I completed the Teaching Perspectives Inventory questionnaire last night, and its results didn’t surprise me. My profile clearly indicates that I tend to focus more on Nurturing, Development and Apprenticeship, rather than on Transmission and Social Reform.
The Teaching Perspectives Inventory is a short and interesting questionnaire, found here, which measures perspectives, rather than personality-based ‘styles’ or ‘technical methods’ (there are many tests for either of these, elsewhere). When completing the questionnaire, I was asked to keep in mind one particular class, rather than the sum of my teaching experience. I thought of my adult learners at BCIT – older adults (35-50 years old) who are returning to university to sharpen their skills, obtain a Baccalaureate in Technology Management, and either continue their studies with an MBA or return to work to climb the corporate ladder armed with new skills, tools and techniques.
I learned that “all teachers embody all five views, but in varying degrees”. I teach a business degree, so I was not surprised when I received the results of the perspectives that I use the most – Nurturing and caring for my students, Apprenticeship or the sharing the inner workings of skilled performance and its translation into accessible language and an ordered set of tasks and Developing a motivation to learn from the ‘learner’s point of view’.
I received lesser scores for Transmitting (right at the mean of my responses) and for Social Reform (well below the mean). Transmitting can also be understood as teaching how to do the right thing (and do the thing, right). I spend less time in class on Transmitting the exact structures of a marketing plan or technology assessment rubric than on Apprenticeship. As for Social Reform – to change society in substantive ways – again I am not surprised, as I teach at the level of the individual rather than that of the collective. We spend little time on critical stances empowering students to take social action to improve their lives and those of others – this is the domain of personal reading, and of other degrees. However, we do spend time deconstructing marketing methods, the psychology of sales and market relationships. These discussions may eventually have a societal impact on a larger scale.
What will I make of this result? I wish I had answered this questionnaire at the very beginning of the Provincial Instructors Diploma so I could compare how I was back then, versus how I teach now as I am nearing the completion of the degree.
When I reflect back to January, as I was beginning my PID journey, I was less empathetic to my students and less willing to try new approaches inside my classroom. I had also less exposure to the theories about how learners learn, and what helps them learn. I can therefore assume that my Nurturing score was lower at the time. I plan to revisit this questionnaire a year from now, and see how I am evolving as an instructor. If anything, a high score in Nurturing and Development is what I seek to improve even more. As a marketing practitioner of many years (decades), I take my ability in Apprenticeship and Transmission a little bit for granted: I know what I know, and know how to transmit it – and this was the old me teaching back then, without much regard to learning styles or motivations. As I complete the PID degree I am seeking to change that.
I will therefore continue working on the soft skills of education – connecting with my students, learning how they learn and helping them learn by using the tools and technique that I am currently learning. The connection aspect of instruction fascinates me, and this is what I will seek to develop more as I mature in my teaching practice.
Pratt, D., Collins, J. (2016). Teaching Behaviors Inventory. Retrieved from http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/