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Supporting the Professional Development of Individual Practitioners (or “What have the Romans ever done for us?”) Roni Bamber (Heriot-Watt University)

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting the Professional Development of Individual Practitioners (or “What have the Romans ever done for us?”) Roni Bamber (Heriot-Watt University)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting the Professional Development of Individual Practitioners (or “What have the Romans ever done for us?”) Roni Bamber (Heriot-Watt University) Paul Kleiman (PALATINE: Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music Helen Thomas (Higher Education Academy)

2 In this session we hope you will… Explore the question of how we support individual staff, from the point of view of the individual, institution, Subject Centres and HE Academy Take away some fresh insights on how to support individual needs

3 The Puzzle: What are the needs of individual practitioners? How can they be / are they supported?

4 Let’s start with you: What do you already know about support for the development of individual staff who support L&T? What is done? By whom? When?

5 HE Academy Subject Centres H/FEIs Individual

6 The Institutional Perspective H/FEIs

7 Sample Institution: Levels of (Formal) Support Level 1Level 2Level 3 PhD tutorsProbationary lecturersExperienced staff Intro to Teaching Skills, (1-3) PG Cert in Academic Practice CPD (by any other name) -Eg L&T Conference; Fora; Issue-based projects; Working groups Career Stage + Responsibilities Approved Teachers / RAs

8 The Individual Perspective

9 Consideration 1: Institutional strategy v individual autonomy Individual’s perceived needs = institution’s needs? Perception of low rewards for L&T dev: “Got a rough ride from the cynics at the Dept meeting – usual groans about lack of promotion for teaching, therefore why bother.” (Experienced lecturer)

10 Consideration 2: Resistance to formal ‘training’ Scepticism / cynicism –Sam (probationer): “How can you find out what individuals need, because they will always say they need nothing” –James (HoD): “You employ good people and they fix it themselves… But even after 33 years I still accept that I just learn as I go along, and we expect that of our people”

11 Consideration 3: Competing pressures: Research v Teaching: May (probationer) - “My motivation to do the course is high, but the reality of what I can put in is low. I have to get a grant this year and I’m under pressure from my school to get some papers written asap.” Time: James (HoD) – “I suspect that there’s a general problem with staff development. It might just be [my subject], but I doubt it. And that is we all feel so busy, we don’t have time for staff development.” Time: John (experienced lecturer) - “I can’t think of anything that the Academy can do for me that won’t involve more work for me”

12 Consideration 4: Subject v Generic “What can you tell me about teaching Chemistry?” Subject differences (cf Biglan, ’73) in Approaches to Teaching Inventory at end of PG CAP: –More CCSF = Building, Engineering, Mgt, Langs, Economics, Textiles, Sports Science –Less CCSF = Maths, Biology, Computing, Physics, Chemistry

13 Consideration 5: Diverse value systems / philosophies Jim (Approved Teacher): “For me, teaching means helping students to prepare for the world of work, understand the nature of academic study, and explore the academic body of knowledge in my subject area. It means inspiring students to pursue their own development and learning for its intrinsic value and interest, rather than simply be able to pass exams or gain qualifications. It means facilitating meaningful learning of theories that can be applied to practical situations.” …

14 Same subject, different philosophy… Jo (Probationer): “Teaching is information transmission. The students need to know core models. We need to emphasise the history of the discipline. I see success as giving students information that is soundly rooted in research”

15 Consideration 6: Proving it’s all worth it Question: can we prove training / development ‘works’? Difficult, but growing evidence of impact from research data and feedback

16 Consideration 7: Clashing or shared values with external agencies? Commitment to Scholarship Respect for Individuals and their Development Commitment to Learning Communities Equal Opportunities in Educational Opportunity Continued Reflection and Improvement

17 The Academy Perspective

18 Academy Recognition Mechanisms Register Programme accreditation Continuing professional development

19 Points of Reference From Academy criteria 5 areas of activity Core Knowledge Professional values To national (UK-wide) reference point

20 UK professional standards framework Teaching and supporting learning Sector owned and recognised Underpinned by 6 areas of activity Core knowledge Professional values Reference point for individuals, institutional activities, subject centres, professional bodies,

21 Standards Framework Supports Interlinking of research and teaching Importance of generic skills and discipline specific pedagogy Development of student-focussed teaching

22 Academy resources Research information e.g. formative evaluation of accredited programmes Data base of materials e.g. SNAS database Activities e.g. workshops on generic themes assessment, curriculum innovation

23 Network of support Academy York Subject centre Subject centre Subject centre

24 The Subject Centre Perspective

25 The Subject Network 24 x Subject Centres Single discipline Multi-discipline Single site Multi-site consortiums

26 The Subject Network VALUES Collegial Coherence Contextualised Enabling Entrepreneurial Facilitating Horizontal Innovative Inter & cross disciplinary Participatory Partnerships Sharing

27 EventsProjects Publications Resources Workshops Seminars Conferences National Regional Local Cognate Newsletters Briefings Journals Case Studies Reports People Online resources Special collections A-V resources ‘Mini’ Funded Commissioned Subject Centres

28 Regular email updates Regular dissemination of topical and discipline-relevant information National, Regional, Local, Cognate events Tailored resources/events for specific groups e.g. new lecturers, librarians, technical support etc. Opportunities to be published in peer-reviewed journals Opportunity to publicise projects, aspects of practice, or raise current issues or concerns for debate, via newsletters & discussion forums Payment to write Case Studies for dissemination Guides (learning, assessment, ethics, health & safety etc.) An enquiries service - by email, phone, fax etc. Departmental reps to disseminate SC / HEA information to individuals Learning & teaching development grants e.g. mini projects > £5000 On-line resources and collections Close formal and informal links with subject associations Support to network with others Opportunities to lead or participate in SIGs on topics determined by the subject community Directories of Experts / Specialists

29 Useful % 51 43 55 51 59 48 24 Very useful % 37 44 22 33 24 36 43 Website Events Event Reports Online resources Publications Newsletters & briefings Personal contact & advice Not very useful % 9 4 15 9 8 12 N/A % 3 9 8 7 9 4 21 N = 90 Subject Centre online impact survey: May 2006 How useful to you are the following Subject Centre activities and resources?

30 Some impact % 58 Significant impact % 34 No impact % 8 N = 90 Subject Centre online impact survey: May 2006 What impact has the work of the Subject Centre had on your own practice and/or thinking in relation to learning and teaching?

31 The view from the Subject Centre “Most of the Subject Centre work is with individual practitioners, as we tend to work with the grain of curriculum areas or themes. You can’t really do this at a departmental level. It’s the same principle behind Subject Centres but at a micro-level: subject specialists are more open to ideas coming from other specialists in the same subject than they are to those coming from a specialist in a different subject, even in their own department. We also want to work at the nub of the student learning experience i.e. the encounter between lecturer and students in the classroom. For the lecturer this is nearly always an ‘individual’ experience, although one surrounded by a lot of departmental and institutional context of course. ”

32 “The possibility of connecting, with varying degrees of activity / passivity, to practices across the sector and in cognate disciplines has made an enormous difference in terms of attitudes to problem-solving and innovation in L & T. The sense of academic community has been enhanced by the Subject Centre, and on a more practical level, specific queries can now be addressed to a focal point and quickly resolved, in a way that has never previously been possible.” “The engagement with the Subject Centre has played a large part in my development as a teacher - a development recognised by the award of a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship by my own university.” “The Subject Centre has had a wide ranging impact, particularly on current developments in pedagogy over the past 4 years. For example both assessment and employability workshops have had a major impact on our course design and delivery.” The view from the practitioner

33 “The line from teacher through subject centre to HEA to HEFCE is clearer than ever thanks to the work of the subject centre. It has enabled us to consider issues of teaching and learning in a completely new context, and supported the sharing of ideas. It has enabled us - a relatively small institution - to put ourselves on the 'map' in the sector and to debate pedagogical issues at a national level. Subject Centre involvement has resulted indirectly in more ILTMs/HEAMs, two NTFs, and most importantly a culture of more pedagogical discussion in our institution. Colleagues now make greater use of FHEQ & Subject Benchmarks, for example, in their curriculum planning, through a greater sense of perspective on T&L in the discipline.”

34 The Institutional Perspective

35 Final Plenary Question What new insights do you have into support for individual practitioners? What could the HE Academy & Subject Centres take away from your discussion today? What messages will you take away today?

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