Blog 2 Assignment – Characteristics of an Adult Learner

IMG_2495  Learning Across Cultures – By Ariane Tulloch (May 30, 2014)

Adult learning across cultures

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)





Trends in Adult Education

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.


Trends in My Field

IMG_1213Trends in My Field

Dirk Messier’s article in the Canadian Press talks about the Aboriginal focus in the new BC Provincial Education’s curriculum where by all learners from kindergarten to grade 12 will learn about the dark secret of Canada’s history toward the First Peoples of the land.  Students will learn about residential schools, the impact of colonialism, Truth and Reconciliation, and the road to healing.

My field of employment is in the public education system.  There are many trends I see in my school district from technology, academies, international students, and the new provincial curriculum in elementary and secondary.

I will focus on the new curriculum from K-9 which will be fully implemented in 2016/17 school year.  One part of the new curriculum is Aboriginal content embedded, or as I like to call it woven, into the all subjects.  I am pleased to see this since very little Aboriginal history was covered in the history books or taught to all learners.  With the Federal government’s apology in 2008 to Aboriginal people and especially survivors of residential schools, today’s learners will be getting the untold history of the First Peoples of Canada.  The Truth and Reconciliation Committee has put out 94 recommendations to redress the wrong doings of Aboriginal People.

My school district has taken it one step further and has hired a full-time Aboriginal Vice-Principal to bring new curriculum, resources and materials to teachers to help them with the new content.  Schools are also embracing the new curriculum with some schools hosting TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Committee) events, bringing elders into classrooms, inviting Aboriginal Support Workers in, participating in the Blanket Exercise ( and implementing and embracing the goals set out in the District’s Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (

One thing the article didn’t mention was the impact the Indian Act has had on Aboriginal People in Canada and how it is still affecting my people today.  I do know that teachers are touching on this in classrooms for I have seen first hand the incredible work they are doing relaying this information to their students.

It is a start to correcting history and bringing the untold stories to the forefront where they deserve to be.

This curriculum has a personal connection to me.  My mother is a residential school survivor.  My grandfather, grandmother and many extended family members were also in residential school.  Some survived to tell their story and some didn’t.  As part of my job, I tell their stories so that their voice will not be forgotten.





First blog post

First blog so I thought it was appropriate to insert a photo of the Innukshuk from the people of the North standing guard.  This one was created  by my sister and me on Salt Spring Island last summer.  As I work my way through this new journey of my education I will always keep in mind the significance of this statue… standing guard over a village, signalling a direction, indicating a stash of food or water near by.  This Innukshuk lets me know that even a pile of rocks can create something beautiful and have a purpose.

I am a mother, cultural teacher, mentor, educator, elder in training and a student everyday.  If it is not the course educating me it is the students I work with who teach me life lessons, new music trends, latest styles, best apps to put on the Ipad, best hockey players and teams and that isn’t even touching on the educational, social or emotional lessons.  By day, I work in six amazing schools from kindergarten to grade 12 using the holistic approach to teaching cultural activities to Aboriginal students and all learners, co-teaching, advocating for students and creating and presenting presentations for classrooms.  Extra curricular activities and hobbies involve bike riding around my community, walking, volunteering, enjoying time with family and friends, beading, making moccasins and regalia, gardening and researching the family tree.  Now that my children are grown I plan on travelling more.  A goal is to walk the Camino de Santiago and visit various countries in Europe.

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