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Monday, 27 May 2013

Journal 2- Paradigm Shift


The video “Changing Education Paradigms” probes and challenges the current models of education by describing how the current ways of thinking about education have changed over time since the industrial revolution.  This video touches on concepts in which less emphasis should be placed upon such as standardization, and areas in which more time should be focused on and embraced such as divergent thinking and technology.

             After watching the video “Changing Education Paradigms” I must say that it is spot on for the need to change the current system of education to better help promote and stimulate the mind for not only educating children but also adults. 

Barkley (2010) describes motivation as a theoretical construct to explain the reason or reasons we engage in a particular behavior.  It is the feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes somebody want to do something. (9) The video discusses how the whole concept of public education came to be around the industrial revolution, a time where discoveries about the world itself were made on a rapid level.  As these discoveries helped change and shape methods of progressing our thinking and working today it appears that the way we view education has not changed all that much even though other areas in our society have.  This questions the whole notion of motivation.  How can we keep our students motivated to learn when we are stuck in methods of teaching that were for a completely different era? Strauss (2013), describes similar concerns about the current American education system when she writes:
“What I want people to understand is that the backbone of education — the familiar math-science-language arts-social studies “core curriculum” — is deeply, fundamentally flawed. No matter the reform initiative, there won’t be significant improvement in American education until curricular problems
are understood, admitted, addressed, and solved.” 
I think that this is a valid statement in that the current system of education cannot and will not be changed in one day, but slowly we as educators can help raise our concerns and put forth better and more current ideologies on how we would like to enhance the learning experience for our students and hence increase their motivation to learn!
Technology undoubtedly has had a great effect on the need for the current education paradigm to change as well.  The article “A Paradigm Shift in Distance Education: Web 2.0 and Social Software” discusses how “student’s roles had changed from passive to highly interactive in the historical development of distance education.” (66)  Again this increases the motivation for learning in students as the typical “spoon-feeding” of education is not at the forefront of distance or on-line education but instead the onus is on the students to actively take apart of what they want to learn and help promote divergent thinking. 


The video discusses the needs to promote divergent thinking in students and how it has been inhibited by the current educational systems.  I think that in order for our students to be comfortable to “think-outside-the-box” we do need a system that does in fact help encourage this way of thinking.  At the time of the industrial revolution the whole notion of public education was new and a fascinating concept in itself at the time.  However the need for change is constant.  Strauss makes an interesting point regarding the need for change when she writes:
Change is in the nature of things; it is inevitable. Human societies either adapt to change or die. The traditional core curriculum delivers existing
knowledge, but adapting to an unknown future requires new knowledge. New knowledge is created as relationships are discovered between parts of reality not previously thought to be related. The arbitrary walls between school subjects, and the practice of studying them in isolation from each other, block the relating process essential to knowledge creation.”
I think this really describes the need for changing the current education system well.  The need to educate our students on what is happening in the world right now and how they can help shape a better future for themselves and their children is far more important to me than to educate them on the typical standard subjects that have not changed in decades.  I understand that foundations of learning the basics are important, however, promoting divergent thinking in our student’s minds to take these basic rules and applying them into the current day life would be a good start in helping to change the education paradigms of today. 

Barkley, E. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco:
Kesim, E. & Agaoglu, E. (2007).  A Paradigm Shift in Distance Education: Web 2.0 and Social Software.
                Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 8(3), 66-75.
RSA Animate- Changing Education Paradigms [Video file].  Retrieved from     

Strauss, V. (2013, Feb. 11).  A REAL paradigm shift in education.  Retrieved from

Friday, 24 May 2013

Changing Education Paradigms

Journal 1

In Barkley’s (2010) textbook “ Student Engagement Techniques” she discusses the potential benefits of placing some form of value on coursework by stating “Some teachers find that the easiest and most direct way to spur students to invest time and effort in their coursework is reward strategies such as high grades, bonus points, praise, incentives such as release from work (“if you achieve x number of point, you do not need to take the final exam”), achievement recognition (“the three best projects were done by students X, Y, Z”) and so forth.” (p. 13)
My initial thoughts when reading this paragraph was that, this is me!  I love that extra incentive that may give me an extra edge in getting a better mark or may let me avoid something down the road.  However, I do wonder if this is a beneficial technique in the long run to better help motivate students?
I think that many students like to receive a “pat-on-the-back” or a “gold star” for a job well done on an assignment or for going above and beyond in what was required for a particular course.  But is this type of value on motivation really helping students? 
According to Wade et al (2007) “The motivation to achieve depends not only on ability, but also on whether people set mastery (learning) goals, in which the focus is on learning the task well, or performance goals, in which the focus is on performing well for others.  Mastery goals lead an individual to persist in the face of failure and setbacks; performance goals often lead an individual to give up.  High achievers find a balance between striving for mastery and performance.  People’s expectations can create self-fulfilling prophecies of success or failure.  These expectations reflect one’s level of self-efficacy.” (p. 451) When taking these ideologies into account there is little synergy between Barkley’s thoughts.  Is providing an incentive to a student really wise in the long run?  My initial thoughts were of course it is, if it helps to get something done on time then I’m all for it.  However, thinking about this a bit more critically makes me wonder if the student is actually learning along the way or if they are merely completing something for the sake of completing something in order to achieve a reward or an advantage later on. 
To me the value of motivation has changed throughout my years of pursuing education.  Initially I would love to get extra credit on an assignment or for handing something in earlier than it was due.  However I believe I was just doing that to receive that extra advantage in the end and not for actually trying to grow as a learner.  As I began to pursue further education into a more specified area, I began to realize that I actually wanted to learn and get better educated on my profession and to explore areas that would help me become more knowledgeable.  I believe that here my motivation was more directed to increasing my own intrinsic self-efficacy as opposed to achieving a superficial “pat-on-the-back.”  Sometimes a positive comment or constructive feedback on an assignment can go a long way.
Providing some form of incentive to help motivate students may be a beneficial method in some but not every circumstance I believe.  Enforcing incentive too much may be detrimental in the long run as the students may become too reliant on receiving some form of “reward” at the end of an assignment or test.  I do think however that providing some form of incentive can be beneficial when there is a group assignment or project at stake.  For example by providing some form of reward to increase motivation on doing a god job or by completing the group assignment on time can create a common goal that everyone in a group can work towards.  This could also perhaps reduce the occurrence of any social loafers as everyone could be more motivated to achieve that common goal.  I think in the end motivation should ideally rise from within an individual and the need for becoming better at something or for simply wanting to learn as opposed to receiving incentive. As educators I strongly believe it is our responsibility to help trigger that intrinsic motivation by sharing and triggering that passion for lifelong learning within our students and to help enable them to be successful in their future educational endeavours. I believe Wade et al (2007) summarizes by stating that “Satisfaction and well-being increase when people enjoy the intrinsic satisfaction of an activity and when their goals and values are in harmony.” (451)

Barkley, E. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco:
Wade, C., Tavris, C., Saucier, D., and Elias, L. (2007). Psychology 2nd Canadian ed. Toronto: Pearson
               Education Canada.

Hello everyone!
Just starting out here and quickly getting lost and amazed at all the things you can do with a blog!  Enjoying the process so far :)  More to come soon!
A little about me: My name is Jas.  I am from a small town on Vancouver Island (Ucluelet) but have been living in Burnaby for the past 8 years. Within these past 8 years I have received my Diploma in Dental Hygiene and a Degree in Dental Sciences and am currently working towards my Provincial Instructors Diploma. I have been practicing dental hygiene in a wonderful dental office for the past 4 years and am loving every minute!  This past January I had the opportunity to join a wonderful team of instructors at the Faculty of Dentistry at UBC where I was a clinical instructor for 3rd year dental hygiene students. I can't wait to get back there in September! 
 In my spare time I enjoy travelling, cooking, and watching the Canucks win! :)
Happy Flossing! :)