On dancing and trump cards

“Every dancer has a trump card”

Nice post from ballerina Olivia Cowley (she’s so right about Osipova, by the way). And what she says can apply to any adult learners, especially in a professional context. People go into professions where they have a strength, or potential. But unless you’re one of the few Natalia Osipovas of this world you will have other areas where you can develop, and learning requires both playing to your strengths and awareness of need to develop in other aspects of your professional persona and skillset.

Natalia Osipova, by the way. Yes, I  am a fan.





I recently took possession of “Gaslands: Refuelled”, the revised and expanded version of the cult post-apocalyptic wargame (and excuse to play around with toy cars). I have played it at my library games club before, but with only basic rules. I set up a game using some of the new content, a one-vs-many scenario, where the others were attacking my war rig and its defenders. The game built on their existing knowledge and consolidated that, while introducing newer elements incrementally. By the end of the session, they were more comfortable with advanced rules and options, and looking at how they might build teams using the new content.

Everything’s about learning. Even playing with toy cars.


Commuted sentences

On my commute yesterday I bumped into the head of insessional English and study skills where I work. WE had an interesting chat comparing our experiences working outside programme teams to support new adult learners. Lots of common ground, and good to understand what we each do and how our teaching complements the other. I’ll be working with some of the students he has sessions with shortly.


Have been discussing the increased use of portfolio assessment at my institution. Two years ago, I would have known little about the practicalities of that. Now, I am a portfolio old hand, having put my own together for the PGCert modules. Hopefully that will help me give guidance to the students and to my team helping them.


Your final marks have now gone to board and you will be sent your transcripts next week. I just wanted to say congratulations for your successful completion of the PGCPHE, we understand that the study and commitment required alongside full-time jobs and other life pressures is not an easy process and you should be very proud of your achievements, as we are.”

PGCPHE results confirmed – transcripts to be sent next week. Also an invitation as qualified FHEA, to be a mentor for others going through the PGCert programme. Nice recognition in itself – the idea that I have something to give back to others.



I received my provisional marks and feedback for my last PGCPHE module recently. A good mark. Provisionally. I think I may be getting the hang of this portfolio assessment thing. There’s a strange uncertainty when you’ve submitted a piece of work. You’ve done what you can, you’ve tried to do a good job, you’re as satisfied with it as it can be – but you don’t know for certain how it will be received. My first portfolio was nervous, hesitant, discussing and rife with impostor syndrome. This one was confident, it had my voice, but it understood its context better too. A reflection on my journey as a learner – and a teacher? Perhaps – provisionally.

A Shake of the hand

One of our students came into the library yesterday. He’d recently received his results. He excitedly told me his grades. A pass –  a low pass in absolute terms, but to him an achievement. He shook my hand. He had, he reckoned, spent every weekend for a year working in our library, and wanted to say thank you “for all your care”. Which was a nice way of putting it, and a message I am proud to pass on to our team.