Category: Andragogy – Adult Pedagogy

Visual Teaching Strategies

by Dr. Cynthia Wilkins

Rently I had the opportunity to present a webinar on the topic Visual Teaching Strategies.  I opened with an overview of John Hattie’s theory of visible learning (Click HERE for more information on his theory).  In the webinar some examples of teacher actions and instructional techniques along with their effect sizes were presented.  Some of these techniques were considered “tried and true” but were surprising in that the effect size was much lower than expected.  The webinar moved into a presentation of characteristics of the millennial student – how their lives are different from earlier generations of students, and how teaching can be adapted to accommodate these differences.  Four examples of how technology can be effectively integrated into college-level instruction were presented. At the end of the webinar I answered some of the questions which had been posted when participants registered for the webinar, such as how modifications to PowerPoint and other presentations could be modified to reduce the cognitive load, or overload, on students with a goal of helping them retain more information.

Participants responded to points in the webinar via chat messages with questions and ideas.  A one page summary of effective PowerPoint development ideas and a PowerPoint of ways to integrate technology into instruction were offered to the participants and I would be happy to send this to you if interested (email:  cwilkins@belhaven.edu).

Visual teaching strategies is a perfect match for the adult studies program as it meets the learning style of most adults.  I hope you will take time to watch the webinar.

The Graduate of Belhaven Adult Studies

I have recently had the privilege of visiting all the campuses through video sharing my heart for what we are hoping to achieve through the Adult Studies programs in the lives of our students as they graduate and leave Belhaven.  Please watch the video below and join me as we look to have our students:

  • apply learning to experiences to professional and other situations
  • be able to articulate a Christian worldview and its implication for their home, work, and society
  • demonstrate habits of clear, constructive critical thought
  • demonstrate a command of standard oral and written English
  • evidence a lifestyle of moral and spiritual integrity
  • compete in the job market for positions in keeping with their major course of study
  • incorporate ongoing learning strategies toward the fulfillment of their life goals.

Reading for Understanding: Motivating your students to read and understand course material!

by Dr. Larry Ruddell, Dean at Houston-Belhaven

Adult students face many challenges during the week apart from your class.  For example: traffic accidents, a relative needing help, a baby-sitter that doesn’t show up, a missed payment, and health problems … among other things. So, sitting in class may be a big accomplishment for an adult student … along with submitting any assignments … which may or may not include actually reading the course assignments!

One of Belhaven’s “Student Objectives” for Adult Learners is that upon graduation, our students will: “Incorporate ongoing learning strategies toward the fulfillment of their life goals.” One “learning strategy” that must be in place front and center is the ability to read and learn from reading.

As faculty, we face barriers in helping students with reading. Students may have a negative attitude towards reading. We are used to receiving “information” easily with the internet, so sitting down with a big book seems daunting. Text books can be dry and may actually be misleading at points or run contrary to the Christian Worldview.

How do we cope with student challenges in this particular area? I would suggest three things: expect, motivate, and explain. Let’s start with expect. You should always expect students to read all of the required course material, no matter how daunting. Our classes are short and it is impossible to cover all of the required information in class. So NEVER lower your expectation that students should complete all assigned reading before class.

Secondly, you need to motivate students to do the reading. The “go to” motivation approach according to the Bible is to appeal to others through love and truth. See Philemon 1:8-9 that reads;

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (English Standard Version) [Bold added]

So, we should appeal to students to do the reading because (as mentioned above), there is not enough time to cover all the course material in class, we want them to become lifelong learners, and it is a course requirement. However, Covenantal motivation is also based on “blessings and curses” or, “rewards and punishments.” So, make sure your grading “rewards” students who do the reading and draw from the reading in papers and other assignments … and holds students accountable who fail to draw from class reading in papers and other assignments.

Finally, explain HOW TO read the required material. This may be the most difficult one for you if you have no training in learning/study skills. Pauk and Owens, in their book entitled How to Study in College, Eleventh Edition, give a crisp answer about what it takes to read more effectively, “To truly improve your reading, you need to prepare properly, navigate confidently, and learn how to strategically vary your pace.” (2014, p. 132) They then goes on to say, “Comprehension is all about connections.” (Pauk & Owens, 2014, p. 132)

Briefly, let’s list some ideas (that you can pass on to students) on how to build those connections!

  • Review assignment requirements BEFORE doing the reading
  • Read for what YOU want to get out of the reading. So try to see how any past experiences or future endeavors might apply to the content
  • Before reading in detail, just look at summaries, vocabulary (make sure you understand), read side bars, read main headings, ask questions. The more you read to answer questions, the better the comprehension and retention
  • Read in detail, spending more time on text that applies to your priorities and/or course assignments. Note that since you have already gone through all the other material, you don’t need to “stop” and change gears and look at that other material. This should improve speed.
  • Conclude the reading by taking notes that apply to completing assignments.

In conclusion, consider taking a few minutes at the end of class to go over next week’s reading and apply 2 or 3 of the motivational and/or practical tips!

References

Pauk, W., & Owens, R. (2014). How to study in college, eighth edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth CENGAGE Learning.

Collaboration is More Than Busy Work

I know there are some who are reading this whose opinion of collaborative exercises is low, that is assuming they read this at all!  I have to confess that I have seen some collaborative exercises/assignments that really were nothing more than busywork, or worse.  It is a fact that any collaborative exercise or assignment that doesn’t have clear learning outcomes probably fits that description.

However, I’m glad to say, that is not the norm.  When well designed and thought through, collaborative exercises/assignments are powerful tools to achieve student learning, particularly with adults.  There are quite a few posts in this category already here on the faculty blog (simply click on the Collaborative Teaching Ideas link under Categories to the right) and many more examples of excellent activities can be found by searching the web.

But I want to reinforce the importance of having clear learning outcomes before adding these activities.  I’ve said this before and I truly believe it, collaborative teaching can feel like controlled chaos, and sometimes only marginally controlled!  Without the boundaries of clear learning outcomes, the can quickly activities deteriorate into a waste of classroom time.

It takes some time to effective plan and implement these activities – which is one of the reasons I think many Instructors eschew them entirely or find them ineffective when they do try them.  Planning the outcomes, and then designing the activity so that it achieves the outcomes, including the debriefing which is a big part of the learning, can make connections for adult learners that just don’t happen through lecture.

So here is the process I use:

  1. What is the subject or topic that I want to reinforce/teach?
  2. What do I want the student to walk away knowing? This is the learning outcome and I put this down in a clearly written sentence.
  3. Think about what learning activity can I use which will get the students to engage the topic or subject.  Sometimes it is a hands on experience, other times it requires movement, other times it can be problem based or through role playing or debates.  There really are so many options that it is hard to list them all.  I have included a longer list under Faculty Resources/White Papers titled Collaborative Teaching Options.
  4. Work out the plan for implementing the exercise in class including resources you need to bring with you and how much time it will take.  It usually takes a few times to get the time figured out correctly.
  5. Conduct the exercise, being cognizant that things can drift out of control and you need to stay engaged and provide direction.  It is not “Practice that makes Perfect,” but “Guided practice that makes perfect.”
  6. Debrief the exercise and hone in on the learning outcome by asking questions that direct the students to think about the exercise in relationship to what you wanted them to come away with.  You may want to plan your debrief questions ahead of time.
  7. Refine the exercise for the next time you use it.

I hope you’ll give it a try.  It can be amazingly rewarding to see the light come on in a student’s eyes as they engage in the debrief and make a crucial connection to their life.

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Foster Critical Thinking

by Elizabeth Juneau
Co-presenter with Dr. Jerald Meadows
Webinar:  Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Foster Critical Thinking

Bloom’s Taxonomy was named for Benjamin Bloom, who created the taxonomy in 1956, revised in 2000. The taxonomy has different domains, but our focus is the cognitive learning domain. The cognitive domain has seven levels:

  1. Knowledge/Remembering- Basic recall and remembering of facts
  2. Comprehension/Understanding- Understanding of facts and ideas
  3. Application/Applying- Making use of the knowledge and information; problem solving
  4. Analysis/Analyzing- Examining and breaking apart information; making inferences and giving evidence to support a claim
  5. Synthesis/Evaluating- Making a judgement regarding the information; defending opinions and judgements
  6. Evaluate/Creating- Producing and generating ideas independently using knowledge and information; thinking abstractly

When using Bloom’s Taxonomy to plan lessons, begin with your end in mind. What is the goal for your lesson? Your unit? Do you want to cover more than one level in a lecture? What about the end of your course? What do you want your students to gain? By utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy, you can create a road map of where you want to go throughout the course of your individual lectures, modules, and course as whole.

I currently teach sixth grade gifted students in Alabama. For the month of October, our focus in English was Edgar Allen Poe and scary stories, discussing character and plot development, figurative language, and analysis of a piece of literature. I knew, by the end of the unit, I wanted my students to create their own scary story (Level 6) to demonstrate mastery of the skills. I then used each level to scaffold my lessons to get my students to that level. Here are some sample questions I used to guide them through the levels of Bloom’s:

  1. Knowledge/Remembering: Tell me the main events in “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Masque of the Red Death”
  2. Comprehension/Understanding- Compare and contrast Montresor of “The Cask of Amontillado” and Prince from “The Masque of Red Death”
  3. Application/Applying- Sketch a picture of the Prince’s apartment according to the description in “The Masque of the Red Death.” Interpret what each color room represents.
  4. Analysis/Analyzing- Which story do you feel makes the best use of figurative language to create a feeling of uneasiness and suspense? Cite evidence from the text.
  5. Synthesis/Evaluating- Were Prince’s actions in “The Masque of the Red Death” noble? Why or why not?
  6. Evaluate/Creating- After several weeks reading selections by Poe, discussing plot and character development, mood, and tone, students will write their own scary/suspenseful short story.

Bloom’s Taxonomy also creates a level of accountability for the instructor and the students. By clearly laying out the goals for you students at each level, they can see how each part of the course works together and then how to relate what they are learning to other aspects of their coursework. As you move through your course, you can relate the information to other courses, recall back to previous levels if students are stuck “Remember this from a week ago, try thinking about it in a new way…”, and also reference the information and knowledge with clues to say “This bit of information will be used later in in your project this way….”

It is important to remember, the goal in using Bloom’s is to guide your learners up through the taxonomy, gaining and utilizing their knowledge at each level. You can’t skim over levels, then you may run the risk of students not fully grasping the information or knowing how to apply it. As students move forward, mastering each level, they are able to take control of their learning, take control of the information and knowledge presented, the student can be empowered, growing a student in their knowledge, but growing as an individual who is capable of so much more than we or they can believe.

For other information about using Bloom’s to enhance your Collaborative Learning Strategy (CLS) check out this matrix of verbs which identify the level of Blooms.  Also, if you weren’t able to attend the webinar, please check it out at the link above.

There is ALWAYS More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

I first became aware of scotomas through reading Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  (A book, by the way, that I consider a MUST read for anyone interested in personal improvement and professional competency.)  In Covey’s book, there is a picture that may be perceived by some as a fashionable young lady, or the face of an old crone.  Although the actual definition of scotoma has to do with a partial alteration in a field of vision, it can also be used metaphorically, “The common theme of all the figurative senses is of a gap not in visual function but in the mind’s perception, cognition, or world view.” (Wikipedia)

Since then I’ve run across the concept in various places and have referenced it in many presentations and sermons.  It is all about perspective.  The most interesting thing about this concept is how difficult it is to realize when you are locked into one way of perceiving a situation.  Take the picture above for instance.  When you first see the picture you immediately perceive either the young stylish woman or the old crone.  There is no thought in your mind that the other possibility even exists.

I find myself pondering this from time to time when faced with challenges at work, life in general,  or when I’m putting together my Collaborative Learning Strategy in preparation to teach.  In those times I try to allow my mind to open to new possibilities and other perspectives.  Usually with a little effort I can find a new path, often one better than the original.

I often wonder how many missed opportunities have come my way simply because I had a scotoma which kept me from seeing alternatives.  I am saddened to think of the number of students I’ve taught who could have embraced the material at a deeper level if I had only taken the time to come at it from a different direction, or using a different way of presenting the information.

The lesson for me, and one that I seem especially slow to learn, is to slow down consider other perspectives.  A good way to do this is to get other opinions.  I have to confess when I was younger I often avoided getting other opinions because I: a) already knew it all, b) didn’t want to listen to anyone else, or c) was afraid that someone would discover a flaw in my plan.  As I grown older and somewhat wiser I’ve learned to not feel as threatened by other’s ideas.  Taking the time to garner this kind of input is still a weakness for me . . . I typically want to move NOW.  But, the benefit is that in getting the input the decision is usually better.  For Instructors, take the time to brainstorm together on ways to present a topic, I’m confident you and your students will benefit from it.

 

Keep you eyes open, there is always a different perspective on any situation and a different way to do anything – even teach; to put it in layman’s terms, “there is always more than one way to skin a cat.”

Engagement

by Rick Upchurch
Asst. V.P. Adult Studies

Admissions & Student Services for Belhaven Adult Studies is working through a book:  The Trust Edge, by David Horsager.  I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to read this book as well, so I bought the book and at this point have finished about a third.

Here are four things I’ve learned/been reminded of in the first third of this book along with an application for the classroom – either the physical classroom or online:

  1. “You are trusted to the degree that people believe in your ability, your consistency, your integrity, and your commitment to deliver.” (p.9)  As you read through this list it is obvious that these things don’t happen immediately.  They are developed over time and in relationship.  Teaching application: Your relationship with your students and their perception of “your ability, your consistency, your integrity, and your commitment to deliver” will build trust or erode it.  Building trust will result in greater student engagement as they discover you are worth trusting.
  2. “People do small, even menial tasks differently when they catch a great vision.  If you are a leader in your organization, share your vision consistently.  If you are not sharing your vision at least every thirty days, your team doesn’t know it. A clear vision inspires, unifies and gives powerful focus.” (p. 50)  While this is written toward an organization I can see clear application for the adult classroom.  Teaching application: A major point of adult learning theory has to do with sharing the relevancy of the subject with the students; not just why it is important, but what the cost could be in NOT knowing the information.  So, for the classroom, sharing vision should equate to making sure there is a clear connection of relevancy every week.  When you do this engagement increases.
  3. “Expect and even appreciate conflict.  The old notion rings true: if we are all exactly the same, we are not all needed. Conflict can be a source of growth, creativity, and, in the end, greater unity.” (p.64)  I know many Instructors will go to almost any lengths to avoid even the hint of conflict in the classroom.  This might seem desirable, and certainly is easier, but avoiding conflict doesn’t foster learning and engagement at the higher levels.  Teaching application: Engaged adult learners will challenge the Instructor from time to time.  This is because what you are teaching seems to run crosswise to their experience.  If you squash this freedom to raise these challenges, you will effectively reduce or eliminate engagement.  If, on the other hand, you encourage students to respond, use the challenges to gather information, attempt to understand where the challenge is coming from, and respond with empathy, engagement will blossom.
  4. “No matter what your profession is, challenge yourself to start thinking like the customer, patient, client, congregation member, or student.  Think of these people’s needs and challenges.  Care about them. Give them a great experience.  Make them feel valued.” (p.74) Teaching application:  Adults respond better and are more engaged when they feel respected and valued.  The role of the Instructor in creating this kind of environment cannot be overstated.  In fact, the best Instructors will go beyond this to taking personal responsibility for doing everything they can to “give them a great experience.”

I’m definitely enjoying the book and will share some more thoughts as I get deeper into it.  May God richly bless and guide your day!

Rick

EQ in the Adult Learner Classroom

Dr. Paul Criss
Dean of Faculty – Memphis and DeSoto

We have all been there. We have had experiences where we felt that someone truly understood where we were coming from and we have also experienced the opposite. The ability to gauge our own and others’ emotional state is called Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and what we do with that understanding can invigorate the adult learner classroom. Most of what follows is a synopsis and application of Goleman, Boyatis, and McKee’s Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Harvard Business Review, 2013) to adult higher education and was presented at the 2015 Christian Adult Higher Education Association Conference with co-presenter Don Jones, Ed.S.

Instructors have the ability to set the emotional thermostat in their classrooms. Faculty with empathy can allow for supportive emotional connections to emerge within their classes. In Primal Leadership, the authors state: “When leaders drive emotions positively…they bring about everyone’s best.” They call this resonance. When negative emotions are driven, they create dissonance. Negative emotions and moods within a classroom can disrupt work and distract from the task of learning. God designed our brains in such a way to support the “flight or fight” tendency and this may affect classroom performance. Everything our body experiences goes through the first part of the brain at the top of the stem called the amygdala, and you guessed it, the amygdala controls our emotional fight or flight response. If this is triggered, faculty and students alike may have their emotions hijacked. It is likely that we have all experienced a time when we were criticized by an adult learner for upholding a policy or demonstrating a particular instructional style and we had to say a quick prayer for God to give us patience or guard our tongue in how respond to such criticism. We were, with God’s help, resisting this emotional hijacking.

So, how do we adjust the emotional climate of our classroom? Interestingly, emotions, both healthy and unhealthy, are contagious. For example, we have all heard the customer service adage of “service with a smile,” but actually a smile can begin to change the climate. Laughter is addictive and good for everyone – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation).

It is a very small leap from what the authors of Primal Leadership discovered about business to what can be applied in the adult learner classroom. For example, for every one percent we increase our service to our students, we could see a two percent increase in their performance (p. 15). This could be evidenced in how we share our expectations of students at the beginning of a course, explaining how we will grade, and how quickly we respond with feedback to our students. Students could respond by exceeding our expectations, targeting specific competencies, and adjusting their performance by our guidance. I know that these kinds of responses would be well received by all of us. The climate – how students feel about studying at a university – may account for twenty to thirty percent of their academic performance (p. 17) and fifty to seventy percent of how students may perceive the university’s climate can be traced to the actions of one person: their instructor (p. 18).

Our daughter, two-year-old Sophia, likes to go into large rooms, project a tone, and see if it echoes. Each room has a certain tone that echoes more than others – the resonating tone; each class has its own resonating tone, as well. In teaching vocal lessons, I learned early on the importance of resonance in amplifying both sweet and sour tones. Sound Engineers use sound equalization, ironically “EQ,” to produce the most amplification while at the same time diminishing feedback. What tones are we projecting that are being amplified to our students? How can we adjust our own and our classroom’s emotional frequency to create the best learning environment for adults?

First we need to understand how not to do it. We must avoid becoming dissonant instructors or dementors.  In the Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling describes dementors as those who “drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” Now, I realize that no instructor would describe themselves in this way, but perhaps a student has perceived us this way. The authors of Primal Leadership describe dissonant leadership as those who “don’t hold true to professed values; lack empathy; this insincerity leads to cynicism and distrust” (p. 23). The best cure for this atmosphere is not only personal, but also corporate, repentance, confession, and forgiveness.

Sometimes this dissonance happens accidentally. For the trekkies out there, have you ever wondered why Kirk is the captain? Kirk brings emotional intelligence to bear on the highly logical Spock and the highly emotional McCoy, creating a balance that is needed. In academia there is a tendency to value IQ over EQ, therefore, emotional intelligence is stifled creating the disparity (“too many spocks and not enough kirkians”). We need to begin to model emotional intelligence ourselves and compel it from our students. Our primary focus, after all, is to be holistic in our educational endeavors – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 11:42 New International Version.) Albert Einstein said, “We should take care not to make the intellect our god. It has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve.”

In Primal Leadership the authors suggest there are various styles of leadership that employ emotional intelligence (p. 55). Two are considered dissonant styles because they are often perceived negatively due to poor execution or overuse. The commanding style may sooth students’ fears in an emergency by providing clear direction and may be used sparingly in a crisis or to deal with problem students. The pacesetting style assists in meeting challenging goals, for example in capstone courses, and may be used judiciously to get high results from competent students.

The authors present four resonant styles that consistently produce positive feedback and are particular productive with the adult learner. The first, the visionary style, moves students toward the shared objectives of the course. This style conveys the importance of the course’s objectives and how achieving these competencies can make a difference in their professional life. The second, the coaching style, connects goals of the particular student with the objectives of the course. This style helps students improve performance and competency by building their personal capabilities. The third, the affiliative style, connects students to other students through community. This style can help heal rifts within a team and motivate students during stressful times within the course. Creating community within the classroom will be discussed in more detail in a future article. The final resonant style, the democratic style, value’s student input and fosters commitment through participation. This style is often utilized during roundtable discussions on topics within the course and not only builds consensus, but allows the expertise of each adult learner to come to the fore and produces exponential learning within the learning environment. As we understand and practice these various styles, we begin to understand the value of emotional intelligence to the adult learner classroom.

Authors Bradbury and Greaves, in Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (TalentSmart, 2009), recommend a matrix to increase personal emotional intelligence. It begins with self- awareness: how aware of our own emotions are we? Emotional self-awareness helps provide accurate self-management and authentic self-confidence. Second, self-management is how one manages his or her own emotions. It determines our transparency, adaptability, and levels of optimism. Third, social awareness is how well we interpret the emotions of others, in this case our students. It determines our organizational awareness, commitment to service, and levels of empathy. Finally, relational management is how well we handle interactions with our class. It assists in creating inspirational instruction, influence, development of our students, managing conflict, and fostering teamwork and collaboration. These authors also recommend the following for developing emotional intelligence within the parameters of this matrix:

Self Awareness

  • Focus on you – the only person you can change.
  • Get to know yourself under stress.
  • Know who and what pushes your buttons.
  • Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do.

Self Management

  • Count to Ten.
  • Pray for patience or ask the Holy Spirit to guard your reactions.
  • Learn a valuable lesson from everyone you encounter.
  • Smile and laugh more.

Social Awareness

  • Practice the art of listening and observing.
  • Step into your students’ shoes.
  • Catch the mood of the classroom.
  • Greet students by name.

Relationship Management

  • Little things mean a lot; when you care show it.
  • Explain your decisions, don’t just make them.
  • Make your feedback direct and constructive.
  • Be accessible; have an open door policy to build trust.

Jesus was an emotionally intelligent leader. This is indicated several times as He gauged others’ emotional state – “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people” (John 2:24 New International Version) and He declared himself to be the one “who searches hearts and minds” (Revelation 2:23). Christ acknowledges the worst in humanity, but, in spite of this, He brings out the best by giving of Himself. If we simply observe the team He inspired, we can see how they changed the world. As instructors of adult learners, we are called to do the same.

Dean’s Panel Discussion on Faculty

Last week the distance campus Dean’s met for their annual Summit.  This is an important meeting which allows for sharing of information and formulation of strategy for the coming year.  One of the highlights of the Summit this year was the inclusion of a live webinar broadcast from the Summit in which the Deans all participated in a discussion focused around their role in working with faculty.  The questions asked included:

  1. What would you describe as the central characteristics of the Ideal Instructor?
  2. What are the top challenges you face in working with or scheduling faculty?
  3. When you visit a classroom for a faculty observation what are some of the best and worst things you have seen? (no names, please)
  4. With our emphasis on holding students the full scheduled class period, what are some specific activities faculty can use other than lecturing or group discussion during that final hour?
  5. What are some ways that you could recommend to generate student engagement both within the classroom and outside of it?

There were some other questions asked, as well as some audience participation.   The bottom line: Our faculty are AMAZING!!!   Great things are happening in the classroom and in the lives of our students because of your service and dedication.  We can’t thank you enough for all you do.

Overall it was a great discussion and I hope you will take the time to view it at this LINK.

Blessings,

The Q Continuum of Adult Learning

by:  Dr. Paul Criss
Dean of Faculty – Memphis and DeSoto

It is not a new word, but it is a word that is taking on new permutations. It is the word quotient. It has been used for measuring levels of intelligence or, actually, the intellectual potential of individuals. Recently, the word “quotient” has been used to describe several facets of learning that adult learners need to experience. This learning is described and best experienced in an ongoing fashion; thus, the use of continuum and the faculty member can be a facilitator of the student’s continual process of learning. What are these facets of learning?

The first Q is Intelligence Quotient. It is about developing each adult student’s intellectual potential and skill capacity. It is measured through performance. It is ongoing development and is inclusive of many concepts in education…everything from learning styles and multiple intelligences to academic language and quantitative reasoning. We likely focus on this the most in academia, especially within the various disciplines; therefore, it needs the least explanation. The other three Qs, however, may need further explanation: Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, and Ethical Servant Leadership Intelligence.

Capture

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to gauge our own and others’ emotional state and what we do with that understanding. I want to discuss this in depth in the next article EQ in the Adult Learner Classroom. Cultural Intelligence (CQ), much like EQ, is the ability to gauge cultural distinctiveness in ourselves and others and also considers what we do with that understanding.  Those who discuss CQ start with an individual’s CQ drive – the motivation to learn about one’s own culture and to engage in another’s cultural distinctiveness. CQ knowledge includes one’s knowledge about and experience with another culture. Some of my cultural distinctiveness comes from my Greek heritage. I jokingly tell my students if they want some insight into my childhood and the culture in which I grew up, they should watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding. CQ strategy includes the plans one can make to intentionally learn about or become immersed in a specific culture. Everyone comes from a specific culture and sometimes a different culture is right next door. CQ action describes putting the plans into practice – what is a person willing to do garner these experiences and this knowledge.

Cultural Intelligence can help us learn about others, overcome language barriers, and accelerate conflict resolution. It also assists in emerging from a “my way” attitude to an “our way” attitude in accomplishing goals. In the adult learner classroom this begins with simply learning about the person sitting next to you and can evolve into learning about the people around the world through courses such as international business to international immersion experiences. David Livermore states in his book Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World, “Rather than CQ conflicting with Christianity or being merely a reflection of politically correct agendas, CQ is most at home in Christianity. The commitment to express and communicate love in ways the other can understand is one of the distinctions of our faith compared to many other religions.” As those called to be agents of cultural transformation, we should be leading the way in cultural understanding.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14b New International  Version) and that He “grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). That is the goal of  true Christian higher education – the goal for every member of the faculty and every student under the institution’s care. Ethical Servant Leadership Intelligence (ESLQ) is the ability to lead others by serving with integrity within the highest ethical realm defined by the Christian Worldview. The phrase “servant leadership” was “coined” by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay he wrote in 1970 called The Servant as Leader; in the essay he said, “The servant-leader is servant first…It beings with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead…care taken by the servant – first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?” The adult learner classroom focuses on the growth of students in servant-leadership by sharing leadership through roundtable dialogue, putting the needs of the student above the needs of the faculty member (without compromising personal conscience or institutional faithfulness and policy), and assisting students in developing the highest performance possible. Of course, we know that the originator and exemplar of true servant-leadership is the one who said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) and He continues to calls us to sacrificial service through our calling in academia.

Overall the Q Continuum is about providing a holistic educational experience that not only addresses intellectual development, but emotional, social, ethical, and spiritual development as well. I believe this kind of development is what the Apostle Paul referred when he states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” So it seems that the physical is based on the spiritual; what we do with our hands, is based on what is in our heart and head; our actions are based on our beliefs. By renewing our mind with God’s Word, literally God’s perspective, not only can we change our actions, but we can discern what is truly “good, pleasing, and perfect” and, in doing so, influence others. Surprisingly, the Q Continuum is very biblical and practical; it is actually what those who will employ our students desire in their employees. The Association of American Colleges has stated, “Ninety-one percent of employers say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment, integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.” Imagine that!