How will I be a New Professional?

Throughout this semester, we covered numerous topics in this course relating to pedagogy. For those of you that may not remember, below are the main topics we discussed:

  • Networked learning
  • Mindful learning
  • Assessment
  • Inclusive pedagogy
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Multi-tasking
  • Problem-based learning

I know, that’s a pretty daunting list of topics, but don’t worry it isn’t as bad as it might look. Now, each of these topics can be used individually when teaching an have powerful implications. But instead, if they are used together better results can be achieved to ultimately become the ‘New Professional’ as Parker Palmer likes to put it. For me, I feel that this idea of a ‘New Professional’ can be broken into four components:

  1. Adapting the curriculum
  2. Being mindful
  3. Proper pedagogical praxis
  4. Proper assessments

For each of these four components parts of the list above can be incorporated and mixed together to provide what I feel is a curriculum for a ‘New Professional’. The four components and the interactions of the topics covered in this course are discussed in more detail below.

Adapting the curriculum
The first component of becoming a ‘New Professional’ is adapting the curriculum to individuals in the course. One method of adaption is the used of networked learning. Firstly, networked learning can allow for individuals to participate in the class when they are not able to physically in the classroom. Networked learning can allow for deeper conversations to occur  through the use of blogging or similar online outlets. Adaption does not just stop at the use of blogging and online platforms. Adaption to new technologies in general is as a huge deal. Nobody wants to be taught by a professor that uses transparencies and a slide rule.

Being mindful
A ‘New Professional’ needs to be mindful of the students and be sure to take what Ken Robinson had to say in mind. In order for the students to flourish  a ‘New Professional’ needs to be mindful for three principles: diversity, curiosity, and creativity. Stifling any of these principles can have an adverse effect on the learning process. Being mindful covers more than ensuring your students have the three principles needed to flourish. A ‘New Professional’ must be mindful of the grading policy he/she puts in place. In certain instances an A-F grad may not be the right answer for providing feedback to students. A ‘New Professional’ must be mindful of competition amongst students. I feel that competition can have a positive impact on the students when used in moderation (The Bright Side of Competition Projects). However, if competition is used improperly it can lead to students playing it safe and not learning as much because they are scared to get a “low grade”.

Proper pedagogical praxis
The third component is using a proper pedagogical praxis when teaching a course. When in the classroom, it is important to use teaching methods that work for the students in the class being taught. This means that one method that works one semester may not work as well the next. There are numerous pedagogical praxis out there each with their own spin on what is important and what isn’t in the classroom. In this course we talked about inclusive and critical pedagogies specifically. I think both of these pedagogical praxis are a good start to forming a proper pedagogical praxis. The use of an inclusive pedagogy was illustrated in the first two components above so I will not repeat it here. Looking at what Freire had to say, it is important to not view students as empty banks where information is to be dumped. Instead, a ‘New Professional’ would use dialogic engagement.

Proper assessments
Being a ‘New Professional’ does not stop at teaching information, which is why the fourth component exists, assessments and course work. Deciding what assessment is best is a difficult choice, but it is one that every educator must make. One assessment that I feel will be used at least once in every course I teach is problem-based learning. I want students to develop the critical thinking skills that are necessary for engineering. While knowing the theory and calculations to back up claims is absolutely necessary, in industry there is no book with answers in the back to problems they will face. Therefore, students will need to be able think critically and use logical arguments to back up their claim, both concepts that are taught through problem-based learning assignments.

Final Comments
I feel it is impossible to say that there is one way formula to being a ‘New Professional’. Being a ‘New Professional’ is going to be different from educator to educator, but what will be the same same is the use of personal strengths to develop a curriculum that works for the educator and the instructor. As of now, I haven’t had enough teaching experience to know what topics I learned in this class will be of the best use to me. But, I now have a tool belt partly full of topics and principles that I can test and see how it works for me. Now, notice the “partly” in the prior sentence, I say this because I strongly feel that this course was just the tip of the iceberg and provided me with some tools but there many other tools other there that I still have yet to find. It is now up to me to continue investigating and keeping up with new developments so that I can be a ‘New Professional’.

9 Replies to “How will I be a New Professional?”

  1. I like your comparison to a tool belt. I, too, am not sure of the exact mechanisms for using what I’ve learned this semester (also a novice teacher), but I’ve got more tools in my tool belt than when we started. That’s good enough for me!

  2. I also want to reiterate that sometimes being a “New Professional” might not fit in certain contexts, classes, or with certain students. There is always exceptions to any rule or concepts, and it is up to us to critically think about what our students need and what the context calls for.

  3. Craig, no worries m8. I think the ones who are worried are the ones who often times are the ones who stop to think about their students and are constantly pondering ways to improve. They’re the ones whose toolbelt is always changing and expanding. The question we perhaps should ask is how can we learn to lend our tools to others in the departments that we end up in? Any ideas?

  4. Very nice and reflective post. I agree that “it is impossible to say that there is one way formula to being a ‘New Professional’.” It really depends on how one reflects oneself as a novel and critical role in the wave of education evolution. And it really depends on how one connects the others to push the education wave in the direction of higher innovation and civility.

  5. As you mentioned there is no right way to become ‘New Professional’. Every educator will have to adapt their teaching pedagogy to each individual course, as they might require a different learning strategies. Not only that, but some students require individual support. All in all, I believe creativity and passion will be a strong driver to teaching success.

  6. Being a new professional can be a daunting task. You face a new work environment, colleagues, and challenges (professionally as well as personally). Thankfully, many occupations or careers have resources to help with the transition. For instance, my professional organization has a “New Professionals” group that student members become a part of after they graduate. The group provides support in a variety of ways. However, the most leveraged benefit is access to the experiences of the new professionals who already entered the field. They mentor new “new professionals” and really help them navigate their new role.

  7. Great post! What a nice summary! It is very helpful to see the summarizing lists you put up for the course, and read about your writing about four components and the interactions of the topics. Remind me a lot of good information and topics we had covered this semester. I think I will try to write my own summary about this course too. Thank you for the inspiring and sharing!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. We have an interesting road ahead of us as future professors. I think my best advice is to be genuine to myself and to show myself to my students! Best of luck to us both!

  9. Yes, yes, yes:

    “I feel it is impossible to say that there is one way formula to being a ‘New Professional’. Being a ‘New Professional’ is going to be different from educator to educator, but what will be the same same is the use of personal strengths to develop a curriculum that works for the educator and the instructor.”

    Great post, but I loved this part of your final comments in particular. I absolutely agree the strengths of individual teachers will reveal where they especially shine. That’s how teaching works!

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