MAS302 Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme

Both semesters, 2021/22 20 Credits
Lecturer: Dr Nicole Jarvis Timetable
Aims Outcomes Assessment Full Syllabus

MAS302 is a course which involves no formal lectures but which, instead, places students in the classroom environment of the Mathematics Departments of local secondary schools. The time spent within the allocated school is highly structured to ensure the desired outcomes of the course - see Öutcomes" and "Syllabus".

Note that although the classroom activities take place in the Spring semester, there is a selection process and some training which is held in the Autumn semester. Further, the presentation part of the assessment will be held in semester 1.
Students taking MAS302 might want to consider taking 70 credits in Semester 1 and 50 in Semester 2 as the course is time-intensive in Semester 2.

Prerequisites: Agreement of module co-ordinator
No other modules have this module as a prerequisite.

Outline syllabus

A competitive interview system will be used to select students for the module, and to match each successful applicant with an appropriate school and a specific teacher in the local area. An initial day of training - held before Christmas - will provide the students with an introduction to working and conduct in the school environment. Each student selected will be required to visit the school they will be working in before commencement of the unit - this visit will usually take place before Christmas. The students will be required to spend half a day (approximately 4 hours) each week in the school for ten weeks of the second semester. It is intended that there will be no formal lectures associated with the unit, and that wherever appropriate the students' own ideas will increasingly define the nature of their teaching activities as they become more experienced. However, there will be supporting tutorials which will provide an opportunity for students to share their experiences with their contemporaries and the module coordinators. The teachers will act as the main source of guidance but, in addition, students will be able to discuss their progress with the module coordinators whenever necessary.


The aims of the module can be listed as:
  • To develop students' confidence in their ability to act independently in the execution of complex and important tasks;
  • To develop the complex skills required to communicate difficult subjects in a variety of ways to people of widely varying abilities;
  • To develop the personal skills required to engage the attention of people as individuals and of people in groups;
  • To learn the specific skills required to develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to the age group of pupils under tuition;
  • To inspire a new generation of prospective undergraduates by providing positive role models in the classroom;
  • To stimulate pupils by conveying the excitement of their subject and showing the long-term benefits of studying;
  • To provide additional classroom support for teachers in the form of an assistant who can work with pupils at any point on the ability spectrum;
  • To provide a short, but direct, experience of teaching to those interested in pursuing it as a career.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the unit students will have gained substantial experience of working in a difficult and unpredictable working environment. They will be able to assess and devise appropriate ways to communicate difficult concepts and will have gained a broad understanding of many of the key aspects of teaching in schools. They will also develop a better understanding of and confidence in their subject and their own abilities. They will either have acquired, or improved upon, abilities to:
  • communicate effectively in general and with colleagues in particular; improvise;
  • give and take feedback;
  • organize, prioritize and negotiate;
  • handle difficult and potentially disruptive situations;
  • speak effectively to an audience;
  • prepare lesson plans and teaching materials.
The specific understandings they will either have acquired or improved upon include:
  • the needs of individuals;
  • staff responsibilities and conduct in a working environment;
  • the need for, and the requirements of, team-working;
  • standard teaching methods.

No lectures, 18 tutorials, 10 practicals


A weekly diary [10%]; End-of-module written report [35%]; A written account of your special project [20%]; A fifteen minute oral presentation [20%] (held in Semester 1); Overall impression of the handed-in portfolio [8%]; Assessment by the teacher moderated by module coordinator [7%].

Full syllabus

The students will be involved in the following activities in support of their learning and teaching:

  • Classroom observation and assistance: Initial contact with the teacher and pupils will be as a classroom assistant, watching how the teacher handles the class, observing the level being taught and the structure of the lesson, and offering practical support to the teacher;
  • Teaching assistance: The teacher will assign the student with actual teaching tasks, which will vary dependant upon specific needs and the student's own ability as it develops over the term. This could include, for example, offering problem-solving coaching to a smaller group of higher ability pupils, or taking the last ten minutes of the lesson for the whole class;
  • Whole class teaching: Students will typically be offered at least one opportunity to undertake whole class teaching, albeit that it may be only for a small part of one lesson. In such a case, the student will be under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher;
  • University awareness: Students will represent and promote their academic discipline as a potential choice for long-term study to pupils across the social and academic range present in their school;
  • Special projects: The student will devise a special project on the basis of discussion with the teacher and their own assessment of what will interest the particular pupils they are working with. The student will implement the special project and evaluate it. The student will be required to show that they can analyse a specific teaching problem and devise and prepare appropriately targeted teaching materials, practical demonstrations and basic 'tests' where appropriate;
  • Extra-curricula projects: The student may be supervised by the teacher in helping to run an out-of-timetable activity, such as a lunchtime club or special coaching periods for higher ability pupils. The student will have to demonstrate an ability to think laterally in order to formulate interesting ways to illustrate more difficult scientific concepts;
  • Written reports: The student will keep a journal of their own progress in working in the classroom environment, and they will be asked to prepare a written report on the special project.