Brilliant Club

Posted by ga16 at Aug 15, 2014 02:30 PM |
We know our subject is brilliant, but how do geologists communicate that enthusiasm to the next generation?
Brilliant Club

Nina Jordan

Fresh from finishing her PhD investigating the explosive history of a caldera volcano, Nina Jordan is taking her enthusiasm for her research out into schools to inspire the next generation of budding volcanologists and introduce geology to students who may not be aware of our exciting discipline. Here she describes her placement with the Brilliant Club

Over the summer I participated in the Brilliant Club’s summer placement. The Brilliant Club is a charity aiming to widen access to top universities for outstanding pupils from state schools. They do this by training and placing PhD students in schools to give pupils a flavour of academic work. The advantages of this simple idea are obvious to both sides: the students get to learn about topics they would probably never hear of in school and that are delivered by someone who is a world expert on the subject; the PhD student gets teaching experience and practise in explaining their work to an different audience (academics, and PhD researchers in particular, do not get to talk to schools all that often).

For this placement, I had to prepare 6 tutorials based on my PhD research to be delivered in a school in Nottingham. This included coming up with exercises, pictures, texts, videos etc. for the in-school tutorial as well as setting homework. I also produced a 20-page handbook for the course. At the end of the course the pupils wrote a 2500-word assignment based around skills they had picked up during the course.I am currently marking those assignments, which is really interesting reading, and providing me with great experience in assessment.

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the pupils as they were so interested and enthusiastic. It was quite a challenge to distil my subjects into only 6 tutorials and come up with a question for the final assignment. At the same time, the tutorials are meant to be interactive rather than delivering material in lectures and this requires a different approach to teaching than I have experienced. I would recommend taking part in the Brilliant Club program as it builds confidence and gets you out to discuss your research with a different set of people than the more familiar academic audience.

You can find out more about Nina’s research on her webpage and there’s more information on the Brilliant Club available too.

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