Illusions

What we believe we are isn’t always what others think we are. Do we all live in an illusion of the reality? Unfortunately, I don´t think I have the capacity to go further into this question. I do know that it is important to listen to others and I do think it is important to actively work with improvement.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about feedback . I am not finished with that thought so I will try to write something more about the topic. It´s not always nice to get feedback from others, thus sometimes it hurts and sometimes its a joy. When teaching and learning, feedback can be given on different levels both for students and teachers. These six different feedback options is what I´ve come up with.

To students

  • 1. From the teacher – That’s ought to be me
  • 2. From a peer – A fellow partner in crime
  • 3. From themselves – It is important to practice and to put improvement into words

To me as a teacher

  • 4. From the students – The students experience are always interesting
  • 5. From a colleague – I would love to have a critical friend
  • 6. From myself – It is hard to be objective but important to strive for improvement

Feedback can be like a flower bouquet. Some are beautiful and some in colors we don´t prefer. All different comments are useful, however feedback is not a monologue. It´s occurs through interaction and dialogue so it is important to have a strategy for it. Multiple sources for feedback is always a good thing given the different perspective (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).

Tiny_flowers_by_Cecile_Vazquez_CCBY_NC_ND_2.0
Photo: Tiny flowers by Cécile Vázquez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When teaching nursing students how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe I will use these six different feedback options. Here´s how I plan to do it.

  1. I move around and meanwhile the students are training practical skill procedures, in our clinical training center, I give them individual feedback, both direct on their performance and e.g. questioning why they chose to do some tasks in a specific order. I will try to balance the negative comments carefully with the positive once (Ramsden, 2003) and tailor them into their needs (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
  2. Feedback given from a peer is sometimes more valuable then from the teacher (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). So I will ask them to observe, by using a checklist on the correct steps in the procedure they are training, ready to give feedback when finished.
  3. In long-term the goal and purpose of feedback is to foster the student to manage to given themselves feedback in the future. The students ability to evaluate their own performance is a key to life-long learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). According to, the Swedish Bachelor Programme in Nursing a nursing student are supposed to evaluate their ability to identify their need of further knowledge and continuously develop their skills (Högskoleförordningen, 1993). Before leaving the training I will ask them to write down on a paper what they think went well and what they think they need to know more about. As an offer they can put the paper in a box, like a letter to themselves and the future.
  4. I can have my feedback from two different sources, the students evaluation and the result of the assessment. (Ramsden, 2003). Don´t want to live in an illusion! I will ask the students to evaluate the training after their participation. As a new teacher it is extremely important for me to know if I succeeded to motivate them and if the students believes that they have learn about how to administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe. I will use Google docs for that purpose.
  5. In the world of academics we are used to give constructive criticism to each other aiming to improve research. Having a critical friend is kind of the same thing. A skilled colleague how gives you constructive criticism with the aim to improve your teaching (Handal, 1997; Lauvås et al., 1997). If you can´t find a personal critical friend, a collegian learning communities can be a good thing. Exploring and learning together meanwhile given each other feedback can enhance your own learning (Stuck et al., 2013).
  6. Self-knowledge is absolutely a good thing for a teacher. After I´ve had my classes in the training center I will give myself time to think it over and reflect on how to improve. I am very well aware of that feedback and reflection isn´t the same thing and in the future I will try to learn more about the topic and how to enhance students learning using reflection.

When I started to write this blog post I thought that feedback is feedback…is feedback and there is nothing more the feedback. It is extremely frustrating to realize , now, hours later, that each bullet point on my list could generate a whole assignment. Undoubtedly I will write about feedback again, but this will do for now.

References
Handal G, (1999) Consultation Using Critical Friends. New directions for teaching and learning, Issue 79.

Högskoleförordningen (1993:100) Sjuksköterskeexamen – Bachelor Programme in Nursing. (In Swedish)

Lauvås P, Hofgaard Lycke K, Handal G, (1997) Kollega-handledning i skolan. Studentlitteratur, Lund. (In Swedish)

Ramsden, P (2003) Learning to teach in higher education. 2nd edition. RoutledgeFalmer, London & New York.

Stuck S, Aubussona P,  Kearneya M, Burdenb K, (2013) Mobilising teacher education: a study of a professional learning community. Teacher Development, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1–18.

Svinicki M, McKeachie WJ (2014) McKeachie´s teaching tips. Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. 14th edition. Wadsworth.

Photo: Illusion by Mark Heath (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

 

Learning by doing

Is it Dewey who coined the phrase “Learning by doing”?

Dewey claims that there is a relationship between knowledge and active inquiry. He also advocated that action, reflection, emotion and theory is prerequisite for continues life-long learning. The teachers role is to facilitate learning by assisting creation of a cooperative learning exercise. The teachers leadership includes e.g. being aware of past experiences, needs and capacities. To be prepared and have the ability to suggest further learning activities based on the class experiences and by this achieve continued growth (Jarvis, 2010).

I found a quote about learning and doing on the internet, from the book “The Cardturner: A novel about a king, a queen and a joker” written by Louis Sachar. It goes like this:

“I hope I remember everything,” said Toni.
“You won’t,” said Trapp. “That’s how you learn. But after you make the same mistake one, or two, or five times, you’ll eventually get it. And then you’ll make new mistakes.”  

I would like to use these insights in my work as a teacher with nursing students. To know and “feel” their needs and to let them fail, and fail again and just encourage them to keep on trying until they get it right. The diversity of different students and their needs are just as big as they are numbered. I believe that diversity is so much more that cultural and ethnically differences. We are all different human beings with different experiences and my job as a teacher is to greet these differences and to facilitate their learning experiences. Some are introvert and maybe they need the courage to speak up, while the opposite to this is them who often say what they think and sometimes in the need of listening. As a teacher I have to pay attention to this diversities so that I can facilitate the learning experience in a correct way.

Chemo_treatment_by_Jenny_Mealing_CCBY_SA_2.0
Chemo treatment by Jenny Mealing (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One concrete example of how I try to work with facilitation and diversity is when I see my nursing students at our clinical training center. In the introduction, I usually start out with asking them of their experiences of administer and handle central venous catheters. You could say that I use this as a baseline for the rest of the class. As often as I can, without being to excessive, I connect and refer back to what they told me. I try to ask questions like, -What if this…? and -What if that…? to students that I have identified in need for it. It has not always been a delightful and easy way to go cause some of them have had tough experiences of those damn catheters. Often relatives in connection with cancer treatment (some alive and some dead). Even themselves who sometimes have been through the cancer treatment – and yes, we have had tears and both physically and mentally reactions but in the end I am confident in my decision to use the students own experiences since I can see that it enhances their motivation to learn.

I strive to be student-centered and one key to that is to motivate. In 2013 The Swedish Federation of Student (not sure of the correct translation) released a report (SFS, 2013). When it came out it got lots of attention and still… we really need to work with these issues. The report argued for the lack of pedagogical and teaching skills of Swedish teacher in higher education. One thing to make it more student-centered is, as I mentioned, to motivate the students while facilitating a learning activity. The students are also eager, if motivated, and requesting activity. I take along this thought and will try to design some student-centered learning activities with hands-on training.

OM152A_Centrala_infarter_Design_HT16

I am, obviously not a graphic designer but I have tried to do a simple sketch of how the workflow of the training cessions are supposed to look like. We have a common introduction and then I divide the students into two smaller groups. One group will work with wound dressing and the other one with injections. After a coffee break, fika as we say in Swedish, the groups are swapping subject to the other. You can´t have too many fika so we go for that one more time and after that we have a common discussion around cases. At the end of the session we summarize. When they are training wound dressing and injections the students are doing it hands-on. In our training center we have dolls for simulation. The students are prepared theoretical by flipped classroom pedagogy and they will also get a film of how the procedure can be done. The task they are supposed to achieve is to train the procedure. Meanwhile a peer is observing using a checklist on the correct procedure, ready to give feedback when finished. So the students are active both by doing and observing. The students will be like critical friends to one another. I cross my fingers that this will work out!

References
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. 4th edition. New York, Routledge.

SFS (2013) Studenternas läranade i centrum. Stockholm (In Swedish)

Photo: Aniversário do Henrique by Tony Cavalcanti (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Safety-net

The big question – Have the students reached the learning outcomes?

When reading about the model “The 7Cs of Learning Design” I fell for the design of the “Consider” activity. At first I was stucked in the thought of reflection but pretty soon I saw something else – feedback!

It is well known that feedback is a motivating factor so why not try to focus on that I thought…?! The more I read the more I came to like the idea of using all the three types of feedback in the same course. Before I had only thought of using one at a time. Now I´m thinking of redesigning one of my courses with feedback from: me as a teacher, peers and by themselves. The three snap links in the picture to this blog post are suppose to symbolize the three different ways feedback can be given. The hand is the students learning process and as I see it the feedback is some kind of safety-net while achieving learning outcomes. So, by designing a course with different sorts of feedback the conditions for learning should be enhanced.

Learning activity with embedded feedback from me as a teacher could be given the student while reflect upon a case-dilemma. Feedback should be given both during and after discussing the dilemma. The discussion could easily occur on Skype. Another way of getting feedback is from a peer. My idea is that a peer observe another peer while solving a task. Afterwards the student can reflect and give feedback on what went well and what can be done better another time. Maybe a checklist, of how the task is supposed to be accomplished is a good idea? Finally the students may use Gibb´s reflective learning cycle as a structure when giving feedback to themselves.

For next term I will try to design something like this and see how that works out.

References
1. Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design.

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com