#becomingeducational W30 – so you’re still worried about the essay?

Becomingeducational: Essay Tips

The essay is 1500 words – this probably means ONE introduction – about 200 words – THREE paragraphs – about 300 words each – and ONE conclusion about 400 words…

Essay 1500 words – week 30 (40%)

‘To what extent has the module ‘Becoming an Educationalist’ prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? Justify your answer with reference to at least three aspects of or activities on the course.’


FIRST – notice that the question is asking you about the module – so say something about Becoming: what was it trying to achieve? How was it trying to do that? What theories or beliefs underpin the module Becoming an Educationalist?

What is an educationalist? What do they do? What characteristics or attributes would it be helpful for an educationalist to have? What should they DO? What should they NOT DO? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to explain the sort of educationalist that you want to be?

Tips: Mention these in the INTRODUCTION – saying which THREE aspects of the course you are then going to focus upon.


Simulations & role play – for critical thinking – belonging – learning through discussion – active learning

Rich pictures – when you drew your new world after the apocalypse – thinking though images…

SLOW reading – in groups – with collage and presentations – to help you crack the code of academic reading – and learn how to enjoy it.

IMD; Collage; TMD – all used to get you thinking differently – and usually talking with each other – dialogic engagement – learning in action that learning itself is socially constructed (Burr) – ALSO – each of these also a qualitative research method/

Exploring formal and informal learning spaces – to SEE learning, teaching and assessment differently – to start to critique taken for granted practices – and come to your own understanding of education.

Multimodal exhibition/Exhibitions & showcases – show case YOUR creativity and learning – self-efficacy developed – pride and joy?

REAL Research – modelling what all good teaching is – and discovering something new from your own actions – also preparing you for second year when you have to have a Dissertation proposal.

Free writing & peer review – overcoming writing blocks – discovering new ways to APPROACH writing – and discovering the value of peer review and feedback – towards taking ownership of your own writing rather than being over dependent on the tutor.

Music w/shop – enjoying a new process – help to prepare your own performances – but also learning a new way of thinking and expressing ourselves – music also has its own grammar/logic/rhetoric – that is – its own way of communicating ideas. What can you take form that into your own development?

Performance weeks – to showcase your learning – what you think aboyt good classroom practice – what you wanted to teach other people – and HOW you wanted to teach it…

Group work – all the time in all sorts of ways – but hopefully also with space to work individually… The value of making friends and finding collaborators!

Digital stuff – making brilliant digital things – to show you and everybody else that you do not come into education empty – but with skills and talents and just waiting to b stretched! Different to THE ESSAY – which can be very disempowering as so formal and rewards already existing cultural capital…

Blogging to learn – reflecting in own voice and space – to take op=wnership of the learning – to make the final essay writing easier…

Active learning; Question-based learning; Object-based learning; Project-based learning; Inquiry-based learning; Research-based learning; “Student as Producer”; Creativity in learning; and Critical thinking – all designed to develop Belonging; Self-efficacy/Self-esteem!!!


What activities have you enjoyed the most from the module? Why? How has any one particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that activity?

What aspects of the module have you felt were useful or important for someone who is becoming an educationalist? Why? How has any one particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that aspect?

What other activity or aspect do you want to write about? Why? How has that particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that activity or aspect?


Remember to CONCLUDE your essay! Revisit the WHOLE question and prove that you have answered it: to what extent has the module ‘Becoming an Educationalist’ prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? How do your three aspects of/or activities on the course demonstrate that?

TIP: BE CREATIVE? As you should have gathered by now, we hope that #becomingeducational has helped you to think more creatively about teaching, learning and assessment – so – if you want to attempt something more creative than a traditional written essay – we would be interested to hear from you – and see what you want to o and whether it could work!!


DEWEY – for a democratic approach

Freire – on education that is designed for justice and action

hooks – for a critical pedagogy approach

Holt – on the problems with education/schooling

Illich – for the need to ‘de-school’ society

Robinson – on the problems with schooling

Rogers – on the need for unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence.


#becomingeducational: https://becomingeducational.wordpress.com/

Buckets and fires – teachers’ blog http://bucketsandfires.blogspot.co.uk/

Burns, T & Sinfield, S (2012) Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university, London; Sage

Burns and Sinfield resources (also see the Journal articles that accompany each chapter) http://www.uk.sagepub.com/burnsandsinfield3e/study/default.htm

Buzan, B. & Buzan, T. (1995) The Mind Map Book BBC

Creativity – The Curious Creative:  https://flipboard.com/section/the-curious-creative-b5vmw7

Chloe’s blog: https://noblechloe.wordpress.com/

Develop a Digital Me:

Jeffers, S. (1997) Feel the Fear and do it Anyway London; Century

Hybrid Pedagogy blog – see especially this post on classroom design: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/discovering-natural-classrooms-hybrid-collective-learning-spaces/

Isaacs, S, Blundell, D, Foley, A, Ginsburg, N, McDonough, B, Silverstone D & Young, T (2014) Social Problems in the UK: an introduction London; Routledge

Last Refuge Blogspot: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/ Academic blog and essential reading for all Becoming students.

McIntosh, P (2010) Action Research and Reflective Practice: Creative and visual methods to facilitate reflection and learning London; Routledge

McIntosh, P Postgraduate nursing students – drawing-only reflective log: http://qmul.academia.edu/paulmcintosh/Papers/731108/Creativity_and_reflection_An_approach_to_reflexivity_in_practice

Malone, G The Choir episodes


Play in HE: http://www.creativeacademic.uk/uploads/1/3/5/4/13542890/cam2__part_a.pdf and


Robinson, K. (2006) Ken Robinson says ‘Schools kill creativity’ (speech) ONLINE: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html accessed 10.12.10

Robinson, K. (2009) ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ (speech) ONLINE:


Sentimental education? The school that Tilda built: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jun/13/education-school-tilda-swinton-scotland Schmidt, Laurel. ‘Great Teachers Don’t Take No (or Yes) for an Answer: Teaching by Asking Instead of Telling’ in Classroom Confidential: The 12 Secrets of Great Teachers . Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2004. 

Shuh, John Hennigar. ‘Teaching Yourself to Teach With Objects’ in The Educational Role of the Museum: Second Edition . New York: Routledge, 2001, pgs. 80-91.

Study Chat:  – https://www.facebook.com/LondonMetStudyChat   *Like* and follow #studychat for tips, trix and study ideas

Study Hub: www.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub – for study tips and tricks – and calendar of study support events including Writing Clinics

Teach Thought blog: http://www.teachthought.com/

Thornburg D (2007) http://tcpd.org/Thornburg/Handouts/Campfires.pdf Tracey – journal: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/aed/staff-research/research-groups/drawing-visualisation-tracey/

Victor, B https://vialogues.com/vialogues/play/23929/ – 1-hr video on representations…

Visual Directions – sketchbook site: http://cltad-web2.arts.ac.uk/cetl/visual-directions/index.htm

Visual practices in learning and research: http://www.utpteachingculture.com/unflattening-scholarship-with-comics/


Wheeler, S Educational Theory blog: http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.co.uk/

Workshops – preparing them: http://youthwebonline.com/teachers/activities/culture/index.html

Good luck – and enjoy the assignments – Sandra & Tom



W29 so this week you hand in your projects portfolio!!

In Becoming we wanted you to engage in at least THREE Projects with an educational twist – we wanted you to get something from EACH PROJECT – something that would help you as an Education Studies student now – and as an educationalist in the future.

 For EACH project that you submit – think about:

What you did – what project did you undertake and why? What did you get from doing it? How has the process helped you learn things that are useful to you as a student now – and that you will remember and use as an educationalist in the future?

 We asked you to choose three from our suggestions or devise your own – here’s what and how:

Blogging Project: Write to learn

We argued that weekly blogging would help you to learn the course material and write better essays – so we asked you to set up your own personal blog – and to write something each week about the course. IF YOU DID THAT – then ONE of your projects could be BLOGGING!!

FOR THE PORTFOLIO:  Did you blog? Did it help? What tips would you pass on to other students about blogging and writing?

Multimodal Exhibition

We asked you to investigate the university’s formal and informal learning spaces – and to present your findings in an interesting way:  as a poem or a jigsaw puzzle – as knitting or a 3D object – as a Cabinet of Curiosity or a collage… and then we asked you all to put on a MULTIMODAL EXHIBITION in W7 of the course… to showcase your creativity and your learning.

FOR THE PORTFOLIO:  Did you do something for this exhibition? Did it help build your understanding of learning and learning spaces? What did you learn – what will you do about it when a teacher yourself?

Develop a Digital Me

The whole world is digital, it is multi-modal – it is text + image + sound + movement… We asked you all to prepare a Digital Me – an animation or a video or a comic book – and to REFLECT ON WHAT YOU LEARNED BY DOING THAT – then we had another Exhibition.

FOR THE PORTFOLIO:  Did you do something for this exhibition? Did it help build your understanding of making a digital thing – of being a student in a digital world – of learning and virtual learning spaces? What did you learn – what will you do about it when a teacher yourself?

 End of year Performance

For the last few weeks of the course – we asked you to take over the class – and do something a bit creative and a bit educational. It was fantastic!! BUT – what did you do – and what did you get from it all?

FOR THE PORTFOLIO:  Did you do a PERFORMANCE in these last few weeks? Did it help build your understanding of learning, teaching and assessment? Did it help you to better understand learning and learning spaces? What did you learn – what will you do about it when a teacher yourself?

Screenshot 2016-02-10 at 15.02.48OTHER PROJECTS YOU MAY HAVE DONE

Big Reading Project – Make it fun

Art and  Artists

Writers and writing

Learning project

You could choose from the projects above – but we also invited you to set your own learning project for the year: “I’m asking my students to take 25-50 hours and learn something new…, I want my students to explore a few things.

  1. Learn a skill, concept or idea you know very little or nothing about but that you’re interested in learning
  2. Document the learning. Write about it, video tape, audio record, whatever.
  3. Consider all the sources you use to learn. Collect those resources.
  4. Take an early baseline snapshot of your understand at the beginning and another one at the end. Compare and analyze.”

This site tells how – and shares some cool learning journeys: http://ideasandthoughts.org/2011/09/13/the-learning-project/


Tom & Sandra

W25 #becomingeducational You’re thinking about the Portfolios!

As always in #becomingeducational we will give class time to the assignments. So once the Performances are over we will have one week, W28, on your Portfolios and one week, W29, on the final essay… However, some of you want to get a head start – and we are already getting questions on the Portfolio – so here are some tips!

A cool portfolio is…

The Portfolio is where you show us what you have gained from the THREE PROJECTS that you have done.

We asked you to at least do:

Blogging to Learn

Develop a Digital Me

Group Performances.

BUT – you could do MORE than that – and then CHOOSE which three of your many projects you submit in this portfolio. The portfolio is worth 30% of the course marks. We designed it around Project Based Learning so that you would drive your own learning through your own interests and your own motivation.

You could make up or develop your own project idea – and as well as the three listed above, we suggested:

Reading – Make it fun

Sketch Books

Art and Artists

Writers and writing

Learning Project.

With each Project that you did, we wanted you to think of some sort of educational angle and/or some reason that someone who is becoming an educationalist would benefit from a project like that.

When presenting your projects in a portfolio:

Have a CONTENTS page that clearly indicates your THREE projects…

Make the portfolio itself something beautiful – take some pleasure and pride in it.

Remember the idea is to showcase your creativity – your ability to set your own goals – your ability to learn experientially – and to apply your learning to yourself as a student now – and to your future educationalist self.

When writing about your projects – think about answering these questions – for each portfolio item:

What did I do?


What did I get from the experience?

How might this impact on me as a student now and/or as an educationalist in the future?

Tip: keep your writing really brief and CONCISE – BUT do add some pix as evidence of your creative engagement and HUGE learning?

And finally

We hope that you did engage in some projects over the course of this year – and that you enjoyed the experience – a little bit of heutagogy?

AND – may be Project Based Learning is going to be a paragraph in your final Becoming essay?

But that will be the subject of another blog post!!




W23 & 24 #becomingeducational The Performances have started!

Each week (W23-27) there is a different group running the class – and boy are you giving us a lot of fun – and a lot of useful experiences!

W23 Selina and Natalie’s session on How to get a first and Dan and Megan’s Everything you wanted to know about being a digital student ran – in enhancement Week – and open to all Education Studies students. Mucho kudos to them for being brave enough to run their sessions – and for offering us such cool ones. I learned a lot – and I think everybody who attended did as well.


The W24 group ran a creative session – and we explored Kurdish folk dancing – a new angle on role playing to reveal our stresses and strains, and how we overcame them – and then some singing! It was experiential – it was fun – and for each of us we had to think: what did I get from this? How might I use something like this in my own practice…

As always – Tom and I were really impressed by your energy and commitment – and by how much you wanted us to enjoy and learn from your sessions! Thank you!


#Becomingeducational W21: Of luvvies and gamers

This week we got into our Performance Groups – and somehow there are now FIVE of them – to have some time planning our sessions. Performances start immediately after Easter and run across weeks 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27! Phew. Each group has control over THREE HOURS – from 09.00-12.00 – you can fill up all three hours – or allocate time for setting up and so forth. The choice is yours! BUT – let us KNOW what resources you will need – and WHAT TIME – you want the class to appear.

Getting that Performance sorted – things to think about

Evaluating needs: what is my study space? What does it offer? Who are my students – what are their strengths and needs? What is this course/performance/event – and what is it trying to achieve?

Organising materials: what resources are needed: before/during/after?

Defining goals: what do I want the students to experience? What do they want to learn – how do I know?

Selecting instructional mode and techniques: didactic/experiential/solitary/dialogic… What have I chosen and why?

Content sequence: beginning/middle/end? Other? Why?

Assessment and Feedback: How will I know that the session has been successful? What is success in this context?

Student feedback: Will I be seeking feedback from participants? How? Why?

 A, A, Artefact Mooc December 2010 116

Game-ify your learning

Next – we had a splashy and busy session – designing games – with a developmental or Becoming an Educationalist focus… with pitches… We enjoyed all this busy-ness – what did you all think?

AND – did you produce something that is now ready to refine and play as part of your Performance Week?

Tip: As always – reflect: why did we do this? Why did we do it this way? How might I use this in the future?

Questions about Portfolio: evidence of THREE projects

We’ve had some people asking about the portfolio element of the final assessment – due in, in W29. The portfolio has to include evidence of engagement in THREE creative projects – and the joy experienced and lessons learned…

Remember – you will have engaged in several projects for us:

* Observation of formal/informal learning spaces and multimodal exhibition – participant observation – preparing for your Real Research… The challenge and joy of producing a multimodal artefact – rather than – say – an essay…

* Blogging to learn – setting up your blogs – blogging – illustrating and customising blogs – commenting on the blogs of others – and realising the learning potential of blogging

* Develop a digital me: the challenge and difficulty of this – the way you solved the problems – the pride and joy …

* Performance: all of the above!!

You can submit reflections on any three of them… anything that showcases your engagement – growth – joy – development… OR – you can do another SMALL project – for example:

* Explore an artist or some art work that inspires you – what is it about it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Explore an author or some writing (novel/poetry/other) that inspires you – what is it about it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Explore a musician … or dancer.. or scientist… that inspires you – what is it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Attempt to learn something completely new and different – record your learning journey – share highlights of it in some creative way…

FOR THIS ONE – try to have some FUN and JOY!!


Good luck,

Sandra & Tom


#becomingeducational W13: Happy new year and all that

So we started with our quiz – and that led on to discussing the what, why and how of the Research Report (1000 words – due in W20), the forthcoming PERFORMANCE weeks and assessment. Oh – we handed work back also!

Qualitative Research

You gave some great replies to the opening question: What are the advantages of qualitative research? Qualitative research allows the gathering of the feelings and experiences of those who have lived the phenomenon that you are investigating. It is interpretist – as opposed to Quantitative Research – which is positivist. Postivism suggests that things, including people, can be fixed and knowable – interpretism suggests more fluidity – and therefore hints that change is possible. We argued that a qualitative approach is more suitable when investigating people’s experiences of social phenomena and that includes their experiences of the various educational forms and processes that you/we are investigating.

The Research Report

This led to a discussion of the forthcoming Research Report where you demonstrated that you knew that:

Findings: is where you summarise the key themes that you identified in the data that you collect from your participants.

Discussion: is where you discuss your themes – against the key ideas that you had discussed in your Literature Review.

Conclusion: is where you summarise the key themes discussed… and

Recommendations: is where you might suggest actions to be taken – by staff or students – in response to what you have discovered.

We noted that in a longer research project, like a dissertation, the production of interesting data might reveal that the Literature Review was not as useful as it might have been – that it offered no relevant ideas to use. In that case a good tip is to engage in more reading – and to improve the Literature Review… This shows that a good dissertation emerges from a cycle of reading – acting – reflecting – reading some more… Oh – just like any successful essay or report process, then!



We took some time to get into embryonic groups and to discuss ideas for your performances in weeks 23, 24, 25 and 26. YES – they are starting a bit earlier than we said in the module handbook – and we are having one more group this year. (If you missed the class – do find a group to join!)

The performance is where you take over the class – and it’s your opportunity to be really creative around the notions of teaching, learning or assessment. It can be a literal performance – we would love to see a LondonMet focussed version of Educating Rita – or you can design a session or a series of activities that make us think about education in new ways. It is up to you… and we hope that you have a great time – that you enjoy the challenge – that you surprise and delight us and each other. This can be something to reflect on in your portfolio and/or in the final essay – but much more than that – it is your time to shine!



Assessment: why oh why?

We moved on to consider the role of assessment in the life of a student… part discussion – part lecture.

What is Assessment?

Assessment of learning: designed to be a measure of what the student has achieved – against the course Aims and Learning Outcomes – and any specific Assessment Criteria for a task. Links to positivism in that it suggests that it is possible to achieve one accurate measurement – and that how, in society, one measurement can often be used to define a person: their ability, their IQ and often there worth as a human being.

Assessment for learning: designed to prompt students to actually take steps to learn the material with which they are engaging. We linked this to the opening quiz – and the fact that the quiz did indeed prompt people to revise their notes and to look up new terms and learn them. Although an extrinsic motivator for learning (in that it comes from outside of the learner) – once students see for themselves that such revision works, it can lead us to more active learning.

Assessment as learning: where assessment activities are seen as part of the learning process: that actively preparing an assignment means that people engage with the ideas and make sense of them for themselves – especially as they struggle to communicate effectively. Seeing assessment as process and as learning can help us to embrace the potential of the activities in which we engage – rather than just been focussed on the grade and the mark… It should help us see that one grade is not the measure of who and what we are!

Why do we assess?

Well – bodies that award qualifications that are portable and seen as valid and reliable require evidence upon which to base their awards – that is the function of assessment at the institutional level.

How do we assess?

Through portfolios, essays, reports, projects, dissertations, exams, presentations … each one has its own genre ‘rules’: its what/why/how – and these should be thought about when preparing an assignment. Tip: when we are preparing for the assignment itself it helps to consider the task – the question – the module aims and learning outcomes – and the rules of the genre with which we are engaging. All this can help us make the most of the assessment opportunity. As Tom says: it is the opportunity to show just how clever we are!

All of the thoughts on assessment we hope are useful to you now as students – and in your future roles of educationalists… not least we hope that you reflect on the different ways that you may want to assess your future students.


You cannot have a discussion on assessment without some discussion on the role of feedback. Good feedback is designed to show where we have done well in a particular assignment – and where we have not perhaps done so well. Errors range from practical things like not referencing properly – to deeper issues like missing out on key parts of the question – not reading the ‘right’ sources – not understanding or writing in sufficient depth. The best thing to do is to reflect on both our strengths – so we repeat them in other assignments – and our weaknesses – so we do something about them. Although feedback can provoke profound emotional responses (oh how we cried!); usually the tutor is not trying to destroy us – but is rather hoping that we notice their comments – and that we then do something about them.

Feedback is particularly useful in an iterative (repetitive) education system:  where we visit information in lectures or workshops – discuss in seminars and through our coursework – and then develop further to discuss again via synoptic exam answers. This is why examinations are so popular in some circles… although they are typically not enjoyed by students.

Ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And after all that preamble – work was handed back – grades were focussed upon (!!!) – but we also had the opportunity to speak with people to discuss what they had done well – what they could do differently next time…

Well done everybody!!


Learning Log – Week 26

W26: They’ve taken over the classroom, Ma!!!


Second week of performances – second week that you’ve been wonderful – exciting – creative – challenging – dynamic…


All those good words.


Tom and I could never capture the excellence of this week – thankfully, Chloe did.


Here’s her blog post for this week.


Thanks to all of them for putting on such a great session – thanks to all of you for joining in with such energy and flair!!


Learning Log – Week 26.