Jen is a Director at JRS Knowhow, on secondment from JustRight Scotland, responsible for our strategy and development. We interviewed Jen to find out more about her work as a human rights lawyer, trainer and advocate for open education.
What is your favourite hot drink and snack beside your work laptop?
I always have a mug of black coffee next to me and my favourite snack is jelly belly beans.
Which training platform do you prefer Zoom or Microsoft Teams?
What I love about Zoom is that it was so easy to use, and it became widely adopted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it is important to use a platform that is widely used and easy to use. I am open to the idea of other, new platforms.
Who is your online training and learning inspiration?
Audre Lorde – because she saw that it was important to speak to direct experience of people in order for training and learning to have impact. She was also not afraid to challenge structural biases and how we teach people and to try new and different way of constructing the classroom.
What is your most memorable moment in an online training session over the last year?
In a recent training session, participants were told to add yellow post-it notes to a Jamboard to feedback on an exercise. One person chose to use a pink post-it note. I reflected that new tools for teaching yield new potential for mischief! And also online tools create new ways to communicate – intentional, and unintentional!
What is your one online training pet peeve?
Information overload without interaction. Learners might as well have just watched a static video – use the opportunities you have online, and think harder about the learner experience.
How did the idea for JRS Knowhow come about?
I’ve been a lecturer in law at the Open University (OU) for almost as long as I have practiced law in UK – combining teaching with practice has always been important to me. I believe that increasing public understanding of the law and our rights is key to ensuring our laws remain fit for purpose, and to improving access to justice across society.
At JustRight Scotland (JRS Knowhow’s parent charity) we are committed to public legal education but we also wanted to do more – to use technology to reduce barriers to learning, and to increase accessibility and inclusion. I was delighted a couple of years ago when the opportunity to launch that project came to us.
What makes a public legal education session both inspiring and practical?
For me, any successful session should aim to convey only one or two key things that participants really need to know, and ensure that they have the confidence to apply that knowledge when we leave the session. A practical approach has to take into account who you are working with, and what they need most.
What makes a training inspiring is demonstrating how new knowledge we have acquired can be used to create the change that is important to us – the trick is not just showing people the possibility, but also convincing them that they can be the agent of that change.
What are your aspirations for JRS Knowhow?
I would love to see JRS Knowhow inspiring other people to create accessible, inclusive and fun learning experiences and for us and our partners together to feel we are increasing the Scottish public’s understanding of the law and people’s rights.
Find out more about Jen via our team page.