2011 Sessional Awards - Phillipa Anderson

JCU Sessional Teachers participate in a range of teaching roles and thus are oftentimes at the very forefront of student engagement, hence their ability to influence student learning in powerful ways. Sessionals contribute meaningfully to the learning and teaching community and their genuine interest in facilitating student learning, promotes high quality learning experiences as is evident in SFS.

The casual teaching experience encompasses but is not limited to preparing for and presenting tutorials and/or workshops; lectures; mentoring and group facilitation; designing teaching materials; external/online teaching and marking. In 2011, JCU peers and colleagues nominated Phillipa Anderson for the FAESS Sessional Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Student Learning. Phillipa is a tutor with the School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Because many students who do CU1010 Effective Writing are not school leavers, and even some of those, have never seen academic writing, I keep (with permission) some examples of academic writing to show them. If you have never seen academic writing how do you know what to do, or how to do it? Over the years I have learned to do a “pre-teach” of the following week’s content before the lecture, and before the students are to read and practice the skills. If the content is new, the pre-teach turns even the unfamiliar into “Oh I know that”. While those with a number of repeat tutorials need to keep track of where each tutorial group is, no two tutes will be identical. The trick is to adjust speed and language breakdown for each. How far I go with the explanations and how far I simplify the examples depends on the group. I consider over-detailed directions are better than none. Leaving students to their own devices causes stress, depression, failure or poor marks when students don’t know exactly what to do, or how to do it, and the learning outcome is nil. I believe that if students are clear about where they are going, they do better, feel better and stay with the task. As students feel more positive they generally achieve better marks and are more willing to do the next task. No one learns through failure!