SoCal, its not just the grass thats dry…

drought-getty_tx800Remember me? Sorry its been a while…I’m back though, and at the penultimate stage of the PID Program, 3260 Professional Practice, no less…almost a grown up, well…maybe.

I’ve had a month or so away from school (kind of) and I was lucky enough to soak up some late SoCal sunshine on a training course. Great course, great instructor but a few items that we discussed I found interesting to say the least. The instructor had taken over a course, developed by their their predecessor. Now, I was forewarned by both colleagues, and the instructor about the inevitable PowerPoint overload…347 slides to be precise, but nothing could prepare me for Day 2…thats when it happened…the onslaught. Slide, after slide of numbers and bullet points….I was in learning hell. Thankfully, the instructor’s tendency to jump around the room and utilize the adjoining whiteboards to show off their terrible handwriting, saved my sanity.

At the end of the day, the instructor and I were chatting about the use of PowerPoint. I wasn’t being critical of the instructor, but I raised some points raised to me by a PIDP instructor about the use of PowerPoint and bullet points (“don’t”). From the ‘slides’ I likely retained 3-4% of the content due vast amount of text. However, from the way the instructor had delivered the material, I learnt much much more. I think I got away without sounding condescending or a ‘know-it-all’ (maybe not, but I was definitely polite) but I just could not let this guy continue to fry the minds of eager students with unnecessary visual ‘white-noise’.

The next issue came to the end of week one which concluded with a formative evaluation; open book; the only thing we weren’t ‘allowed’ to use was the presentation. At one point I had to write, all the steps in a procedure for which we had access to the official procedure document. In essence, the instructor wanted to know that we could navigate through their online portal to the document, and then make sure that we noted the poignant parts. During the exam a few of us were just amazed what the question was asking and consequently asked “do you actually want us to copy this document?” to which the answer was a resounding yes! So, we reluctantly penned a side of notes which ended up a poorly written, unenthusiastic version of the procedure…but factually correct. I couldn’t bite my tongue, that afternoon the instructor and I were chatting again and I asked why on earth we had to copy this procedure out, what were we learning from this? To which came the answer that will haunt me forever “well, the exam isn’t for you is it…it’s for me”…I didn’t know what to say (yes, really) I remember thinking “I think this conversation is larger than we have time for so I simply replied “well thats debatable”…

Honestly, I’m still naive as to what 3260, Professional Practice has in store, but I’m confident that it will include the importance of being a reflective practitioner, how to deal with situations that compromise feelings of both the student and teacher, and maybe we’ll discuss how as educators we can understand what our students feel about the way we deliver our classes…either way I’m confident that the learning outcomes of 3260 would help the drought in California…

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