National Teaching Fellow 2009
Arran Stibbe is a senior lecturer in Humanities and a fellow of the Centre for Active Learning. He says that his teaching philosophy can be summed up in ten words 'The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery' (Mark van Doren). Yet developing this art has taken a journey of his own discovery, into realms of active learning, inclusive classroom interaction and assessment for learning, and the journey is ongoing.
Arran has galvanised and stimulated his students to become critically aware of the social world around them, through engagement with the discourses that structure that world. The resulting insights have rocked students' perception of themselves, their society and the trajectory that their society is on. As one student comments 'The active learning in the module made it interesting, lively and inspiring. It was amazing: every week, a new façade of our own culture and of cultures worldwide was revealed.' Among many other things, he says, students discovered the role of language in creating inequality and global injustice and in underpinning a consumer culture that is on a path towards its own destruction. These discoveries prompted students to take an active role in forging their own future and the future of the society they live in.
Arran is now best known nationally and internationally for his contribution to Education for Sustainability. Copious research has shown that giving students facts about the destruction of the environment that supports their lives and lists of things 'to do about it' has no discernible impact on their lives. When teaching becomes 'the art of assisting discovery', students can become so engaged and involved in the social structures that underpin the society around them that the result is nothing less than transformational. Having made a significant contribution to Education for Sustainability within the English Language discipline, Arran has become deeply involved in educational development across disciplines, bringing together a community of educators from across the UK for national efforts to update education so that it better prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century. He is editor of the Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: skills for a changing world which will be released shortly.
Senior Lecturer in Humanities
University of Gloucestershire