Session2 teaching as a professional activity in higher education _march_2013


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This presentation looks at some key questions exploring current trends in teaching as a professional activity in higher education

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  • The expansion of higher education, increased emphasis on students’ learning outcomes and the adventof new pedagogical approaches – and new pedagogical opportunities afforded by technology – allpoint to the need for a new profile for teachers in higher education that includes pedagogicalcompetencies.Teachers are also more often expected to be engaged and proficient in curriculum design, projectbased-learning, new forms of peer and group assessments, fundraising and regional networking, as wellas more conventional class teaching. Multidisciplinary collaborations, international programmes andthe integration of new technologies all add further complexity of the teaching task.Some institutions have tried to address these needs by recruiting experienced practitioners working inthe corporate world or public services. But while these individuals are experts in their field, familiarwith the technology needs of their profession and often bring managerial skills, their pedagogicalexpertise may be as limited, or even more so, than faculty with extensive teaching experience.Whether teachers have spent their careers in academia or have extensive experience as practitioners,the key challenge for quality teaching is to develop subject-specific experts into excellent teachers.
  • There is evidence that participation and engagement in professional development activities are relatedto the quality of student learning. “Provision of opportunities for professional learning anddevelopment, and obtaining relevant teaching qualifications, and establishing requirements thatprofessional development and qualifications are undertaken are indicators of an institutional climatethat recognises the importance of the preparation of staff for teaching” (Chalmers, 2007).Many institutions are therefore keen to provide professional development to faculty. But the reality isthat professional development for teachers is often disconnected from the educational objectives ofthe programmes – even though the support provided may be in response to specific requests receivedfrom faculty.Thus a well-designed professional development programme needs to be an outcome of a collaborativereflection on the quality of teaching and learning that is aligned with university values, identity andfaculty expectations. This reflection requires time, conviction, motivation and openness. It assumesthat not only the individual teachers are concerned, but also deans, heads of programmes and otherteam leaders who are drivers of change.This collaborative process not only provides a firm foundation for determining the pedagogicalcompetencies that teachers need to develop and the support they will require but also helps to buildcollective commitment across faculty to the objective of improving teaching quality. The clarityprovided will also make it easier to establish what instruments and support measures teachers actuallyneed to produce real improvements in teaching quality.
  • Support the scholarship of teaching and learning as evidence of institutional commitment andcontribution to the quality of teaching and learning.- Promote the internal quality culture through active dissemination and make sure teachersknow the teaching and learning framework they operate within and why(institution/programme/student-teacher interaction).Ensure that all initiatives to foster quality teaching involve teachers from the outset as well as deans, heads of programmes and other team leaders who are drivers of change- Allow adequate time, human resources, funding and facilities to ensure that qualityimprovement initiatives meet the needs of teachers and foster the sense of ownershipamongst the community.Develop appropriate tools to monitor teaching quality (e.g. through surveys) andensure thatthese are well-designed to provide useful, constructive and timely feedback to teachers.Encourage teachers to link innovations in their teaching practice to the institutional teachingand learning goals (e.g., submissions for pedagogical innovations must demonstrate alignmentwith the institutional educational model).
  • Session2 teaching as a professional activity in higher education _march_2013

    1. 1. Raj DhimarTeaching as a professional activity inhigher education
    2. 2. • Explore the challenges for teachers in current highereducation settings• Draw on our understandings and interpretations ofteaching quality• Using a self-management survey model by theOECD to help explore how we might developexcellent teachers from institutional perspectives2Session outline
    3. 3. - Rapidly changing higher education context – movetowards pedagogical competencies for teachers- Expectations of teachers – proficiency in a range ofmultidisciplinary area- Utilisation of corporate and public service expertise totackle increasing student and institutional demand –however pedagogical expertise can be limited- - Developing subject specificexperts as quality teachers3Challenges for higher education teachers
    4. 4. 4Challenges for institutionsEngagement in CPDactivities are related to thequality of student learning(not just aboutqualifications, role orstatus)Making explicit connectionsbetween CPD andeducational objectives ofprovisionReflecting on and aligningCPD needs with the qualityof teaching and learningand university values,identity and expectations –everybody involved
    5. 5.  HE teaching/lecturing one of fewprofessions in which people canwork with no requirement to haveany qualification or licence topractice – although increasinglyuniversities do require staff new toteaching to be trained. Students go to university to learn- good teaching is integral toeffective learning. Those who have undertakentraining and professionaldevelopment in teaching are betterequipped to support and inspiretheir students.5Who is doing the teaching?
    6. 6.  Those who are trained have greater selfawareness of the subtle factors impacting thelearning environment such as psychology,philosophy and sociology of learning. Professional development leading toprofessional recognition provides abenchmark for individuals and institutions,and gives the general population andstudents themselves confidence that they arebeing supported by qualified, capable andcompetent professionals. Research evidence in this area is limited forHE though considerable evidence exists forthe positive impact on student learning fromqualified teachers in secondary education. Key that HE providers have autonomy todevelop and manage staff for their ownindividual circumstances.6Why are training and CPD important?
    7. 7. 7Fostering quality teachingHenard, F. and Roseveare, D. (2012)At the institution-widelevel: including projects suchas policy design, and supportto organisation and internalquality assurance systems.Programme level:comprising actions tomeasure and enhance thedesign, content and deliveryof the programmes within adepartment or a school.Individual level: includinginitiatives that help teachersachieve their mission,encouraging them to innovateand to support improvementsto student learning and adopta learner oriented focus.
    8. 8. 8A centre for teaching and learning developmentProfessional development activities (e.g. in-service training for faculty)Teaching excellence awards and competitions for remarkableimprovementsTeaching innovation funds, teaching recruitment criteriaSupport to innovative pedagogy, communities of teaching and learningpracticesLearning environments (libraries, computing facilities…)Organisation and management of teaching and learningSupport to foster student achievement (e.g. counselling, career advice,mentoring…)Students’ evaluation (i.e. programme ratings, evaluating learningexperiences)Self-evaluation of experimentations, peer-reviewing, benchmarking ofpracticesCommunity service and work-based programmes, development-basedprogrammesHenard, F.andRoseveare,D. (2012)
    9. 9. 9The Organisation for Economic Co-operationand Development (OECD), 2005
    10. 10. Self assessment questions(exercise)10Developing excellent teachers
    11. 11. 1. How is teaching anchored in the qualityculture of your institutions?2. How are pedagogical competencies requiredfor quality teaching identified and articulatedin your institutions?3. How are the pedagogical skills of staffupgraded through professionaldevelopment?4. How is inspiring teaching supported andrecognised?11Developing teaching practice – groupvisualisation – your context
    12. 12. Henard, F. and Roseveare, D. (2012), Fostering QualityTeaching in Higher Education: Policies and Practices,An IMHE Guide for Higher Education Institutions,OECD, URL: (2005) Teachers Matter – Attracting, Developingand Retaining Effective TeachersParis OECD links to summaries, full report andmultilingual versions12References