Ace Your Assignments: How to Handle Feedback

Following on from my previous post, Ace Your Assignments: Tips for Presentations, I’m back with another installment! This time I will be giving my top tips on handling feedback, something I was really nervous about as a prospective student. This can be applied to assignments when you get to university but elements will also apply to feedback you might get on your personal statement, university applications, sixth form work etc. So, without further ado…

  1. Give it time to sink in
    Good or bad, when I check the marks for a piece of work at uni I always look at the marks/grade first and then lock my phone or laptop and go and process the news. I did the same at college. If I’m pleased, I take the time to be proud of myself and let my loved ones know. If I wish I had done better, I give myself a little bit of time to mope and maybe eat some comfort food. Once that is done, I settle in to read the notes/feedback that the assessor has left for me.
  2. Ask for a 1 to 1
    Once I have had time to process my grade and digest the feedback I was given, I prepare some notes of my own in response to the feedback and, if necessary, I book a 1 to 1 with the relevant tutor at uni to discuss the grade. I don’t do this every time, but if there are some elements of the feedback that I don’t understand or if I read the feedback a few times and still don’t grasp how I can implement it to do better next time, then I send the email and get a meeting booked.
  3. Comparison is the thief of joy! So…
    Don’t fall into the comparison trap! Congratulate your coursemates who are pleased with their grades and support those who are disappointed, but please don’t compare their grades to yours. We are all on our own university journeys and we all have different strengths, sit back, and focus on you.

What would you add to the list?

Sam xo

Opportunities I’ve had this year

Being a Student Ambassador

In a post a few weeks ago, I talked about becoming and being a Student Guide. I’ve been a Student Guide for both of my years at uni and has been a big part of my experience, so I thought it deserved it’s own post. However, I also thought I’d talk a little bit about being a Student Ambassador too.

You have to be a Student Guide to become a Student Ambassador. You are also required to have an interview and write an application, that are completely separate to the Student Guide training and, as such, you also attend an extra day of training. As a Student Ambassador, we are paid a little more, to reflect the extra work we carry out, and the level of professionalism required of us. As a Student Guide, you will often be on shift on campus with one of the managers, who will guide you through the day. As a Student Ambassador, you are usually with only one other ambassador (this could be more or less, depending on the event) and are required to travel. This may be 15 minutes down the road, or it may require you to catch a plane; it really varies.

Student Ambassadors carry out very similar jobs to Student Guides, just off-campus. Obviously away from campus, you cannot give a tour, but you may be expected to give a talk or workshop. You may also be required to work on a stand, giving and receiving information to and from potential applications.

I love being an ambassador, as it means I get to speak to so many different people!

Being a Digital Leader

In January, after my trip to Bett (British Educational Training and Technology Show) in London, I spoke briefly about being a Digital Leader. It’s been a while, but I thought I’d expand upon what being a Digital Leader means to you and me.

So, I don’t know if any other courses have people like us, but the #DLEHU team (check us out on twitter) is specific to the Primary Education degree. We are a team of 12, all from different year groups, and we are guided by Senior Lecturer Sarah Wright, in order to make the best possible impact we can.

Our main goal this year has been to encourage lecturers to get more involved with our discussions on twitter; use different types of technology (and avoid powerpoint as much as possible). We still have more progress to make, but I’m more than confident for next year. I can’t tell you too much about our future plans right now, but we have a really exciting year ahead, that I know I’m looking forwards to.

Being a Student Representative

Now, I’ve used the umbrella term ‘Student Rep,’ because I was not only Group Representative this year, but also Year Group Representative. Think of the Group Reps like your School Councillor, who collect information from you to feedback during a meeting. This is similar to how we work, although instead of feeding back to a meeting, the Group Rep will send their feedback forms to the two Year Group Reps, who will then take it to a meeting, usually with the Year Head and some other members of the faculty. I’ve also had the pleasure to attend a Programmes Board meeting, which helped me to see what was happening to our feedback, and the changes that were being made as a result.

I hope that has given you some insight into some of the roles you may have the opportunity to take on at university. Until next time!

Primary Education Interview Process

On this day 2 years ago I had my first interview at Edge Hill for Primary Education with QTS. Today I have been in the same room as around 100 applicants answering questions, discussing the interview process and seeing the nerves and excitement that I had when I was in their position. This led me to think about my interview process and how I found my experience at Edge Hill.

Out of all the universities I applied for Edge Hill was the first interview I attended. One of the things that stood out to me about the interview process here was the level of organisation and how important you were made to feel from the outset. I came to the interview with my Dad and travelling up from Nottingham it was one of the first times I was actually able to look around the university also. The campus was one of the main things that stood out to me on the day, with everything being contained together and the country surroundings, I knew that this was somewhere I could see myself for the next 3 years. The day was structured well and when I first arrived I had to hand in my exam certificates to be checked and then went into one of the lecture theatres. On the day you are given the option to have a campus tour or stay for a question and answer session with current students (something that I am currently doing with new applicants). On the day I choose to stay for the question and answer session, this was really informative for me and having the session led by students put me at ease as there was an informal tone. They allow you to ask any questions and give you their perspective of life at Edge Hill and life in Ormskirk. Following on from this I was taken into another lecture theatre to complete the test aspect of the interview. Many people worry about these tests, but there is nothing to be scared of. Of course you should try your best on them, but the purpose is to not only identify areas of strength but to also see where you can improve. As a teacher you are not expected to know everything especially at this early stage and if you are successful in your interview these tests provide the basis for extending your knowledge and identifying targets to ensure you are making progression in your subject knowledge.

Following on from this you have your interview with a member of staff at Edge Hill, this part of the interview is normally based around a task or scenario. For my interview I had to bring in a book or an object and identify cross curricular links and discuss my lesson ideas for this. When you are invited to interview you will be fully informed of what the task involves and be given plenty of time to prepare. This is often the area that people find most daunting. It is important to remember that nerves are okay, the interviewers understand how scary the process can be and ultimately they want you to do well. The interviewers are not out to get you and it is basically just your chance to show your potential and passion for the subject. My main advice would be to dress smart to make a good impression from the start, have eye contact this shows you’re interested and engaged and be yourself, they want to see what you have to offer and understand that we’re all human.

After the interview it can take up to four weeks before you receive an offer. Whether you are successful or unsuccessful you will receive a notification via UCAS. As well as this the university will e-mail providing you with feedback regarding your interview and results from the tests in which you participated. As this was my first interview the feedback I received was really beneficial in preparing me for future interviews and helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses prior to starting the course. Another thing I found really useful following my interview was the e-mail communications from Edge Hill, this included advice on gaining experience, things to do before starting the course as well as information about open days.

Overall the positivity of the interview was one of my main reasons for choosing Edge Hill, I knew that if I could feel comfortable in that situation that I would be able to fit in as part of the course and part of the university life style.