How LEAD supports your teaching
LEAD works alongside those who teach in MIC to support their teaching practice with new ideas from the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).
Staff are encouraged to research and reflect on teaching and students’ learning.
With LEAD, staff engage in peer dialogue and continuous professional development (CPD) to enhance and develop the pedagogy of individual disciplines and to enable cross discipline learning.
LEAD assists staff to reflect on, plan and contribute to evidence-based transformative teaching and learning approaches.
Throughout the academic year LEAD organises professional development underpinned by The National Professional Development Framework. This includes professional development workshops and accredited CPD through the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice.
LEAD also provides Student Evaluation of Teaching (SETs), Peer Partnerships Observation of Teaching and ongoing support for staff Teaching Portfolios. You can read about these by clicking on the relevant links to the right of this text.
Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET)
Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) is a voluntary and confidential service which enables those who teach in MIC to get structured feedback from learners about their approaches to learning and teaching. Learners are a valuable source of honest and constructive feedback and can help to identify successful strategies and areas for development; indeed Brookfield (1995: 94) maintains that
'some awareness of how students are experiencing learning is the foundational, first-order knowledge we need to do good work as teachers. Without this knowledge, all the pedagogic skill in the world means very little, since that skill may unwittingly be exercised in ways that confuse or intimidate learners'.
With the support of a dedicated member of the LEAD team, participation in the SET scheme will enable you to gather confidential, anonymised feedback from learners which can be used to shape future approaches to academic practices and professional development. Confidentiality is a key cornerstone of this activity and the contents of the SET report will not be shared with anyone. However, you are warmly encouraged to discuss the contents of your report with a dedicated member of the LEAD team who will happy to suggest an action plan or professional development opportunities which may be prompted by learner feedback.
Please contact the Learning Enhancement and Academic Development team on LEAD@mic.ul.ie if you require further information.
Brookfield SD. (1995) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Peer Observation of Teaching is a voluntary system of professional support which aims to assist teachers, at any stage in their career, to gain valuable insights about their teaching performance in a confidential, trusting and formative climate. It involves inviting a colleague into a lecture or tutorial and asking them for their feedback and insights in relation to your academic practice, e.g. teaching and learning approaches, use of technology, student engagement etc. It is a reciprocal relationship, as you are also asked to observe a colleague's teaching session and to provide formative, constructive feedback. Marshall (2004: 187) suggests that ‘the power of peer observation resides in its developmental and collegial orientation and its exposure of colleagues to affirmation, constructive criticism, and the experience of how others teach differently’.
Within the Mid-West Regional Cluster, a number of training events are hosted each year in order to inform and develop an institutional and inter-institutional Peer Observation of Teaching network. Short inter-institutional workshops will be offered to all registered participants, with attendance at one of the workshops required of all participants new to peer observation.
For more information on Peer Observation of Teaching, contact Learning Enhancement and Academic Development team on LEAD@mic.ul.ie
Marshall, B. (2004) ‘Learning from the Academy: From peer observation of teaching to peer enhancement of learning and teaching’, The Journal of Adult Theological Education, 1(2), 185-204.
Developing a Teaching Philosophy
A teaching philosophy statement has been explained by Fitzmaurice and Coughlan (2007: 39) as follows:
'Teaching philosophy statements can be defined in various ways but, put simply, they are written statements of why teachers do what they do—their beliefs and theories about teaching, about students and about learning, all of which underpin what and how they teach.’
Typically, they are not hugely lengthy statements (1-2 pages in length) and encompass some of the fundamental beliefs, attitudes and approaches when it comes to teaching, learning and assessment. There is no set ‘format’ for teaching philosophy statements as they are inherently personal documents, and consequently are simply an honest statement of what motivates and drives an individual’s approach to teaching, often incorporating a reflection on their journey as an educator and offering some insights into who they are and their approach to academic practice.
Key to the articulation of a personal statement of teaching philosophy is reflective practice, a critical examination of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment in order to identify key learnings and areas for further professional development. For a useful introductory guide to reflective practice as an educator (based on Brookfield’s (1995) four lenses of reflection), see the following guide from the Open University
Additional resources to help you prepare your teaching philosophy statement
See the following resources from Ohio State University for guidelines, tips and examples of Teaching Philosophy Statements from faculty across a variety of disciplines.
Additionally, the resources shared below provide some advice and guidance in relation to preparing your statement of your personal philosophy of education.
If you would like to discuss your statement, email LEAD@mic.ul.ie
- Brookfield, S. (1995) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Fitzmaurice, M. and Coughlan, J. (2007) ‘Teaching philosophy statements: a guide’ in O’Farrell, C. (ed) Teaching Portfolio Practice in Ireland: a handbook, Dublin: AISHE
- Learning through Reflection, a guide for busy academics
- National Forum Domain 1 - Teaching Philosophy Triggers
- Teaching Portfolio Practice in Ireland
- Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
There is a growing body of literature highlighting the use of portfolios to support academic professional learning activities and reflective practice in Higher Education (see for example O’Farrell, 2007; Pelger and Larsson, 2018; Sjögren et al., 2012). Portfolios are being used in multiple ways: to provide evidence of a quality approach to professional development, to document teaching practice for the purposes of promotion applications or membership of professional bodies, to showcase and reflect on academic practice and to provide evidence of engagement with professional development activities.
Portfolios can serve any of the following purposes:
- Faculty members and teaching assistants can use teaching portfolios to reflect on and refine their teaching skills and philosophies;
- Job applicants for faculty positions can use teaching portfolios to document their teaching effectiveness;
- Faculty members up for promotion or tenure can also use teaching portfolios to document their teaching effectiveness;
- Faculty members and teaching assistants can use teaching portfolios, particularly ones shared online, to “go public”with their teaching to invite comments from their peers and to share teaching successes so that their peers can build on them;
- Teaching portfolios allow faculty to express their own unique teaching style & creativity (Vanderbilt University, n.d.).
Academic faculty who are considering applying for a mid-west regional cluster (UL, MIC, LIT) Regional Teaching Excellence Award are warmly encouraged to think about developing their teaching portfolio at an early stage. While it can be time-consuming, it is ultimately an enriching and rewarding experience and LEAD is available to provide advice and guidance throughout the process.
For more detail on preparing a teaching portfolio, see this guide to Preparing Your Teaching Portfolio.
- O’Farrell, C. (2007) Teaching Portfolio Practice in Ireland: a handbook, Dublin: AISHE.
- Pelger, S. and Larsson, M. (2018) ‘Advancement towards the scholarship of learning and teaching through the writing of teaching portfolios’, International Journal for Academic Development, 23(3): 179-191.
- Sjögren, E., Ragnemalm, E.L., Tingström, P., Uhlin, L. and Abrandt Dahlgren, M. (2012), ‘Academics’ reflections on the use of eportfolio documentation of pedagogical skills - a pilot study’, The Quality of Higher Education, 9: 98-119.
- Vanderbilt University (n.d.) ‘Teaching Portfolios’, Vanderbilt University, https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/teaching-portfolios/ (Accessed 14 Sept. 2018).
- How LEAD supports your teaching
- Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET)
- Peer Observation
- Developing a Teaching Philosophy
- Teaching Portfolios