Importance of Academic Staff Developers to Student Achievement


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A discussion on the important, albeit often invisible, contributions of academic staff developers to undergraduate student attainment.

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Importance of Academic Staff Developers to Student Achievement

  1. 1. How Can Professional Development of Academic Staff Enhance and Inspire Student Learning? Abel Nyamapfene CAPD University of West Scotland 6 January 2008
  2. 2. <ul><li>A 21 st Century Definition of Learning: </li></ul>A 21st Century Social Interpretation of Learning: Encompasses the quantitative increase in knowledge, memorisation, the acquisition of facts or methods, the abstraction of meanings, and the interpretative process leading to the comprehension of reality (Villar & Alegre, 2007 ) Learning is a social process of interaction (Brockbank & McGill,1998)
  3. 3. A 21 st Century Redefinition of the Modern University <ul><li>The University is a learning organisation whose primary task is to continually adapt itself to efficiently creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge and information ( Patterson, 1999 ) </li></ul><ul><li>This suggests that Everyone at University is a Learner : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student :– learns to earn a Degree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Staff Member :– learns to enable student learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional Developers :– learns to enable teacher learning </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Students’ learning depends on their prior experiences of studying and the particular learning context (Prosser & Barrie, 2003): Hence: Teaching and learning contexts affects how students learn.
  5. 5. And the teacher is the most important learning context enabler in student achievement ( Carey, 2004 ): The teacher is directly responsible for setting learning context through activities such as curriculum design, teaching methods, assessment and feedback. All these affect student’s perception of context, which in turn affect student’s learning strategy and learning outcomes
  6. 6. Research Findings on relationship Between Teaching and Student Learning Approaches ( Prebble et al, 2004 ) <ul><li>There is a definite relationship between teachers approaches to teaching and students’ approaches to learning </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers approaches to teaching are related to their previous experience and conception of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can influence students’ approach to learning by changing the learning contexts within which students work </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in teaching approach may require changes in how they experience or conceptualise teaching </li></ul>
  7. 7. Models of Academic Development <ul><li>Early Models </li></ul><ul><li>Sought to address perceived deficits in teaching skills by equipping teachers with a range of general knowledge and teaching skills </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery was mostly off-site </li></ul><ul><li>Usually delivered in single sessions or series of workshops, seminars and conferences. </li></ul><ul><li>These models were generally unsuccessful </li></ul><ul><li>Example: ( Joyce & Showers, 1995 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Current Models </li></ul><ul><li>Based on socio-cultural change theories which view academic development as a holistic change involving the teacher, environment and student learning </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery conducted mostly on-site </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery long-term and on-going, collaborative and research oriented </li></ul><ul><li>These models generally successful </li></ul><ul><li>Example: ( Little et al, 2003 ) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Hence To Enhance Student Learning: The teacher learns and enables student learning The academic developer learns and enables teacher learning Key: Feedback process The student learns and also acquires learning skills
  9. 9. Thank You Question Time
  10. 10. Cited References <ul><li>Carey, K. (2004), “The real value of teachers: Using new information about teacher effectiveness to close the achievement gap”, Thinking K-16, 8,1, 3-42. </li></ul><ul><li>Joyce B. and Showers B. (1995), Student Achievement Through Staff Development:Fundamentals Of School Renewal . 2nd ed, White Plains, N.Y.: Longman. </li></ul><ul><li>Little, j. W., Gearhart, M., Curry, M. & Kafka, J,(2003), “Looking at Student Work For Teacher Learning, Teacher Community, and School Reform” , Phi Delta Kappan , 185-192. </li></ul><ul><li>Patterson, G. (1999), “The learning university”, The Learning Organisation , 6, 1, 9-17. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Cited References <ul><li>Prebble, et. al. (2004), “Academic staff development: A summary of a synthesis of research on the impact of academic staff development programmes on student outcomes in undergraduate tertiary study”, Summary Report to the Ministry of Education , Palmerston North: Massey University </li></ul><ul><li>Prosser, M. and Barrie, S. (2003), “Using a student-focused learning perspective to strategically align academic development with institutional quality assurance”, In R. Blackwell and P. Blackmore (eds) Towards Strategic Staff Development in Higher Education , 191-202, Buckingham, Open University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Villar,L. M. and Alegre O.M.(2007),”Measuring the learning of university teachers following online staff development courses: a Spanish case study”, Int. Journal of Training and Development , 11,3,200-213. </li></ul>