Working with conceptions of teaching to underpin lasting change

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
0 908557 72 8

For some time now universities have been faced with the challenge of moving to an approach to teaching that is learner centred to enhance the student learning experience. For many institutions this has necessitated a shift in the way many academic staff view learning and teaching and how they conceptualise their roles as teachers. Bringing about such change has highlighted the important role of academic developers and how academic development work can best be done to ensure meaningful and sustained change.

In this paper we describe a collaborative project aimed at improving the learning and teaching culture in a large school. Adopting a philosophical approach to academic development that departs from the traditional notions of this work, and informed by the literature on conceptions of teaching, approaches to academic development and cultural change, the first stage of the study has been directed at identifying staff conceptions of teaching and learning. Identifying staff conceptions is seen as an important and critical phase and will underpin the second stage which aims to use a deep approach to changing teaching beliefs and practices within the school.

Work so far has illuminated many issues around teaching culture and practices and has also unearthed a keen desire amongst academic staff to change and improve their current practice. Reflections on our roles and work as academic developers suggests that if meaningful cultural change is to occur within this context there needs to be a slow, sustained and deep approach to academic development within the school.

Keywords: conceptions of teaching, change, academic development

Working with conceptions of teaching to underpin lasting change

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Budge, K., Clarke, A. & de la Harpe, B.