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Getting the hang of it

Task 3 of the MMEL11 course requires posting a message about ‘your skills’.

Turning to Wikipedia, a  skill is  the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both“.  Using this definition I can safely say that I am finally on my way to acquiring the skill of teaching.

This is my third year of teaching accounting and business studies at  The Oldham College.  The first two years were exhausting. I spent hours prepping for each lesson and worried if my students did not ‘get it’ first time round, or if a lesson went badly.  This year I am much more relaxed and confident in my approach.

A great example of a this was prepping for a BTEC unit: Business Resources, where the students have to investigate Human, Technological and Physical Resources in an organisation.  I arranged for the managers of each of those departments in the college to come in to talk to the students about their roles.   It was gold dust!  No prepping for me; more than enough information for the assignment; and a great opportunity for the students to talk to people in ‘real’ jobs, and the ‘guests’ really enjoyed it as well.

In addition, I feel much more able to look at ways of implementing the teaching and learning pedagogies I learnt about during my Cert Ed, such as Bloom’s taxonomy.

I am also very interested in using technology, not just for its own sake, but for finding new ways of teaching, learning and assessment.

I have always been interested in finding out how things work.  I remember in the early 90’s sending an e-mail from one office to another in the company I was working for.  It took hours to get through (does anybody remember 486 computers), and I’m not sure my colleagues understood my excitement.   Despite this, I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘techie’, but I do like to learn and use new technologies. If someone has taken the trouble to come up with an innovative way of working, then I am prepared to put up with the ‘pain’ of learning how it works.  If it doesn’t suit my particular purpose at the time, that doesn’t really matter – I will have learnt something along the way. I learnt (basic) HTML about 20 years ago, and now here it is cropping up again in WordPress.

Academically, I’m very much a late starter.  I left school with 2 O’levels and went to a further education college to get one more.  This makes me take a step back sometimes, when I’m bawling my students out for being late; not doing homework; or not turning up – they are actually doing much better than I was at their age. (Not that I let up on any of that teacher talk – maybe I wish I’d had more of it!)

It took me about 30 years to realise that perhaps I am not any less intelligent than the person sat next to me, who has  a degree.  About 4 years ago I took steps to address this by enrolling with the Open University.  The first course I took was an introductory one, “Writing Essays”.  I went on from there to complete a Level 1 course in Arts and Humanities, and after that gained a distinction in the Level 2 , “World Archaeology”.   I loved completing the assignments, the research involved in collating the information, and the discipline of academic writing .

These studies were interrupted when I started my new career in teaching.  I completed my Cert Ed this summer, and whilst that did involve academic writing, I didn’t really find the course challenging enough and did become a bit bored with it.

I’m sure that the MMEL will be much more challenging and I’m really looking forward to the work ahead.

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2 thoughts on “Getting the hang of it

  1. This is v interesting. I remember learning to look v hard at WHO is doing the work. Your teaching prep should facilitate your students’ work. I know I used to ‘spoonfeed’ too much, and it took experience and confidence to step back, give a stimulus and see what happens!

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