Last weekend I spoke with Jennifer, my learning partner via Skype. We had a nice chat about our first month of the PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education course discussing how we are both managing to complete our assignments while also maintaining full-time jobs.
Jennifer is an instructor of Physics who has earned a PhD and has years of experience as a post-doctoral researcher. We have vastly different backgrounds with the common goal of learning to be adult educators. Jennifer’s path to adult instruction is that of a long-term student dedicated to a scholarly path compared to my route as a journeyman carpenter via an apprenticeship and work-based training.
One of the adult education trends Jennifer has utilized in her field is that of exploratory learning. In her specific example of this, she explained to me how in a lab situation her students would be provided with only the tools and material needed for the lab. The steps to complete the lab are not provided and therefore the students are required to pull from what they know to teach themselves the concepts needed to conduct the lab at hand. This was a style of learning that I could relate to and would also enjoy using in a carpentry class in the future. I could specify an example of a building project ( ie: a scale size floor frame system) and provide the tools and materials but the students would have to come up with the steps and process to achieve a finished project.
Jennifer’s roles and responsibilities changed from when she started at the college and was just putting on labs to slowly moving into teaching the lecture components of some of the courses as well. As lectures can tend to be somewhat dry and one-sided Jennifer found that she was keen to involve more lab interaction into the theory portion of the course. Jennifer also recently became “regularized” faculty and therefore has more of a permanent position with her college. With that position comes more time and responsibility of course management including designing her own assignments and tests.
For me, pretty much everything will change once I take on any teaching or training as it will all be a new and completely different to what I do for work. I have a lot to learn about how to instruct the theory side of my trade in a classroom setting. I really look forward to taking all that I learn from the PIDP and applying it to instructing in the real world.