01 November 2022

Officially teaching in Welsh

It is official! I am now teaching on a Welsh language module. I had my first two contact hours. This should have happened earlier, but the pandemic got a bit in the way. Teaching tends to involve writing, and I need voice recognition software for that. And there is such software in Welsh, but obviously it is not as well developed as that for English. If you have clanging RSI you had better avoid teaching in any minor language. But I have improved quite a lot, and last year it was decided that this academic year I would make my debut. I had already been making materials for the module website. But now I was actually timetabled on it.

I was basically just there to trail along a bit. A lady from the School of Natural Sciences, Paula, was doing the hard work. She had a PowerPoint ready, so she would first take about an hour to go through it, and then the students would bring her teaching into practice.

The module only has four students. Paula can certainly do this on her own. But it is quite hard work to produce materials in the language you're still learning, so I was quite glad to have the opportunity to ease myself into it.

As it so happened, one student was unwell so only three showed up. A really small group! And it was nice to see Paula do her thing. There was quite a lot of overlap between what she was doing there and the PowerPoint presentation I had made. So I was already familiar with most of the material. And I had watched her presentation beforehand to be prepared. And that meant I had had time to quickly memorise the terms I didn't know yet.

The second half of that slot, the students brought her teaching into practice using Excel. I have used Excel a lot so I was quite comfortable helping the students out. And of course I didn't know all the words, but neither do the Welsh. It is quite normal to just throw some English terms into any sentence. So I think it went okay! And it wasn't really more intensive than the ad hoc teaching in Welsh I have done before, but it does feel different if it is official and undeniable.

I am happy to not lead any of this yet, but I would be comfortable to do so next year. Next year we will also have our new Welsh medium lecturer in marine biology! Things are moving forward. Excellent stuff!

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