How to Survive a Part-Time PGDE @HKU
I finished my two-year PGDE course in Early Childhood Education in June of this year. It’s so great to have some semblance of my life back. I wrote previously about my first-year experience here and now I’m finished with my course, I’ve decided to compile some tips for students/prospective students so you have some idea of what to expect and how to navigate your PGDE course with ease. Here we go.
Manage Your Time Effectively
Managing your time may seem generic, but I had no idea how much time my course would eat up. Let’s break it down.
In the first year, I attended two hour classes twice a week. I’d get home at nine. That’s two evenings taken just with classes. Most of the classes had a reading task (or several) you had to do beforehand which I’d either do on the weekend or on one of the evenings I had free. So that’s another evening gone. You’re down to two evenings. Then you have the Moodle tasks given after each class (Not all classes have them, but most do) which might take up another evening. You see how you can quickly run out of time?
As well as the above, you have module assignments. As an example, my classes were Educational Inquiry and Educational Methods in the first term, so I had two assignments to keep in the back of my mind right off the bat. You are expected to tackle these while you are doing your Moodle tasks/readings.
I suggest you find pockets of time in your day and tackle either a reading, a Moodle task or get started on your assignments. You know you, figure out a system that works for you. I’m just telling you that a storm is coming.
Learn How to Use APA
If you’re are not familiar with this referencing system, join the club because I wasn’t either. I hadn’t written an essay in years, let alone used a proper referencing system like this one.
APA (American Psychological Association) is commonly used to cite sources in education. There are citation machines out there like this one that makes it easier to reference, but I think it would benefit you to understand the system so you can use it properly. The University recommended this website which I found useful. Hopefully, whichever method you take, it will save you time and lessen the stress of referencing. I tended to reference as I went so I didn’t have to do it all at the end. To each their own.
Setup Group Chat
Most people tend to be on WhatsApp. Make a support group on there. I had several, and it helps when you are feeling stuck or need clarification on something. It can also be a double-edged sword where uncertainty can spiral out of control. Be mindful of that.
Filter your University email account
You will receive tons of emails every day. By default, your University email is set to receive emails from all faculties. This means that you could get up to twenty emails a day. Do yourself a favour and start by filtering them out from the get-go. That way, you won’t be wasting time deleting them or struggling to find that important email from your lecturer. Here’s a handy guide.
Choose Electives Wisely
In your second year, you get to choose an elective. (or two if you are feeling ambitious) I decided on Positive Psychology which I would highly recommend for several reasons. Firstly, the lecturer, Matthew Chiu is fantastic. A lot of the lecturers talk about student-led learning, but barely any of them practice it. He’s one of the few that does. There’s a lot of discussions, a lot of sharing. It’s great.
Secondly, the workload is light. The class is three hours once a week. You have one group presentation and one assignment which doesn’t require any APA referencing as it’s a reflection type essay. (this is true as of writing but might change in the coming years) Can’t recommend this elective highly enough. If you want an idea of what the course will be like, this one by HKU Space is pretty similar in content.
Conquer Experiential Learning Fast
Experiential Learning was introduced in my two-year cycle of study so we were the guinea pigs for it. My two takeaways are this. First, choose one of the projects that the university offers. It’s easier to get approved. Secondly, choose a holiday to complete it. I did mine through the summer. Doing it during a holiday gives you more flexibility. Here’s what I did.
With these tips in hand, you’ll find finishing your PGDE a little easier. At least that is my hope!
Are you about to embark on your studies and have questions? Have you recently finished your PGDE and have some tips to share? Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading, folks!