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Its made me braver: the impact of a PG Cert on HE teachers Paper presented at HEA conference June 2010 Dr John Butcher & Di Stoncel University of Northampton.

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Presentation on theme: "Its made me braver: the impact of a PG Cert on HE teachers Paper presented at HEA conference June 2010 Dr John Butcher & Di Stoncel University of Northampton."— Presentation transcript:

1 Its made me braver: the impact of a PG Cert on HE teachers Paper presented at HEA conference June 2010 Dr John Butcher & Di Stoncel University of Northampton

2 Context Post-92 teaching-led university at which many staff are appointed for their professional expertise to teach on vocational courses All academic staff new to HE are required to take PGCTHE PGCTHE models reflective practice and constructive alignment across a 2 year part- time programme of two 30 credit M level (7) modules assessed via portfolio and pedagogic research project

3 Research Question To what extent does the PGCTHE impact on participants perceptions of themselves as HE teachers? This question was investigated through an institutional case study using mixed methods in four iterative stages to explore perceptions of impact by PGCTHE alumni and current participants. Data collected from new version of PGCTHE (2005/6 onwards, 90 staff so far) Analysis informed by grounded theory in a phenomenographic framework.

4 Literature on impact: ambiguity Studies questioning impact: Trowler & Bamber (2005); Trowler & Cooper (2002); Warnes (2008) Studies questioning measurability of impact: Knight & Trowler (2000); Prebble et al (2004) Contested theories of HE teacher development: Kahn et al (2006; 2008); Sharpe (2004); Hunt (2007)

5 Literature on impact: positive? Impact studies of CPD across educational phases: Supovitz & Turner (2000); Fullan (2001); Day (1999); Bird et al (2005) Evidence of positive impact: Hanbury et al(2008); Rust (2000); Donnelly (2006)

6 Stage 1 data collection Pre-PGCTHE: first taught session - personal expectations on stickies Post-PGCTHE: reflective commentaries from portfolio assessment Both data sets used to develop questionnaire: areas included – personal learning; student- centred learning; teaching approaches & meeting student needs; embedding reflection into practice; pedagogic research; developing as a H.E professional; career aspirations

7 Stage 2 Findings Questionnaire to PGCTHE graduates Routine reflection on own teaching & the learning needs of students Barriers to learning addressed through planning Teaching practice informed by academic literature Interdisciplinary peer learning Student-centred learning informs teaching Better equipped to set own PDR targets PGCTHE values embedded in own practice

8 Stage 3 Semi-structured interviews Prompt questions generated from questionnaire responses used in 1 – 1 semi-structured exploratory interviews with volunteer sample of past participants from Schools of Health, Education, Social Sciences, Arts, Information Services Following analysis, sample of School Learning & Teaching co-ordinators (PGCTHE course team members) interviewed – to triangulate what participants had identified as impact in order to gain wider School perspectives

9 Stage 4 Focus group interview With current PGCTHE participants - recently submitted first portfolio– to gain perspective from those part-way through the programme Specific questions related to portfolio compilation and potential impact of programme on learning, teaching and meeting students needs

10 Findings Impact on individual participants from a professional background Innovative approaches to teaching, planning & assessment...its made me braver...Im more able to deliver in terms of different methods... I wasnt aware of certain techniques... Im braver in terms of certain learning styles.. (current PGCTHE participant from Health)

11 Findings Impact on individual participants from a professional background Developing sense of professionalism (identity & confidence) and perception of how individuals feel changed by the programme. Im working on a chapter with a colleague from practice... I wouldnt have done it [before the PGCTHE] but now I just feel that Ive got the confidence to actually do it... (PGCTHE graduate from Health) Ive used the course as a sort of formative base – as launch pad for other things.... and so it gave me the space to make these connections and to think about education.... (PGCTHE participant – Arts)

12 Findings Impact on individual participants from a professional background Shift from teacher-centred to learner-centred Something that has come out... is understanding the actual individual needs and how to address those needs... I think I can see it from the students perspective more now... before I was doing it for me... But its also about getting the students to where THEY need to be... (PGCTHE graduate from Information Services Library)

13 Findings Impact on individual participants from a professional background PGCTHE participants understanding of the wider institution or external contributions. …coming from a professional background into HE you dont know what you dont know…I learned to appreciate exactly what the university is trying to achieve, and where we all fit in (PGCTHE participant - Education)

14 Findings: evidence of wider impact Learning from and being reassured by peers... the PGCTHE sets an agenda for the discussions about teaching and learning between colleagues.... in terms of peer support.... the mentors become really significant... they play a key part in all of that..... (Learning & Teaching Co-ordinator) These findings align with Knight and Trowlers (2000) argument that the locus of change at departmental level is a crucially important factor in supporting developments of good practice in university teaching.

15 Conclusion: positive impact Early in the PGCTHE Enhanced teaching confidence - particularly for those coming from a professional background: CPD expectations from prior professional role = disposition to engage with PGCTHE Routine reflection in practice that builds on theoretical foundations and foregrounds the needs of learners: in the context of a professional discipline Longer term Galvanises a transition from an entirely discipline-specific perspective to one that encompasses pedagogy within a professional identity and encourages engagement with external networks: support for becoming a member of a new community of practice in HE

16 To what extent does the PGCTHE impact on participants perceptions of themselves as HE teachers? So what? Have we been asking the right question?

17 What do we want? PGCTHE embedded as part of institutional strategy to value professional development of HE teachers – not a deficit model Departmental discourse offers a positive community of practice through supportive peers and integrated models of mentoring – no conflict between institutional rhetoric and work practices Through the PGCTHE programme, wider dialogic peer support networks and communities of practice are developed – no silo mentality, no defensive focus on difference

18 What do we want? Individual PGCTHE participants develop critical reflection on practice – not ignoring the complexity of learner differentiation Professional collegiality, networking, dissemination of pedagogic research – being open to peer review In an institution committed to learning and teaching, PGCTHE graduates become advocates of a community of HE practice – and mentors to the next cohort of HE teachers


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