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Reaching-and Teaching Parents Where they Are

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					Reaching and Teaching Parents Where they Are:
Karen DeBord, Ph.D. North Carolina State University Jacqueline Kirby Wilkins, Ph.D., CFLE President/Director, Intellisolve, Inc. Medina, Ohio Introduction: Hello, I am Karen DeBord. This presenation was developed by me with Jackie Kirby for the 2002 National Council on Family Relations annual conference. It is based on the Priority Practice of EDUCATE from the National Extension Parenting Educator’s Framework. Slide 2: EDUCATE involves knowing and using a variety of effective teaching strategies, skills, techniques, and methods. It includes adapting these teaching tools to meet specific learner needs Slide 3: •Educate includes many practices and skills that an excellent educator should possess. •First: Learn effective teaching strategies, and then use them. Select what works best and learn to recognize this in your audience. Switch methods, be flexible and change if necessary.•Understand learning styles. We all don’t like to learn in the same way. Some people like hands-on and practice while others like to watch. Some get the point quickly and can be creative in applying what was learned through trial and error while still others want logical step by step solutions. Learning to incorporate all these into a give teaching setting is the challenge.•That means you must know and use a variety of educational methods. That could include lecturing but also there is an art to creating healthy involving discussion. Another great learning tool is role-playing or use of videotape and interactive skill-building activities. This is all in an attempt to meet the diverse learning styles of program participants. Slide 4: In the past several years, more and more research has been done that shows that learning occurs through the relationships that are built with the learner and the more learned. Those who serve as the more learn-ed must figure out how to the individuals whom they are teaching. Is there a way to keep a record about each family, to ask them about their children, their extended family,what they think they need and what they prefer in their learning. They then buy into their own learning more, are more vested, and more learning actually occurs. As I said previously, Use a variety of instructional experiences to challenge parents to learn and maintain newly acquired knowledge and skills. We have to use these different approaches to continue to reinforce what we have already taught. Teach it in many ways. As an educator, you should also expect and be prepared to meet differing levels of knowledge, skills, expectations, and parenting goals with each new audience. I recall in teaching parents who were required to attend parenting education sessions prior to their divorce being heard. They were hostile and angry when they first arrived. They said they were made to come and didn’t want to be there. This was a challenge—to break this hostility down, soften it and open their minds to what was important—their children. But it happened! By the end of the session, they were admitting that they had not thought about how they had put their child in the middle and were glad to have some to the session. We know from the literature that there are many aspects to learning. Let’s just discuss some of these aspects. First remember that there are a variety of ways to teach and although delivering the same message to everyone via lecture may be the most efficient for the speaker, it is not always the best learning method for the learners. Today’s parents and the parents growing up that are of the technology age require alternative delivery.

When only one educational method is used, there is less opportunity for multiple cognitive processes to occur. In other words, when fewer methods are employed, participants have fewer mechanisms for processing the content and are less likely to be able to translate their knowledge into action and behavior change. Instructors will be more likely to provide appropriate content and learning experiences if they have developed a relationship with participants, can identify their strengths and challenges, and can modify the program to fit the specific needs of the audience. Remember that adult learners (which many of the parents you teach will be) have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and previous education. They need to connect learning to this knowledge/experience base. To help them do so, they should draw out participants' experience and knowledge which is relevant to the topic. They must relate theories and concepts to the participants and recognize the value of experience in learning. Slide 6: Let’s talk about some strategies for you, the parent educator to use to hone your skills in teaching others. First- study different theories and models of adult education. It may have been awhile since you learned about adult learners. What do you remember? There are a few suggested websites in the assignment and further reading section of this module that you should refer to. Let’s talk about adult learning some more… Slide 7: Self-directed – First remember that •Adults are autonomous and self-directed. They need to be free to direct themselves. Instructors must actively involve adult participants in the learning process and serve as facilitators for them. This facilitative role is difficult for some. It is not the EXPERT role. A facilitator guides participants to their own knowledge rather than supplying them with facts. Finally, they must show participants how the class will help them reach their goals. http://www.admin.mandala-designs.com/marylhurst/newmod/adult.htm Critical Reflection Central to adult learning is the process of reflecting back on prior learning to connect and determine whether what we have learned is useful now. Critical reflection is an active process. And here is where the skilled facilitator comes into play. In reflection, we transpose ideas. WE tie them to bits and pieces we already know but the learning comes alive for the learner. Something may be triggered through an activity, a role play or new information applied to a current situation at home. The the educator has to present meaningful activities to have this reflection and triggered learning to occur. Dialog is essential. If you are a facilitator who sticks to your notes and is afraid to open the dialog up for fear you will not be able to answer the EXPERT, then practice dialog. Become more comfortable listening and having the group interact. Trust the dialog to take thinking to a higher order. DEBATE may be a part of the dialog but that also leads to more ingrained learning. Questioning practices is allowed and encouraged too! Let’s say you have several disciplinary measures to discuss. Then talk about the ways they would and would not work. Maybe those are redirection, time out and grounding. Debate and question these as practices. Simulation and story telling are also powerful ways to teach and to learn. Enact family situations, or get people to come with stories to relate. Challenge them to tie their points to new things they are learning. http://adulted.about.com/cs/learningtheory/a/mezirow.htm Learning to Learn – is another principle I want to address. Another word you may have heard is metacognition. Simply, it means thinking about thinking. Metacognition involves the process adults use to learn. For many they have been away from a learning environment for awhile so

thinking about this may be critical. Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the thinking and learning processes. The process include - Developing a plan of action - Maintaining/monitoring the plan -Evaluating the plan -http://www.gse.buffalo.edu/fas/shuell/cep564/Metacog.htm http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/learning/lr1metn.htm Slide 8: A second step to challenge your ability to be an effective educator is to consider your teaching techniques and to learn about learning styles. There are many simple learning style inventories available in the internet. Try doing a search and locate one to take now. Let’s talk a bit more about one model of learning styles. http://pss.uvm.edu/pss162/learning_styles.html Slide 9: A Concrete Sequential learner is Orderly, disciplined, and organized. They prefer a plan that leads from point A to point B. They are generally dependable, hardworking and stable. Often tempted to ―pick up the slack‖ or ―do it for‖ the less organized or slower paced learners. This learner, can apply ideas in a practical, hands-on way and prefer to be given approval for specific work done. Exact directions are required for these learners. Best instructional methods: workbooks with detailed instructions, diagrams, flowcharts, computerassisted instruction, documentation, and hands-on activities. An Abstract Sequential learner tends to be an analytic thinker who prefer to acquire knowledge through a vast number of sources. They are usually thorough, logical, and deliberate in their consideration of a topic. They do not like to be rushed and generally take more time to make decisions than other learners. They are generally respected for intellectual ability. Lecture and reading work well with these learners. They like written, verbal, and visual instruction. http://www.floatingneutrinos.com/Message/arcs/links_on_abstractrandom.htm Slide 10: Abstract Random learners are defined as sensitive, compassionate, and perceptive. They are quick to pick up on the needs of others and are natural nurturers. They readily assume guilt if others are upset and work to avoid open conflict. They are spontaneous, flexible, and idealistic. Best instructional methods: video clips, group discussion, videoconferencing, television, case studies, chatrooms, and guest speakers. Concrete Random These learners are the most challenging for a teacher or presenter. They are strong-willed, curious, and realistic. Their quick and creative minds are easily bored. They crave adventure and innovation. Their independent and innovative thought processes challenge traditional teaching situations and methodologies and can often frustrate less experienced facilitators. They don't like to read directions and dislike structure. Best Instructional methods: independent study, computer games and simulations, multimedia, and "playing" with software. http://www.indiana.edu/~w505a/learningstyles.html http://www.usd.edu/~ssanto/gregorc.html So how can you know what sort of learn and what the preferences of the learners are? Ask them! Conduct a written or oral survey. Make notes on learners and the group as a whole. Some of the questions may deal with their preferred learning style. Ask them if they prefer small group discussions, lecture, specific instructions, creative processes, etc. Review what we just talked about and see where your learners fit. Most likely you will have a mix and you will need to vary your methods of presenting regularly to reinforce learning. Other may deal with who they prefer to instruct them. Who would you most like to teach you about parenting? or

How do you want to get parenting information and asked them to rate these as most or least liked. Slide 12: Click on the link and take this brief quiz http://home.att.net/~tmjordan/academic_support/survey.htm What sort of learner are you? This is yet another model for learning styles. There are several types of learning styles. Visual learners need to see the material to learn most effectively. Auditory learners learn best by hearing the material and Kinesthetic learners are tactile-- those who learn best by touching, manipulating, and doing. Most individuals use a combination of all three modalities. Visual Visual learners are watchers. They like pictures and handouts. A visual learner learns through watching without having to actually do it. (see slide) Auditory Auditory learners are the listeners of the group. An auditory learner may find it more difficult to learn by reading, since reading is a very visual process. Auditory learners are usually the most talkative in a group. They prefer to read aloud and do it well. They may have difficulty memorizing facts, but can remember facts if learned in a poem or song. Kinesthetic Kinesthetic learners need a hands-on approach. They find it difficult to sit still for long periods and are anxious to be doing something. They are the first to volunteer for special activities, such as skits or plays. They usually have good eye-to-hand skills. They want to jump in and do that experiment, not read about it or watch someone else do it (see slide). http://carolyn.jlcarroll.net/ConstHumst.html http://www.educ.uvic.ca/epls/faculty/rowles/301.htm http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/msh/llc/is/tkl.html So much of what we have been talking about is that we need to know who our learners are and what mode they learn best with. You can informally and formally assess this. Slide 14: Utilizing a range of educational methods, such as lecture, role-playing, group discussions, games, video, and skill -building activities, enhances the likelihood that information will be processed more successfully. When determining the specific teaching method to be used, it is critical that the parenting educator keep in mind the goals and objectives of both the educator and the learner For example, if knowledge is the goal, then the best teaching methods are lecture and oral presentations, panel discussions, symposia, talks by subject matter experts, and visuals such as films and slides. If understanding is the objective, the best teaching are group discussion, demonstration, case studies, and problem-solving. - If skill attainment is the goal, the best methods are demonstrations, simulations, computerassisted instruction, role playing, practice, and similar exercises. Slide 15: Think about the many ways we have available to teach. (Read slide) •Radio •Television programs •Videotapes •Magazines •Books •Classes taken in school •Community workshops

•Newsletter, pamphlets, and other written material •Phone info-line •Audio tape with/without readings •Home visitor •Distance Education s •Slide 16: There are many curricula available. Keep up with what is current and be sure it is reflecting current practice and research. If you have some tired old folder of something you have taught for a long time, think about putting a new face on it. Update yourself and what you teach! http://www.cyfernet.org Perhaps the most specific recommendations for engaging adult learners have been outlined by Powell and Cassidy (2001) in their text on family life education. They suggest that a successful educational program will: Be based on the assessed needs of the group of learners or individual learners. Be sustained and comprehensive (over time, and over life experiences). Build in levels of learning that encourage personal transformation and behavioral and attitudinal changes. •Include at least 15-18 hours of learning experiences, followed by options for longterm reinforcement. Recent literature is saying that to affect real change, it takes 12 years relating to the parent •Incorporate activities for all learning styles. •Engage the learner in praxis (action with reflection). •Apply information to personal life experience and demonstrate immediate usefulness. •Respect learners’ experiences, cultures, and value orientations. •Show learning skills that invite discussion and commentary. •Use small group discussion formats. •Involve short “lectures” followed by prepared learning activities and discussion. Slide 18: You are a professional You are an educator Work hard at assuring that you are not just an entertainer but that you are a teacher Know your learner When I was studying the educational system in Reggio Emila, Italy one of the pedagogistas challenged us by saying ―Is life education or is education life? They are so co-mingled and especially when we are talking about educating parents who are raising children. Make a real difference! Be an effective educator! If you want to review rest of the National Extension Parenting Educator’s Framework, see:http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/NEPEF/-


				
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