Teachers who make the grade – what makes Chisholm Online’s teachers so special

16/05/2016 1:09:00 PM

​Australia's high education standards have developed a large pool of qualified teachers with specialist subject knowledge. So what makes COL teachers special? Manager of Chisholm's Professional Educator College, Brad Beach, explains that online learning is a designed virtual classroom with a vibrant connected community. It is a learning experience that requires leadership from educators who value the power of communication and support in nurturing student achievement.

Research by renowned digital learning innovator, Gilly Salmon, has shown that the top reason for students logging into an online learning space is to see if anyone has responded to them. And students learn best when they feel valued and connected to others when studying.

Community Vs Isolation

"Online learning is a fundamental paradigm shift from self-paced distance learning where students often study in isolation. Chisholm Online is a community learning space where learners feel connected and safe with a teacher who believes in their abilities and is passionate about supporting them," says Brad.

In addition, all programs are built in-line with Chisholm's Educational Excellence Framework that ensures all aspects of the learners' experience are of the highest possible quality. 

"So beyond teaching qualifications, experience and subject knowledge, our online teachers who are benchmarked against key capabilities within the Educational Excellence Framework, have a distinctive attitude and philosophy about their role as educators."

"They are good communicators who build connectedness in an online community; they value each student and what they bring to the group; they support by keeping them on track; and they encourage by helping them break down their learning into achievable goals over short periods of time."

Teachers who share your journey

COL teachers come from a variety of backgrounds and learning experiences themselves. Often they've also had career changes and have returned to further study. They have empathy and are absolutely committed to helping students succeed.

I've been there before

Ann Murray, teacher in leadership & management

When Ann started studying for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture, she was a mature aged student, already married with two young children. For 12 years after receiving her degree, she worked in the horticulture industry, managing two stone fruit orchards, later becoming an agronomist, selling soil moisture monitoring equipment to help farmers manage their pest, disease, fertilizer and irrigation programs. When a horticulture teaching opportunity came up at a TAFE, she jumped at it and discovered her true calling – being a teacher.

"My manager became my mentor and he showed me that I was also capable of teaching other subjects, which led me to business and management," says Ann.

"I'm now doing a PhD in Education researching the different ways students learn. I recognise that everyone learns differently and I'm good at explaining things, breaking complex issues down to their simplest form for each student that struggles with his or her understanding."

"I want to be there for all my students so I just keep talking to them so they know they are not alone, logging on daily to answer questions, even encouraging them with my own personal stories."

Collaborative learning is key

Karin Graham, teacher in accounting & human resource management:

Karin says she's lucky to have had a great mentor in her broad finance career which spans Melbourne and London, who showed her the power of knowledge sharing in developing people and teams. She's embraced this attitude in life and as a teacher, where she always looks for ways to make her students' journeys easier.

"For example, I create opportunities for the class to help, support and educate one another and I facilitate this type of communication," says Karin. "Every person, no matter their experience, education, place of birth or views has so much to offer in a group environment. The sharing of experiences, lessons and mistakes enhance their learning, particularly when stories are so much easier to remember than say a four bullet point slide."

Karin, who is a specialist in forensic accounting (fraud investigation) and has managed the financial teams of large insurance and accounting firms such as Deloitte, says it is important that students not only understand the lesson materials, but also why they are studying them, in order to apply what they've learnt in the workplace.

"Teaching in the online world requires a greater level of attention to student needs. If I cannot answer a question as soon as I see it, I let them know that I have seen the question and will get back to them."

Timely communication and support 

Carolyn Campbell, teacher in business administration

Carolyn has extensive administration and management experience in both the government and the private sectors, where she was largely responsible for training in organisational systems. After discovering that helping others achieve their goals gave her the most satisfaction, she undertook a diploma online, with an inspiring teacher, to become a COL teacher with a great track record for helping students complete successfully.

"I educate students on the importance of the subjects they are studying, getting them to relate to a real-life experience or a scenario in the workplace to put the learning into context, says Carolyn.

"Many of the online assessments are complex with lots of parts to them, so I break the assessment down, piece of piece, so they are not overwhelmed. Before they know it, they've actually worked through the assessment requirements and are ready to submit."

"Throughout the course, I encourage students by providing them with specific feedback and asking them questions to think about things differently if they are having trouble understanding an activity. I also keep them on track with regular reminders of where they should be up to at any given time during the study period."

"My greatest satisfaction is seeing students who have doubts about their ability, get through it and achieve what they didn't believe they were capable of learning."

by Chisholm Online at 16/05/2016 1:09:00 PM in Opinions


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