Reflect on PIDP Courses

The most important thing I learned from the PIDP courses?

The most important this I learned is structure. Before I started my PIDP courses, I knew what I wanted my students to learn. I see now that I did not give students a clear path to this learning goal. Now I can provide a clear path to success with well structured course outlines, effectively planned & delivered lessons and clear appropriate assessments.

This structure, coupled with the tools I have learned, allow me the freedom to teach in a fun and engaged class environment. Initially I worried that structure would drain the fun out of teaching and learning. I thought I would be constrained by lists of learning goals and lesson plans but the opposite has proven true. Students really appreciate a clear path to success. It relieves a lot of stress from their lives. The structure also allows me to build in fun activities into our daily, weekly and monthly routine.

How has my thinking changed?

I am a recovering perfectionist. I state this to my class on a regular basis. In the past, any effort that was not perfect would cause frustration. Why can’t I get it right? I now realize that there is no ‘right’. I will never know everything about a subject, topic, etc. This is not a cause for frustration and hopelessness. This is a reason to celebrate! I will encounter new ideas and concepts for the rest of my life. Imagine how boring life would be if I knew the ‘right’ answer!

What actions will I take based on what I have learned?

I will embark on a life-long learning journey. I will try to learn something new everyday. I will engage with the learning center at BCIT to review my courses. This feedback will feed back into my learning and teaching cycle. I will engage with peers for further feedback. Most importantly, I will take every opportunity to listen to my students’ thoughts on my teaching and their learning.

Life-long Learning


Why should I value life-long learning?

An opinion that I hold without ever examining before now is this: “There must be a point to what you are learning.” There should be an immediate or short-term use for the skills / information. That is why I never bothered to try in French class and regretted that choice years later when I visited Cambodia and couldn’t communicate with people.

This attitude of immediacy is prevalent with many people. A practical post-secondary program that leads to a job is a useful endeavour while a bachelor of arts should be mocked. Why are you wasting your time? You’ll never get a job out of that!

Life-long learning

This is just common sense. If you don’t learn how to use a smart phone, you will not be able to access some jobs, modes of entertainment, special offer coupons, etc. You must learn new things. I celebrate every day when I learn something new. If it happens during class, I will tell my students that I’m relieved because I’ve learned my new thing for the day.

Life-long learning will make you happy. “In general, having higher qualifications is associated with greater happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and reduced risk of depression. There is some robust evidence that having higher qualifications has positive effects on these outcomes.” (Sabates and Hammond, 2008)

Your health will also benefit from life-long learning. “Evidence of the benefits of learning during the latter stages of life is overwhelming, from research by the Alzheimer’s Society showing delayed onset of the disease, to reduced dependency on welfare support.” (Monahan and Clancy, 2011)


So, why should I value life-long learning? Well, life-long learning can make me rich, happy and live longer. The real question is, why shouldn’t I value life-long learning!


Monahan, Jerome and Clancy, Joe. (2011). Lifelong learning is the secret to happiness in old age.

Sabates, Ricardo and Hammond, Cathie. (2008). The Impact of Lifelong Learning on Happiness and Well-being.

Discussion Methods

When reading Brookfield’s chapter 7 on Using Discussion Methods, I found the simple exercises very useful. I plan on using these techniques in future lessons.

  • Circle of Voices.
  • Circular Response.
  • Conversational Roles.
  • Conversational Moves.
  • Quotes to Affirm and Challenge.
  • Hatful of Quotes.
  • Snowballing.
  • Chalk Talk.
  • The Appreciative Pause.

I particularly like Chalk Talk, as it allows extroverts and introverts equal access to the discussion. Here is a video describing Chalk Talk.


Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Architecture Accreditation

Accreditation of Architecture programs in Canada falls under the control of the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). There are 11 University Schools of Architecture currently accredited by the CACB. Here is a brief summary of the accreditation sequence and schedule:

  1. Year Preceding the Site Visit:
    • The program prepares the Architectural Program Report (APR).
    • The CACB selects the Visiting Team Chair.
  2. Year of the Site Visit:
    • The Visiting Team Chair receives and reviews the APR.
    • The Visiting Team Chair agrees a Site Visit date with the program head.
    • The Visiting Team conducts the Site Visit.
    • The Visiting Team delivers a draft Visiting Team Report (VTR) followed by a final VTR.
    • The program is notified of the accreditation.
  3. Every Year until the Year Preceding the Next Site Visit:
    • The program submits the Annual Reports (AR) to the CACB.
    • The CACB takes action on the AR.
    • The program is notified of the CACB action.

The requirements for accreditation are clearly laid out in the CABC Procedures for Accreditation.

Lecturing Creatively

“Many students prefer a chunked approach that divides the lecture into a series of 10-15 minute blocks” (Brookfield, 2015)

I received similar advice when taking my Instructor’s Skills Workshop (equivalent to PIDP 3220). When lecturing, you can expect students to pay attention for 10-15 minutes. That seemed like a very short span. When observing my students, I could see their attention wavering after a similar time period.

This was a very big ‘Aha’ moment in my career. My previous teaching attitude could be summed up as follows: ‘If I’m not talking, I’m not doing my job.’ Working from this revelation, my teaching now incorporates group discussions, silent student reflections, working sessions, student presentations and peer-learning/teaching session.

I use lesson plans to break my teaching day into approximately 15 minute chunks. I don’t think I have ever followed my lesson plan fully but having the framework allows me follow a set path. I will adjust my lesson based on the group in front of me but a plan is a fundamental requirement for any lesson.

Lecture Hints

The above link offers a few useful tips for lecturing, including the ‘Chunk It’ idea.


Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ethics in the Workplace

Academic Integrity And Appeals (Policy #: 5104)

The above link is an example of a BCIT policy covering ethics. Such documents cover ethical behaviour and expectations for students and faculty. The procedures for appeal are laid out in the policy.

Based on this video ethics is a broad topic, not easily defined universally. I found its summary useful. “Ethics is a reasonable obligation to refrain from hurting others.”

I had a giggle at this ethics clip. It does show that ethics is a broad conversation.

For teachers, it is important to become familiar with governing policies for ethics but the most important thing for ethical behaviour is to remain fair. For an ethical classroom, treat students as adults in a fair and just manner.