Ben Atkinson-Foster

Personal blog covering my research and practice

Author: batkinsonfoster

Week 5 – Reflective Teaching Practice & Learning Conversations I

This week, the feedback from my peers on the PGCHE course has been particularly useful when it came to revising and improving my own work on the session planning form. As I have made clear in previous weeks, my peers on this course have much more experience in delivering face to face teaching sessions than I do. As such their reflections on their own session planning forms and how they might improve them was something I focused on before revising my own approach.

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Week 4 – Introduction To Learning Design

This week’s focus has been learning design and session planning. During the week’s activities, we had our first opportunity to start working our session plan for the micro-teach session we have to deliver for the first assessment on the ‘Supporting Student Learning’ module.

In the first exercise I set out my own approach to designing and planning a teaching session, focusing on four key factors I felt would need to be considered when putting together any kind of teaching session:

Learning objectives – The importance placed on what students should know when they leave the session and how this relates to the overall learning objectives.

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Week 3 – Theories of Learning

For this week’s critical reflective journal, I’ve been considering the way in which my own experience of supporting student learning aligns with the ‘Learning Theories Table Summary’ explored in the main reading for this section of the module. Below I have explained briefly where I see synergies between the various learning theories and my own practice. I reflect on this week in the usual way at the end of this post.

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Week 2 – Reflective Practice

This week, I have learnt much more about the role of reflective practice in Higher Education. The two readings from Moon and Scales et al. were very useful in helping me to assimilate my own ideas on what reflection is, against my experiences of teaching and learning practice.

The idea that reflective practice provides some form of outlet for emotion is a particularly interesting one. It can be all too easy to have very strong emotional feelings in the time after a teaching session has finished, be they positive or negative, and as Moon points out, funnelling this emotion into the art of reflection, is far more appropriate than letting it infiltrate other areas which may not be as appropriate. Similarly, reflection should not be considered an ‘add-on’, instead, it should inform all aspects of teaching and learning practice in order to facilitate improvement and personal growth. In this way, I believe reflection is always a positive thing allowing you to see negatives in a new light and learn from them and take comfort in the positives that can be identified. All of this can be linked to the idea of ’embracing change’ as suggested by Scales et al. where reflection can only be successful when it takes place in all areas ‘in action, on action and for action’. You must be open to what reflective practice will tell you and use this for ‘development and meaningful conscious action’. All of this should be done with due consideration of emotional intelligence.

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Week 1 – What is Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Reflecting on the various elements of the UK PSF, it is clear there are many factors to supporting student learning in Higher Education effectively. I was lucky in the first week of this module, to find that we were considering the UK PSF as I have recently submitted my application for Fellowship to the HEA. This process required me to look in detail at the framework and consider my own practice in supporting student learning with Higher Education and where that sat within both the UK PSF and the HEA framework.

Looking at my notes from the podcasts, I have clearly focused on the design and planning of learning activities and on the assessment and feedback element of the session. These are two key areas in which I think learning at a HE level differs from that which students may have experienced before. Certainly, there is much more independent learning at HE level and students are required to consider their own thoughts and opinions in line with the subject matter, which will then allow them to draw their own theories and responses to the module content.

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