Building a scholarly and collegial teacher culture inspired by the research culture – a learning culture.
Academia is characterised by two strong cultures: the teaching culture and the research culture. Despite being contained in the same individuals, these cultures are remarkably different: The research culture is characterized by continuous scientific and methodological development, documentation, collaboration, sharing, and innovation, but also by scientific discussion, debate, critique and peer-review. The teacher culture is more individually-based, focusing on personal experience and perceived ‘talent’ rather than on adoption and development of documented methods and practices. There are fewer opportunities for sharing and little collegial collaboration and support; documentation is scarce and there is a tendency to conserve traditional teaching methods.
Many strengths of the research culture can be adopted in the teaching culture, which would benefit from becoming more hypothesis-driven, evidence-based, and peer-reviewed. This is a key feature of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) movement.
By making use of the research culture, faculty have the necessary tools to not only become better teachers individually, but also to become active and supportive members of a teaching and learning community, with shared responsibility and a common language for discussing and sharing knowledge and experience.
bioCEED’s work to promote a scholarly and collegial teaching culture has concentrated on creating arenas where teachers collaboratively can develop their pedagogical knowledge and skills, and share and discuss teaching and learning. Teachers are encouraged to participate in collegial activities on teaching and learning; like teachers’ retreats, seminar series and workshops. Documenting and reflecting on teaching practice is implemented as part of the quality assurance of courses, and bioCEED supports teachers and educational staff in developing their teaching and learning reflection and practice.