Summary and reflection

This week you have looked at, read about and discussed some basic principles for teaching and their application through a variety of teaching strategies in different teaching modes.

It was interesting to see that in rating the characteristics of a good teacher many of you chose ‘share the love of the subject ‘ as number 1 or 2 in your lists and mentioned that these described your favourite teachers. There is a strong correlation between student satisfaction and teacher passion for a subject so it’s good to see this is a priority for many. There were also strong relationships between the characteristics you chose and your ‘good’ learning experiences mentioned in Week 1.

In the discussions on teaching approaches many of you talked about using a mix of transmission and student-centred approaches, with some of you identifying the transmission approach (with its limitations) as the dominant approach in your teaching context.

David Perkin’s question about ‘What’s worth learning?’ inspired some discussion about how varying degrees of what we teach is a waste of time. There was some agreement with the claim alongside some nice points made about ‘what’ we teach being a vehicle for the development of ‘how’ we teach students to learn and to think.

In Strategies for effective tutorials Tim’s perspective on the role of the tutor as both learner and teacher sparked some discussion on how to find a balance in this approach. There was some consensus on some of the points Tim made, including being prepared to be both a teacher and a learner in the tutorial context and aiming to make students feel confident and willing to participate. Rowena raised an interesting point about Australian students possibly being underprepared for the academic environment of higher education. What are your thoughts on this i.e the responsibility of the schooling system in preparing students to be able to ‘think for themselves’ and what do you think about the learners in your context?

Some of you provided strategies for improving interaction and engagment in Making lectures more effective and engaging including peer to peer teaching and learning and breaking up long lectures into smaller chunks through the use of quick quizzes, questions, polling and case studies.

Thank you to all those that contributed to the discussions this week. We look froward to seeing you in week 3 as we turn the focus to assessment and feedback.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney