Tuesday, 29 December 2009

ICT PGCE, a retrospective insight.

Just in case you're wondering why another strangely random post...well, this is actually a specific reply to Sal's request (a commenter from way back in Oct) for my insight into secondary school teaching of ICT here in the UK.


I was just wondering if you could give me some insight into teaching ICT. I am currently into my final year in CS, and thinking of doing a PGCE. Also, did you do your PGCE at Kings?

To answer the first part of your question, I began the year long Secondary ICT PGCE (post graduate certificate of education for those of you not in the know) back in September 2006. Although this is when the official training began, a lot of unofficial training if it can be called that, took place way before Sept '06 in the form of mini teaching placements arranged by the student associate scheme people at uni. During these "extra curricular" placements I committed a number of days to supporting students and staff during ICT lessons and although my role was one of an unqualified teaching assistant, I learned tonnes from just being in a school environment.

Witnessing all the many dimensions of teaching over three years (whilst I was completing my BSc Internet & Law Hons) reaffirmed my teenage ambition of wanting to become a teacher. As a result I wasted no time in applying to my local training institution and before I knew it I was preparing myself on the latest educational and pedagogical issues concerning my subject area, ready for the PGCE interview! The interview that took place in June/July (I can't remember the exact month!) was nerve wrecking in the first few minutes but I soon breezed out, quietly confident. The years of voluntary work and preparation had paid off and I was now looking forward to my degree graduation and the start of a post graduate course!

Summary of the ICT PGCE course

As far as I know, different institutions train prospective teachers using different assessment methods: some are more theory based, some are more practical and some are a good mix of the two. In short my own training programme consisted of two training placements at two varying schools (in terms of intake of kids, locality, ethnic make up etc) with college training sessions sandwiched between the two. I was also required to complete three Master's level assignments based on theories of learning and ICT (which worked to encourage me to pursue further education). In addition to that, I was also required to maintain a folder of evidence to satisfy the CORE teaching strands. Organisation, self motivation and self discipline are key if you want to stay on top of your course without letting the paper work get the better of you.

Personally, I LOVED my PGCE year! I know lots and lots of people who have complained day in day out about their PGCE, even after they had qualified, but truthfully speaking, I found it great, must be the geek in me. I really enjoyed my training placements, had excellent mentors and a solid support network (friends and family, not to mention other staff without whom I would never have been able to get even this far) and because I managed to stay on top of my work (laziness was *N.O.T.* an option) the whole thing now seems like a doddle. Don't be fooled into thinking it's easy though, I can assure you it's nothing like that, but like I say, doing some voluntary work and a little homework beforehand will prep you up in many good ways.

At present, I'm working part time as a teacher of ICT in an all girl's Islamic school. Not something I ever imagined I would do, simply because working part time wasn't something I initially wanted to do, but I accepted this as Allah's plans. I have to admit, I actually love what I do although I am the only ICT teacher in the school and effectively the head of department all rolled in one. Prior to this, I had completed my NQT year between Sept '07 to July '08 in a large mixed comprehensive school. The year was tough. No joke. Not only had I embarked on my official journey as a young enthusiastic teacher in a department strained by lack of communication (my mentors were also quite the opposite of what I had experienced with my PGCE lot) I also managed to squeeze my marriage to the love of my life in December '07 and a two week trip to Bangladesh in the x-mas holidays! I hear you say "Whhh-aaaa-t!?!". It was fine. I mean it was megahecticlymad really, but quite fine :-D

Okay, back to the now. As for you, your degree in CS should be more than sufficient for the ICT PGCE as it is solely computer based. As far as I can work out from your post you are completing your final degree year so I hope the above insight has highlighted the importance of previous work experience of working in a school environment. I'm sure you understand that there is no point in even applying to do the PGCE if you've not yet had your own insight into teaching. The best piece of advice I can give you before you set your mind on doing the PGCE is to actually arrange voluntray placements to allow yourself to really find out what teaching is all about. Speak to staff, speak to students, visit the TDA, basically find out as much as you can before you plunge into it as it will most likely result in you making a firm decision.


That I hope has answered your first question. In response to your second question, I don't want to disclose where I completed my studies (drop an email if you must know) but I can tell you it wasn't at King's. :-) I hope that my insight has been useful to you even if in a small way, let me know if your need to know any more.

Laters for now.


Sal said...

As-salaamu `alaykum,

JazaakAllah so much for such an insightful post.

I have done some teaching for a couple of years now at an Islamic school too, though not in ICT. My concerns are really about teaching at a secondary comprehensive. I am currently waiting to be alloacted to a school through the Student Associate Scheme, so hopefully that will give me a better grounding.

Thanks so much for your advice and all the best.


mint.fresh.muslim said...

Wsm Sal.

Glad you found it inisghtful!

All the best


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