▪ I think the big thing for me was that the silence was very uncomfortable!!
▪ The teaching style of this session being observed was with class simulations. It was intended to be an opportunity for students to have a go at health promotion. My role as the lecturer within this session was to facilitate simulations with an actress (also a lecturer) in 3 scenarios.
▪ I had asked that I could be observed specifically on my facilitation skills, and the making of a safe environment for which students could learn, owing to the unusually large class size for this type of learning.
▪ I asked for volunteers yet contrary to previous sessions done this way, it seemed uncomfortable that no one volunteered and the silence seemed to be palpable.
1. I felt uncomfortable that I might have put students into too much of a challenging situation, making them feel conscious of their performance in front of many class mates.
2. I was aware at one point of leaving out one side of the room because of where the podium was, so I decided to stand the other side, something I may have not been aware of was I not being observed, and having observed others knowing what sort of things come up.
Was it me or the students?
I compared to the session the day before where there were many willing volunteers. I hadn’t changed any style of teaching or circumstance, and I had made the statement of the safe environment, and that there is no right or wrong answer to giving health promotion. It was noted however prior to the session in a small group chat that there was a ripple of dissatisfaction from students who didn’t feel this style of learning was appropriate particularly in a large setting. There was still some confusion over this being their learning experience as opposed to having the skills or knowledge to do the job, and maybe lack of confidence was displayed in defensiveness.
How did I manage the silence?
I wanted volunteers not to pick on people, and thankfully I didn’t have to pick on people, but silence although uncomfortable seemed to be the best option, and I was keen not to let that silence be shown as uncomfortable to me, as though to apologise for putting them in this situation, knowing that my intentions are to support and help them, not make their lives difficult. After the session I used the ‘5 Whys’of root cause analysis to challenge my feelings here….
- Why did I feel the silence was uncomfortable? – Because it felt like I was trying to create an atmosphere of learning that was contrary to the feeling in the room
- Why was there an atmosphere in the room? – Because the students felt challenged.
- Why did the students feel challenged? Because I was offering learning outside of their comfort Zone?
- Why was I offering learning outside there comfort zone? – Because I am passionate about their learning – particularly of this subject.
- Why am I passionate about their learning in this subject? – Because I have rarely seen it done properly or at all by students/staff nurses in practice, in that I’m not sure it is even featured even though it is very important.
Evaluation – What was good/bad about the experience?
I reflected on my ability to draw out learning from students in a reflective way however an internal frustration was that with one particular scenario the students were missing the point on health promotion with Doris, in that they were going down the assessment route. My reflection on debriefing however was although I was tempted to I didn’t give answers, but promoted reflection.
My actions and management of those who took part was to reward them (with a chocolate) but also debriefing them in a positive way, starting by what they thought they did well, asking their class mates what they thought went well in order to encourage safe peer learning. I also referred back to health promotion model, affirmed them and paraphrased.
I encouraged the problem solving approach by encouraging those who were questioning what they should do to actually have a go at interacting with the character.
There were some excellent interactions from students that exceeded expectation. Students drew upon learning from other sessions and modules such as Self Harm and Sexual health.
Students learnt a lot about themselves either from participating or observing others, and the silence helped them review their anxieties.
Conclusion and Action Plan
Should I still ask for volunteers or pick on people? I think I will still go with the voluntary model as I have proved, despite silence there are ways of getting people to interact without the threat of being picked upon.
I will demonstrate giving health promotion and interact with a scenario to show that there are just simple skills needed in order to achieve Health promotion and also set the scene, which may also help with fostering that Safe learning environment.