We hope you’ve had a good summer break and are raring to get started with your new courses now, if you haven’t started already.

The beginning of a new course is always a challenging and interesting time – meeting new learners, getting to know them and their needs, and their expectations of you and the course, working out how you are going to cover essential topics – there’s lots to think about.

I’ve seen a couple of interesting articles recently which reinforce ideas that have been coming up regularly: establishing high expectations for learners’ progress and encouraging a growth mind-set.  Often the most challenging learners to teach are those who don’t really believe they can do it, and who give up too easily.  On the other hand, learners with a growth mind-set are ready to take on a challenge, and learn from their mistakes and from the feedback you give them.  They expect that they will be able to improve if they put in the effort.  So how can you encourage learners to have growth mind-set? It’s important to set realistic but challenging goals and then praise the learner’s effort and process, even if they don’t succeed straightaway.  It’s perseverance and resilience that is important.  Carol Dweck (a psychologist looking at motivation and success) speaks here about a school where learners are told they haven’t passed YET :

I came across this through the website, which is a fantastic collection of interactive “lessons” comprising a video, quiz and links for further discussion, on a wide range of topics.  Here’s the one about Growth Mind-set: Growth Mind-set vs Fixed Mind-set: An Introduction

(BTW, you can even create your own lesson on ED Ted – it’s a great resource!)

The Guardian also had an article recently on setting high expectations, and although it’s written with children in mind it is worth a quick read.

So we wanted to let you all know that we have high expectations of you too!

high expectations

(created using Popplet on iPad)

A couple of other important pointers for this year:

Prevent Strategy and British Values.  There are many things that we all do as part of our work with learners that uphold British Values of Democracy, the Rule of Law, Individual Liberty and Resect and Tolerance:

  • recognising the contributions different people make to the organisation and the running of the course
  • following regulations and adopting policies and procedures
  • negotiating class rules and etiquette
  • supporting learners to make choices appropriate to them as individuals within the course content, accessing resources or in terms of choosing their next steps
  • embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into our delivery and promoting these with learners

You may be looking for resources to promote some of the British Values in a relevant way with your learners whilst they are on your course. I have uploaded some tried and tested resources to Fenc.  Click here.  Please let us know how these activities go, and it would be great if you have developed more resources yourself that you could share with others.  Please contact us at

Here is an example of an IT course where we have looked in detail at the embedded Prevent and British Values. Existing parts of the course (e-safety and the laws regulating internet use) already demonstrate the principles of the Prevent Strategy and British Values.  We have added in using the Life in The UK practice quiz and Find your local Councillor websites, as practice using web-based forms, as alternatives to other similar content.  But very little was changed to accommodate the Prevent agenda, and it has been interesting to see how much overlaps with Equality and Diversity and Safeguarding issues.

ILT – blended learning

Thinglink is a great internet tool where you can upload a picture or scanned document and add “hotspots” which might contain further information, a weblink, other media…

Here’s one I did earlier (in about 10 minutes) – Do click on the link – it’s worth it!!

Do you take photos of learners’ work? You could add comments to give feedback, or encourage learners to make notes with their own reflection on their work. Or learners could do this as a project, upload a photo related to the course and add notes to share with class mates?

The website is really easy to use, you click a button to upload a photo, then click once on the photo to open and edit the text box. Click to save and you’re done. Let us know how you get on!

Equality and Diversity and British Values Opportunities – coming up…

21st September World Peace Day and Alzheimer’s Awareness Day

26th September European Day of Languages

10th October World Mental Health Day

October is Black History Month


2 thoughts on “Making a good start…

  1. Great! Glad you enjoyed it! We have heard some great stories already about good induction/initial assessment activities including using local news stories to talk about British Values and Prevent, and linking the group ground rules to the British Values Poster. See you soon!


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