‘It is my dream one day to return.’ Running a course which addresses the ‘hopes, fears and passions’ of displaced professionals trying to find work in UK schools.
Course leader: Helen Toft Currently at Nottingham Trent University, working with mature and other undergrads, in all sectors of education and training. Arts based background – using the imagination and emotions to build a better education system Currently using drama with adults and primary age children to change attitudes to refugees and asylum seekers.
Naming the course to value the participants. ‘Fulfilling your potential: a short course to support internationally trained teachers into QTS.’ ‘Refugee teachers’ is a loaded and potentially discriminatory term, which essentially the clients don’t like.
The vision: coordinating the team behind the course. Eddie Ralston -Refugee Council – answers all the questions you and the clients have Tony Cotton – management Leeds Met – a course which is developmental in its own right. Julie/Rachael – Education Leeds –inside knowledge of schools who will engage Guest speakers – for creativity, information and as role models – Rachael, Doreen, Yasmin, Jasmine – breadth of experience RETAS Leeds – knew all the clients and recommended them to the course. Reception and Technical support at Leeds Met –professional interaction with other adults.
The course The framing of the course was essential to its success. At the beginning with 2 full days of welcome, preparation, creativity, recognising qualities, becoming reflective practitioners At the end with 2 full days of presentations, evaluations, what’s next? The intention was to build self esteem, understanding, expectations – for me as well as them.
Getting the welcome right High status welcome Refreshments Building commitment to the sessions as a real secure learning community Breaking down barriers to learning – playful learning, relationship building Informing the wider community – Simon Lee’s connection with Armistice Day Responding to need, encouraging autonomy, addressing hopes and fears graphically
The placements Ideally they need to know • a bit about the course you’ll be teaching • a bit about who they’re expecting • the range of opportunities you hope the school can offer Ideally you need to • ring round to check everything is OK after the first visit • visit each student on a day they are in school, or the mentor at another time for feedback. Both are valuable – seeing the client ‘in situ’ is great, but mentors tend to be more open on their own, giving you time to mull over any problems and giving ‘overheard compliments’ to individuals.
Feedback from placements • ‘We all love Stella!’ (receptionist at a primary school) • ‘He wanted a lecture from me on Physics, showing no understanding of how science is taught in the secondary school.’ Deputy head after placement induction • ‘I would give him a job or create a GTP course for him tomorrow.’ Assistant head • ‘She seems a bit distant from us’ senior teacher i.c. placements • ‘You only missed out on a GTP place because we had an internal candidate’
Reflections/responses to each week of placement – always with a primary and secondary focus Priority: behaviour management – using ‘still photos’ to examine the causes and possible responses. ICT – interactive whiteboards – having a go in a safe environment Understanding the demands and gaining access to QTS – the core aim of the course
Optional sessions worth considering • MFL – a focus in primary, relevant to their skills (they are language rich) and to secondary (an example of cross curricular work). • Developing academic writing skills – write a personal statement, becoming aware of the standard required on QTS courses. • Mock interview for primary PGCE – group task All sessions underpinned with handouts/web references.
Presentations: the grand finale? To check subject knowledge, teaching style and build confidence for interview days. I would consider running – one to check subject knowledge and as a ‘baseline’ halfway through the course, and one as a mock GTP presentation in final 2 days as reflection of any developments from the placement experience. Feedback is essential – written from you, as well as verbal peer feedback.
A privileged outcome for us Telling their stories – how can we best support this?
Certificate On completion of the course the clients valued a ‘certificate of achievement’, but it is not a non-accredited award.
Where next? What progression can you build in? Eddie - essential professional English development Barbara – a local school valuing the contribution the clients bring as professionals who happen to be refugees – curriculum development.
If I ran it again… • More ‘homework’ tasks from the course, with an expected outcome (i.e. contribution next week) and access to computers on campus, including 2 presentations and several drafts of their ‘personal statement’ • More contact with placement schools • Very focused tasks in school with a reflective report at the end
Feedback from clients ‘I would like to suggest that you extend the 8 weeks, especially the placement.’ ‘The placement was eye opening. I overcame fears and got more interested in teaching in the UK.’ ‘There are a lot of (refugee) teachers sitting in limbo. The programme gave me something to do instead of sitting at home doing nothing.’
‘I’ve had a chance to look at school policies, lesson plans and watched how teachers are expected to perform.’ ‘I got experience first hand of handling a real class with all the attendant problems (disciplinary) that go with it.’
Just in case you need convincing… ‘The course is excellent. I hope it runs in other areas of the country because there are many refugees who need support to feel useful.’