About

Replacing antenna on the CCGS Hudson,with CCGS Needler visible on the jetty

My name is Mylène.  I teach electronics in a 2-year technician program on the east coast of Canada. I started teaching in 2009; before that, I developed databases for accounting firms, fixed satellite phones for the Coast Guard (shown in photo), and fabricated circuit boards for tracking icebergs.  All of these things find their way into my teaching somehow.

I’m especially interested in:

  • helping people love building stuff
  • creating a learning environment of bold, yet safe, mistakes
  • helping people gain more control over their learning (and preventing classrooms from thwarting us)

Courses I teach:

  • DC Circuits
  • AC Circuits
  • Semiconductor Circuits
  • Microcontroller Programming (embedded systems)
  • Electronic Fabrication (basically Intro to Hand Tools)
  • Industrial Electronics (co-teaching)
  • Electric Machines (motors and generators)

Teaching Context

For readers who might not be familiar with the Canadian education scene, my school could be most closely compared to an American vocational/technical school, except that it’s publicly subsidized.  The entrance requirements include a high school diploma or demonstrated equivalency, and tuition is between $1000-2700 per year. The median age of students is higher than an average undergraduate classroom — many students have been in the workforce for several years and/or have children.

My school is a place where you can learn to be an electrician or a funeral director or an office assistant or a continuing care worker.  It is not the kind of place where you can take Intro Anthropology and Conversational Russian while waiting to transfer to university.

This affects my teaching in various ways.  The best thing about teaching in an adult ed program is that most students are here because they love electronics.

7 comments

  1. Hi! Just wanted to say I appreciate your blog, especially as a microelectronic engineering prof as my “night” job. I’m looking at introducing SBG in my honors physics classes next year and your synopsis of the pros and cons is a great help in preparing for both the positive and negative aspects. Good luck and happy holidays!

    • Hi there, thanks for the kind words. How on earth do you manage two teaching jobs at the same time?? (Although I bet they each give an interesting perspective on the other). I hope to read more of your thoughts — especially about your “night” job.

  2. Hi – your blog and observations are really interesting. I’ve found that some of the very best teachers are those who started out in business or had another type of job far removed from teaching. You bring a different perspective to teaching, approach to delivery of information, and the way you look at kids. (Maybe all teachers should have to get out of the classroom and do something else every few years…). Anyway, many of the things you are trying has serious research supporting these approaches. Hang in there and enjoy the exploration and the ride!

  3. Hello! Stumbled upon your blog. I really enjoy reading your posts–it’s nice to have a teacher that cares about the students and their ways of learning. (I didn’t think that was even possible!)
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. Keep up the good work!

  4. @philosophermouseofthehedge: thanks for the encouragement. I am definitely enjoying the exploration — I have the best students. The way you say “enjoy the ride” makes me think you might be a teacher too. Yes, it is a bit of a roller coaster! Great fun though.

    @w1s3r: Glad you’re enjoying it here. I’m sorry that teachers who care seem surprising to you… but I assure you that there are many of us, and more all the time. Hope to see you around.

  5. Best luck from my side!…. I am just trying to do what you are doing, “Change the Education system”……. But for a change I am student and I try helping students of my age come out of depression through my blogs….. My juniors like my teaching abilities and after my undergraduate course I am planning to do something very close to what you are doing…. Best compliments! 😀

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