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Case Study

Simone Sgarbossa

Karuizawa, Japan

PGCE Education (IDL)


Simone Sgarbossa was working as a teacher already through various qualifications, but wanted to gain a proper teaching degree which he could study while continuing to work. After hearing several good reviews from colleagues and other students, he enrolled onto the PGCE Education Independent Distance Learning (IDL) course at the University of Sunderland. He plans to continue teaching and believe the course has made him a more effective and confident educator.

I am a teacher and the Head of the English Department at UWC ISAK Japan. I had already been teaching for a while and held various other teaching-related qualifications, but I felt the need to earn a proper teaching qualification, so I looked for the best course that I could pursue while continuing to work. That’s how I found the PGCE Education (IDL) course at the University of Sunderland.

The course was highly recommended by a colleague and a former student of mine who is now a teacher themselves. A head of school that I know also told me they had a former colleague undertake the course, and as they were the supervisor to this student, they had a look at what the course entailed and was impressed. There are many good aspects of the course, including the support from my personal academic tutor (PAT), who was always reassuring and offered effective advice; the quality of feedback on each assignment; the fact the course includes a rigorous teaching practice which translates into actual improvements in my practice; and the challenge to do some proper academic writing. In terms of future career aims, I aim to continue growing as a teacher and an education leader. Thanks to this course, I will be able to contribute with increased confidence and knowledge in both areas.

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland to other students. Prepare for a challenge, especially in the first half of the course while you get used to the system. Communicate with your PAT on a regular basis – they can provide you with answers and support.

I believe I have become a more effective teacher (especially through teaching practice and constructive feedback), and a more competent Head of Department (thanks to all the assignments which lead me to reflect about the various facets of learning and teaching). Being a student again has led me to experience challenges similar to those my own students are facing; this has been a powerful exercise in empathy, which is prompting me to become a better listener and a more inspiring educator, while reminding me of the importance of continuous and constructive feedback. I feel I have acquired or reinforced some good habits (for example, in terms of planning and ongoing reflection). I have also ventured outside my comfort zone, experimenting with new teaching strategies and techniques. This has made me a more confident educator. All in all, this course has heightened my joy of teaching.”

Published 19 May 2020

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