Recognising the Individual – Student Timelines

Student timeline

by Lucy-Ann Alston, Hairdressing

An effective method that I and others within the hairdressing department have used to establish information about individual students is to ask them to create a timeline of their lives.

Usually this is a good activity to carry out during Induction or in preparation for a tutorial lesson.

Students are asked to begin a timeline starting with their date of birth and then to include any relevant or distinguishing dates and events that have occurred during their lives. This can be as personal or private as the student wishes. They can include personal events such as illness, or bereavement if they choose to. They can include academic, professional achievements such as passing exams, starting a job or personal ones such passing their driving tests.

We have found this a very effective, informative way of getting to know our students better, it is a way for them to tell us things they feel we need to know about them and used in conjunction with the student profile very useful.

This timeline should then be used throughout the year, it can be revisited regularly for students to update with any new achievements or events that have happened to them. It is also a good tool to help set further, aspirational targets. Where would the students like their timelines to go?  What achievements would they like to be able to add and by when?

Just be careful how you plan to use and share the information, it depends on the dynamics of the group, confidence of individual students and if they want to share this information with each other. If you ask the students to share this information with each other you might ask them to deliver a presentation, use it to create peer mentors, help set targets for each other, use it as a means of recording progress or you use it simply for individual tutorials.

We have generally found that students enjoy doing this activity, it can highlight areas of concern to you as a personal tutor immediately and give you a snap shot of your new group.

Resources and How To…

There are lots of timeline templates available on Google Docs –

Alternatively, try Popplet to create colourful flow and spider diagrams –

or Prezi to bring a timeline to life!


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