BA LTT – Hot seat

Chelmsford Wanderings

Chelmsford Wanderings (Photo credit: Fenners1984)

Welcome fellow practitioners. I have been invited, and required little persuasion (Ian’s bought me a coffee), to open my door to fellow ARU students and offer advice/guidance to those that would like some.


I graduated from Anglia Ruskin in 2011 having completed the degree that you are undertaking. My purpose in life then and now is to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and teach in a Primary school. I worked for 6 years as a TA/LA in a Primary school in Rugby and I am currently 4 weeks in to my GTP training through Northampton University. (It’s going well).

I worked a 26hr week as a TA while studying and have 3 children in different stages of education. As you can imagine these elements required careful juggling throughout the degree and I can say that I didn’t always get the balance right.

Please feel free to ask me anything that is concerning you about the days, weeks, months, years ahead. Study skills, handy hints, technophobia, using the library, referencing or how to make a perfect pizza.

How to ask a question:

Sounds silly I know but if you post a reply to this message or indeed any subsequent replies then I will get a message to say you’ve done so. I will try and reply as quickly as I can but, like you, I have got a few other bits going on so might not be on the pulse. Don’t worry about posting at midnight or 6 am I won’t get a txt to wake me up. :0)

Sadly I am unable to explain the meaning of life…


30 Responses to BA LTT – Hot seat

  1. Ian says:

    Many thanks for this Julian and for your post on Most students will already know you by voice as they can access the podcast of you talking about library skills. Your perfect pizza comment got me thinking maybe we should have an Ultraversity online cooking day event sometime.

  2. Emma Fagg says:

    Well done and congratulations on your degree and starting your GTP.You are where i want to be in a years time so you give me hope as I also work fulltime in a school and have 6 amazing children who keep me busy. I found that I just about managed to keep on top of studies last year and am feeling quite overwhelmed with the amount of reading/ research in this final year etc. Your library skills talk was great and i wondered if there are any other pearls of wisdom that can help me keep on track etc with this final year of study. I have sooooo much information buzzing in my head that even when i write it down in what i think a systematic way it still feels quite overwhelming. Any tips gratefully recieved. Emma.

  3. Julian says:

    Thanks Emma. You are a lot closer than you might think or feel. This last year will zip along. Am I right in thinking that you are reviewing your prior learning with a view to eeking out a research focus. You have used a good term and one which will serve you well. Systematic. By being systematic in your approach and the way you analyse thoughts and reflections you will begin to notice things emerging from the seeming chaos. By acknowledging that there is an element of disorder involved will hopefully help you feel a bit better. It’s normal to feel like this.

    There is a lot of reading so you must be smart with it. Reading widely helps strengthen your chances of higher marks but it shouldn’t be at the expense of getting to grips with and nailing any core texts. You will have built up an e-shelf of texts and articles by now and it is quite possible that your research focus will rely on a few you have already used. This should make it easier for you to delve a bit deeper as you become more familiar with them. Robson and Denscombe are good for research methods and methodologies.

    Final tip would be to keep sharing your anxieties with others. Don’t sit on any problems for too long. Use your peer group regularly. Talk to your tutor; Ian & Shirley are great. If you are unsure of anything here (or there) please shout again. Good luck and keep moving forward. There is a lot to get through but you have to do it one step at a time.

  4. Karen Beard says:

    Thanks Julian, having an extra person to support me through this wonderful! I think initially it was the reading that overwhelmed (Critical thinking – that’s a lot to take in) but have soon realised that I just read all of that in one night!

    I currently work as an HLTA and have done so for 3 years following 5 years as an LSA and have the same aspirations as you (but with only 2 children – teenagers!). I’m sure in the future I will have many questions to ask and I thank you for the forum to do so.

    Good luck with your GTP 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Julian.
    Like you and Emma, I too work 37 hours in a primary school and have a busy home life. I am also completing my Maths and English GCSEs this year. Thought I’d try and get them out of the way so that next year I can focus on the last year of the degree without any added distractions. At the moment I am finding it difficult to juggle my time effectively.
    Well done on your learning journey so far, won’t be long before you are a qualified teacher. Time flies by so quickly, there needs to be an extra 6 hours in a day at least! Lol!

  6. Lyn Edwards says:

    Just realised I didn’t enter my details under the reply box! Blonde moment.

  7. Julian says:

    Hi Karen thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to make use of this forum to air your concerns no matter how trivial they may seem to you. It is highly possible that there will be others sharing the same questions/anxieties as you and will therefore benefit from your airing them.

  8. Julian says:

    Hi Lyn. Year one down and straight into RIWS2? In your attempt to juggle work/life/study you may well notice that you behave slightly differently to how you thought you might normally. You might be able to identify a specific incident that triggered this realisation. I thoroughly enjoyed year 2 as it helped me understand myself as a practitioner a whole lot more. It was also a great opportunity to get creative with my choice of genre and media. Systematic approaches still reap rewards particularly when combined with a bit of liberating uninhibited self exploration.

  9. Sarah K says:

    Thanks for offering to help, I can’t seem to get a grasp on referencing stuff that I have taken from the net. To what extent do we need to reference the sites we have looked at?

  10. Julian says:

    Hi Sarah. That’s a key question given the amount of exposure you will have to the internet and websites throughout your studies. As with all sources I would advise that you consider the credibility of the source and the value of including it. People can shy away from websites as their credibility might be harder to defend than say a peer reviewed journal. Once you’ve ensured that it’s a good enough source then citing it is straightforward. Harvard referencing guidelines available in the Library ( will give the exact formatting but it should look something like (if I was citing this page):

    In the body of your work –
    Keith (2012) recommends using the Harvard Referencing format to cite literature.

    As a reference in your reference list / bibliography
    Keith, J., 2012. BA LTT Hot seat. [online] Available at: {} [Accessed 06 October 2012]. The brackets around the url are not accurate as this page reads the correct symbols as code – sorry.

    Hope that helps clear it up for you. If not let me know and I’ll have another go. :0)

  11. Ian says:

    hi Sarah from the Anglia Harvard link select examples from under the USING ELECTRONIC SOURCES section lower down on the page – that should help you get to grips with referencing non standard sources.

  12. Sarah K says:

    Hi we are up to week 6 although I have done alot of the reading from the reading list and extended, it is imposssible to read every book, any advise on how to approach reading? I keep feeling I might have missed something but then struggle to include alot of the info into my work.

  13. Julian says:

    Hi Sarah. It is unrealistic to read every book, as you say, and realising that is good as you could end up reading too much, and little of it well. What I used to do is find a text that I could easily understand, more than others, and then look at some of the sources that they cite to perhaps extend my reading and understanding further. If you have kept notes of your reading then you will be able to track back to who said what. I also used to re-read my notes regularly just to consolidate understanding.
    Another thing to note is that you need not read the whole book as chapters and extracts can provide enough content and context to warrant reference. I have even used bits from Google Books.
    The best way that I can suggest you look at reading is that we do it to help us back up what we are saying. Forgive me if this is too simplistic a response but it is the essence of it. I know I can say that if I hold an apple in front of me and let it go that, excluding specific circumstances, it will fall to the ground. Newton obviously gets the credit but will thank me for acknowledging his hard work. Or sue me for not.

  14. Sarah K says:

    Thank you, thats basically what I have been doing but have been feeling as if I am cheating, Its good to get advise from someone more experienced. I have been keeping notes including links etc and once I felt I have gathered enough infromation, I print them out and put codes in the margin so I can easily identify common themes within texts. Thanks agian for your help

  15. Julian says:

    Wow! Good for you Sarah. That sounds like a very thorough and systematic approach and should make it easier for you. Why didn’t I think of that!

  16. Sarah K says:

    Part of our reading was on qualatitive data, I think that is what influenced me and it seemed like a logical approach, really appreciate your time

  17. Julian says:

    Sarah. Which modules are you studying at the moment? Perhaps I could point you in the direction of some literature although it sounds like you might already have your hands (head) full. :0)

  18. sarrokay says:

    That would be great thanks I am in my first year studying IOCT and IWS

  19. Julian says:

    For IOCT the resources that you will have been guided to are rich in information and will guide you to other sources (check their reference lists). Nancy White is very good for her comparisons of technology and I recall citing Wenger’s communities of practice throughout most if not all my modules. There will be more available to you as the online technologies will have changed significantly since I reviewed them 4 years ago. Prensky has published many essays / addresses since his digital native/immigrants speech in 2001. Perhaps look for people who cite these authors.
    For IWS the literature becomes more personal as it is more role specific. I made good use of the DfE,TDA and similar bodies as I was working in Primary education. There were also some that were more generic that covered personal development / analysis in the work setting. THere is a wealth of literature that is geared to enhancing individual skills and competencies. The key is to find one that is well regarded and suited to your work setting / job requirements. Cottrell (2003) is a good starting point for PDP which you will be coming up to shortly.
    Any more guidance needed just ask.

  20. Sarah K says:

    Thanks you have been a great help I have just finished the piece on communities of practice and I’m currently working on key competencies, I also work in a primary school. Your right therre is so much out there to help us develop. really appreciate the time and experience.

  21. Sarah K says:

    Hi Julian sorry to bother you I would like to get on with my work but seem to be a little confused and haven’t got hold of anyone who can direct me. I am working on key competencies in the IWS module year one and can’t workout what the analysis of the KC is the criteria is to provide a table with an explanation, I have explained the rationale behind my evaluation and explained what can’t be shown by the KC, others have evaluated the strengths of the actual KC, I’m wondering what the right approach is

  22. Julian says:

    Hi Sarah. Thanks for asking. I am not certain what the criteria are as they may have changed since I undertook the task. If memory serves there were two elements involved. the first involved the compilation of a table that indicated the agreed competencies for your role. For me these came from my Head teacher / personnel file / job description / TDA / Local Authority. A simple table is fine, something like: Area of competence; Key indicators; Evidence in role as headings. This will show the reader what it is you are measured against and in what capacity and to what level. That sounds like what you have done. You need to evidence your sources of information.

    The discussion of what can’t be shown in the table is also important as it uncovers the ‘unwritten’ expectations or assumptions that might be in place. Again any link to literature will help strengthen your claims.

    The second element, which I think may be the next patch requires a self analysis against the competency framework you’ve identified. I believe you are invited to approach this in a way that you may have done before i.e. SWOT analysis, ranking / scoring system, benchmarking etc. A good place to start is in the online community. See how everyone else is approaching the task, chip in your ideas and thoughts. Build up a rich evidence base for your engagement in the community. Keep up the good work. Be patient re feedback/comments. Tutors are tied up across all levels of study and are currently engrossed with Y3 research proposals I bet.

  23. Sarah K says:

    Thanks for the advise, under normal circumstances I wait for feedback this week is going to be a bit crazy so I thought I would try and get ahead of myself whilst I had time….I guess things can’t always go according to schedule

  24. Julian says:

    The advice is freely given and as always a pleasure. Good initiative to use this space to help you get along (hopefully it has helped). You might even be able to use it as evidence of your use online communication and collaboration – check with Ian first.

  25. Sarah K says:

    Thank you again it has been most helpful.

  26. Sarah K says:

    Hi hope its ok to ask do you have any advice for stitching? what would be a good approach?

  27. Julian says:

    Hi Sarah. Is it that time already? Wow where did the time go? What ideas have you got so far? Stitching is the summing up bit. I would try and touch on the specific tasks that have been completed and provide a deeper insight as to what additional learning occurred beyond the module requirements. Meta-learning, what have you learned about your learning or the way you learn?

    The key is the depth of reflection that you can generate and capture, which will ultimately influence your choice of medium and genre. Most people tend to lean towards a written account however I have seen video, ppt, Xtranomal (animate your script) or even a song used effectively.

  28. Sarah K says:

    I’m working thorugh my learning journal, I want to present it as a slide show with a recording of my explanation of the slide accompanying each one. I am focusing how on how I felt I have developed, what I have learnt from things that have gone well and mistakes. The pointers you have given are great Thank you

  29. Julian says:

    That sounds like a very solid and comprehensive approach Sarah. Try and get more reflection and analysis than description down as you only have 500 words to play with (if I recall accurately).

  30. Sarah K says:

    Thank you for your advise as usual it is very useful, we have 1000 words and it is combined with the analyis of the PDP. Going to give it a bash…

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