Further development

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Determining and shaping your area of learning

Think about these areas we have been exploring. There are several places that can help you identify these: your performance appraisal process might be a key place to review to see if there were themes identified in that, as might student evaluations, or peer feedback, or your own awareness of what is taking up a lot of your thinking time or your personal exploration time. Equally it might be the areas you talk about with your colleagues, if only we had... talks.

The area for you might just pop out, or it may be that you want to brainstorm areas and then filter and sort them. Either is fine. But we do recommend doing this with others…

Decide on an area of teaching and learning practice you have some awareness of but would like to enhance by further exploration, thinking and practice.

  1. Using a whiteboard or paper or a down loaded mindmap begin to shape up what dimensions are involved in this area, think of themes, knowledge, skill, questions you may have. The richer the mindmap the better. Sometimes this can be done much more quickly and fully with a friend or another learner on your programme, having someone to ask and prompt and suggest and trigger makes this phase much more full. You can reciprocate for them!
  2. Begin to filter, and link these, refine the mindmap.
  3. Identify the areas where you already feel you bring understandings and skills to these. Each area might have some areas where you feel quite strong and others where you feel your understandings are only formative. Try to complete as many of these as you can on your mindmap.
  4. Stand back, and look at what you can see. Are there some connections or linkages you had not spotted? Are the many areas really only a few?
  5. List these areas that might be the area for your further study on this programme.
  6. Are there areas that are more important than others? Why?
  7. Is there a common uniting point that development might resolve?
  8. Looking at the priority list now, what would be the justification for developing your understandings and skills in this shortlist? What would be the benefits and for who? What would be the change in your teaching practice as a result?
  9. Identify what you bring to this shortlist. Pull in the ideas from 3 above.
  10. Select the area for development that you feel speaks to you, or perhaps if you cannot choose there might be two or three areas.
  11. Identify who you might need to talk with to get support for this being your inquiry area and plan out how you might raise your ideas with them. The course facilitator could be a first port of call. When you are ready you will have to prepare to go to the manager you report to and justify the case for this being your development area. The goal of this is to get their feedback and perspectives and build it into the concept. Be very clear about what the benefits to your team or school or department might be.

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Submit the following to your facilitator:

  1. Your mindmap or a photo of your mindmap clearly identifying your key development interest but showing it positioned in relation to other possible areas. This diagram can be messy to show the connections.
  2. Write no more than the equivalent of two pages summarising what the area is, why this is an area for you, what you bring to the area already, what the justification is, what benefits might arise, what the possible dimensions are that could be explored and what outcomes might arise.