Andersson

  • September 4th - 6th, 2002, The Sheraton Hotel, Brussels, Belgium.

    Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice - 10 Years on

    Title: The Pedagogical Academy - a Way to Encourage and Reward Scholarly Teaching

     
    Author(s): Pernille Hammar Andersson, Thomas Olsson, Monica Almqvist, Lena Zetterqvist, Anders Axelsson, Gustaf Olsson and Torgny Roxå
    Institution(s): Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, Sweden
    Session: Research seminar  

    The pedagogical academy is a novel approach to stimulate and reward scholarly teaching. It has been developed in accordance with widespread views of what a teacher's role is at a university (Boyer, 1990; Kreber, 2000; Trigwell et al., 2000; Biggs, 1999). In this seminar we will present and discuss the main ideas behind the pedagogical academy and some important findings and experiences from the implementation of the project.

    The pedagogical academy is established to:

    • demonstrate that the scholarship of teaching is important and supported by the university by encouraging those who make great efforts to develop their teaching
    • increase academic teachers and departments interest in pedagogical development by linking scholarly teaching to an automatic increase of the teacher's salary and additional funding to his or her department
    • increase the pedagogical discussion and awareness and thereby the pedagogical development at the university

    Every teacher at Lund Institute of Technology (the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University) may apply for admission to the pedagogical academy and receive an Excellent Teaching Practice award. If qualified they immediately get an increased salary and the teacher's department receives additional funding. The system is implemented and working from December 2001.

    Two factors have been found to be critical in the process of implementation of the pedagogical academy. Firstly, a sense of ownership by the academic system itself must be created. This is secured through the involvement of all the heads of departments and a widespread understanding that the assessment is done by colleagues. Secondly, there must exist a well-established view that pedagogy can help teachers improve their teaching. This is secured through a long tradition of extensive, much appreciated and well-attended pedagogical courses.

    Important questions that have appeared throughout the process of implementation are:

    • Which level of competence is adequate and realistic?
    • How professional are teachers at the faculty of engineering really?
    • How capable are they when it comes to writing teaching portfolios?

    Six assessment criteria for the pedagogical academy have been developed from the area of scholarship of teaching. They are firmly underpinned by current research within the field of teaching and learning (Ramsden, 1992; Bowden and Marton, 1999; Biggs, 1999; Biggs and Collis, 1982; Prosser and Trigwell, 1999; Trigwell, 2001).

    The teacher should be able to show, in a teaching portfolio (Seldin, 1997; Magin, 1998), that he or she has, over time, systematically endeavoured to improve their teaching. This includes a professional approach when it comes to interaction with colleagues, documentation of experiences and personal development. The teacher must also demonstrate a student-centred approach to teaching and learning.

    A pilot group of teachers have participated in the process during the fall of 2001:

    The findings so far, based on the experiences from the pilot group are:

    • Teachers in established, traditional fields have, to a higher degree, a teacher-centred approach to teaching and learning compared to teachers in younger and more applied fields. The tradition of how a subject is taught seems to affect the teachers a great deal.
    • Teachers do not use educational terminology when they describe their teaching. Their own descriptions indicate that they move between different social contexts. Thinking and doing are connected to their research fields and educational terminology is not linked to this. Documentation surrounding scholarly teaching is not systematic.
    • Very little co-operation and discussion exist where teaching is concerned.

    Writing a teaching portfolio has increased many teachers' interest in reaching a better understanding of what actually happens when one teaches. It has also increased their interest in developing as teachers. The pedagogical academy seems to have increased the interest concerning educational questions. A clearer picture of scholarly teaching is beginning to appear through the descriptions of the teachers involved, which is an important basis for the continuing development of the pedagogical work at Lund Institute of Technology.

    References

    Biggs, J. B. (1999), Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press

    Biggs, J. B. and Collis K. F. (1982), Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy, Academic Press

    Bowden, J. and Marton F. (1999), The University of Learning, Kogan Page

    Boyer, E., L (1990), Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of the Professoriate, The Carnegie foundation

    Kreber, C. (2000), How University Teaching Award Winners Conceptualise Academic Work: Some Further Thoughts on the Meaning of Scholarship, Teaching in Higher Education 5(1): 61-78

    Magin, D. J. (1998), Rewarding Good Teaching: A Matter of Demonstrated Proficiency or Documented Achievement, International Journal for Academic Development 3(4)

    Prosser, M. and Trigwell K. (1999), Understanding Learning and Teaching. The experience in Higher Education, The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press

    Ramsden, P. (1992), Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge

    Seldin, P. (1997), The Teaching Portfolio. A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions, Anker Publishing Company

    Trigwell, K., Martin E., Benjamin, J. and Prosser, M. (2000), Scholarship of Teaching: A Model, Higher Education Research and Development 19(2)

    Trigwell, K. (2001), Judging University Teaching, International Journal for Academic Development 6(1)