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Nottingham PGCEi: half-time

Discussion in 'Qualifications & Courses' started by portnoy58, 5 May 2015.

  1. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, just to let you now I have now completed the first two modules (of four) of this certificate. I've passed both assignments too and passed the process work. My tutor advises if I can up my game a little in the second half that I could get a distinction which is equivalent to 70+, 'first class'. That's quite encouraging for this old dog, good to know that the brain is still capable.

    To be honest I'm enjoying it - it also helps that my wife is highly supportive. She doesn't object to me getting up at 04:00h which is what I do on a Saturday and Sunday sometimes to get some quiet time. I've got a couple of young kids and it can be difficult to read when they are about.

    It's getting more practical too for which I am grateful. We are starting to cover stuff that is actually relevant to classroom practice and in fact the second half of the course promises to be very practical.

    My current waiver, no. 3, expires December 2016, so once i get this Nottingham ticket (completion Oct 2015) I'll apply for a full teacher's licence so long as I'm still in Thailand. But I'm going to push the boat out in any event - as soon as a suitable international school vacancy comes up I'm going to go for it and I'm not concerned about staying in Thailand. Basically I want to try to get the kids educated in a decent school so I'll travel, and will consider most places. I'm also seriously considering a Masters following the PGCEi. I need every bit of weaponry I can lay my hands on to enhance my applications.

    Watch this space. More soon.
     
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  2. trnwrk

    trnwrk Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand your desire to achieve this. My kid is still in the oven and I am already fretting over this concern.

    Keep fighting the good fight and best of luck to you!
     
    portnoy58 likes this.
  3. po3try

    po3try Well-Known Member

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    me too.

    I know of 2 teachers that have taken this course and have gotten jobs at mid-tier int schools. IME the tuition would be at least halved. The bigger int schools offer the children to study for free but require more experience, and have limited places.

    I heard that this year a contract was offered to a teacher from a top tier american school but was removed when they found out that she had a child as that they had reached the maximum amount of free school places.
     
    portnoy58 likes this.
  4. Stamp

    Stamp Administrator Staff Member

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    Congratulations on this achievement. Good luck with the next part.
     
    portnoy58 likes this.
  5. Tullkra

    Tullkra Active Member

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    Awesome work- keep it up and well done :)
     
    portnoy58 likes this.
  6. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this and rest assured as my cousin famously told me: you think you're supposed to sort your kids out, but don't doubt for one minute that they'll actually sort you out! My kids really make it simple and help keep me very focused - my life is about trying to meet their future needs as best as I can. I am sure your imminent arrival will not only bring you great joy but also sort you out! Good luck and enjoy.
     
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  7. daiwill

    daiwill Member

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    Roughly how long has this course taken you to complete so far? Obviously you have already stated when you expect to complete.
    I am seriously thinking of going down the same route now. As you have said it opens up far more options, both in and outside of Thailand, bearing in mind where this place seems likely to be heading and may well head, when a certain well know figure leaves the building???
     
  8. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I started in October 2015: four day face to face event in Bangkok. That is the sum total of 'attendance' as everything else is done via online modules. As far as these events go it was not bad, not sure I learned very much but it provided an opportunity to meet the tutors and that means knowing my tutor as a real live human being. The academic staff are a decent bunch, fairly helpful and responsive and really enthusiastic about the course and 'adult' learning.

    Each module, of which there are four, consists of process work and a 3,000 word assignment which have to be submitted to deadline... so four assignments and four sets of process work. The process work is graded 'pass' or 'fail' - it's basically a series of short written pieces of work on module content. So one of the themes in Module One is International Education and you are required to write 500 words on the question: What is International Education? There's some reading to do beforehand which if you've done makes reasonably light work of the task. There might be about 10 similar type of activities in each module. The intention is they help you sharpen your pencil so to speak for when you come to write your assignments

    The written assignments are the meat of the course. A lot of the face to face event is about academic reading and writing. You get a fair amount of hand holding with Assignment 1 but there is a clear expectation that thereafter you'll stand on your own two feet and get the work down with minimal support. The academic staff stress it is a masters level course and the expectation is that you direct your own learning.

    At times it can be really hard work wading through some of the material which can be highly abstract and far fetched. I've learned to plod on and try not to get stuck on stuff I find difficult. There is always something more interesting and relevant around the corner. I really enjoyed learning about Vygotsky and contrasting his perspective with that of Piaget whereas I found some of the Skinner/Behaviourist stuff quite difficult.

    Assignments are spot-marked. So for instance you can only get a 53 or 58, 63 or 68, 73 or 78 etc and these spot marks are linked to clear criteria. I actually agree with the feedback I've received on my two submissions. It's been considered, relevant, helpful and motivating.

    One of the things I like is the online library access. You basically get access to an excellent academic library and all of the course material is electronic. You can also access things like the full Oxford English Dictionary and Who's Who and all the latest editions of the major reference books.

    I'm looking at completion in early October. I'm not going to start applying for jobs until I am close to completion. Just think it will look better to say I've got this ticket and a grade as opposed to saying I'm in the process of studying for it. But that is just personal - if a particularly attractive job comes up I'll go for it regardless.

    Just out of interest I have been offered two jobs simply on the basis of current experience and the course but didn't honestly feel either post was what I really wanted and they didn't really represent a significant improvement on my current lot.
     
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  9. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for the updates. If I may, any bad things about the program?
     
  10. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it can be a little bit too theoretical and abstract at times and content often seems quite far removed from the classrooms I work in. I reckon the course has grown out of international school teachers seeking qualifications. So some of the stuff seems to presuppose 'international' classrooms where everyone is happy to speak English. My kids are 99% Thai and Thai is their first language. Most of them don't see much point in speaking in English to their peers when Thai does the job perfectly well. So while I've been doing a lot of interesting reading on collaborative work and learning great techniques and activities for running small groups in the classroom, 95% of it is not feasible in the environment where I work - my students (G5 & G6) just don't have the English language skills to understand the instructions or to review processes with a view to becoming more adept at working in small groups. In fact a lot of it bears no relationship to my day to day work as a teacher which is more of a zoo manager/comedian! However I can still appreciate the applicability of this stuff in the right circumstances and hopefully these will come in due course.
     
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  11. spidey

    spidey Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for that update. I am in the process of applying for the next intake, just got my second reference letter.... Hearing a first hand account gives me more inspiration to go for it. I have studied some courses at uni level online before so I am hoping my experience stands me in good stead.

    Like you I have a child. My wife is also a teacher so my son gets a lot of help after school and on the weekends. We spent 3 years in Australia while I was studying and that really boosted his level of English. He's pretty much fully bilingual because of it, can switch between Thai and English at will and actually chooses to watch his favorite movies/cartoons in English. That doesn't however mean that I am not concerned over the other shortfalls in his education. I want to do this course for me, but also for him. I can see only positives in doing it and i am quite looking forward to it.

    What was the meeting in Bangkok with Nottingham Uni like? Was it just an overview of the course?

    Cheers!
     
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  12. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Spidey hi - the face to face in Bangkok was fine. The hotel and facilities were great, especially the food - excellent espresso and cappuccino on tap throughout all four days, nice snacks and fantastic buffet style lunch. As opposed to pigging out on Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy I hit the bread and cheese board as I feel comparatively deprived living in the sticks! The hotel also provides some of the best promotional pens I have ever used - modelled on classic Mont Blancs they feel excellent in the hand - I'm considering a return to restock!

    To the matter of content I would hardly say it changed my life. But from the NU's perspective their concerns were to ensure that people, such as I and many others who had been absent from academic life for 30+ years, got some input about expectations and requirements. The word that was emphasised continually was 'critique', '.....at Masters level we expect you to critique as opposed to describe.....' . Two assignments in I can assure you I am only sticking my toe into this critique business. It's hard, it's much easier to describe. They explain how it all works - it served its purpose more than adequately and the four days galloped by.

    Interesting assortment of people - folk from all around the region: China, Georgia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and all types of schools: an interesting guy who teaches in the travelling school, they travel with their students all over the world, connecting with students in arrival airports (start of term) and then visit schools and places as they travel and learn on the road, plus the full range of international schools, bilingual schools and government schools in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

    Today I'm working through Module 3 on Collaborative Work. As part of the Process Work I'm going to write a 400 word commentary on amendments I would have made to a series of lessons I had taught in the light of recent reading on collaboration. It's done on a standard form, saved as a Word doc, which has a section for each specific piece of writing that is required. The deadline is Monday 18th May and I'll basically upload the file into NU's system - and it all works pretty effortlessly.
     
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  13. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I started in October 2015

    that should read October 2014!
     
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  14. spidey

    spidey Well-Known Member

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    Nice one portnoy58, Keep us posted as you progress. Sounds like its challenging but doable with working full-time.
     
  15. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    OK one thing that they covered at the main event was the broad issue of ethics - in research and in acknowledging your sources. I don't think you'll get very far if you plan to copy and paste and plagiarise. They have got very sophisticated software for checking the authenticity of work. So having said that I'll share a little of mine with you just to give you a flavour of what the process work involves. This is what I've been doing this morning.

    The Task

    For your tutor, write a short commentary to accompany the scheme of work which explains the main changes you have introduced and why you chose to make them. Paste this commentary (which should be no longer than 400 words) in the space below.

    The Commentary

    Topic: Triangles

    Grade: 5

    Learning outcomes in this lesson could be improved significantly by the introduction of collaborative activity. In the new sequence I have set small groups the task of ensuring that every student in the group can describe the characteristics of the three main classifications of triangles in English. This is a new educational objective which in existing lesson plans is stated as ‘ students will know the properties of the three main classifications of triangles’. Implicit in this is recognition that this will be the teacher’s responsibility. This new objective extends responsibility for the learning to students. It is also consistent with Johnson and Johnson’s (1999) assertion of the necessity to create ‘positive interdependence’ in order to harness the power of collaboration in a learning situation.

    I will pre—allocate students to groups of three or four on the basis of English ability. The objective is to ensure that each group has at least one member who can engage with the topic in English. This would introduce ‘role interdependence’ (ibid) to the task: ‘translator’, and additional roles such as ‘checker’, ‘recorder’ and ‘encourager’ could also be allocated to support the group work task.

    The actual group work will be conducted in Thai but by setting a task which has an explicit English language objective, the group will need to revert to English at some stage. One of my responsibilities will be to guide groups to that point when they will be starting to draft and learn definitions in English.

    There is also scope in this activity for using a ‘jigsaw’ approach: each group member will became an ‘expert’ on one type of triangle. So as a starting activity, students will be allocated to three large groups: ‘acute’, 'right angle’ and ‘obtuse’ where they will learn about the properties of their specific type of triangle and then report this to their ‘home group’. This will reinforce positive interdepedence by making groups members reliant on each other in order to be complete the task.

    After the learning is finished I will test students individually by written assessment. I will average the individual scores of group members to arrive at a group score. Thus a group score will be awarded, not an individual one. Then I will also introduce a review process to try to highlight the factors that enabled some groups to be successful but not others.
    ===================

    To be honest it is actually quite difficult to stay inside the word count but the writing took about 90 minutes and the reading about two hours. There's no doubt my ability to write has improved enormously although I hacked this to pieces on several occasions. As I say this is just to give you a flavour.
     

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