New Insights on Roles of Adult Educators
The role of the adult educator is slowly changing, from one which is the leader of the class to the facilitator of the class. Classrooms have become more interactive and dynamic. I have learned a lot about the flipped classroom (see my comments on my blog post from flipped classroom article). I do feel that it will take some time for the flipped classroom to be more of a reality. There are some instructors who are still entrenched in the old model and it will take a lot of dedication and motivation on behalf of the student to prepare on their own. It also takes a lot of effort behind the scenes on behalf of the instructor to prepare video lectures ahead of time and there may not be funds to support this. When I reflect on my own teaching, I am just starting to branch away from the instructor centred teaching. Much of my lecturing centres around the powerpoint lectures in order to help me remember what to teach (other than the practical components). My goal is to take at least one lecture off of powerpoint and try to flip it so that the students can benefit from a more problem based model.
Being a motivator is an extremely important role in adult education in my view. As I learned in the article by Buffo (2015) (see my post on Stories) using stories in the classroom can be highly motivating and engaging. It can also be significant when the story is presented (e.g. at the beginning of the class to get the attention of the students). Storytelling towards the end of the day could also be used to re-engage the students. Another key motivator is humour. This can take many forms, such as an unexpected quote, a funny story, or a comic inserted to powerpoint. In the article “Energize your Classroom with Humour” by Rieger (2014) (see link) states that humour promotes motivation and critical thinking. During an Educator Conference I was fortunate enough to have a lecture by Bob Aitken who uses magic tricks to captivate and motivate the audience. My predecessor used magic tricks in the class of rehabilitation students that I now teach. I hope to learn a few tricks of my own in the future.
Another key insight is that an instructor must be flexible. In the article “My Educational Philosophy” Moore (2015) discusses the flexibility in the roles that the teacher must play. This includes the motivator, teacher, instructor, coach and mentor. This relates well to my class, as I often have to teach a concept (teacher), demonstrate a skill (instructor) and then “coach” the students while they practice. Although I have essentially performed these roles, I hadn’t thought of myself in different roles until I took VCC 3100.
One of the newer roles of an adult educator is as an online-instructor. As this is the first time I have taken an on-line course, I now have an appreciation of the role of the online-instructor. From one of the articles I have read on Faculty Focus “Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher” (see post) I can understand from a student perspective how important those roles are. In particular, being the tour guide, the learning coach and individual and group mirror have been new concepts to me. I have found it interesting to be on the “other side” as a student accessing moodle as opposed to an instructor. Although I am not an online instructor, I do have to organize and set up moodle for my course. I like the idea of sending an email once a week to encourage students to do their weekly reading, and perhaps highlight a key concept that they could be pondering before the next class.
Trends in Neurological Rehabilitation
Note that all of the trends below are based on the fact that our brains are plastic and can learn new information even with neurological insult. As well, we all learn differently and at different rates. See great TED talk by Lara Boyd in my post entitled “After watching this, your brain will not be the same” link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHBMFCzznE
CONSTRAINT INDUCED MOVEMENT THERAPY (CIMT)
One of the trends in my field of which stroke rehabilitation is a big part, is constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT). According to the article “Examining the Use of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Canadian Neurological Occupational and Physical Therapy” (see my blog post on the article), CIMT therapy is not as well utilized in the community as could be expected. I am preparing my class to address the trend of CIMT by making sure it is incorporated within the curriculum. In my practice, (once the physiotherapist has assessed the patient) CIMT is taught by the rehabilitation assistant in groups. As I teach rehabilitation assistant (R.A.) students, I see the need to incorporate more practice of this therapy, including discussion of the research and findings to the students. Feedback and motivation is essential for the patient to participate in such a long session. I would initially set up the students in pairs so that they can practice being in each role. Then I would ask them to each practice leading a group and share their reflections on teaching/receiving the instruction to their fellow colleagues. That way, when they graduate into clinical practice they have a solid knowledge of CIMT and can educate therapists who have not had it in their training.
BODY WEIGHT SUPPORT (BWSTT)
Another trend, is using a body weight supported treadmill training system (BWSTT) (Takeuchi & Iszumi, 2013). See link below on Poststroke Motor Recovery. This is used for patients that cannot bear full weight on their limbs (e.g. spinal cord injury, stroke) or would be unsafe to ambulate on their own on the treadmill. It is also used for reeducating gait, which allows for neural restructuring to occur. Luckily, there is a BWSTT at UBC for the masters of physiotherapy students to practice on, but Capilano University does not have one. I can incorporate this trend in my class, via powerpoint and video clips and discussion. It may be possible to set up a field visit to a hospital or university that has one.
ROBOT ASSISTED TRAINING
A third trend is robot assisted training with patients in stroke rehabilitation (Takeuchi & Iszumi, 2013), which involves a robot arm assisting the patients with functional tasks. It has the advantages of being more precise with timing, resistance and quantifiable measures (Takeuchi & Iszumi, 2013). It would not be financially viable or available to practice with in my classroom. At this time YouTube clips and pictures would have to suffice. It appears that early studies do not show great results and that manual training is just as effective. As well, the equipment is mostly in the research stage and is not commercially available.
Takeuchi, N. and Iszumi, S. Rehabilitation with Poststroke Motor Recovery: A Review with a Focus on Neural Plasticity. Stroke Research and Treatment. Volume 2013, Article ID 128641, 13 pages. doi.org/10.1155/2013/128641. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/srt/2013/128641/