Instructional Strategies Blog

Journal Entry 1 Week 2

Authentic Assessment

Student Engagement Techniques


Elizabeth F. Barkley writes in the first four chapters of her text an introduction on student engagement, motivation, and active learning. Albeit all interesting and jam-packed full of information it is authentic assessment that jumps out as an area to delve in deeper.

Barkley (2010) suggests that G. P. Wiggins’ (1998, p. 23-24) ideas of ‘authentic assessment’ is the “doing” of the subject or the task at hand (p.29). She explicitly spells it out by saying “…the task reproduces the ways and the contexts in which a person’s knowledge and abilities are “tested” in real-world situations” (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 29).

She then explains that ‘authentic assessment’ involves the ability of the student to demonstrate “…judgement, innovation, and efficient and effective use of repertoire of knowledge and skills…” (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 29).

Finally, she reports that ‘authentic assessment’ is ‘formative’ and goes on to say that there needs to be “…opportunities to rehearse, practice, consult resources and get feedback” (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 29).

She continues by quoting Fenton and Watkins’ (2008, pp. 6-7) ideas in her summation of ‘authentic assessment’ (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 30):

  1. Identify a learning goal
  2. Select an assessment technique
  3. Apply the assessment technique
  4. Analyze and share the results
  5. Respond and implement change if necessary


Authenticity is a value I hold high. Gone are the days of having guess what people are really trying to tell you or want from you. This is one reason this topic has resonated with me.

In this context of assessment and feedback it is enlightening to see what can be done in a classroom setting; while in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program I have seen what is being taught in academia is also illustrated in our assignments  – the rubric is just one example.


In this section of Elizabeth F. Barkley’s text the topic of ‘authentic assessment’ she includes in what she calls ‘creating synergy’ by “…helping students work at their optimal level of challenge” (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 27).

So with this in mind, it only makes sense to lay out the guidelines or requirements in a rubric or other formalized document so that the student is able to follow along and provide work that meets their ‘optimal level of challenge’.

I also enjoy Elizabeth F. Barkley’s style of writing because she often is not recreating the wheel; she is gathering what she knows from a variety of experts and presenting a research literature review on the topic of engagement, motivation and active learning.

This text is a valuable resource for some years to come.


I will investigate how to incorporate this to the ‘flipped class’ assignment?

I will incorporate this to my workshops.

This valued learning has now been added to past learnings of authenticity; does the “…information makes sense – does it fit…the way the world works…” for me at this time (Elizabeth F. Barkley, 2010, p. 22). Yes it does!

I am adding the other three mentioned authors to the reference list for further learning.


Barkley, E. F., 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass

Fenton, C. & Watkins, B. W. (2008). Learner-centered Assessment: Real Strategies for Today’s Students. Phoenix, AZ: League for        Innovation in the Community College.

Wiggins, G. P. (1998). Educative assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass

Journal Entry 2 – Week 5

The Power of Introverts

“Solitude matters”

Susan Cain


Susan Cain like many other scholars that have been introduced during the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program has provided a wealth of information, so much so it is difficult to pick just one theme. In her Ted Talk she provides many opportunities to talk about the environment for which people are required to work in; school, office, and the larger community.

Susan Cain in her Ted Talk titled The Power of Introverts refers to how classroomswere once designed, there use to be “…rows of desks…” and having the opportunity at work to work “…autonomously …” on projects versus working in“…pods”, and sadly the consequence she notices is that children are over stimulated by this new environment and the desire to be “…alone…” are the “…outliers…” of their group. She reminds us that the workplace has changed in the same way whereoften offices don’t have complete walls.

Then in the most profound way she takes us on a historical journey when she says that we left the “…agricultural community…” of years gone past and have exchanged that for the “…business community”. Cain also explains that there is the “…man of action and the man of contemplation” and that this conversation is our “…cultural inheritance”.

Finally, while still talking about the environment that we are deemed to work in she has  three suggestions:

  1. Stop the need for constant group work
  2. Go to the wilderness – unplug
  3. What’s inside your suitcase?


I have often ponder this question ‘am I an extrovert or an introvert’?  For a brief moment Susan Cain mentioned the word ambivert – hallelujah! I gravitated towards the environmental piece of her Ted Talk because intuitively I feel that whether you are an introvert or an extrovert; it is situational. As I dig deeper I am finding that my intuition is mostly accurate.

I find myself to be inspired by others in a group but also love time on my own and treasure this time; I have also been the outlier with friends that don’t understand that my time alone is not that I am lonely but that I am recharging. I appreciate the conversation on cultural inheritance and how her grandfather had such an influence in her cultural inheritance as I had with my grandmother who raised me – my gift from her is my cultural inheritance!

Now one of the most amazing things for me is the suitcase metaphor – I who loves symbolism, loves this idea! My suitcase contains diversity; the love of travel, family historian, animal advocate, philanthropist, and my passion for dementia. There are many more topics that require further reflection – I appreciate the path I am heading towards.


I have already began to dig deeper into this topic by searching out Vanessa Van Edwards; this topic also reminds me of a time that all we had only the Myers Briggs to gage ourselves. I enjoy the Big 5 Personality Traits by Loner Wolf an online counselling website.

Although this conversation is valuable and thought provoking, in the end I think we need to relax, do what we need to do for self-care, manage our stress, and contribute to our community. I will be taking a second and third look at what Susan Cain has said about the environment in which we work.


I already mentioned that I want to continue learning from Susan Cain and to be more conscientious of her ideas about the environment and how the environment needs to match my cultural inheritance.

I enjoyed hearing what Vanessa Van Edwards has to say in the video and article on ambiverts and finally having a category that I can relate to and know that part of my introversion or my extrovert side is due to the environment that I have been exposed to.

I also will follow the Big 5 for a while; having taken their 30 question questionnaire it scored me as” Agreeableness 53.33%, Conscientiousness 86.67%,.Extraversion 80%, Neuroticism 60%, and Openness 90%.


Barkley, E. F., 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass

Cain, S. (2012). The Power of Introverts.  Retrieved October 14, 2015 from

Loner Wolf. Retrieved October 29, 2015.

Loner Wolf. Retrieved October 29, 2015.

Van Edwards, V. ().Science of People. AM Northwest. Retrieved October 29, 2015.   

Entry #3 – Week 7

Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Learning Styles and the Importance of Critical Self-Reflection

Tesia Marshik


Tesia Marshik says “learning styles are wrong”! (00:47) and that “learning styles don’t exist”! (1:07) in her Ted Talk, Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Learning Styles and the Importance of Critical Self-Reflection.

Marshik agrees that “…preferences are true…” but that these preferences “…don’t enhance your learning (2:09). She points out that many studies have shown that “…presenting a list of words, or visually – seeing the objects, or auditory – listening to the list…” is a preference and may not be a scientific fact (3:03).

Later in the video she warns that there is two reasons to stop this kind thinking (14:57).

  1. Wasting valuable time and resources (1507)
  2. Labelling a student can be misleading and dangerous (1550)

Tesia Marshik states that we continue to make learning styles sound sexy; instead of teaching by using “…multiple sensory experiences into one…” lesson, which would provide a holistic view of the topic being discussed (10:57).


This video was first introduced to me in PIDP 3240 which was also taught by Doug Mauger! Now, I thought the video and possibly the instructor was from Mars! Never, ever have I ever heard that I could actually do math! When I was growing up math was on a flat surface and boring…I’m a visual learner…I don’t get math. Now, I have been bent around to say that may not be the case; that I may actually get math if it was presented to me in a manner that I could understand! Eureka! What a moment this has been (it has taken months for me to wrap my head around this possibility).

This does sadden me in one sense in that there has been “…valuable time wasted…” from my perspective. In the past I have just zoned out on anything that was not presented to me in in a 3D format or full of color; so I am beginning to see as I reflect, that I may have missed out on many opportunities. Labeling my self has been “…misleading and dangerous…” for a similar reasons; in that I may have missed out but also allowing others albeit in a powerful position – teachers to label me.


Although this topic threw me for a loop; I am grateful that the myth of learning styles is beginning to break down in my own personal belief system. I have watched this video several times and each time I see it or hear it I see/hear something I didn’t see/hear before. I think the brain can only accept chunks of information at a time, especially when you are battling an idea that you thought was true!


  1. What I know for sure is that learning styles is old language and that people today have learning preferences; so changing the terminology is a first step.
  2. The next piece for me is to continue to learn; I have started with a resource list at the end of this journal to begin that process.
  3. The next big piece is how to implement this learning to my workshops (reviewing this video), to be open and aware that there are people with their learning preferences, and to ask what is their preferred learning preference. Using the critical incident questionnaire will be the perfect tool for me to insure that I am on track with the required information on any particular topic that I teach.


Barkley, E. F., 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass

Chick, N. Learning Styles. Retrieved November 18, 2015 from

Dunn & Dunn. Retrieved November 18, 2015 from http://www.ilsa-learning-  

Marshik, T., 2015. Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Learning Styles and the Importance of Critical Self-Reflection. Ted Talk.

Mind Tools. Retrieved November 18, 2015 from


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