Q&A with a T Level Trainer: The New Teacher Programme

New College Durham (NCD) is one of the ETF’s sector delivery partners, delivering Role Specific Training courses within the T Level Professional Development (TLPD) offer to other T Level providers. In this blog, CPD Trainer, Eve Thompson, speaks to Wayne Park, Head of Improving Learning at NCD, about the New Teacher Programme (NTP) he delivered in March 2021.

 

What do you think the benefits are for the participants attending the course?

From the participants’ perspective, the way the course is laid out is beneficial because it goes through some of the fundamental aspects of structure and learning, which I think for a new teacher is really important. Some of the participants haven’t had an opportunity to really apply a lot of their learning yet, so I think the structure, content, and activities included in the course really give them a clear idea of the processes to follow and how they should organise their lessons.

Exploring the key questions around ‘what is learning?’, ‘who are my learners?’ and ‘how am I going to teach?’  is really helpful for new teachers coming in and it enables them to structure their teaching. A lot of new teachers focus on the question ‘how are we going to teach?’ as the crux of the matter, without thinking about the other two parts sitting behind it – what learning is and who the learners are. Teachers should be thinking about potential learning barriers, amongst other considerations.

The positive feedback we got from the participants afterwards was that the activities we did gave them new ideas about how they can use different tools and strategies, particularly in remote sessions. Remote learning has been a challenge for our students and also for new teachers coming into the profession, so giving them ideas such as to how they can use the ‘chat’ and ‘reactions’ functions on online delivery platforms, as well as showing them some of the EdTech tools to bring into their practice, has been great.

 

What do you think the benefits are to you as a training team delivering this programme?

It became a useful point of reflection for us and got us thinking about how we deliver our in-house new teacher programme for new starters. We have an induction package for college staff so it was really useful for reflecting on this. We could also reflect on the currency of the materials that we are using and the way we deliver them.

I think one of the things we’ve gained is the ability to model the activities, link them to the learning principles behind them, and bring them into our CPD sessions. This makes the sessions less ‘information-giving’ and overall a better learning experience.

We’ve definitely picked up a lot in terms of content and delivery style. Tools such as Jamboard were new to us – it was something we had never come across before even though we’re always researching and looking out for new teaching approaches or ideas. The ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions were really beneficial for helping us understand how the sessions would be run, including the use of EdTech. Also, being able to network with other people and hear them talk about the tools they were using was beneficial.

 

What would say is your favourite topic on the programme?

The part I wish I’d had myself as a new teacher was the EdTech section. It’s a passion of mine and it’s interesting to be able to communicate the importance of it; having it featured as a big section of the course and not just a bolt-on was great. EdTech is key, and new teachers need to consider how they want to use it in their teaching.  

Another interesting bit for me was the ‘learning theories’ section – looking at the activities that link to these and their application, as well as the discussions that this section generates. I liked the activity where we looked back over the session at which learning theories had been used and how that tied the whole session together.

 

What was the feedback that you got from the participants in the session?

They really enjoyed it and we had lots of positive feedback from them. The fact that as a result of the NTP they wanted to do the Teaching T Levels Enhancing Pedagogy course is the biggest testament to how they found the course. For some, it supplemented what they were already doing and for others, it was brand new. There were lots of opportunities for them to engage; they weren’t just sitting there receiving information, they were very engrossed in the session. They were making lots of contributions and felt that they could ask questions and get involved with answers. With any kind of new teacher programme, you have participants who are perhaps reluctant to come forward, but I think because there was a nice atmosphere and it was a smaller group, they felt they could come forward and ask questions. The course exposed them to a number of tools that they hadn’t come across yet and feedback has been really positive from all of those involved.

 
Would you recommend the NTP?

I would absolutely, 100%, recommend the course, particularly to staff who have a wealth of experience in industry but are new to T level delivery, as they are going to have to learn the craft of teaching quite quickly. I think as an introduction to the concept of teaching, the NTP is really valuable as it gives clear ideas about how you can structure learning, as well the explaining the importance of different aspects covered in the course. It provides a good foundation for things that teachers have to learn as they go, for example planning and assessment. I think it’s a really well-designed course that has very clear content. There are some excellent activities in there which encourage and model those practices for the participants. There are plenty of opportunities for participants to discuss and collaborate with one another. I think it’s a great course, I really enjoyed delivering it, and I think the participants got a lot from it.

 

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