From education to employment

College Commit to Expanding Staff Horizons as Lecturer Goes to Thailand

The staff at Cardonald College are set to benefit from their institution’s commitment to expanding their awareness of the world around them, it was announced this week.

The College, with their gaze firmly fixed on improving the learning experience whilst at the same time supporting the development of their staff, have agreed to take the lead in an initiative that spans all the Colleges in Glasgow. This scheme will aim to obtain placements for anywhere up to 100 staff, improving the dissemination of information and ideas. One Cardonald lecturer has already enjoyed her taste of the initiative, travelling all the way to visit Thailand.

Khob Khun Krab

The initiative seeks to broaden the horizons and the thinking of the lecturers, allowing them to glean new methods from their placements and to approach the issues faced within their respective Colleges with fresh ideas and fresh perspectives. The lecturer from Cardonald College who benefited was a Lecturer in Specialist Education with Art, Ellen Campbell.

During her placement, Ellen spent four weeks in the beautiful North Eastern region of Thailand, which experience allowed her to discover how they approach education provision. She found out more about the Thai peoples” attitudes toward Art, Education and Disability, and gained a valuable insight into the day to day reality of life in that part of Thailand in general.

On her placement and her aims in accepting it, Ellen said: “My aims for the project were to look at the community and educational benefits of art in a different culture, gain visual inspiration for producing artwork, experience and compare approaches to disability and mental health within another culture and to share good practice. I was also looking at special needs education in general, with the aim of enhancing the learning experience of my own students when they return in September.

“It was the most amazing learning experience and during the project I worked in a number of primary schools for children with learning disabilities,” she continued, describing her experiences. “The work was of a high standard, but there was little evidence that art was offered as part of the curriculum. I then embarked on a mission to show as many people as possible what students can achieve in art or any subject with the right support.”

Lifelong Learning Crucial

The Principal of Cardonald College heralded the initiative as a fantastic example of the importance of lifelong learning for all. Ros Micklem, the Principal, said: “Lifelong learning is for staff as well as students. If staff are supported in their continuing personal and professional development, they”ll create a more inspiring learning experience for students. This placement scheme is a good way to help staff develop by updating their skills and refreshing their ideas.”

The project has received funding support from the College, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Shawlands Rotary Club and Rotary International, with the initiative running until December 2006. Mr. Micklem welcomed the support of these organisations, saying: “It’s great that organisations such as the Rotary Club are also keen to contribute: without their support, Ellen’s fantastic experience in Thailand would not have been possible. We think that placements are really important and we”re now setting up structures to make sure the scheme can go on after the end of this project.”

Jethro Marsh

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