Week One: Introduction

What was this week’s module about?

Officially it was simply called introduction to the Diploma. The main focus was on the assessment criteria Trinity use in Unit 4.

What’s that?

Unit 4 is the assessed teaching bit of the Diploma, much like the TP sessions you did in your CELTA and the equivalent of Delta Module 2. The full thing is quite involved. You teach five full lessons; the first four are assessed internally and the final one externally by one of Trinity’s Dip assessors. You also keep a journal of your teaching, which includes lesson plans, materials, reflections, and so on.

Was this just information gathering, or did you have to do something?

Nope, there was a 1500-word assignment, making use of the Lesson Delivery assessment criteria. After reading the criteria, we had to move to the course forums and seek clarification on any doubts we had. It was surprisingly quiet in the forums this week, only four of us asked questions and a few more collaborated on giving suggestions. Hopefully going forward there will be more interaction on here.

How was it reflecting on your teaching?

Very interesting. Given that one of the reasons for taking this course is to ‘bounce back’ from the abusive experience at my last academy, it was a really engaging experience. The assignment asked us to choose three criteria as teaching strengths, giving examples from our teaching, and three more weakness with examples and ideas of how to improve them. As weaknesses, I chose differentiation, timing and pacing, and error correction, on the basis that of all my weaker areas these would be the ones where, if I improve them, my students will see the biggest difference in their lessons and learning.

What was your main takeaway from this week?

In the introduction to my assignment (which might be crap, by the way!), I commented that at different stages in my career I have filled the role of a ‘model’ teacher: experienced returning teacher, (Assistant) Director of Studies, Camp Director, even friend.  I’m not sure how often we really take stock of what that model could be, or more appropriately all the different qualities involved. Using the assessment criteria for lesson delivery has really reminded me of all the things involved. Now, I’m still not sure how relevant they all are to teaching on the coalface. In that last academy, by the time you had played your obligatory revision game, marked your obligatory homework in class and given your obligatory revision exam, you were often only left with 30 minutes to teach. But even if you can’t necessarily tick all those boxes in that time, I think the idea that you can aspire to be that teacher is what pushes you closer to a model.

Were there any lows?

Nope, it’s been quite a straightforward one.

What about highlights?

In our first Zoom class this week, our tutor suggested we get a study buddy. We had our first meeting on Thursday, and it was both really helpful and really enjoyable. Hopefully as the course goes on we can get more people to join us.

What’s next?

Next up is the learner’s module, looking at motivation and autonomy. Lots of reading.