call to be open or reflections on week 1 #lthejan13 @pgcap

LTHEJan13 week 1

I smiled when I read this comment. I asked my new cohort to share with us how they felt at the beginning of the session, at the beginning of the PGCAP. The majority of students seem to be positive and are looking forward to this chapter in their life as a teacher in HE. But there were also some critical voices who are not convinced yet that this course will be useful for them. That is ok. I don’t mind as long as we all have an open mind and use the PGCAP as an opportunity to explore, experiment and discover but also to connect with colleagues from other disciplines. I smiled because of the self-realisation that my teachers are now students again while also being teachers and it also linked nicely with what I was trying to achieve in this session overall but also through the Lego model making activity, to look at themselves as learners. No point talking about teaching if we forget who we are as learners and our learners. It will be fascinating to follow how this dualism is influencing their thinking, reflections and actions but also if it also has transformative powers for who they are as a teacher.

LTHEJan13 week 1

one of our Lego models

My approach is playful and I try to do things differently and do different things, as I have heard some time ago Prof. Ranald Mcdonald saying in one of his workshops. We are all busy already and adding new stuff on top of what we do already just won’t work. We need to be open, work smarter, stop doing things that just don’t work and make time and space for new practices to emerge! We teachers are learners first. If we model learning and share our passion for learning and our subject with our students only then will we be able to connect with and enthuse them.

This session was an introducion into the PGCAP and the LTHE module. Was there a lot transmission of programme and module information going on? I think so! This is why I find it so challenging as I am not really a information transmitter. Information overload? We talk about flipping the classroom and making information available n advance of a session… isn’t this though just transmitting information in a different way, time and place? I really struggle with this approach. We talk a lot about self-directed and self-organised learning and if this means that the learner is in the driving seat, what does this mean for the teacher? The induction session is going to be changed radically for the next cohort. Some ideas I have at the moment:

LTHEJan13 week 1

loved the noisy conversations!

Programme handbook and module guide with resources will be available during orientation (they were now as well). A webinar will be organised to answer questions linked to the course and then during induction we will be able to get to know each other and immerse ourselves into the collaborative pedagogies through experiencing these. I think this could work better… It will be challenging if people don’t engage with the resources and don’t participate in the webinar… what would I do then??? Expectations need to be shared and working practices agreed from the very beginning. We only get out of it what we put into it! This applies to students and teachers!

Anything else I should be thinking about? Perhaps my LTHEJan13 students have some ideas? Feel free to share, ok? Thanks.

8 thoughts on “call to be open or reflections on week 1 #lthejan13 @pgcap

  1. The main point I got from the session was how much easier it felt to contribute once we had already loosened up to talking to one another, and from understanding how others felt about the session. I would like to incorporate this into my teaching but as a nervous PhD student I have been worried about ‘short changing’ students by not giving them their 1 hour fill of academics.

  2. Hi Juliette,

    thanks for commenting. Pleased to hear how you felt and what made you feel more relaxed about the course. When we are with students we need to think how we can maximise engagement (content is everywhere, remember?), if we focus too much on what we are doing there is a danger, a big danger, that we will loose our students… academia is about exchange and pushing the boundaries… how can this happen without open, critical and creative dialogue?


  3. Interesting post Chrissi. With a name like Prof. Ranald Mcdonald, it would be hard not to be playful!

    All of my teaching focusses more or less around social media, so of course I use these tools as part of the learning process. Your question, what if people don’t engage with the resources is very pertinent to me. I’ve found that if engaging with the resources is an important aspect, then I always try to get people engaging with it during a session as an exercise or task. I think this can really help people to get over some of the barriers of entry or break the ice as it were. This isn’t always feasible or an option of course, but I think there’s a really interesting conversation to be had around this question.

  4. Hi Alex, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Interesting what you say about social media. What did we do before social media was available? How did people get together then and what if some people don’t want to use social media? There are loads of barriers but also loads of benefits. How can we liminate the fear factor? What is needed? What could work? A few things to think about.


    • That’s a good question and I suppose it depends to an extent how you define social media. In the early 90’s on my degree, we had email, news groups, MUD’s and IRC accessible from halls or on campus, that was our social media then, but it wasn’t used very much for learning purposes like it would be today. I don’t know if you’ve seen Megan Poore’s Social Media in the classroom book released a few weeks ago? P3 she says “The internet has not always been social”. She says that web 1.0 tended to replicate ‘old-fashioned education’. I think this is the subject for a much longer post, but from my perspective, I have found there are barriers and issues, but the benefits are extensive and this is reinforced in this and other literature. Choosing a small number of platforms and building into a session to get people started using them can help in my experience, but there will be people that will not engage for many reasons. I had a good chat with a gentleman at the ECE conference on this subject.

  5. You are right Alex about web 1.0 and 2.0, but people have always been social animals.

    What stops us online? We are happy to socialise in our micro-worlds but not out there in the macro-world… is it the unknown? Is this also happening in ‘real life’. Let’s think about going to a party. Do we all start talking to complete strangers or do we stick to the people we know? And in a classroom situation? Students tend to sit next to the people they know already a bit…

    Opening up to the world and taking our words out of context that is scary? Do we think we don’t have anything of value to contribute to the discussion? Is it safer to just not engage? But what if I don’t want to? We need to accept and respect this also, don’t we?

  6. I’d not really considered it like that. I think there are a lot of things stopping us on-line including technical issues, fear of the technology or ramifications of making a mistake and as you say shyness. I think the big one though is the dreaded time. I think some people will look at the potential benefits or disadvantages and think hmm, I will maybe try that when I am less busy, which if you don’t bite the bullet could be little or never.

    I think it’s important for us as teachers to encourage people to engage both virtually and otherwise and to help people get over any fears or problems that they may have. Ultimately though, if people do not want to do it for whatever reason, then I will respect that. Interesting debate! Must focus on washing up and reading though now before an early start teaching tomorrow 🙂

  7. We can help people as you say, but it is up to the individual to decide what they want to do or think is best of them. Some might never join, others might dip in and other, other will embrace progressively and dive in straight away. Connecting and sharing happens at various levels in different dimensions. As a lot is happening in online networks, some might think that there are missing out if not present, others might prefer it this way. Just some further thoughts on this.

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