Constructive Alignment in action…

The PGCHE I undertook a few years past was a life changing experience in a lot of ways… after years in the arts and technical support roles returning to being a student was both cathartic and invigorating.

I learned a great many things that influenced and benefited me in my vocation but if I had to give a prize for the concept that has served me best over the years it would have to be … drum roll … constructive alignment!

I don’t want to down play the importance of Accessibility issues, inclusive practice, peer learning, catering for different learning styles, widening participation, threshold concepts, the value of planning and good session management or any other of the numerous teaching and learning pedagogic epiphanies the course elicited in me, but Constructive Alignment has something special going on!

And the reason for this?

Because in understanding constructive alignment I also came to understand that it holds the key to engagement.

And engagement … well that is where the learning begins. And thats what its about after all.

I can ‘teach’ till I’m blue in the face. I think (possibly erroneously) that I’m a good teacher. I’m mindful of all the concerns I mention above. I’m animated. I’m enthusiastic. I try and engage with my students and I see all of this is welcome. But TBH none of it matters if the students in the room are in a class that doesn’t relate to the specified learning outcomes and the assessed tasks they will undertake the majority won’t engage.


And this is such a big issue for me.

I literally lay awake at night terrified of being in the situation where my class are not engaged. If I think I’m going in to teach in the morning and the group are going to be disengaged I will be reworking and rehashing the session until its done.


A friend of mine (a secondary school teacher – I’ve expressed my admiration for teaching staff at GCSE before in this blog) put it best… if you haven’t got your session planned it’d be better to stay up sorting it out and get 1 hours sleep than to have a full nights kip and face the music in the morning.

But if what you are teaching is aligned to the curriculum and the students want to know about it… wow!

Total sea change to the blank focus and focus on mobiles.

I give a session on Photoshop Mockups to my Fashion Marketing – super simple, lots of fun, very easy to deliver and easy to apply, but the students are are so hyped whenever I deliver it you wouldn’t believe. Because from the moment they clock what we’re going to unlock they know it will serve them going forward in countless submissions…

I think I might do a post just documenting all the sessions I do that I’m really happy with in context – if only to make me feel good about myself lol 😛

But seriously I have put a lot of time and effort into aligning my classes with the learning outcomes of modules… if I were you I would too – the benefits are near instantaneous and remarkable.

Till next time – keep it Edward Tech 😛


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