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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Nicolle's Diary #12: Mini-Research Project and future thoughts

It has now been just over a year since my first blog post for The Learning Institute and I thought now would be a good time to stop and reflect.

I have just begun my last module of my Foundation Degree in Learning and Education (wow!!) and have developed a real passion for learning.  This year has been by no means easy, not least because of what’s going on in the world.  I am sure I have said it in every blog to date but studying online with two kids at home is HARD!  Although that being said, my fellow students and TLI staff mostly comment on how impressive it is that I can study in sessions with a dog sat on my head.  Turns out the kids are ‘trained’ but the dog isn’t!

I have completed a couple of modules since my last post, and I don’t think I would be alone in saying things have stepped up a gear.  I have just submitted my first small-scale professional enquiry, a.k.a. mini-research project.  I chose to look at teacher’s mental wellbeing, a subject I felt was especially important in light of the pandemic and I learnt things that I did not know I needed too.  I would be lying if I said I had not felt stressed during this project.  Collecting data for the first time I can imagine is tough in normal times but doing so in a Covid-secure way was interesting to say the least.  Currently, I am working on a presentation surrounding the impact of having English as an additional language on primary aged pupils and a portfolio on the impact poverty has on learners and how we as practitioners can support these children both inside and outside the classroom.  Both these modules are double modules and what I have loved is being able to pick topics that I feel will push me outside of my comfort zone!

I have also begun to think to the future.  What has surprised me most about the Learning and Education degree is I embarked upon it with a clear path in mind, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and whilst that has not changed I have opened my mind up to other possibilities/side projects and ideas.

I have applied for the top-up degree next year but I have really started to look beyond that.  I don’t think I dared before now, not knowing whether I’d make it this far!  I have considered whether I would like to complete some work for publication and also whether I would like to support university students once I have finished my own journey.  I have begun speaking to teacher training providers and to TLI’s careers advisor and have even been vaguely looking at Masters degree options!  I sometimes wonder if I am trying to run before I can walk, but then I remind myself that I have done so much more in this past 20 months than I had ever imagined or felt would be possible.

With the invaluable support of the TLI staff (both teaching and not), my fellow students and my very patient and tolerant family, my confidence has soared, both academically and professionally.  I have gone from strength to strength!  I think the saying is ‘go hard or go home’ and that is exactly what this foundation degree has prepared me for!