Since I started the RRC CAE Program, my eyes were opened as to the behind-the-scenes preparation required to increase the probability of student success in the classroom. From learning to write meaningful learning objectives and course outlines to learning about technology in the classroom (thank you Eva Brown), I started to find my way in my professional instructor journey. Having taught for the first time at a college-level last year, I reflected on the time, effort, energy and research that is required to teach each 50 minute class.
Being a student myself in the CAE Program, I found that each course and instructor helped me grow by first introducing the theory and then encouraging me to reflect on my own personal biases/ways to a new way of student-centered learning. I found this quote and it represents my new personal belief to help”guide” students as opposed to telling them what to see. We are only there for students in the short-term, and they will need to learn to think critically for themselves in the real world. It is my hope that the lessons learned at RRC will help them well in their future careers.
I also feel it is important to make every effort to connect with students. Sometimes this can be difficult. But, I feel by making that effort, in simple ways such as remembering their names and providing positive feedback, students will respect you and you can then challenge them to learn.
My background is personal financial planning and it is my goal to teach in this area where I have expert knowledge and many years of experience. You will find attached a presentation that introduced the topic of Personal Financial Budgeting, which would be one of the very first topics in a course on Personal Financial Planning.
The objective of the session was to get students to think about their own personal financial situation, so they could benefit personally from the exercise, but at the same time perhaps have an a-ha moment about personal finances. Oftentimes, people do now know where their money goes and many live pay cheque to pay cheque. If there are financial goals to achieve, diligent financial planning has to take place. Teaching has the same synergies to budgeting and financial planning. If instructors fail to plan their program, courses, delivery and assessments, students will not meet their educational goals. We have a finite amount of time, and it needs to be used wisely.
Before and After:
Reflecting back on how I would have developed and delivered the above session, there are things I would do differently after having a few more CAE courses under my belt. First and foremost, I would ensure there would be more technology introduced into the session from the get-go. As Justin Trudeau responded to why a gender balanced cabinet was important in the House of Commons, “because it’s 2015”. It is the same for technology, it is 2016 and students are tech-savvy! Personal financial planning uses software to calculate financial scenarios. Why not introduce students to this right off the bat and they can see for themselves the power of technology?
I do like that the session has many exercises woven into the session. The “wordle” below highlights many considerations in teaching which revolve around the student, and I particularly would use more selected from the wordle below: practice, context and believe.
In Course Implementation, we were introduced to Differentiated Instruction, an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in the classroom. At first, I was skeptical on this methodology. I could not imagine having to developing multiple paths to for students to learn. In a 50 minute class, would I be all over the map? After learning what it is not (e.g. individual instruction, separate curriculum), I may consider this in my future courses. It is about being flexible to ensure the learning happens.
Inspire. Teach. Change.