So far, the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program has been one of the best things I have done for myself. I haven’t just learned about better instruction- I have learned how to be a better person as well.
Because the courses always have a large portion of reflective writing and self-assessments, as well as insight into human behavior and psychology, I feel I have been able to better my professional life, as well as my personal life.
So far, I have completed PIDP 3100 Foundations of Adult Education, PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development and PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies. I am nearing the end of PIDP 3260 Professional Practice, and intend to do 3230 Evaluation of Learning next.
I think the most important thing I have learned while taking the PIDP courses has been an increasing awareness of just how large the world of education and academia really is. I had never attended formal college courses or went to university, and I didn’t understand the options available for everyone to learn in a variety of ways. There are so many options for students, as well as instructors now. There is a need for all different types of people in the education world- if I want to teach distance education, there is a niche for that! If I want to instruct on campus and be fully engaged each day with the energies of the classroom, I can do that too. If I want to remain in industry, and be the best workplace trainer/instructor I can be I can do that too.
I didn’t realize there was such an art to instruction. I have learned some awesome things from some awesome people over the years, but would I call them skilled instructors? Not necessarily. Teaching is a profession, and it is important to work on my individual professionalism. Just like any other area of expertise, we as instructors need to challenge ourselves, gain other perspectives, master our skills and receive constructive criticism in the form of feedback from colleagues as well as students.
My thinking about human behavior has changed since taking this course as well. Learning more about how people learn, receive information and how it is delivered has helped me in personal relationships outside the classroom. I feel I have more patience, I feel I pay more attention to how I interact with my step-daughter and am more aware that I am influencing her learning and behavior. I have learned to be more analytical (in a good way) and practice the art of self-reflection in so many other facets of life aside from the required assignments in the PIDP course. The other amazing thing is that these courses have formed a concrete idea for me about what my passion, and niche is. I have discovered my true skills, and I have been able to read material I’ve written, or ideas that have formulated and think to myself ‘Wow, you’ve come a long way!’ I have gained confidence in my opinions and experiences. I see the value in my contributions and the unique perspectives I bring to the table.
Already, my actions have changed over the two years I have been taking the PIDP courses. I encourage so many people to seek education in their own way. I challenge friends and family to step outside their comfort zones and take that mini=course or attend that workshop. I have become more outgoing. As an introvert, I can notice the shift that has taken place in my confidence and ability to engage people, because I am fascinated by human behavior and learning experiences.
Because PIDP courses have helped me form an idea of what my unique gifts and skills are, I have a plan for the first time in my adult life. I am not just taking courses for the sake of ‘doing something with myself’. I have five year goals now, and mini goals in between. I am more inclined to say yes to opportunities, whereas in the past, I would have been intimidated or unable to reflect and see the bigger picture. This has resulted in missed opportunities, or a miscalculated comprehension of the value experiences and education have provided me.
The PIDP courses are about so much more than instruction and being a good adult educator. Because of the self-directed learning and reflections, you learn more about yourself than expected. Even if someone took these courses and decided that a life as an instructor is not for them, there is priceless information they will learn about themselves and the world around them. That makes the entire experience a total success.
My aunt is an HR manager for a huge company in downtown Victoria, where she makes what she even admits is a ridiculous annual salary. She took the PIDP courses a number of years ago when she was doing social work. She always told me that they were some of the best courses she has taken, and that if I ever got to the point that I didn’t know what to do with myself, I should enroll because it will provide me the guidance and insight about myself to get some direction. I took the courses because I wanted to become a more skilled instructor, but in the process, her point has become crystal-clear. I understand exactly what she meant now, and she said she still uses so many aspects of what she learned from the PIDP courses in her HR work today. The fact she has always done some form of education throughout her life is why she is so successful today. That is an inspiration to me for sure, and just another reason I promise myself I will continue to be a lifelong learner.