22 SES 01 A, The Professional Development and Pedagogical Awareness of University Teachers
The round table focuses on research on university teachers’ development and learning from the perspectives of university teachers’ professional growth and development, and pedagogical competence. Research from three countries; Finland, Estonia, and Belgium (Flanders) are presented.
The foci of academics’ professional development are different depending on the experience and concept of teaching or concept of being a university teacher. From an education development perspective, a vital consideration in teaching development is academics’ understanding of what teaching and developing as a teacher means under varying circumstances (Åkerlind, 2007). It is only when academics’ understanding of teaching development comes to include reflecting on their teaching effectiveness in facilitating student learning that the emphasis on reflective practice is valued (Ibid.). The goals of reflection drive the reflective process as they represent the academic’s expectations or intentions regarding accomplishments in terms of instruction (McAlpine et al, 2004).
Pedagogical awareness is revealed through teachers’ conceptions of and approaches to teaching (Löfström & Nevgi, 2008). Teachers’ self-concept also reveals the awareness of pedagogical matters and the teacher’s conceptions of the teacher role (Nevgi & Lindblom-Ylänne, 2007). Pedagogical awareness precedes pedagogical thinking, which in turn is revealed in teachers’ plans, actions, and in their reflections upon teaching situations. Teachers with limited pedagogical awareness are likely to approach teaching modeling traditional lecturing without considering alternative practices. In contrast, teachers with elaborate conceptions are more likely to employ a variety of teaching methods that focus on students’ learning (Åkerlind, 2003). We know from prior studies that approaches to teaching change slowly (Postareff et al. 2007).
Academics learning, whether discipline-specific or pedagogy related does not occur in isolation of colleagues, but within a learning community (community of practice) (Kreber, 2000). Tensions are negotiated between selves and contexts, between biography and history through written reflection and collegial conversations (Bullough & Pinnegar, 2001). Pedagogical training and the learning community help decrease isolation experienced by both early career and experienced academics (Barrett et al, 2009). The role of leadership should not be undermined.
Estonian research demonstrates that professional development is first and foremost dependent on the self-concept of university teachers, their trajectories of becoming university teachers, approaches to teaching and reflection. The presentation focuses on approaches to growing and developing as university teachers, on teachers’ interpretations of individual paths of becoming teachers, acquisition of teaching skills, and opportunities for professional development.
At the University of Antwerp (Belgium, Flanders) four empirical studies were carried out on the impact of instructional development for teachers in higher education. The core question was to what extent participation in an instructional development initiative enhances university teachers’ professional growth and pedagogical competence. The research framework used to analyse the impact of instructional development will be presented.
Similarly, the Finnish research presented in the roundtable session explores the impact of pedagogical training on the university teachers’ pedagogical awareness and on the development of pedagogical awareness and excellence in teaching (i.e. on teaching skills). The presentation focuses on the teachers’ pedagogical thinking and the significant learning experiences in their academic careers.
Barrett, M. S., Ballantyne, J., Harrison, S., Temmerman, N. (2009) On building a community of practice: reflective narratives of academic learning and growth, Reflective Practice, 10: 4, 403 — 416 Bullough, R.V.Jr., Pinnegar, S. (2001) Guidelines for Quality in Autobiographical Forms of Self-Study Research Educational Researcher; Vol. 30. No. 3, pp.13–21 Coffey, M., & Gibbs, G. (2000). Can academics benefit from training? Some preliminary evidence. Teaching in Higher Education, 5, 385-389. Gibbs, G., & Coffey, M. (2004). The impact of training of university teachers on their teaching skills, their approach to teaching and the approach to learning of their students. Active Learning in Higher Education, 5, 87-100. Kreber, C. (2000) How teaching award winners conceptualise academic work: further thoughts on the meaning of scholarship, Teaching in Higher Education, 5, 61–78. Löfström, E. & Nevgi, A. (2008), University Teaching Staffs’ Pedagogical Awareness Displayed Through ICT-facilitated Teaching. Interactive Learning Environments, 16(2), 101 – 116. McAlpine, L. et. al (2004) Reflection on Teaching:Types and Goals of Reflection. Educational Research and Evaluation VOl.10.Nos.4-6, pp.337-363 Nevgi, A., & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2007). University teachers’ self-concept. A paper presented at the 12 th Biennial Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction, Developing potentials for learning, August 28 - September 1, 2007, Budapest, Hungary. Postareff, L., Lindblom-Ylänne, S., & Nevgi, A. (2007). The effect of pedagogical training on teaching in higher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 557-571. Prosser, M., & Trigwell, K. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Approaches to Teaching Inventory. British Journal of Educational Psychology,76, 405–419. Åkerlind, G.S. (2003). Growing and developing as a university teacher — variation in meaning. Studies in Higher Education, 28, 375–390. Åkerlind, G.S. (2007) Constraints on academics’ potential for developing as a teacher Studies in Higher Education, Vol 32, nr 1, pp 21-37.
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