Saturday, 5 April 2014

At least I’m good at something part 2

A while back I posted excerpts from the e-mail feedback I got on the submissions for the teacher training course I attended.  I asked the tutor if he’d mind me posting his written feedback from the assessment front sheets for each task and he said yes so for your delectation (and because I need to post something positive), here are his comments in full.  His handwriting is sometimes a little hard to make out so any words I’m unsure of I will enclose in square brackets.

Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships

This is a comprehensive, rigorous and developmental piece of work, with key points clearly indentified in each of the four sections.

This work advocates varied, learner-focussed teaching, which is empathetic, while maintaining clear professional boundaries.

The practical implications of sound theory are explored in relation to work in the area of mental health awareness, and concrete examples illustrate the [consistency] of theory and practice.

Fluently and concisely written, this work far exceeds the basic requirements for a pass and provides the model of a practitioner who is well aware of the vast range of responsibilities teaching brings without losing sight of the learner at the centre of the process.


It’s funny that my tutor said my work was empathetic because my consultant psychiatrist says I lack empathy.

Understanding Inclusive Learning and Teaching

This work is highly perceptive, highly organised, displays consistent integration of theory with practice and is very well written.

The concrete example of your collaborative learning opportunities is fascinating.  The roles you establish for group members [must] provide valuable focus but you are right to refer to then being switched as well, otherwise inclusivity can be compromised.

You display total ownership of the areas we have explored and supply valuable material, too, from your own experience and research
-       e.g the “parking board” strategy to ensure learner contributions are not lost, which I have also seen employed most effectively.

Excellent: I look forward to your next piece of work!

I didn’t have the heart to tell my tutor that I never did any research.  My work came simply from my experience and knowing instinctively what was right.

I can’t take credit for coming up with the “parking board” as I never actually used it myself but I was involved in a session with someone else who used it and I thought it too good a technique to forget.

Principles of Assessment

A clear example of the way in which you embraced the principles and practicalities of both topics was in your exploration of ILPs.

These were barely referred to in our sessions but you showed clearly how they can be central to the assessment process in many settings.  This was indicative of the approach to the whole task, thinking beyond your current teaching role and ensuring you had “owned” the means of assessing and recording learners’ progress in any teaching context.

You also emphasised how assessment of learners [constitutes] assessment of, and for, the teacher and showed how records can be [controlled] to contribute positively to the process.

Excellent work.

Note: ILP = Individual Learning Plan.

My knowledge of ILPs comes from my work as a Governor at my local adult college.

Using Inclusive Learning & Teaching Approaches

Not only does this task include a most successful teaching session which earned the most positive feedback, but the rigorous commitment to reflective practice evidenced here is exemplary.

The two key development points identified – that of excessive material for the session, and some nervousness during the session – would certainly be accommodated and addressed with more practice, and it is certainly preferable to have too much material than too little!

The rigorous lesson plan and detailed justification, the quality of resources and the range of methodology explored to address all learning styles are all done full justice to in a [searching] and most constructive Reflective Learning Journal.


In the post-teaching session discussion between myself and my tutor I identified all the errors I had made during the session before my tutor had a chance to point them out – the mark, he said, of a good teacher.

My tutor also said that my lesson plan was so good that he asked if he could use it as a teaching example for future groups.

My tutor said on a number of occasions that, if he was still able to, he would have graded me at Level 4 but changes to the course meant that he couldn’t. 

In the last session I attended, I told my tutor that I probably wouldn’t continue to pursue teaching as a career option.  He said that he hoped my circumstances would change and that I would continue because otherwise it would be “a loss” to the profession.

No one has ever shown so much confidence in my abilities before and my tutor’s support and understanding assisted me a great deal. 

His name is John Hamilton and I’ll be eternally grateful to him.

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