All entries for Saturday 13 September 2008

September 13, 2008

'Great Expectations: An Introductory Day for Postgraduates Beginning English Teaching'

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I attended this event at the Higher Education Academy's English Subject Centreand found it an extremely useful introduction for beginning to prepare for taking seminar classes for the first time. The day was structured into 4 sessions, starting with Ben Knight's "The Life of the Seminar" which got us thinking about the purpose and function of seminar teaching, the role of the tutor within this, the most important factors involved in good seminar teaching, and creating a positive seminar environment in which students learn and develop as a group and independently. Morag Shiach and Sally Mitchell lead a session on the student experience of assessment, thinking about the question "what do essays ideally demand, teach, and test?" as well as raising the issues and problems that can be involved for students adapting from school to university teaching, learning, and assessment. The most useful part of the day from a practical point of view was Peter Howarth and Jonathan Gibson's "Planning innovative seminars and weekly tasks" which gave many suggestions for different approaches to seminar discussion and encouraged us to think about how to think about seminars in long- and short-term blocks. The day drew to a close with a panel on "Nightmare scenarios", in which the presenters from throughout the day responded to questions from the attendees, offering useful suggestions and words of advice on the more daunting aspects of first-time teaching.

I'd highly recommend this day to anyone starting postgrad teaching (especially as it was free), as I feel much more prepared for the fast-approaching academic year. There are also some useful resources on the website, such as the T3 pages.

September 2008

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