22 SES 06 B, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Paradigm shifts in education, changing student demographics and technological innovations have created the pressure to change teaching practices in higher education in all around the world. One of the consequences of these changes has been the reconsideration of faculty roles with regard to teaching and learning due the significant impact of teacher-student relationship on student learning (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
The most important change has been the paradigm shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning that also shifted the role of faculty members in the process of teaching and learning (Barr & Tagg, 1999). With this new understanding, it is becoming more urgent to clarify how we define effective university teachers / instructors and more importantly effective teaching within the scope of these changes and reconsideration. In this context, this study will identify the profiles of effective university teachers/instructors in a given Turkish university and therefore we will be able to identify strategies that imply effective teaching in university setting. Therefore, the research question in this study is “What are the elements of effective university teaching in a given Turkish university?”
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. There are rare occasions when faculty performance is based on all three responsibilities. This can be considered as one of the reasons why faculty are less involved in teaching, and learning. Drawing university 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.
Bain (2004) 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. 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.
Brookfield (2006), on the other hand, claimed that we should emphasize three assumptions to become a skillful teacher. These assumptions are skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn, skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance towards their practice and finally the most important knowledge skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions. He believes that these ground rules will help any faculty member to become effective in teaching and learning no matter what one’s personality characteristics are.
The recent suggested changes on higher education regulations by the Higher Education Council (YOK) showed that we are still not concerned about the quality but structural changes regarding university education in Turkey. However, it is an emerging need to understand student needs and serve those needs in this global age.
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. Pascarella, E. T. & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 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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