22 SES 04 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Until recently in higher education, content knowledge (as opposed to professional, i.e. pedagogical and didactical knowledge) was the only fundament for the teacher’s confidence in her or his meeting with students. However, since the mid1980s, an enhanced focus on pedagogical and didactical professionalization has arisen in higher education. At first, this expressed itself in the form of a nascent proposition and the demand for formalized teacher qualification programs; however, over time, the ‘scholarship of teaching in higher education’ (SoTL) has gradually emerged as a new research discipline. Confronted with an emerging research discipline, one might ask oneself the following questions: What is the content of the discipline? Does it contain topics of particular interest? What knowledge does it provide to teachers emerging professionalism? Drawing on Hopmann (n.d.) we designate the pattern in didactic topics ‘the didactics of didactics’.
The aim of this article is to examine and discuss how SoTL places itself at the disposal of the on-going didactical professionalization of teachers in higher education. In order to achieve this aim, this article analyses the contributions in three journals for research and development in higher education and discusses the significance of the results for general didactics and education research.
An empirical reconstruction of the didactics of higher education didactics is relevant, since it reveals where SoTL can contribute to the professionalism of teaching, but it also reveals where support, new ideas and concepts for reflection must be located elsewhere. When teaching does not succeed as intended, or when the teacher, the student, or the parent does not agree with the teaching situation and results, it is of limited utility to repeat a previous procedure (Hopmann n.d: 142) In these cases, it is essential to assess a wide range of conceptualizations of and strategies for teaching (Hattie 2009: 36-37).
To classify the journal contributions, we require a model that systematically provides us with analytical categories. This framework is found in German didactics, more specifically in the “Lernteoretische Didaktik, (learning theoretical didactics), as formulated in Heimann (1976).
This framework seems appropriate, since Heimann’s aim was to develop a practical relevant, analytical and holistic framework capable of grasping the fundamental complexity of teaching and the interdependence of choices and decisions. The theory offers six categories at the first level of reflection (structure analyses): Intention, content, methods, media, students’ background and context. However, research indicates that assessment has a significant influence on students’ behaviour and the interpretation of teaching (e.g Biggs 1996). The second level of reflection offers an additional category, the factor analysis dealing with norms, values and approaches to teaching and learning.
According to Künzli (1998), the sides of the didactic triangle represent three key dimensions in teaching and supervision. Hence, the model contributes to a systematic classification of teaching in three archetypes/didactical principles:Teaching as representation of content, teaching as interplay and teaching as experience. The model is used for further classification of contributions in the category ‘methods’. The aim is to explore whether the didactics of didactics has a stronger interest in some methodological principles for teaching and learning than in others.
Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32, 1±18. Higher Education, 32(3), 347-364. Edwards, D., & Coates, H. (2011). Monitoring the pathways and outcomes of people from disadvantaged backgrounds and graduate groups. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(2), 151-163, doi:10.1080/07294360.2010.512628. Gundem, B. B., & Hopmann, S. (Eds.). (1998). Didaktik and/or curriculum : an international dialogue (American university studies Series XIV, Education, Vol. 41). New York: P. Lang. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning. A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related to achievement. London: Routledge. Heimann, P. (1976). Didaktik als Unterrichtswissenschaft. Stuttgart: Klett. Helmke, A. (2009). Unterrichsqualität und Lehrerprofessionalität. Seelze-Velber: Klett-Kallmeyer. Hopmann, S. T. (n.d). Didaktikkens didaktik. (pp. 141-189): Institut für Bildungswissenschaft, Universität Wien. Künzli, R. (1998). The Common Frame ans the Places of Didaktik. In B. B. Gundem, & S. T. Hopmann (Eds.), Didaktik and/or Curriculum. New York: Peter Lang. Künzli, R. (2000). German Didaktik: Models of Re-presentation, of Intercourse, and of Experience. In I. Westbury, S. Hopmann, & K. Riquarts (Eds.), Teaching as a reflective practice : the German Didaktik tradition. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Meyer, H. (1994). Was its guter Unterricht? Berlin: Cornelsen Scriptor. Tight, M. (2008a). Higher education research as tribe, territory and/or community: a co-citation analysis. Higher Education, 55(5), 593-605, doi:10.1007/s10734-007-9077-1.
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