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Archive for the ‘1/6 Educational Autobiography’ Category

Me as a learner:

I am fortunate to have had an incredibly positive educational experience throughout my life. I went to the local C of E primary school, where I was fairly average at everything and then managed to win a free place at a local independent girl’s school: Redmaids. I went to Redmaids for 7 years and did my A-levels there. I loved secondary school and feel very strongly that going to a single sex school was of great benefit to me, both academically and personally because I believe that I would have been enormously distracted by the presence of boys. I had many male relationships in my life out of school, so didn’t feel as though I was missing out just because there weren’t boys at school. I was fortunate that I was in very small classes when I did my A-levels, so was taught by enthusiastic teachers who filled me with passion for their subjects. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t do very well in my A-level exams and so ended up at what was Manchester Polytechnic (Redmaids were all ‘expected’ to go to university!) I had applied to do highly academic subjects such as theology and classics at university, yet at Manchester I did a degree in Applied Community Studies, which in hindsight I consider to have been so much more suited to me and the sort of person and learner that I am as the course was made up of placements and theory. This is where my passion for working in the ‘caring professions’ was cemented, and following working in a residential home for people with learning disabilities for 2 years, I started the Joint Programme in learning disability nursing and social work at Manchester University and Salford University qualifying in 2000. I later completed an MSc in Collaborative Health Care at Salford University.

Me as a teacher:

All my studies have been delivered by teams made up of passionate and enthusiastic individuals, as well as those who seem disinterested in their subject. I have always been motivated by the infectious spirit of those who love what they do, and this is probably the most influencing element of my years of learning that I try to bring into my teaching now. Palmers words (n.d, cited by hooks 2003 p19) resonate with me: ‘As good teachers weave the fabric that joins them with students and subjects, the heart is the loom on which the threads are tried, the tension is held, the shuttle flies, and the fabric is stretched tight.’ I like the fact that the students I teach are a truly unique bunch of individuals – different in terms of age, cultural background, sexuality, experience and so on. I believe that they are all able to bring something to the classroom that we can all learn from (V1)

Needs analysis:

I am comfortable trying new ideas and working with groups, and like to use lots of interaction and discussion within my teaching. Teaching smaller groups (ie up to 30) is very much within my comfort zone, and on the occasions that I have taught more than this, I have had to radically change my mode of teaching, as it becomes harder to engage the group in discussion and debate, and to keep all members of the group on board if such discussion does start to take place. I believe that the biggest challenge for me doing the PGCAP will be around the use of technology. I am a bit of a technophobe, but can definitely see the benefits of technology to learning. I am also excited about exploring new ideas and studying with people from such a wide range of disciplines – the learning we can gain from each other is so rich (A5). Finally I am excited about putting all my learning into practice.

Action Plan:

  • To develop my portfolio and work out how to organise it
  • To read around the topic of teaching and learning – I would like to read bell hooks book from cover to cover as the first couple of chapters have ben so inspiring!
  • To engage in online discussion and the webinars. This initially means getting the right equipment, and then getting set up to join in.
  • To try and use the ‘protected time’ that I have saved for myself to really get stuck in.

Boud D, Keogh R & Walker D (eds)  (1998) Reflection: turning experience into learning London; Kogan Page.

Palmer P. (n.d) ‘The courage to teach’ cited by hooks b. (2003) Teaching Community – A pedagogy of hope New York; Routledge.

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