22 SES 01 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Many changes in higher education (HE) derived from Europe-wide initiatives such as the Bologna process, give increasing attention to student-centred teaching approaches, allied with growth in teachers’ academic development (Clarke & Reid, 2013; HE Academy, 2011). According to Biggs (1999), a constructive alignment between teaching strategies, learning outcomes and assessment methods is essential to promoting student competencies such as critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, our own work (Watts & Pedrosa de Jesus, 2006) presses for the development of questioning approaches to improve the quality of teaching and, consequently, of learning in higher education.
A Report to the European Commission on Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning in Europe’s Higher Education Institutions (European Commission, 2013, p. 13) states that: ‘A good teacher, like a good graduate, is also an active learner, questioner and critical thinker’. The same report recommends that: ‘All staff teaching in higher education institutions in 2020 should have received certified pedagogical training’ (p. 64). The Teaching and Learning International Survey (OECD, 2009, p. 49) describes academic development and pedagogical training as those ‘activities that develop an individual's skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher’. It is in this context that the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) can help university teachers to be critical about their teaching, within the educational community, and, more importantly for us, explore students’ learning process (Hutchings and Shulman, 1999). Hutchings, Huber and Ciccone (2011) also argued that the role of SoTL should emphasise principles of learning through inquiry (into and about practices and results), collaboration, reflection and action in the service of ongoing improvement of their professional knowledge.
Authors such as van Driel, Meirink, van Veen and Zwart (2012) have highlighted the ‘Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth’ first presented by Clarke and Hollingsworth (2002). Although this model was initially developed for secondary school teachers, we explore its value for higher education in order to interpret the connections between four domains: ‘external’, ‘personal’, ‘practice’ and ‘consequence’. For instance, the external domain (designing and sharing practices with peers and educational researchers) is distinct from the others by its location outside teachers’ immediate personal world, which encompasses their actions, the inferred consequences of those actions, and the knowledge and beliefs that prompt and respond to those actions. The model also allows analysis of how university teachers enact and reflect upon their teaching, and the planned changes that this thinking generates in the personal domain, their domain of practice and domain of consequence. An inevitable product of teachers’ reflection on their teaching could be new understandings and altered perspectives of their practices (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002). van Schalkwyk et al. (2013) also advocate that teachers’ successful self-reflection moves beyond the personal to focus on dialogue with colleagues about the innovation of teaching and learning in their particular disciplines.
Our present project is focused on ways to promote academic development in the context of higher education. The investigation entails close collaboration between researchers from the Department of Education (DE) and five university teachers of the Biology Department at the University of Aveiro (UA), in Portugal. Work since 2007 has already provided a strong understanding of the dynamics of student-generated questioning, inquiry-based learning and academic practices (Pedrosa de Jesus, Lopes, Moreira & Watts, 2012). The main goals are: to (i) work together with university teachers in designing and adopting novel practices to meet new demands on their time and teaching; (ii) investigate innovative teaching and learning approaches and (iii) promote teachers’ academic reflection.
Biggs, J. (1999). What the Student Does: teaching for enhanced learning, Higher Education Research & Development, 18(1), 57-75. Clarke, C. & Reid, J. (2013). Foundational academic development: building collegiality across divides? International Journal for Academic Development, 18(4), 318-330 Clarke, D.J. & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(8), 947-967. Cohen, L; Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (6th Ed), London, Routledge. European Commission (2013). Report to the European Commission on Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions. Luxembourg: POEU. Higher Education Academy (2011). The UK professional standards framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education. Retrieved November 28, 2013, from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/ukpsf/ukpsf.pdf Hutchings, P. & Shulman, L. S. (1999). The scholarship of Teaching: New Elaborations, New Developments, Change. The Magazine of Higher Learning, 31(5), 10-15. Hutchings, P., Huber, M., & Ciccone, A. (2011). The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Reconsidered: Institutional Integration and Impact. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Macaro, E. & Mutton, T. (2002). Developing language teachers through a co-researcher model. Language Learning Journal, 25 (1), 27-39. OECD (2009). TALIS Technical Report. OECD: Paris. Pedrosa-de-Jesus, H. & Silva Lopes, B. (2012). Exploring the relationship between teaching and learning conceptions and questioning practices, towards academic development. HERN-J, 5, 37-52. Pedrosa-de-Jesus, H., Lopes, B. Moreira, A.C. & Watts, D.M. (2012). Contexts for questioning: two zones of teaching and learning in undergraduate science. Higher Education, 64(4), 557-571. Schmuck, R. A. (2006). Practical action research for change, Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press. Schrum, L., English, M. C., & Galizio, L. M. (2012). Project DAVES: An exploratory study of social presence, e-mentoring, and vocational counseling support in community college courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 96-101. van Schalkwyk, S., Cilliers, F., Adendorff, H., Cattell, K. & Herman, N. (2013). Journeys of growth towards the professional learning of academics: understanding the role of educational development. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(2), 139-151. van Driel, J. H., Meirink, J. A., van Veen, K., & Zwart, R. C. (2012). Current trends and missing links in studies on teacher professional development in science education: a review of design features and quality of research. Studies in Science Education, 48(2), 129-160. Watts, D.M. & Pedrosa- de- Jesus, H. (2006). Enhancing university teaching through effective use of questioning. SEDA special series, nº 19. London: Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).
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