Sunday, December 16, 2012

Teaching Development in Higher Education

The report "Impact of teaching development programmes in higher education" by David Parsons, Inge Hill, Jane Holland and Dick Willis, was released by the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA), September 2012. It aims to be a "... state of the
art, evidence-based assessment of the impact of HE-based teaching development programmes and initiatives...". While looking at the UK, much of what is found could be applied in Australia.

The researchers found:
•     There is a positive association between participation in teacher development programmes and individuals’ propensity to develop (or enhance) learner-centred teaching methods.  This is important since a range of wider scholarly and pedagogic-
centred research studies have shown such methods are in turn associated with stronger student outcomes in HE. 
•     Impacts on teacher knowledge and skills are less clear but seem to be positively affected by a combination of longer duration programmes, integrated support (especially for newer teachers) and continued formal inputs from continuing professional development.
•     Impacts may be more readily achieved for established teachers but the available evidence suggests there is substantial potential for transfer to practice among ‘novice’ or aspiring teachers where a critical mass of pedagogic knowledge is achieved. ...
Interestingly the researchers suggest "... there is much that can be drawn in the UK from school-based teacher improvement, and specifically from other post-secondary teacher development including within further education.". However, I have found that university academics are very reluctant to acknowledge that there is anything they can learn from the vocational education (TAFE) sector or from professional education activities of bodies such as the Australian Computer Society.

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