Tag Archives: goals

Happy New Year!

All courses have begun! I have now met all ~430 of my my learners as classes and some individuals who have introduced themselves to me. I must say I am excited!!! There is such fantastic energy in all three of my courses that I’m very much looking forward to this term. I just came from intro psych (psyc 100 section 6) which is mostly comprised of students who are brand new to UBC… I’m pumped! In spite of the room feeling hot as an oven, my learners were engaged and with me the whole time. One student did fall asleep however, so I made the risky choice to go wake him. The point was that I want people to know that I expect them to be awake — I’m there trying to help them learn, so I want them to try to learn too. Luckily, he was a good sport about it; he introduced himself to me after class and we laughed about it.

This morning and last night I started my research methods courses (sections 1 and 901, respectively). This is an exciting, foundational course, and I got a fantastic vibe from my learners in return. Overall, there is recognition that the course is a lot of work, but I think I managed to convey that there’s a whole team of us here to support them, and more details will come. Many students introduced themselves to me personally, which I always appreciate, and during both class periods we laughed. I like laughter in class. Maybe I’ll make that a goal this year. Each class period should include laughter.

So overall I’m feeling great about this semester (in fact, I’m sitting here with a smile on my face as I write!). I feel prepared for the courses (broadly, at least!), and energized by my wonderful students. This is the start of something great.

Knowledge is Power?

As the end of Olympic/Spring Break draws near, I’m staring down at my “break to-do list” is realizing there isn’t as much crossed off as I hoped there would be by this time. I do have some key tasks crossed off, but I doubt I am alone in this feeling that I could have accomplished more b now. Last week I took a few days off and it felt so good to relax that I don’t regret that decision. But pulling myself back into work mode has proved challenging. Part of the problem, I think, is distraction. The Olympics are on! In my city, no less! I have surprised myself with how much I have enjoyed tracking how our national athletes are performing — and identifying examples of psychological phenomena (e.g., hindsight bias, social comparison). Another part of the problem is that I have, yet again, fallen prey to the Planning Fallacy: the tendency for people to underestimate the amount of time tasks will take to complete. I have known about the planning fallacy for years, yet I still manage to think I can read and take notes on a chapter, for example, in a couple of hours. That I can sit down and write a 2-3 page lit review in a day or two. Knowledge of biases, it seems, may not always provide the power to combat them.

A quick glance at the literature on the planning fallacy reminds me of the nuances of accurate planning that I forgot to employ when building my to-do list. From their original article on the topic, Buehler, Griffin, and Ross (1994) identified that when estimating completion times people tend to focus on the future, rather than their past experiences with similar activities. More recent work has identified two strategies to employ while planning to combat this fallacy. First, try “unpacking” the activity — breaking it down into component parts (something past experience can help with), and using those components to guage the time it will take to complete it (Kruger & Evans, 2004). Then, form implementation intentions (e.g., “From 8-10am I will conduct a literature search and build an outline for the paper.”) to help with following through and minimizing distractions along the way (Koole & Spijker, 2000). To make the most of my remaining Olympic break moments, I will use these strategies to whittle my to-do list down to a more realistic size and keep me focused as I accomplish those tasks.

Goals for Term 2

My goals for this coming term are to:

1) explicitly state, use, and communicate learning objectives to guide each lesson;

2) collect and use comprehension checks at the end of each lesson;

3) collect and use mid-course feedback;

4) develop more thoughtful clicker questions.

They all reflect things I wanted to do last term, but for various reasons. Goals 1-3 are actions I typically do, but for the most part they fell off my radar while I was managing to maintain day-to-day necessities. Last term was my first time using clickers, so I think I now have a better grasp of how they can be used to enhance learning. I did my best last term, but there’s certainly room for improvement.