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National Teaching Fellowship: A New Adventure

Day_1_Creagh_Office_Door

It has been a long time since I added anything here. I stopped writing because I felt that my journal was no longer needed as a starting point for my students and friends to find out about Renewable Sustainable Energy and create their own vision for a sustainable future. So this journal has been sitting there, like a real journal on my shelf, waiting for my next big adventure. So five years later…

It was the end of May 2013 when I was contacted by the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching. I am guessing it was Siobhan on the phone but it could have been Francine. At that stage I did not know either of them. A disembodied voice told me that I had been given a National Teaching Fellowship. I was speechless. They asked if I remembered putting in the application. How could I forget those weeks of work, sending it to anyone who might read it and make constructive comments, the endless revisions? Sure I remembered. “Yes” I whispered, mind racing along this previously hidden pathway but still not believing what was happening, “I didn’t think I would get it”.

The only reason I put in my application was because I had made a promise to Les that I would. I had worked with him for a short time on his Senior Fellowship and he considered that I was “at the right point in my career” to move in this direction. My university were also keen for me to demonstrate that I was research active and the combined pressure was enough to make me move. If I promise to do something then I give it my best shot, no point going off half cocked… it gets you a bad name.

How did I come up with the idea of what I was going to do for the Fellowship? I looked for the gaps as any good scientist would. Students have gaps in their pre-requisite knowledge and skills. Universities have gaps in their support systems. Lecturers, unit co-ordinators and tutors don’t have any gaps in their time to help fill the previously mentioned gaps. So it is up to the students to learn how to learn and fill their own gaps. Question: how can we, the facilitators of learning, help the students learn how to learn within their discipline? The curriculum guides us in the knowledge and skills that we have to teach but these assume that students know such things as; how to read a physics textbook for understanding, how to draw physics-type diagrams, how to interrogate physics formula, the ins and outs of designing a physics experiment, the questions to ask of data during its analysis and basically how to form a framework of knowledge that enables them to build on it and learn new material.
We assume much of our fledgling engineers, physicists, mineral science, secondary education, environmental science and chemistry students. Perhaps we assume too much! Perhaps we need to consider how we can facilitate their learning in the skills and attitudes that will enable them to learn?

At this stage I must say…
Support for this, and any further publications, on this Journal about my National Teaching Fellowship has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in these publications do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for learning and Teaching.

Comments

Hi Leece, I didn't think anyone would still have links since it has been so long since I wrote last. Happy to be back and glad you are still here :)