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My Teaching

'The Warwick Handbook of Innovative Teaching'

For the year 2015/16 funding of just under £19,000 was granted by Warwick's Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) to create a handbook and online resource that could act as a guide for staff and students wishing to engage with innovative teaching. A module on the philosophy of sport will also be created based upon the findings of the project and events for the launch of the handbook and the module will be held. Find out more here.

UPDATE: Check out the events and publications sections of my website to see the talks and posts that the undergraduate researchers and I have been involved with so far. It is projected that we will have collected over 45 interviews and 20 lesson observations, covering almost every department in the university, before the start of the Summer term when we will turn our attention to creating the first edition of the handbook.

UPDATE: Module approval has been given and the module 'Sport, Philosophy, and Practice' will run in the Autumn term of 2016. There will be an event on May 6th ('Sport, Philosophy, and Pratice: A Gymnasium') held at Warwick for staff and students which will seek to explore some of the potential topics and innovative approaches to the module.

Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence: Postgraduate

2016/17 - WINNER
2015/16 - Nominated
2014/15 - Nominated
2013/14 - WINNER
2012/13 - Nominated

The Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence for Postgraduate Research students (WATEPGR) gives students and staff the opportunity to recognise and celebrate excellent teaching by postgraduate research students and it is fantastic to not only recieve nominations but to take home a prize for the 2013-14 and 2016-17 years.

Click here to see my recent interview for the WATE page and here for an overview of the recent WATE talk I gave at Warwick.

Applied Imagination, Module Co-Convenor and facilitator, 2014-2016

For the year 2014/15 funding of just under £18,000 was granted by Warwick's Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) to develop an interdisciplinary module on imagination and creativity and to conduct and disseminate research. Together with Naomi de la Tour, I designed and convened the module. In addition to facilitating the seminar section of each session I was the leading tutor for Week 2's 'Moments of Wonder'. To find out more about the module click here. The module ran in Autumn 2014, again in Autumn 2015, and is due to run for a third time in Autumn 2016.

Student feedback from 2014 indicated a positive average response to all questions asked. Most tellingly, every single student gave the highest mark (5) when asked whether they would recommend the module to other students. The students clearly found it to be fun, exciting, interesting, and different. They also appear to have been engaged by the variety of different topics and the multi-disciplinary nature of the group. Student feedback in 2015 indicated a simialr response with all questions again gaining a positive average response and a the recommendation question continuing to score a (5) on every questionaire completed.

Peer Review for Week 2's 'Moments of Wonder' (2014): “There was a relaxed but engaging mood for learning from the outset. Clear evidence of planning […] the pace of the class was varied and stimulating throughout, giving students the opportunity to think, engage and respond […] the creation of ‘moments of wonder’ within the learning experiences was strong and clearly very meaningful for the students […] the workshop was innovative, interactive, engaging and responded to a diversity of learning styles. While the kinaesthetic mode was most in evidence, through an OSL approach, there were specific opportunities for both auditory (story-telling) and visual (theory-building) learners to engage […]There was a vibrancy and urgency to the teaching practice, which is refreshing […]Good with outstanding features, especially the use of OSL techniques and student engagement. The new pedagogic resource of the Making Space has impacted on the group in powerful ways […] Overall, an excellent OSL workshop.”

Ethics and Children's Literature, Academic Fellowship, 2014 and ongoing

Funding of £7,500 was secured from Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) to plan and develop an interdisciplinary module for the autumn term of the 2015/16 academic year based around ethics and children’s literature. This will include research into relevant areas and running events to gather feedback on ideas and test lecture/seminar structures with students.

The module was passed under the name 'Ethical Beings: An Interdisciplinary Exploration Through Children's Literature' and ran in the Autumn term of 2015. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive with all 20/21 students completing the questionnaire and no question (out of 19 questions) scoring below an average of 4.25/5 and only 7 questions dipping below 4.5/5 (see the questionnaire by clicking here and a table of the feedback scores by clicking here).

“It has been my favourite module. Always really interesting discussions and has effected the way I think – THANK YOU!” (Student feedback)

The module will run again in Autumn 2016 under the name 'Ethical Beings'.

'Picture books, death, and creativity' (Feb, 2015; Feb, 2016), Images of Creativity (Warwick Business School)

A one-off, two-hour lecture and open-space learning workshop I ran for WBS's module 'Images of Creativity'. In the session, I presented students with the 'creative challenge' of how to explain and explore death with children. As well as addressing the need for empathy and the use of metaphor, we looked at how a variety of children's picture books attempt to take on the challenge and explored the field of semiotics in relation to picture books.

'Coaching in Sports' (Feb, 2015; Nov, 2015), Mentoring and Coaching (Warwick Centre for Education Studies)

A one-off, two-hour workshop and seminar I ran for CES's MA module 'Mentoring and Coaching'. In this session, I invited students to participate in a short, practical American Football taster session. The group were split into two and one group analysed me as a coach whilst the other were involved. After this we discussed the practicalities of the session and the coaching style. We then discussed the issues faced by sports coaches and my theories on the differences between coaching, mentoring, teaching, and facilitating.

The Philosophy Foundation

I completed my training with The Philosophy Foundation and am a Level 3 Philosophy Specialist. I have now worked with Key Stages 1-4 as well as helped at INSET training days where we train current teachers in the facilitation techniques we use. Facilitating philosophy sessions in school has had a huge influence on how I teach and present in universities and how I conceive of the 'childlike' learner in my PhD research.

Earlsdon 5G class teacher: "At Earlsdon Primary, we were interested in working with Warwick University in order to see how philosophy could be taught to younger children. From Phil’s first session with the children, his passion for this area was evident and his enthusiasm engaged the children. They were quickly on board! Furthermore, Phil swiftly developed very good relationships with the children and they were all eager to actively participate in the sessions. There was always a countdown to philosophy on Thursdays! Within the sessions, our head teacher and I were amazed at the responses elicited from the children and the depth of their understanding. Much of this was due to Phil’s ability to carefully craft questions which instigated the children’s thinking and by encouraging the children to explain their thinking. As a school, we are looking to build the teaching of philosophy into our curriculum through circle time and look forward to working with Phil in the future."

From 5G's letter to the school governors (not in its original green): "We have a lovely time with Phil and we all love our sessions. We will all remember the time Henry came in shouting: “PHILOSOPHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” We will all miss Phil and Philosophy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

George from Kingham Primary School Year 6: 'My class was privileged to some lessons on philosophy from Phil. I really enjoyed learning about the adventures of Odysseus and his fleet of triremes. I thought Phil really brought the stories to life with his storytelling, which kept us all completely engrossed. All the thinking and philosophising was fascinating and exhausting!'

Rihanna, Kingham Primary School, Year 6: 'I really enjoyed debating things in the Odyssey Philosophy and sharing my ideas and listening to other people's. I gained a lot of confidence in speaking out loud and giving my opinion. I understand the events and characters in the Odyssey after our lessons thanks to Phil the philosopher's storytelling. His talent and ability made my imagination go wild.'

Applied Ethics (2013/14) - Normative and applied ethics - seminar tutor

This module's teaching review was conducted during a session I ran in Warwick's Teaching Grid. Rather than use the standard seminar classroom set up, I decided that for the week we would put drone strikes 'on trial'.

A report for this session can be found on the Teaching Grid's WIT database.

Teaching review: "I often split up students into groups but do not normally do so for so much time or in an environment in which the students feel as though they have genuinely gone off to make a case for themselves. The students responded very well and really got into the process of making the arguments, playing their various roles, and putting drone strikes on trial. Having prepared their cases, everyone fed back in for a mock trial. This was interesting and entertaining and the students seemed to very much enjoy this.

Philip was admirably taking initiative to try out the mock trial format, as I had said he could, and should if he wanted to. There were some drawbacks to it. These drawbacks are to be weighed up against the clear benefits in terms of the excitement and energy that the students put into the format which I do not think could be easily matched by a standard seminar approach.

Furthermore, none of these drawbacks were Philip’s fault, he was extremely good, natural, and appreciated by the students. His tone with and way of dealing with the students was great. And they seemed extremely at ease but also respectful when talking to him - I think this shows that very importantly he had a good connection with his students and has a good way of responding to and dealing with students in general."

Ethics I (2013/14) - Normative and metaethics - seminar tutor

Teaching Review: "The tutorial Philip conducted was excellent. In many ways, it is one of the best I have ever observed.

Philip began the tutorial by briefly introducing the topic - Metaethical Constructivism - and then dividing the class into subgroups. Students were then invited, as groups, to pose themselves a question pertaining to the tutorial topic, and to prepare a short presentation on this. By dividing the class into groups, Philip thereby created a more relaxed and informal atmosphere in which the students didn’t feel as though they were ‘on the spot’. Instead, they were able to discuss among themselves what question to pose and how to go about this. Admittedly, some groups were more talkative than others, but I don’t think it unreasonable to suggest that Philip maximised the level of discussion in the class.

My only slight concern at this point was that Philip wasn’t providing the students with enough guidance to get them through. However, after five minutes of group discussion Philip proceeded to go around the groups individually to check on their progress and to get clear on what their presentation topic would be. Holding off for five minutes meant that students had been given time to gather their thoughts without any pressure from Philip. His interventions in the groups then helped to sharpen up their thinking and to focus their presentation question. His handling of this phase of the tutorial was very impressive.

When it came to the presentation period, Philip did an excellent job of moderating and guiding the discussion. Rather than taking on the role of discussion leader, Philip played more of a facilitating role, which I think is more appropriate for students at this level of study. This meant that students were able to engage with one another in debate, and generally seemed to be more confident in expressing their ideas. Although the quality of discussion was sometimes of varying quality, the enthusiasm with which the students engaged, and the relaxed atmosphere in which the exchanges were conducted meant that it was a genuine pleasure to watch."

Philosophy of Education (2013/14) - Education, indoctrination, learning, and autonomy - seminar tutor

Teaching Review: "This was a challenging seminar. It would have been tempting in this situation to turn the session into a mini-lecture. Instead, Philip very boldly kept the session as owned by the students. On meeting with silence on the first open question re. the set reading, Philip split the group in two and got them to produce material to put on whiteboard. This worked well; really good intervention. During the group preps, Philip moved around both groups making suggestions and prompting the discussions. Good movement around the groups and giving good advice re. techniques for searching the readings to find relevant material to the question at hand. Good advice and encouragement for students to get into the detail of how they think the readings bear on the questions set – not just summary evaluations. Keep on making them work – refusing to do it all for them and give them a lecture is a good thing."

'Prezi Power' - Workshop Leader (2012 - present)

'Prezi Power' is a workshop that I have designed after two years' experience of teaching Prezi and its benefits to staff and students. I have taught it in a variety of departmens ((Making History (2012-2015), The Family Way (2013), Learning Grid Adviser training (2013), Library Staff training (2014), Classics' Department dissertations (2014)) and continue to give weekly sessions to students as part of the Community Engagement team in the Learning Grid. I have also spoke about how this workshop developed and its pedagogical aims outside of simply introducing Prezi to students. If you wish to view this talk and the subsequent discussion head over to my 'publications and talks' page.

'Storyboarding and Filming Top Tips' - Lecturing and Workshop Leader (2012-2014)

I lectured twice to the Psychology module 'Persuasion and Influence' (approx. 100 students) on storyboarding and filming. This led to the creation of a Learning Grid workshop aimed at students wishing to create short films and trailers. I have also trained other Advisers in this workshop so it can be run in my absence.

Ethics I (2012/13) - Metaethics and its intersection with normative ethics - seminar tutor and revision session leader

Teaching Review: "Phil demonstrated very good engagement with the student's questions and comments. He was encouraging and helpful. I also liked how you dealt with any gaps in your knowledge of the broader topic area - much better to be explicit about it than to try and hide it."

Ethics II (2012/13) - Normative and applied ethics - seminar tutor

Teaching Review: "Philip is very effective in leading the seminar. He's good at restraining from giving answers and instead leads students by asking questions and raising problems. He also makes sure that students have understood the problems under discussion and that no question remains unanswered."

Post Graduate Award - Introduction to Academic and Professional Practice Part I (March, 2012, Warwick University)

In order to prepare for applying for seminar teaching in the 2012/2013 academic year I decided to take the Part I session of the University's introductory course to teaching. This one day course is designed to introduce you to the role of the Higher Education tutor. It covers things such as how students learn, how to facilitate small group classes, and how to give effective feedback.

Student and Staff Adviser (2011-2014)
Community Engagement Assistant (2015-present)

My roles as Learning Grid Student Adviser and Teaching Grid Staff Adviser (now Community Engagement Assistant) involve demonstrating and facilitating the use of multimedia equipment in student projects and seminars. Through this role I have not only come to grips with many pieces of technology and software but have become acquainted and proficient with how these can be incorporated in innovative ways into the HE environment.

Additionally, we offer presentation feedback as part of the CEA service so I am trained in aiding others to improve their presentation technique and structure.

As part of my Teaching Grid role I also aided in the re-design of the Warwick Innovative Teaching database where lecturers and tutors can go to find ideas and reports on previous teaching exploits.

Coaching as teaching (2010-Present)

I have been a level-one certified American Football coach since 2010 and in that time have coached at youth level in local schools, formed and coached the first women's flag American Football team (Warwick Wolverines), established and coached the national Elite Women's Project which took a women's team from Great Britain abroad for the first time in 2013, and now coach for the official women's Great Britain team who will head to the European Championships in Spain for the first time in 2015. Although based in sports rather than the classroom, coaching has given me an invaluable insight into working with different personalities and backgrounds, how to motivate those you are teaching, and different pedagogical techniques. Indeed, I hope to put these skills to use in my development as a teacher who uses open-space learning and in the development of a 'Sport, Philosophy, and Practice' module.


Learning and Teaching Grid Exchange - Peer-to-Peer Support and Innovative Learning Spaces (June, 2012, Bielefeld University)

Part of my role as a Learning and Teaching Grid Adviser is to offer peer-to-peer support to students, tutors, and academics in various ways - whether it be with students using Powerpoint or academics using video cameras in lessons. At the start of this academic year, some students and library staff who perform a similar role at Bielefeld University, Germany, visited Warwick to look at our facilities and take ideas for the development of their own space. They invited us to Bielefeld to look at what they had done so far, explore their own techniques and facilities, and to speak at a German Network conference on Peer-to-Peer support. I was lucky enough to be selected to go on this exchange and I learnt much that not only related to my job as an adviser, but that can go towards my own seminar teaching and can be applied to the interdisciplinary sections of my PhD.

Click here to go to my report of the exchange.