This lockdown has generated a fresh appetite for learning opportunities to enhance my teaching. I found I was seeking the engagement, participation, stimulation and learning goals similar to my students. I was a teacher enjoying being a student!
I have been actively seeking out learning opportunities for myself to satisfy a lockdown generated desire to further develop my teaching practice.
For a long time, TECHE blog posts have been providing us with inspiration and resources to support our teaching, and over the last two months, these have been even more valuable. They are providing a connection to colleagues’ ideas and experiences which is a nice distraction from my teaching responsibilities this semester.
This recent post on workshops, programs, resources, and communities of practice was a timely call to action. I enrolled in the Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching course, facilitated by Agnes Bosanquet and Marina Harvey, and joined workshops, seminars and meetings sharing teaching ideas. My participation in these learning experiences has given me pause to think about what it is that I enjoy about learning and what motivates me to do it. This in turn had led me to reflect on my own students and their participation in my units.
Being a teacher in the role of a student I observed that my motivation to participate and to be engaged was not to succeed in an end-of-module quiz or an assessment task but the act of learning itself. This led me to reflect on the experience of my students six weeks into this (difficult) semester. My fourth-year planning students have all been attending our three hour scheduled Zoom classes and staying engaged and motivated each week by actively participating. They want to be there rather than (just) having to be there.
The parallels between my observations of their behaviour and my own learning experiences mean I have a greater empathy with, and understanding of, why we learn and what’s needed to keep us as students participating more fully. As a student of teaching it has been a ‘lightbulb’ moment of understanding that learning can be a joy in itself. This is a great motivation to develop my teaching further to support more varied and engaging learning experiences for my students.
So have a go – keep your eyes peeled for opportunities. I recently attended a workshop on team-based learning presented by experts Professor Panos Vlachopoulos and A/Prof Andrew McGregor and it was a blast!