#becomingeducational – WELCOME to Becoming an Educationalist!!

Becoming is about discovering different approaches to learning – that can then be harnessed by you for teaching.


Learning is social, active, embodied… and there are different ways of learning, knowing and being – and many different arguments as to what makes a good teaching/learning environment. On television, Gareth Malone runs ‘empowering’ Choirs to help people re-discover their confidence and their communities and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ turns novices into dancing experts via personal relationships and tailored tuition – how are those approaches different from School and Schooling?

Here’s what some educational theorists argue:

  • Thornburg argues for the power of learning spaces
  • Carl Rogers said good learning is all about unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence
  • John Dewey thought we needed education for democracy via democratic education
  • Freire did not want to do education to people – he wanted to work with them
  • Ivan Illich thought that we needed to ‘de-school’ society …and
  • John Holt was so disillusioned with formal schooling that he joined the home school movement.

Tip: Check out these people on Wikipedia – make some notes. Start to find the theorists that make sense to you. These will become ‘your’ theorists, the people you refer to, to justify the arguments you make about the sort of educationalist you want to be.

How we do it

We turn up every week interested in the course and interested in you. We may do some direct (didactic) teaching but we will definitely organise a lot of active and engaging learning: role playing and simulations; creative and visual learning strategies; Inquiry Based-, Problem Based- and Project Based Learning; Blogging to Learn; Reflective learning; Drawing to learn; Poetry and Prose analysis and discussion… We want you to get engaged in Projects and in peer to peer learning. We also want you to contribute to the University’s annual student-facing Get Ahead conference.

How we’d like you to do it

Get involved: We would like you to turn up every week prepared to immerse yourself in the class. We want you to talk, listen, discuss, present; to make useful notes; to read actively and interactively; to join in with energy and enthusiasm to all the different things that you will be asked to do; and to reflect on what you have done and why – to self-test and make your learning conscious…

We want you to be with us and with the other students to create a Community of Practice (see the work of Lave and Wenger-Trayner) – where we build the course together and work out how to be successful, active and inspiring educationalists.


We expect you to write a weekly blogpost on each of the Becoming sessions. We want you to think: What was the session about? What did the tutors want us to learn? What did I want from this session? What did I get? What additional reading did I do? How will I use that session in any of the Becoming assignments?

We want you to illustrate these blogs to make them interesting and memorable – and we want you to read and comment on the blogposts of your peers. If you do this – you will learn more than you ever thought possible from this module – your self-confidence will increase – your academic writing will improve – and you should get an outstanding grade for the final essay. It’s up to you!!


  • Blog posts need only be 300-500 words long – the point is to be reflective and useful rather than descriptive.
  • Your audience will be other students just like you – so write your posts for them: why will they be interested in what you have done or learned? What will you want them to think or do after reading your blog post?
  • Blogs are less formal than essays – so find a writing style that works in a blog.
  • Add pictures (photographs or drawings) to make your blog more user-friendly and readable.
  • We will want you to read as many blogs from other students as possible – each time you read someone else’s blog – ‘like’ it – leave a Comment. The point with the blogs is to create a friendly dialogue about what we are doing.
  • Free blogging available from here: https://wordpress.com/  


Check out this blog: http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/learning-how-to-learn

Which could lead you to this post: http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/assessing-the-evidence-for-the-one-thing-you-never-get-taught-in-school-how-to-learn

BUT – perhaps the most useful thing to do – would be to look at this TED talk – and make notes – ready to discuss in your own blog post:

Activity: Watch listen learn: Barbara Oakley has given an interesting TED Talk on ‘How to learn’ ( https://youtu.be/O96fE1E-rf8). Watch the video and make notes whilst thinking:

How will I use this information to become a better student?

How will I use it to help me become a better educationalist?

Good luck – hope you enjoy the course!!

Don’t plan to present, plan to engage:  Making the most of web conferencing technologies for online learning and teaching


Thinking about harnessing the digital into your teaching?

Check out the Webinar on the 29th September!!

Teaching and Learning Conversations

A teaching and learning conversation with:

Rod Cullen MMU

Dr Rod Cullen

Manchester Metropolitan University

CalumCalum Thomson


When: Tuesday 29th September 12:00-13:30 (90 minutes)

About this conversation:

One of the aims of the 2015/16 TLC series is to experiment with the use of video conferencing tools to enable teaching and learning conversations, through webinars, that are actively engaging rather than a passive experiences for participants.  To start us off on this route Rod Cullen (MMU) and Calum Thomson (University of Salford) will facilitate a teaching and learning conversation that will explore the use of web conferencing technologies for online learning and teaching.

“We have been using web conferencing tools to deliver webinars ourselves for several years now as well as undertaking taking some research into emerging practices with the technology in Higher Education.  We have noticed that it is very easy to fall into a trap of simply using the technology to talk…

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