22 SES 04 A, Paper Session
If “teaching is certainly considered the core activity of medieval European university. A close link between teaching and research, however, is viewed as typical for the modern university” (Teichler, 2017, p. 12). The argument about the virtue of a close link between teaching and research put forward by Von Humbolt in Berlin has spread all over the world as major characteristic of Higher Education (HE) (Teichler, 2017; Ó et all. 2019). This means that the academic profession is marked by the tension between teaching and research and by the difficulty to balance the two.
Within the access to the academic profession it is research’s activities and achievements that prevail as criteria for the selection of individuals. Teaching is generally less valued than research within the regulation mechanisms related to the progression in the academic profession (Nóvoa & Amante, 2015) leading to the recommendation that it would be important to include the need for “teaching competence” in job profiles, salary scales and promotion schemes all over European HE systems (Inamorato dos Santos et all., 2019).
Additionally, no formal pedagogical training is usually required to start lecturing in HE and academics are not fully exposed to formal academic training in most European countries (Inamorato dos Santos et all., 2019). In fact, the scientific literature acknowledges the high importance of pedagogical training in order to improve the quality of teaching, but this idea is not fully embedded within HE institutions and this entails negative effects for the professional development of academics (Almeida, 2020, Inamorato et all., 2019). Being so, they rely mainly on non-formal processes of learning to teach, anchored in elements such as lived/observed experiences (both as students and as teachers) and peer cooperation amongst colleagues in a certain institution.
Nevertheless, the professional development of HE teachers is theorized as a process that takes place across the life cycle and that involves the intention of improving teaching throughout a permanent attitude of inquiry, as well as it involves formal, non-formal and informal experiences within a systematic individual and collective learning process (Marcelo, 2009).
Accepting this understanding of professional development, this proposal draws on a study that intends to shed light on a specific formal learning opportunity: the post-graduation degree on pedagogy in HE that is offered by the Institute of Education – University of Lisbon and unique in Portugal. The main assumption underlying this degree is that teaching is not a gift of the individual, but a collective responsibility that HE institutions must address (Ó et all., 2019) by favoring contexts for self and peer observation, reflective practice and systematic knowledge about teaching and learning in HE.
Several academic development units and degrees have been put in place mainly in English speaking countries in North America, Australia and United Kingdom since the sixties (Ó et all., 2019). However, in Portugal these initiatives have developed more recently and may have been stimulated by the changes demanded by the Bologna process.
Even if academics have always been teachers and pedagogy has always existed in HE, the relevance of this study is related to the increasing recognition that these issues need more attention in the 21st century. We draw on data collected from the teachers who are also students attending the first edition of the post-graduation in the academic year of 2019/20.
The general objective of the study is to explore the effects of the attendance of the post-graduation degree for the pedagogical practices of the teachers-students. A broad concept of pedagogical practices is adopted, comprising the organization of teaching-learning processes, but also aspects of curricular design of courses and units.
The general objective of the study is to explore the effects of the post-graduation degree on pedagogy in HE for the pedagogical practices of the teachers who attend the degree. Namely the questions guiding the analysis highlight the following aspects: - What effects (if any) on the type of interaction between students and teachers and what is the role of each in the teaching-learning process? - What effects (if any) on the understanding of students’ expected learning outcomes? - What effects (if any) on activities and tasks proposed for student learning? - What effects (if any) on the design of courses and curricular units? - What effects of the pandemic on the reconfiguration of pedagogical practices? The first four questions were formulated after a preliminary approach to the corpus to be analyzed and its confrontation with the contributions by Dillon (2009) and Roldão (2009) on the constitutive elements of curriculum and teaching strategies. The fifth question was prompted by the fact that the first lockdown due to COVID-19 took place when the teachers-students were attending the 1st edition of the post-graduation degree and forced them to teach and learn online. This atypical situation inspired reflection around pedagogical practices. It should be highlighted that the answers to the five questions draw on the perceptions of the teachers-students about the effects of attending the post-graduation degree and not in the direct observation of their practices. This might be viewed as a limitation, since we do not know the distance between what people say and what people do. The corpus is composed by the final assessment tasks of 14 teachers-students that authorized the use of their work for research, preserving anonymity. The final assessment task corresponded to a learning portfolio develop individually by each teacher-student intended to mirror their learning process and adopting an organizational structure chosen by each one. The written portfolios were developed in different formats, using different digital tools, from those that allow the editing of documents (with multimedia content) or the creation of websites or eportfolios to reports or reflective essays. The analysis of these documents is complemented by the notes taken by the researcher in the moment of public presentation of these final assessments. Overall, it is possible to comprehensively explore teachers-students perceptions about the effects of attending the post-graduation for their pedagogical practices.
Given that teaching academic work is not an issue sufficiently developed in the research field on higher education (Tigh, 2019; Kwiec, 2019; Teichler, 2017), the paper is expected to enhance knowledge and understanding about it. More precisely, the results of the study will contribute to better understand professional development processes of academics and namely the effects of an opportunity of formal learning focusing on pedagogy in HE. The preliminary analysis of data suggests conclusions about the relevance of this type of pedagogical training and that it reinforced conceptions and strategies of student centered learning, in line with the Bologna guidelines. Additionally, reflections about course design and changes in the syllabus of degrees and curricular units are mentioned, as well as debate about the aims of teaching-learning in HE and the ways these are (or not) promoted by specific pedagogical practices. According to the teachers-students, the challenge of reflecting about their own teacher professional identity was firstly considered strange but at the end of the degree quite important. Namely it is recognized that knowing who we are as professionals benefits the control and understanding of the work we develop. This aspect is in line with the recommendation that training of academic teachers must include reflection about their professional identities (Billot e King, 2015). Furthermore, a possible line of analysis on the data focuses the debate around the type of professionalism arising from this sort of professional development of teachers, namely whether it benefits an administrative professionalism based on performance and accountability and/or a democratic professionalism grounded on collective work of teachers (Sachs, 2016).
Almeida, M. M. (2020). Formação pedagógica e desenvolvimento profissional no ensino superior: perspetivas dos docentes. Revista Brasileira de Educação. v. 25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-24782019250008 Dillon, J.T. (2009). The questions of curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41:3, 343-359. Inamorato dos Santos, A., Gausas, A., Mackeviciute, R., Jotaytyte, A., & Martinaitis, Z. (2019). Innovating Professional Development in Higher Education: an analysis of practices. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Jennie Billot, J. & King, V. (2015). Understanding academic identity through metaphor, Teaching in Higher Education, 20:8, 833-844, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2015.1087999 Kwieck, M. (2019). Changing European Academics - a comparative study of social stratification, work patterns and research productivity. London and New York: Routledge. Marcelo, C. (2009). La evaluación del desarollo profesional docente: de la cantidad a la calidad in Revista Brasileira de Formação de Professores, (1)1, 43-70. Nóvoa, A., & Amante, L. (2015). Em Busca da Liberdade. A pedagogia universitária do nosso tempo. REDU: Revista de Docencia Universitaria, 13(1), 21-34. Ó, J. R., Almeida, M., Viana, J., Sanches, T., & Paz, A. (2019). Tendências recentes da investigação internacional sobre pedagogia do ensino superior: uma revisão de literatura. Revista Lusófona de Educação, 45, 201-217. Roldão, M. C. (2009). Conceção estratégica de ensinar e estratégias de ensino. In Estratégias de Ensino. O saber e o agir do professor, (4), 55-73. Vila Nova de Gaia: Fundação Manuel Leão. Sachs, J. (2016). Teacher professionalism: why are we still talking about it?, Teachers and Teaching, 22:4, 413-425, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2015.1082732 Teichler, U. (2017). Teaching Versus Research: An Endangered Balance? In M. L. Machado-Taylor, V. M. Soares, U. Teichler (eds.), Challenges and Options: The Academic Profession in Europe. London: Springer, pp. 11-28. Tigh, M. (2019). Higher Education Research - the developing field. London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
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