22 SES 13 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
“Transformation is the lexicon of the 21st century – from politics and economics to travel and technology accepted ways of doing things are underlying momentous change” (Perry & Smart, 2007, p.1). During this transformation, it is inevitable and imperative to consider what we brought from our experiences, how we adopt them to the present context and what we envision for the future for any matter regarding education. Paradigm shifts from teacher-centered to student-centered and even to learning-centered, ever-changing student demographics, technological innovations, and accountability demands are also affecting the direction of this transformation.
In Turkey, transformation in higher education has been happening more at the structural level. There are 92 public and private universities opened since 2002 and the total number of universities reached out to 168. There are over 2.5 million students enrolled in this public, private and also open university system. This structural change raises the question of “quality education” that needs be answered for teaching and learning practices. Faculty are the operating core of higher education, and they can contribute to the organizational improvement the most. In this sense, they have crucial roles and responsibilities to affect the quality of education, and student learning experiences. For that reason, the purpose of this study is to explore the idea of effective university teaching /teachers not only for the betterment of student learning but also for the development of strategies used by faculty professional developers and educational leaders.
According to Boyer (1990) faculty members have three main responsibilities in academia: teaching, research and service, however, they are heavily evaluated on their research performance.Drawing faculty members’ attention to effective teaching practices is the area that the faculty professional developers need to be the focus for better quality in student learning.
When we look at the research from the past on effective college teachers, Horan’s (1991) review of literature on the attributes of exemplary community college teachers points out four teaching behaviors: being highly organized; positive regard for students; encouraging student participation, and regular feedback to students on their progress. Young and Shaw (1999) found that to be rated very high on effective teaching, one should have genuine respect for students, concern for student learning and there should be value of the course.
Bain (2004), in a more recent study, identified the characteristics of “best college teachers” and summarized that effective teaching is directly linked to “careful and sophisticated thinking, deep professional learning and often fundamental conceptual shifts” (p.15). The type of behaviors that Bain have found was similar to Buskist’s (2002) list. Buskist (2002) broke down the list of qualities into three categories: knowledge, personality and classroom management skills.
In the pilot study of adaptation of Young & Shaw's Instructor Rating Questionnaire, the results of one open-ended question revealed that faculty members’ subject-matter knowledge (n=38), having good rapport with students (n=32) and being well-prepared, organized (n=28) are the top three characteristics the students mentioned as factors influencing their learning process (Emil, 2013). In the discriminant analysis of the survey administered to 96 Turkish students from the School of Education, the results showed that for Ineffective Teachers, Personal Attributes of Instructor was the most differentiating factor, while course delivery and course content come next. For Effective Teachers,Course Content was the most differentiating factor while Personal Attributes of Instructor and Course Delivery come next.
Therefore, in this study, I will be investigating the perspectives of Turkish university students from various disciplines and will provide more accurate and valid picture of the effective and ineffective university teachers’ profile.
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Barr, R. B. & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change (November/December). Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of professoriate. Princeton University Press. Brookfield, S. D. (2006). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Buskist, W. (2002). Effective teaching: Perspectives and insights from division two’s 2- and 4- year awardees. Teaching of Psychology, 29(3), 188-193. Emil, S. (2013, September). Students' Perceptions of Effective University Teachers in a Turkish University. A Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research. İstanbul, Turkey. Horan, M. (1991). Attributes of exemplary community college teachers: A review of literature. ERIC No: ED346900 Pascarella, E. T. & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Perry, R.P. & Smart, J.C. (2007). Introduction to the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective. Young, S. & Shaw, D.G. (1999). Profiles of effective college and university teachers. The Journal of Higher Education, 70(6), 670-686.
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