ANTF Roadshow @ UWE Bristol

Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) Roadshow – September 2014

Last week, the ANTF roadshow visited the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol. The Association is more than happy to run such events from time to time, to talk about the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, and to give advice to budding applicants. The roadshows are also excuses for fellows to talk about their work and share innovative practices, and this session was no exception with a violin and cello workshop led by Laura Ritchie, and a discussion on open online learning by Jonathan Worth. Viv Rolfe began with a brief introduction to the Association, as summarised in this short video.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is in its 15th year and the next round is due to open for applicants in October. The UWE workshop run by Laura (University of Chichester) and Viv (UWE)  involved a chat with budding applicants to explore approaches to completing the application. Viv talked about the importance of finding your own voice and telling a clear story of how your teaching practices evolved; as a scientist Viv found this style of writing quite difficult and was lucky to be mentored by people from different disciplines. Laura talked about the importance of meeting the application criteria and writing three equally balanced sections.


Next, came the rather amazing violin and cello workshop led by Laura, who very cleverly used the creation of music as a metaphor for aspects of learning and collaboration. It was a wild amount of fun and hugely enjoyed by the UWE participants, and as well as Laura’s bubbling enthusiasm, her amazing talent for the cello shone through in the short excerpts that we were privileged to hear. Laura coached the group into performing an entire piece of music, and also helped us explore other sounds on the instruments that were surprisingly beautiful.

Following on in the afternoon we were joined by Jonathan Worth via the internet. Jonathan is a photographer and was awarded his teaching fellowship in 2013. He runs an open undergraduate photography class called at the University of Coventry that has reached global participants and met with huge acclaim. Much of the learning takes place collaboratively and in the totally free space of the web, with participants connecting via the hashtag #phonar. If you are quick, you can run and catch #phonar 14.

Jonathan also talked about a new initiative called ConnectedCourses, and I would encourage anyone in education, whether you are a student or academic / faculty member, to experiment with some of these open courses and go ride the crest of the wave! From my perspective as a science educator, I see increasingly teaching and learning moving beyond the constraining walls of classrooms and virtual learning environments onto the open web. Participating in an open course will help students experiment with new ways of learning, and most importantly allow educators to enhance their ideas and work methods in safe, informative and fun spaces.

The goal for Connected Courses is to build an inclusive and expansive network of teachers and students, and provide educational offerings that make high quality, meaningful, and socially connected learning available to everyone. The go-at-your-own-pace collaborative course is free and open to all.

It was a fabulous and fun day with the National Teaching Fellows at UWE. A huge thanks to Dr Marie-Annick Gournet for inviting us and for being a very enthusiastic violinist.



 Blog post by Viv Rolfe, UWE

NTF Wild Flowers!

In April we met for the Association of National Teaching Fellows annual symposium in Birmingham and two of the organisers Kirsten Hardie and Laura Ritchie gave us all a packet of wild flower seeds to sow and watch grow.  The photos attached show my efforts at horticulture…clearly still a lot to learn!

NTF wild flowers

NTF wild flowers

Wild Flower Seeds

by Julia Pointon

As always the symposium event was a time to renew previous friendships and make new ones.  It was a time for reflection and for planning.  Since April as a committee, we have had the opportunity to meet again at the HEA Annual Conference in Aston.  We held a planning day and tried to scope out and understand the implications of the changes at the HEA and what they might mean for the Association.  With unlimited support from Caroline and Rosa at the HEA, and the unparalleled commitment and sheer hard work from our committee chair Kirsten, we have started to plan our approach.

This includes gaining approval for the establishment of our own bank account – something we have been wanting for a long time and which will enable us to take greater control over the budget.  The visioning session provided some really exciting ideas and Julian Parks and I are planning to incorporate as many as possible into the revised strategy.  In July, the writing retreat in Lewes, so ably organised by Tim Bilham…(many thanks) resulted in excellent progress being made towards the next piece of work from the NTF community… all in all, we are, just like the flowers in the photo, blooming, looking pretty and growing from strength to strength.

Here’s to the next ‘gardening’ year ahead.

Blog article by Julia Pointon
NTF, De Montfort University


ANTF Writer’s Retreat 17-18 July, 2014

Association of National Teaching Fellows WRITER’S RETREAT!

19 NTFs came together for two days at Pelham House in East Sussex for a writer’s retreat. This was the first retreat organised by the association, and participants had all written abstracts outlining aspects of change, innovation and collaboration, and this was the starting point for a rich first day of discussion and development. Areas of expertise ranged from geomorphology to dentistry, medicine, business, sport, music, design, working with deaf children, employability, cognitive styles and the outcomes were equally exciting and reflected this diversity.

The facilitators had devices to aid the writing process, and in no time, Clive’s hexagons began to tessellate.

Clive at the writer's retreat Group working at the retreat

The initial book had emerging themes and working ideas for titles: “Space for Change: Where minds meet”. “Making educational change and innovation in HE happen”. “Empowering innovation in L&T in HE”. During the retreat,  lots of ideas and section abstracts came together centered around various aspects of ‘space’ such as physical space, imaginative space, diologic space and how learners and teachers work within these, and ideas also explored the concerns and issues that arise in these areas. As the time progressed, editors were chosen and progress felt real.

During the process, other ideas for publications – books, journals, collaborative projects – all began to emerge and the desire to include more NTFs grew. People put forward pitches for other publication ideas.


Brainstorms and mind maps filled the room as cells of people discussed ideas.

Writer's retreat brainstorming Writer's retreat activity

 In these two days, we came together, made connections, stimulated each other, and found common passions in education!


Will Katene embodied what we all felt with what he said at the end of that video clip:

It is all about working together. You have got to work together to achieve a common goal, and look what we have achieved in the last couple of days. Thank you to the organisational committee for what we have been able to do in such a short space of time. Look at the impact that we’re going to have when we share this collaborative practice. (words in Maori) Thank you!


Exciting, explosive, watch this space!

Blog article by Laura Ritchie.