Innovative teacher education using blended learning
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
This snapshot examines the 11-week introductory teaching programme (City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector), delivered using a mix of online and classroom-based sessions, delivered by the School of Education and Training at Cornwall College. The course is LSC funded and runs for 33 hours, with 7 of the 3 hour sessions studied online in participants’ own time and the remaining four (spaced evenly throughout the 11 weeks) delivered in the classroom. A real challenge is ensuring that adult learners with no prior teaching experience gain enough underpinning knowledge to pass both practical and theoretical aspects of the course by way of written assignments and a 30 minute mini-lesson delivered as an observed summative assessment and, more importantly, to ensure that participants feel confident enough to go on to teach unaided in the classroom
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
Adults with no prior teaching experience wanting to become teachers in the FE sector and pre-existing teachers with no qualification who require a basic teaching qualification by law (SVUK Standards require all practitioners to hold or be working toward a qualification by 2010). Prior qualifications are not required, and although participants are given tuition with regards to using the virtual learning environment in the induction session (delivered in the classroom), a pre-existing level of ICT skills are required, as is an internet connection
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
Theoretical and practical teaching skills and advice and personal ICT/digital literacy skills were addressed. Whilst pedagogic knowledge was the underpinning and explicit skills taught, internet and ICT skills were more implicit, as learners had to use a virtual learning environment (“moodle”) to access and navigate course content.
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
I designed course content and uploaded it to moodle. I also deliver and manage the course (which is about to enrol its 4th cohort). Provision has been assessed externally and regularly by the awarding body, and I assess students’ portfolios and micros teach sessions. If these are at a suitable level of competence, certification is claimed. To date, all students who have stayed on-course have passed.
The course is open to anyone, though there is an element of self-selection as the course is also offered concurrently as a traditional taught course.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
- Fast track method to qualification for pre-existing teachers in the FE sector
- Students can come from a wider geographical catchment area
- In-service teachers/adult learners often work full time, so find it hard to make time to attend regular college sessions in the classroom
- Tutorials need to be regular and mandatory to maintain motivation levels. These were optional for course members enrolled in the first two cohorts, and students who did not have tutorials were more likely to withdraw.
- Tutorials should be offered flexibly, via face-to-face provision, the chat room that forms a part of the online course, email or telephone
- Cohorts should be split into small study groups and encouraged to meet on a regular basis via forum, chat room or face-to-face in order to remain motivated