Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adult Learners

My husband complained the other day that there was never a blog about him..... which is ridiculous nonsense.....if I had a counter for every time I reference him in my blogs I bet he has featured more than anyone else.....

So this has nothing to do with his whining - because we all know how much I LOVE whining...... I have been planning this for a few weeks and now is the perfect moment.

As you will know Allan has returned to University to get a BA in Leadership.  This did not come as a shock exactly..... seeing as he knew returning to school to get a Canadian qualification was on the cards when we arrived here almost 18 years ago.  At first we fought every battle to try and gain equivalency for his 4 years of Post Secondary study in South Africa.  After many barriers and hurdles - most of them grossly unfair and bureaucratic we realised we would have to suck this one up and just do it!

And then life got busy and we had a couple of babies and finances were tight and jobs were busy and further study got bumped to the back burner. 

As these things happen, just as we were ready to consider the sacrifice of time and money to get Allan back to school the perfect program came to our attention.  Trinity Western University is a private Christian university (my sisters alma mater as it happens) and they offer an Adult Degree Completion Program.  An intense 18 months of leadership studies , 46 credits and Voila , a Canadian degree and an immediate big jump in salary.  Currently the BC Government does not pay Allan as a professional teacher despite working for them for 18 years, 10 of those as department head....... it is pathetic (but let's not get me started on that rant).

So Allan siezed the opportunity, went to TWU and applied (they wondered why he needed to do the program as it seemed to them he already had a degree.... EXACTLY!!!) and then spoke nicely to the man at the bank who coughed up the cash and suddenly, the day after getting home from robotics in Orlando, he was a student again.

He knew it was going to be tough....... to be on the other side of the desk, so to speak.  He was also quite worried about the rigours of reading and homework on top of an already busy life. And he was really worried about the writing.  Mr. Physics and Electronics and Woodshop Teacher does not do a whole bunch of essay writing, to be honest , he barely writes emails.....

So the first assignment was torture, for us all!!  I jest!!! Not only did he have to write an article critique on leadership but it had to be in the APA format (which is technical mumbo jumbo).  He spent hours on it.  And when it came back, although he got HUGE kudos for the depth of his thinking and his rigorous arguments, the Instructor felt he had not quite followed instructions.  So despite the A he got he was crushed to have made the mistake and felt the instructions had not been clear.   But he restrained himself from launching a debate on the matter.  He didn't want to be THAT student.  In a lovely turn of the events it was the Instructor who emailed him:

During and after each course that I teach, I review the purpose and outcome of the writing tasks that I assign. My purpose for assigning the “author” critique is based on the idea of having students evaluate an author regarding the effective use of support material, logic of argument, organizational structure, correct citations, APA formatting, etc. My reasoning is that this will help students understand how they will be evaluated by their instructors.

However, for each new group of students, I run into the same issue about the “author” vs. “article” critique confusion. Actually, as I read back through your critique, I DO see that you have included one sentence that is an author critique when you state in your evaluation,  “He fails to produce evidence to back up this claim” (Byres, 2011, p. 4). However, as I look for follow through with examples from the text (evidence/support material) to defend this assertion, I don’t note any; whereas, in your “article” critiquing mode, you offer valid defence for many of your assertions. This is simply an observation which leads me to wonder whether my instructions were clear.

That said, I have made a decision to change this assignment from author critique only to “Critique of McKinney’s View on Custodial Leadership and His Use of Evidence”. Having made this decision, I am asking permission to use your critique as an example for future LDRS 301 classes. So, thank you for your work

Ah ha!!!  

The student/teacher was right - and now he is the example.  I could not be prouder.  I know he is going to do incredibly well in this course - he is ready for the intellectual rigour, he is already a leader in so many ways and this topic will engage him. SO we all make the sacrifice to get this degree in the bag and we will all be cheering proudly when he graduates (and I would not be surprised if we end up calling the man at the bank for more money for a Masters....).

My sacrifice for tonight is being the backstage parent at the Grade 6/7 band concert...... Allan just texted me that he is sitting in the quiet Grad Lounge at TWU watching a deer in the parking lot...... Enjoy Honey...and get back to the homework........ Love you!

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