University life

As promised this time a post about life at the University.

The University of Brighton has 6 campuses and the school of education, where I have to go to, is based in Falmer, up in the hills, right next to the Falmer Stadium,  home of the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.

The Falmer campus is massive. During my first week I got lost and had to call a classmate to ask where our next class was. Besides obviously classrooms and computer rooms the Falmer campus has a library, a student shop, a restaurant, a sports centre, various cafés and a cash machine with a very misleading sign saying: ‘free cash’.

Mandy and I go to Zumba class almost every Monday, before class we eat at the restaurant. Everyday there’s a soup of the day, 3 main courses you can choose from, usually one with chicken, one with fish and one vegetarian and then there’s a dessert. The first time we ate there they had cheesecake, that was still the best dessert so far. On top of that it’s not expensive at all.

I’ve joined a class of fourth year’s students who study to become teachers at either a primary or secondary school. I only have 3 subjects and I’d like to tell you a little bit about them.

New Voices (literature from 1900 to 2008)

Those of you who know me know that literature is my favourite subject because I love to read. However I usually don’t like the subject literature in school mainly due to the fact that most of the time it’s already been decided what you have to read and they only test if you’ve read it. It’s of course still important to read however it doesn’t have to be the same book as the rest of the class is reading, if you just talk to Dave he can recommend you something else. He doesn’t care that much if you just can’t read a certain book because it doesn’t appeal to you or you just can’t sympathise with the main character, you just have to be able to explain why.

This subject is my absolute favourite simply because it’s unlike anything back in The Netherlands. Dave, our lecturer, really motivates you to think about what you’ve read, he wants you to analyse what you’ve read and makes you look at it in a different way, sometimes my whole opinion about a piece changes because of a lesson and it makes me want to re-read the book. Another thing I really like about New Voices is that we read things that are nothing like we usually have to read. Right now we have to read a picture book, yes, you’ve read that correctly, I’m studying literature at a university and my homework is to read a picture book. It’s not exactly on an easy subject, we’ve just dealt with (post) colonialism and right now we’re moving on to holocaust literature. As you can probably guess by know we don’t read the typical literature written by a dead, white male. We read literature by new voices, voices that are new to us and were unheard and unseen, voices that were marginalised.

Drama is taught by the amazingly inspirational Kate, those of you who’ve met her know what I’m talking about. Not only does she have an amazing British accent, she also tells really impressive and captivating stories, most of the time she starts her lesson with a funny or interesting anecdote or story. One time she said her father told her: ‘Never run when you can walk, never stand where you can sit and always check your bills’, now that’s some good advice. The story I’ll always remember though has the be the one she told about being up somewhere in the mountains, visiting a very primitive school, and the person who was travelling with her asked the head of school what he needed, she probably wanted to send money or buy supplies for the school however to her surprise the head of school answered that he only needed inspirational teachers.

That’s in my opinion really why it’s so important to learn drama if you want to become a good and inspirational teacher. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and able of creating a safe environment for the learners so they can show their creativity and talents. You have to think outside the box. Kate shows us how to use drama in the classroom, as well as combining it with literature and gives us examples we can actually use.

Transfer and Transition.
To be completely honest with you, I don’t know if I like Transfer and Transition. It’s a subject about the change between primary school and secondary school, now because I’m only going to teach at a secondary school I didn’t know if this was going to be relevant for me, turns out it actually is because as a teacher at a secondary school you have to keep in mind that this transition phase is very difficult for these students and you can do things to make this more comfortable. In the past 2 lessons we had to talk about our own experiences and although the change from primary to secondary school is still the same we already realised that the school system in England is very different from what we’re used to in The Netherlands. That’s why Rita, Petronella, Mandy and I had to do a presentation about the education system in The Netherlands, so our classmates could understand where we come from. To be honest with you I was quite nervous to do this presentation because the secondary education system in The Netherlands is complicated with all the different levels, however the presentation was great and we got a lot compliments. Our classmates were very interested in our education system and were not too shy to ask questions.

So this was the promised post about life at the University, during the last couple of weeks I went on some trips to Bodiam Castle, Rye, Stonehenge and Bath, so my next posts will probably be on those trips.



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