One year on

May 10, 2012

A year has passed since I completed my Degree and gained QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). I often come back to this blog and look back through the posts fondly, and reflect on what a delightful whirlwind the whole experience was. This year, I have just been a teacher completing the NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) program. I use the word ‘just’ as I do feel that it is quite a step down from the pressures and progress made last year. None the less, teaching is not easy, and when thrust into the absolute thick of it with no other distractions, it is rather daunting! Anyway, all is well and I continuously reflect back to last year and think I will always see it as being one of my life’s greatest achievements.



July 19, 2011

I have to confess, as much as I enjoyed my degree and all that I gained from it, there was always a greater goal. A three year journey now comes to a complete close with the above certificate. I never shared the fact that I was doing my GTP (Graduate Teacher Program) with my fellow cohort for fear of counting my chickens before they had hatched. I undertook my GTP in January of this year once I was as close enough to a graduate within the academic year and embarked on six months of absolute epic amounts of work and stress from holding a full time teaching position (as I had done all throughout my degree), undertaking my GTP training (2x 3000 assignments, three school placements, three hours of lectures a week, collection of 100 pieces of evidence against the 33 QTS standards and 20 formal lesson observations) and of course finishing my degree (10,000 word dissertation and 6,000 word supplementary module).

Now at the end of it, I am a qualified ICT teacher, something I have aimed for every single day for the last three years. Any school in the country (and in fact most of the world) is now available to me and I have already had two job offers. I will be staying put for now, but never loosing my drive throughout this process, the next mile stone is not that far away.


May 10, 2011

I shall be sporting this very soon indeed!

So here I am, three years from the crisis that was my dilemma about higher education and I am now at the end of a very successful degree course of study. I have submitted over 70,000 words (or equivalent with alternative medias) and very likley to graduate with Upper second-class Honours this Autumn.

It has been one of the best journeys of my life and I have probably learnt more about myself and my own capabilities than the course content itself. That is not to say I have not learnt much, its just the personal gains have been so great, I feel that I could conquer the world! It may be about 30 working days until I get my marks back, but I remain confident – one such attribute I have developed in this course.

From here, it is onwards to a career in teaching, knowing full well that I have the transferable skills needed to do anything I set my mind to.

P.S, My gift to those still on the course and fellow students joining me in crossing the finishing line, a spreadsheet programmed to work out your final grade, given the weighting of the modules and so on: Mark Calculator (This spreadsheet has nothing to do with Anglia Ruskin University, I made it myself and I cannot guarantee its accuracy. Use as a guide only)

Looking back on alternative media

November 1, 2010

An excerpt from an alternative media assignment

Throughout my previous study, I have learnt many skills that I do not have the space here to list. One specific I want to unpack here is the concept of using alternative media to present assignments. University is all too often associated with 3,000 word essays and the like, but it really does not have to be that way.

I have made use of a variety of media to present my assignments and I am lucky that I work with a University / Faculty that embraces this medium. I have used everything from Poetry to Animation. As long as the medium accurately meets the outcomes required of the assignment, what’s the problem? I would even go to say that my faculty would prefer to see a 5 minute animation than a 1,500 essay! Some examples I have used in past study:

  1. Poetry – depicting a critical incident of a trip to China with Students, learning valuable lessons of pastoral care.
  2. Vlog – talking freely, prompted by notes, about an event. Feedback on this is that it promotes deeper reflection. I have to agree.
  3. Animated presentations – presentations done in Apple Keynote that allow the user to interact with the presentation and advance at their own pace.
  4. Emails to a hypothetical freiend – encourages persuasive techniques around an academic subject.

These are just a few examples of how I have utilised alternative media in my studies, I look forward to a time where assignment submission in these media is common place in all levels of education, because lets be real here, when do you write essays in ‘the real world’?

The four stages of learning

September 27, 2010

When we learn anything, it can be broken down into four phases. To learn or teach anyhting, it is of benefit to know when each of these four stages are reached to gauge learning:

  1. Unconscious incompetence – You dont know what a car is
  2. Conscious incompetence – You know what a car is, but you dont know how to drive it
  3. Conscious competence – You can drive a car whilst concentrating on how to do it
  4. Unconscious competence – You can drive a car without thinking about it

Can you think of any examples for anything you have learnt recently?

Reflections and targets from last years feedback

September 22, 2010
Reflection in a soap bubble.

Reflections being carried forward...

To get my third year off to a flying start, a short exercise of reflection on last year to create some targets seems like a good place to start.

Semester 1

Reflection in the work setting 2

  • Do not use visual enhancement unless it adds value to existing information
  • Demonstrate understanding and application
  • Use clear examples to demonstrate information – DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE!!!
  • Further develop understanding of Governing Variables
  • Systematic approach to the unpacking of ideas, supported by direct referencing of literature
  • To quote:

There are some good examples of critical engagement with theory, however; the depth of understanding that was evidenced needs to be strengthened. Increasing the amount and range of reading and taking a critical stance in your learning journal and community discussions will help develop your skills in this area.

Action Inquiry

  • Attention to Harvard Referencing detail – special attention to referencing within the text
  • Be critical rather than descriptive
  • Focus on key elements of action inquiry
  • Detail, detail, detail

Semester 2

Learning in the work setting

  • Ensure all sentence are well structured
  • Explicit discussion rather than implication needed when talking in detail about important points such as ethics
  • Precise expression of ideas
  • To quote:

Technology – consider genres, as well as media, seeking to develop further an academic approach that may also provide models for pupils or staff.

Technology in the work setting

  • Demonstrate wider reading of relavent literature
  • Concise writing sometimes detracts from the ability to demonstrate that an idea has been fully unpacked

So all in all not to bad at all, some things here to work on and take forward with me this year.

Level 3 initial thoughts

September 20, 2010

Nearly there.

So, the last and final year of my undergraduate degree. Woah that went fast! It only seems like yesterday that I was undertaking my on-line induction to the course. But enough of the reminiscence, onwards and upwards!

I have been looking forward to this Semester all summer as the topics covered are of particular interest to me. First off there is Technology for Dissemination, this is looking at ways for information to be presented, to who and for what purpose… or as far as my understanding at this point can deliver. I am swaying towards web technologies for this section as I have built over the summer, a project to firstly get myself a home on the web, but secondly to get to grips with technology that allows the presentation of virtually any information in virtually any format on the web.

The second major chunk is the Work Based Major Project which looks directly at practice and incorporates previous study of reflection, action enquiry, examination of organisational learning and all manner of other methodologies, techniques and models. I am initially thinking of something along the lines of bringing personal practice in line with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) standards. I do this as this is pivotal to my role and will put me in good stead for my eventual teacher training.

Whether or not any of this will come through as the weeks go on is uncertain, but I start this Semester ladies and Gentlemen with high hopes and high anticipation of the studies ahead. Lets go!