Course 1, Week 1: Understanding Student Learning

Time to make a real start with this blog

I feel like I’m always late with the PGCert and I forever playing catch-up. My  role as Student Information and Engagement Manager has allowed little time to give this my all, but here I am!

Content included in Week 1

Week 1 was difficult to fit in, mainly as I was managing our enrolment event. I am fortunate enough that my background in Sociology and in Education made the content a lot easier to digest.

In week 1 of M01ODL, Understanding Student Learning, the online content covered: the relationship between teaching and learning, the student learning experience, learning theories, transformative learning, active learning and teaching philosophies. I’ll try to touch upon each of these in my reflection below, but as a jog for my own memory, I have attached a small gallery of screenshots I thought were useful and will likely return to when planning workshops, lessons and in my final assignment for the module.

The relationship between teaching and learning

Straight into the module, we were asked whether teaching was required for learning; now, I have entered this course with my own preconceptions of teaching and learning from my PGCE, so I delved right into this one. The greatest part of this opening week was reading the comments and perspectives – it seems like across the different groups, we have a shared belief that teaching does not have to take place for learning to occur. Here is my comment:

The student learning experience

It is fantastic that so many are taking this course and are dedicated to improving their own practice to benefit their students. Knowing that when we plan and prepare to teach students, we have our own subjective views on the learning experience is important. We are all individual learners and letting our own learning (or teaching) preference guide our lessons is not productive. Recognising the student experience and the culmination of life experience that brought the individual to the classroom is important.

I’ll sum up here with the quote provided on the online course:


Learning theories

Oh, how I love a theory! I remember during my UG, theory was across my cohort the least interesting module, but I thrived there. My brain like a sponge to the new perspectives and different schools of thought!

The theories presented in our online course take me back to not only my UG but also teaching Psychology at A Level.

As an aspiring social researcher, I am very aware of my tendency  to sway closer to Social Constructivism, so it was no surprise that I fell into this category when reflecting on my own teaching and aligning to a theory. Theory is important, as we use it to shape our approach to the teaching and learning realm. The theories covered are shown in the image below:

Diagram showing four key learning theories: Behaviorism, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Cognitive Theory


Transformative learning and the Coventry Way

Coventry University London take a transformative learning approach to education, by embedding active learning methods (see below), with he aim of realising each of the six pillars in the Coventry University Group Education Strategy 2015-2021:

  1. Research inspired teaching
  2. Embedded employability
  3. Creativity and enterprise
  4. Intercultural and international engagement
  5. Community contribution and responsibility
  6. Innovation and digital fluency

I would like to believe that when creating the Coventry University London Personal Tutoring programme, all of the above was fostered. Now, looking through the complete strategy and using my learning in the PGCERT, I feel I will be able to foster the six pillars in out department.

Active learning

Active learning is pushed heavily in primary and secondary education, so reading through Young’s (2014) Focus of Active Learning gave me more confidence. Many of the activities I have taken from my 11-19 teaching into the personal tutoring programme are worthwhile, hurrah!

Teaching philosophies

It’s always good to take time to reflect on where you are, how you got there and where you are going. The assignment to write my own teaching philosophy gave me an opportunity to reflect on my experiences as a personal tutor. I’ve added my philosophy below:

Final conclusions

Overall, this week was a good introduction, it was just a shame it took me so long to complete!