Biography : My post within the University involves developing learning and teaching strategies; lecturing at degree level and often working with post-graduates on the main University Campus. I have worked as a lecturer at the Centre for Community and Lifelong Learning, University of Wales, Newport for over twelve years and during that time I have adopted the pioneering ethos of the Centre in being at the front of best practice and innovation in who we teach, and how. As a core developer together with a small team we have developed a highly successful programme - Combined Open Studies, Certificate of Higher Education, a higher education certificate aimed at engaging learners from areas suffering severe deprivation through widening participation and lifelong learning. This has helped the Centre (and me of course) to develop a highly person-centred, deep reach and flexible teaching style which has led to being recognised as a specialist in engagement strategies for all levels and abilities and I have taught workshops on high impact learning strategies within the University and to secondary school teachers throughout the UK.
Learning at higher education level takes intellectual rigor and concentration as well as exposure to knowledge. Fortunately my key subjects Psychology and Philosophy have lent themselves easily to informal as well as formal learning and I have been able to develop my own modules to meet the needs of the learner whether that need be for progression, personal interest or professional update. As my own techniques have changed over the years so has the responses of the students, the early years were full of students say “you made me think!” I was very proud of this at the time but now the responses are more like “what exactly do you mean by that?”, or “can you give me an alternative explanation for that conclusion?” these responses are more tricky for the lecturer, but more rewarding for both the student and myself, this is a direct result of teaching core critical thinking skills in every class. I am Subject Co-ordinator for Psychology.
Having been both an educator and keen at applying psychology to my practice I am fortunate in my University’s support in combining these interests into a PhD thesis around pedagogy, educational policy and mindfulness. I am hoping to draw on some of my own previous work on assisted mindfulness with the elderly to develop methods specifically for the classroom.