learning physiotherapy teaching

Aligning curriculum with assessment

Our department is gearing up for it’s annual planning meeting, where we review the physiotherapy course from the past year and plan for the next one. This is also the year that our newly formed Directorate of Teaching and Learning has developed an institutional teaching and learning policy, with a strategic implementation plan over the next 5 years. As part of the development of a scholarship of teaching and learning at the university, all faculties and departments are now being asked to develop their own teaching and learning policies, aligned with the institutional one. I’ll be conducting a short workshop at the planning meeting, where we’ll look at the institutional┬ádepartmental policy and flesh out the draft document I’ve been working on for the past week or so.

As part of my presentation, I’ll be showing an example of how we can align a simple assessment task with the departmental teaching and learning policy. Here’s my initial idea, feedback or comments are welcome.

learning research students teaching

Students’ languages and their associations

Our Directorate of Teaching and Learning has organised a series of seminars over the next few months, with invited speakers from a variety of institutions across the country. They’ll be presenting on a range of topics, including academic literacy, integrating technology into teaching, working with large classes, teaching practices, and educational theory. I’ll also be presenting a session on personal learning, which will be similar to the other talks I’ve give on the topic recently.

Today we had a presentation by Doctor Brenda Leibowitz, who spoke about the relationship between language and biography / identity and their impact on teaching and learning. Here are a few short notes I took during the session.

Language studies typically look at homogeneous groups, but few look at cross-institutional and cultural communities.

Language can be intimidating for students (“the words are so complicated”), which means that texts can take longer to read, result in more guessing and reduced coherence

“Too hard to find the words, so you just make simple sentences”

Students appreciated the focus groups where someone was paying attention to their difficulties (“This gathering is like rain in the desert”)

The ability to communicate effectively depends on genre. Context has implications for language

Attitude has implications for language, as does identity

Mastery of a second language is important, but is not the sole determinant of academic success

Role of language in teaching and learning:

  • Proficiency
  • Social – and isolation
  • Utility
  • Value (exposure)
  • Ideological associations

Language has an impact on social and organisational structure

Code switching

How can we introduce students to the genre of academic discourse?

Talking and writing students into the discipline”. How do you take your students with you to the conclusion, rather than leave them behind and create a gap that they cannot cross?


PhD progress

Things are finally starting to move on the proposal now that I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of other regular work that’s been outstanding.  I’ve had a few meetings with my two supervisors (one is a professor in my department and another is the head of the Directorate of Teaching and Learning at the university) and we’ve drawn up a timeline for submission of the proposal.

I’ve also been spending some time putting together a different proposal for funding, which I submitted today.  I had no idea how much time is involved in getting these things together.  On the one hand you spend a significant amount of time on something that may have zero pay-off.  On the other hand, it really serves to clarify your thinking around the project.  Through this process, I found that vague ideas are easy to have, but finding a workable methodology to take them forward is far more difficult.

I’m also beginning to understand what people mean when they say that research is a very lonely process (I recently spent hours on a few paragraphs, tweaking them so that they’re just right).  Oftentimes, people just won’t understand what the motivation is and it’s sometimes quite difficult to explain.  It’s like that saying: “If they get it, you don’t have to explain.  If they don’t get it, you can’t”.

Anyway, as I said previously, I’m going to try and make this research process as open as possible, in the hope that others in similar situations find some consolation in realising that they’re not alone.