Conference 2019

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The Salford Festival of Research SCELT event

Doing things differently in the classroom: Innovative Pedagogic Practices and Developing Research

Thursday 27th June 2019

Conference Report

An innovative programme

Part of the Salford Festival of Research, our first SCELT conference was planned and organised by SCELT Advisory Group member, Dr Sian Etherington. Sian, a member of the Academic Development team in the Quality and Enhancement Office created an innovative programme which included an exciting combination of new projects and learning practices.

SCELT projects

Some of these were presented by our SCELT scholars who are in the process of establishing rigorous methods to evaluate their creative classroom ideas:

Viv Bell from the library services explained how her academic resilience workshops aimed to fill the gap that can exist between traditional academic skills training and personal tutor input. Having run a set of successful workshops last year she now wants to collect evidence of their effectiveness on the learner.

Dr Adam Galpin and his team were out in force. They have an exciting idea to include students as co-designers in the development of their cognitive psychology curriculum. Their ideas are well grounded in participatory, co-design theory and the success of this initiative could have wider application for new ways to develop curricula across the university.

Dr Phillip Gray presented an exciting initiative to enable health and society students to engage in real-life research with the public. This research will evaluate a healthy behaviours project targeted at school children. Phillip will be working with Dr Anna Robbins to evaluate the experience from the health and society students’ perspectives.

Dr Sara Namvar showed that providing HE students with the opportunity to take-to-the-floor about their science passion instilled them with confidence and excitement. ‘Bioflash’ does just this. Having run a Bioflash conference with her own students, she now aims to develop a multi-disciplinary, institution-wide conference and will be using her SCELT funding to host and evaluate the event.

Dr Peter Reeves expressed concern that students undertaking ‘non-cognate’ degrees appeared to struggle during transition to a new subject. Little work has been undertaken to explore what the issues are for these students. His exploratory project will therefore take a grounded approach to try to understand what the difficulties are for the students and how these might be addressed.

Creative Curricula

After a plentiful lunch we were treated to a number of presentations from Salford academics who shared innovative practices in their classrooms and programmes. Dr Heather Baglee described how engaging service users in the Occupation Therapy ‘engagement’ module had breathed new life into the programme. Dr Erinma Ochu explained how Story Telling in the Curriculum allowed all students to find the most appropriate messages and media to express their learning; a truly inclusive approach to learning and assessment. Dr Lyndon Saunders delivered an emotive demonstration of how peer and self-assessment freed up students to move away from traditional ‘telling’ methods of documentary-making to more exciting immersive projects. Jackie Leigh, SCELT leader wound up the session with a discussion about how measuring impact in innovative practices is difficult but extremely important if teaching and learning are to be taken as seriously as research.

Developing and measuring teacher impact

Our key note speaker, Dr Rachel Forsyth, Head of the University Teaching Academy at Manchester Metropolitan University and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, gave an engaging and thought-provoking talk which neatly responded to some of Jackie’s concerns. She agreed that measuring quality in teaching could be like nailing jelly to a wall but that using the right, scaffolding approach, it could be done! Her slides can be found here.

Thank you !

The SCELT Advisory Group would like to thank all our speakers and look forward to hearing how the ideas of our SCELT scholars pan out at next year’s conference. We would also like to thank Sian for all her hard work.