Week Zero – And so it begins!!

Welcome to Take5!

So – it’s Week Zero (W0): another day another dollar; another Semester and another Year.  Change is all around and we can’t help noticing doing Inductions and Preparation for Study courses how things move on. Buildings, rooms, modules, staff and of course students – all moving – all changing – and all diverse. ‘Diverse’ could be a prefix for London Met – and no matter what sort of student you have taught before – it’s all changing again.

Everybody is already exhausted and wondering where the summer went … and here we are – the Take5 project – trying to inveigle you into something that probably looks like yet more work – what’s that all about?

Take5: pick up and go teaching tips for time poor lecturers

Take5 is designed to help all of us working at London Met to share our passion for teaching and learning; helping our students to (learn how to) act powerfully within this strange beast that is University. Take5 is also for anybody working in urban, diverse spaces – and in emancipatory ways. We want you to share your passion and your ideas!

Take5 will offer ‘pick up and go’ teaching tips via our website (http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/take5/index.html) and this blog – and hope that you share your tips and tricks via the Comments section.

CPD note: Take5 can be a valuable part of our CPD – and participating can generate evidence for PRD and for HEA Fellowship applications.

A thumbnail of what we aim to cover in Take5 is:

Embedding Academic literacies and Learning Development: Typically seen to include: notemaking, reading, group work, presentation & seminar skills, positive thinking, memory, revision & exam techniques, reflective learning… – we will make suggestions as to how to embed these practices within the curriculum – BUT not in any sense in a remedial way. Yes – tricky!

Developing a digital student: The learning landscape is digital – and we want our students to operate successfully in a digital world. We make suggestions on how to develop digital literacies with our students. Quick tip:  We get students blogging-to-learn and have found that the quasi-academic writing of the blog helps them to process their learning and write better essays.

Visual and creative strategies: *All* students (not just art and media ones) benefit from being stretched visually and creatively – it develops digital literacy, supports analytical and critical thinking, builds self-esteem – and practically helps with notemaking and things like poster presentations.

Simulations and role plays: We have found that simulations and role plays early on in any course help students to think – to speak – and to bond with other students – thus improving behaviour in class – and promoting happier and more successful students who really *get* analytical and critical thinking.

Promoting discussion: talking with others does not come easily for many of our students: this is just an opportunity to fail – to show their weaknesses… So building in activities like Topic Mediated Dialogue, Image Mediated Dialogue and Debates really help our students to conquer their fears and find their academic voices.

IBL & PBL: Problems and Projects: Rather than ‘teaching’ the whole course, we recommend that staff set problems, challenges and projects that cover key Learning Outcomes. When challenged in this way, students exceed expectations – and lose the idea that teaching is about spoon-feeding.

Writing – Writing in the Disciplines/Writing Across the Curriculum: Building in many short, meaningful – and not remedial – writing tasks helps students discover the art of writing to learn – and breaks down their fear of writing and fear of failure.

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