I am started this blog as part of the PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education course which is a module of the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. I was inspired to take this course as I am entering the twilight of my career in the steel trades and I realized that I had to take a realistic appraisal of what my retirement would look like. I knew that my pensions would not provide me the income to travel, or golf, or loaf on the beach, or any of the other lifestyles that we see in media advertisements. I also realized that as I got older I wouldn’t have the physical stamina that my trade demands. I was told I had a knack for teaching by my five step children and I always enjoyed mentoring the apprentices that I worked with. This led me to explore what opportunities existed to pursue teaching as an answer to the predicament I would soon be facing.
I am presently employed as a shipfitter at Vancouver Shipyards. One of the catalysts for me to take this course was the announcement in 2011 that Seaspan had been awarded an $8 billion contract by the federal government as part of their National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). Vancouver Shipyards would have the bulk of the work and would be expanding their future work force in future years. This would necessitate a demand for skilled trades people, this comes at a time when Canada is facing a drastic shortage of skilled trades people. Recognizing this governments across Canada are dedicating more resources to give workers the training to fill the vacancies that exist now and in the future. I asked myself “who would be training these new workers?”.
Talking to various people in the human resource field and others that are involved with trade education I learned about the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. What appealed to me was the flexibility of the program that allowed me to study while I worked full time. I also learned that the program one of the few of its kind in Canada. I felt that by combining my experience in shipbuilding and a degree in adult instruction I could begin a new career in adult instruction.
I am looking forward to successfully completing this program and in the future teaching and guiding my students as they successfully pursue their own careers.
I took the PIDP 3210 course on the two weekends at the VCC Broadway Campus in May 2013. I was very fortunate to have David Tickner as my instructor I wish him well on his retirement. The process he led us through was challenging but by end of the session I had a basic understanding of how the curriculum and everything else flows from the performance objectives. By concentrating on what our students have to know or do in order to master a skill or competency we then can go about creating a teaching strategy to make sure that they get the training in order to be successful.
I gained a real appreciation for the power and intracacies of verbs. Concentrating on what students do rather than what the instructor has to do means that we will develop a student-centred curriculum that will allow them to acquire the skills and knowledge that will allow them to successfully perform the competencies that they set out to learn.
The curriculum project I developed was for a continuing education type 28 hour program taken over seven Saturday mornings where students would learn how to weld and cut steel with oxygen/acetylene equipment and then design and build their own project. I called it “Playing with Fire”.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the VCC Broadway campus on Monday morning to take my PIDP 3220 course was the incredible vibrancy of the campus compared to the weekends when I took my PIDP 3210 course. Delivery of Instruction, design and deliver 3 ten minute lessons in all three domains of learning. Accomplish your stated performance objective.
My first lesson was the easiest as it was in the psycho-motor domain, “How to tie a Bowline” I shopped for instructional aids and spent a few hours that night developing a lesson plan and rehearsing my teaching. Confidently I started my lesson only to panic half way through as I realized that my students were having problems tying the knot. One student suggested that I turn around so they could mimic my hand movements. Thankfully this seemed to work and I the students learned how to tie a bowline.
My next lesson was the hardest as it was in the affective domain. I decided to do a history of my hometown of Ajax, Ontario. This would fit in a ten minute lesson as the town didn’t exist before WWII. But I managed to make the lesson on the blight of post war urban planning that led to suburban sprawl and how it is going on today in Surrey, Langley and the Fraser Valley.
For my final lesson I was able to draw on some of my work experience and I did a lesson on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the eyes, ears and breathing. This addressed the cognitive realm as students needed to learn what the equipment was for and how to use it properly. I have incorporated some aspects of this into the safety training I do at the Vancouver Community Laboratory.
Once again I was lucky to have a fantastic instructor for this course, Sarah Loewen who had just come over from Vancouver Island to teach her first class at VCC. I also had a diverse group of incredible classmates who provided respectful and helpful feedback. I learned so much about such a variety of topics. I don’t see why VCC doesn’t use the mini lesson concept and have their own version of TED talks. Could even have a provincial competition.