November 8, 2018

SET Conference

On Wednesday, the 7th of November 2018, I represented Carlton Training at the first annual .
As I entered the fancy lobby of the VOX Centre in Birmingham, I was greeted by organizers who soon gave me my SET badge and pin , as well as a goodies bag, with lots of magazines, brochures, notepads and information leaflets – because what is a teacher trainer without a bag full of heavy educational reading materials?
In spite of this, was immediately drawn to the book stands. Quite a variety of teacher training books drew my attention. As I was enthusiastically browsing through them, I hadn’t immediately realized that the smiley person standing in front of me was in fact the author of many of them – Ann Gravells herself was there to answer questions and take photos and selfies with eager teachers like me.

Anne Gravels and Claudia Boerescu

Anne Gravels and Claudia Boerescu

If you don’t believe it, please check our most recent tweets. Needless to say I felt like a star when Sharon Mansell (the author of the recently published book on Achieving QTLS) took our picture.
The registration time flew by quickly with lots of opportunities for networking over coffee and pastries (which I tried to ignore as much as I could!).
The conference itself began with a dynamic opening speech delivered by Dan Williams, a Fellow and Chair of SET. He covered aspects concerning the FE sector, such as its role, evolution and funding. This was followed by a speech held by David Russel, who (surprisingly!) didn’t bore me with facts and figures. I found out about the challenges and opportunities that the FE sector faces, as well as different routes into teaching – these included the classic PGCE but also the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), leading to QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills). Following that, I listened to panel discussions on excellence in teaching and training, which explored teachers’ roles and expectations. Above all, this gave me a chance to reflect and confirm that at Carlton Training we measure up to these standards of excellence, not only because our trainers have very good knowledge and expertise, but also because they are always willing to go the extra mile to support candidates undertaking teaching qualifications such as AET, CET and DET.
Listening to questions and concerns from other teacher trainers attending the conference, it also became clear that there is a general concern regarding old routes into education, such as doing PGCE to attain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). This route has been regarded as over-complicated and extremely expensive, which inevitably prevents people from embarking on their initial training journey. Luckily, there are now cheaper alternative routes, such as the DET, which was mentioned as one of the lead qualifications that help aspiring teachers get their QTLS to teach in schools and colleges. As well as alternative routes, this obviously comes with effort and commitment to excellence.
Before and after lunch (which was generously provided by the SET organizers), I attended two break-out sessions on Digital Innovation and Pedagogy. I learnt about the new Digital Teaching Professional Framework and I received some very useful tips on ways in which technology can enhance teacher training sessions. We had a chance to have a go at using a wide range of applications introduced by Esther Barrett – a bubbly and very knowledgeable learning technologist. Some of these included Menitmeter or Linoit, which I found useful and user-friendly. The former seems fantastic for assessment and gathering student feedback.
The conference continued with another panel discussion on “Teaching – art or science?,” moderated by Stephen Exley, the FE editor at TES. While no real conclusion was reached on this occasion, as it perhaps never does in most educational debates, some interesting views were put forward, such as the importance of having an open approach and ability to interpret the curriculum, but also the values the teacher needs to bring to the classroom.
The conference ended beautifully with what I could call an “electrifying” speech delivered by Tom Bennett, founder of ResearchED and author of many behavior management books. In a humorous yet informative way, he made dealing with behavior management sound very doable, with the right frame of mind and consistency.
All in all, this was a lovely event to attend and I definitely feel it has boosted my knowledge and enhanced my toolkit in terms of fresh training ideas.

Claudia Boerescu – Educator, assessor and teacher trainer


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