International Students, I have a very diverse classroom, and my Students bring different work habits to the classroom. For a lot of them the concept of “Western World Learning” is very foreign, and there is a long adaptation period. Designing good group learning experiences involves thoughtful planning and that starts with how the groups should be formed. I will use knowledge and skill criteria to form groups, and that way my Students will be more likely to accomplish more than working on an individual basis. It is also a great experience for Students to learn how to work with others – as I will often tell my Students, in a real world situation you will very seldom be in a position to pick and choose who you are going to work with.

Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching – Chapter 2

Posted by: Nesha Milicevic

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In chapter two of “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, author Stephen D. Brookfield explains that he holds four core assumptions about skillful teaching (Brookfield, 2015):

  1. Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn;
  2. Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice;
  3. The most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teacher’s actions;
  4. College students of any age should be treated as adults.

On the first assumption, we have to realize that not all Students learn the same way and at the same pace. I teach at an International College, and my Students come from all over the world. It is our responsibility as educators to customize our techniques based on each and every Student. This is why I like using Dynamic assessment; it acknowledges diversity among Students, which means that cultural and social-political differences, gender and language differences and learning styles and ability differences are taken into account. I have had numerous situations where lectures worked great for one class, and then would not work at all for another.

The second assumption is about us Instructors constantly evaluating ourselves, in order to make sure we are doing the right thing and the message is getting across to the Students. This is where feedback is critical, and should be a constant process. I learned throughout these readings that we really need to adopt the role of a mentor: we as Instructors try to get the Students more involved in a variety of things, such as: having them construct a test; or work together to solve problems; have them teach a class concept; develop a project that will contribute something concrete to the community; place learners in a real world situation to observe their ability to perform the skill as part of the multiple demands of other tasks; have learners design tasks that can demonstrate what they believe they have learned.

The third assumption is also one where feedback is critical. We need to make sure That the classroom is geared towards the Students, rather than the Instructor taking a leadership role. The Instructor is there to provide guidance and make sure that all Student questions are answered, and the curriculum is covered. The expectation from the Students is to provide the Instructor with honest feedback, however, this does not always happen. We have to understand that the communication happening between the Instructor and the Students is key to their success, and the primary focus of feedback is to actively help Students move towards success.

The fourth assumption is talking about treating Students as adults. I agree with this, however, we need to realize that adults have fragile egos and an adult does not like to be evaluated. They easily get defensive, upset and at times angry and put up barriers. Adults are often measured up to standardized benchmarks. Not all the feedback we receive as adults is useful, but sometimes if we just take a step back and see what the person is telling us it may actually make sense. They need to understand that teachers are there to help them improve, and that it is not a personal attack but rather a gesture of help and support. Treating Students as adults bring responsibilities and expectations, but also helps the prepare for the real world. A new perspective gained from Brookfield is that students “often feel in limbo, sensing that adulthood means leaving old ideas, capacities, and conceptions of self behind as they learn new knowledge, skills and perspectives” (Brookfield, 2015).

References:
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.