Supporting the postgraduate demonstrator: Embedding development opportunities into the day job


Postgraduate student demonstrators in the School of School of Medical Sciences Education Development at Newcastle University are far from a forgotten tribe. As an essential part of the teaching team providing academic IT skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the Learning and Teaching Advisor and Teaching Support Officer rely upon our postgraduate demonstrators to deliver high quality teaching to thousands of students each year. In recognition of this important role, we have developed a range of support and development opportunities for demonstrators over the last few years. From a comprehensive recruitment and training programme, to end of term reflective accounts that direct future professional development opportunities, plus support in completing a masters-level teaching qualification, our demonstrators receive continuous support and development opportunities whilst in our employ. We believe that investing in our postgraduate demonstrators is mutually beneficial, as we both have much to gain from each other’s perspective and contribution (Gibbs & Coffey, 2004). Ultimately, this benefits the students, and we may be wise to recognise the important contribution that postgraduate students can make to the teaching and learning landscape, in our endless quest in search of improving league table results.
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