Each year a group of part 2 students from Meteorology make their way across campus to the Minghella Building to film weather forecasts in the professional “green screen” studio. As well as improving their forecasting ability this module also helps students to improve their presentation skills – a key employability attribute in many careers.
During the module students will;
- make short video weather forecasts in a professional studio
- receive feedback on performance in order to improve on the quality of the work
- give peer feedback to fellow students in order to develop this useful life skill
- reflect on their performance and consider how they can use the feedback to improve future performances.
Presentation skills are a crucial aspect of many jobs, whether it be in front of a camera or face to face with an audience. Lecturers in Meteorology may not always be the best people to coach these skills so we draw on experience in a School where performance and presentation is at the heart of everything they do.
Students spend 4 sessions in the TV studio, working up to the filming of a “live” TV weather forecast. After each rehearsal, students receive detailed feedback on their performance from staff and also from their fellow students. Crucially they are also asked to reflect on their own performance and how they might improve it. This self- reflection aspect is something we would like to encourage across the Meteorology department as it is a skill which perhaps doesn’t come naturally to a scientific discipline in the same way as it does in a performance related discipline such as film and theatre.
Students are very appreciative of the high level of feedback on performance in this module, as evidenced in module evaluation questionnaires. The feedback also has a massive impact on improving the students’ performances across the module, resulting in some near professional standard performances by the end.
It is obvious that the encouragement to reflect and take on board feedback is a major driver of improved student performance in this module.
Working in an environment in which feedback and self-reflection are built into the activities has made me as a module convenor in a science department realise that this is something we can use more effectively across many of our other modules, not just those which involve presentation.
Self-reflection and peer feedback have a clear impact on performance in this module and we need to find ways to incorporate more of these activities into the rest of our taught modules.
I am now actively looking at ways that we can make reflection an integral part of how our students approach their learning.