7. The Importance of Technicians in the education of UAL Students.

Written in a Spark Journal Vol1 No2 by Clare Sam the role of technicians is investigated to find out how UAL technicians conceive the role in higher education.  One of Sams’ findings show ‘…in art and design direct interaction with staff is paramount to learning. Technicians play an important part in delivering this aspect of student experience.’ (Sams 2016 P65)

The importance of the technicians in the students learning has not always been fully recognized across many subject areas in higher education which can lead to limited development opportunities for the technicians. (Vare 2013) I believe this has started to change within the last 5 years but I would argue has it gone far enough. If the technician’s role in teaching educating our students it fully recogised, then the importance of supporting them in the teaching of students with specific learning requires would be highlighted and they would be provided with more training and tools to teach their students.

Vere, K. (2013) ‘In defence of the university technician’, The Guardian, Higher Education Network, 2 August. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/aug/02/university-technician-teaching-research-development(Accessed: 29th Dec 2018).

Sams, C. (2016) ‘How do art and design technicians conceive of their role in higher education?’ Spark: UAL Creative Teaching and Learning Journal. Vol 1 / Issue 2 (2016) pp. 62-69 at: https://sparkjournal.arts.ac.uk/index.php/spark/article/view/18 (Accessed 29th Dec 2018).

 

 

 

6. Analysis Research

The word ‘‘trustworthiness’ (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).’ is used with-in research projects that are derived from real life experiences such as mine.

When analysing the data collected, a researcher must be aware of the limitations of their participant responses. I have done this by evaluating the responses and non-responses that are given in the collection of my data. Questioning the quality and reliability of the response or questioning why there is a none response to particular questions. When analysing Participant 2 responses to the questionnaire I noticed they had only answered the closed or multiple choice questions that did not require written responses. This could have been for multiple reasons, perhaps not understanding the question because of the way the questions have been written, limited teaching experience or limited time restraint for that participant. When developing my finding I must be aware of their these limitations.

‘the use of multiple methods in generating and gathering data offers the opportunity for using triangulation to help get a ‘fix’ on a complex something in order to understand it more fully by examining it from different perspectives.’ (Gray and Malins 2004 P142)

In this project, I have used multiple methods to gather data. In my analysis, I will examine the data on teaching students with specific learning requirements from three different perspectives to gain a ‘trustworthy’  understanding. The perspectives are contextual research via books, papers, and articles, the UAL institutions via an interview with the Disability Service and the teachers experience via a questionnaire.

(Gray and Malins 2004 p 143) This image from Gray and Malins shows you the process of triangulation in analysis. It has helped me to visualise the different perspectives that will be contributing to the information to be evaluated and analysed.

Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing Research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Ashgate.

Lincoln, Y. and Guba, E. (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage).

5. Reflection and Analysis… Interview with Disability Service

Transcription.

I decided to use Google Docs to transcribe my interview. I used the ‘voice typing’ tool, this works best to a human voice rather than a recording, so I listened to the recording off my phone with headphones and spoke in to google docs everything the participant and I said. Although it did take 6 hours for a 40-minute interview and involve a lot of going back over the recording. I believe it was an effective method. I then removed it from google docs onto a secure memory stick. When I was transcribing and listening to the recording it gave me time to reflect and really listen to the answers, which is difficult to do when in the actual interview.

The main aspects that I learned from this interview are:

Training –

  1. They provide a range of training to staff.
  2. DET (Disability Equality Training) is done by an external provider.
  3. This is their baseline training and they encourage as many staff members as possible to do.
  4. Various other training that included ISA storage and management, inclusive assessment and brief inclusive training.
  5. This training is normally more specifically directed at academic staff, but anyone can attend.
  6. Sometimes they can be devised to respond to a particular situation with a student or barrier that has been highlighted.
  7. It is not compulsory.
  8. They are involved in the inclusive unit on the teaching and learning PG Cert course.
  9. A new type of training is coming to December about Mental Health and Inclusive practice

From the participant responses, I felt that the focus of the training currently provided is toward the academic staff. I would be interested to see if technicians or support workers feel they could be better supported through additional training that was focused on their areas of practice.

For example, it could be helpful for study assistants to know how to make a brief inclusive. My role as a study assistant can often involve breaking down and re-writing a brief to help a student understand it. The inclusive brief training is aimed at academics to make all briefs inclusive, meaning the support workers role of helping a student would not be required. In theory, this makes sense but as this is not yet the case until all briefs given to students are completely inclusive to all students I believe it could be useful for a support worker to attend this type of training.

It was clear from the interview that UAL is aware of the importance of training its staff about disability and inclusive practice. With new courses being developed they are showing their willingness to provide students with a safe and inclusive environment. My only question about this is, are enough or the right teachers getting access to this training and do they feel it can be transferred into their teaching practice?

 

ISA –

  1. The document is devised between the student and their disability adviser.
  2. The student agrees that the content will be shown to course leaders and staff.
  3. The teaching staff is invited to come back and ask questions about the ISA.
  4. It does not include their diagnostic information, since September 2018 the disability service and GDRP guidance believes that it is not necessary for the teacher to know this to put the requirements in place.
  5. It does not include any extra support the student might getting ie one to one specialist study support tuition or mentoring.
  6. It is the responsibility of the course leader to disseminate the ISA to everyone who is going to be teaching that student.
  7. Support workers will be shown the ISA if they request it, not automatically

I found it interesting to know that it is the responsibility of the course or program leader ‘to make sure that [the ISA] is shared with everyone who is going to be teaching that students.’ (DS)

I would be interested to see if this is happening effectively across the institution? And if technicians know where to ask for this information if they have not been shown it? From my experience, students can have a large amount of contact time with technicians and other non-academic staff.  I believe it is just as important they are prepared to know the need of specific students as the student tutors.

For a member of staff who are teaching disabled students, this document is the only form of information they receive that will help them to meet the needs of the student. Is it being circulated properly and who’s responsible is that? Another question that has come out of this interview is do staff members feel the information on the ISA is sufficient to support them with meeting the student’s needs? From my experience with ISA’s they can be quite generic and vague, I would be interested in finding out if this is the case with other staff members?  if it is what could the disability service do to give more information that will help staff meet the needs of their students?

I understand and agree that is it not necessary for a student’s diagnostic information to be known by the teaching staff. It is important that the student is not defined by their impairment. Perhaps there is a way of providing staff with more information to teach this specific student, to help the student be understood by their teachers so they can gain a sense of belonging and reach their full potential on the course. Perhaps by finding out from staff members the type of information they feel they would need, we can suggest a recommendation on how things can be achieved.

 

 

Social Model-

  1. UAL is Social Model focused and all training is given to staff is social model focused.
  2. The participant believes that you should not be critical of the language that someone uses but you should encourage the willingness to learn.
  3. The DS (disability service) do this first through the DE Training. They believe they can create an understanding and a willingness to understand by teaching through example.
  4. The DS has leaflets and newsletters that inform staff about the preferred language
  5. The DE Training can help the teachers to understand language and ‘take the scariness out of it to some extent’

I believe that when both DET training and teaching though the example is used to encourage staff to understand and use the preferred language around disability it can be successful. My two questions from this would be. How many of staff members (full and part time) have been to this training? And did they find the training helped them to understand the social models massage and use of language?

 

Communication –

  1. Disability adviser is assigned to specific program areas, long term to build a relationship with the staff and to understand the course requirements.
  2. The adviser is there to support the teachers to support their students.
  3. To advise the staff on how to implement the ISA or change aspects of their course to make it inclusive.
  4. There is always more to be done to enhance such relationships.

The question that this information has sparked for me is: do the staff feel supported by the advisers connected to their course?

The participant went on to talk about inclusive practice principles. This is a teaching idea that I totally agree with. If you implicate certain teaching practices for one student, they can have a benefit to many other students. This is the message that the training seeks to do but the participant acknowledges that there is always more to be done. I would ask what are these? What are the inclusive practice principles that they would like to be seen put in place?

 

 

DSA Funding –

  1. In 2016 the government no longer funds support workers. It is now the responsibility of the university to fund this support.
  2. The training is not directly affected by the funding change but it does mean the resources that was spent on training now covers the support workers as well.
  3. The change has had a positive effect because it has boosted the effort to train staff so less support workers are required because the classrooms are more inclusive to more students.

Although the answers the participant gave me were formal and directed by the university policies, I found them interesting. They start to show how ‘resources’ can have an effect on the support provided to the students. If they do not have the funding to pay part time staff to go on the training, they will have less members of staff trained to meet the requirements of disabled students. The university has a very high number of part time staff, this could mean students with specific learning requirements are being misunderstood or their needs are not being met.

I requested from the DS the number on current members of staff that have attended the DET training. The figure I was given at 697 staff members since 2012, but this number is said to have limitations on accuracy because of lack of robust record keeping.  This number also does not acknowledge what percentage of these staff members are still working at UAL. I will have to use my questionnaire to find out if the participants have had training and use this to give an idea of the percentage of full or part time staff that have attended the training.

 

Equipped –

  1. Big university always more to be done.
  2. One barrier staff face is lack of time and recourses. Example, documents online 24 before the lesson.
  3. The DS job is to support the staff to overcome this barrier. Example, make their point to the dean for more resources.
  4. Course teams see the things they are required to do to become an inclusive environment as an extra.
  5. The academic strategies review has included additional recourses to create more fulltime teaching roles to help allow time for staff to meet these requirements.
  6. Restriction on training part-time staff is that UAL may not be the resources to pay them to do the training outside of teaching hours.

The key information I took from these comments was that staff may not be fully equipped because of the lack of time and recourses available to them. Although there is the promise of extra teaching staff, the DS still has the big challenge of getting staff with little spar time to alter and change the way they teach to be inclusive. My question from to the staff would be to see if the teaching staff feel they have the support and resources from the university to create an inclusive environment and to meet the needs of their students?

 

Aims and Challenges –

  1. Challenge is to become an inclusive teaching and learning environment.
  2. Making all campuses assessable and inclusive.
  3. Getting everyone to start understanding the context of inclusive teaching and learning.
  4. Resourced enough to feel that it can become part of our day to day life.
  5. The aim is to have all taught sessions captured on video, but they are nowhere near that.

These challenges and aims mentioned above are the role of what the disability service has been put in place to do. I believe that there is always room for improvement and development. I hope that by asking the teaching staff about their experience I can provide some recommendations from the staff to UAL to reach the goal of becoming an inclusive teaching and learning environment.

 

The Interview.

This was the first time I had conducted an official face to face interview and I found I got pretty nervous. When reflecting on the interview and doing the transcription I become aware that there are definitely areas that I could have questioned the participant on further. This could have given a more in-depth insight into the Disability Service. The participant tended to go off on a tangent to explain the subject of my question in depth before giving her response or views.

To overcome these issues, I have decided to follow up the interview with extra questions, which I will be asking over email. I will be sending these questions with the transcriptions for their approval. I believe that an email interview will be a good method to follow up as it will allow the participant the time to reflect on their answers before responding. The participant will also have the transcription to read and add anything they may feel they missed out.

 

How will I use this information?

From this interview, I plan to develop the highlight question in orange into a questionnaire to the staff members at UAL.

 

 

4.Reflection… Writing the interview questions.

I developed the questions for this interview by focusing on my aims of the project and the context of information that I hope to get from the participant.

My preliminary aims for this project were to ‘investigate how the institution prepares its staff to teach students with specific learning requirements. I wanted to use the information I gather from this interview to inform my questionnaire to the staff members at UAL which will be used to achieve the second two aims of the project.

This will help the questionnaire writer to determine which questions to ask and the type of language to use in order to carry out the ‘conversation’ with respondents in a way that they will understand and will help them to provide the information that is sought. (Bruce, I. 2008 p.8)

 

The questions I developed came from 6 areas of investigation:

  1. The training that is provided to its staff to support them in teaching disabled students.
  2. The individual support agreement (ISA) To help understand what information teachers are receiving about their students and how it is intended to be used.
  3. The Social Model of Disability and how it relates to the universities policies and training.
  4. The relationship between the disability service and UAL staff
  5. The implications of DSA funding changes on the training of staff.
  6. The future aims and challenges of the disability service at UAL and how the teaching staff could be better supported by the university.

When writing the question, I was aware that I needed to keep them open and without bias or assumption. This was especially apparent with the questions about the social model of disability and the language associated with it. My bias was that I believe it should be more considered within the teaching environment and staff should be encouraged to be aware of it and highlight the preferred language to their students.

Also, when writing the question, I found that I often incorporated two questions in one, after doing the interview I understood how important it is to present one at a time as the interviewee often forgets the second part of the question and only focus on the first.

 

These are my final question for the interview:

I have added orange notes that will help promote me and examples to provide further explanation if needed.

Questions:

  1. What specialist training is given to staff to help them teach students with specific learning requirements? Ask for examples
    Is this training mandatory or optional?
    Are staff required to ‘top-up’ their training, and if so how often? If new legislation is passed are staff automatically informed/trained
  2. What is the purpose of the ISA report and how is it used?
  3. How do you decide how much of the ISA report is relevant and should be disclosed to staff?
  4. In the Social Model of Disability much is written about the preferred language and terminology. What is your view on this within the higher education environment?

These examples I have are taken from ‘Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Learning guide to the language.
Avoid/ offensive                                            Preferred
A person with a disability                         Disabled person

The disabled                                                   Disabled person
Special Needs                                                 Individual needs

  1. How is awareness and understanding of language and terminology around disability promoted to teaching staff? For example, lecturers, technicians, support workers?
  2. How are communication and collaboration built between teaching or technical staff and The Disability Service?
  3. Could more be done to enhance such relationships to provide a consistent teaching experience?
  4. What implications do funding changes have on the disability training provided to teaching and technical staff?
  5. In your view are the teaching and technical staff of UAL adequately equipped to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all students?
  6. What additional ways could staff be supported by UAL to provide a more inclusive environment for their students?
  7. What are the future aims and challenges of the disability service at UAL?

 

3. Methodology Activity Theory

What Activity Theory is and how it relates to my research project.

‘Activity Theory is a practical framework which can be used to understand the complex and dynamic problems of human research and practice.’ (Hashim & Jones p6)

The aim of my research project is to better understand the experience that teachers have when teaching students with specific learning requirements. The focus is on how teachers can provide a more inclusive environment to disabled students.

Activity theory is a methodology of analysing human interaction through the use of tools.  The idea behind this theory is that things happen through people doing things. Activity is broken down into five parts, subject, tool, object, rules, community, and division of labor which will result in an outcome.

 

In the research project, the subject is the staff members at UAL, the tool is the research methods ie questionnaire to the staff experience, the object of this project is the teaching of disabled students. These factors will be influenced by the rules of ethics and disability policy, the community of the institution of UAL and finally, the division of labor is the disability service. The desired outcome of this project is a more inclusive environment and disabled student’s needs being met.

This is the activity system for my research project:

Activity Theory

Activity theory sees the introduction of a tool, in my project the questionnaire to create an action of recommendations to meet the needs of disabled students. The interaction between the staff (subject) and the institution (community) is effected by the ethics and disability policy of UAL (rules) and the interactions between the teaching of disabled students (object) and the institution (community) will be affected by the disability service (a division of labor). This highlights that to achieve the best understanding of the activity you must look at the whole picture. I must look at all the elements to make the analysis of the project and each element will have an effect on the other. Hashim and Jones sate ‘it is only when viewing the larger activity that individual actions are comprehensible.’ (Hashim & Jones p.4)

It is through the tool of interviews and questionnaires with the staff at UAL and the disability service that I will reveal the experiences of teaching and meeting the need of disabled students. The tool in action will provide methods to improve and show the benefits of learning more about how to provide an inclusive environment.

By observing and analysing the experiences of the teachers through the questionnaire I can observe the patterns of positive and negative experience to create awareness and to influence the tool or outcome I may create as a result. The outcome for the project could become a tool to be observed and analysed again in a cycle to continue improving the goals of meeting the needs of our disabled students.

Activity Theory can be used to clarify the way disabled students needs are met and indicate to the staff through participation and the outcome of how they could provide better support for their students.

I believe Activity Theory will help me to push my project further and perhaps to provide a suggested solution. Although this was not the intention of my project I feel it will help me to focus on the project. I agree with the way Hashim and Jones describe ‘activity as hierarchical’ (Hashim p.18), this model is for ‘decomposing activities into actions and operation’ (Hashim p.18) with contextual and historical background.  If I can provide staff at UAL with a list of recommendation to help them meet the needs of their students I will feel this project has a purpose. My role as a support worker is focused on removing barriers and supporting students, I would like this to influence the outcome for this project.

Hashim, N and Jones, ML, (2007) Activity theory: a framework for qualitative analysis, in 4th International Qualitative Research Convention (QRC), Malaysia, PJ Hilton

2. ‘Disability Matters’: the role of personal tutors for inclusive teaching and learning. Suanne Gibson.

Suanne starts her essay with a statement that I feel supports my rationale for this project. ‘…tutors need to show a greater understanding and awareness of the lived experiences of undergraduates students with disabilities and use their own knowledge to facilitate inclusive teaching strategies.” (2012 page 61).

I am interested in investigating the impact of the teaching role on their students. This will start by researching how UAL is educating its teachers with the right tool to provide inclusive teaching strategies.

The evidence shown in Suanne’s essay is provided from the student’s experience, she gives examples of methods that could be used to help disabled students feel part of the university environment. She suggest that the use of a personal tutor can give the student a connection to the member of staff that is approachable and they perhaps feel happy to share concerns with and will feel understood. I have witnessed this in practice with the students I support. When a student can express themselves to a teacher without the worry of being misunderstood their self-esteem grows they are likely to gain a higher connection to their work.

I believe by equipping the staff with tools to provide an inclusive environment, all students will benefit. By having a diverse cohort of students they can learn from each other and add to their studio community. ‘…encouraging my students and other to grow, to be empowered by and through each other and make a positive impact upon their communities.’ (2012 p.60)

The table below shows six factors that have been highlighted to be contributing to the exclusion of disabled students in higher education. (2012 p 62)

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For the Love of Learning: Innovations from Outstanding University Teachers. Edited by Tim Bilham 2013 PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, Hampshire.

1. Social Model of Disability. Tom Shakespeare.

Key points and questions on the Social Model of Disability.

The medical model of disability sees the persons medical impairment as the reason for their limited function. The terminology that would be used is ‘people with disabilities’. They are defined in association with having a disability.

The social model of disability offers a distinct difference between impairment and disability. Impairment is the medical reason for a person’s limitation. Whereas disability is the loss or limitation on a person by societies environment and structure.

Tom Shakespeare says “Disability is now defined, not in functional terms, but as
“the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a contemporary social organisation which takes little or no account of people who have physical impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities.” (op cit)

The role of a disabilities support worker at UAL is to remove the barriers of the university environment and the student’s higher education to provide an inclusive and accessible space to everyone.

UAL’s policy on disability is structured around the social model of disability; they develop policies and practices to promote inclusive environments that achieve The Social Model’s goal of removing barriers for disabled people.

Terminology is said to be a key element to the social model movement and has been used to define and promote The Social Model’s message. Shakespeare stated that ‘it has had an impact on how disabled people see themselves … and to assert their right to equality’.

As a support worker, I was required to attend a DET (Disability Equality Training), which focuses on the barriers and attitudes that disabled people with impairments face. They highlight the` role of the organisation’s such as higher educational university into the removal of those barriers and attitudes. One way this is done it through the importance of ‘acceptable’ language.

Some key terms used in the social model.

– ‘People with visual impairments’ or ‘blind people’
– ‘a person with a hearing impairment’ or ‘a deaf person’ or ‘sign language user’
– ‘disabled person or ‘disabled people’

Does UAL have a unacceptable/ acceptable language for staff members at UAL like this one used at Glasgow’s Centre  for Inclusive Living?

Glasgow Social Model Language
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Shakespeare, Tom. “The Social Model of Disability.” The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard J. Davis. New York: Routledge, 2010.

UAL Confidentiality Guide: (https://www.arts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/28828/Disability-Service-Confidentiality-Guide-PDF-1.74KB.pdf)

Access Support and Facilities for Disabled Students at UAL: (https://www.arts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/30767/Access-Support-and-Facilities-for-Disabled-Students-at-UAL-PDF-538KB.pdf)

UAL Disability Service website: (https://canvas.arts.ac.uk/sites/working-at-ual/SitePage/45674/disability-and-dyslexia)

 

9. Jennifer Warren – Schooling and Culture V2 issue 1

Jennifer Warren – Inclusive Unit – Schooling and Culture
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4AWjQ3wtyuncDZWdHhaVGp2dkk/view

-As teachers within Higher Education, do you think it is necessary to think about school and FE? What perspective might we gain by doing this?

– I believe it is important to know your student’s background, their identity and the knowledge they have already gained in their previous education. This will allow us as a teacher to not see them as ‘empty vassals to impart our knowledge on’ but to recognise and build off their current education and skills. This relates to Paulo Friere acknowledgment of the Banking Concept. As stated in the publication ‘It is important to think of students not just as students but as colleagues who hold information that is not accessible to adults or professionals.’ The teachings of Friere’s will help us gain a better understanding of our students and in doing so will enable us to help our students reach their full potential.

Are there elements of ‘Schooling and Culture’s’ model of academic publishing/research/teaching that we could use in HE? If so what? And how might we bring this into our practice?

-The first element I liked about this publication was the message of collaboration between the teachers, the students and the publication. The publication does not want to be seen as a definitive all-knowing book, it is about the suggestion of what people have tried and learned through their own practice, to build a community to share knowledge.  I find the aspect of asking ‘us’- both students and teacher to feedback really great as it will allow the publication to build a fair and open discussion about our current education system, that I believe is needed.

– I enjoyed reading the Article called ‘Classroom Do’s and Don’ts for Students and Teachers’. This article is about a workshop run with year 10 students with the aim ‘to collaborate in the making of an artwork’ within a gallery setting. The technique of an ‘unscripted day’ was used to help the students decide on a theme for their collective outcome. I found this technique interesting as it allowed the students to learn about each other in an open and safe environment, and decide on a theme they are interested in without influence from the teachers or creator. This is a technique I have tried to adapt to the students I support. As a practicing artist it is sometimes difficult to not have a creative influence on the students work when helping them to understand their briefs. Using this technique of asking open questions and discussion will help the students discover their own ideas without the influence of others.  This workshop is also a great opportunity to give students a chance to develop ‘from critical thinkers to production action.’

– Below is a zine workshop sample which was given to the year 10 students after they had decided on the theme ‘Rules and Laws’. I liked how the publication has given the reader of the publication the material to use in their own practice. The teachers can experience first-hand how a creative workshop could be used to cover subject much as gender, politic, class, race and history. They also give the teacher the opportunity to feedback to the publication, which will build new information on the current education system.

8. Richard Ward -the NCTJ Teaching Shorthand Good Practice Guide

Richard Ward – Curriculum Design
Based in the recommendations of NCTJ – teaching 1 hour without a break, a group of 20 students as a maximum, and a minimum of 120 hours, and yet the University states that you have to teach 50 students in one class at a time, only have 90 hours to teach the course, and 1.5 hours without a break – how would you manage this.

From reading the NCTJ Teaching Shorthand Good Practice Guide it is evident to me that like most practical skills, you can only truly learn this skill through practice. The NCTJ has outlines that 120 hours is the suggested amount of hours to teach shorthand. Richard has asked the question how would I manage to deliver a class to the NCTJ recommendations within the restraints of the university limitations. My answer is, with difficulty… without changing the structure of the course to smaller classes and more contact hours (which Richard mentioned in class that he has proposed within his elected unit) it would be tricky.  This being said the outline states ‘shorthand cannot be learnt and developed effectively in the classroom alone. It requires lots of practice outside classroom sessions.’ With this in mind and the information I have gained from this resource, I have highlighted the aspects I would enhance on within the current course structure.

Firstly, and possibly this most significant to me is this practice of shorthand outside the classroom. I would encourage students to use shorthand in lectures and everyday life, without the fear of making mistakes. A friend’s child who is reception class recently informed me that her daughter and fellow students are never corrected on their spelling if it is written telephonically. This method is used so that young 4-5-year-old are not discouraged by being told they are incorrect all the time but are allowed the freedom to explore and learn, to enjoy and connect with learning to write. I thought this was a really great lesson for all teacher to acknowledge. Obviously at some point there has to be an element of correction but perhaps if student learning shorthand where encouraged to explore this freedom with the skill at an early stage without complete accuracy they would gain confidence and a better connection to the skill. As someone with no knowledge of shorthand it feels to me like a completely new language and encouraging the student to use shorthand in everyday life without the worries of getting it wrong they are learning to embrace a new way of thinking and build a connection to the skill instead of seeing it as a barrier and test to overcome within their course.

The second point I took from this NCTJ guild was ‘To help retain [the students] interest, the best courses ensure that dictation material used in relation to the students’ work and interests.’ This is a technique I witnessed Richard Ward use in the observation I attended, he dictated to the fashion journalism students an article about Megan Merkle dress. This is an element I would enhance on further. Perhaps by getting the students to bring in an article they have highlighted of interest from another aspect of their studies they will start to make the link to the relevance of this skill to their future. This type of student-led learning can help students to become independent and responsible learners.  Podcasts on fashion designer, art movements and current events that are related to the student’s interest could be an invaluable source of dictation material. (Though I fear they may be spoken too quickly). These are the suggestions I would use to help students in the current course structure to make up for the decreased number of teaching hours suggested to be ‘recommended’.

On the issue of 1.5-hour lessons without a break- I would suggest dividing the lesson into two sections. The first section would focus on a new topic or technique.  In the second section of the class my suggestion would be to move the students around the classroom, by moving the students into smaller groups or even just to a new area of the room, can refresh their attention and help retain focus in a long class. Another technique that could be implicated in the second half of the lesson would be to ask the students what areas they would like to focus on, for example aspects they have struggled with in previous lessons. This could encourage them to start recognising their strength, weaknesses and areas to work on independently.

7. Opportunities and Challenges Refection

 In this session we completed a task which was focused on the opportunities and challenges of different aspects of teaching. In this reflection I have focussed on one-to-one teaching and the critique as these aspects link closely to my current teaching practice.

One-to-one Teaching

Opportunities:
– The ability to build a relationship with the student on an individual level.
– Prepare and adapt teaching methods in accordance with specific learning needs.
– Provide increased contact time for targeted guidance.
– Highlight and re-direct certain issues towards external support.

There are many opportunities that my one-to-one support role provides to the students. One of the most significant is the chance to build a student’s confidence in their work and social interactions, something that they may otherwise be lacking as a result of their impairment. A student I supported experienced anxiety when speaking to his peers about a personal project depicting his disability. By having a one-to-one tutorial with me he was able to gain the feedback he needed to proceed with the project. More importantly he also developed a technique of talking about the project in the third person, a method which enabled him to discuss the project with his peers without feeling anxious. As a result he gained a huge sense of achievement and a boost in confidence.

Challenges
– Lack of diversity in the opinions of feedback.
– Limited opportunity for peer collaboration.
– Feedback hindered by opinion or personality clash.
– Lack of counter arguments or feedback from which to develop.

I have sometimes found it difficult to provide practical support to students to help them achieve their goals whilst simultaneously ensuring they do not feel a loss of ownership. Striking this balance is a particular challenge in scenarios when a lot of the physical work is completed by the support worker.

Critique

Opportunities
– A wide range of feedback from teacher and peers.
– Students gain an understanding of their work through presentation and peer input.
– Develop valuable presentational skills in a safe environment.

Challenges
– A range of differing opinions from peers and teachers could be misleading.
– Outspoken individuals may overshadow more introverted students.
– Anxiety and language barriers can hinder a student in a critique environment.
– Students may not all receive equal time to present and receive feedback.
– Energy levels of teachers and students may drop towards the end of the session, speaking first may be advantageous.

 

I found this task really informative and helpful towards my SiP, within which I intend to take a challenge I encounter within my teaching practice and find present a possible solution. I am particularly interested in investigating the challenges around understanding and providing each individual student with the correct support they need. Key questions such as what if the student doesn’t know what type of support they will need? And How can a teacher find this out? When I have an initial meeting with any new student the challenge is establishing the type of support they will need. In some cases students are forthcoming and have a clear idea of the ‘help’ they require, either because they have had support before or a because the support has been allocated to a specific project. In other scenarios it can take some time to build the relationship and confidence of trust with a student before you can understand how they work and how to support them. In my SiP I hope to find solutions that would be applicable to both situations so I can always quickly and effectively understand my role for each individual student