How to - Learning & Teaching Guide
This page contains hints and tips on how to do the following:
There are also some ideas about using images in teaching. This is intended
to complement the other pages of this resource, in particular the 'Canterbury
Tales' section, but may be used on its own.
to prepare an effective handout
What is your handout for?
To give information?
In this category are handouts which give quotations, references,
the main points to aid memory etc.
To stimulate/aid discussion?
In this category are included the handouts which ask questions, or provide
tasks for the audience to complete during the course of the presentation/seminar.
First, it is important that you think about how your handout
will look. It should be clear and easy to read. Instructions
and the progression of the reader/user through each element should
be clear and understandable. You may like to think about using
bullet points, separation of text blocks, bolding and italicising
of type, etc. Look through the options available on your machine
for fonts, font-sizing, bullets, columns etc., and choose what
you think is the best for the job. Remember also that single
spacing looks cramped on a handout, and try to use something
bigger - 11/2 or double spacing. Use spacing creatively to make
the handout attractive and to make text easier to follow.
Remember that you can use pictures or diagrams. Diagrams should be as
clear as possible, and large enough to see and follow. You can also
draw your own pictures. The object is clarity, not artistic talent!
Label everything well.
Good handouts include the main points of the presentation, so that the
audience can follow, and ask questions afterwards. You might also add
pictorial material, as described above, or questions (these may be
associated with text, diagrammatic or pictorial material). You could
also include small taks for the audience, eg true or false questions,
statements to complete. References to books and articles are also good
- they enable audiences to do further reading, and show that you have
researched your material well. Quotations are also good illustrations,
and they may stimulate discussion afterwards. You can also use the
whiteboard to create visual aids. Everything on your handout should
have a purpose, so make sure that you know what your aims are.
Finally, after giving out your handouts, always explain what is on them
and why. This helps your audience to follow, and creates interest in
what you are about to say.
to make a self-assessment
Get some feedback, as well as writing observations
and opinions of your own.
Was the work well received? Was it understood in the way you had hoped?
Were there any unexpected reactions, and if so, what? Can you understand
why this happened? In the light of the feedback, and your own observations,
would you change anything another time, and how?
If you used images, were they effective, and could they be improved?
Was your material easy to gather, to order and to use? Could
this have been done any better?
Did you make the right choices, and why did you choose to make some points
rather than others? How did you order and present your material, and
why did you do it in this way? Would you change anything with hindsight?
Were there any problems, and how were these overcome? What were the possible
solutions, and why did you choose the ones you did? Did the solutions
you chose work, or would you do anything differently next time?
If your work was undertaken as part of a group, make observations
about how this was organised and how well (or not) the group
worked together. Were there any obstacles, and how were they
overcome (or not)? Do you think this could have been improved?
What skills and qualities (personal and professional) did you
bring to this exercise, which were helpful to you? Do you think
you were able to be of benefit to the rest of the group and what
was your part in the success (or otherwise) of the exercise?
What was your contribution to the project as a whole?
What have you learned from this exercise? What new skills have
you gained? Think carefully about this – list and describe
In the light of how you have progressed, is there anything else you now
need/would like to learn or to attempt? What steps will you make to do
to write an effective essay
Think about the Greek pattern - antithesis, thesis,
Tell the reader what you hope to discover or examine (in general terms)
and how you intend to go about it. Tell the reader which texts/authors
you intend to use, and, if necessary, why. (This part of the essay
can be just a general idea at first, then added or modified later when
you see the shape of what you have written.
This forms the bulk of your essay, containing your arguments and evidence.
Whatever you say here:
be concise (say what you mean and don't waffle)
be specific (make clear exactly what you are talking about, and use textual
examples. Your argument must be grounded in a study of the text/texts
you are using - always quote the original text.
be clear (make sure your argument can be clearly understood. You don't
need to retell the stories, but you do need to give a sufficient explanation
of the parts of the text you are using as evidence. You must make sure
that you tell the reader everything you want him/her to know).
Read your essay, and pick out the main conclusions you have made. See
is there are any overriding observations to be made. Make sure that
you refer back to the question/s you originally asked - set out in
the introduction. (If you have trouble with this, try reading the concluding
paragraphs of one or two of the essays in the books or periodicals
you have read, and see how the authors bring out themes and state conclusions
in these. Try writing a conclusion more than once - write one, then
go back some time later and write another, and compare them. Your may
see different things each time.) The conclusion should be a valuable
part of your essay, not just something 'tacked on' at the end.
Remember the Bibliography is also VERY important - do it properly,
or you will be penalised. Remember also to give line numbers
for the poetry you quote.
English style (as you will see with reference to the course aims and
objectives) IS important. Use computer spelling and grammar checking
facilities. Remember correct spelling doesn't always mean you have the
right word, so read through carefully.
Images/using the resource
|It is very difficult to ‘picture’ the medieval
world of The Canterbury Tales. Images can be used both to explain
content, where possible, and to enliven what may seem a dry, even
frightening, subject such as medieval English literature. Although
it is impossible to recapture a world which has passed, it is possible,
by using image-based teaching, to stimulate the imagination to accept
the ‘word-pictures’ offered by medieval writers. It then
becomes possible to visualize the stories and characters, as a medieval
audience (attuned to turning words into images) would have done.
This site offers some ways of using images.
It is intended primarily as a foundation on which others
may build their own ideas. It is, however, also possible
to use the site and its contents as they are. The images
have been presented in a similar way to that employed in
the author’s Virtual Learning Environment.. There are,
however, many different ways of ‘arranging’ Chaucer’s
pilgrims, and of ‘ordering’ his stories.
The module on which this is based also made use of the BBC’s
excellent Animated Canterbury Tales.
The English Subject
Centre is about to launch a copyright free Image database.
A case study detailing the conception and execution of this
site is available here..