“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” – Terry Pratchett (1990 – Truckers)
What is the open door programme ?
The Open Door programme matches teachers with teachers, to facilitate the development of skills, knowledge and confidence.
Teachers with questions, issues, ideas or stumbling blocks get the opportunity to sit in on sessions delivered by colleagues who are known for certain aspects of their teaching. They can pick the sort of session they’d like to sit in on, where possible they can pick the discipline. Afterwards they can talk to the Open Door Teacher to discuss how it went and why.
The programme does not promise to offer perfect sessions without fault, it merely offers examples for you to observe and think about.
Click here to find out how to book yourself in to observe one of the sessions
First you need to pick the session you want to observe. You can search by teaching method, College, Campus (these three from the links on the top right of this page) or by looking at the sessions being offered by the individual Open Door Teachers below.
At the top of each session write up is a link that you can click to send an automatically addressed and subjected email to us at SALT to book you onto the session. There is also an indicator of how many more spaces are available for that session. We can’t book you onto a session that is full (as we’ve been given numbers by the Open Door teachers that are suitable for the room and size of the class), but we can try to get more sessions from that person / using that teaching method etc., so feel free to send an email for that session even if it is fully booked.
We’ll reply confirming. You then just have to go along to the session (when and where as stated) and watch. While you are watching please try to notice two things (at least) that were particularly noteworthy.
After the session the Open Door teacher will hopefully be available immediately to talk to observers about the session. How it went, what worked, what didn’t work, why they did what they did etc. and to answer any questions you may have. Those two noteworthy things might come in useful in the conversation …
Finally, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us which session you went to see and what your two noteworthy things were … just so we know !
Who are the Open Door Teachers ?
Click on the name of the teacher for more information and to see the sessions (as details become available) they are offering:
Ute Keller-Jenkins (Arts and Humanities – Modern Languages)
Ute won the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 2013, which coincided with her third win of the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award (or its precursor the Distinguished Teaching Award). She is known for her interactive approach to teaching, involving her students in the session at every opportunity. She is highly organised and clearly has the respect of her students !
Having watched her teach, Ute directly engages her students and uses many features of performance in her teaching. She uses the room and the available space, physical motion and voice modulation. Ute is very supportive of her students and involves each one with carefully directed questioning. She uses group activity in the classes too, facilitating it by rearranging the students’ seating if necessary.
Click here to see the sessions Ute is offering for the Open Door programme →
Professor Simon Bott (Science – Chemistry)
Simon’s teaching career has seen him win 21 university-wide awards for teaching, student advising, and student engagement. He has spent the bilk of his time working in the USA and returned to Swansea in 2016 to open the new Chemistry department.
During his time in America, he was able to develop a number of different strategies in class, many of which translate well to our new department here at Swansea.
Click here to see the sessions Simon has on offer →
Sharon Harvey (Human and Health – Nursing)
Sharon won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2015 and is regularly nominated again ! As she is the lead for the Education for the Health Professions programme, her students highlight her pedagogy especially, and site her as being an inspiration to them in their teaching.
Having watched Sharon teach she is very engaged with the students and the material and she makes sure the whole room is involved in the session. She is attentive, getting contributions from all students. She has a strong narrative, storytelling element to her teaching and drawing from her experience in the class room and from her clinical practice.
Click here to see the sessions Sharon is offering →
Sian Rees (Arts and Humanities – Media and Communication)
Sian won a Distinguished Teaching Award (the precursor to the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards) in 2011 and receives further nominations every year ! Always highlighted is her clarity and the obviously high standard of her presentation / handouts / case study notes etc.
Having watched Sian teach, she is highly prepared and organised and really gets her students involved with the content she is delivering. She uses a range of hooks keep the student’s attention throughout the session, drawing them back in, time and time again. Visual aids, video clips, case studies, individualised questioning, short group activities even in large lectures, discussions … Sian engages her students with the subject, her approach and her attention to detail.
Click here to see the sessions Sian has on offer →
Professor Phil Newton (Medical School)
Phil is the Director of Learning and Teaching, having oversight of all taught programmes within the Swansea University Medical School. He teaches neuroscience and educational theory to students in the school and was the 2015 BMA Cymru Swansea Teacher of the Year.
Having watched Phil teach, he has developed a very relaxed manner with his students, who are very happy to ask questions and interact with him in the session. His deep subject knowledge is evident in these interactions ! He gives very clear expositions, of often subtle content matter and uses authentic examples to aid this, which he handles very sensitively. Phil is a regular clicker user, and uses them to demonstrate, and help in his teaching as well as for formative in session assessment.
Phil’s sessions will be available soon.
Dr John Knight (Human and Health Sciences – Interprofessional Studies)
John won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2014 and has been repeatedly nominated ever since. His students always emphasise his ability to make the really difficult things seem interesting and understandable, and the way uses his deep subject knowledge, smooth delivery and sense of humour to make his sessions something to really look forward to.
Having watched John teach, he carefully guides his students through the material, referencing previous work and stated objectives. He uses stepped progressions and regular recaps to keep the students all up to speed, with gentle questioning to check understanding. He uses clear and simple visuals, encouraging active listening in his students. He includes all the students in the learning process and has a very calm and welcoming atmosphere in his sessions.
Click here to see the sessions John is offering →
Professor Danny McCarroll (Science – Geography)
Danny won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching award in 2013 and is known for his light hearted style and easy manner. His students highlighted his enthusiasm and his willingness to help and support them in their studies. He has recently delivered a SALT seminar on his work teaching statistics to 240 rather reluctant, geography students !
Having watched him teach (the actual group mentioned above), Danny sets a relaxed atmosphere from the start and then uses a mix of activity (including physical), talk and discussion to steer his students through. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and manages to create a friendly, supportive, non-threatening environment, while keeping the students engaged, with regular attention grabs during which you can feel all eyes and ears focussed on him.
Danny will be offering sessions in Semester 1, 2018 – 19.
Dr Michele Raithby (Human and Health – Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences)
Michele was awarded an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2016. Her students highlight (every year) the respect and support they feel they get from her and how inspirational she is !
Having watched Michele teach, she establishes a very relaxed, professional atmosphere in the room. She sets clear expectations for the group and for the session in general using ground rules, for example covering respectfulness, phone use and in-class dealings with confidential and sensitive issues. Michele uses plenty of small group activities and active learning, managing the ensuing discussions well in a highly interactive way and slipping in strands of formative feedback all the way through. Her subject (Social Work) lends itself well to authenticity and she uses lots of examples and anecdotes to demonstrate concepts and approaches. I liked her use of exit slips !
Michele’s sessions are coming soon.
Professor Derek Connon (Arts and Humanities – Modern Languages)
Derek was awarded a highly prestigious National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy in 2014 (he is one of only two we currently have) in recognition of the excellence of his practice. He has been a key driver of pedagogic enhancement at Swansea University, both within his own area of Modern Languages and across the institution as a whole.
In his teaching, Derek uses a strong narrative line to hook and hold attention. He is highly sympathetic to his subject and to his students, engaging them in his delivery very effectively. Derek is an excellent example of teaching as performance, being a strong orator and highly charismatic. He leads his students through the subject with simple but effective visuals (we saw French Culture in the 18th Century), and a delightfully conspiratorial involvement that had all eyes and ears focussed on him !
Derek will be offering sessions in Semester 1, 2018 – 19.
Finally … how can I become one of the Open Door Teachers ?
We are grateful for your enthusiasm, and salute you for it ! However, at the start of this initiative, so we can manage it and enable it to grow in a sustainable manner, SALT is working with just a selection of contacts within Colleges to establish the necessary processes and get them working for everyone. So for now, it is an invitation only job ! We have plans though for nomination processes in the future (including self nomination).