Introductions: What’s this all about then?

#becomingeducational W30 You’re thinking of endings – but what about those beginnings – what about your Introductions?
It’s nearly the end of the year: first year students are wrapping up those final final coursework pieces – second years may be tidying up that Project proposal, the thing that’s going to lead them into that third and final year – and third years may be sitting there right now polishing up that Dissertation…

Whichever description above best fits you – spare just five minutes to read THIS cool re-blogged post.

ANSWER the questions that it poses – and you will find that that essay, that proposal and, yes, that Dissertation will take a much clearer shape in your mind… And you will introduce it/them better too.
Good luck with those final pieces of work for this year!!
Sandra & Tom

rattus scholasticus

I think the point when I started to become a learning developer rather than a subject teacher was when I realised that I didn’t have to have the answers, only the questions. It was very liberating! Since then, I’ve used questions a lot in my work, but one of the most useful ways is in teaching students how to structure their work. Thinking of writing as a dialogue, not a monologue, anticipating what the reader’s questions will be, almost like an interview rather than an essay, helps them think of their audience and create this mysterious thing called ‘flow’ which writing is supposed to have.

It’s a particularly useful approach when teaching introductions. Introductions can be a pain to write – not the essay proper yet, none of the ‘real’ meat of the writing, but a necessary formality to get out of the way before you can get on with…

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#LTHEchat 85: The wicked problem of creative teaching and assessment #creativeHE

#becomingeducational W29 It’s not over till it’s over!
As HE becomes ever more marketised, commodified – measured – as the TEF looms with all its surveillance and regulation flaws… how can we chase the joy – the creativity – the optimism and the potential of having three years to think – study – experiment?
How can we develop a creative HE?
Here’s a brilliant post on the potential of creativity for developing positive HE practice…
AND – Wednesday 24th May – there will be a #LTHEChat on this starting 8pm BST – on Twitter.
Do join in!
AND – Don’t forget – this week there is a #creativeHE running here:
You are more than welcome to join this also!
All the best,
Sandra & Tom


This week we have Professor Paul Kleiman providng the questions on the topic of ‘the wicked problem of creative teaching and assessment’. This chat is linked to the open course #creativeHE which is offered this week.  On Wednesday, please use #LTHEchat and #creativeHE during the chat. Thank you.

Paul has the story of D, over to Paul.

The Story of D.

“Arts education is a seriously funny business. We demand that students conform to the formalities of the university and yet we secretly hope they will practise wild, if subtle rebellion. We require them to be versed in inherited theoretical vocabularies, but need them to energise us with some previously unseen thing. Besides, these days their lecturers are generally up to something even more weird, spending day after day away from the studios in interminable admin meetings. The very fact that so many students survive the contradictions is in itself wonderfully…

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A Contrary View: Critiquing Discourses of Resilience in Education

#becomingeducational Don’t get resilient – get even!!
This is a fascinating post on resilience – which is becoming a new buzzword in HE…
Of course we all need the ability to bounce back from errors – to learn from mistakes – and not let ‘failure’ destroy us – BUT…
That is surely not what the resilience narrative is all about – and if it is not about that – what is it trying to do – why – and to whom?
check out this blog post – and then think of how to use it in framing your own attitudes to education – to teaching/learning/assessment…
And if you are heading for Exams – or for the submission of that final piece of coursework – more power to your elbow!!
All the best,
Sandra & Tom

Fruits of the pedagogic life

Sat at the Association of National Teaching Fellows one-day event in sunny Birmingham, I found myself engaging in passive-aggressive tweeting about bloody neo‘resilience’. On my return, I complained about my disquiet with the way the term, and what it has come to stand for, have become pervasive in some parts of education. With great relief, I discovered that my office-mate Dr Nicola Rivers, shares some of my views. Out of our conversation, we have tried to capture the core of what, in a Higher Education context, is so problematic about the narratives on resilience, grit, Millennials, ‘snowflakes’ and academic buoyancy that seem so omnipresent.

There are things we leave out, such as the place of Mindfulness practice, discussions around ‘trigger warnings’, and free-speech on campus; and we hope to write a fuller version of this post, which includes them, possibly for publication elsewhere, but this is an…

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Learning Live

#becomingeducational W27: Transformative Learning – are we there yet?
This re-blogged post speaks to the heart of the Becoming an Educationalist module.
Becoming was designed to create a space for our own transformations…
Becoming was full of role play, simulations, collage, artwork… all designed to help us see education and learning processes ‘differently’ – for it is only when we can ‘de-school’ ourselves away from our previous educational experiences – that we can work out what education can and could be – and thus decide the sort of education we want to enable – and the sort of educationalist we want to be.
This re-blogged post shares the experiences of another tutor who has just that sort of approach to her own practice.



By Raka Tavashmi

Seven years ago as a young psychologist I walked away from academia; my work felt lifeless, dry words and data, no feeling or soul. As if I had left some hearty parts of myself somewhere secret and couldn’t bring it in to work, what a shame. I then started learning about health and the arts and how to be more real… and to recover from my education somewhat.

Now I find myself working with university students, teaching them about connection, caring and creativity, sharing life-skills I learnt from my own explorations and from outside the university walls. I’ve become the strange person who carries around her Box of Random Objects and makes people doodle and play to learn about listening, imagining and creating.

On 24 April I attended a conference on Transformative Learning, and here I found that my practice has more links to scholarly work than…

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