My ATS journey: Gloria Diabour

Gloria Diabour is a Business and Finance Lecturer at New City College. Gloria reveals details of how her Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) journey has helped her re-gain the confidence she felt she had lost over the years, while inspiring her to give her learners a more interactive and fun learning experience.

image of Gloria Diabour

I was a qualified teacher back home in Ghana, but upon moving to the UK my career path took me to the retail sector as a Human Resource Assistant. I worked my way up to become HR Manager and obtained a Masters in Human Resource Management. However, I still had a passion to teach, so I decided to do my PGCE. This led to me being employed at Tower Hamlets College, which is now called New City College.

I decided to take on the challenge of ATS because after having my children 11 years ago, I felt I had lost confidence in myself. I always felt other people were better than me and I was nervous about taking on any extra responsibilities at work. Having gained my Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status a few years ago, I felt undertaking Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) would help me to build my confidence and improve my teaching.


I decided to take on the challenge of ATS because after having my children 11 years ago, I felt I had lost confidence in myself. I always felt other people were better than me and I was nervous about taking on any extra responsibilities at work. Having gained my Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status a few years ago, I felt undertaking Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) would help me to build my confidence and improve my teaching.

I have been mentoring trainee teachers in our department, so I believed that undertaking ATS would help me to reflect on my practice and improve my teaching and learning skills. It was also important to me that I could maintain and update my subject knowledge, as well as develop teaching and learning leadership skills.

Being a full-time lecturer with two children and finding time to complete the course was definitely a challenge, but there have been a number of positives I can take from the experience. Most of all, with all of the various CPD that I have completed, coupled with reading and researching about new teaching and learning strategies, I have developed new skills and knowledge which have helped me to plan interesting lessons which engage and motivate my learners.


Using e-learning/technology in teaching, learning and assessment

The title of my project for ATS was ‘Using e-learning/technology in teaching, learning and assessment to improve and engage learners in the Business Department’. The main aims for carrying out this project were to establish if the use of online resources or technology can contribute to learner engagement and improve attendance in the business department.

My proposed aims and objectives were to:

  • identify the benefits of using technology in teaching, learning and assessment
  • find out if learner engagement could be improved through the use of e-learning/technology
  • explore if e-learning/technology can be used to improve attendance and students’ grades.

Attendance, motivation and learner engagement have all been an issue in my department, so I wanted to investigate if using and incorporating e-learning or technology in teaching, learning and assessment could contribute or improve results. I also intended to explore how I could apply the knowledge and approach of e-learning to be a more effective teacher. This would enable me to update myself with current educational demands and stay abreast with current policies and legislations to enhance my planning, teaching and assessment skills.


Sharing best practice with colleagues

The improvement project and the benefits of technology activities which I had to complete as part of the ATS process have given me a better understanding of the benefits of technology in the classroom. I have always felt comfortable using traditional worksheets and PowerPoint, but it was only because of ATS that I took on the challenge to introduce technology into my classrooms. I brought fun to my lessons by turning worksheets into games, quizzes which give students more choices. This, I believe, has improved learner's motivation and participation and helped them to get a better understanding of the subject.

Undertaking ATS has allowed me to develop and demonstrate my skills and increase my role in supporting others and sharing best practice within the department. I now have the skills, knowledge and the confidence to try out new teaching strategies, which has only been possible because of all the reading, research and the e-learning project. I now understood the benefits of technology in teaching, learning and assessment and I have discovered simple online or tech tools I can use to help my students learn better. Gaining all these skills, knowledge and confidence has also contributed to me being appointed by Pearson as BTEC National Examiner and being recommended for the development mentor role in the college.


Increase in attendance and learner motivation

I have noticed an increased interest in my lessons since I introduced apps and technology. Attendance, which is usually a problem with the business students, has also improved greatly. Students are able to share their concerns or any issues they may have with a particular topic with me without having to ask a question in front of the whole class. My students are far more engaged and have been submitting assignments on time, compared to previous years. Additionally, the number of resubmissions has reduced significantly.

Overall, undertaking ATS has helped me believe in myself and given me the opportunity to develop the skill to reflect on my teaching practice. I have learnt that self-reflection is a powerful tool that can transform teaching; I can now reflect upon each lesson and find a way to implement positive changes in future lessons. I have found a deeper understanding of myself and my teaching, which is also benefiting me in life and my career. I am now working with SET to mentor and support current ATS participants. With renewed confidence gained, I now intend to apply for managerial or higher positions when they are available at my college.

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