We can all talk a good talk as university teachers. Talking about teaching in a vibrant community of practice is our chance to ‘boast’ about a good teaching session and share inspirational practice. Recently on a University of Central Lancashire Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) development day, a number of colleagues showcased short burst teaching strategies they recommended. We learnt about Learning Mats, Thought Boxes and Twitter feedback techniques. It was a celebration of our teaching excellence.
All this notwithstanding, I value the affirmation and recognition of fellowship of the HEA. Going through the fellowship process made me press pause. I found myself trawling through examples of my teaching approach, searching for the rationale for how I do what I do.
It made me interrogate my teaching practice, prompting me to reflect on how I design and plan teaching according to the rigorous UK Professional Standards framework. It reminded me to consider all aspects of university teaching that enhance the student learning experience. It made me switch backwards and forwards, from teacher to learner myself. Mostly it made me go beyond talking a good talk. I revisited theories and methods that inform my day-to-day teaching life, searching for the evidence that proves that I do what I think I do. Being able to articulate the dimensions of the framework in an objective way through real world examples, confirmed for me that my teaching practice is constantly evolving and yet grounded in strong professional values. The award of the HEA fellowship reminded me that teaching excellence is not a defined endpoint but a constant and purposeful happening, if we commit to genuine continuing professional development.
For more information about HEA Fellowship and Fellowship Week please click here.