PIDP 3260 Week 5 Blog

Brookfield Chapter 16, “Understanding Student’s Resistance to Learning”

“Trying to understand why and how students resist learning is probably something I’ve spent more time pondering than any other facet of my life as a teacher. For someone like me who tends to assume that everything that happens in the classroom is my responsibility, encountering student resistance is particularly troubling.” (Brookfield, 2015)

In this chapter, Brookfield covers many scenarios of students resisting learning.

A chapter summary:

  • Try to sort out the causes of resistance
    • Fear of change?
  • Ask yourself if the resistance is justified
    • Institutional policy?
  • Research your student’s backgrounds
    • Cultural, experience, ability, learning style?
  • When appropriate involve students in educational planning
    • Feasability?
  • Use a variety of teaching methods and approaches
    • Media?
  • Assess learning incrementally
    • Consequences for resistance are made clear as early as possible?
  • Check that your intentions are clearly understood
    • Expectations, agenda and rationales clear as possible?
  • Build a case for learning
    • Importance of skills learned?
  • Create situations in which students succeed
    • eg. Failure-proof task in first class
  • Don’t push too fast
    • Rhythm of learning
  • Admitting the normality of resistance
    • Formative student feedback?
  • Limiting the negative effects of resistance
    • Involving former resistors?
    • Role model?
    • Don’t force learning

I think the best advice was at the end of the chapter, where Brookfield suggests giving the hard-core resistors a group project together outside of the classroom. Good way to manage the classroom, in my opinion.

So chapter 16 has shed a little light on how I and other students have felt at times. We can be cranky, and sometimes there is little the instructor can do about it. But as an instructor who sees a small minority of rebellious students, I don’t want to fall into the vortex of Conversional Obsession.*

So yeah, thanks Brookfield, for showing me the way. I can accept the fact that every student is an individual with different reasons for being in the class. I pledge to become a little softer and gentler. And less sarcastic.

*  Conversional obsession is where the instructor becomes obsessed with converting a minority hardcore resistance-to-learn group into better students. This may be a pitfall for some instructors, as successfully converting resistors could be equitable to being a successful instructor.(Brookfield,2015)

Comment on an aspect of professional ethics. Does your field have a Code of Ethics? Does your workplace have a Policies and Procedures manual?

“A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization’s core values and the standards to which the professional is held”

Ethics are an important consideration whenever making an organizational decision. All stakeholders should always be considered.

My field of expertise, industrial instrumentation, is governed by Worksafe BC, ISA ethical standards, and specific workplace policies covering respectful workplaces and safety.

My particular workplace, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, has a set of policies that govern ethics.

Below is an excerpt from  Policy 1504 – Standards of Conduct and Conflict/Interest Policy

General Standards of Conduct

The conduct of employees must not bring the Institute into disrepute. Accordingly, employees must avoid situations which violate the standards of conduct policy or result in a public perception that a violation has occurred. If an employee becomes involved in such a situation, the employee must disclose the matter to the direct manager and remedy it immediately.

The conduct and language of employees in the workplace are expected to meet acceptable social standards. Employees in dealing with other persons in the workplace are to treat them with respect and dignity and to refrain from exploiting a work relationship for private advantage or benefit.

3. Confidentiality

Employees shall not divulge information received through their position or office which is not available to the general public unless prior authorization is given for its release. Where an employee has reason to believe that there exists a contravention of the law, a waste of BCIT funds or assets, or a danger to public health or safety, the employee shall bring the matter to the attention of the President through normal Institute channels, or directly if necessary. Where this does not resolve the matter, a complaint should be made in writing to the Board of Governors


Self Assessment of Blog to date

Use rubric, out of 5 marks, write a short rationale. Submit self assessment in the assignment submission area in Assignment 3

4.25/5.00   Level 3:

[ X ]   The blog postings demonstrate the author’s solid breadth and depth of thinking regarding ALL of the assignment topics

[ X ]  Contributions are weekly and reflect ideas and content outlined in the assignment

[ X ]  A range of media is evident throughout the blog

[ X ]  The writing is articulate, sophisticated and precise. A few mechanical errors are noted.

[ X ]  The blog has a professional look and feel

[ X ]  Creative commons logo is present



Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.




PIDP 3260 Week 4 Blog

Well that was a short week.

Busy at work setting up VFDs for the 3rd year apprentices. Some of these folks were my first students. I had mixed reviews back then, everything from “he was rarely prepared” to “this guy might be a good instrument mechanic, but he shouldn’t be teaching”.

Well I am bucking the odds and am still teaching apprentices and technicians at BCIT.  My philosophy is that I started at the bottom and am working my way up. Taking these PIDP courses helped. Well they didn’t help my social life, but my teaching has improved.

My area of expertise is industrial instrumentation. It is a highly technical field, almost (but not quite) at the level of engineering. Basically, I am teaching my students how to work safely and effectively on process control equipment. I have years of experience doing this, but am only in the teaching business for the past year or so. In five years, who knows? Maybe I will still be teaching, maybe not. Could be on the other side of the world teaching this stuff. Saudi Arabia is constantly looking for someone with my qualifications to teach over there. Not sure if I would go, but am not ruling it out at this point. To be continued.

Speaking of working overseas, many of our student body are foreign students from overseas,  adding to our already diverse student body.

I don’t have the statistics, but it is clear to see that BCIT has racial and social diversity. Walking around campus, we see people of all colours, social backgrounds, and genders.

Brookfield narrows the focus of diversity into three ways:

  • The issue of race and racism, and how teachers can educate about racist behaviors
  • Focus on white students and white teachers. “Critical race theory is concerned chiefly with the way that enduring white racism is embedded in systems and structures of oppression”
  • Explore pedagogy and how teachers can use personal narratives in their teaching about racism.(Brookfield 2015 p. 111)

Well, like I mentioned earlier, racial diversity is all around us. There might be room for improvement in our inter-racial relations, but it doesn’t seem to be a major problem here in the lower mainland, or in other large Canadian cities.

In my diverse classroom, everyone is equal. We are all of the same race: the human race.


Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


PIDP 3260 Week 3 Blog

So how about them Olympics? Can ya believe how many sports they have to give medals for? I haven’t even heard of some of the sports. Do you think that the Olympics has become too bloated? But the sideshows are fun. In one corner you have the heroes (Bolt and Phelps for instance), in the other corner you have the newly crowned ass-clown, Lochte the kid. Whatshisname is thrilled. The negative media is temporarily diverted.

A recent development in British Columbia is that apprentices are now able to complete their theory portion of training by distance education. “This will reduce the amount of time apprentices need to be away from work or home to complete their apprenticeships.”

This affects me as I teach apprentices. There are pros, but there are negatives as well.  One is that the students will not be able to learn from each other as much (study groups anyone?).  Another negative is that since the students will spend less time at school, there is less time to accurately assess them.  A third negative is less work for teachers and support staff (well that is a negative to me anyways).

The actual theme of this week’s blog is dedicated to Chapter 2 of Stephen Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher”

“The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching” (Brookfield 2015 p. 15)

  • Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn (dealing with challenges such as diversity and apathy)
  • Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice (student assessments, collegue advice, educational literature)
  • The most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions (procedural decisions should be guided by an awareness of how students experience the classroom)
  • College students of any age should be treated as adults (higher education should be preparing young adults for the adult world)

The chapter generalizes the importance of these aspects of teaching. In my opinion, the most important aspects are the last two. They could be summed up into one word: Respect. The skillful teacher should respect the students.



Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Featured Image Photo by John Powszedny 2015


PIDP 3260 Week 2 Blog

This blog is dedicated to PIDP 3260 weekly updates, plus a few rants sprinkled in for fun.

Week 2

For me, this is #6 out of 8 courses in the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP) through Vancouver Community College (VCC). This is also my 4th online course in this program. My day job is at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) where I instruct industrial instrumentation to technicians and apprentices.

That last sentence had four words in a row that begin with the letter “i”. Interesting.

Anyhoo, enough about my not-that-interesting life. My last blog post was an update of the US presidential election. My long-held prediction  that old whathisname will win seems a bit hasty at the moment. I am sticking with it because, because he is so, so, so whateveryacallit.

In other ironic current events, did you hear about the attack cat who picked a fight with 7 pit bulls? Guess who won. The dogs were peacefully walking with their owners when this ferocious feline ambushed the unsuspecting victims. CBC link here.

Closer to home, when a hiker came across a bear in the woods, he tried to scare it away. But instead of running away, the bear approached the hiker. Note that a 200 pound black bear is strong, fast, and has teeth and claws. So the hiker did what any hiker would do and ran. For 2 kilometers or so, there they went.  The man in front, screaming and running.  The bear behind, chasing the man (for sport, I assume). Admittedly, I chuckled a  bit from the mental picture of the two of them. The hiker got a few scratches and a great story for his grandkids.  The bear’s version of the story may differ. North Shore News link here.

Brookfield Chapter 1

The actual theme this week is Stephen Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher” Chapter 1: Experiencing Teaching.

“Passion, hope, doubt, fear, exhilaration, weariness, colleagueship, loneliness, glorious defeat, hollow victories and , above all, the certainties of surprise and ambiguity; how on earth can a single word or phrase begin to capture the multilayered complexity of what if feels like to teach?”(Brookfield 2015)

That is a long sentence to begin a book with. That sentence sums up the difficulty in defining what good teaching looks like. Brookfield discusses the many aspects regarding modern day teaching, and the difference between individual perspectives.

An interesting metaphor in the book was when Brookfield compared teaching to white water rafting: periods of calm interspersed with chaotic turbulence.

I probably dislike a preachy treatise as much as the next guy, but this book seems to have something more to add, and I look forward to continuing reading it. More to follow in the coming weeks.


Teaching Perspective Inventory results:

TPI graph

TPI legend

It becomes apparent from the above graph that my perspective on good teaching leans towards the apprenticeship and transmission perspectives. Not so much for social reform. Sorry social reformers.


Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Featured image photo by John Powszedny, 2013 (Los Angeles CA)


US Presidential Election Prediction – Updated July 31 2016

March 31 2016


Donald Trump.  Ok there I said it.  Just once because for the rest of this narrative he is going to be called whatshisname.  Enough has already been said about whatshisname.  whatshisname says he will make America great again. Personally, I did not think America was not great. Now or ever.

Jeb Bush was the initial favorite. whatshisname took over and that’s been about it, you know the rest.

Ted Cruz. Not sure if this guy is presidential material, him being batshit crazy and all.

John Kasich. The dark horse? Nah, this guy wants to be vice president, so will stick it out. Probably the sanest of the three Republican candidates left.

The Democrats

Bernie Sanders is maybe too far left of center for the United States right now.  Don’t think you should rock the boat too hard: You do not want to shake up the rednecks and establishment.

Hilary Clinton seems to have the right resume for the job, but some of her past seems a bit shady. While it would be refreshing to finally have a woman as the POTUS, I don’t think she should become president simply because she is a woman. Is she the best woman for the job?  Without a doubt, she is certainly the most qualified.  The best person? Possibly, but isn’t she a lawyer?

My Prediction

whatshisname is too old, has the biggest mouth, talks without a filter and can lie like a bastard. A serious candidate for sensitivity training. He is blowing smoke up our collective asses when talking about a southern wall on the border with Mexico. Do the math for the engineering, land costs, materials, logistics and maintenance.  And expecting Mexico to pay, which is laughable.

But whatshisname wants to balance trade, wants universal health care and is a natural leader. And whatshisname is not, to the best of my knowledge, a lawyer.

I predict whatshisname will win the 2016 Presidential Election.

This is not  an endorsement for whatshisname.  But he makes me laugh. Out loud.  Seriously, the guy is a comedian.


As for becoming POTUS, it must really takes a lot of time, money, and luck (?) to get the most stressful job in the world.  I wonder. Maybe it’s for the free vacations on Airforce One or the free rent and meals at the Whitehouse. Or maybe thinking long term: writing a book (“I Bucked the Odds and Survived 8 Years in the Whitehouse” seems like a good title), or the speaking engagements after your gig is up.


As a Canadian, I cannot participate in the American election.

Update July 31 2016

Well I was dead wrong about Kasich wanting to become vice-president.

And wasn’t Cruz’s convention speech awesome?

Clinton sure dodged a bullet with that email thingy. Instead of being locked up, she locked up the nomination as the first female to make the big show.

I still don’t really like whatshisname, but still predict he will win.  Is it true that a major US network and whatshisname are working on a new show in the fall called Campaign Apprentice?  Could be Fox or The Comedy Network, not sure.