Day one, an important day for an apprentice, lots of information to take in and all of which would be pertinent for the next twelve weeks of technical training. In getting organized for my first day of a new intake, I would have a checklist type of agenda I would follow with my supporting documents in tow. Once I would speak about a topic, I would cross it off the list and carry on until the list was all checked off. I assumed that the apprentices would take note of the information they were getting. I also assumed that I was giving them enough detail of the items I was covering. I wanted to be organized, having a checklist for me was what worked. I needed to get the information to the apprentices.
I was enthusiastic and excited about the first day to help relax the nervous students so they would share some stories to begin developing our learning community. The apprentices appeared overwhelmed and did not retain a significant amount of information. Part of the day was to talk about “the job of journeywork” which was a pretty important part of the day which I covered in the afternoon. I realized later in the program that I would be getting questions regarding information included on the first day, so I began to question my methods.
The apprentices would go from a day one orientation with me into a patisserie class with a different instructor for the next three weeks beginning on the second day. Knowing this, I had to make sure that I covered all the necessary day one topics. Clearly, this was not an effective way to cover the material with the apprentices in a manner that they could understand, synthesize and ask questions. This also prevented me from checking their understanding. Something needed to change to make the day not as stressful for both the apprentices and myself. I decided to split the orientation day into two components; the administrative and policy items on day one following my agenda and then I developed a lesson for the second day “the job of journeywork” discussion.
Having been exposed to the CAE through five face to face courses, I was able to observe and practice advanced instructional methods which enabled me to bring back those experiences to my class and implement an interactive “Job of Journeywork” activity. I would start the lesson by having the apprentices walk around and read specific journeyperson case studies on poster board and log some responses. We would review and debrief the case studies and then move on the rights and responsibilities of a journeyperson in a lecture format. The summative assessment of the lesson was a group project completed in class that was in the form of a five-minute presentation on “What being a Journeyperson means to me.” Changing to this format not only was less stressful for all involved, but it also allowed time for day one information to be absorbed, questions to be answered and knowledge to be tested thus helping the apprentices get orientated.