Dallas Wingrove, Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching & Miranda Francis, Liaison Librarian, School of Property, Construction & Project Management, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University.
Once the marking period is over and results are lodged, there is thankfully at least some time to catch your breath and begin to allocate a sustained period of time to your research and publications.
Understandably, teachers and lecturers frequently plan to use the non-teaching period for their research and writing, commonly focused on their discipline. Yet, for a range of reasons, fewer write about their teaching practice.
Whilst many feel confident to research and publish from within their discipline, with the exception of those from within the discipline of Education, writing about your teaching might seem daunting, less familiar and for some, it may not even be on the radar.
So, how can your university support you to engage with the learning and teaching literature?
At RMIT, your Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching (SALT) and Liaison Librarians are publishing within this field and can provide you with practical support and direct you to a suite of useful resources.
Our Library offers a range of practical, up-to-date resources which include two key subject guides: one on publishing your research and the second on resources for Learning and Teaching:
Publishing your Research
Online Resources for Learning and Teaching
Beyond accessing these resources, each School in this university has a Liaison Librarian. Liaison Librarians are subject specialists. They can help you to use these resources to find relevant, accurate information.
In addition, your Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching can also provide advice on current thinking and research and can also provide feedback to support you to reflect on your teaching practice. SALTs can also guide you through the ethics approval process and may also collaborate with you to co-author a paper.
Research in Learning and Teaching
Research into your teaching practice can include course and program assessment, action research and peer feedback on teaching. Your research can encompass professional development, such as how you can enhance your teaching expertise. It may also encompass the study and implementation of pedagogy such as active learning and problem based learning.
Research methods may include reflection and analysis, interviews with your students and focus groups, questionnaires and surveys, content analysis, observational research and case studies.
Importantly, you can also integrate current and emerging research developments from within your discipline into your teaching practice, such as through assessments, face to face and online teaching. The practice of gathering meaningful student feedback will not only enable you to write up your practice, but also offers a vital data source to inform your review of curriculum for improvement.
Areas to consider writing about based on your teaching include:
Reflecting on new ways of working/a change in practice
Reflecting on feedback from your students
Reporting and evaluating your assessment design
Utilising new learning spaces
Integrating teaching, students’ learning and work
Teaching /Research Nexus
English Language Development
Cross Disciplinary Teaching
Technologies to enhance learning
Where to next?
For those of you who are contemplating dipping your toe in the water, or for the more experienced researchers in learning and teaching, we hope you may consider taking the time to review these resources and to share these with your peers.
Each College at RMIT also provides a range of support and professional development activities for staff to research and publish, so check with your Deputy Head Research to find relevant support staff and resources.
Writing about your teaching practice delivers many benefits which can also apply to preparing for a teaching award or for the academic staff promotion process.
As teachers, you bring to the table your practical experience and commitment to quality teaching and learning.
So, why not use your experience and knowledge and write about your practice?
In doing so, you will not only disseminate your work and produce outputs but you will further enhance your teaching practice.
Share your thoughts about writing about your own practice in the comments and remember that you can also follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/teachingtomtom