The next activity in eCampus Ontario extend mOOC is to search through the faculty patchbook https://facultypatchbook.wordpress.com/ and find a paragraph that resonated with me. There were so many great patches that I found it hard to settle on just one.
This activity is based on the concept of Thought Vectors. I think the concept of Thought Vectors is an interesting way to describe learning. Thought Vectors can be thought of as an idea to be explored and expanded upon (eCampus Ontario, 2019). To learn more about the concept of Thought Vectors please see Jenny Stout’s explanation below.
My thought vector is about being open with students about my mistakes and the quote that resonated with me is:
“It may be uncomfortable but admitting one’s own mistakes and struggles is a great way to set the tone in a classroom where debates will happen. Hopefully, as a result, being wrong may seem a little less terrifying and disagreement may be an opportunity for learning rather than humiliation. After all, when does one learn more: when they get the right answer or the wrong answer? ” (Ryan, 2018)
This quote resonates with me because I know that being open to learn from my mistakes is when I learn the most. However, it is often hard to admit mistakes. As the subject matter expert (SME) in the classroom it may seem that admitting mistakes to students would undermine credibility in the classroom.
My experience has been the opposite. I am not suggesting that you can maintain credibility if you are constantly making mistakes but admitting that you do not know everything and sharing mistakes humanizes you. In turn, students will feel safe to try without fear of ridicule for making a mistake in front of you and their classmates. As (Ryan 2018) suggests, if you are open about your own struggles you are creating a learning space that is safe and an opportunity for learning.
The bonus to admitting that you do not know everything is that it gives students an opportunity to teach you something. When interactive whiteboards were first introduced into my classroom I struggled with getting them to work the way they should (on occasion I still have this problem). Some of my students (direct from high-school) were very comfortable with interactive white boards and were always happy to come up and provide assistance.
I think when I model vulnerability I am creating space in my classroom that normalizes mistakes. I build trust between my students, between my students and I, and that vulnerability is part of the learning process. The Community of Inquiry (COI) model suggests that supporting social presence is part of the learning process and creating trust among participants is part of that support (Athabasca University, 2013). My experience is that when students feel good about themselves they are ready to learn.
Athabasca Univeristy. (2013). Community of Inquiry Model. Retrieved 2019, from Athabascau: https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/
eCampus Ontario. (2019). EXTEND 101-EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 1: Teacher for Learning, Climate of the Course: Thought Vectors.
eCampus Ontario. (2019). EXTEND 101-EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 1: Teacher for Learning, Learning Nuggets.
Ryan, M. (2018). Promoting Disagreement. eCampus Ontario. Retrieved February 2019