Masters of Arts in Learning & Teaching
Michelle Woods was a tutor at Louth Meath Education & Training Board (LMETB) and although qualified in her own field, she did not have a formal teaching qualification. When she heard about the MA in Learning & Teaching she immediately jumped at the opportunity to complete this course at DkIT.
I chose the course because I wanted to provide my students the best possible teaching and learning experience possible. The course clarified many issues I had with regards to teaching. It also confirmed that my practice was very good, even though I never had formal training.”
One of the most valuable skills that Michelle learned while studying the programme was adopting a ‘student-centred learning approach’ to her teaching.
Although I knew that every student learns differently, while studying this programme I learned how I could better support students and design classes which incorporated different learning and assessment techniques. I learned the skills of classroom assessment techniques (CAT) and formative and summative assessments. This course introduced me to research which was interesting and has subsequently become a passion of mine. “
As a full-time working mother, Michelle needed to be able to manage the course alongside her other life commitments. The blended nature of the course allowed her to do this perfectly.
The part-time course consisted of combination of face to face and on line. 5 modules in total were completed over a period of two and a half years and it suited my lifestyle perfectly. I found the course extremely thorough and it covered all possible aspects of teaching. Queries were addressed immediately without hesitation.”
Like many people returning to higher education, Michelle did feel some apprehension when embarking on the new learning journey.
My main challenge was one of a lack of confidence. As a mature person returning to education for a Masters no less, I, at times felt I was not good enough to complete such a course. Through the support and encouragement from my lecturers, this was very soon eradicated. “
Michelle had high praise for her lecturers and their support helped her overcome any confidence issues.
I cannot express how supportive and encouraging the lecturers were. I, in my lifetime have experienced many courses at various levels and never have I felt the support from lecturers as I did on my Masters. They were approachable, accessible and encouraging at every level without fail.
The comradery among classmates was another supportive factor in helping her progress through the course.
The relationship with other participants was one of friendship and support for each other. When we did meet, we discussed our understanding of the course material, the requirements and used each other as peer buddies. There were many different background and ages on my Masters and this was learning also as they have excellent ideas and approaches to teaching which we all benefitted from.”
Michelle successfully completed the Masters programme in 2017 and since then has put many of the skills she learned to use through her teaching.
Doing my Masters has helped me and my students immensely. One of the most basic benefits is the approach I now take to my teaching, the language I use and observations I make in my teaching. From a career aspect, I have changed my career and now work on a one to one basis or small groups with students in a supportive capacity, improving their academic writing but also, by default, their confidence in their academic abilities.”
She offers the following advice to anyone considering this programme -
Just do it!. I do not say this lightly as there will be times when you feel that you cannot go on but trust me, every effort which can be made will be made to help you through. These efforts will come in the form of support and encouragement. If you air your concerns, they will be met with empathy and offers of help.”
Michelle also has some practical advice for new applicants.
The payments for this programme are also manageable because you can pay by module. I know the financial consideration can be a concern but sometimes because of the finances, you are more determined to finish and work harder for the course. I am firm believer that education of any kind will open doors and many of them will be unexpected.”