Paulo Freire – Critical Pedagogy
I picked Paulo Freire’s Critical Pedegogy because of the personal connection to working in the Aboriginal community and the school system. Freire said that “… my social condition didn’t allow me to have an education…” But he also believed that oppression shapes one’s learning and can be the transformation to better things. Freire empowered the less fortunate to bring their own knowledge and experiences into the learning process so that they could think critically about their situation and take action to liberate themselves.
How do I bring this knowledge into a classroom setting. By understanding that first I need to know the individuals. This may be difficult if the class is online but in a traditional classroom a strategy may be to do an ice breaker of getting to know individuals like introductions, talking circle, games, etc.
Another thing to remember is not to go into the ‘banking concept’ (student has no knowledge and teacher has all). Remember that the student has knowledge and something to contribute, that there be ‘back and forth’ critical reflection, and that there is a horizontal relationship (Taylor 1998 p. 18).
One of the first things I bring up in School Base Team Meetings and Care Team meetings is the environmental factors of some families ie, single parent, unemployment, etc. and to come up with goals and supports for the individual. I know from the holistic approach and the hierarchy of needs, if the fundamentals needs like food, shelter, water are not met, learning will not happen.
Strategies for Improving Memory by Cherri Straus, MPH
Well it is good to know that after reading Straus’ article I can now say that I am not losing my memory as I creep closer to age 55. Distraction seems to be my enemy and I need to control and strengthen my skills and utilize more of the strategies set out in Straus’ article.
So how does this all look in a classroom? As an instructor to adult learner, reducing some of the anxiety will be a start. Giving the learners strategies to develop and strengthen their memory skills is also another factor. Keeping open communications with the learner is also important.
How to keep motivation of the adult learner going in the learning environment? As I read Chapter 8 – Motivation and Learning, from the assigned book, Adult Learning, Linking Theory and Practice by Sharan B. Merrian & Laura L. Bierema and an article called ‘Nine Strategies to Spark Adult Students’ Intrinsic Motivation’ by Ludmila Battista & Verlinda Ruble, I realized that the instructor needs to keep the student passionate about learning.
Battista and Ruble’s article focused on Intrinsic motivation and suggested strategies to encourage the learner. Strategies like sharing experiences on the part of the learner and the instructor, inviting guests in to talk about experiences that are relevant to the course, taking students on field for the visual connection, providing other avenues of resources like mentorship and counseling services.
It will be my job as the instructor to keep the student passionate about the material and course. One way I can do this is by getting to know the student, share my experiences and reason I am teaching the course, invite them in to share openly and freely in a safe environment and to encourage an open dialogue.
This is no different than I do right now with the students I work with. When we share in the talking circle, students are encouraged to share and express their feelings, concerns and opinions with the teachings of the seven sacred teachings; respect, truth, love, courage, wisdom, humility and honesty. It’s about building a relationship of trust.
As the instructor I will hopefully realize when the student may be struggling and help them get back the passion of learning again.
The article I picked for this blog is from James Ballou called “Creating a Positive Learning Environment for Adults”. Edited by Jacqueline Chinappi (7/11/2011).
He talks about the importance of knowing the difference between pedagogy and androgogy when it comes to a positive learning environment for adults. To remember that adults are coming in the course with experiences, knowledge and a desire to learn whereas children are fresh learners and are being taught the information with no experience and probably no knowledge.
Some keys points I need to remember from Ballou’s article are trust, open communication and a shared learning environment with my adult learners. I need to engage with the learner and get to know individuals, what are their interests, knowledge, reason for taking the course and what they want to get out of it.
One thing I will need to be careful of is not to go back to the pedagogy teaching environment which I am so accustom of. I need to have clear expectations, an open dialogue and when it comes to feedback, it must be done privately and in a professional manner.
My partner decided to delay this course until the fall so I am without a partner. What I did get to know about her was that she had been in her job for many years with a financial institution. I may even know some of her colleges… didn’t have a chance to ask. I wish her the best and maybe we will be partners again in another course.
Learning Across Cultures – By Ariane Tulloch (May 30, 2014)
I picked Ariane Tulloch’s article ‘Learning Across Cultures’ because of the close connection I have with the program I deliver to students in the schools.
The difference between teaching children (Pedogogy) and teaching adults (Andragogy) as in Knowles theory is adults are self-directed, have life experiences, need the learning to be applicable to job/life and adults collaborate with the teacher to promote their learning whereas children need to be taught the information.
When it comes to my experience teaching Aboriginal history and perspective I see myself using what is learnt is meant to be share view (Merriam & Kim 2008). What lessons and protocols I have learned by my elders and teachers I need to pass on. Once it is put out there it is not mine to keep. I view learning as a holistic approach (Prins 2011). That there needs to balance in our lives in order to learn. I believe that learning the cultural protocols of others is very important.
What I bring to my students now and would bring to my adult classroom is my cultural way of teaching. I would use the non western form of teaching to the students. First getting to know the students (check-in), talking circle to find out what they know, where they want to go with the learning, why are they interested in the course and how will they use the knowledge after.
Hun’a.qnak’nini (Thank You)
I decided to focus on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) and how adult learners are gravitating towards them.
As an adult learner and middle aged I thought this was fitting. Jon Bellum writes that one the benefits to MOOCs is the lower costs involved. Other benefits are shorter time of completion, transfer of credits from one institution to the next, and the credits obtained towards a degree and even advancement in their jobs, wage increases and security. Bellum writes that learners in this field of learning are considered non-traditional learner where they are not experiencing the traditional way of learning as one would in a university and on campus. He says MOOCs are here to stay even though he has seen a drop in participation in 2013 he believes that more institutions should be taking advantage to bring more non-traditional adult learners on board.
I can see this style of advance learning is very beneficial to the learner and the institution involved. Not only does it save the learner the time and costs involved (tradition learner) the institution also saves. MOOC’s have the capability of having more students in the class but can also offer the course in many countries. Partnering up with other institutions can also be beneficial. Instead of creating new material, courses and programs, institutions can partner up.
When it comes to classroom involvement, I can see traditional students using MOOCs in addition to regular classes to a degree and also see non traditional students embracing MOOCs so advancing their education doesn’t interfere with their jobs, livelihood, finances, etc. Alternative teaching methods now give students in high school the opportunity to use MOOC courses as part of their credit towards a course.
In my related field of work, I know of two institutions that are offering courses to learn more about Aboriginal history and perspectives. UBC and UoT (Coursera) and two below.