Sophie Homer has won the 2017 British Psychological Society's Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) award for excellence in teaching. Along with a £150 prize, she'll receive a teaching related textbook and a subscription to the Psychology Teaching Review.
year, I led a series of workshops for around 30 students on effective
communication. While I was given an outline of key content to cover, I had the
freedom to independently design innovative and engaging learning activities. For
example, rather than facilitating small group discussions around certain
topics, I organised debates in which groups worked together to form an argument
for or against a statement and then presented their arguments to the opposing
team and other students in the audience. This was a huge success: it was
incredibly rewarding to see even the quietest, shyest students present their
arguments with passion, enthusiasm, and confidence. I’m very glad I took the
extra time to plan and prepare this exercise – most students said they had
surprised themselves and the exercise had shown them how articulate and
quick-thinking they could be under pressure. This positivity was echoed in the
module feedback forms I designed – 70 per cent of students who completed the forms
cited debating as their favourite part of the workshops (and in some cases even
the entire module) and two students mentioned me specifically on their forms."
absolutely delighted when a student took the time to email and thank her for the feedback she had given on an essay, which she said may be the most useful she had received in her two years
at university, and had helped her in writing her next essay. Sophie had made a special effort not only to critique the essay, but
to frame her suggestions for improvement in such a way that they would aid with
any future academic writing. This was her first experience of how rewarding
teaching can be.
She feels that the feedback she has received from staff and students demonstrates success so far in supporting and inspiring students through innovative practice, and reflects her genuine passion for teaching. She is currently completing a PGCAP qualification which she hopes will enable her to continue to develop and improve her teaching throughout her PhD and the academic career she aspires to.