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From a Student Perspective: Preparing, Delivering and Reflecting on my PD Session

By Danielle Provencher, Graphics & Web TFEE Student

Recently, I was asked in my position at the Learning Hub if I would be interested in preparing and delivering my own PD session on graphic design. At first I was extremely excited for it, and then quickly the nerves settled over in realizing that I would be teaching a 50 minute educational session.

My father who is a business man, a public speaker and educator has always taught me that preparation is the key to confidence. I knew that in order for my session to be successful, I’d have to prepare extensively for it – I’d delivered 15-20 minute sessions before but I’d never had the experience of delivering a 50 minute session previously. My first step was to create a shell or a structure of my educational session and my goal was to treat my students as if they’re already designers and I am further educating them on what I know about the skills as well as the ins & outs of basic graphic design.

The other vital key of preparing for a successful PD session was to be as specific as possible and trust that I had confidence in my own knowledge and experience as a designer.

Over the course of a week, I narrowed down pages of information into units of the presentation and my goal was to ultimately shorten my information into bullet points I could expand on in my presentation. I believe that organizing large amounts of heavy information into categories and finally short-form points was the key to my success. As well, I knew I’d have to fully believe in myself as well as my experience and knowledge. Preparing for this thoroughly & believing in my knowledge I believe greatly impacted the overall result and ultimate success of my presentation.

Overall, I found it extremely rewarding to teach the graphic design 101 session to other faculty in the college. It’s difficult to teach something, even a topic you are familiar with – it truly tests your overall knowledge of the topic. Not only did I gain a newfound respect for teachers while delivering the lecture it truly gave me a heightened sense of confidence in knowing I was helping develop others skillset, knowledge and overall professional development.

Overall, I found it extremely rewarding to teach the graphic design 101 session to other faculty in the college. It’s difficult to teach something, even a topic you are familiar with – it truly tests your overall knowledge of the topic. Not only did I gain a newfound respect for teachers while delivering the lecture it truly gave me a heightened sense of confidence in knowing I was helping develop others skillset, knowledge and overall professional development.

With that being said, I also found it extremely fulfilling to teach people eager to learn something you are familiar with. The challenge of preparing for the 50 minute session was well worth the refreshing ready-to-learn attitudes and active engagement of my students. I also found it incredibly empowering to be able to teach something I’ve spent the past 5 years learning in & out and basics of as a student as well as an amateur designer.

I outlined the top 3 amateur mistakes that designers make, as well as the top 5 principles of amazing graphic design and throughout the presentation I provided a few interactive activities whereby faculty created a piece of expressive typography, their own monogram logo and arranged their own layout design.

The reasons why I found this experience of teaching a PD session so fulfilling was because I received such a high-interest and engagement from my audience, I’d prepared well so was confident in my presentation & knowledge being presented, and my students were appreciative of my thoughts on our inherent creative abilities, my personal experience and overall basic graphic design knowledge.

My feedback gave me an even greater surge of confidence and belief in my skills as a presenter and growing designer: people told me that they loved the way it was presented and that the information that I provided was fantastic. This was amazing news to hear and I couldn’t have been happier – I’d spent nearly a week preparing, and through that experience I learnt that it truly counts to prepare extremely well informationally as well, and your students will very much benefit and appreciate the preparation. This counts for so much – needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the positive responses.

The appreciation and engagement from your students is, what I learnt, truly one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. People were incredibly appreciative to receive the knowledge you take the time to put in a presentation. For example, I also took the time to create interactive activities and this was truly such a beneficial addition in terms of fun, play & engagement on both ends for the presentation. I would say that I would definitely teach another session again. Because I took the time to fully prepare & successfully deliver a session it resulted in a positive upwards spiral of future possibilities: I have new ideas for other hand-outs, sessions as well as the confidence to provide more sessions. It was a truly positive experience!

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