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Interview with Michelle Cadieux

Updated: Sep 9, 2020


📷 Catherine Goce, Silhouette Newspaper

Journalist: Emily O’Halloran



Interviewer: Welcome back to this week’s scientist of the week segment where today I'm joined by a special guest would you mind introducing yourself to the audience?


Dr. Cadieux: My name is doctor Michelle Cadieux, I am the course coordinator as well as one of the instructors for introductory psychology here at McMaster.


Interviewer: Thank you so much for being here, so I wanted to start off with a general question that I feel would be really interesting for our audience to be able to understand and have the perspective of someone so well versed in this field. A lot of people are unable to identify the daily presence of psychology and neuroscience in their daily lives as someone who is very well equipped in this field what is your response to this common misconception and how important do you believe the study of psychology in neurology is?


Dr. Cadieux: So psychology helps us to understand so much about how we process the world around us how do we decide what to pay attention to, how do we store information in our memory and actually be able to retrieve it later, how do we accommodate for the multiple sources of information provided by our different senses and what do we do when we get conflict within this information psychology helps us to understand all of this. In addition psychology is a massively broad field there are also lots of animal researchers who not only help us to understand ourselves but the greater ecosystem in which we live in my own researches in pedagogy which is a topic that naturally hits very close to home for the average student.


Interviewer: Yeah thank you so much for that response and next follow up question would be can you expand a bit more about pedagogy and what type of learning it really focuses on.


Dr. Cadieux: So pedagogy is basically just the study of education it examines the best practices for both teaching and learning.


Interviewer: Cool perfect yeah another question, from your own experiences as a student as well as your research done on various topics what do you think are some of the best methods, techniques that you can learn when it comes down to teaching?


Dr. Cadieux: So learning happens both inside and outside of the classroom so I have some perspective on both of these things. As an instructor I feel it's our responsibility to make our lecture is not only informative but actually interesting. It's not enough to just get up and talk at students for an hour we need to be engaging, we need to encourage students to think about the material we're presenting. That can be as simple as ensuring that discussion is built into our lectures or even something as basic as using iclickers to encourage students to stop what they're doing and think about the topic. We need to be passionate about what we're teaching if we want students to reflect that passion. Outside of the classroom I think instructors have some responsibility in helping students learn the best study practices especially at the first year level. However, the students obviously need to play a role in this process I can provide all the best advice and tools to help students succeed but it's up to them to actually engage in these recommendations I find that students tend to fall into easier passive methods of studying 'cause they require less work and energy. So an example of this would be just rereading your notes it's simple you get in your comfy chair you get your coffee and you just read, but that doesn't actually involve any real work it's not engaging into the material. So I try to encourage students to use more active learning methods like practice questions or activities that require you to actually retrieve information from your memory like you would on a test. These methods however are a lot more work they are exhausting and that's because they require you to use your brain, but that's why they're so effective.


Interviewer: That's great advice and honestly totally hits home for a lot of students because I mean it's very true if you need something done you have to be able to put in the work willing to get it done and you totally know that message essentially it's interesting because McMaster does such a great job I find as a first year of having that blended format where resources are available not only in class but online as well. From you know being able to answer iclicker discussions and then having discussion whether it's on avenue that you can still ask questions on if it's unclear so it's really cool to see that and definitely you know it's interesting to hear the many different ways of how to effectively learn and it's really great advice that you gave I’m sure a lot of people of our listeners will find it helpful. Another question that I had for you was you have had a lot of experience in research works would you be willing to elaborate a bit on the process of conducting research from the brain storming aspect of it to that final draft or that final research paper.


Dr. Cadieux: So kind of things that actually changed a little bit over my career just from when I started out to where I am now so I remember when I first started doing research a lot of sort of the big ideas didn't come from me they came from those around me like my PhD supervisor who was doctor David Shore in this Department I would present my research to him and he would compare it to what he knew and guide me towards the next steps. However, as I move forward in my own development and learn more about what I was actually doing that started to change. I would attend conferences and reading groups and I now knew enough to be able to really think about what they were presenting and how it was relevant to my own research. This helped me to come up with my own ideas in my own direction for my research. I always loved the research centre, developing studies collecting and analyzing data I found it exciting and I still do, the writing side of things is a little less thrilling for me I would much rather present my research in person. However, I understand that producing work for publication is important because it gets your research out into the world for other people to read, think about, in compared to their own research starting this whole cycle all over again.


Interviewer: That's so cool very interesting to see how you know research methods or you know the process changes I mean being going out and attending conferences with something that you did by choice to be able to further research I'm assuming and it's really helpful because some people think that it's a limited process where really kind of continuous learning that's happening thank you so much for coming on to our show did you have any final comments and he advised to 1st year isn't going high school students or really anything you wanted to do at all?


Dr. Cadieux: So first year University can be overwhelming I know that I personally struggled during my first couple of years the best advice I can give to new students is a study advice and that is to not waste their time between classes. When I first started off I slacked off between all of my classes if I had brakes I hung out with my friends, I played euchre, I did anything except real work this meant that I had to do all of my work on nights and weekends. It felt like I never got a break and felt like I was somehow always working, however, when I actually started to use the time between my classes to get work done I somehow felt like I had more free time while actually getting more work done. University is hard but better time management can really help in the process.


Interviewer: Yeah that's great advice again and really hits home again because I am a first year student, so hearing that advice helps a lot especially because you hear it so much but then seeing the applications of it in university where really you're given all this freedom in first year from in past secondary schools where you know there was still someone looking at you in a small class of 20 now you're in such a big you know amazing university like McMaster where there's so many kids with so many opportunities and you really have to guide yourself and having those skills in your arsenal like you mentioned you know time management really must help and I hope that all of our listeners can take that message home as well and it'll be really interesting to see you know how we continue to grow and develop ourselves throughout university.


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