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PGCE Student Experiences - Part Time Programme

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We recently asked some of our past and present student teachers on our part-time - PGCE (PCET) Programme to tell us about their experience of the course so far and this is what they said;

PGCE Student

Joe Murphy – current student teacher on the part-time PGCE (PCET) Programme and Area Manager at the Military Preparation School

Studying towards my PGCE has been a challenging experience. It has enabled me to understand why I teach the way I teach and has introduced me to a range of concepts which unpack how my learners learn. Both combined have given me the direction, drive and design to continue to be both a teacher and a learner.

Sharing experiences of the 'classroom' with fellow professionals has been an entertaining and thought provoking experience. Sharing best practice within the context of a professional teaching certificate is perhaps the single best part of the course.

The course has forced me to reflect more on what I'm doing as much as I consider what outcome this has in a real learning environment.

I feel more confident when planning and delivering.

PGCE Student

Above picture: Joe in action during operation Black Mountain at the Military Preparation School

  PGCE Student

Tony Hinchley – former student teacher on the part-time PGCE (PCET) Programme and South Wales Police Force - Investigative Training Department employee

30 years working for the South Wales Police and what now. Retired and on the shelf? I don’t think so.

Seven years prior to retiring as a result of an injury on duty I was removed from front line duties to protect my right knee which had been damaged during an arrest and require 4 operations. What was I to do now, having spent the previous 23 years working on the front line of policing? I had been coaching sport during my spare time since 1990 so a move into the training department seemed like a good idea. I applied and did a police trainers course which was in depth and detailed in all aspects of teacher training techniques that I would need to enable me to fulfil a role as a police trainer. After becoming qualified I took up a position in the Investigative Training Department.

In 2006 retirement was fast approaching, I would only be 55 years old, not quite ready for slippers and feet up in front of the fire. So what next? After discussions with a few friends who worked for Cardiff Council and my family I decided to apply to do a  PGCE/Cert Ed (Post – Compulsory Education and Training) In-service/Part Time Course I applied and obtained a place on a course which started in 2007 and finished 2009. I attended at the Cardiff University Glamorgan Building based in King George V Ave, Cardiff City Centre every Wednesday for the duration of the course.

The reason for doing the course; it would enable me to continue teaching after I retired from the police force.

The course itself was balanced well tutored and structured in a way that whoever was doing the course could learn at a pace that was suitable for themselves and other course members as well.    This was achieved by the tutors involved spending time with each and every student on a one to one basis written into the course by doing Progress Reviews and also when required they would do additional meetings to assist in the development of each student.

Was it a good decision to do this course?

No question it was probably the most single important decision that I have made in the last five years. It has enabled me to continuing teaching which in turn has kept me active in more ways than one. My wife and children are happy they were dreading the thought of me with nothing to do or worse, doing something just for the sake of doing it to keep me out of the house.


PGCE Student

Gaynor Babb – former student teacher on the part-time PGCE (PCET) Programme and Senior Practitioner Coach/Mentor, Social Services and freelance lecturer

I have practiced as a social worker since 1992, for the last 10 years as a senior practitioner initially in social work teams being a teacher and enabler assisting with individual and team development, and in the last 3 years as a Senior Practitioner Coach/Mentor.

In the role of Coach/Mentor my primary function is work place teaching and training of newly qualified social workers and all other social work staff, both in practice and theory.

I had attended short training courses which had covered the basics in respect of how adults learn, and how to design and deliver work place training, but always felt that  although I am extremely knowledgeable in respect of social work practice being able to teach what I knew in a way that was conducive to learning was very hit and miss, and that often I did not understand the needs of an adult learner. 

As a result of gaining the role of Coach/Mentor I realised that I would need to have a much greater understanding of how adults learn, and that I would be expected to give formal training, so in order to be able to write and deliver training I needed to understand what adult learners needed to assist them in their learning and also due to my experience I was constantly being approached to give training in other organisations and in the local university, but felt that I was not equipped to “teach” others so would give talks without the support of learning aids such as power point etc.

In 2009 I made the decision that I needed to find a teaching qualification that would fit into the work I did, that would teach me how to deliver work place training as well as formal teaching, and enhance the experience of those that I worked with.

It was by chance that I was at the local careers office, and asked what was available and they suggested the PCET, as this was for professionals who wanted to be able to teach their profession.  I applied and was successful in gaining a place.

I have to say that going back into this level of education after so long was very daunting and I had no confidence at all that I would succeed.  However what was great about this course that it was full of people who also felt the same way!

The tutors all provide support and are accessible and approachable and are all still teaching so you are able to watch and learn from them and their styles.

This course is designed to teach you how to teach your profession or subject.  You are taught the teaching tools, and given the theory in respect of how adults learn, all of which can be applied practically.  Every day I apply what I have learned on the PCET to my work.

It is obvious to me that what I am now able to offer those that I work with is far more sophisticated, I understand what their learning needs are, and I am confident that I am offering them a much better experience, as I am able to design  their workplace training around their specific learning needs.

I am now also lecturing at Universities as I have the confidence now to research design and “teach” subjects on social work programmes, and I am being requested more and more to teach whole modules on social work programmes.  I no longer give “talks” to students about what is like to be a social worker. I now am able to actually teach topics within social work with confidence and with the assistance of teaching aids such as power point and the white board two things that were completely alien to me in the past!

I absolutely valued my time on the PCET, and enjoyed building the relationships with my peers and the tutors.  It was a relief to complete all the work and graduate, but I would do it all again as I feel that I have invested in my career and it has given me the confidence and opportunity to consider other professions.


Application queries regarding September 2014 entry should be made to: 
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 74021