#ILTA192 week 5 pizza day… our little secret

Our last week, our last session. Today. This morning. I wanted my colleagues who are also my students, to experience a student-led session, a session fully directed by them, as students. I felt that emptying the room even of furniture would help. Create an open space. An open space for thinking. For ideas. For exploration. Can’t wait to see everybody’s reaction. I did start writing this post in advance of the session…

There is always the temptation, as we get excited with what we teach, to orchestrate everything for the students. But learning to let go and not control the process is equally important, if not more important. I will only make some suggestions and then step back. Resources around assessment and feedback, the topics for our session, will be on Moodle and anything can be used what is there or elsewhere. I can’t wait to see what happens, how learning will happen in the first two hours. I do trust them all.

The no tables/desks approach seemed to work. I don’t know what my colleagues did expect from today but they were warned. I think the student-led approach used today really showed that freedom can be liberating but also disorientating. But we got there. Two groups were formed and leaders emerged organically that took others on a journey, an exploration. I did really enjoy listening into their conversations and could see that my colleagues were focused and on task. They shared experiences, practices and ideas across disciplines.

The microteach preparation part showed that my colleagues had concrete ideas for their sessions. I was hoping our Manchester city centre game helped them with this. And I think it really did help them. The questions they had today were mainly around the paperwork and the level of detail required in the forms. They were asking about examples of work too.

I wish I had gone with my original idea of paired microteach sessions. It would have been a completely different experience for all of us and so so useful. We would also have larger groups and safe time as well? Peer learning through team teaching can be invaluable. Thinking beyond observing teaching in somebody else’s classroom or being observed by somebody external to a unit or programme just opens up new possibilities. My recent experience of team teaching a postgraduate unit with a colleague in nutritional sciences as invaluable for both of us and I wanted to give others the opportunity to experience something like this…I hope it can happen one day…in the not so distant future.

My feeling is that the unit is too short. Relationships need time to develop, more time than we had. And trust. Trust develops and grows over time, it doesn’t happen over night and it is so so important in learning and teaching. When we trust, we become more open, more experimental, more tolerant of each other, of ideas and stuff that we would otherwise not consider. I hope in the next iteration of the programme, there will be more time to develop relationships and trust and grow pedagogic experimenters.

This is the end for now. I miss you all already. Keep questioning. Our curiosity drives us forward.

See at least some of you for the microteach sessions later this month.

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