In pursuit of teaching excellence: outward and visible signs of inward and invisible grace

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Abstract

The debate around what constitutes teaching excellence and how to measure it remains a contentious issue in higher education, with little consensus reached (Gunn and Fisk 2013). Despite this, measures of teaching excellence influence university ranking league tables throughout the world. This paper explores the thinking and practice of five academics, recognised through student nominations as exhibiting teaching that students considered excellent and which promoted their learning. Through adopting the unusual methodology of ‘rambling’, talking whilst walking, the values, attributes and behaviours of these academics were captured. Themes emerged, which identified the ineffability of teaching excellence and challenged current student satisfaction outcomes as a poor proxy for measuring teaching excellence. By examining the values, attributes and behaviours (practice) of these academics, we were able to identify guidance for; curriculum design that inspires, assessment that allows risk taking, and values that need to either be challenged by/or embedded into academic development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Early online date12 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Teaching excellence
  • measures
  • charcteristics
  • context
  • curriculum design

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