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FE provision in the UK

Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2009-08-11 12:12
Subject: (no subject)
Security: Public
Has anyone here ever published any article in any journal?
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-26 11:47
Subject: I have an A2 Psychology student (male) who is such a puzzle.
Security: Public
Earlier this year, he submitted a coursework draft (due in May 2009, submitted in early June 2008) while he was still an AS student, after the AS exams were over and they returned as A2 kids for a couple of weeks. I gave them some guidance relating to what they could base their coursework on (i.e. what was legitimate and within the boundaries of the specification) and other details like how they could work out which statistical test would be appropriate for them. He submits a first draft in which he achieves close to full marks before we even break up for the Summer holidays. I'm hugely impressed since last year I had students who I still hadn't seen drafts for on May 1st!

He comes back after the Summer, and is full of motivation for about a month. Then something obviously happened and he simply refused to meet all my deadlines. I do set a lot of homework (in this last half term of 8 weeks I've set and collected 9 pieces - with another one set over half term) but the class is very small (only 4 students) and a rebellion of one impacts almost immediately on all others. I chase him for homework, I call home, I get the Head of 6th form involved, I speak to his form tutor, I speak to him on his own about any problems he's got, etc. I am dutiful and professional about the administration of departmental rules relating to deadlines.

Then suddenly - all changes again, and in the last two pieces of homework, he's had 23 and 24 (out of 24) and I seriously am left searching the mark scheme for something - anything - that he's left out to give him something to keep striving for. I couldn't fault his last piece (a difficult question on the function of sleep) and had to give him full marks because I could suggest literally nothing else that he should have included.

I have never had a student who is so capable and so reluctant or unmotivated to engage in the material. He's not naturally gifted - he's not an Oxbridge kid or anything like that either, but I am astonished at how well he's doing and so worried that his loose cannon inclinations will lead to him fucking up on the day because he's peaked too soon in the academic year.

Any advice for me, guys?
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-24 22:57
Subject: Thank Heavens!
Security: Public
*Mumbles, whilst on her knees*

...so, anyone else on half term yet?
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-07 19:41
Subject: Middle of term, and I'm already sick of marking!
Security: Public
I set a piece of homework for my A-level psychologists on media influences on anti-social behaviour, and every single student has totally misunderstood the question. Obviously, that's got to be partially my fault, because it wasn't just one student who had the wrong end of the stick; I must have made some error or omission in guiding them properly. The thing that's really concerning me about this particular class is that they're doing averagely (at best) in every piece of work I've set so far this year. And I've set a lot of homework for that class. I'm worried that I'll crush their little spirits and they'll stop trying. They're already a little lax on deadlines (which I'm stamping all over as completely unacceptable and detrimental to everyone's experience) so I don't want to dishearten them further by giving them another set of shitty grades.

My options are:
  1. Mark them on the mark scheme that they should have worked to, in an attempt to illustrate the importance of reading the question carefully. It should be a mistake they make only once, and better in homework than in their A-level exam!

  2. Explain that had the question been what they thought it was (which is obvious), they'd have actually produced their highest standard of work to date; and what they've written does, in fact, show a marked improvement.

  3. Give them an opportunity to re-submit the homework, knowing that they'd missed the point, and this being the best time to make that mistake, they should have another stab at getting it right.

I'm thinking I'll go with all three, unless you have a better idea, Internets? ...If your suggestion is, "burninate all students with terrible handwriting" I will hear your submission on Thursday after 6 straight hours of teaching with no breaks.

How can I have been working so hard all day and not only have I not checked anything off my (massive) to-do list, I've actually made it grow?! Shouldn't term be settling down a bit now? Am I the only one that's completely knackered and praying for half term?
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-07 17:47
Subject: Funding issues.
Security: Public
I work in a sixth form school, and teach exclusively Post-16 provisions. Today I had a meeting with the Head to discuss funding in one of my new AS courses, and it becomes apparent that there's no formula for calculating funding for Post-16. In FE it's calculated per capita, if I'm not mistaken, but regardless of class sizes, or start up resource needs etc, Post-16 seem to get left with whatever hasn't already been spent on curriculum areas.

Any suggestions for how to get increased funding, colleagues?
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-03 22:31
Subject: Academic exercises from real life experiences.
Security: Public
Mood:proud
Music:Stereophonics: Superman
Last night I had a bit of a run in with the police. I was parked down the beach, it was pouring down, pitch dark and my friend (colleague who for the sake of anonymity we'll call Student Sharer) were sitting there having a chat as it's a half way meeting point between our houses.

Student Sharer is the head of Sociology and RS.
I'm the head of Law and Psychology.

The police knock the driver's side window, I roll the window down, and the police ask what we're doing (not that it's any of their business; we're talking) They're concerned because the car is steamed up (we're also breathing. Last I checked, not a crime!). We assured them we were just talking, but my friend has never had a run in with the police before and she's a little shaken up, I'm annoyed by their intrusion, but this isn't the first time I've had dealt with the police and I wasn't concerned.

Took it back to class today and presented the facts only to my lawyers. They asked relevant questions, they explored the case law surrounding reasonable suspicion and we discussed it like academics. They backed up their statements with statutory authority, and their questions were based on case law. I was so proud!
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Equity's Darling posting in Further Education in the UK
User: beachcomber
Date: 2008-10-01 20:48
Subject: Welcome.
Security: Public
Tags:modpost
Welcome to furthered. I am your moderator, beachcomber.

It struck me that despite several excellent communities on LiveJournal related to teaching and academia, there were none that I could find which focussed on lecturing at a tertiary level, or to Post-16 students in sixth form schools. Here, I welcome discussion relating to that aspect of education and the challenges facing us every day.
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my journal
August 2009