My ATS experience: Ecaterina Bright

I have been working in education for more than 10 years, holding a range of different teaching and management roles. I achieved my Qualified Teacher Learning Skills (QTLS) status in 2012, which enabled me to teach to a high standard and facilitate learner progression and achievement.

I currently work as a senior tutor, where I also lead and support other tutors. Additionally, I conduct the internal verification for the ICT, accounting, business administration and counselling courses, as well as overseeing the BCS Examination procedure and audits preparation.

What motivated you to undertake Advanced Teacher Status (ATS)?

I decided to embark on the ATS journey to improve my practice. I also felt a need to improve the methodology of support for staff and implement a more consistent approach of Professional Standards across HALS.

Being awarded with Chartered Teacher Status was a bonus, especially because I thrive to be recognised for having evidence-informed, high-quality teaching practice, to maintain excellence in teaching and secure the best outcomes for learners.

 

 

Although challenging at times due to time constrains, the ATS journey has strengthened the quality of my teaching learning and assessment. It also reinforced the crucial importance of how as professionals we need to update our knowledge and skills regularly across all educational contexts. I believe this is particularly true in the field of ICT, where technological change is astoundingly rapid.

Can you tell us more about the research project that you undertook as part of ATS?

The 'Development of service wide employability and wider skills recognition' project I carried out as part of my ATS journey was set out to shape practice in embedding and measuring employability and wider skills across HALS’s curriculum.

It focused on improving ways of embedding employability and wider skills in order to maximise skills and knowledge, while participating in subject specific learning to cope with 21st Century employment skills needed to face the demands of work and society. The project aimed to investigate how to develop improved links with employers, especially the borough’s employment support service, Haringey Works (HW), in order to maximise employment prospects for learners at HALS. 

As a result, the project led to strengthened employability skills embedded across all courses at HALS. The 5 C’s 21st Skills Model I designed was successfully piloted across the curriculum, capturing a wide range of positive outcomes. The 5 C’s Model makes our learners’ employability skills more visible to employers, which has led to improved chances of being employed. This model was successfully extended beyond the service into a sub-regional project shared with eight central London boroughs.

The case study I wrote on ‘The role of the professional standards in OTLA’ discussed the challenges of incorporating the self-reflection record linked to the Professional Standards. This process has allowed tutors to reflect on how they learn and develop. Overall, the impact of this work has been valuable in supporting cultural, modernisation and professionalisation change within the organisation.

What impact has ATS had on your role, your practice, and your organisation?

I can confidently say that undertaking ATS has led to an improvement in the quality of teaching and learning at HALS. This has come from me improving my skills in developing others, along with influencing internal external stakeholders and improving my own teaching practice.

The ATS journey has also enabled me to rediscover aspects of learning I had taken up some time ago, and as a result, refresh and update my understanding. I have improved my skills, competencies, models, and approaches in teaching, supported by the 20 Professional Standards.

I believe that my contribution to the quality of education and training at HALS has improved by enabling ICT tutors to have direct access to an Advanced Practitioner who has improved skills and competences.

How has your teaching practice changed as a result of ATS?

I have gained valuable skills in how to create common purpose, both through working with my teams internally, as well as through the external partnerships and forums I have developed. Some of the more challenging situations have enabled me to learn approaches to conflict management and dispute resolution. I am now clear about the six functions in my role as an AP and I build my advice and feedback supported by evidence-based research. This process has enabled me to adopt reflective questioning techniques and critical reflection skills.

I have become focused on creating a culture of evidence-based practice at HALS. Such an approach has been proven to make a positive difference to the professional development and performance of both individuals and teams. I have also become more resilient because of undertaking ATS; the Robertson Cooper i-resilience tool, which measures personal resilience, demonstrated strong scores across all four component areas – confidence, adaptability, purposefulness and the need for social support.

Finally, I also believe that professionally I have improved in terms of having a clear sense of purpose, values, drive and direction to help me achieve and persist in the face of setbacks.

Since I was awarded with ATS, I have introduced the Microsoft Accreditation to HALS and I also initiated the EdTech Mentoring Programme with the view to create a Digital Peer Mentoring Community to enhance the quality of online/blended delivery across HALS. I am also currently the project lead for the Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Action Research project – embedding wellbeing approaches in EDS programmes.

ADVANCED TEACHER STATUS Learn more about the ATS programme

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