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My colleagues here are helping me to appreciate that sometimes the very best teaching is not where the students are spoon fed every detail or presented with every fact. But instead, teaching can be directed more from the perspective of being a reflective practitioner, helping students use experiential methods. I’m learning from my mentors to rethink my teaching style, and to develop and grow. It’s exciting.

Discovering online day

Laura described how she had found about the Online Day course materials:

I’d taught the theories course in the spring the year before. I was getting ready to teach, and I knew I was going to teach it this time again. My boss, Rick Halstead, learned about it through a conversation with someone at Lahaska, I’m not sure how their conversation began. I was walking by his office, and he said, “Laura, guess who I’m on the phone with!” And actually, it was great. We were able to look right online as we had a conversation so we could see what the website looked like and all.

Laura had not been looking for a new textbook. However, her supervisor was trying to help Laura try new teaching methods. To a certain degree Laura’s motivation was extrinsic, in that she wanted to please her supervisor by adopting the new technology and changing her teaching style. On the other hand, she was motivated to increase her repertoire of teaching skills in order to increase student engagement.

How she taught

Laura primarily used the Online Day resources to supplement her lectures and class exercises. She confided that it was a challenge for her to learn to incorporate instructional technology with her classes.

When Laura taught the theories course previously, she had used a different textbook. Several times she mentioned some dissatisfaction with the Day text, often comparing it to the text with which she was more familiar. She vacillated between going back to the old textbook and staying with the new one for the following semester.

Attitude toward technology

Laura’s tentativeness about using the online content from the Day website did not prevent her from making use of technology with her class, however. She went outside the offerings in Online Day to bring in other technological tools and techniques. Although Laura did not make use of the PowerPoint slides on the website, she accompanied several of her lectures with PowerPoint slides she had made for a course she had taught before. She emailed the slides to the students the week before the lecture so they could print them out and bring them to class to assist them with note taking.

One assignment Laura created involved fairly sophisticated use of technology. She assigned the students to work in small groups to create videos demonstrating a specific theory of counseling. These videos were later presented to the class to stimulate discussion. She reported that the students really enjoyed the activity, and encouraged her to use it again with her next class.

Technology training at conferences

In a workshop she attended at the American Counseling Association conference, Laura learned of a website developed at Kent State ( www.counseloraudiosource.net ) that contained podcasts created by current practitioners and theorists. Laura found them so informative and enjoyable that she introduced the website to her students that semester. Some of them found the podcasts extremely interesting. Laura later signed up to create two podcasts herself. She felt the workshop had given her a number of useful technology application ideas that were both relevant and easy to integrate into her teaching. Laura stated that she felt the best place to receive professional development in teaching with technology was at conferences specifically targeted to her subject area. She emphasized that she had set aside the time to learn new things at the conference, which she found difficult to do with her busy school schedule on campus.

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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