My Professional Development Plan

Not quite a year ago I spotted a job advertisement for a local college. It mentioned the PIDP as a recommended pre-requisite for the job (or acquiring it once hired).   “Hmmm…I wonder what that is?”, and discovered that it was a program offered at Vancouver Community College.  “Interesting”, was my response. Then, about two weeks later, I spotted  a “Technology in Teaching” course offered at Thompson Rivers University in the fall.  It mentioned that the course would transfer to the PIDP program.  Little did I realize how much those two events would impact the next year of my life!

Over the past ten months I have (almost) completed seven out of the eight PIDP courses. At this point, my first goal is finishing the PIDP. After that, my next priority is to explore teaching jobs while at the same time maintaining my clinical focus on pedicatrics. I do have a job interview coming up at the local college for casual work within the LPN program, so that is a step in the right direction!

My short term professional development goals for pediatrics (my current area of clinical practice) include writing the new Canadian Nurses Association certification for pedicatrics as well as completing the online immunization course offered through the Provincial Health Services Authority on the Learning Hub.

In relation to professional development for teaching, I will  continue to attend the annual professional development conference at Thompson Rivers University – Open Learning (TRU-OL). I also intend to continue accessing programs through the TRU Centre for Teaching and Learning (CELT). One workshop which caught my eye was called Liberating Structures.  As well, I would like to pursue the Facilitator Development Workshop for the ISW.

After that, my next professional development goals will be directed by my workplace setting. Wherever I end up working next, I hope I will be able to put the knowledge and skills which I learned in the PIDP to good use.

Self-Evaluation and Reflection on Teaching Practice

The idea of being a self-reflective practictioner was popularized by Donald Schoen in the 1980s and has continued to be utilized by areas such as education and the social sciences to the present. To be a self-reflective is to continually examine practice in an endeavor to adjust, improve or adapt to the present circumstances as well as contually draw from and add to past learning. According to Brookfield (2015), Schoen described two types of reflection…reflection-on-action and reflcction-in-action.  The first type of reflection is that reflection that occurs after the fact. The second type of  reflection occurs in the moment and impacts how we are able to respond.  It is sometimes referred to as “thinking on one’s feet” and should be intentional, creative and generally involves some degree of risk. Both aspects of reflection should be developed. Consider adding some of the following questions to guide your self-reflection.

Guidelines for Self-Reflection:

In the Oregon State University Science and Math Education  (SMED) licensure handbook (2014), the following guidelines for reflection are listed.  The following are suggestions of questions to consider in your reflections.

Analysis of the Lesson

This is not a blow by blow description of the lesson. Rather you should provide specific evidence to support claims that you are making about the lesson itself:

  • Was the timing appropriate?
  • Did the activities align with your objectives?
  • What were the particular benefits and drawbacks of the methods you chose?
  • Would a different method have been better (i.e., a lab rather than a demonstration)?
  • Did you have enough questions?
  • Were the questions at the appropriate level?
  • What would you do differently and why?  Clarify both how you would do this lesson differently but also on changes that you will be making in future lessons.

Evidence of student learning

As you are teaching your lesson, you will be constantly assessing the students’ progress.  Your reflection is the opportunity to summarize and analyze what you were considering about students during the lessons.  Some examples of questions you might consider are:

  • Do you have specific concerns about their progress?
  • Were the students engaged and motivated?
  • What happened in the lesson that seemed to motivate students to be engaged in the lesson?
  • Which students were actively engaged and which ones had disengaged?
  • What can you do to engage the students more, and to more appropriately meet student needs?
  • What do your students understand as a result of your lesson?  What evidence do you have for this claim?

Reflect on the student learning, identifying specific situations and your reaction to those situations.  Choose two or three students (including both males and females) to focus on for each lesson and then reflect more deeply on their progress in the class and in the lesson.  In your reflection describe your developing perception on these students as learners in the class and what kinds of strategies work for them in particular.

Implications for Future Lessons

Consider alternatives:

  • Are there other ways you might consider structuring this lesson in the future?
  • Are there other strategies or resources that you could have used to support student learning?
  • What evidence suggested this change?

Based on your observations of students’ participation in class and written work;

  • What will you do next?
  • Did things come up that will change what you do tomorrow or later in the unit?
  • Are there topics on which you need to spend more (or less) time?
  • What else has today’s lesson made you think about regarding your teaching?

Reflections Scoring Guide:

A –Reflections demonstrate analytic thinking, self-awareness, and an honest self-evaluation of teaching.  Claims about teaching and learning are clearly supported by evidence.

B – Reflections attempt an honest self-evaluation of teaching but may be lacking in depth. Provides some evidence for claims made about teaching and learning.

–Reflections do not demonstrate self-awareness or an honest self-evaluation of teaching. Lacks evidence for claims about teaching and learning.

Refecting on feedback:

When reflecting on the feedback you receive from students, peers and mentors in either a solicited or unsolicited (voluntary observations or comments made by your student, for example) manner, the following questions, from the The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Handbook Part Two: Workbook (2018), may help inspire and guide your thoughts:

  • Based upon what the learners said, what would you say was the most important feedback about: (i) the strengths of the lesson? and  (ii)areas of improvement?
  • What was the biggest surprise?
  • What are the implications for your next lesson/class?
  • What was the most treasured piece of feedback about your strengths as an instructor that you received? Why?
  • How might you build on this or other strengths in your teaching?
  • What feedback still feels rather challenging or puzzling to you?
  • Can you think of other comparable situations in your teaching that might provide insight into this issue?  (ISW, p. 2.44-45)

Reflections after Class:

After each class that you teach, take a few moments to reflect on what happened. Consider some of the questions identified in the general guidelines section above. This can be done in whatever manner works best for you, like in your office after class or on your walk/commute home. It will be most effective if it is used to inform the planning for your next class.

Journal Writing:

Consider keeping a journal to record or document your personal reflections on your teaching as well as reflecting on any feedback you receive on your teaching. You may want separate journals for each course/tutorial/lab that you teach and/or separate sections, including separate sections for reflections on feedback. Journals are very personal so organize them in whatever way will work best for you. Also consider your own personal needs when deciding how often to write in your journal. You may choose to write in it every single day or perhaps more sporadic. Just make sure that it becomes a habit to write in your journal when important observations are made, either by you, your students or observers and when important occurrences happen.

Checklist:

Create a checklist for yourself on all aspects of teaching that you would like to emulate. Consider your personal goals in teaching when creating the criteria as well as the particular aspects you would ask an observer to pay attention to. You may decide to create one checklist to serve multiple purposes, i.e. for your own personal evaluation/reflections and to be used by your peer/mentor observers when providing you with feedback on your teaching.

Year-end Reflections:

The following questions might help you evaluate and reflect on your teaching:

  • How effective were your skills and methods as an instructor?
  • How well organized/prepared was the course?

Taking time at the end of your course to reflect on your teaching as well as the design of your course will not only benefit your teaching and the course, but will also save you time and energy planning in the future if you teach this course again.

References:

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.

ISW International Advisory Committee (2018). The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Handbook Part Two: Workbook [Beta]. Vancouver: ISW International Advisory Committee.

Oregon State University. ((2014). SMED licensure handbook. Retrieved from http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/smehandbook/part-time-student-teaching/reflections-guidelines/

 

Professional Development Plans for Nurses in BC

For registered nurses in BC, self and peer assessment is the basis for the BCCNP Professional Development Plan and an important aspect of maintain annual registration. This process helps identifying the areas you want to focus on. A great place to start by completing the BCCNP self-assessment questionnaire.

Creating your professional development plan. Reflect on your self-assessment and peer feedback, ask yourself:

  • What do I need to learn?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What goals do I have for my professional development?

Then using SMART goals, plan:

  • How will I achieve my learning needs and goals?
  • What is the best way to document my plan?
  • How will I measure my success?

Image result for smart goals

Regularly evaluate your progress and ask yourself:

  • Am I reviewing my plan regularly to check my progress?
  • Do I need to change my goals?
  • Is there something I need to add?

Examples of professional development activitiesImage result for professional development

  • Review and discuss case studies
  • Attend conferences, workshops or in-service education
  • Take an online course or attend a course in person
  • Self-directed research from journals or electronic resources
  • Organize meeting to address issues in your workplace

BCCNP portfolio templates

From:  BCCNP (n.d.) Retrived from https://www.bccnp.ca/PracticeSupport/RN_NP/QA/RN/ProfDevPlan/Pages/Default.aspx

Embracing Feedback: Giving to and receiving from colleagues

As a general rule, most of us would rather avoid feedback rather than “embrace” it, however the process of obtaining  feedback from and giv ing feedback to colleagues  is valuable, both for the one who is being observed as well as the observer.

Feedback helps instructors identify what they are doing well, increase their confidence, identify how they can improve and reflect on future action. For the observer, it is a great way to not only get new ideas for one’s own teaching, but also a way to build skills in observation and analysis.  So you can see, either way it is a “win-win” opportunity. So go ahead…accept the challenge to “embrace feedback”!!

A Guide for Obtaining Feedback from Colleagues

The Teaching Commons at York University identifies the following guidelines for obtaining feedback from colleagues.

PRIOR TO THE OBSERVATION

Have a short meeting to discuss any points of emphasis that you would like examined. The observer should be clear on your goals and should review any relevant material ahead of time (e.g. class outline, homework/ assignment that students were asked to do).

DURING THE OBSERVATION

As the observer, show up on time for the session. The instructor should teach as normal – don’t change because you are being observed! You should introduce the observer to the class and explain the purpose of his or her visit. The observer should comment on all of the categories on the form (if applicable). Any additional observations can be put in the extra space provided or on a separate piece of paper.

AFTER THE OBSERVATION

The observer should review the notes on the form and make any additions that are necessary. If the form is “messy,” rewrite on another form. The peer observer and instructor should meet directly after the class observation to discuss the results. Keep a copy of the observation form for your teaching dossier!

The following guidelines, from the ISW Handbook for Participants (2018) are recommended when receiving verbal feedback:

  • Respond honestly and consider all of the comments that are offered.
  • Paraphrase or ask for specifics if you’re unsure about what is being said.
  • Give honest, experiential responses.
  • Remember that you are the one who will ultimately determine what you do with the
    feedback. After reflecting on it, you can try it out in future to see if it works or you can
    choose not to act on it.
  • Separate your feelings from the content of the feedback.
  • Avoid attempting to re-teach the lesson as a response to the feedback. (If you do, the
    facilitator may very well intervene to refocus the conversation.) (p. 30)

Consider creating a form to assist the observer which identifies the particular aspects of your teaching you would like observed and to receive feedback on, such as the Teaching-Observation-and-Reflection-Notes Form.

For a more informal approach, request that one of your peers attend your class and observe your teaching. Follow these general guidelines. For a balanced approach you may want to consider getting feedback on your teaching from a variety of peers, someone from your discipline and someone that is not from your discipline, for example.

Guidelines for Giving Constructive Feedback

You may request that your observer give you constructive feedback that will help you identify the areas in which you excel and the areas in which there is room for improvement. Here is a list from the ISW Handbook for Participants (2018), which describes constructive feedback as:

  • Specific, rather than general. Specific information helps the receiver reflect on immediate behavior. General feedback may confuse and can lack impact.
  • Descriptive, as opposed to evaluative, and avoids using judgmental terms, such as “good” or “bad.”
  • Behavioural, rather than inferential. Refers to what the person does, rather than suggesting reasons for their actions.
  • Balanced, in that it provides positive feedback and suggestions for development.
  • Manageable amounts of information are provided, without overloading.
  • Changeable, in that it is directed toward behaviour that the receiver can change.
  • Solicited, rather than imposed. Feedback is often most useful when the receiver has a question the observers can answer.
  • Timely, in that it is delivered when the mini-lesson is fresh in the participants’ minds.
  • Checked for understanding to ensure clear communication. (p. 28)

Tips for giving verbal feedback

  • Focus first on something that went well, perhaps something that served or enhanced your
    learning.
  • Refer to what the person did, rather than to personal characteristics.
  • Refer to what you observed or felt, not why you think it happened that way.
  • Describe behaviour as more or less, not in judgmental terms such as good or bad.
  • Think about the value the feedback will have for the person receiving it, not on the degree
    of “release” it gives you to express it.
  • Address the process and impact of the lesson, rather than talking about the content.
  • Address the instructor’s concerns (including the daily posted goals if they are available). (ISW, 2018, p. 30)

References:

ISW International Advisory Committee (2018). The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Handbook Part One: Workshop overview [Beta]. Vancouver: ISW International Advisory Committee.

Teaching Commons @ York. (n.d.)  Retrived from https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/for-cds/workshops-and-courses-for-cds/events-2/nfo/faculty-information-gateway/handbook-for-course-directors/evaluation-of-your-teaching-and-feedback-from-your-students-and-colleagues/obtaining-feedback-from-colleagues/

 

Lecturing Creatively

Does the term lecturing creatively sound like an oxymoron?  For many of us, the thought of  a traditional lecture generally brings to mind images of sleeping students, however that does not need to be the case. Read on to find out what Brookfield (2015) suggests in Chapter 6 of his book The Skillful Teacher.

First, although discussion is often throught to be the polar opposite of lecture, these two strategies are not mutally exclusive methods, with discussion being “good” and lecture being “bad”. The key, regardless of the method is providing clarity on a topic.

Five reasons for choosing lectures:

  • To establish the broad outline of a body of material
  • To explain, with frequent examples, concepts that learners struggle to understand
  • To introduce alternative perspectives and interpretation
  • To model intellectual attitudes and behaviours yo wish to encourage in students
  • To encourage learners’ interest in a topic    (Brookfield, 2015, p. 71-72)

Some ways to utilize lecture effectively include:

1. Use a mix of approaches

  • Deliberately introduc periods of silence every 10-15 minutes.
  • Introduce buzz groups (small groups with purposeful discussion) into lectures
  • Lecture from “Siberia”, the furthest point in the classroom away (eg. side or back)
  • Spatial separation – lecturing from different areas in classroom which each represent differing perspectives on topic
  • Break lecture into chunks of about 12 minutes and speak to separate ideas for each period.
  • Use clickers or other classroom response systems
  • Use social media (e.g. live twitter feed with questions)

2. Organize lectures

  • Provide scaffolding notes
  • Give clear verbal signals

3. Model learning behaviours

  • Begin every lecture with a question
  • End each lecture with a series of questions that have either been raised or left unanswered
  • Deliberately introduce alternative perspectives
  • Introduce periods of assumption hunting

Thoughtfully considering what approach is best for a specific topic is key and then implementing some of these strategies will help students get the most out of this approach.

From:  Brookfield, S. (2015).  The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Obtaining feedback from students

As instructors, we often dread the process of obtaining end of course feedback, and question its validity, particularly when there is a poor response rate.  As well, there is no opportunity to respond to student feedback.  This is why getting ongoing feedback is essential to meet student needs and improve our teaching.

There are a number of simple tools to obtain ongoing feedback.  The Teaching Commons @ York provides a number of good resources for instructors.   Check out their link: Obtaining Feedback from Students.  I challenge you to find one new way to integrate otaining student feedback into your classes.  You may obtain some valuable suggestions for improving your courses and this is a great way that you can send a message to students that their voice matters!

How nursing programs are accredited in Canada

There are various organizations who take on the role of accreditation of nursing programs.  This post will explain the  roles that these organization plan in order to ensure different levels of program and provides two specific examples of accreditation at the provincial level, one which I participated in.  Because of the various processes in place in Canada, nursing education meets high standards and I could not find any accounts of programs in Canada where the accrediation of a nursing program has been revoked or unsuccessful.

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing is a national body which since 1987 has been tasked with ensuring baccalaureate nursing programs   meet established standards. Click here for  a list of the BSN programs presently accredited in Canada.  And here is a copy of the current accreditation standards:  CASN Accreditation Standards (pdf)

CASN and Accreditation

CNA Accreditation

The CNA Accreditation Program upholds standards of quality for continuing professional development for nurses in Canada.  All CNA-accredited continuing education programs are subject to a rigorous quality assessment process to ensure that learning and development initiatives meet CNA’s standards of excellence.  Organizations come to CNA to achieve nationwide recognition for the value their programs offer.  The goal of the CNA Accreditation Program is to ensure that nurses in Canada have access to the highest quality continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. Eligible applications will be carefully reviewed against CNA accreditation standards. Programs that satisfy all requirements will be assigned credit values based on the program’s length, complexity and thoroughness.

Who is Eligible for the Program?

For a CPD opportunity to be eligible for accreditation, a nursing organization must have played a lead role in its development.  Nursing organizations who are fully responsible for a program can apply for accreditation directly.  Non-nursing organizations are also welcome to apply, providing the program is co-developed with a nursing organization.

What is a Nursing Organization?

CNA defines “nursing organization” as a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure. The organization serves and is accountable to its specialist nurse members and others by providing continuing professional development (CPD), health care, and/or research.  The definition excludes for-profit organizations and ventures, government agencies and disease-specific advocacy groups.

Examples of nursing organizations:

  • Faculties of nursing
  • Health authorities and/or hospital departments or divisions
  • Nursing societies
  • Nursing associations
  • Nursing academies
  • Canadian provincial/territorial nursing regulatory authorities

Examples of non-nursing organizations:

  • Pharmaceutical companies and their advisory groups
  • Medical and surgical supply companies
  • Medical device companiesCommunication companies
  • Disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations (e.g., Diabetes Canada)
  • Government departments or agencies (e.g., Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • Medical education or communications companies (e.g., CME Group)
  • For-profit online educators, publishing companies or simulation companies
  • Small groups of nurses working together to develop educational programming

There is also an accreditation process for aspects of nursing education at the provincial level.  In British Columbia, the BCCNP (which is the provincial nursing college – formerly known as the College of Registered Nurses of BC or CRNBC) is the body responsible for accrediting non-degree nursing programs. The BCCNP Guidelines for Nursing Education Programs outlines the process for review of a Nursing Education Program review by the Education Program Review Committee (EPRC) as follows:

Preliminary Review

• The EPRC requires 3 weeks to review the self-evaluation report. They then instruct the site visitors on what evidence to collect and verify.
• Site visit instructions are sent to the program about 1 week before the visit.

Site visit

• A site visit team visits the educational institution to collect and verify evidence as requested by the EPRC. The visit is normally 2 days at one site.
• The team submits a written report to the EPRC. The site visitors attend an EPRC meeting to discuss the report about 3 weeks thereafter.
• CRNBC sends a copy of the report to the program at the same time it goes to EPRC.

Final Review

• The EPRC concludes its assessment, formulates its tentative recommendation, and discusses these with the program representatives.
• The EPRC then prepares its final report and recommendation to the CRNBC Board. The CRNBC Education Consultant communicates with program representatives about the outcome and timing to complete the process.

Decisions

• The CRNBC Registrar/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) approves, on behalf of the CRNBC Board, the EPRC recommendations when the recognition status of the program is not jeopardized, or a Bylaw amendment to Schedule C is not required, by the recommendation.
• The CEO reports to the Board on EPRC recommendations and actions taken.

Follow up

The CRNBC Education Consultant is available to discuss the final report upon request and make plans for future reviews.

The Return to RN Practice (RRNP) program that I teach in is part of Thompson Rivers University-Open Learning (TRU-OL). The RRNP underwent the above process of accreditation in 2018.   I participated in the Preliminary Review by reviewing the 86 page self-assessment document which was submitted to the CRNBC Education Committee by our Program Coordinator.  As part of the Site visi“, I identified students and preceptors who could participate in interviews with the reviewers. I also participated in a teleconference with two other program instructors as well two CRNBC reviewers and responded to specific questions which they had on practices within our program.  This was done by teleconference as our program is online and instructors live elsewhere in the province.  Finally during the Decision step,  recommendations were made by the  EPRC which were minor suggestions for improvement and the RRNP program received maximum accrediation term of seven years as well.

The story below describes other courses offered through Thompson Rivers University – Open Learning (TRU-OL) which also obtained the maximum seven year accreditation through this process in 2017.

Nursing receives top honours from provincial regulatory body

  Posted on: July 14, 2017

Nursing accreditationNursing students perform tests on a electronic mannequin that can be programmed to exhibit a range of symptoms.

Commitment to a high-calibre learning experience has earned TRU’s School of Nursing (SoN) the highest possible approval from the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) Education Program Review Committee.

“The School of Nursing is very pleased to receive notification that the CRNBC has granted seven years’ recognition for the registered nurse qualifying theory and practice courses in psychiatric/mental health and perinatal nursing offered by the School of Nursing through Open Learning,” said Dean of the School of Nursing, Donna Murnaghan. “This is significant because it’s the longest period of recognition offered by the CRNBC.”

The seven-year designation is the result of a rigorous review which scrutinized the SoN, its administration, faculty and programs.
Reviewers were complimentary about the quality of the courses, the comprehensiveness of the reports that were submitted, the clarity around the competencies and learning outcomes, the comprehensive study guides, the model of evaluations used, the formative evaluations system and the robust polices used to guide the work and the comprehensive course delivery methods.

The courses are offered online to internationally educated nurses who are required to be licensed to practice in BC and for nursing students who use these courses as electives or as courses to advance their knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in these areas.

“Earning the maximum period of recognition is a testament to our commitment and dedication that all our students receive a rewarding and high-calibre learning experience—one where their education is recognized for employment opportunities in diverse settings,” said Murnaghan.

TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Alan Shaver said the endorsement is another milestone to be proud of.  “Peer review approval of any program is a challenging process,” said Shaver. “After intense scrutiny, this designation recognizes the excellent education our Open Learning students can expect from TRU’s School of Nursing.”

Source: TRU nursing receives top honours from provincial accreditation organization

Understanding Students’ Resistance to Learning

“The only way to understand better how your resistant students feel is to place yourself in the situation of having to learn something you find confusing, irrelevant, or difficult. This is the only way you can experience viscerally what so many of your students are going through”   (Brookfield, 2015, p. 214).

While it is almost impossible to comprehend that students do not feel the same passion for what we teach as we do, this is indeed the case.  Most of us teach because we are passionate, however the students who take our courses may have little to no interest in our subject area or may be entirely intimidated by it.  In the above quote from Chapter 16 of The Skillful Teacher, Brookfield (2015) challenges us as teachers to not only put ourselves in the place of our students, but consider when we ourselves have be in a situation which we felt things to be either “confusing”, “irrelavant” or “difficult”.  How did you feel?  How did you act? How might you have been perceived?

As I reflected on this, I am taken back to a entry-leve statistics course I once took by distance. It was the first time I had taken a distance course and since I had always been good at math, I assumed (incorrectly), that I would find this course quite easy. I quickly found that statistics was confusing to me and my previous proficiency in mathmatics was not an apparent asset. My instructor was only accessible by telephone during limited office hours and since at that time I was working shift work as a nurse, I found connecting with him difficult. As well, I did not find him particularly receptive to me and I recall losing my motivation partway through the course.  While I passed this course (barely), it has stood the test as being one of my worst experiences as a student. Fortunately it not deter me from further education and finally I had the opportunity to redeem myself (and my perception of statistics) years later during a graduate-level statistics course taught in a classroom by an enthusiastic instructor. Whether it was the platform, the instructor or where I was at in life, I found this course much more engaging and relished in my “success”.

As I reflect back on the first experience, I wonder how I was perceived by that instructor? Did he label me as “resistant”?  Did he happen to pause and question why I was responding with indifference to a course that was required for my program? Did he attempt to understand and help me achieve success in the course?  These questions will remain unanswered, however they do provide me with an opportunity to pause and consider how I may have been quick to label student behaviour over the years, based on my perception of how they should be responding.

I hoe you too will take up Brookfield’s challenge and reflect on your own learning experiences to see if you can find one where you might have found yourself disinterested or confused. Consider how you felt.  And then, the next time you see a student who appears resistant, I would encourage you to stop and question what might be a catalyst for this behaviour.  You might be surprised by your discovery and armed with new strategies for student success.

From:

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.

Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly

Regardless of how egalitarian an instructor tries to practice, the reality is that they have “power” over course curriculum, classroom activities and  evaluation criteria. It is important to acknowledge and utilize this position of authority in a responsible way rather than seemly ignore it and then later utilize it in a punitive way. In Chapter 18: Exercising Teacher Power Responsibly in The Skillful Teacher,  Brookfield (2015) addresses the responsible use of power in the classroom. Interestingly, he indicates that while the instructor power includes positional title, by virtue of training, subject competence and personality, learners also have and can exercise power.  Ironically, learners can leave teachers feeling powerless by simply refusing to ask or answer questions.

Some of the characteristics of justifiable power and authority which students have identified include: transparency, responsiveness and being consistently fair.  As a nurse who worked in hospital management prior to transitioning to nursing education, I was “taught” the importance of these characteristics by my more senior staff, who had no difficulty calling me out any time they perceived inconsistencies in transparency, responsiveness or fairness.  This has served me well as a guide as I transitioned from nursing management to nursing education.

One of the identified challenges that teachers can face is student disinterest in a particular topic that a teacher deems important. This can pose a challenge, however a key strategy is to be open and honest with students,  and provide them with rationale for your choices, while at the same time pressing forward.  Hopefully this honesty and transparency will help students be willing to engage with you.

From:  Brookfield (2015).  The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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