Assignment feedback

Its best to tell you now that I don’t do lectures. Ask my trainees and they will tell you that in my lessons it is about expecting the unexpected. I get bored with the sound of my own voice, and I love hearing the “reflective deliberations” of my class. I use short expositions followed by various discussion techniques, based mainly around learning conversations. I also use food and other miscellaneous items as metaphors. However this is a risky strategy because there is a danger of a lack of “stuff” and “substance” to the lesson, and there has to be an expectation from me that my trainees will read enough to engage effectively with the learning outcomes. I spend time explaining the assignments, giving guidance and helping them to frame the assignment by using starter sentences and “tips”. Well this year my trainees have come through brilliantly. Their assignments are a joy to read, and generally the standard of presentation and depth of engagement is high. Some of the trainees have not studied at this level academically, yet they have shown an ability to understand and apply theories beyond my expectations. If you are reading this guys this means I think you are great. You may not appreciate how strongly I feel about the importance of building “learning how to learn” skills, and their primacy over subject matter. This is the first year that I have tested my conviction, and I have 40 pieces of evidence that tells me that it works! I mentioned the use of metaphors earlier and for a couple of years I have been using the “group sculpture” evaluation technique, where the class form themselves into a sea going galleon as a metaphor for their state at various stages on the course. This year’s attempt was the most successful in terms of the information that I gained, and also in terms of the trainees’ willingness to “play with me”. We even got as far as creating sea sounds and seagull noises.

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