W15/16 #becomingeducational – another bonus post!!

And another challenge.

this time from Giulia…

and YOU are the challenge.

Talk about yourself.

Share yourself.

Blog yourself!!

Enjoy this challenge…

AND – tell us which challenges to issue to next year’s group!!

Good luck,

Sandra & Tom

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." - S.Beckett

January 26, 2015


This is my first challenge and it will be about me and about us all.


These are the rules …

1) There areNO RULES;

2) It will last 30 days (it can even last forever);

3) You have to beHONEST;

4) ItMUST talk about YOU;

5) It doesn’t matterWHATare you going to publish daily, butHOW MUCH these things (they can really be anything) talk aboutYOU.

WHY this challenge?
I want this challenge to be your “yoga”, your way of taking a break. It is not a common challenge, hereYOU ARE YOUR CHALLENGE. What really matter is you. It can also be a great way to know a little bit more of each other and about ourself too. It is also a great way to PUSH…

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The Make Challenge

#becomingeducational W15/16 Bonus Post

Here’s Chloe’s 30-day MAKE Challenge.

We are being challenged to make something.

Every day.

For thirty days!!

Cool challenge!

Get making…


Sandra & Tom


Hello and welcome to another creativity challenge!! So I had planned this challenge ages ago, amongst other challenges but as you all know, the workload at Uni got pretty hectic therefore I decided to wait and spread the challenges out throughout the year, just to keep you lovely lot busy and your blogs bursting at the seams with all your creativity. So without blabbering on any further, I shall introduce you to your next challenge, THE MAKE CHALLENGE. So this challenge is NOT a drawing challenge, you will actually have tomake things, whether it be from card, old newspapers, recycled bottles. . . whatever you fancy (it is supposed to be creative) just as long as it’s been made. This challenge will be another 30 day challenge, so here they are.

Day One: Dinosaur

Day Two: An Instrument

Day Three: Puppet (of your choice)

Day Four:…

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Becomingeducational W15: Of Morals and Methods – and ending the Peer Mentoring Relationship.

So this week we discussed moral dilemmas – placing our ethical selves in the spotlight. The discussions brought in the concept of emotions versus ethics and/or professional practice… Do we save the ‘lover’ or the ‘wife’ – or abandon both? How do we deal with our own emotional dimensions when in professional – but perhaps difficult – situations?

We mentioned the conscious or unconscious philosophic underpinnings of our actions or inactions: were we Utilitarian – where the imperative is the greatest good for the greatest number (and it would be okay to sacrifice that innocent bystander by pushing them in front of the runaway trolley that would otherwise kill five people) – or are we Kantian – with a belief in Moral Imperatives (thus no – we could not push the plump one under the trolley – for we must not ourselves take a life…)? And if we were in that over-loaded lifeboat – how would utilitarianism or Kant help us work out whether or not to save the drowning older people? (Oh do not dare to be old with this group of students! Remember the first people sacrificed in those nuclear bunkers!)

20 13 summer Tim,Dad, Robbie Leysdown 029

From there we moved on to read the brief article on whether or not it is possible to ever capture authentic student voices. This was to inform our research projects – to make us think about the Method we choose – and what we hope to achieve by using just that particular Method.

The article proposed that it is practically impossible to get authentic student voices even in overheard conversations – because even in the lunch queue, we are ‘performing’ student…

How does that ‘fit’ with the Method that we read about last week on the zig-zag approach to generating written research data? Remember – the idea with the zig-zag is that different voices are raised in random routes through a group. We all hear all the voices – but write in response to the person who spoke to us – and then we can swap and write again and again – as long as we want. The writing generated would constitute the data that the researcher could analyse and discuss.

The argument was that the performing of ourselves as students would be disrupted by the unpredictable pattern of speaking and listening – and that a more authentic writing would emerge. What do you think about that? How do you think you will get something authentic – or at least useful – in your own research project?

FINALLY – we brought our mentoring to a conclusion with a party – where YOU ALL brought in the food, the treats, the drinks and the goodies!! You all made it a warm and friendly event. THANK YOU!!

We hope that you enjoyed the mentoring experience – and that next year, you choose the Peer Mentoring in Practice module so that you can help other students to settle in, to see friendly faces and to know that they belong to a University that wants them to do well…

No really – this is the AND FINALLY – your BLOGS:

We reiterated how important it is for you to ‘blog your learning’ each week. A brief but thoughtful reflective post will help make apparent the meaning or point of our weekly activities. It gives you a small time and space to make the learning conscious – and to think: how does this help me as a student who is becoming an educationalist? How might I harness this sort of thing in my own practice in the future? What would I do the same or differently to the way it was done here today? Why? What will I now do or read or write in the light of today? Why?

Our argument is not just that this writing makes the learning conscious – though it does – but that it also helps us all to acquire necessary academic thinking/writing strategies through this slightly more informal thinking/writing process. AND of course at the end of this module – three of these blog posts will be submitted for 30% of the course marks. The three you submit will be your best three – reflecting your favourite achievements over the year: your Digital Me artefact and Poster – your Reading Diary – your end of year Performance – your Research Project … anything that showcases your creativity, endeavour, enthusiasm, energy, commitment… And those three blogs that you do submit WILL BE BETTER if you write regularly – cos your writing will get better by writing regularly. Nuff said!


Critical Pedagogy – bonus post – MOOCMOOC starts 19th January

In UKHE a significant aspect of the work of central Educational and Learning Developers is to help university staff develop their pedagogy and their curriculum practice. We work with staff to help them become educationalists – to teach and assess more effectively – and to develop their practice to tackle emerging changes in society, in educational policy – and in the aptitudes and attitudes that they encounter in the students before them.

Our work involves change: in our practices – of our resources – to our ways of thinking about teaching and learning. Change can provoke disquiet, unease and even resistance. Comfortable with the role as subject expert or academic researcher; the role of educationalist, teacher or facilitator of learning can leave us exposed, vulnerable and in dangerous academic space. Becoming a ‘teacher’ rather than a lecturer moves us from positions of power to positions of danger and risk. Embracing our agency with respect to the successful university experiences of our students can leave university lecturers exposed to criticism from management and students alike – no more evident than in the constant big stick of NSS!

So – if you want to think about educational practice in an exciting and stimulating online collegiate course – why don’t you think about joining Hybrid Pedagogies MOOCMOOC on Critical Pedagogy? Check out their curriculum and sign up for the MOOCMOOC from here:

Texts that will be covered and that you can discuss with other online participants include:
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, chapter 2
Emily Dickinson, “From all the Jails the Boys and Girls”
bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress, chapter 1
Henry Giroux, On Critical Pedagogy
Anarchist Pedagogies, chapter 7 “Spaces of Learning: The Anarchist Free Skool”
Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
Henry Giroux, “Rethinking Education as the Practice of Freedom: Paulo Freire and the Promise of Critical Pedagogy”
Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, Ch. 1: “Why We Must Disestablish School”
John Dewey, “Creative Democracy—The Task Before Us”
Ricky Lee Allen, “Whiteness and Critical Pedagogy”
Good luck!!
Sandra & Tom

#becomingeducational W14: Wrestling that Research Proposal to the ground!

So what are you going to research?
What METHOD are you going to use?
And why do we keep going on about it?
The Method is the way that we intend to collect information (data) to help us discover something interesting about our Research topic (
We are undertaking exploratory research and will be using qualitative methods that give us RICH data to analyse.
Whilst we can undertake INTERVIEWS ( and/or use QUESTIONNAIRES ( – we do want you to gather that *rich* data – so think about:

Collaborative writing as a method of enquiry:
Prompted writing (especially Image Mediated dialogue):
Or ONE OF a range of visual research methods (collage, rich picture or pattern note production; asking participants to keep a journal or construct a narrative (in words, drawings and/or photographs) as they undertake an activity:
Tip: Rich methods are often more fun!!



Now we are going to bombard you with some questions – think how these questions can help you write your Proposal!!
* As a first year student – and someone who is becoming an educationalist, what are you actually interested in about University study?
Are you fascinated about how we use different STUDY SPACES (back to good old Thornburg)?
Are you interested in student ATTITUDES to study (and perhaps how negative attitudes get in the way of our success?) – so you could explore attitudes to reading, writing, notemaking, group work; or the WAY that we teach; or UNEQUAL POWER relations; or the sorts of ASSESSMENTS that you get set?
Are you interested in what students actually DO: HOW do people make notes or HOW they prepare to write an assignment?

When you have chosen your topic – you will have to justify it – so think about these questions:

* Why have you chosen to investigate [notes/reading/space/power/other]?
* why is [notes/reading/space/power/other]:
a) interesting to you?
b) important generally as part of learning/being a successful student/other?
c) important for university students?

Literature Review
* How does [notes/reading/space/power/other] relate to ideas of ‘good’ learning?
* AND – what is good learning? How can you define it?
* What do other academics say (what has already been written on) ‘good learning’ generally AND [notes/reading/space/power/other]?
TIP: search

* How will you research this?
* Why have you chosen that method rather than any other?
* How will you choose your participants?
* If interviews/questionnaires – how will you design your questions so that you do not ‘lead’ to the answers you ‘want’? How will you capture the answers? Will you record them – or will you make notes?
* If a more creative method – why?
Good luck

Week 13: Back from the holidays

W13 … and this week’s guest blog…
This week Tom continued with the introduction to research – and to the #becomingeducational research projects – and THIS is a lovely blog post that seems to catch the whole session really really well! so – thank you for that – and a very happy and joyful new year to us all.


Sandra & Tom

Becoming an Educationist by Hana

We’re back and it’s 2015! We’ll be finishing our first year in a couple of months time! How did we get here so quickly?

Today, Tom told us that Sandra wasn’t feeling well so I hope she gets well soon.

The lecture and seminar was about our research proposal which is due in Week 19.

The research process has three main components:

  1. Research question/hypothesis
  2. Research design
    • Strategy
    • Framework
    • Participants
    • Method

3. Data collection

Tom told us about the importance of the framework of our research design – what we plan to do, how we do it, and who are our participants. If we get that right, collecting our data will be more efficient and worthwhile.

In the seminar, we got into small groups and we had to turn our backs to each other and take turns interviewing one other (i.e. the person we had our back to) about our research…

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