Case Stories : Recording using mobile phones

Mobile in hand At the end of last night’s induction session one person asked me if they could audio record the session with their phone. On the one hand this would improve inclusion as the learner would be able to be reminded of the session content. This is useful for learners who prefer auditory learning  or who have difficulties with writing notes quickly for a variety of reasons (e.g. for learners with English as a second language, dyslexia or any disability that affected handwriting). On the other hand the other learners would feel constrained or embarrassed in discussions. This would conflict with our ground rule of confidentiality and Recorded information like this would be covered by Data Protection Legislation and we would have to get signed waiver forms from every one present. What would you do in this case?

Last modified: 5 February 2014

Case Stories : How old is too old to teach?


Bay tree

 I am constantly amazed at what people say about this. Last week we had two separate inquiries about training courses where people said , “ I don’t know if  I am too old to study”. One man was born in 1961 and one woman was born in 1965. My response was, “I am several years older and still learning and teaching”. The man replied , “Well you don’t sound old”! What does an old person sound like? It’s left me stumped. My neighbour, 83,  just walked past on her way to deliver groceries to ‘elderly’ people.  She doesn’t see herself as old. All that work and life experience, skills and qualifications and yet there are some people at 50 yrs being told that that they’re old.  At our last awards ceremony I invited a friend in his late 60s to play a trumpet fanfare each time a successful student collected a certificate. No one commented on his age but they did say what a brilliant musician he was. We are having another award ceremony for students receiving their PTLLS certificates at the Meridian Centre this week and this time we will have a Bay tree there. Why a Bay tree? Well.. its evergreen, bay leaves are delicious in a stew and they’re just right to crown teaching champions . One of the students receiving a certificate teaches horticulture to women who are brand new to gardening. We have skills, there are people who need to learn. Lets get out there and share them …. I still don’t know what old means though???

Last modified: 15 November 2014

Case Stories : Case study: Making learning connections or maintaining privacy?

At a college open evening a potential student asked about Italian classes. The college didn’t offer this language but an Italian, part-time teacher colleague of yours overheard the request and told him that she gave private Italian lessons on her days off.  Pleased, he asked for her mobile number which you saw her give him. A few weeks later you met him in the corridor and he told you he was studying for ‘A’ levels in the college now. He still wants to learn Italian but has lost your colleague’s  mobile number and asks you for it. You know the Italian teacher is desperately looking for more work. Should you give him the number?

Last modified: 3 June 2013

Case Stories : Case study: Assessing learning or assessing a performance?

A group of students in the drama class at college have been working all term towards a theatre production. The leading player has studied hard and learned her lines well but her acting is wooden. Two weeks before the performance date a new student transferred to the drama class from another course .  She is a natural, confident actor and quick at learning her lines. The performance is next week. You have just heard that there will be a mock inspection of the college on the day of the performance. Who do you choose to play the lead part?

Last modified: 3 June 2013

Case Stories : Case study: Specialist help or peer support for dyslexia?


A friend has dyslexia and he is trying to decide which college to go to learn Construction Skills. The big college offers all people with dyslexia a full diagnostic test to check out their needs before starting the college course. This will mean that he has to wait a few months before he can start the course and receive the correct support via a learning support worker. The other college is a small college with no specialist learning support workers but has a store of equipment in regular use e.g.  audio recorders,  computer software to read text for learners and coloured overlays for the computer screen. Some of the teachers and several of the learners on the course have dyslexia themselves. What would you advise him to do? Wait a while and go for the specialist support at the big college or go immediately to the small college and rely on support from the teachers and fellow learners?

Last modified: 3 June 2013

Case Stories : Case study: Is it good to know what will happen next?

Carrie worked as a new assessor in a large adult education college. She was chatting in the staff room to her friend who was also an assessor on a similar course. Carrie said that the internal verifier had emailed her to let her know which pieces of her students’ work she would need to look at when she made her IV visits to the her course.  Carrie  thought this was helpful as she could then make sure that the IV would see her good students’ work  in the best possible light. Carrie’s friend is not sure.

What advice should her friend give Carrie ? As an internal verifier what advice would you give the IV?

Last modified: 3 June 2013

Case Stories : Case study: Whose responsibility is this?

Barry was a tutor who had just interviewed a potential student for a course. During the interview he discovered that the new student’s previous qualification had been acquired as result of a fraud. The qualification had been obtained from a college X that had  allowed one of their assessors to sign a form saying that the student had undergone work experience when he had not in fact done so. This student had not done a work placement, neither had any of his class colleagues and so he had not realised it was course requirement. When his  previous assessor had signed off his work he had assumed this meant that all was acceptable.  The student was shocked when Barry told him his previous college X appeared to have committed a fraud and he said, “That means that my qualification is like an empty shell, what’s going to happen next?” . If you were Barry’s  mentor what advice would you give Barry ? Should he:-

a) Contact the College X where the fraud had taken place and tell the quality manager
b) Contact the Awarding Body that provided the certificate and inform their external quality reviewers

c) Contact another standard setting body like the College funders – the Skills Funding Agency or the college inspectors OFSTED

d) Do nothing and tell nobody about this as you don’t want the student to suffer any detriment

e) Contact a professional standards body like the Institute for Learning for advice

Last modified: 3 June 2013

Case Stories : Case study: Family Friendly Education

Anthea worked at a college that was well-known locally for its pastoral care for all its students. There was a strong family atmosphere and there were several family groups employed there – parents and grown up children, brothers and sisters, married partners and unmarried partners. Anthea was employed as an Assessor and was asked to assess the course work of a relative. She felt confident to do this fairly as she was following the assessment criteria carefully – in fact she felt if anything she might be too hard on him rather than too generous in her marking.

If you were the internal verifier what would you do?

Last modified: 3 June 2013