John Gordon

"The option to enter SFU as a non-traditional student into a program that aligned with my needs and would be delivered at my home institution was the icing on the cake."

Program/Degree: Curriculum and Instruction: Post-Secondary (Victoria) M.Ed.

I am an instructor of Pipe Trades (50%) and am also Chair of the same program (50%) at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.
Although having a trade certificate can be seen as a career itself, I have pursued and achieved five trade certificates and consider myself a life-long learner. With my current career as an educator, this seemed a perfect “next-step”. The option to enter SFU as a non-traditional student into a program that aligned with my needs and would be delivered at my home institution was the icing on the cake.

How has this program impacted the way you approach your profession now?
In so many ways this program has allowed me to grow as trades instructor. It has allowed me to explore the liberal education philosophy and enhanced my vocational pedagogical knowledge. The program showed me the value of graduate level literacy and research, which I continue to use daily. But I think the biggest impact is the philosophy of being a change agent in the context of my position at Camosun. I realize now that with my new-found knowledge and understanding of pedagogical content knowledge I can lead my peers in the development of a more accommodating classroom, allowing more trades students to be successful.

In the classroom as an instructor I have a better understanding of learning and teaching styles and want to be more accommodating to the academically marginalized. As the Chair, my understanding of the curriculum development process is benefiting the department as we engage in the program review and renewal requirements.

What has been most rewarding about your experience in this program?

Being made aware of how combing a liberal education with subject-matter expertise can benefit instructors in the classroom. Vocational pedagogy combined with a trades instructors subject-matter expertise can allow an instructor to accommodate more learners in a traditional trades classroom.

Being a non-traditional student (not having an undergraduate degree) I was surprised by the level of literacy required. The expectations of the professors was legitimately quite high so I personally worked very hard to bring my skills up to the required level.

Also the diversity of the courses within the program was a pleasant surprise, with all content being very applicable to both my personal and professional lives.

What was your research interest/concern for your comprehensive exam?

Preparing Trades Instructors for Academically Marginalized Students in the Classroom.