A pioneering project at Solihull College & University Centre has been hailed a success as students have taken to the task of teaching the teacher.
Depending on GCSE grades achieved at school, some students retake their Maths and/or English GCSEs alongside their chosen vocational courses at college. Students across all campuses have been turning the tables on their English and Maths lecturers by teaching them skills learnt on students’ vocational courses.
The scheme is the brainchild of English lecturer, and Teaching and Learning Coach Rachel Arnold who has been investigating the impact of role reversal with teachers and students, looking at tackling a failure mindset. The project was originally launched after a construction student wanted his English tutor to see how good he was in the workshop.
Rachel has completed her master’s degree at the University of Cambridge and is now working on her PhD. She was selected as one of eleven Further Education Research Scholars in the UK, in a landmark project commissioned by the Association of Colleges.
Outside of her usual teaching role, Rachel has been researching how to bridge the empathy gap and enhance engagement with GCSE resit students. She comments: “It was exciting to be able to build on the ‘Teach the Teacher’ activities that have taken place previously to launch a whole college initiative. It was rewarding to see so many students benefit from becoming the expert by showcasing their skills, talents and learning.”
She continues: “As Maths & English teachers we often see GCSE resit students in our classrooms who are lacking confidence and self-belief due to their previous struggles at school. It is wonderful to engage in meaningful activities with these students where the traditional student/teacher roles are reversed, and the abilities and expertise of our students are celebrated. Empathy is essential when teaching resit students and the ‘Teach the Teacher’ initiative has helped to foster connection, understanding and empathy with our students in a fun way.”
Students from almost all departments across the three campuses took part, including performing arts, carpentry, animal care, plastering, engineering, electrical installation, and hair and make -up.
Students have enjoyed the experience, commenting: “I loved doing teach the teacher as I got to teach them how to do new skills that they didn’t know before and I saw my maths and English teacher in a fun way outside of the classroom.”
“I think my teachers understand me better now because they know that it’s actually quite hard to learn something you don’t feel very good at. I enjoyed being better than them at something!”
“It was really fun to teach them the subject that we’re learning instead of them teaching us and I definitely want to do it more.”