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Archive for January, 2013

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BSc (Hons) Psychology

Getting out of the classroom – Teacher Training

Friday, January 25th, 2013

School trips often plant the seeds which turn into fond memories of your school days. I can still remember my year 2 trip to Beamish Open Air Museum, County Durham (a fantastic day out!) and I’m sure you can recall your favourite trip.

The university and its lecturers also appreciate the incredible value of these early experiences; not just for the memories but for there unique learning opportunities. Of course, if we’re going to be let loose with our own classes in UNDER THREE YEARS (?!?!?!), we’ll have to know how to go about organising a trip, or ‘educational visit’ as they’re now called.

One way to demonstrate this, thought my Foundation Subjects tutors, was to take us on a trip; not far, but to somewhere new with an opportunity for us to think about what kind of things we need to be looking out for when planning a visit.

On Wednesday 23rd January, half of the year group met in the biting cold outside St. Peter’s Church, just opposite St. Peter’s Campus. We were greeted by a very pleasant gentleman – our guide – who introduced us to two more guides and two ladies keeping the kettle on the go! We then split into groups for a short tour of the church. This was surprisingly interesting! I had no idea that a building I’ve walked past every day since September was steeped in so much history; the place of worship was built in the name of St. Peter and it is thought that six saints have crossed its threshold over the years – in fact, it is a good few years older than Durham Cathederal.

Following the tour we had a chance to explore for ourselves and ask any questions of the guides we saw fit. It was really useful and I think I speak on behalf of the staff and students on my course when I say thank you to the volunteers who made all 90-odd of us so welcome.

In the next Foundation Subjects session, we’re going to be going over some of the issues raised on the trip and also looking at the paper based elements of a trip like the risk assessments – a little bit less exciting but vital none-the-less!


More soon,


Understanding Uni Terminology: A Glossary

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Fel awdur bywydau ar-lein, Rwyf wrth fy modd postio am fy mywyd yn y brifysgol.


That’s Welsh, in case you’re wondering; or least according to Google Translate. I’ve never spoken Welsh. I have no idea how to communicate in the language and would be useless as a translator. I remember applying for University and sometimes feeling the same way; you come across language that you’ve never before used in that context and they can often be used in a way which suggests you should already know their meaning. I’ve put together a list of terms which will hopefully help you understand what the University is trying to tell you!

  • Modules: Similar to modules at GCSE or A Level, it covers a chunk of the course. Unlike GCSE and A Level, many modules are taught at the same time. For example, I cover four modules in my first year: Core Subjects (English, Maths and Science); Other Subjects (ICT, humanities etc.); Professional Studies (how to satisfy the national Teachers’ Standards); and School Experience (placements). All of these, except School Experience, are taught alongside one another.
  • Credits: I’m struggling to get my head around this! From what I can gather, to be allowed to provide a degree, a university has to prove a certain level of difficulty. This is represented by credits. Modules tend to be 20 credits and you really don’t need to worry about them! If you pass the module, you get all of the credits. If you fail it you don’t get any.
  • Pass/fail: Generally, at Sunderland, you have to get 40% to pass a module or assignment. If you fail, you are not kicked off the course, you will be given the chance to catch up over the following Summer.
  • Assignment: An assignment is the equivalent of coursework. You will have a selection of assignments due in at the end of a module.
  • Lecture: A lecture is a session, generally, where your entire year group will be taught together in one place; a lecture theatre. Gained courses use them more than others; for example I only have one lecture per week, whereas other courses might have every session in that format.
  • Seminar: This is how the majority of sessions are organised on my course. You’ll work in a smaller classroom with a smaller group (about 20 in my group). These tend to be more interactive sessions and offer more opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas.
  • Group tasks: This is one of the assessment methods on my course. You will be given a brief and a task to complete then your group (5 or 6 of you) will work on the task. At the minute, I’m preparing a presentation with my group.
  • Directed learning/contact hours: This is the amount of time you’ll spend being taught by a lecturer/tutor.
  • Independent learning: This includes reading, writing assignments and anything else you do at home. Of course, it’s down to you to make sure you do the recommended time; it’s harder than you’d thi

Feel free to ask if you want to know anything else!

More soon!


An Urban Winter at Sunderland University

Monday, January 14th, 2013


As far as I’m concerned, there’s very little that doesn’t look beautiful under a dusting of snow, particularly in the north east. As the cold weather set in, I decided to document a very normal journey to uni; these are the results. Do you recognise any of the places?






More soon,


Student Profile:

  • Name: Kyle Brewis
  • Age: 18
  • Studying: Primary Education with QTS BA (Hons)
  • Hometown: Newcastle
  • Ambitions: To achieve success as a Primary School teacher and enjoy a long and satisfying career.

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