Thursday, 14 January 2016

A new term and a new job

Jan 14:

Prior to Christmas much of my focus has been on the interview for the senior lecturer position, so I wasn't able to make a start on this journal as soon as i had hoped.
Having secured the position, and jumped in to planning a full ten week term, I’m now looking at how to balance my PGCERT commitments with the additional work I’ll be doing in my new position.
I’m sure once I settle into the position, time will start to appear - or at least, thats the theory.

When I decided to be a full-time lecturer I jumped in fairly naively and perhaps didn't really appreciate just how tough it was going to be.
Certainly, being in charge of 57 students has been a huge challenge, and one thats made me pause to reflect on my teaching style quite a bit.

I think, unconsciously, Ive been trying out different teaching methods to see what styles have the broadest appeal or the best engagement from the most students.  It has to be said that i made the mistake of asking student opinions on my teaching style and got the answers I deserved, naturally focusing on the few negative ones!

Initially my style, coming in as a filmmaker, was to deliver industry-focused material and “talk”.  
I noted that whilst this was popular, there wasn't enough retention of information, and not enough curriculum information was coming through.
From September, I had a very steep learning curve, being appointed head of that year with a weeks notice.  This meant i inherited other peoples teaching materials, and I quickly found the powerpoint being used to be far too text-heavy.  It made the lectures too dry and too information heavy.

So, just recently, Ive taken to creating more evocative powerpoint presentations, just using a few key words and some powerful imagery as a way of bullet-pointing my lectures.
I try to stay away from the lectern if possible, and try and make the lecture as loose and informative as possible.

I’m also beginning to introduce key activities that punctuate each lecture, to see what’s been retained and maybe provoke the students into active thinking rather than  passive listening.

I find it an interesting journey, and equally feel very responsible to deliver quality lectures that impact, from a professional standpoint.  But the bottom line is that i have a few years ahead o me to really hone my style.
I am guessing next year when I start the new academic term afresh with a  clear direction under my own auspicious, that I will be able to implement lectures the way I really want to, and this will really help.

This reflective journal is actually tremendously useful to this process and something I intend to continue regardless of attaining the qualification.

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