The value of good teaching

The value of good teaching

Half-way down this page from the THE (19 February) you’ll find a sub-section entitledĀ GENIUS VALUES TEACHING, SO SHOULD THE REST OF US, in which David Eastwood, HEFCE’s CEO, shares a few insightful comments about teachers and teaching in HE. I’d like to invite readers to reflect on some of his thoughts in the context of what we do at Leicester and at Beyond Distance. For example (please read carefully):

Lives transformed by university teachers, some great, some humble; some intellectual leaders, some accomplished synthesisers. Students anxious to take a particular person’s course; graduates aspire to “study with” – not to have their higher learning in some desiccated way “facilitated by” – a supervisor of repute and standing. […]

[…] a mechanistic language that suffused debates on “learning and teaching”. I thought, symbolically and actually, we lost much in the subtle inversion of “teaching and learning” as it transposed into “learning and teaching”.

Slowly, though, we are revaluing teaching. Teaching and university teachers are better valued: by teaching awards, in promotion and reward procedures, through the work of the Higher Education Academy, and through an acceptance of the legitimacy of student evaluation, partly through the National Student Survey, partly through more locally sensitive processes at institutional, departmental and course level.

Some might want to dismiss the above as backward-looking, as an attempt to castigate learner-centred methods, as out of touch.

I don’t think so. Talking about teaching neither removes nor devalues students or their learning – quite the opposite. In this world obsessed with learners, learning, learner-centredness, learner-facing, learner focusĀ and even ‘designing and delivering learning’ (which I find a most peculiar concept, assuming it actually means anything), it is actually refreshing that the rediscovery of teaching is creeping back into the agenda. Let’s make sure that journey continues.

Alejandro Armellini

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