Reflective Journal Entry #1

Category #1 – Reflective Journal Entry

Our societies and economies have experienced a profound transformation from reliance on an industrial to a knowledge base. Global drivers increasingly bring to the fore what some call “21st century competencies” – including deep understanding, flexibility, and the capacity to make creative connections, a range of so-called “soft-skills” including good team working. The quantity and quality of learning thus become central, with the accompanying concern that traditional educational approaches are insufficient.” Dumont and Istane (2010)


I really like this quote. We always talk about the 21st century and how different things are from the past and our new knowledge economy where information increases as does our speed of access to it. Soft skills include good teamwork but also other things such as getting along with others, ethics and often referred to as people skills.

There is often discussion around emotional intelligence where the leaders of companies and projects for example need the soft and hard skills to do their jobs. As an educator it is important for me to keep up to the changes that surround me in the new economy where classrooms are flipped (videos are for homework and the students come to class to demonstrate understanding. – P.5 Merriam and Bierema) and people talk about bringing their own devices for example. Collectively educators need to look at these trends, understand them and make changes to the way we teach so the leaders of tomorrow will have the skills required to compete effectively. As educators we need to help our students to develop the skills to access current and reliable information, critically analyze it and be able to use that information in a logical and effective way.


There is a greater need for instructors to help students be more creative in how they learn.  They need to know how to learn as the game changes so quickly. A quote in the book noted that “most professional preparation becomes outdated before one gets situated in a career. Hewlett Packard has estimated that what one learns in a Bachelor of Engineering Program is outdated or “deconstructs itself in 18 months and for the technology fields the half life is even less. Students need to be prepared as self-directed, lifelong learners “for jobs that do not yet exist, to use technologies that have not been invented, and to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet” (Darling-Hammond et all 2008 P.2 )(Quoted on P.5 Merriam and Bierema) They must be prepared to continually advance their knowledge and skills. They will be expected to keep pace with rapid changes and apply their knowledge and skills to diverse situations and environments. What employers want are employees who can process information, understand what is happening, be creative problem solvers, and make good decisions often with limited information.

Soft skills are also important for instructors to foster in students. Good teamwork is important for example and they need to work in groups effectively. Being more team oriented in the workplace means as educators we need to help our students develop skills that will allow them to work well in groups. This is often a challenge as some have been victims of bad groups for numerous reasons in the past and prefer to work solo.


Acquiring knowledge is important but that information can become outdated very quickly.

It is essential for people to be able to identify reliable and valid sources of information and to critically think and question the information in front of them. Technology has also allowed us to work with others much more easily and many of us are on the “cloud”. Skype puts us right there in the room. We can work on projects with others almost anywhere in the world. There are challenges though with working with a diverse team as there is a greater chance of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Soft skills become more important so that team members can be respectful and sensitive to differences like age, cultural, etc. when working with each other.


There can be more than one goal when helping students to learn. Meeting the learning objective is just part of what can be taught. How students learn can help them to develop valuable skills in the future and we need as educators to address any gaps required in the 21st Century through learning ourselves how to be more effective. We need to be ahead of that curve.


Dumont, H., Istance, D. & Benavides, F. (2010) The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice. Paris: OECD.

Merriam, S.B., & Bierema, L.L. (2014). Jossey-Bass Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice.


Learning and Teaching Philosophy

I love to learn and consider myself a lifelong learner. As a lover of learning myself, it is exciting to be a part of helping and facilitating that learning process for others. I teach business at College of the North Atlantic Qatar and have done so for the last 4 years. Specifically, the courses I teach currently include: marketing, retailing, entrepreneurship, sales and project management. In Business we have a lot of content to discuss – (push through?) and prepare our students for assessments, but I try to make the journey as fun as I can.

In term of innovation and new ideas I like to change it up and try new things in the classroom and I am delighted to be taking this program as I am learning so much about learning, about what I do as a teacher and about my teaching style. Most importantly it makes me think about how I can improve. As a friend of mine said “you must treat the profession like your own business”. I feel very successful by taking that philosophy to heart.

I spent over 25 years in a variety of exciting and fast paced industries such as technology, telecommunications and consumer packages goods like food and beverage. I worked for some huge companies and some tiny companies and I was involved in 5 startups. I find myself in the classroom, full time for the last five years, teaching college/university level business in 4 different countries. I have lots of real life material and I like to use cases and field trips as part of the learning as often as I can.

My approach to the new term is always preparation. Which classroom? What does it look like? Did I manage to get a computer lab?. Lighting, technology, projector, smart board, Ketab, LanSchool. – arrangement of chairs and desks etc. I always use D2L and have used Moodle, Web CT and Blackboard – I am trying incorporate new technology as often as I can like Webify and Padlet and we are lucky at CNAQ as we have a teaching and learning centre that encourages, helps us to move forward with technology, teaching techniques etc. I have taken every course I can with them including the Instructional Skills Workshop where faculty have to prepare 3 lectures for the group and then face the jury for feedback. It was amazing and I learned a lot.

When it comes to the first day of instruction it is so very important although it often takes a week for the class to settle down with late arrivers etc. I try to make the students comfortable to ask questions from the first day. Teaching in the multicultural environment of Qatar with students from over 31 countries, and Qatari nationals who are in the classroom for the first time ever with the “fairer sex”, creates some interesting dynamics. It is important to make them feel comfortable because it not the environment they are used to and this is especially noticeable in first year classes. I like to start the week with some icebreakers such as “All About You” and Expectations”. All About You is some information about them that I keep to myself. I ask them to work together to discuss my “Expectations” of them ad what they expect from me. The information is very interesting and I am looking at putting it all together to see if I can find some trends amongst the data.

I like to spend time going through my Course Outline with a discussion of the Assessments, Learning Objectives, Timings of Assessments, Office hours, Contact information (these days I always hand out my mobile number but they mainly text me in this part of the world) and also the how and why of what we will be covering in the course. (Why do we need to learn this?). I have written many Course Outlines and several courses and I just completed rewriting my Project Management course. I continue with my own personal self-development to improve myself and the product that I provide to my customers which is my knowledge, experience and teaching methodology to make the material, interesting, understandable and help to commit the knowledge to long term memory in a safe and fun environment of respect.

I am happy to share the experience I have from industry and I do tell some stories, as well as pass on the knowledge given to me by my clients, colleagues, and all the others who teach me.

I like stories, and teaching is the best way to tell them – and to constantly improve the telling.

Cicero said: “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”  I try, daily, to upset authority, including my own and make the classroom a fun place of learning, with a positive vibe and some humor throw in for good measure.

My name is Peter and I love to teach.

10 Reflective Questions to ask at the end of class

10 Reflective Questions to ask at the end of class

Ten Reflective Questions to Ask at the End of Class

1. Reflect on your thinking, learning, and work today. What were you most proud of?

2. Where did you encounter struggle today, and what did you do to deal with it?

3. What about your thinking, learning, or work today brought you the most satisfaction? Why?

4. What is frustrating you? How do you plan to deal with that frustration?

5. What lessons were learned from failure today?

6. Where did you meet success, and who might benefit most from what you’ve learned along the way? How can you share this with them?

7. What are your next steps? Which of those steps will come easiest? Where will the terrain become rocky? What can you do now to navigate the road ahead with the most success?

8. What made you curious today?

9. How did I help you today? How did I hinder you? What can I do tomorrow to help you more?

10. How did you help the class today? How did you hinder the class today? What can you do tomorrow to help other learners more?

The learners I serve typically capture these reflections in a special section of their notebooks. These entries grow in number over the course of time, and eventually, they revisit them to prepare for conferences.

The influence that asking reflective questions has on the quality of our conferences is incredible. In fact, I hesitate to confer with kids unless they’ve had a chance to pursue purposeful reflection first.

First blog post…………

This is my very first post. I am working on the Provincial Instructors Program at Vancouver Community College. I am currently teaching Marketing, Project Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of the North Atlantic in Qatar.

And we are off like this recent celebration of Moroccan Day in Doha. It will be lots of running around but I am planning on having a blast.

This is my partners blog – Erin Clupp’s Blog

This is the SIE Facebook Page – SIE Facebook Page