Sunday, 6 June 2010

Instructional Skills Workshop

All of a sudden it's the last week of the semester (apart from the other week for which I won't get paid, but that's another story). This week I'm helping facilitate an Instructional Skills Workshop, with one co-facilitator and three colleagues participating. It's a programme originally developed in Canada which provides a short, focused and quite intense workshop in practical teaching skills.

For people who've done a lot of teaching it's a refresher, a backto-basics, and a chance to play around with techniques and ideas. For people who are new to teaching it's a safe space to try out some instructional tools which will work almost anywhere. For me as a facilitator it's all that and more, plus a chance to get to know some of my colleagues better.

One of the principles of the ISW is that we enter a kind of ISW bubble - we work together, lunch together, and are supposed to be released from all other duties for the duration. Back in the old days, I'm told (paradise is always what we have recently lost... just before my time, usually) the college would fund us or find sponsorship for us to go off to a hotel for 4 days, so we wouldn't even be physically on the college campus. Nowadays, the facilitators are also providing lunch for themselves and the participants every day.

And principles don't necessarily work well with practice.

Which is why I'm still at my desk at 9.30 pm to complete the grade entry for the last of my courses.

Say not the struggle naught availeth...


Robin said...

I remember how taken aback I was about 6 months into my contract when I was talking to the lovely Ada Hosein who was teaching HD business and she told me she wasn't a trained teacher.

I had been under the illusion that everyone who was employed to teach had at least a minimal teaching qualification. Then later the ISW arrived and I realised that there were quite a few non-teachers.

Sarah said...

It's also a nice thing for trained and experienced teachers to have as a refresher - back to basics - for someone who has been teaching a long time. The key thing is that it is confidential - you can experiment, play around and fall flat on your ass if you want!