Talking the P

By Bernard Wathey, Science

The start of a new term and a new year and that means inducting our new learners. They have arrived to these new surroundings to meet new friends and in many cases to start a fresh on their academic or vocational journey. Yet the first thing we present them with are large volumes of information that they are expected to take in over a couple of days. This is quite daunting for some learners – think back to your induction! The course handbooks, assessment calendars, timetables, campus maps, Health and Safety and Safeguarding PowerPoint presentations. In addition, there’s department orientation treasure hunts amongst the Students Union candy floss and badges. It can be a busy, confusing time!

However, the most important message for the students that they need to work hard and consistently is often lost in the melee that is this fresher’s fever. Students can quickly lose sight of why they are here. So here, instead, is what you might consider a reminder and a good discussion point for lessons and tutorials. We could call it the nine Ps. These could always be contextualised in an employer/employee scenario such as… “What an employer would do if…”

Presence – being present in the sessions with the emphasis on attendance being at 95% as a minimum requirement

Performance – emphasis on achieving high grades Merit and Distinction.

Punctuality – getting to lectures or workshops on time. Lecturers owe it to the students that turn up on time to start on time.

Professionalism – emphasis on not just what they say, but how they say and do it. Everything the students do should be with a view to gaining the skills to help the students into future employment. Even down to sitting properly in a chair!

Preparation – students would not turn up to a job without tools or for football without football boots so why should they come to sessions without pen, paper or calculator.

Participation- when the learners are in the sessions they should be actively joining in the session. This should include active listening.

Progression- this is the point to stress that only when all of the above Ps are at a satisfactory level can this final P be put in place.

Pass – is the new fail, target only merits and distinctions

Finally, introduce some fun into your induction by using the;

Power of Plasticine Get the students to make a model or object out of plasticine or modelling clay which represents their character. This is great for the kinaesthetic learner and is also a good ice breaker. This exercise can be really useful as not only can it provide you with an insight into the learner’s character you can use it as part of the group profile.

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