Teaching Professionalism

Posted on Updated on

On 3/7/19 at 1:45pm, I attended the North Carolina Computer Instructors Association Conference Session Teaching Professionalism at the SCITECH Building at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC presented by Joy Dark.

Teaching Professionalism

 

Is there a need? By that, I mean does professionalism really have to be taught in the classroom?

Mark butler, commissioner for the Georgia department of labor stated “in the workforce shortage we’re facing right now. Soft skills are very much on of the biggest concerns”

Let’s take a look at these numbers from the impressions of employers in 2018 and the same impressions from the graduating class of 2017. See how the expectations and the realities don’t match up?

85% were deeply concerned about work ethic and soft skills: Attention, punctuality, character specifically

87% creative thinking and problem solving.

Job outlook 2018 employing organizations and the class of 2017 student survey report from national association of college and employers. Look at the disparity.

This is not new, this is a 19th century problem. Employers still looking for that work ethic, and they’ll be employing them longer.

What employers expect

Work Ethics

Attendance, character, teamwork, appearance, attitude, productivity, organizational skills, communication, cooperation, respect are graded. Those who enter with it, leave with it. Those who enter without it, don’t get it

DRIVE by Daniel H pink.

Four greatest motivators.

Exterinsic reward/punishment. Intrinsic: autonomy, contribution and masters. Extrinsic motivation takes you to about the $60,000/yr mark. Intrinsically motivated engineer usually becomes an entrepreneur. Many of us are on the left, extrinsically motivated. We want to get to the right side.

Open discussion: How do we create a professional culture in the classroom?

Set your expectations. These are the expectations, these are the goals. You’re expected to get the job done and get the job done well. Classes are no longer classes, but a meeting with the employees.

Set the individual and team goals. What are the team strengths and weaknesses? Give them room to have space and make mistakes. Have the goal, give the resources, and give them the room to get there. Boss expects you to find the goals and reach the point of success.

How will you be accessed?

Lead by example.

Do as I do, not just as I say. Show on time, dressed appropriately. Lead. Respect, curiosity, appropriate behavior. Show examples or leave it open for interpretation.

Give respect even if you haven’t received it yet

Even if students are late, you are not. Even if students yell, you act respectively. Unconditional respect is important. You honor them and their efforts, even if they have not met the minimum. This does not mean that you accept the unacceptable, it means you treat them respectfully as you are working with them. This is especially good if you frame the change in terms of “I recommend that you…”

 

Call them out

Have that uncomfortable conversation. Be honest. Call them out on behaviors which are negative issues for the class. Make comments in general first, and then specific after the fact. Sometimes it is effective to note that specific issues need to be pulled out. Some confrontational conversations can occur without the confrontation. If you let one get away with problems , they all get away. Some say “This is just a classroom”. Seeing this is the kind of item whereit is not a reflection of the real world is a fallacy.

My job is to get you a job. Make good grades, learn the skills, and get that job. If you take the expectation from “I don’t care if you come to class in your PJs, just come to class”… to “You need to dress professionally if you want a job”.  Many people will note that the disparity between the rating differences above are related to the fact that students are not being called out for being unprofessional.

VLC professionality course coming in Fall 2019/2020. Basic skills, coned, curriculum. There are 8 competency items.

Students may not know how to behave in a given environment. This is now your job. Arrive here by XXxx.  Do not plan to leave before XXxx. Set aside XX hours of time for homework. Decide how to include time management issues on how to solve the problems.

Provide choices

Provide choices with natural consequences. Your job as the teacher is to enforce those consequences. These are the expectations. There are room rules. Make sure they are clear. Hold people accountable. Grades are a real world application. This is a guage of how the real world makes this available.

 

Encourage responsibility

Encourage responsiblility through contribution. One good example is the responsibility of teamwork. Have your team members call them out as well. Peer pressure is a good thing.

Don’t give up

Especially when they give up on themselves. Students can start to have more confidence in themselves and do better in class when they find out that someone is behind them. A pep talk and cheerleader moment can help them to get back on their feet and decide what their correct path might be. Compassion can be a hard truth and sometimes the truth hurts.

IF you screw up, say you’re sorry. Don’t worry about the person, worry about the problem. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution.

 

High standards

High standards for everyone. Without it, everyone suffers. Without proper training, what are we doing? Really. High standards for us as well as them

Grade your listening skills.

Address it and look to general attitude in the classroom and a completely subjective grade. Responding to questions can be a matter of responsibility. If it doesn’t contribute to the overall discussion, those items don’t count

Challenge Reactions

Challenge reactions to challenging situations. Get the ball rolling and then see if they can work toward larger solutions. There are many ways to solve problems, and this will teach resilience, bringing them back and forcing them to face challenges.

Use Delayed Gratification

Use delayed gratification to build grit and gratitude.  Use projects which build upon one another.

Group participation

Speak, listen, organize, lead

Mock interview and orientation

Overwhelming first experiences. How do you expect them to dress? Is on-time early or late

Framework for lifelong learning

VISION

In the real world, there will be no boss dragging you through the project. You’re either going to get it, and its going to work properly or you’re not. You’ll get fired. You need to take, this, own this, and make the decisions.

You might have to spell this out for people. Traditionally, we celebrate individual accomplishments. When we celebrate what the class has done, this increases what motivates us to do well. Carrot and stick doesn’t really motivate, but when they take control and own it, we’re setting you up for success. IF yo use the test as something to endure, then you’re seeing it as a problem. If you see the test as a tool for knowing where  they stand and what they know, it so much more than a completion item.