Talk with a Trainer: June

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Tell us about your role with Strive Training.

I am an English and Maths trainer.  I teach Entry 1 through Level 2 to mixed ability adult learners. 

The FastTrack Functional skills courses are being incredibly well received. Why do you think that is?

When we launched FastTrack Functional Skills a few months ago, we were totally overwhelmed by the amount of people who wanted to do English and maths courses but didn’t have the confidence, time and finance.  However within a couple of hours with our IAG team their perception quickly changed. They realised that the course was absolutely free for anyone who didn’t have a Level 2 qualification; the course is only two weeks in duration giving them flexibility to complete the course and get a job or promotion at work and of course the opportunity to boost their confidence and self-esteem. 

You manage to build strong relationships with your students in only a matter of days. How do you do that?

To be honest, I treat students as individuals and with respect; most of my learners are adults who want to improve their chances of getting a job or enhance their knowledge.  I try to develop good rapport with them from the very first day at induction, I listen and get to know them very quickly, and encourage them to develop a positive attitude to the course.

Looking back on your time with Strive, can you give us a sample of student success stories stick that stick out in your memory?

Well I’ve got to tell you about this one as it’s the most memorable of all! For anonymity I will refer to this learner as X.   It was about 9:15am on the first day of the English class. As my learners arrive they are met with a warm “Hi good morning, welcome to the English/math class”.  At the corner of my eye I saw this guy appeared and I greeted him in the usual way. I realised that X didn’t respond or make any eye contact but instead walked straight to the back of the class, expressionless and detached. Curious, I went over to ask if he was ok, to which he grunted “eh hum, but you’ll be wasting your time because I can’t read and I can’t write and I don’t know why my adviser sent me here”.  Over a period of time I get to know X, I valued and cared for him as an individual, I treated him with respect and dignity. I was also keen to communicate positive expectations. Within a few weeks, X who couldn’t spell his full name started reading and writing short words and sentences. Over the following months X progressed through Entry level 1, to Level 2. Today, this remarkable learner is one of the mentors to other learners.  

 What do you think the trick is to maximising student engagement?

For me, creating lessons that are meaningful and have a purpose is ultimately the goal. I find out what interests the students, whether it is football, TV programmes or favourite characters and incorporate that into learning. I let the learners have fun yet master the material I have set out for them. It’s important to know that although the content is outlined, the students drive the curriculum. 

If a learner is anxious about attending a Strive Training course, what would you advise them?

Over the last couple of years I have seen an increase in the number of adult learners going back to education whether to start their education, improve and enhance their knowledge, or just upskilling.  But for some learners this can be a scary and anxious time, worrying that they won’t fit in, wonder about finance, fear that they might not be able to keep up with the workload or concerned about taking tests. If you feel any of these concerns, you are not alone, please do speak to your adviser and Strive Training staff, who will be very happy to support you.