I am a Nurse and for years I’ve been working in public hospitals where I’ve been directly involved in clinical teaching of trainees at ward level, and indirectly acting as Mentor. Usually new entrants who are adults enrolled with the School of Nursing have their placements in public health services during their 3 years of internship. It was the only institution then, approved to dispense course in general and midwifery nursing. Until recently the top-up diploma was introduced at same institution. I had the opportunity to enroll in an MSc Health Services Management at the University of Technology Mauritius after completing my top-up diploma in nursing.
Somewhere with the advancement in new technologies and evidence base practices I’ve a perception that the way of teaching doesn’t seems to be in conformity with the theory. Students mostly learned on the job-training. Enrolling for the PG Certificate in Higher Education with the Middlesex University was like a dream comes true.
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Universities are internationalizing their courses which bring new cultures and diversity to the learning program. Middlesex University brings British education at the door steps of students. The determination for further education was there and the first module itself was the trigger mechanism to really understand the factual theories of learning. The class consisted of a diversity of students from different countries and different cultures.
We get to know each other by a simple exercise lead by the coordinator, which would definitely be useful for implementation in my area of practice. We get to know about our peer by “A get up and grab a post it\” which consists of gathering some information about our peer. Some students are lecturers at universities or secondary institutions and few are from nursing profession. The challenge started here with this great variety of backgrounds. The first modules needed an intense overview and understanding of learning theories. I could differentiate the ideology and going with the flow step by step.
With the LED 4001 I realized that that the ways of teaching and learning have evolved and the classical way where the teacher gives information and the learners capture is no longer applicable. The learning process involves both the teacher and the learners and the importance of learning theories is crucial for both.
Nursing practice is an area where theory is converted into skills and nurses should show that they use efficient methods and an understandable justification in their educational efforts, patient and client relation because every student has a unique way of learning and in order to congregate with the different need of student different theories should be applied for the management of employees and teaching, ongoing education and promotions of health (Ferguson &Day, 2005).
Following my next interaction with my interns I used the combination of constructivism and cognitive approach in my teaching philosophy. The cognitive approaches, learning requires understanding and this usually happens with previous knowledge and experiments. The class itself becomes a learning theory with all the experiences of other students. I’ve always imagined that lecturing is a one way mode of delivering information but in the humanism theory with small group discussion the class become so animated that there is no place for boredom. The Maslow’s Hierarchy was challenged with very bold and positive criticisms.
Contrary to the traditional method of teaching where the instructor dispenses knowledge, I plan to convert my training environment into constructivist space where I can focus on my trainees. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning.
In the constructivist classroom, I think that both teacher and students know that knowledge is a dynamic in this ever changing world. [LO1]
Furthermore the sessions of the LED 4001 brings more insight of how to use strategies to motivate interns in the learning process. Adults learning are all about change, change in awareness, mind-set, behavior, proficiency and perception among the stages proposed by Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1991) were Competency and Proficiency where the trainees grasp all the sets of laws and essentials to every specific situation in his own perception. In my area of practice the need for generating new efficient and effective human resources is an obligation for better care and service for a high demand in the health sector.
Using the constructivism theory from my own perception I sorted out that I need to review my way of proceeding. I was overwhelmed by the activities led by the coordinator during the different sessions, the interaction among peers, the think, pair and share activity. The interaction among peers during this session is the most challenging in group work.
I realized that I have another milestone to achieve in teaching and mentoring. All tutorials I delivered were a one way and very little of interaction and the time factor was not taken into account. The application of this method in one of my teaching sessions brings everyone on the same level by breaking the ice and getting everyone engaged even the introvert.
I could see their motivation and positive agitation to pair with their peer and sharing their views. With my further interaction with the trainee nurses I adopted the method of think-pair-share of the active learning which was first defined by Bonwell and Eison (1991) as “everything that engages learners in “doing things and thinking about the things they are doing”.
This collaborative learning proved to be a relatively low-risk and short collaborative sharing knowledge, and is ideally appropriate for trainer and learner for collaborative learning and critical findings and decision making. Contrary to the traditional method of teaching where the instructor dispenses knowledge, I plan to convert my training environment into constructivist space where I can focus on my trainees. In the constructivist model, the trainees are recommended to be enthusiastically involved in their own learning process. [LO2]
Even if I have the perception that am full fledge with the various theories and that I am implementing what I’ve acquired as materials and tools from the various sessions, I still doubt that I need a proper feedback for my performance and how to move forward and improve standards. “Feedback is a process whereby learners obtain information about their work in order to appreciate the similarities and differences between the appropriate standards for any given work, and the qualities of the work itself, in order to generate improved work.” (Boud and Molloy 2013: 6).
Feedback is an essential part of effective learning. It helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Bellon et al. state “academic feedback is more powerfully and constantly interrelated to accomplishment than any other teaching conduct…this correlation is steady despite of class, socioeconomic position, race, or school setting”. Feedback can develop a student\’s confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning.
Very often feedback is a horizontal perspective that is, from teachers to students but I wanted to do it the other way out. In one of my session I use the 360 degree feedback and will implement regularly in other training sessions where my trainees can assess me either positively or negatively so that I can build on my shortcomings and which is definitely going to impact on the performance of the trainees. [LO3]