My name is Chrissi Nerantzi. I live in the North-West of England (moved here in Aug 2010 from the North-East where I stayed for 11 years). My new hometown is Glossop. For my dad, the UK is sort of a North-Pole. He lives in Greece with my mum where it is sunny and warm and the sea blue like the sky. Yes, I am Greek but born in Germany.
Even before I finished school I started working during summer holidays. I think I was always an idependent spirit. My parents wanted me to become a medical doctor. I guess, at that time, I wanted it too (did I?) but I am not really sure… the truth is that I did collapse ones when my mum took me to observe a tiny operation. You see, my mum used to be a theatre-nurse. I didn’t pass the entry exams (this was a big disappointment for my parents) and went to college to become a computer programmer instead while I was working in a shop selling tasty bakery products, painting pottery, making jewellery and teaching German. I didn’t do all jobs at the same time but many times I had more than one job at the time.
Somehow, I ended up working for the Hellenic Navy for 5 years as a computer programmer. How did that happen? I soon realised what I really wanted to do, I wanted to go to university. After 3 years in the Navy, I managed finally to get there. It was not easy working full-time and studying full-time but I did it and when my 5 years were up, I left the Navy and completed my studies at the Ionian University on Corfu and continued teaching and translating. I started a PhD in translation studies but it is still incomplete today and I am not sure anymore if I will be able to complete it one day… it is a shame really, because I spent three years carrying out research at 2 different German Universities (was also teaching at one of them) and got scholarships at other German and Austrian Institutions and have written over 80,000 words.
I have translated a number of books (you will find among the list my original titles as well), mainly novels and children’s books into Greek but also travel guides into English. Translating helped me to do something creative within pre-prescribed frameworks. That was hard. I loved the challenge but I wouldn’t say that I enjoy translating everything. Picture books are my favourite. Not because they are so short, that doesn’t make them any easier, believe me, but because they can be so so rich in emotions, language and colour and extend thinking and imagination.
When I arrived in the UK, I wasn’t sure what job I would be doing and then I met somebody who opened the door for more teaching. I actually thought that this was a chapter that had closed when I left Greece.
I started teaching Greek, first within Adult and Community Learning, then at university and I loved it. At that time the government here in the UK decided to introduce a few changes for teachers in the Post-Compulsory Education Sector. I saw it as a great opportunity and soon enrolled on the PGCE course. This really was an eye-opener and that was the time when I re-discovered my love for teaching. The whole course was transformative for me. One of my teacher trainers helped me to find a new direction in life: teacher training/staff development. I had never thought of that. But I loved the idea! The idea wasn”t enough though! I realised that I needed additional qualifications to achieve my goal. I never really stopped learning despite the fact that I was bringing up a young family and I think that was a good use of time (it also kept my brain active!) while I was also looking after my two young children (I would recomment this to any mother with children!!! even if at times it might seem extremely hard work – it is worth it!).
Another PgCert in Teaching and Learning in HE followed and an MA in the same discipline (dissertation: Creative teaching and learning). Before I got my MA, I was given the opportunity to deliver initial teacher training. I loved it and started looking for full-time opportunities when both my boys started school! They did come and so far I have worked as an academic developer (HE), MFL tutor team co-ordinator (Adult Learning), Lecturer in Education (FE), online tutor (HE) and also offer consultancy and have become an Accreditor and an associate consultant for the HEA.
I always say to my students, teaching is learning and that is really my approach.
If we teachers don’t have a passion for learning, how can we enthuse our students to learn???
I was hungry for more and completed a PgCert in Mentoring and Coaching in Education and a number of other courses and workshops, including professional development advisor, e-guide and others. In April 2011, I completed an MSc in Blended and Online Education which equipped me with additonal skills and understanding as a learner and teacher of the Digital Age. The dissertation this time was about open online problem-based learning within Academic Development. I have completed the SEDA course Supporting and Leading Educational Change for Staff Developers and have found it really useful for my practice as an Academic Developer.
In Dec 2009, my QTLS arrived.
I am also a
- Fellow of the Institute for Learning (IfL)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
- Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA)
- Senior Fellow of the HEA
- LEGO (R) Serious Play (R) Certified Facilitator
My application to start a PhD was accepted by Edinburgh Napier University. Since January 2013 I am investigating open educational practices in the context of Academic Development.
I enjoy working within education (creating innovative new programmes, spicing up existing ones, facilitating, developing engaging resources, researching, coaching, mentoring, consulting), love being creative, experimenting (play?) with technology for learning and teaching, of course, and get great satisfaction when I can help others.
Academic Developer: My current role and responsibilities
Currently, I work at the University of Salford and am an Academic Developer within Academic Development. I work with academics and other professionals who teach and support learning at the University to enhance, enrich and transform teaching and learning practices.
I am a member of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) Programme team which is a postgraduate programme offered to new and experienced academics and other professionals who support learning within our University and leads to a recognised teaching qualification in HE and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I have done extensive development work on the programme, lead the core module Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and the brand new Flexible, Distance and Online Learning Module to be offered for the first time in Sep 13. I am also the creator of the OER series Food for thought available on YouTube. Since December 11, I am the PGCAP Programme Leader and we are currently developing the programme further to Diploma level and an MA in Academic Practice. There are loads of videos and photographs that capture PGCAP activities and provide a rich flavour of the programme since it started in September 2010. We are also on Twitter, see @pgcap.
My approach is experimental and creative. I feel that it is important to do things differently and do different things (I have heard Prof. Ranald Mcdonald saying that during a SEDA Conference and his words stayed with me since!) as an Academic Developer and this means pushing the boundaries and immersing myself and others in unconventional (?) territories, some might find risky, to model alternative and innovative practice and make our staff reflect on their practice and think, un-think and re-think and I am doing this with them and empower individuals and teams I am supporting. My approach is deeply rooted in reflective practice and action research which informs practice and everything I do is future facing.
I enjoy working and learning with and helping individuals and groups, meeting academics and other professionals who support learning internally but also during network meetings, Special Interest Groups (MEL SIG) and conferences and have used many events to make new contacts which have lead to a number of collaborations.
Beyond my current profession, I do love loads of other things and if the day had more hours I would become a hairdresser, interior designer, pottery artist, illustrator etc. etc. In my free time (don’t really have that much) I would love to play more wiff-waff (ping pong), badminton and swim more. I am not a person who has ever been bored… there is so much to do!!!
Keep your brain fit: Never stop learning!
If you would like to contact me, my email address is c.nerantzi @ salford.ac.uk (without the spaces)
For more specific information regarding workshops, presentations, publications and interests, please access the relevant tabs. Thank you.