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Alison Kennedy and students

Alison Kennedy, PGCE Post-16 and Further Education

Alison Kennedy studied a PGCE in Post-16 and Further Education at Sheffield Hallam. She now works as programme coordinator for mathematics at Doncaster College, developing and enhancing the maths provision across the college.

'Hallam has an excellent reputation, high success rates and high employment rates for its graduates. I liked that the university had good links with a lot of colleges and arranged placements for trainees, instead of having to find a placement yourself.

'Teaching teenagers and adults can be very different to teaching younger children and the policies and regulations are different in the Further Education sector. I enjoy working with teenagers - getting to know them and seeing them develop, not just as independent learners, but as people. I like to think that as well as helping them with their maths, I am a good role model and can inspire them never to give up on their goals.

'I love finding interesting and engaging ways of teaching maths, showing that it can be enjoyable and fun. Many of my students come to college with a negative view of maths, so when I have a learner say “I really enjoyed this lesson, maths can be fun”, it's just fantastic. It is very satisfying to see them gaining more confidence and being able to do things they thought they would never be able to do.

'The lecturers at Sheffield Hallam are very supportive but they don’t spoon feed. They have high expectations, and constantly stretched and challenged me to enable me to develop my teaching skills and reflective practice. They themselves, model good practice in their sessions, and I picked up a lot of good ideas from watching them teach me.

'The support and advice doesn’t end when you graduate. I have received some invaluable advice during the last 18 months, including giving me feedback on my job applications. I am now mentoring a SHU trainee and am very appreciative of being given the opportunity to do so. Working with one of their trainees is helping me to improve my practice.'

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