Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

I have just heard that I passed my Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Art, Design and Communication at CLTAD, University of the Arts, London.

This makes me, a qualified teacher of Higher Education at the grand old age of 53.
I got 84% which is so annoying as it is 1 mark below a distinction - just a little bit more work.....

I would recommend this course for any visiting lecturer who wants to improve their lecturing - it is also designed in a way that can easily be fitted into a busy working life.

I wrote the following note for their newsletter:

CLTAD – Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

As an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, the lecturer deals with teaching issues on an ad-hoc basis – face to face the Tutor discover their own techniques of teaching, and draw on previous experience to get by. By and large it works well enough, but when it comes to course committees, and developing courses structure the Associate Lecturer is certainly at a disadvantage to the professional colleague. The formal structure of teaching and pedagogic principles are not explained and may be only dimly understood. Terms such as learning outcomes, assessment strategies and quality assurance crop up, and need the help of tenured staff to navigate.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to take the CLTAD Post Graduate Certificate I took it. The format I took consisted of 2 residential visits interspersed with self-directed study. As a method of taking a PGCert it was as painless as it is possible to be and I was able to fit it into my schedule quite easily. Support from CSM who paid for the Fees and provided pay during the residential part helped reduce the financial strain on the freelancer. Although the contact time with teachers is a small part of the total hours put in, the teaching staff were able to give a pretty thorough introduction into pedagogy for Higher Education and to turn practical tutors into reflective practitioners. This is the strength of the Course the fact that it really does encourage lecturers to think about their teaching and how that fits into the creation of a student centred learning environment.

I have got several important things out of the Course. Firstly, I now know how Higher Education works – this really helps in Course Committees, and in preparing teaching materials. Secondly, understanding the real meaning of 'Student centred' learning has both confirmed just how well structured the Course I teach on is, and encouraged me to continually assess whether it can be improved. I came to realise that before the course I was asking 'How well am I doing as a lecturer?' After the course, I ask a different question - 'how can we improve the student learning experience?'.

To sum up I would encourage anyone who is doing a lot of teaching at this level to take the PGCert at CLTAD, it is not too great a strain, financially or it terms of work load, but it will have dividends in providing you a place and the space to reflect on your practice, and will provide a fairly good understanding of student centred learning and contemporary pedagogy in Higher Education.

Kevin Flude is an AL on the Creative Practice for Narrative Environments Course at CSM, and Director of the Old Operating Theatre Museum.


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