Adult nursing staff Lee Roberts Cycle 1 observation reflection

During the Chronic Wounds session, I felt comfortable and confident with the content.  I was mindful that this group had last received a wound session two weeks earlier than planned due to unforeseen guest lecturer absence. As such, I wanted to recap key learning from the previous wound session to ensure they felt prepared to further build upon theory. I felt the quiz at the start of the lecture was successful, and students appeared to enjoy the challenge of answering questions for prizes. I observed students, who do not often speak during large lectures, raising their hands to answer questions, and I was mindful of encouraging their engagement. On reflection, I feel this approach was beneficial in creating a safe learning environment where students felt comfortable to contribute to the session. This element of the session was met with laughter also, which I felt suggested students were beginning to relax before I moved onto more complex theory relating to chronic wounds.  My observer suggested that this approach was effective in encouraging students to contribute, but also acknowledge that answering questions appeared less pressured through humour and prizes.

Throughout the session, I explored anatomy and physiology relating to chronic wounds. I was concerned that this more complex information may be more difficult for some to grasp. I deliberately provided a flow diagram to break down the steps. Additionally I utilised the case study approach for students to try to apply this theory to practice. I continuously asked questions for the audience to clarify the groups understanding. On reflection, I still recognise the difficulty some students may have in admitting they do not fully understand the content covered when they are in large groups. I have concerns they are less likely to ask for clarification in these situations. Whilst my observe suggested that my encouraging responses to questions may support learners confidence, even if their questions are “off point”, I would still want to consider how I can confirm all students in the group have truly understood the content. Perhaps in future, tools such as online anonymous quizzes could alleviate this pressure for students, allowing them to record honest questions and answers. Due to room availability, it is difficult to remain behind following the session to clarify any points with students one to one. As such, I will consider inviting students to email me any questions / queries following sessions, to allow for this dialogue to continue.

I felt the use of media such as video clips and photographs were beneficial to clarify points discussed within the lecture. These were placed after the delivery of theoretical content to allow the students to better apply this new knowledge in a practical way. Following these, students appeared to relate to images / videos, confirming that they had “seen this in practice” for example.

I recognised the difficulty in delivering sessions utilising other lecturers teaching material. As a new member of the teaching team, I would be keen to change future presentations to suit my style of teaching and delivery. Due to these restrictions, I deliberately edited some information from pre-session slides from students to allow for greater discuss during lecturers. Following the session I released the post session slides to ensure students were provided with all of the information required. My observer suggested that this was an appropriate method in engaging learners, as answers were not provided in advance. When considering meeting students learning needs, I was conscious that those with learning disabilities would be required to receive content in advance. To achieve this, pre session slides and appropriate pre session reading material were provided one month in advance of the lecture to allow learns to complete preparation for this lecture. I recognise that some students will not complete this pre reading however; I am therefore giving consideration to alternative approaches such as online lectures and audio material, in the hopes that this is more readily accessible for learners from home, instead of attending the library.

On reflection of the peer observation process, I felt my observers support was incredibly valuable. I have a comfortable working relationship with my observer as he was my mentor during my initial probationary period. He allowed me to explore my findings of the lecture, and encouraged me to consider other points for future development. We discussed learning needs of students, but also considered the use of technology in sessions to aid the learners’ experience. We agreed that ownership of teaching material will also support my ongoing professional development, and I look forward to amending further module content to contribute to its development.

Following my post-observation discussion with my observer, we had the opportunity to meet with two students who observed the chronic wounds session also. I was excited to hear their perspective, and felt that it would be beneficial to explore students’ reflections on their learning during sessions. This would support my further development, and encourage me to consider lectures from another point of view.

During this open discussion with students and my observer, it was identified by students that the room for this lecture was too warm. They both explained that due to the heat in the room, they felt this impeded some of the learning experience. During this meeting, I reflected on how I may have manage this concern if it was raised to me during the session, however my actions would be limited due to room capacity, air condition control being in on a different site, and lack of windows in the room. This has encouraged me to consider how I assess student comfort during lectures. Whilst I am keen to ensure they are in a safe learning environment, and feel able to contribute, I could also consider asking about their comfort levels, perhaps asking for a “temperature check” during sessions. Such an approach may also allow me to address alternative needs such as longer or shorter breaks, and opportunities to move around the room (where space allows) to ensure these needs do not distract from the learning experience. This was not a point I was expecting, and initially I felt this session was not as positive as I had first hoped. However, on reflection I feel their perspective has allowed me to consider the overall experience of a two hour traditional lecture in such large groups, and I believe I will be able to make immediate changes to my teaching style as a result.

Stephanie Reynolds – pre observation reflection

Initially I was really quite excited by the prospect of having this particular session evaluated and observed by students and staff. Health Promotion simulation is a new session we have introduced within the module and this will be the second run having trialled it last year and initial evaluations proved positive. This particular session will be the 5th lecture delivered in this way.

The style of this lecture which is predominantly simulation was born out of recognition that students find the concept of practising health promotion awkward, they don’t know how to, and rarely do they see it done well.  With Health promotion being such a big part of a nurses’ role in accordance with the NMC and National Guidance, it should not be overlooked, nor side lined as an ‘add on’ to practice.  The addition of health promotion to any nurses’ practice to me is associated with high quality care and confidence, where a nurse is comfortable in role and communication with patients in order to be able to offer choice. Therefore reflecting on previous delivery of this subject, talking to students about the importance of health promotion is really not enough if we are to demonstrate how it is to be done and thus practising it and reflecting on individual practice or performance.

The session is structured by first having a half an hour talk on how to deliver health promotion including reflecting on good or bad experiences, then offering 3 scenarios where students can interact with an actor (another lecturer) and have a go using the principles taught.

The session delivered this way is risky as owing to large class sizes the luxury of making the environment comfortable is limited.  When we ask students to volunteer to practice, we not only expect them to be vulnerable within that learning, but to be observed and critiqued by their peers of which there can be up to 100 in number. My role as facilitator I feel is to make the environment as safe as possible by being encouraging and adopting a reflective style.  I have decided this time around not to pick on students to undertake the task, but to ask for volunteers only, encouraging where necessary some of the interaction to tell me answers but to direct that line of thought to the patient actor.

For the observation, I want feedback from the colleague observer on how I made the environment safe, if there are any ways to improve, and what to do particularly when students weren’t successful in their efforts.  I have in previous sessions been very tempted to steer the outcomes of the scenarios and tell students the answers rather than allowing time for reflection and development of their own thinking. A previous session to this worked well, where students were excellent in drawing out and empowering the patients, thus getting the point of the learning outcome. If students don’t get the learning outcome, I’m not sure where to go with it, e.g do I tell them eventually or do I leave it for them to reflect….does it actually matter if they don’t achieve the learning outcome?  Sometimes it feels like I am hosting a guessing game as one of the scenarios in particular can be drawn out as students list a number of things they can do for the patient and miss the point of empowering the patient to do it for themselves.

It would be good to get both student and staff perspectives on this learning in particular and also gauge whether large groups inhibit the participation, or widen the possibility of observation.

Another aspect of learning or feedback that would be useful to know is what to do when students don’t readily volunteer as the silence can often be uncomfortable. Should I wait? Should I pick on people or should I do it myself?

From a student perspective I would like to know what learning was achieved from participating, and what learning was achieved by observing.  Could they relate back to the aspects of a health promotion model as they observed, and or reflected on their learning? And would they feel more confident in applying this to their practice and their care planning? To further expand this observation further it would be good if students could reflect how this session has influenced their practice?

Early Childhood Studies staff Zoe Lewis’s Cycle 1 observation experience

Being invited to join the project was exciting and we were keen to learn more about how the students viewed the programme, the lectures and the activities that we asked them to engage in. However, having received other types of feedback from the NSS and observations in my teaching career, I was a little nervous about the responses that we might receive and the potential for being judged negatively by the students. The training that both staff and students received went some way towards allaying these fears and it was good to know that this was intended to be a more open dialogic experience in which staff and students are able to learn from each other. My overall experience of cycle 1 has shown this to be the case and when I came to teach the observed lesson I found that I was not nervous in the way that I might have been during a traditional teaching observation in the past.

The first meeting with my teaching colleague and the researcher was a helpful opportunity to reflect on our aims as lecturers and what we were hoping to achieve in the first year of the degree programme. I learned more about my colleague’s philosophy and the ways in which our different approaches to learning and teaching were based on very similar values and beliefs. This has been an important guide for the rest of the project because personal circumstances meant that I had to complete the rest of cycle 1 on my own.

The two students were self-selected and this enabled different voices to be heard rather than those of the students who are already involved in other feedback forums etc. I think this has been an important factor in the findings from cycle 1 because these students are more representative of the cohort as a whole and they were able to offer some interesting insights.

Having completed their training the students were very keen to attend the first meeting and they had prepared a lengthy series of questions for me to answer. I was happy to follow their lead and their questions provided the structure for our discussion, although it was difficult to arrive at a focus for the first observation. They seemed to be more interested in me and my teaching rather than their learning or the activities that they were being asked to complete. As a result, I returned to the discussion that I had with my teaching colleague and ask them to focus their observation on the previous directed task and group discussion that was intended to be an opportunity for reflection on their prior reading.

The observation itself took place in a week that had particularly poor attendance from this year group across all of the modules and students has just been reminded of the importance of engagement for their future success on the programme. As a result, the attendance for my session was much higher than usual with a number of students who were there after several weeks of absence. Therefore, these issues of engagement were at the forefront of many students’ minds when the activities were taking place.

During the lecture, I was aware that the two students were observing and making notes, but I felt that it did not really impact on my teaching. This seemed to make the observation a more authentic record of the event, particularly as their fellow students were unaware that the observation was taking place. However, it does raise some ethical questions about those people who were included in the research without their consent and it would be helpful to address these issues in the meetings that take place before cycle 2.

The post observation meeting took much longer than planned because the students had prepared another lengthy set of questions for me. This felt rather like an interview, partly because my teaching partner was unable to join us, and the dynamics of the relationship were affected by the imbalance. However, both students were keen to find out about the ways in which I managed challenging behaviour and encouraged group members to engage in discussion. This topic of engagement and managing relationships within the teaching and learning context became the main focus and it fitted well with the original focus for cycle 1. The students were able to contribute some helpful suggestions about the best ways to encourage their peers to undertake directed tasks and wider reading. They highlighted the importance of their own relationships with their fellow students and the ways that these can impact on their learning. This helped me to reflect on the ways in which we might build a more active community of learners within the programme by concentrating more effort on those students who, like these two, are keen to engage and develop as effective practitioners.

After the meeting, I reflected on the positive relationships that I had built with these two students and the ways in which they felt that they had contributed to the teaching and learning on the programme. This was a rewarding experience and I am keen to develop it further during cycle 2. However, I am also aware that these students have now submitted work which will not be assessed anonymously and I am conscious of the ways in which my role on the project could potentially influence my opinions as I approach the marking task. It will be important to seek the support of my colleagues to manage this imbalance and ensure that I am fair and consistent with all of the students as their assessor.

Back to Early Childhood Studies case study