Developing Expertise in Teaching in Higher Education - 22nd April 2022
Helen delivered a lecture as part of the TBC Distinguished Guest Lecture Series II - Session 3 titled ‘ Developing Expertise in Teaching in Higher Education’.
Whilst ‘excellence’ is important rhetoric in higher education and many other sectors, it is poorly defined in terms of the characteristics of an individual teacher. Criteria for excellence, for example, in national teaching awards, provide an indication but they are based on experience and assumptions rather than empirical evidence. Furthermore, by definition, excellence is a characteristic achievable by only a few (we can’t all be outstanding or above average). The notion of excellence, therefore, is not a strong motivator for individuals to improve their teaching nor a helpful guide for those supporting them in doing so.
Conversely, the concept of expertise has a deep and broad theoretical and empirical foundation in a wide variety of professions and offers a fresh approach to considering the characteristics of high-performing practitioners. The acquisition and maintenance of expertise are considered as an ongoing process that is potentially available for all to engage with, rather than a static point to be reached by the few. This presentation briefly outlined the generic characteristics of expertise and then discuss what these might look like for teaching in higher education. A model was presented that was based on empirical research, personal experience of educational development and extensive discussions with colleagues in the sector through workshops and conferences. This model proposed three overlapping elements of expertise: Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Artistry of Teaching, and Professional Learning. After the presentation, Q&A and discussion critiqued the model, enabled participants to make meaning of it in their personal context, and outlined implications for teaching and professional development.