SHIFT annual conference of learning and teaching 2018

Last year I attended the SHIFT Annual Conference of Learning and Teaching 2017 and remember being captivated by the dedication to learning and teaching, student satisfaction, enhancing and developing pedagogies, working with librarians, working with the Students’ Union, and student life in general. I sat in the 3rd parallel session of the day and told myself that the next year, I would be contributing to this and presenting at SHIFT.

And so I did!

This year I presented my research, Assignments: the purpose vs the perception. If you want to see my slides (and hopefully soon a Panopto of my talk), check the SHIFT website here.

The conference was, again, inspiring and thought-provoking. The morning keynote from Prof. Sally Brown gave more than a presentation on Enthusing and energising students: celebrating and recognizing excellent teaching. Sitting in this morning keynote was like watching your favourite singer, except I didn’t know all the lyrics. I loved what she was saying, she was captivating and I wanted to be her. (I hope that’s not too fan-girl!)

The morning parallel sessions provided a difficult choice from the several interesting sessions. The sessions I attended added to the repertoire of considerations and thoughts from this conference that are applicable both to my teaching in HE and teaching in a language classroom and my research. For those interested, I was in room QA175, which you can check on the conference programme. These talks inspired me to look into student mentors within classes, the CELTA lesson plan idea of grouping weaker and stronger students together. Why not use this in HE?!

My presentation was just before lunch, not the worst slot for the potential of an engaged audience! My presentation discussed whether the purpose set out for an assignment by the lecturer is perceived and understood by the students carrying out assignments. Having graduated relatively recently, I have the interesting balance of views from the students’ perspective and the requirements and intentions of the lecturer. From this talk, I received encouraging comments, especially for the first time I’ve presented something outside my own field of research. I even received some interesting follow-up emails from colleagues which I will take into consideration while writing this research up. Thanks to everyone who attended my session, both in the flesh and online. I am even more motivated in following this research area!

The afternoon comprised of a set of workshop sessions. I attended Sally Brown’s workshop on assessments, something I’m becoming increasingly interested in. Although the content of this session was eye-opening, for a new teacher, the ways in which Sally got the audience (or class!) to engage with what she was saying and how she encouraged us to discover what she was saying rather than just sitting absorbing it, was a CPD session in itself.

I left the conference feeling ready to teach term 2 with innovative, creative and functional pedagogies and activities for my classes. Thank you to the SHIFT team and all the inspiring presenters. Hope to see you in 2019!

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