I recently attended the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human and Health Sciences Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. The theme was “Boldly Facing the Future: Design for Learning”. The keynote speaker of the conference was Professor (Emeritus) Lin Norton from Liverpool Hope University who spoke on the benefits of conducting Pedagogical Action Research (PAR). According to Professor Norton, “doing action research on your own learning and teaching enables you to modify or improve your practice as well as contribute to theoretical knowledge in the field.” I will recommend that you get her book “Action Research in Teaching and Learning. A Practical Guide to Conducting Pedagogical Research in Universities” for more information about PAR.
This conference provided Human and Health Sciences colleagues the opportunity to get away from their desks in order to connect with colleagues from different departments within the school as well as find out what innovative and interesting research that fellow colleagues were doing. This is the reason why this one day event was held at the National Coalmining Museum.
I enjoyed the Creative reflective practice workshop ran by Louise Page (the School’s former Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow). She got delegates to do several activities which included creating an identity flag and analysing folktales. The emphasis of the workshop was to get participants to reflect without writing.
Michael Fish and Angela Hope’s ‘Virtual Lecturer’ session showcased some innovative simulation tools that they were using with their students. They stated that simulated teaching has helped them provide high quality teaching and get around the increasing time pressures and workload burdens which all academics grapple with in the school.
One of the non-academic highlights of the conference was the underground mine tour which was available to all interested conference delegates. I signed up and had a fantastic time as the tour guide shared some fascinating stories about the history of British coal mining industry. I would recommend that you visit the National Coalmining Museum if you ever get the chance.