Pg Cert: Element 1 Feedback

I recently submitted my first academic essay in 15+ years.  It’s the first of four formative essays forming part of my HEA fellowship portfolio.  I received feedback on my essay this week, and have to admit to being rather disappointed.  I think C for confused would be the most appropriate grade.

I clearly misinterpreted the question! I did not relate the teaching and learning theory to my practice.  That said, the question did not refer to practice – only theory.  I also appear to have over-simplified some of the theory. Perhaps in attempt to make sense of alien and abstract concepts?  I was criticised for not reading enough literature.  Absurdly, the more I read, the more confused I became!  I also found it difficult to apply the theory to my practice in a positive way.  Perhaps my (lack of) enthusiasm for theory comes across in my writing? I must try to be more positive in the rewrite.

I need to learn the Pg Cert writing style.  There is little guidance in the module handbook, and we are told to follow the styles in our own discipline.  Unfortunately, I support 7 disciplines, incorporating 3 different referencing styles!  Much of the feedback focused on my language.  It is now clear that I need to use the preferred terminology, and learn the technique of referencing ILOs and UKPSF values, if I am to be more successful.

The ‘good’ news is that I am not alone in receiving disappointing feedback.  Two of my colleagues were also rather downhearted.  We met for a consolatory coffee, and exchanged essays and feedback.  Interestingly, we had all taken a very different approach to the essay, and were able to compare the rare ‘good’ comments!  So far, I have found this group support, and the micro-teach in particular, to be the most useful part of the Pg Cert course.

Finally, I am livid that the feedback criticised my referencing!  I would argue that my referencing is superior to most academics!  I feel the criticism is incorrect and unfair – something to follow up with my module leader.  I have experimented with using RefWorks referencing software in my writing.  I teach RefWorks to students, but without any personal experience of how it works in practice.  In my undergraduate days, computers were a fairly new idea, and my reference management system was a box of index cards!  Perhaps I was destined to be a librarian?

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