Sunday, 18 March 2012

Activity Two (as I am not able to be present in class as I have teaching commitments)


I teach predominantly on the Certificate in Human Services and we do not have exams or tests.  Our course is set up to provide a model of practice, tools for working with others and practical experience.

We institute a lot of group work into our course and our assessments are always reviewed to see if any changes need to be made.

We update our teaching material all the time to ensure it is current.  For example I was teaching a session on Culture, Values and Beliefs last Thursday and I discussed the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes on the culture of the people of Canterbury (this was a point in my Moodle Book), one of my students was very happy to see that I had incorporated current events (which we always do anyway), but it shows the students that we are not just re-hashing the same material year after year!

What does the term Flexible Learning mean to me?

  • Being creative in the way we teach, knowing the learning styles of our students (i.e. VARK).
  • Reviewing our assessments before, during and after each course/module, what worked well, what didn't.
  • Understanding the abilities and strengths of your teaching staff and ensuring that they teach to their strengths and that they are also supported with weaker areas, so there is room to improve.
  • Being culturally aware, knowing and respecting the way different students work and meeting there needs.
  • Always utilize feedback from courses, staff meetings, team meetings and from managers as this will help with further development of teaching.
  • Knowing when a teaching session isn't working well and adding in extra activities that will be applicable to the module.


Why is it necessary to use a more flexible approach in your work?

  • To meet the different needs of students in the class (as well as those undertaking the course from a distance).
  • To keep students interest levels up.
  • Model practical activities, professional boundaries.
  • To keep up with new technology, material, research that will keep the course/modules current and retain student interest.
  • Setting self care strategies.
  • Set task/work goals and maintain a balance of work life and personal life.

What do you need to explore to help this happen?
  • Be a part of ongoing conversations within staff team, school to ensure that I am meeting targets, and that my teaching is of a high standard.
  • Ongoing professional development, become involved in research, networking with industry (I currently do in my other role as Placement Coordinator), but this needs to be at a higher level.
  • Set goals that apply directly to me teaching role in my IDP.

What goals do I have for using Flexible Learning in my work?
  • Sitting in on other lecturers and taking note of different teaching styles.
  • Thinking more creatively about each module I teach and adding in more challenging activities.


Collis, B. & Moonev, J. (2001). Flexible Learning in a Digital World. Open and Distance Learning Series. London: Kogan Page Ltd.



  1. Hi Lisa, I like the idea of no exams or tests- this fits with my learning style. You discuss what you need to explore- Can you elaborate on the targets you may be looking at meeting? What placement settings are you using for students? We have placements for students and finding the placements can be a big job (I leave that to Annette who is also doing ts course!).

    Your pics look great! I will try that after I record my blog next time

  2. Hi Jayne,

    Our aim for students is to give them experience that applies with their specialities for example in the Cert Prog, we have mental health support work, social services, diversional therapy.

    Some of our students are offered work out of their placement and high numbers come back to us to take on the Bachelors degree.

    It is a huge job, I have s[pent the last 3 years fine tuning our process and it is starting to come together now, one thing that has worked to my advantage is that I came out of practice to work here and I brought with me my strong ties to the wide social service field.

    Feedback from agencies is a huge way to ensure that placements are going well and check in process during placement.

  3. Hi Lisa
    It sounds like you are bringing in lots of experience to this job and can relate well to current best practise, as you have only recently come into teaching. I fully appreciate you saying you have spent a lot of time fine tuning the process around fieldwork. It seems to be a never ending task and currently we as OTs are looking at moving from a voluntary system to including a system with paid contracts with the DHBs around the country side, to help us secure enough placements for our students. There is pros and cons for this system, as there is with most systems, however we have spent an increasing and unsatisfying unreasonable amount of time over the years trying to find placements and have as a result looked for other models - both in NZ and overseas before settling on this outcome. Keep up the great work finding placements and linking with practice :)
    Cheers Annette

  4. Hi Lisa, I love the image of the flower - it encapsulates so well the ideas we are thinking about.

    You are obviously well down the road of thinking about these issues, but how realistic are you being? How practical is it to be able to meet the needs of every individual student? When does flexible teaching/learning become too expensive for the institution? cheers Sarah

  5. Lisa you may also be interested in the Soloman-Felder Index of Learning Styles. See information

    The questionnaire.