Floodlights and walks across campus: These maybe don’t sound
like the usual tools an instructor has in their kit, but Kerry Coulter employs
both to great effect with her students in the Child & Youth Care program.
Floodlights are a concept Kerry learned from Glenn Hammond
in the CAE program. “He taught me the importance of keeping the big picture in
mind rather than always drilling down into the details – be the floodlight not
the spotlight, he would say,” explains Kerry.
And she uses that floodlight approach when she tells her
students to get up, leave the classroom and go for a walk – outside if the
weather’s nice, inside if it’s not. She calls this activity a “reflective walk”
and she wants students to achieve a specific outcome while they’re walking.
“I put them into pairs and give them a question to guide
their conversation,” says Kerry. “I want them to realize that they can learn a
lot from each other, that learning isn’t always related to marks and that I
don’t need to be there for them to be learning.”
Sometimes the question she asks them to focus on relates to
course content; sometimes it’s open-ended and designed to foster relationships
among the students. Regardless, the big picture here is about getting students
to guide their own learning.
Kerry springs this activity on the class partway into the
term, once she has a sense of students as a group of learners, and usually
catches them by surprise. “You want us to get up and leave the classroom?”
they ask. “To learn? Really?” But once they’ve done it once, “they love it,”
says Kerry. “And so do I.”
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