1/6 Educational Autobiography

1. Educational Autobiography.

I have never really sat and considered my own educational journey as a whole. It has examples of both inspiring and uninspiring times. What made times inspiring? I guess getting to know your teacher and having a dialogue of respect is something at the forefront of my mind. Some teachers have a natural ability to be able to ‘get on’ with students then use this access to foster trust and create constructive dialogue aligned to their learning. Educators must give students confidence in their journey and criticism only in a constructive way. The educator also must know their subject and have the capacity to teach to a wide range of students. Inspire and help those at the lower levels yet push and engage those operating at higher level. Biggs and Tang (2007, -) acknowledge that today’s classroom mix consists of a whole range of capabilities which creates challenges for today’s educators, they suggest that constructive alignment is the solution to the problem ‘maintaining standards when the quality of students is so diverse is indeed possible’. I do though think it is true to say that the sooner a young person understands that they are the ‘organisers of their life course’ (Alheit in Illeris, 2009, 123) the better and they become self-learners able to reflect on where they have been and where they are going. I believe that succesful students should be given all the credit and that educators are just one facilitator in the students 20 year journey of education, ‘what the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does’ (Schuell, 1986 cited in Biggs and Tang, 2007, 52) Being the ‘organiser of my life course’ I often wish it would have come sooner. Reflecting on my own journey I often think that I typically undersold myself believing that I was ‘not as good as most around me’, I often put this down to my lack of competitive experiences such as sport in my younger years and my families ‘make-up’ of builders not having experience of an academic route to higher education. I remember receiving my A-level results A,B,D and feeling that the examiners must have made an error. I have always considered myself to be a well rounded, balanced individual but have suffered with this lack of competitive spirit in my being, I feel I still do suffer in times of lower confidence but to a much lesser extent. Age and having children and wanting to develop in my career have minimized my doubts and given me confidence. Alheit in Illeris (2009, 123) refers to ‘big plans that we cultivate for our lives – the dream job, house building, finding a good match’ he goes on to suggest ‘all of this conveys to us the impression that we hold our own lives in our own hands and that we are subjects of our biography’. I consider that I have had a humble yet stable up-bringing and often wonder how difficult it must be for young people who have real problems during their up-bringing. And yes we are surrounded with these young people and I would like to do my part to help them.
I am just wondering if I have been a lifelong learner whilst pursuing my career and who has helped to educate me during this time, I suppose from the people I work with and my bosses. I don’t feel I have continued to read enough about my subject and now realize that I must, both for my own confidence in my subject knowledge and to meet the dimensions of practice in the Professional Standards framework expectations – Core Knowledge that is needed to carry out those activities at the appropriate level.
I think it must be pointed out that there is no ‘quick fix’ to learning, I feel the learning journey is a series of small gentle steps and patience is needed. I feel the teacher’s purpose is to provide a basic framework from which the student can add deeper independent thoughts.
Am I a good educator?
Wow, this is difficult. I think I am good but realise I want to improve,clarify and question some of my approaches to investigate if they are deemed good practice.To date I have been much self-taught with guidance and discussion from my peers and I suppose I am proud of that, I think that is an achievement in its self. The PGCAP will give me the framework and structure I feel is so important in making students understand their subject.

PDF (Professional Design Frameworks) A step in the right direction? The School of Art and Design has over the passed few years integrated a Professional module onto the course that runs as a long-thin 20. I think this is a very positive step in the right direction. Staff have and still struggle with its concept and have difficulty understanding its true reason for being and aligning with the current design curriculum but understanding is beginning to permeate. I believe Professional content is key to providing employers with effective graduates something that they appear to hunger for. I dont think we are there yet and arguably more needs to happen to increase the creativity and innovation of higher education. Robinson (2001, 4) states that ‘but too many don’t have what business urgently needs, they can’t communicate well, they can’t work in teams and they can’t think creatively’.

UK PSF Issues and Module Learning Outcomes in relation to action plan.

I aim to address the points in my below action plan and I hope to discover new targets along my way. I am now acknowledging the UKPSF and the Core Modules Learning Outcomes in their alignment with my action plan. This familiarisation will help me target and prioritise developments and opportunities as they arise.

Needs analysis and action plan

  1. Develop a system of lesson planning that helps to organise and inform my delivery. Also devise a system where I can capture good and bad practice to inform me in the following academic year. UK PSF: A1
  2. Develop deeper subject knowledge in several identified areas. These identified areas are those in which I deliver and I will read around the subjects and be informed of the latest industrial and professional developments. UK PSF: A5, K2
  3. I aim to challenge and develop my confidence in presentation scenarios in particular to other staff members and adults.UK PSF: A2
  4. To increase my interest and use in learning technologies and further explore developing ideas to inform my own practice and from this develop possible research areas. UK PSF: K1, K4
  5. To reach-out further to fully accomodate the wide range of students capabilities and help all to devise meaningful, fulfilling and acheivable learning strategies to help them truly understand the meaning of life-long and life-wide learning. UK PSF: V1, V2, K3

References

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Illeris, K. (ed.) (2009) Contemporary Theories of Learning, Oxon:Routledge.

Robinson, K. (2001) Out of our Minds, Learning to be Creative, Oxford: Capstone Publishing.

2 Responses to 1/6 Educational Autobiography

  1. pgcapsalford says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thank you for inviting me to read your educational autobiography. You are honest, open and self-critical and have shared some more personal milestones that have influenced your current thinking and practice. I can clearly see that his task has been useful for you and enabled you to connect the past with the present and also identify paths for the future. This is wonderful. While your reflections are mainly descriptive, I can see that you have started to analysing your experiences and not only provided your own perspective but also made some links to relevant literature. This is really good and useful. Too often we get stuck in our own thinking. Remember that it is important to explore different perspectives through engagement with the generic and subject-specific literature and research, as well as through discussions with colleagues and students. When using literature, please remember to reference using the Harvard Referencing System and when quoting you will have to add the page number(s) too. If you need help with this, please have a look in the SOS_guides section in Blackboard.

    You mention that learning is a partnership for you. I am wondering how students, your students, feel about this and how this can be achieved. Perhaps you could add an example. You might also be able to link this to Professional values? Do you encourage the creation of learning communities, how and why are these important, for example? Remember to be explicit when you refer to the UK Professional Standards Framework.

    You have made a good start with your needs analysis and action plan. I am pleased that you think that the PGCAP will help you. And your example with lesson planning is good and relevant. Why is lesson planning important for? And how are you going to develop further in this area? Remember to be specific. For example 2. is very generic. Have another look at the intended learning outcomes of this modules and the UK PSF. and add more detail to your needs analysis and your action plan.

    Overall, you have written an engaging educational autobiography which enables the reader to identify some of the milestones in your journey as a learner and teacher. Please take the above suggestions into account when finalising this piece of work. Let me know if you have any questions, ok? Well done so far.

    Chrissi, your tutor

  2. Hi Craig – nice educational autobiography. I would definitely justify your action plan by linking it to the UK PSF. What I did is to assess myself and look at where I am and state where I need to go. I’ve then tried to say something in every post about how what I learnt and research contributed to achieving the aims set in line with the UK PSF. Could you try that out? I, like Chrissi, would also like more deep reflection here. It’s meant to be an autobiography, so if you can (and I know this is hard) share some true life experiences you got from when you were perhaps a student or pupil yourself, and say how that made you feel and how that shaped how you teach today, I think you can get there. I would rate this is pass to good at the moment purely because the UK PSF is missing. A few changes and you can be good to excellent. Keep going 🙂

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