Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
-John Cotton Dana (1856–1929)

Feedback and Equity

“Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions”

– Ken Blanchard

This quote jumped out at me as I related to and agreed with the message, and thought it was appropriate for projects such as the one we are working on.  As I was inserting the quote into this blog post, I thought that I should find a definition of “Breakfast of Champions” to share to put it into context. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought! People use this expression in many ways, not surprisingly mostly with sarcasm, and some were unexpected!

I finally found a definition that matched most closely to how I define this phrase, it came from definitions.net which cited ChatGPT:

breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions is a phrase used to refer to a meal or food that is considered nourishing, substantial, or of high quality. It can also be used metaphorically to describe something that is regarded as the best or most important, particularly in the context of personal success, achievement, or excellence.

This is the context of the phrase in my mind when I related to Ken Blanchard’s quote above.

I also discovered there is a novel published in 1999 called “Breakfast of Champions”. Of course, I then went down the YouTube rabbit hole to find some Wheaties commercials as Wheaties is the origin of the phrase. I discovered Wheaties is 100 years old this year! If you want to learn more about Wheaties, this 5-minute video from Cereal Time TV has many surprisingly cool facts. Enjoy!

Anyhow, moving on….this past week, Katia provided us with two valuable learning opportunities:

  • working through two other course shells and modules
  • receiving peer feedback on our course shells and module

Being the Reviewer

Working through the other shells, was a great experience for me. It’s so interesting to see how differently and creatively people approach a similar task.

The two modules that I reviewed were developed for 2 very different target audiences. Both of which I learned some new ways of approaching a course. Some things we talked about in class but seeing them in action was insightful. Some ideas I learned are:

  • Use minimal architecture and a straightforward approach to organizing the modules.
  • Incorporating multiple options for teacher-student and student-student interactions
  • Provide pre-testing to identify if the student needs to complete all elements of the module
  • Use case-studies! They are an excellent way to teach adult learners.
  • Perhaps not everything needs to be graded. Maybe some elements simply need to show progression.

Receiving the Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It provides substance and nourishment and, if heeded, it can foster growth and sustainability. Effective feedback must be direct, and specific, and include recommendations for improvement. I feel both of my reviewers provided effective feedback in this way that offered substance for positive changes. What did I take away?

  1. Each module is organized into 3 sections: Learning, Activities, and Assignments. Both reviewers found it easy to navigate.
  2. A welcome video would be beneficial.
  3. One of the links did not work for either reviewer. Went I went back I realized I had forgotten to put the link into the section.
  4. Further to 3. Proofreading is important.
  5. I wasn’t sure if the interactive activities were appropriate for the adult learner. However, both reviewers responded positively to them, so I can take away that they are age-appropriate.

One of the reviewers provided a list of ideas to incorporate, however, they acknowledged that it was out of the scope of the assignment, and are suggestions for implementation. I appreciated these ideas very much.

I am grateful to Katia for including peer review in her class. As I move forward and develop further modules, it is very useful to have these experiences to create more effective learning materials.

Equity and Accessibility in Online Learning

I found the equity class had some interesting discussions. The discussions were about equity in general, which highlighted that if one was creating an open public-facing course, it would be extremely challenging to meet all needs. Especially with limited resources. It was nice to hear that some resources exist in SK school divisions such as translating documents into braille. However, it was pointed out that there are barriers to using this service effectively.

For my class, the students are required to have at least one year of university prerequisites, as well as fill the job description of a Radiation Therapist. This includes lifting 25 pounds and being able to transfer patients safely, just to name a few. These job requirements remove some of the learning barriers related to equity and accessibility.

For other barriers, I have experienced in the past that students have already identified accommodations that they require in their previous year(s) of schooling. I have also experienced discovering these barriers alongside the student as the term progresses. Working together to figure out what the student needs is part of my job as an instructor and mentor. At the cancer centre where I work, we use what is called the Patient Dignity Question with patients which was put into place by the great Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov. It goes like this – “What do I need to know about you as a person to give you the best care possible?” It is a beautiful question that can be re-framed in different circumstances. For example, as a teacher, you can ask the student, or the parent “What do I need to know about you as a person to help you through this learning journey?” At the Radiation Therapy school, it is a learning journey, not just a one-off class. We are with the students throughout their training, guiding them to be effective, empathetic healthcare providers. Asking this question invites the student in a thoughtful way to be open about learning challenges. I have a small class and have the luxury of tailoring the class content/delivery method from year to year if necessary.

I am looking forward to reading other blog posts.


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