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Jo McKenzie University College London
Wednesday 5 September 2007, 09.30-10.30
Themes: Lifelong learning, Better practitioners, Better understanding of the discipline
A range of research over the past decade has focused on university teachers’ conceptions of teaching and their relation to students’ approaches to learning (Prosser and Trigwell, 1999). More recently, interest has turned to teachers’ experiences of change in their teaching (McKenzie, 2003) and of growing and developing as teachers (Åkerlind, 2003; 2007). Some ways of experiencing growth, development or change focus on improvements for teaching or the teacher, while others focus on improvements in student learning.
This paper is based on a further analysis of a study of teachers’ ways of experiencing change in teaching (McKenzie, 2003). Twenty-seven university teachers were interviewed either twice over one year or three times over two years about their ways of experiencing teaching and change in teaching. A number of these teachers were then interviewed some years later. The interview transcripts were analysed using phenomenography and variation theory. A way of experiencing change in teaching was constituted as a related set of aspects of what teachers changed, acts of changing teaching and intentions of these acts.
Four broad categories were constituted. Change in teaching was experienced as:
Within category C, there was further variation in teachers’ conceptions of student learning and their intentions for improving learning. Four sub-categories were constituted. Improving student learning had the intention of:
In the first category, improving learning was focused towards the provision of more competent entrants to the discipline or professions. In the second, both the professions and students were seen as ‘customers’ of higher education. In the third and fourth categories, improving student learning was focused more towards improving learning for its own sake and for the personal benefit of the students. This paper will describe these categories and illustrate them with quotes and vignettes from university teachers.