In teaching, as in most professions, you can always learn new skills and become better.  I have attended workshops and courses designed to give pointers on how students learn and how, as a teacher, I can appeal to those learning techniques when I present my subject matter.  I have tried to implement some of the ideas I've learned in these workshops, like active learning, team based learning, and review techniques, however, I still have to experiment to add all of them.  

Most recently I completed FTLC 1000 (professional development course at Salt Lake Community College).  This was an online course with modules and discussion areas aimed to cover the class demographics and learning environments, goals and learning outcomes, active learning, learning outside the classroom, teaching with technology, and assessment.  As part of the assignments we had to reflect on information shared and our experiences implementing them in our classrooms. 

Active Learning: Active learning, is basically a way to make the student more engaged in their personal learning.  This is important for skills in lifetime learning of the student, plus if the student makes the connections his or herself then they are more likely to retain it, even if retention is only the goal to pass a test.  There are many activities and games developed to get the student up and moving, talking with other classmates, and processing the information presented to them.  I have attended a few workshops on this - one entitled "Got a minute?" aimed to give us quick review strategies to break up lecture and to help students understand what is important that they just learned, one on Team-based learning which was presented by an instructor that developed his whole course as group projects, exams, and presentations, and then most recently on active learning designed to give us a few additional techniques and present studies on whether active learning is actually a better technique than the traditionally more passive learning technique of lecture.   My reflection on active learning is entitled, "Active Learning: Is it just Edu-tainment?"  

I have attached a couple of examples of Active learning that I have used in classrooms. 

Active Learning Using Dice.doc Active Learning Using Dice.doc
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Learning Beyond the Classroom: Learning can take place in many different scenarios.  In FTLC 1000, we watched videos and read information on learning beyond the classroom.  This includes guest speakers, field trips, service-based learning, and internships.  I have taught predominantly introduction level math and a couple of classes specifically aimed for application into cosmetology or nursing.  In my math for cosmetology students I did have them individually take a field trip to a salon and interview someone in the cosmetology field on their use of math in their career.  In my math for those entering the medical profession (usually as nurses) I did invite a guest speaker to talke about the use of math in nursing and give examples of dosage and math problems done in the 2 weeks prior to coming to class.  Also in the math for nurses course they had the option for an extra credit project of volunteering at a medical facility and writing a review.  This corresponded to the learning outcome of being more prepared to enter the medical profession.  I haven't implemented too many of these ideas in my introductory algebra classes, and in my reflection specifically on service learning entitled "Outside Learning Activities Are Easier for Applied Classes, but Possible for All", I explain some of the challenges associated with it.  

Reflection on workshops participated in: The adjunct academy encouraged and required participation in workshops provided by the college.  I chose to attend a Collegial Conversation on Technology in the classroom.  This workshop was useful because I hadn't really thought strongly about incorporating technology in classroom.  However, when I completed the module in FTLC 1000 it started my thinking on the subject.  Then when I participated in the collegial conversations it got technology in the classroom at the forefront of my thinking.  This resulted in me seeing ideas on the TV or while talking with friends, or other instructors.  

Then the second workshop I chose to attend was during the active learning week.  Last year, prior to the academy requirements, I had attended a coupld of the active learning seminars.  Those seminars were very helpful and I started to immediately implement some of the ideas into my teaching.  This year was just as interesting and useful.  I learned new techniques that I am still thinking about how to incorporate in my classroom, and more importantly, I began to realize how I could choose a topic and think of ways that aren't quite obvious using simple ideas to help students retain the material.

Also for the adjunct academy I was required to attend the Adjunct Faculty Conference in the Fall of 2011.  This is an annual conference with a choice of break out sessions and a keynote speaker.  They provide lunch and encourage discussion with other faculty.  Below is some of my thoughts on the Adjunct Faculty Conference.

Reflection on FTLC 1000: As I continue to do professional development I hope to keep learning.  As I finished the FTLC 1000 course I reflected on concepts that I thought about as I read and watched the modules presented in the course.  You may find them in my file attached below.

Reflection on FTLC 1000.doc Reflection on FTLC 1000.doc
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In the orientation of the Adjunct Academy we were told of the goals and learning outcomes of this program: To increase the quality of teaching and learning, to provide support for faculty in teaching and learning, to develop a strong community of instructors who share their best practices, and to provide a better managed classroom environment to engage students in the learning process.  I reflect on two of the learning outcomes specifically: how the academy was set up to help me become a better teacher and creating a community of instructors. 


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