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Susanne Winchester: scenarios

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Susanne Winchester
19 January 2013

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Susanne Winchester
2:22pm 19 January 2013 (Edited 9:55pm 19 January 2013)


1) Brainstorm components of your scenarios

Actors (who is involved?)

- Mary, currently studying an online beginners’ German course. She has two children, works two mornings a week. She studies usually in the mornings and occasionally in the evenings. She does not always have access to the family computer in the evenings. When this is the case, she uses her textbooks for learning.

- Course facilitators

Goals (why?)

Mary is interested in German because she works part-time in a school as a Teaching Assistant. Her children are still quite young but she is hoping to increase her hours at school and take some responsibility for language teaching in school. At the moment, she is assisting the language teacher who is not a specialist.

Mary feels that while she knows some German, she knows very little about the specific customs and traditions, as she has never visited a German-speaking country. Her teaching colleague doesn’t know much more, either but both feel that it learning about another culture would help in their language learning and their understanding of their own culture. There are some books in the school library, and Mary and her colleague use the occasional youtube video to show customs but this is time-consuming and is therefore neglected to some degree.

Settings (where & when?)

As this is not part of her work, Mary will do the majority of her German studies at home, usually between 10 and 13.00 (apart from the two days when she works) and the occasional evening. Any additional studies (such as the proposed course) will have to slot into the limited time framework.

Objects (what things are involved?)

PC, social media, email, course platform

Actions (what happens to actors?)

Mary finds out about the course from her tutor who has given her students details and the link to the course. She has a look at the content and tasks, what time commitment she would have to make and decides it fits in with her schedule and would cover what she had been looking for.

Events (what do actors do?)

Mary enrols on the course, gets to talk to other participants and enjoys the challenge although she struggles with the extra demands on her time.

Results (what is achieved?)

Mary learns more about German culture and traditions and finds that she feels that this new dimension has motivated her even more to learn the language. She has also been invited to help out with some German teaching. On the course forum, she has “met” many people with similar backgrounds. A smaller sub-group set up a facebook page so that they can exchange resources and ideas.

Your design: (what role does your design play?)

The learning design of the course helps Mary to gain knowledge which helps her to supplement her linguistic studies with cultural knowledge. The design guides her and offers her sufficient scope to explore pathways on her own and introduces her to a range of web tools she has not used and may be able to use professionally.

2) Develop a narrative scenario/s (in whatever form you prefer).

Mary has been working in a primary school for 2 years. She has been there since her children attended the school but have now moved into secondary school. She works two mornings a week as a Teaching Assistant. Before her children were born, she worked as a TA full time. When Mary was at school, she always enjoyed languages and studied French and Spanish. While working as a TA she helped with some language awareness classes. She always wanted to learn German but could not realise this dream while her children were very young. Now that they are older, and she saved some money, she enrolled on a distance learning course. Now in her 3rd month she is really enjoying German, listens to German songs on youtube and sometimes buys a German magazine. She has never been to Germany but a friend went to a German market and told her of the some of the Christmas traditions. She wants to find out more. Her German tutor mentions a free course on German traditions and culture, so Mary finds out more about it and believes that although she doesn’t have very much time, she could manage to fit in 2-3 extra hours a week because she thinks it may be useful for her studies but also future employment.

She finds it difficult to stick to the course schedule but there is a degree of flexibility. What she enjoys even more is the sense of community among participants. There is a lot of discussion on the forum (comparing traditions, exchanging links and info) and some participants who want to use their new knowledge in the workplace have set up a facebook group.

Mary feels she has gained new knowledge, further motivation to continue her formal studies and has made new professional links and found like-minded individuals.

3) Scrutinize your scenarios.

What claims are you making for your designs, about context, people, etc? Do they hold up?

I’m claiming:

- the course can attract enough interest

- the content is of interest and current

- getting interested people together

Susanne Winchester
10:33pm 4 February 2013



Name: Gender: Age:Lives in ... with ... Likes ...

Mary is 35, a single-mum and lives with her two children 6 and 8. She enjoys dancing, reading and languages.

Education and experience  She left school with good O-levels but did not continue with her education. She worked in the office of a small family business until her children were born. She stayed with her children while they were young and has only recently started working as a TA in her children's school.
Role and responsibilities  TA, mother
Technical skills basic PC skills 
Subject domain skills and knowledge  she learned German at school for a year but remembered very little which is why she stared the beginners course. However, she went on a school trip to Germany at Christmas and found out about customs and really liked the cultural side.
Motivation and desires  She is keen to regain her own independence and further her career. She would like to eventually have more responsibilities as the TA with some responsibility for delivering and planning MFL.
Goals and expectations  In two years, Mary want to have moved up in the school and have more input in planning
Obstacles to their success  Her children are still young therefore Mary is still tied in what she can do. Therefore the distance learning German course is ideal because it fits in with her life. Any other educational venture would have to have a similar format.
Unique assets Loads of enthusiasm, determination to make changes to her current situation. Very sociable and open to new ideas.

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