10 September 2015

Teaching qualifications

Teaching is over. I spent a semester pretty much teaching full time, and spent the next semester combining teaching and research. This year I have no teaching obligations. So, full-time research now? Eh, no!

I like teaching. I think I may even be good at it. But not good enough. And I would like to do more of it, in some next job. So the reasonable thing to do is to get my qualifications. It's not an unusual thing to do in academia; teach first, ask questions later! It's not quite how it should be but it's how it goes. In Norway I was working for a research institute, in Plymouth they didn't allow non-lecturers to get their teaching qualifications (thereby actually forcing people to teach first and get qualified later), in York I didn't stay long enough and now I am in Bangor, finally getting to it. I had a week between my holidays and the start of the program leading to the Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE) which is what every lecturer in the UK needs to get.

In order to complete the program I need to teach. The idea is that you teach, then think about your teaching (aided by lots of workshops offered by the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching), write a report about it with how you could improve, improve it, and then get your certificate. That's simplified but you get the idea.

It started with a three day induction. This is meant to already give you lots of food for thought, but also to familiarise you with the practical aspects of the program. It was fun! We were only a small group (about ten) and they threw a lot of information at us. They really managed to get us thinking, and also just gave us lots of practical tips. The last day they made us present, both just a taster of our teaching style, and a proposal for an improvement. Very useful. And now I'm on my own. Well, not really; I have two designated advisors, but the group has now disbanded. So I got me some books for inspiration, and have started on the coursework. Stay tuned!

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