July 27, 2020

Image of Jonathan Fry PGCE PCET graduate

Hello! My name is Jonathan and since July 2018, I have been working as Lecturer in Business and Management at Aberystwyth University and am responsible for the Welsh medium provision within the department.

Initially I studied for an honours degree in Events Management at Cardiff Met, before completing an MPhil research degree, also at Cardiff Met. However, this blog concentrates on my journey whilst studying towards the PGCE PCET.  

Rather than registering on the PGCE PCET course immediately, in order to get a taste of the course, I completed the 10 week short course “Preparing To Teach In PCET’ which ran for one evening a week. This module also contributed towards the full PGCE PCET award.

The structure of the full course, studied part time over two years, was very effective in terms of being able to complete the course content on one specific afternoon / evening a week whilst working around other commitments.

Although the lecturers were not fluent in Welsh there are other lecturers within the School of Education who are Welsh speaking, which meant that I was able to complete my teaching practice hours in a Welsh medium secondary school. I was lucky enough to complete 30 teaching hours at Ysgol Cwm Rhymni during the first year of study and 100 hours in the second year, with a member of staff from Cardiff Met observing, according to the requirements of the course.

The opportunity to teach sixth form pupils at Cwm Rhymni was invaluable and provided me with a different context to my current experience in Higher Education. The WJEC had recently launched a Level 1/2 course in Event Operations which was being offered as a vocational pathway for Sixth Form pupils and this was the course I concentrated on teaching during the first year. At the time, I was disappointed that there was a change in the member of staff who was to co-ordinate the course during the following year. However, upon reflection, this was a positive move as the input of another member of staff and the opportunity to observe them allowed me to gain a different perspective and to form different ideas and opinions. During the second year I taught Events, Tourism (WJEC) and Hospitality (BTEC) in order to complete the required hours. This was a challenge in terms of the wide range of subjects but I enjoyed the teaching element and could appreciate the differences between the WJEC and BTEC courses.

There were a number of ‘characters’ in my classes and the points system I devised proved to be a great success! The students were awarded points for attendance as well as their work, the main ‘prize’ at the end of the academic year being tickets to a local event of their choice.

The two modules I found most useful were ‘Employability and Professional Development in PCET’ and ‘Inclusive Curriculum Planning and Design in PCET’. The focus and the career benefits from the employability module were very useful with regard to being able to construct an academic CV and in order to reflect on my development. I also enjoyed and benefited from working with peers on the Curriculum module where we presented an in-depth module proposal entitled ‘What next? Key skills for life after school (Employability and Effective Communications)’.

Completing the ‘Preparing to Teach in PCET’ module helped me to gain credits and continue seamlessly onto the PGCE PCET course at Cardiff Met. I chose the part-time route to be able to study around other commitments.

During June 2018 I had an interview for a post at Aberystwyth University. The staff at Cardiff Met were very supportive in helping me prepare for the interview. The fact that I had recent, practical experience in teaching through the medium of Welsh and the fact that I had learned key skills regarding learning and teaching were very useful during the interview. The wide range of subjects I had taught (including Tourism, Events and Hospitality) were also of huge advantage.

In addition, I found that similar modules from the BA (Hons) Events Management degree course I had followed, such as The Business Environment, Legal and Human Resources Systems and Marketing were common to the provision of modules at Aberystwyth University. One of the English medium modules I was to co-ordinate was ‘Destination and Attraction Management’, therefore my recent experience in teaching the subject, albeit at a different level, proved very useful. The Business School was in the process of restructuring their degree schemes and, as a result of that which I had learned on the PGCE PCET Curriculum module, it was very interesting to observe this being implemented in the ‘real world’.

The fact that everyone on the module have kept in touch on WhatsApp is evidence that the teaching staff as well as the structure and content of the PGCE PCET course allowed us to form a supportive network of friends and contacts within the education sector.