Best practice teaching skills programmes made available throughout UK

The Learning and Skills Network (LSN) – an independent not-for-profit organisation – has concluded a deal to distribute Echelon Learning’s series of nine, online, interactive, video-rich teacher training programmes throughout the UK.

The programmes, initially developed for Westminster Kingsway College (WKC), highlight best practice in teaching and are particularly intended for those teaching in colleges of further education.

Designed to help all users develop planning and pedagogical skills, the Teaching Best Practice programmes are suitable for both new lecturers needing to acquire and develop new skills and for existing teachers as part of their continuous professional development (CPD) activities.

“The programmes, which use video to highlight examples of best practice in teaching and learning, focus on teaching skills and classroom management skills,” explained Echelon’s Hugh Garai, “As such, they are applicable to teachers of all academic disciplines.”

WKC commissioned the programmes following some feedback following an Ofsted inspection of the college. Peter Armah, WKC’s head of human resources and development, explained:

“We decided to develop some programmes which outlined best practice around key topics such as ‘effective differentiation’, ‘managing classroom behaviour’, ‘managing punctuality and attendance’, ‘integrating key skills into the curriculum’, and ‘making effective use of information and learning technology (ILT)’.

“Making these learning materials available online meant that our staff were able to tap into them as and when they wished. Later, we augmented these online learning materials with workbooks.

“A key strategy was to train the College Advanced Practitioners on how to use the programme, enabling them to become a resource to deliver both individual and team training.”

Based at centres in Camden and Westminster, WKC has some 14,000 students and a teaching staff of 600. The college offers a wide range of further, adult and higher education programmes, available for people of all ages from 14 years upwards.

“Using actual classes with WKC teachers and students enabled us to communicate programme content clearly in a context familiar to users and helped us to spill the beans on the magic ingredients that really make a teaching session that has the ‘wow’ factor,” Armah continued.

“The overall aim was to develop programmes that could address both generic and subject specific issues, which are easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and flexible.”

The programmes are suitable for team discussion, reflective practice, independent and active learning.

They can be used for curriculum team meetings, college planning and development days, subject sector days, centre days and cross-college days and for one-to-one support.

“Ever since we introduced these programmes, we have received highly positive feedback from those who have been using them,” Armah continued.

“We realised that other colleges face similar issues to WKC and so could benefit from these types of programmes. From there, it was a short step to deciding to make these learning materials available to the whole further education sector,” he added.

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