A scholarly basis for teaching practices in higher education Teaching in Higher Education

Evidenced informed teaching has become a keystone to university education. The Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK asks its Fellowship applicants to demonstrate an informed approach to teaching and learning. Colleagues who teach in higher education are now expected to be able to show that their practice is thought-through and that their students flourish while at university or college. Such demonstrations are increasingly essential if one wishes to secure promotion and career progression.

Scholarship is a global theme, yet applying this notion to learning and teaching remains a challenge to many colleagues. This virtual special issue has been designed to not only support those making cases for HEA Fellowship but it will also be of value if considering progression and promotion within learning and teaching in higher education.

Since its inception some 20 years ago, Teaching in Higher Education has been committed to critically examining and interrogating the values and presuppositions that underpin teaching in higher education. The journal has published many articles that are invaluable in informing one’s choice of teaching practices.

This virtual special issue represents a joint initiative between the journal and the HEA. The issue makes a set of articles from the journal free to access for a period of time, to stimulate the thinking of those who are reconsidering or justifying their practice:  

  • What is it that makes for effective teaching in higher education, and for teaching that helps all students to thrive?
  • How can theoretical perspectives and insights drawn from different disciplinary frameworks illuminate one’s practice?
  • Constraints need not be a reason to remain uncommitted in one’s teaching or to be inactive in the face of injustice; how can one work with them?
  • In what ways can critical accounts of lived experiences of higher education pedagogies help practitioners to make sense of their practice?
  • What roles do collaboration and inter-personal relationships play within teaching?

We have included articles that focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning, critical perspectives on practice, diversity and difference in teaching and enhancing teaching and learning.

It is also important to draw together a rationale for one’s teaching practice as a whole when making a case for one’s teaching practices, as (Kahn and Walsh 2006) have argued. In subjecting our practice to extended scrutiny, we find a further approach to making meaning around the practice of teaching in higher education (Clegg, 2015).  

Scholarship of teaching and learning

The journal has long had an interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning; this represents an accessible starting point for those making sense of their practice. 

Critical perspectives on practice

There are many established ways of seeing teaching in higher education, but to what extent do they fully reflect the complexities of practice or help students to flourish?

Diversity and difference in teaching

Inclusive practice is integral aspect of teaching, but as the following papers suggest it is not always so easy to put one’s plans into practice. Our intentions sometimes fail to consider the student perspective and sometimes we have to take risks.  

Enhancing teaching and learning

The ever-changing landscape of higher education means that one is expected to enhance one’s teaching on an ongoing basis.