TAE was a great experience in many ways but I’m also glad it is over as it was pretty intense, especially those middle delivery weeks.
With the change from John Natoli to Mark McNamara we certainly saw both ends of the spectrum of how to behave as a facilitator. I found Mark inspiring and someone able to do things differently, which he also encouraged us to do. I replayed the wedding dance video a lot while compiling my work to hand in and that may become one of my enduring memories of the course – dare to be different and this may be the result. (I’d be playing it now except the sound isn’t working on the computer at the moment.) We role played things and designed room layouts and ways to deal with people causing problems in a group. Most of the big things we had to do were demonstrated by mock-up examples using either Fang Dental or STX… Communicate on the telephone. There weren’t that many times when we just went through the notes although there were times where we really just had to.
Fortunately for someone who wants to be an instructional designer I enjoyed the design section the most even though, due to being given the wrong instructions the first time, we had to do the assignment twice. It was interesting meshing the 2 units together and I found writing the general plan much easier than doing the detailed sessions for delivery although that was extremely useful, especially since we got immediate feedback so I feel I understand how to improve already whereas due to the change of instructor nearly 2 months later we still don’t have our learning program back, which is a bit frustrating. In a way we did get some feedback through the peer review processes we did for design and assessment. I was a bit doubtful about these beforehand but they were extremely valuable, sometimes because of what my reviewer (always Sharon and I was so lucky because she is very switched on) said but also just from reading through hers and seeing how she’d done things.
I spent too long preparing for the deliveries as I’m not confident in thinking on my feet and was afraid I’d forget things and/or ramble and go over time. I need to learn to wing it a bit more (not too much of course) and relax enough to let the learners have more control. I did better with the longer session as I felt I had some leeway. I did go a bit over time – basically I tried to do too much which I suspected but that was a good lesson as well. If I was teaching a really long session I don’t think I’d be able to try and script it all which would actually be good for me. One of the most interesting days was delivery day where all the learners had to teach a 20 minute session. The topics were widely disparate – humanitarian aid workers, teaching people with disabilities, children’s art, imperative verbs (for TESOL), computers, tax – as were the styles but it was a very worthwhile day.
Assessment wasn’t really what I expected. I thought it would be rubrics and how to decide what forms of assessment to use for different types of material but it was just principles and writing assessment plans and developing an assessment instrument. My first attempt at an observation checklist was much too general but I learnt from that.
I did learn a lot from the course and feel as though I could tackle a teaching position and at least know where to start. I also met some great people from all different backgrounds and that was a true highlight. Hopefully we’ll keep in touch and a reunion has already been planned.