15 casual academic tutors followed the invitation of the FoA L&T team on the 21st of March to get together and share their experience of first time teaching at Macquarie University in the Faculty of Arts.

“It was impactful”

In preparation for the Community of Practice Get Together we opted for a blended approach and provided our participants links to informative readings about the University and the Faculty of Arts. One week before the session we invited them to study in a special section on our Community of Practice iLearn page, followed by the mandatory quiz.

The tone for the day had been already set with this very lighthearted quiz,  which in the end did not ask our participants to know all Macquarie’s visions and priorities by heart, nor to repeat word by word the Faculty’s strategic plan 2016-2020, but our Casual Academic Tutors became familiar with the main terms of our strategies and how to find information material and support when needed.

On the afternoon and after an inspiring  introduction by Associate Dean L&T Dr Peter Keegan, we reflected on our teaching practice. We reminded ourselves of why we are actually teaching, right now right here, and how to best impart our content knowledge in a way to Arts students so that they are able to build their so important 21st century employability skills.

The Speed Dating activity

Sharing our teaching vision.

With a Speed Dating style f2f activity we intended to frame our vision of teaching. In three  rounds we were each time moving one up in line, hence facing a different partner. In 20 secs, 15 secs and then in 10 secs we defined our vision and with each iteration we carved our vision more into our essential teaching vision statement (ETVS).

What is yours? Why do you teach? If you want to share this vision of yours with us, please post it on this padlet wall.

Even we all agreed to remember our ETVS every time we enter a classroom, to be guided by in both good and bad moments, we also realised that this activity was not just a self-reflecting exercise, it was an example for how it actually feels to act, to do something, to move. This feeling we could translate now to get our students to do something, literally get their bumps of seats, physically and mentally.

Sharing experience of first weeks tutorials

Whilst discussing our experiences, words such as “overwhelming”, “anxiety”, “uncertainty” came up.

Let’s not forget, we are on our journey together with the students. Yes, we are the content experts, but why don’t we invite the students on a mutual journey to find the best content which enables their active knowledge construction, supporting their specific training in all those so important 21st century employability skills?
We should also not forget, we are all students of different subjects at different times, celebrating life-long learning.

It was a good opportunity to meet new tutors from other departments to get to know each other. I have found not only me but also other tutors had similar concerns so I felt I am not the exception.

Sharing experience of teaching excellence

The Mentimeter activity

We used mentimeter.com to create a word cloud of what is teaching excellence for us, please see the visual results below, which speaks for itself:

The mentimeter results

When you see “passion” as biggest word in this word cloud it only reflects the atmosphere of our inspiring Get Together.

“…and really got my brain ticking over about how I could improve my own teaching”

The CAS Induction Adobe Spark Presentation is available for all new tutors, supporting in subject areas such as “ engaging students in class and elsewhere” as well as on “good and timely feedback”.

We ended our two hours Community of Practice Get Together on the note of how to teach diverse cohorts as it was Harmony Day, the 21st of March 2019 celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity.

“Thank you for such an intriguing afternoon.”

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Posted by Bettina Pfaendner

Bettina is a creative mind, lecturer for film and television, media and communication, and a Learning Designer by heart. What is more fulfilling than helping others to learn!

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