I recently attended a CREATE (Cultivating Research and Teaching Excellence) seminar through University of Bristol Academic Staff Development on university lecturing. I came away not only inspired, and with a sense of better connectedness within the University, but also with the confidence that what we do at CELFS is in keeping, if not already paving the way to some of the ideas being promoted, discussed and negotiated amongst our esteemed academic colleagues. In thinking about why or how this must surely be important for CELFS pre-sessional tutors is that during a pre-sessional course, within a set time frame, we need to help bridge the gap across a multi-faceted programme. We absolutely need to provide our students with the support they need to enter the HE environment and deconstruct lectures with confidence.
So, for someone entering the world of pre-sessional instruction, while there are a multitude of factors that shape the experience for the tutor, from my experience, it is the process of the student transition into UK HE that is foremost in this programme. It is our job to provide a bridge so that students are better equipped to enter their community of discourse with an illuminated understanding of how the “lecture construct” will promote and enhance their own education experience and if I have a better idea of what the lecturers are doing, then that helps me help my students even more.
So, how can we help our pre-sessional students overcome difficulties in university lectures? Develop and enhance interrogative language construction, flip the material so that they come prepared for lecture-classes, cultivate an attitude of enquiry and consider the authentic environment that the students will go on to study in. Can we replicate and authenticate what our students will be doing then and thereby better prepare them?
The overarching message from this CREATE course is that lecturers should exude passion for their subject and possess a desire to stimulate such passion within students. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of our student’s destinations, it is impossible for me to possess in-depth knowledge across a multitude of disciplines, but by possessing an enquiring mind and engaging in the University academic staff development seminars and extending my connections with academics through such a conduit, I am better equipped to exude enthusiasm for their programme of choice and thus more confident in knowing how to guide my students towards what to expect in their HE future.
Here is a video extract Lecturing for (deeper) learning in large classes from the recommended short videos from the CREATE course.