Monday, March 02, 2009


I was reading some posts about TeachMeetBorders (specifically Stuart's and Andy's posts) and for some reason it connected in my head with my recent rant.

Essentially, I wondered if there was mileage in setting up a TeachMeet specifically for student teachers to help engender enthusiasm and practical ideas for the use of ICT in classrooms? I was sitting beside a student teacher and a recently qualified teacher at TeachEat and we talked about how beneficial something like TeachMeet would be to student teachers but somehow, at the time, it never occurred to me that a TeachMeet specifically for student teachers might be a good idea. An event like TeachMeet that got students excited about the possibilities before the staffroom cynics could exercise undue influence might be the very dab.

However, I wondered if there would be enough interest to make it work. If I set something up in Glasgow, it would be a bit of a stretch for Aberdeen and Dundee but should be reachable by students at Stirling and Ediniburgh. Certainly it should be close enough for Strathclyde, Glasgow and UWS students to attend. Also, at each institution there are a range of courses: BEd, Joint Honours, PGDE(S), PGDE(P)... so even if only one person from each year of each course signed up and committed to bringing a friend it should be possible to get viable numbers.

I also wondered if there would be enough students willing to present at a TeachMeet - perhaps they would be happier sitting back and watching. Then I thought of Stuart Meldrum who is barely out of his probationary nappies (no offence Stuart) but organised and ran a stunningly successful TeachMeet. To me, the strength of TeachMeet is the way it supports the sharing of enthusiasm and so the enthusiasm of student teachers could be the greatest asset of a TeachMeet for student teachers.

So, this is me flying a kite. It is definitely a idea that's good enough to criticise rather than a concrete proposal. What I really need is people who read this post to comment and help shape my thinking. I would be grateful therefore if you could help me answer the following questions:
  1. Is this a daft idea? {Obviouly if the answer is "Yes", you can stop reading.}
  2. Would there be enough interest from student teachers to make it viable? In particular, would there be student teachers willing to do presentations? {I would especially value comments from student teachers on this one.}
  3. What could it be called. {I've suggested TraineeTeachMeet in the title of this post because I liked the aliteration but I think it may give the wrong message.}
  4. Where would be the best location for a student TeachMeet? {The easiest thing for me would be to book somewhere at Jordanhill but that may make it too "official". Somewhere else on the Strathclyde campus might be better (the Computing Science Department or the library?) but somewhere completely neutral might be better still (albeit more expensive!).}
  5. Who might be interested in funding such a venture?
  6. Should it be open to student teachers only? Should probationers or newly qualified teachers be invited too?
  7. What other questions should I have asked but have failed to think about?
Over to you. Help to me work out what I think.


Stuart Meldrum said...

That is a great idea David. I attended my first teachmeet after I qualified, but while I was still training I had made it to the meal after one, and the drinks after another.
So, some answers:
1. No, not daft.
2. I would have thought there would be enough interest. There are so many in training that I'd be amazed if you couldn't get 10 or so along. Timing might be the hurdle, people wouldn't come during placements.
3. Call it what you what you like, TraineeTeachMeet sounds good to me.
4. There are plenty of venues in Glasgow that would do, I would have thought that the west end would be best, better even than the centre. The Glasgow University Union have wifi throughout and you could get the Bridie Library for free.
5. TeachMeetBorders cost virtually nothing - Scottish Borders Council provided the venue and the food. Something hosted at a uni could be equally free - you'll find sports clubs are very good at getting venues and refreshments for nothing!
6. How about what TeachMeet NE London are doing and invite some 'keynote' 7 minute presenters? I would have it open to everyone, but make the main emphasis on encouraging students.
7. Other institutions would be able to pitch in with drumming up support. Eddie Mack of the Glasgow Uni BTechEd course is keen to come to one, and Rowena (twitter: Cloudberrynine) at the Moray House equivalent of the BTechEd has been to two teachmeets already.

islayian said...

1. Not Daft at all
2. At least enough curiosity around
3. Whats wrong with teachmeet? I would like to patronise anyone by saying there ideas are worth less than mine. In fact I would mix in all practioners to show that these ideas have legs
4. I would have one in a central place and then export the idea to other centres.
5. A very little bit of sponsership may even attract students. They get a free mem stick with some resources on it.

John Daly said...

1. It's a swell idea.
2. I guess that would come down to people at different institutions plugging it correctly to their students? Apart from one, I can't think of any students I know of who use the usual channels for networking.
3. I'm with Ian on this, I don't think it especially needs to be called anything different. Teachmeet Jr maybe? :)
4. Would in a student's union be a daft idea? Either the GU or Strathclyde's Union probably touches all the bases required.
5. pass
6. Open to everyone - to make it a richer experience for everyone involved.

JulieA said...

1) I think it's a great idea too, but obviously I'd be in favour of it! I've posted a message on my PGDE maths students forum to see what people think about the idea.

2) I'm sure I could get a few to come along. If there was a pub involved at some stage, I'm sure I could get more!

3) TTM sounds fine to me.

4) I think the West End's a good idea - the Union would work quite well.

Not sure about the other questions.

If it's of any use, I'd be more than happy to help organise it. I'm back at Uni next Thursday, so I can pop by the Union(s) and look into the possibility of holding something there. I'll also ask around my various classes to see what people think.
You've got my e-mail address, so let me know what you'd like me to do.

David said...

Thanks for the encouragement so far. Looks like the jury is out on a name though. Maybe the normal convention of calling it TeachMeet[something-or-other] is the best idea. What about TeachMeet Student Edition?

I'm still torn about whether to make it open or not. I wouldn't want the old hands to outnumber the students or it kind of defeats the purpose but some of the ideas and experience of old hands would be great. Maybe Stuart's idea of invited keynotes would be good.

Julie: Itwould be great if you could check out the Unions to see how much they would cost. Also, could you check about wi-fi access and whether or not they'd have a problem with us brining in at least some of our own catering. Thanks.

All: Thanks again for the comments. Any other thoughts from anyone else?

Iain Hallahan said...

Impressed with the idea David. Like I said, I would have jumped at the chance while I was at Jordanhill, and was actually kicking myself for not dropping Lynda, Morag or Fionna an e-mail about #tmxi so they could give it a shout out to the Dumfries PGDE cohort. So, is it a daft idea? Clearly no.

Would there be enough interest from student teachers to make it viable?

With the amount of student teachers you have at Jordanhill at any one time, I would reckon yeah. And if you're opening it up to Glasgow/UWS, I can't see it failing. Particularly if you threw in some free stuff (and some booze!).

In particular, would there be student teachers willing to do presentations? {I would especially value comments from student teachers on this one.}

I can see why you're concerned about this one, and obviously figure it would be harder to find student presenters at the start of their courses than at the end - but surely B Eds could talk for 7 minutes about their dissertations, or those about to qualify could do some of the 'random' micros that we never managed to fit in at Galashiels without feeling like they were under a lot of pressure or doing any extra work.

What could it be called? Don't think it matters too much, prefer TeachMeet Student Edition to TraineeTeachMeet though. I thought TeachmITE was quite clever, but maybe TeachmeetITE is better or even TeachMeet Jordanhill/ TeachMeet GUU/Teachmeet Wherever depending on the venue.

Where would be the best location for a student TeachMeet?

Do you know, I think Toby's at Jordanhill would make for a cracking venue. If not there, somewhere to bring that social kind of feel to the event rather than making it feel like another lecture. (Please not in The Tomb!)

Who might be interested in funding such a venture?

Perhaps the teaching Unions might contribute? They always seem to be targeting the students, particularly if it was towards the end of the year as they were moving away from being student members. Uni societies might be willing to contribute, and maybe people like the TESS, Teachers Building Society, those who view teachers as their potential main market. Or RBS - they seem to be sponsoring everything else, and we do own most of it, after all :-p

Should it be open to student teachers only? Should probationers or newly qualified teachers be invited too?

I think if the probationary period is viewed as almost a continuation of or transition from the ITE period, then having probationers would be no issue at all. Recently fully-registered teachers (eg former probationers) would be good to have too, particularly for a panel-type Q&A - we certainly thought that was valuable when Highland arranged it at our initial training day as wet-behind-the-ear brand new probationary teachers. People like Stuart would be ideal! Having said that, there's also a case to be made for having people like Ewan, Ollie, etc being able to get their enthusiasm over to 'fresh' eyes and ears before the staffroom cynics are able to get their claws into them too much. You could also try canvassing opinion on things the students might want someone to present on (IWBs? ASN? Glow? Life as a Probationer?) and match up some invited speakers to cover these topics for mini keynotes, breakouts or speed-geek sessions. A good mixture of the student/probationer/newly SFRed and experienced practitioners could prove to be an amazing combination with each contributing in a way they felt most appropriate. It would also be a good way to 'grow the TeachMeet brand'!!!!

What other questions should I have asked but have failed to think about?

If I think of any, I'll let you know!

Joe said...

Would be interested to come and hear - we need new teachers who can use Web2 - if we want to change how we assess

If not me will get someone from our on-line assessment team to come along

Andy McSwan said...

It sounds like a good plan and it would be worthwhile for them as well. Here's my answers to your questions, hope they are of use.

Is this a daft idea? Not at all

Would there be enough interest from student teachers to make it viable? - what is the current attendance levels for the ICT lectures these days, could use that as a gauge.

What could it be called - TeachMeet Beginnings

Where would be the best location for a student TeachMeet? - Student Unions would be great for it.

Who might be interested in funding such a venture? - No idea

Should it be open to student teachers only? - again I like the idea of invited guests, maybe letting the rest of us into the flashmeet.

Should probationers or newly qualified teachers be invited too? - Why not???

Col said...

In some haste... I'd certainly be interested, even in presenting if you were really short of volunteers. The commerical sponsorship route would be worth exploring: the interactive whiteboard companies would be my first target, though I'm sure I could think of a few more given time. Some of the more clued-in publishers might be worth speaking to. I spent some years creating highyl profitable commercial conferences......
The flipside is, of course, that the people who are here are the people who least need enthusing. It's them others we need to get at!

Joe said...

Get it up on teachmeet site - I am sure your peers in educational HE in Scotland can pull together on something like this - for sake of learners

If I can buy modest amount of pizza for teachers at previous teachmeets I am sure we might be able to help with something for next generation of motivated teachers and there is a start

If you can't go this route offer still stands to get some one around to talk about assessment 2.0 and where is already happens -Colleges and workplaces - but good practice springing up in schools all the time