I was overwhelmed to be invited by Sarah Simons to join the #ukfechat gang in a visit to meet with David Russell at the Education and Training Foundation. It was at the start of a week in which, it eventually turned out, I gained a lot of confidence. As this was at the start of the week and meant an influx of new people to meet, I was incredibly nervous. I was my typical quiet and reflective self for the duration of the meeting. I can’t really add at all to the wonderful blog Carolyn O’Connor wrote about our visit so I won’t attempt to.
Spending a lot of time listening to the contributions of others has lead to three key areas for me to reflect upon further:
The College of Teaching, set aside from The Education and Training Foundation, seems to create further distance between the rest of the sector and FE. Is there a way for the two to work closer together and be more aligned with one another?
During the meeting, we discussed how the emphasis on FELTAG within the whole sector has fallen slightly in recent months. My reflections in this blog on FELTAG have developed as a result of other recent interactions and events but I’ve included it here anyway!
The sector is trying to achieve online learning before we fully understand how it works, what it looks like and how it’s effective. It requires a significant investment of time, research and resources to understand. The pedagogy of learning and teaching online is a whole new beast to contend with; we can’t just apply the same principles of face-to-face interactions to it and expect the same results. I know that at Reading College, we’re being slow, steady and measured about our approaches to developing pure online learning opportunities so that we can learn as we go. From what I’ve seen within the sector recently, we’re in danger of acting as though ‘content is king’ and that effective online learning can take place without an effective teacher facilitating it. We’re once more entering the equivalent days of talking at students and hoping it will stick and that’s a dangerous place to be. The leap into the world of online learning must be made but a leap indeed it is; we mustn’t expect a mere sidestep to get us to the same destination.
Progression routes for teachers (other than management)
When we spoke about progression routes, there was a suggestion that eventually, management would beckon for many teachers who were proactive and that alternative progression routes weren’t necessary. I’m torn in two about this and I still don’t know the answer. Anyone else want to enter the debate?
The evening ended with a relaxing drink or two in the pub and a chat with Stephen Exley too. I’d love to do more #ukfechat things again; it was an absolute privilege to have been invited along. I’m now really excited about meeting with some of the gang in July to come up with some solutions to shared problems. I haven’t forgotten Scott and Beckie…and obviously anyone else who’d like to join us!