Thoughts on: Designing and planning a teaching session

What needs to be considered and thought through when designing and planning any teaching session, and why?

Students prior knowledge - Knowing the level of knowledge the students are currently at is important in being bale to set objectives for future learning.

Different learning needs of the students - Are there students that need longer for reading tasks, need regular breaks, does learning resources need to be presented in a different format (larger print, different coloured paper, in printed format if working digitally etc)

Length of session - It seems quite obvious but I think it’s important to know howe long you ave to deliver the session so you firstly plan the different sections and objectives in each part of the session, but also so that students different learning needs can be taken into account.

Materials needed for the session - Preparing learning material so that you can deliver the desired session and also be considerate for different learning needs if possible.

Objectives of the teaching session - having a clear defined idea of what you want teach and the students current level of prior knowledge means you can then plan out what new knowledge the students should aim to have by the end f the session.

Week 2 Reflection Activity

What specific aspects of what Scales et al (2011) and Moon (2005) say about reflective practice, apply to your personal practice as a teaching and learning practitioner, and how?


Whilst applying these idea son reflection my teaching experience, I should also be applying them to my learning experience on this PGCHE. I have only really just realised how much past experience as a learner feeds into my learning as part of this programme.


I am particularly interested by Schon’s ideas of both Reflection on action and Reflection in Action. This begins during my practice which, as such a new career in teaching and learning needs constant reflection during the activity so that a quick change of direction or activity can be made to achieve the relevant LO’s. Discussing how my first teaching session went (as it was working combined with a very experienced teaching practitioner ) is in line with Schon’s Reflection on Action to determine ways to improve for the next session. After my first teaching session Spoke with my colleague about ways to improve and we talked about his teaching background and why he worked in the way he did.

As a side thought, there was a technique of giving a very immediate and short amount fo time to find an artist or look up a video on YouTube, creates a much more exciting learning environment. Whilst giving these short tasks to students also gives you as the teacher time to prepare for the next part of the session by finding new sources to share etc.

Notes on ‘The reflective practitioner’ by Scales et al (2011)

“Reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over an evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning.”

(Boud et al. 1985:19)

I think what is highlighted by Boud here for me is the idea that as supporters in learning in higher education we are effectively passing on our experiences to our learners. For example, as a photographic practitioner, I have 10 years of industry experience along with both a bachelors and masters degree in photography, which comes with experiences and knowledge which I reflect upon and then pass on that reflection to my learners.

Something in this chapter that I really didn’t understand is the idea of Self-Efficacy.

“Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific performance attainments (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997)”


Did you ever have a bad teacher? & Is there any such thing as a bad teacher?

I found school a very difficult learning environment (which I think is why I have n recent years been drawn towards distance learning where I have control over my own learning environment) because of what later was diagnosed as dyslexia and severe dyspraxia. This really altered my opinion on certain teachers who constantly told me I wasn’t applying myself and that I should be working harder. So no, I don’t think I had any bad teachers, but I do think there were teachers who didn’t have enough understanding f different learning needs, and/or clashed with me in terms of character.

Reflecting on how I reached that judgement, I think I did look back in an objective manner, although I can see how easy it would be to reinterpret the past and produce negative associations because I wasn’t motivated by the teacher.

Thinking about how these teachers could change/improve, I think wider knowledge of different learning styles appropriate for different learners, knowledge about Dyslexia and Dyspraxia and how learners are effected by these learning difficulties would have made a massive difference to my learning in primary and secondary education. Moving onto a more reflective approach to my undergraduate degree, my teachers were very understanding about different learning styles and the support for my dyspraxia was absolutely exceptional.

The Reflective Practitioner “CPD Diagram”, Screenshot October 2019,

The Reflective Practitioner “CPD Diagram”, Screenshot October 2019,

In terms of the CPD, I would say after reflecting on my experiences as a learner in primary and secondary education, and more recently in postgraduate education, I certainly wold not mirror the teaching styles of my teachers. If anything they are the reason for me to want to work with supporting learning in higher education now.

What Does 'Reflective Practice' Mean to You?

As I am so new to teaching, I have put the ideas of reflective practise into the context of my photographic practice, and that of my recent MA Photography learning experiences. Personally, reflective practice is the practice of reflecting on a specific journey whether it be a practical piece of work that I have completed, a written assignment that I have submitted, or a workshop that I have delivered. and to see whether it has met the outcomes that either I had set or had been set for me. I think there is a link to feedback within reflective practice, and also an important part of this practice is to identify strengths and weaknesses and act on them moving forward.  Taking a minute to think further about this after my first day in teaching today, I am already reflecting on how the day went, what I said, and if I think I got the points across I was trying to make. This also could be deemed as being a reflective practise. 


Comments/forum replies

Hi Ant,

Interesting reading your post after mine. I am used to using reflective practice constantly throughout a process as opposed to at the end. I think this is something I want to add to my practice in teaching as like you say it would be useful early on in our teaching careers to step back at the end of each session and quite objectively review the outcomes against the goals we had set ourselves.


Hi Ant

Yes I would say reflecting on the day is part of good practice - as discussed elsewhere here we can be reflecting at various times and in various ways during any day or week. Recording our thoughts from all those time and at some point bringing them together for determination of sensible actions is quite key. Some are lucky enough to have the kind of memory that will obviate the need to write things down immediately but for others writing down or recording online there and then (or shortly after) are very important.


Self-Evaluation of Experience Against the HEA’s UKPSF

Consider what you have learned about the practice of supporting student learning in HE and the range of different things that have been discussed. Give some thought to what you have learned about your own and others' practice in supporting student learning.

  • What have you learned about the practice of supporting student learning in HE?

To be truthfully honest, the thing I have learnt this week about the practice of supporting student learning is the complexity of ways in which teaching is taught, monitored, categorised and reflected upon. I think I was, and in some ways still am quite naive about the many different ways there are of supporting teaching learning in higher education.

  • How has your understanding of this changed from doing this week’s topic and activities?

My understanding of supporting student learning in HE has changed massively only in the first week. Although I have not started teaching in my role as associate lecturer yet, I have been able to recognise some of the areas of activity through experiences as a student in higher education. Not so much through my BA Photography course, but certainly through my MA Photography course I have been able to pin point certain areas to the UKPSF framework.

  • What has challenged you?

I think this week I have been challenged in all areas of this PGCHE programme. Having still not been assigned a support tutor to help me to process my thoughts down on paper, and to see the amount of reading I know this programme is going to entail is pretty terrifying. I also constantly compare myself to my peers which I know should only be an encouraging thing as I know I am here to learn from the practise of others as well, it still is pretty daunting.

  • What have you learned about your own experience and practice of supporting student learning?

I have realised just how in experienced I am. however, learning about the UKPSF is quite encouraging as I shall be able to use this framework to constantly re evaluate my level of experience in supporting student learning in higher education as I start to build up my hours lecturing.

  • In which specific aspects of supporting student learning do you have strong experience?

This is the area that is most terrifying for me as I actually have no experience at all in supporting student learning. I have been able to identify some areas through experiences as a learner in HE but only really on a surface level.

  • In which specific aspects of supporting student learning do you think you need to develop stronger experience, knowledge and skills?

I think it will help me to re evaluate against the UKPSF in a few weeks once I have had a few teaching sessions, so that I can start to identify my own practise against the UKPSF.

You can read my initial self evaluation against the UKPSF at the start of the PGCHE course below.


Introduce yourself

Who you are and how you ‘arrived’ on this course.

I am a practising photographer both in terms of research and practical photography. I graduated with an MA in Photography from Falmouth Flexible this summer, so am now diving back in on the PGCHE. 

I have very little teaching experience, but I think I could say I have a wealth of learning experience from both my BA ten years ago (also at Falmouth) and then the MA more recently. I have given a few lectures in various aspects of the photography industry, and presented at the first Falmouth Flexible Photography Symposium earlier this year. 

I have just in the last week accepted my first associate lecturer job here at Falmouth University in the institute of Photography working with the 2nd Yr BA Students which I am both excited and terrified about all at the same time. 

What are your goals for the course, and what do you hope to achieve?

My goals for the course are to gain as much teaching and learning experience as possible and to really get to the bottom of how to be a good teacher. I hope to learn from you all as my peers as well as to share my experience of learning through a flexible MA programme online.