With the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the status of teaching has been moved towards the centre of concerns in the UK higher education (HE…
With the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the status of teaching has been moved towards the centre of concerns in the UK higher education (HE) sector. This interest develops further the notion of teaching excellence created through various institutional and sectoral schemes such as the Higher Education Academy (HEA) fellowship. Whilst excellence schemes and the TEF all highlight the importance of teaching, they also run the danger of reducing it to lists and simplified proxies.
This chapter argues that reductive characterisations of teaching, through metrics supporting the TEF, such as the national student survey, or ‘idealised’ descriptions of the foundational aspects of ‘excellent practice’, all lead to partial accounts of the teaching process. Such characterisations might lead to creeping performativity and increasing organisational attempts to control. An alternative account of teaching is proposed based on complexity theory. This sees teaching as emergent, multifaceted and contextually based. It refutes notions of ‘best practice’ and argues that any attempt to capture ‘excellent practice’ is to reduce the holistic nature of the processes that bring teaching, learning, curriculum and assessment together.
Teaching excellence remains a contested term in English higher education (HE). This paper begins by reflecting on its complex and sometimes blurred meaning, charting the…
Teaching excellence remains a contested term in English higher education (HE). This paper begins by reflecting on its complex and sometimes blurred meaning, charting the divergence between academic interests in the complexity and contextual questions relating to practice development and organisational and sectoral shifts which have been driven by managerialism, accountability and “top-down” ideas of change. The authors argue that this divergence, epitomised in the development of the teaching excellence framework, has led to a confused, if ubiquitous, use of excellence to identify organisational and sector-led ideas of what it means to deliver quality teaching. However, these frameworks have become progressively detached from the complexity of practice investigated by those interested in pedagogy. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
This is a conceptual paper which brings together literature from teaching excellence, organisational science, time and HE to develop an alternative approach to pedagogic development.
Based on a critique of the current, confused conceptualisation of teaching excellence, the authors offer a different narrative which demonstrates how a reconsideration of the factors is important in developing critical and challenging teaching opportunities. Based on a “bottom-up” system focusing on dialogue, sustainability and “unhasty” time, the authors argue for a re-establishing of a holistic approach in HE providers based on emergent pedagogies as opposed to teaching excellence.
This paper demonstrates why teaching excellence has become conceptually fractured in an English context, and why a new approach to pedagogic development needs to be considered to establish a more positive and critical approach at both the institutional and sectoral levels. This paper outlines a possible approach to developing such renewal.