My #teacher5aday progress report


Since starting #teacher5aday in Decemeber I have tried to keep to it. I did update my progress a month in here. Now we are nearing May and Martyn Rhea (the instigator of #teacher5aday) is collecting updates. So here is my #teacher5aday update.

Connect

Home

I am happy to say I am still enjoying quality time with my children. Even better is the fact that they seem to be enjoying it too (which is always a bonus). Typical things we do are meals together sat at the table discussing each other’s day, trips to the cinema, swimming, weekends at our caravan, gardening and so on.

Work

I have been busy connecting with other further education practitioners through the various meetings I have been lucky to be part of (see here and here for some of them). I have also made some great friends in doing so.

Notice

Home

It is hardly surprising but I have noticed how much my children are growing up. The real give away is the fact that both of them are nearly as tall as me (although that is not very difficult as I’m only 5 ft). However what I have really noticed is that they have come to value the times set aside for them and I have too. Even better is I am no longer stressing about work when I’m with them.

Work

Recently I have noticed that all the hard work I have put into teaching my English functional skills students has finally paid off. So far I have had a very good success rate. Furthermore I have also noticed they have been paying attention to the feedback I gave them on the areas they needed to work on.

Exercise

Home

Swimming is still ongoing despite it being after a busy day. However it’s worth it, not only for the exercise part but the fun we all have together (although acting like a shark in the pool does get me some odd looks). Jogging has stopped as my son now joins his sister doing drama club on Saturday mornings. However all is not lost, the jogging has been replaced with cycling.

Work

Walking up and down lots of stairs!

Learn

Home

The hoovering will not do itself and there is no such thing as a cleaning fairy.

Work

I have learnt how to create new eLearning resources.

Volunteer

Home

I have still not achieved this one. As anything I volunteer for outside of work must fit in with my children. However I still hope I will succeed before the Summer holidays.

Work

I still continues to give any spare time I have to students that require either academic or pastoral support.

I have enjoyed doing #teacher5aday and will continue to do so.

Are we FELTAG ready?

online-technology (1)

I mentioned in an earlier post here that I would be involved in helping create resources to meet FELTAG requirements within my college. In January I completed a two-hour training session on types of online resources we would be using. Since then we have been creating resources to help deliver our curriculum.

The model we are using is simple enough to follow (I know it is because I understand it!) and I have to say it should be fairly easy for the students to use and engage with. Unfortunately I have not got permission to say what it is, however I am fairly certain our college will not be the only one using it.

Going back to the online resources, there are several things concerning me at present. The first is that not all students use their college VLE, some because they cannot be bothered and others because it genuinely confuses them. This is going to be a problem as the online resources will be accessed through it. It was only a few days ago a student asked me about a task she had been set. I explained that she needed to look back over her class notes and for further guidance she could look at the resources on our VLE. She looked at me blankly and asked “what’s that?”. As we were in a computer room I showed her, despite being given a lesson on using our VLE at the start of the year she had never attempted to access it. This is not an isolated incident and therefore I think come September a different approach to ensuring students use their college VLE’s effectively is required.

Secondly, despite my best efforts to complete my own resources well before the deadline, I failed. There is really no time in college to do additional tasks as any spare time is spent marking, filling out reports, dealing with students and so on. There is no such thing as spare time! However I did get it in on time but it was not as good as I would have liked it to have been. So yet again time is still an issue. This needs to be looked at if we want to be successful in using, creating and maintaining these resources.

Aside from the time factor what also held me up was trying to put myself in ‘my students’ shoes’. I looked at the resources I wanted to use and the learning outcomes needed to be achieved to pass the unit. It was quite hard to be honest, I had to keep reminding myself that the subject could be relatively new to them and not assume they already had some underpinning knowledge. At least when you are in the classroom you can expand on the subject more for those who need it.

My final thought is that what we have been creating (and are continuing to do so) seems pretty robust and that there is consistency throughout the college. I am sure this will be the case for other colleges too. The issues I envision dealing with are students with very little confidence using online resources and students who struggle to follow the online content independently. If we ensure support is given right from the start then hopefully we can avoid this. I am keen to see this work but I am also mindful of the potential frustrations it may cause some students (and teachers too).

Second date with the Education Training Foundation

Search For Solution

On Thursday the 26th March the second practitioner advisory meeting took place with the Education Training Foundation. This was a follow up meeting from the one held in January and the opportunity to see what had been done with our input and advice given in the first meeting.

The main focus of this meeting was to look at the membership package on offer. We would be looking at the first draft on what was on offer to an individual who works within further education and/or the adult learning sector.

As I mentioned in the first blog the ETF had looked at responses from their online survey. They have also been doing research with small focus groups in addition to the one I am currently part of. The ETF share this information on their website if you wish to look into further.

During the day we discussed the new features of the membership and read over the draft proposal. Some of the areas looked at was CPD, QTLS and professional standards. CPD covered some key areas within FE and adult learning, these were motivational strategies, using ILT, improving maths and English (ETF are very focused on this at present and currently running courses to support practitioners who deliver these), practitioner research and professional standards.

On my table we looked at the professional standards section. At present there are twenty professional standards (see here). We looked at the wording of each and how one could assess if you were meeting these standards. A discussion took place on using a possible self assessment tool that would then link into CPD. For example if an area of weakness was flagged up you could be signposted on the site to the relevant support, guidance or resources needed. At present I am unsure of the consequences if as a member you fail to meet these standards.

Each table discussed, analysed and evaluated the different CPD areas and what the membership offered. This was then presented back to the whole group and further discussions took place. The ETF will be looking at the feedback and using it to consider the membership proposal.

There was one area that caused much discussion towards the end, this was QTLS. This is an ongoing concern for all who teach in FE and adult learning as we are in limbo at present with the whole “you don’t need to be qualified in FE” thing. Interestingly the question was asked “why couldn’t it just be QTS?” This was something I had not really given much thought to, but I had certainly pondered over what the difference was. We have not really ascertained the best way to achieve QTLS and to be honest does it have any value given our current government opinion to anyone teaching in FE? Another question to consider is if QTS costs nothing, why does QTLS have a price? IFL charged for QTLS and I am assuming the ETF have inherited it and want to see what people think before giving it an overhaul. As a consumer I don’t mind paying for something if I know roughly how the price was arrived at. QTLS is something that will really need looking into further once the general election has taken place. If anyone has any further thoughts on QTLS or even views on QTS in FE please do share.