Have you ever worked with a person who just smiles – all the time?
Why aren’t they taking me seriously? They are NOT listening as I generously imparting soulful wisdom! As a teacher, I am a very serious person and WILL NOT tolerate this type of disrespect!!!
Just kidding, but I do find those bright and happy people a little disarming at times – especially when I am not feeling bright and happy.
I have a passion for working with health and education professionals. I am very comfortable in this realm of care giving. In some ways I think I have been programmed all of my imperfect life to care. That is not unusual – many people are the same. People like me invest in relationships. We communicate to serve – how can I help? What is your story?
I study the environment. I like to immerse myself in the community of the people I work with. I like to get to know their story. A little bit like Dian Fossey, played by Sigourney Weaver in the 1988 drama “Gorillas in the Mist”. Dian Fossey was a naturalist. She was an Occupational Therapist inspired by anthropology. She lived with the gorillas and formed strong bonds with them because she was there. Unlikely friendship developed through proximity and need. Dian invests in relationships from her work that changed her life. We are all impacted by the relationships that we develop or manufacture for a purpose – the relationships we mold for business. AND, relationships need work.
Relationships for business – either health and education, can be stressful. Relationships can trigger stress response – in yourself and in others. Having to deliver criticism or improvement suggestions is stressful for both the person and the professional. It is stressful, but necessary. I can’t predict the other person’s response. I can create an open environment and be accountable for my part I the relationship, but I cannot control the other person’s part. I cannot predict the circumstance, but I can manipulate the situation through planning what needs to be said, understanding why and being clear on the steps necessary to rectify the situation. I also need to be open to understanding the other person’s opinion or reasoning. There are things that I can do to minimize the fallout. (No sudden moves in a jungle full of big, hairy creatures).
If people are to progress, we are going to go through change. Change is inevitable. Change creates stress – Stress is a normal response for us imperfect humans. We do need to be aware that stress, particularly prolonged and unnecessary stress is damaging to our physical as well as emotional wellbeing – so be prepared. Be prepared to manage your stress. Be aware of how you respond and figure out how to let it go.
Relationship is the free gift that comes from working with people. Working with people is not easy, but it can be fun. We are all different. Take risks to invest in relationships. Listening is not enough to develop relationships – we need to live with the troop of gorillas – metaphorically of course. Partner with the people you work for – the people you work with.
I was down at the beach pondering my teaching philosophy and a helicopter flew overhead. This time of year, is when people can we flown out to South Solitary Island for the day. This is on my bucket list.
Anyway, I am watching this helicopter fly over and I was thinking how cool it would be to fly in a helicopter. – them immediately my brain has to take it one step further – I want to hold onto the landing frame, held on by ropes as the helicopter flies to South Solitary Island. WHY?? So, I could learn what it feels like. (I know – lock me up now!)
Education is about learning – and learning can be scary for some. By the time a person reaches adulthood, they have experienced fear and pain. They have worked through discomfort. They are not too naïve about the world. As a teacher, my responsibility is to lead the learner during this time which is exciting and challenging. Scaffolding and support are necessary elements of my model of learning and leadership. Leadership is about enabling learning and growth. It is about moving through uncomfortable moments.
The word education has Latin roots – EDUCARE. This is a term that resonates with me – I feel that this term encompasses my nursing and my teaching career. It encompasses who I am. Some say that ‘educare” is to train or mould, and EDUCERE (another root word) meaning to lead.
From these root terms, my philosophy of teaching embraces mentorship, learning, leadership, support and guidance. My philosophy embraces learning and sharing wisdom and knowledge. I have thirty years of experience as a nurse and as a teacher, and I am still learning. I am still excited to be learning.
My Philosophy is very relevant to our modern word. It is about valuing the unique learner, knowing that teacher and student are always learning, growing and changing.
Teaching is about care. Teaching is about creating a safe environment to share ideas and take risks. Teachers need to be relevant, present, vulnerable and objective enough to recognise their own subjective knowledge, skills and abilities. It is a nurturing process that challenges people to change.
I see distinct strategies enabling successful implementation of my teaching philosophy for college students, either on campus or online. These include
Learners have come to learning with previous knowledge and experience. All learners need to be recognised as competent and knowledgeable individual learners who are undergoing the challenges of change. A teacher’s role is as facilitator of learning and change.
I believe that one of the keys to success is to recognise students as valued individuals. Students need to see the value in themselves to see the value in the world around.
When a student knows that they are respected as learners, begin to get ready to learn. Regardless of background, people need to feel good about themselves as learners.
I love the Multiple Intelligence philosophy but I believe we are more than one intelligence and that the teacher needs to offer a variety of ways to present ideas.
2. Learners as action researchers.
Learners know how they learn. Adult learners usually have a purpose and need to be leaders of their own learning. A teacher can and should scaffold the students learning by partnering with the learner. They have experience, thoughts and goals - Partner with them during the learning process.
Build the relationship with the learner but give them the space to grow. Accept that timing is not always right and the learners needs change.
3. Stay curious. Be teachable.
I learn from my students. The world is changing, and changing quickly. Let curiosity direct learning in the real world. Make learning realistic and relatable but not absolute – the world is opening up new technologies but we need foundations e.g. contextualise real life maths e.g. shopping is about percentages – addition with subtraction, Multiplication with division, fractions and decimal points.
Financial literacy and business literacy are vital.
The big picture view is important. Focus on those things that will not change when planning for those things that will.
4. Practice skill opportunities.
Be evidenced based and workplace relevant. Learning takes time and practice, we must allow time.
Allow students to wear different ‘THINKING HATS’. Use DeBono’s theory to guide questioning and activities – get creative!
An example of using DeBono concepts when teaching Medication Administration in the ward might look like this:
Work from a connecting the dots learning theory (This not a real theory – it is just one I made up).
5. Technology is vital to this modern world.
Teaching technology is essential. Engaging students in technology via technology prepares them for the real world e.g. nursing students must engage with electronic medical recording technology. They must have the skill and confidence to engage in these new, changing and challenging technologies. Students must be able to problem solve.
6. Critical Reflection
We need to look at what we are doing as teachers and make changes to meet the changing needs of the student group. Be open to criticism, be challenged by it. Implement, review, assess, implement
Practise critical reflection.
For teachers and trainers, it is important to have a personal philosophy when teaching. This philosophy will change over time. Thinking about our philosophy and our purpose is purposeful. Be willing to learn and stay curious.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to fly in a helicopter? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to glide through the air? Stay curious. Enjoy the ride.
Training and Education is more than Subject Knowledge
Ignorance in understanding the learning journey is dangerous. The needs of the learner, the needs of industry, the needs of the educator and the needs of the training provider are all vital ingredients of the VET Sector pie.
Demanding upgrade in TAE qualifications does not address any needs. Qualification upgrade for experienced and competent trainers does not inform their training. Likewise, having a TAE qualification does not make an effective educator.
Industry currency does not make an effective educator. Demands for higher level of content knowledge or currency may produce more competent content specialist but will not automatically create more skilled teachers or trainers.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is about an informed approach to facilitating the learning process. It is deep. It takes time. It is about meaningful assessment.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is more about applying learning knowledge and developing skills. Emergent understanding of the skills and processes grow competently and holistically to deliver a skill with care and insight that contains subject specific knowledge.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is about having the skills and understanding to work with a diverse range of students who have a diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience, learning abilities, aptitudes, attitudes, workplace requirements, training package requirements ... and the list goes on. You get the idea.
While highly developed subject knowledge and skill is desirable, teaching and assessment skills are essential. Teaching, training and assessment skills are ongoing. It is a continuous process.
Subject knowledge does not equate to effective teaching skills or effective teaching of that subject.
Knowledge of adult learning principles, including teaching for diverse levels, planning the learning, engaging the learner, managing the classroom, understanding assessment principles, understanding the learner’s receptive skills and learning styles will increase the teacher or trainer’s effectiveness – far more than subject/ content knowledge.
Being a brilliant nurse, carer, hairdresser or mechanic may even impede your teaching ability if you lack the ability to empathise and align with the student needs. Being aware of the student’s individual needs, learning needs, assessment needs and communication needs are essential.
To improve standards, we need to understand what VET is about. It is about collaboration and support. VET is a tripartisan arrangement – with the student, the trainer and industry. It is through the power of collaboration and support that we will build industry to support national prosperity. But it is essential to support quality teaching, training and assessment. At least, understand what quality training and education is.
My third-grade teacher told my parents that I belong on stage. My parents laughed, concerningly. I thought it was fantastic! Imagine that! Singing, dancing acting! Does life get any better??
Apparently my third-grade teacher wasn’t referring to my exceptional talents. I think I may have just been giving her a run for her money.
Fast forward – I am not on stage earning a huge income playing around! I am, in fact a teacher – and a nurse.
My working life has been eventful – and a times involving a bit of a song and dance.
I am not sure if it is because of the empathy I feel or the audience I want to entertain – but I do enjoy getting in front of a class. I enjoy working with people. I enjoy facilitating change. I enjoy those colourful students – the creative types, those people who are a little different. I like a challenge.
I believe the purpose of education is to support change. I call it enabled. Enabled Education is a collaborative partnership designed for all learners - adult or child, male or female, ASD, ADHD or neuro-typical, in a group setting or one-on-one.
Enabled education supports wellbeing. This philosophy works in all educational sectors– preschool, primary, secondary, VET (Vocational Education and Training) or tertiary.
Enabled education is a collaboration and partnership with the teacher, the learner and the community. It is holistic in nature and empathic in approach.
The educational goal is enablement with empathy. Enablement needs empathy.
The challenge is that empathy is not always easy. AND change is harder. For me, I had to remove the labels and develop an understanding of the learner’s individual narrative – their work, experience with learning, their reasons for learning. People are people and we all have our own stories – we all have those closets used to hide those skeletons.
Change can be painful and a bit frightening – and it needs to be! Change needs to be supported with empathy. A change challenging education program needs an empathic community.
A community may include the learner, colleagues, other students, other teachers, books and specialist. The learning journey is dynamic, continually growing to evolve.
The key aspects of enabled education include:
After these factors have been considered, then we can start planning.
Life is a journey in learning.
Perhaps my third-grade teacher was not too far off the mark. I guess I am still trying to engage people. I am still trying to help people get along and move along. I still believe that as social beings we need to learn and practise empathy.
And I still have a lot to say. If you are interested in working with me, lets catch up for a chat.
The ‘C” Word. That was going to be the start of this blog - But, after careful consideration, I changed my mind.
My name is Lisa and I am a cyclist (The ‘C” word). (The original title makes sense now)! What makes it worst is that I love recreational cycling. I love it.
I am not competitive (much) which may or may not translate well into the business world.
But I am collaborative. I love cycling with a friend. I like the one on one time and attention. I like the personal exchange of tips when planning and strategizing improvement or critiquing what is holding us back. Time to self-reflection and critically reflect is important when planning transformational improvement.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I have worked with many businesses and in a diverse number of industries to challenge workplace culture and instigate change. The process is slow, and sometimes painful.
It takes planning. It takes collaboration. Often, a fresh set of eyes is critical.
Change takes time. It takes consistent effort and commitment from the team.
Change can be brutal. Workplace culture can be so strongly imbedded that it feels like it comes from the bricks and mortar of the physical building. I have asked questions about why processes or policies are the way they are? The most frustrating answer is “because this is the way it has always been”.
Have you heard this story?
The wife sends the husband to the store for a ham. After he bought it, she asked him why he didn’t have the butcher cut off the end of the ham. The husband asked his wife why she wanted the end cut off. She replied that her mother had always done it that way and that was reason enough for her. Since the wife’s mother was visiting, they asked her why she always cut off the end of the ham. Mother replied that this was the way her mother did it; Mother, daughter and the husband decided to call grandmother and solve this three-generation mystery. Grandmother promptly replied that she cut the end of the ham because her roaster was too small to cook it in one piece.
Education is key in change. Mentorship is a powerful methodology to implement and manage change. Change needs to be managed through education not in managing people.
Work with people, manage change.
A good mentorship program implements a planned and collaborative education program to meet the business of workplace culture change. A good mentorship program is flexible, directed and open but also structured to meet business needs, clearly and definitively.
The BAM Mentorship program manages change from an educational platform.
As the recreational cyclist that I am – I have met several bumps in road. I have had a few falls. But I get back on my bike and change my route. My wisdom is fraught with pain. (Helen Ready reference!)
Check out Helen Ready singing "I am Woman"..
I am a passionate change protagonist.