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Postgraduate teaching

Teaching in the Department

The Department welcomes the teaching input of its PhD students and recognises this as an essential part of preparation for the academic workplace. For this reason, it appoints a separate Postgraduate Tutors Liaison Officer who oversees the training, teaching activities and resources available to postgraduate tutors. The current Liaison Officer is Dr Rochelle Sibley. PhD students teach for our department on the large first-year core modules, Modes of Reading, Modern World Literatures, Medieval to Renaissance, and Epic. Other modules may have teaching vacancies on occasion, but the normal expectation is that PhD students teach only on our first-year modules. We recognize the strong contribution PG tutors make to undergraduate teaching, and encourage their nomination for PG WATEs (Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence), which PG tutors are often awarded.


If you would like to teach

Discuss the matter with your supervisor: you must have his or her permission to apply for teaching. You may also discuss teaching with the Postgraduate Liaisons Officer, the Director of Teaching and Learning or the Director of Graduate Studies. Once you have your supervisor's permission, enter your details via the following link: PhD Tutor Application. You will need to state your area of research, upload a CV, and identify on which of the first-year modules you would like to teach. All applicants are interviewed at the start of term 3 and assigned teaching based on our Teaching Allocation policy. Tutors who have taught successfully for the department are not normally re-interviewed in subsequent years.


Who teaches?

Allocation of teaching is done by the Teaching Allocation Committee in consultation with convenors of modules. Teaching is allocated by interview only and assigned in order to grant PGRs teaching experience only. Teaching cannot be relied on for an income. Our full policy on how teaching is allocated is online here.


Responsibilities

Your responsibility is to guide our undergraduates in accordance with the professional training and development offered by the department and at University level. Tutors are regarded as members of staff and therefore should conduct themselves in a professional manner.

  • Please remember to ensure seminars remain focused on the material set for that week and do not digress into exclusive or general conversations or become mini-lectures given by the tutor. Teaching is an inclusive practice and we aim to encourage all our undergraduates to feel confident to contribute to seminars.
  • You should not under any circumstances comment on student work on social media (do not post comments about students or student essays on Twitter or Facebook, for example).
  • In order to be available to students you are required to keep one office hour a week and to let your students know in advance if you have to miss this hour, including when you will reschedule it. Usually, tutors are expected to make this time up.
  • If you need to cancel a seminar meeting for any reason, please give as much notice as possible (if you’re ill on the day, call the Department Secretary, on extension 23323). You are expected to reschedule any seminar which you have to miss.
  • The Postgraduate Tutors Liaison Officer is your first port of call should any difficulties or dilemmas arise with regard to your teaching.

 

Seminars

As noted above, seminars are shared discussions focused on the material set for the specific week of the module in question. Seminars should be tutor-led but should not digress into exclusive or general conversations. Tutors should not give mini-lectures about the subject or text, but instead guide an inclusive discussion: it is important that all students contribute to the seminar.

You are welcome to ask students to lead seminars by assigning specific texts or questions to individuals: students might give a 5-10 minute presentation or offer a series of discussion points to the group. Other pedagogical practices will be shared with you during PG training. Please remember that the aim of seminars is to encourage students to feel confident in developing their own critical voice and ability to interpret texts of all kinds. Seminars are not fact-checking exercises.


Marking

Marking essays is a way to give students written feedback on the content, argument and structure of their work. You must ensure that your feedback is specific and clearly guides the student in the steps necessary to improving their work over time. It is often helpful to encourage first years by giving constructive feedback they can refer back to when beginning their next essay. Please remember that first years often require advice on what it means to write a ‘university-level’ essay. First-year marks do not contribute to their final degree average.


Exam invigilation

You may be asked to invigilate examinations in the department. Specific guidelines on invigilation are produced by the University each year. The current guidelines are online here.


Other administration associated with teaching

At the beginning of the year tutors are given a list of the students assigned to seminar group(s) on tabula. Please record attendance of all students on tabula. If students have emailed with a valid reason (an illness or serious personal circumstance), please mark this on tabula as an authorized absence. If a student asks to transfer into or out of your seminar groups, please send her/him to see the Undergraduate Offcier in the Department Office. He/she is the only person who can authorise a seminar group transfer. Except in very unusual circumstances the Undergraduate Officer will not be able to transfer students into groups which are full. At the end of the academic year, you will be invited to attend some examiners’ meetings (exam boards) relating to the modules you have taught.


Teacher Training

English runs Part 1 of a professional teaching qualification for PG Tutors, known as the 'Introduction to Academic and Professional Practice', in-house (please see the box below for details on Part 2). Part 1 consists of 5 1-hour group sessions with the PG Tutor Liaison Officer, teaching observations, and a 2,000-word essay. Part 1 is graded on a pass/fail basis, and all the elements detailed above must be completed to the satisfaction of the PG Tutors Liaison officer. Normal rules for postgraduates apply to the submission of late work.

It is University policy that postgraduate students who are likely to undertake at least 20 contact hours teaching or demonstrating in a year must participate in the Part 1 of the Introduction to Academic and Professional Practice programme. This is a one-day workshop which provides training in preparation for teaching. Postgraduates with less than 20 hours of teaching are welcome to attend the training. More details can be found at:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/ldc/development/pga/part_1/. Students who take the in-house training course, however, are exempt from Part 1. Successful completion of parts 1 & 2 qualify you to receive the Postgraduate Award Introduction to Academic and Professional Practice (PGA IAPP).


The Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice

This is available through the Learning and Development Centre (LDC) and is an intensive course designed to give participants an advanced understanding of university-level pedagogy. It can be taken either full-time or part-time. Successful completion leads to the award of a Certificate in Post-Compulsory Education. There is no fee for enrolling in this course. Modules are taught in 2-day blocks and assessment is via a portfolio and teaching observation. Any postgraduate tutor in the Department is eligible to take this course, but numbers are limited.


Problems with Students’ Work

If you become aware that a student is having difficulties with his or her academic progress, you should communicate this (without disclosing anything the student has told you in confidence) to the student’s personal tutor. You can find out a student’s personal tutor by searching for them on Tabula. If a student is experiencing difficulties in completing a piece of assessed work owing to illness or personal circumstances (bereavement, for example), s/he may be able to obtain an extension. For all modules, the student must apply to the Director of Undergraduate Studies to request an extension, in advance of the due date of the essay. Extensions are usually only given for medical reasons and some form of documentation is required. In some cases an extension may be given for compassionate reasons. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is the only member of staff who can grant an extension. If you suspect that an essay has been plagiarised you should raise the matter with the course convenor - all essays are electronically submitted and passed through plagiarism detection software.


Rates of Pay

Payment for sessional teaching is governed by the Sessional Teaching Payroll (STP) framework. Further information can be found here. The amount you will be paid depends on your role. As a Associate Tutor you will receive a contract outlining the teaching (and associated activities) expected of you per module and the hours you are permitted to claim. In addition to the contact teaching hourx you will be paid for preparation, advice and feedback hours and marking, as per the STP framework.


On-going support

The Postgraduate Tutors Liaison Officer will keep regular office hours, and you can also make an appointment or just stop by. If you have questions specific to the module you are teaching you should consult the module convenor.


Sick Leave

If you are ill during term, or during a vacation when you have marking duties, please inform the department: you should email the convenor of the module, and copy in the Director of Graduate Studies and the Deputy Head of Department. In special circumstances, your teaching can be either re-scheduled or covered by a colleague; and your marking can be re-assigned. Please make sure you send a medical note if you are unable to teach or mark.


Teaching Rooms

Depending on the number of hours and size of seminar groups, you will either be booked a general teaching room or allocated the office of a staff member on leave for your teaching.


Facilities

All postgraduate tutors are allocated pigeon holes in the staff common room. The staff common room also contains lockers, so that you have somewhere secure to leave your books, bags etc. during the teaching day. Lockers will be allocated on a shared basis. The common room also has a kettle, fridge and microwave oven which you are welcome to use. The department purchases fresh milk for use by staff and postgraduate tutors. You are also welcome to use the photocopier in the common room for all teaching-related copying.


After Warwick

As a postgraduate tutor of Warwick University, you may well want a teaching reference (in addition to your academic reference). This can be supplied by the Director of Postgraduate Tutors, who will have observed your teaching and monitored the feedback from module questionnaires. The Postgraduate Tutors Liaison Officer can also offer advice about the best way to present your teaching experience on a CV.