I have just finished my first day of the College Educator Development Program (CEDP Phase 1) for the Western Ontario colleges and I am absolutely exhausted! I think that I’ll try to post my conference workshop reflections as soon as I’m able for all future blog posts, so that the thoughts and feelings are still fresh. I was so happy to receive a notebook and pen from the conference so I had plenty of space to write during the day without pulling out my phone. I am always hesitant to type mobile notes because I don’t want the speaker to think that I am not engaged by their presentation.
Opening Keynote: Idahlynn Karre – Engaging Learners in Collaborative Classrooms
I loved that she gave some very specific advice. People can remember 5-7 bits of information and have an attention span of roughly 8-10 minutes. Students need time at the start of every single class to forget about all of the other things going on in their lives and prepare to participate in the learning community. Students also need time to reflect on their learning so that information can travel from their working memory into their long-term memory. Adult learning is a highly social activity, but it can only take place in a warm and accepting environment.
“Telling is not Teaching. Listening is not Learning.”
After hearing Idahlynn speak, I have decided to do my best to learn my students’ names. It will be a lot (looks like over 100 this September) but I will just have to try. I’ll be looking for tips to help me remember the whole class list. I will also try to have my students discuss concepts in small groups more often. Lastly, I will speak more frequently with my fellow science faculty about any issues that come up during class.
Janie Cardy – Helping the Under-Prepared Student
The whole Pre-Health Sciences program is designed to help students who are not prepared to do their best in full health science courses. My students often did not take senior science in high school, or they did not meet the competitive admission cut-off grades. This workshop was a great reminder to not judge my students harshly when they exhibit “at-risk” behaviours in class. Adult learners can find some very serious barriers to their learning and I hope that I am better able to support their needs in the future.
“Our students lead complicated lives.”
Creating classroom culture seems to be a theme for the conference so far. I mut remember to set the tone for my classroom as early as possible, and to clearly state the high expectations I have of my students. My students need to know that they are not alone when they come to college, and that there are lots of free services in place to help them succeed. I must remember to give my students regular reminders, because they will be overwhelmed with all of the new information given to them in the first week of classes.
I also met my small group members that I will be collaborating with for all 3 phases of the development program. It is going to be a busy week!