June 26, 2008, by Teaching at Nottingham

E-learning mentor as pedagogic advisor

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Interviewer: “So firstly, looking a the mentor as pedagogical advisor. How do you see that working within the ePioneers programme?”

Tony Fisher: “The pedagogical advisor role of the mentor was very much about saying, ‘Okay, this is what you want to do, but now let’s think about how that’s going to look from a user point of view’.

“And ‘is that going to achieve the transfer of information?’, if that what it is, or ‘is it going to achieve the learning outcomes?’ if it’s a learning activity ‘Is it going to do what you want it to do?'”

Do Coyle: “In order to advise, one has to to discuss and share. And what happened was, some genuine sharing of what issues were in a learning and teaching scenario, with specific learners, who had specific needs, and what it – they became conversations.

“They were – it wasn’t a case of, ‘Let me as an expert tell you what you should be doing.’ It was nothing like that at all.”

Gordon Joyes: “I felt it was important for me not to have a particular opinion, a particular view about what pedagogy should be in those areas, or even in the area that I knew about, because I wanted them to feel comfortable that they were the experts around their own pedagogy.

“I think we had to have an empathy for what they were trying to do pedagogically, in order to be able to step back from it, so to be able to listen to what they were doing, trying to understand their contexts, to help them then enquire into that and think about what the next steps might be for them.”

Brett Bligh: “I think that the area of responsibilities were quite demarcated, so, I never really intervened when Linda wanted to structure a training session in a certain way.

“But what I did do was to suggest to her new objectives that she might want to work towards, and then she worked out how to work towards those, because what she was already doing was working quite well.”

Do: “So it wasn’t that we were fixated on the technology that was being used, but rather, it shifted immediately into, ‘Okay, so what do we want for our students?’ ‘How will this improve student learning?’

“And the conversations that resulted from that were, in many cases, very deep, very interesting, and the sorts of conversations that you wouldn’t normally have with colleagues, even if you work relatively closely with them.

“It’s having the space, having a sense of, ‘we have half an hour now, in which we can actually be indulgent in exploring what it is that we do, how we do it, and how we do it well’. You could argue that that really is the most basic element of our work in terms of learning and teaching.

“On the other hand, in busy work life, it’s often the most – those really important conversations that never, ever take place. So it was a trigger to actually have these pedagogic conversations, and that I value very much.”

In conversation with: 

Brett Bligh
School of Education
Do Coyle
School of Education
Tony Fisher
School of Education
Gordon Joyes
School of Education

Extracts from interviews with staff who are starting to use technology in their teaching, and those who are mentoring them. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s ePioneers collection. Produced June 2008.

Posted in Integrating technology