Sophie Homer wins teaching award

Sophie Homer has won the 2017 British Psychological Society's Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) award for excellence in teaching. Along with a £150 prize, she'll receive a teaching related textbook and a subscription to the Psychology Teaching Review.

  • "This year, I led a series of workshops for around 30 students on effective communication. While I was given an outline of key content to cover, I had the freedom to independently design innovative and engaging learning activities. For example, rather than facilitating small group discussions around certain topics, I organised debates in which groups worked together to form an argument for or against a statement and then presented their arguments to the opposing team and other students in the audience. This was a huge success: it was incredibly rewarding to see even the quietest, shyest students present their arguments with passion, enthusiasm, and confidence. I’m very glad I took the extra time to plan and prepare this exercise – most students said they had surprised themselves and the exercise had shown them how articulate and quick-thinking they could be under pressure. This positivity was echoed in the module feedback forms I designed – 70 per cent of students who completed the forms cited debating as their favourite part of the workshops (and in some cases even the entire module) and two students mentioned me specifically on their forms."

Sophie was absolutely delighted when a student took the time to email and thank her for the feedback she had given on an essay, which she said may be the most useful she had received in her two years at university, and had helped her in writing her next essay. Sophie had made a special effort not only to critique the essay, but to frame her suggestions for improvement in such a way that they would aid with any future academic writing. This was her first experience of how rewarding teaching can be.

She feels that the feedback she has received from staff and students demonstrates success so far in supporting and inspiring students through innovative practice, and reflects her genuine passion for teaching. She is currently completing a PGCAP qualification which she hopes will enable her to continue to develop and improve her teaching throughout her PhD and the academic career she aspires to.