Reimagining teaching excellence: why collaboration, rather than competition, holds the key to improving teaching and learning in higher education

O’Leary, Matt and Wood, Phil (2018) Reimagining teaching excellence: why collaboration, rather than competition, holds the key to improving teaching and learning in higher education. Educational Review. pp. 1-18. ISSN 0013-1911

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Abstract

The Global Education Reform Movement’s (GERM) interest in the quality of teaching and teacher effectiveness has focused largely on schools and children’s attainment to date, with higher education (HE) remaining an outlier. Yet the neoliberal agenda that has dominated HE policy globally over the last two decades closely reflects the focus and ideology of the GERM. A recent example of this is the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework
(TEF) in 2016 in the UK, which places explicit focus on the assessment of the quality of HE teaching, with human capital as a key driver. Drawing on the TEF as an ideological extension of the GERM, this paper challenges the policy’s purported aims and underpinning ethos. It argues that the current metrics-based model embodied in the TEF serves as a reductive instrument of normalising judgement that seeks to exercise control over HE teachers’ work. Contrary to policy claims that the TEF will act as a “key lever in driving up standards”, we maintain that its reliance on crude performance indicators as “evidence” of excellence hinders creativity and pedagogic inquiry, ultimately dissuading the creation of new knowledge about learning and teaching. Contrary to what we perceive as the TEF’s narrow conceptualisation of teaching excellence, this paper proposes an alternative vision that seeks to reimagine excellence by integrating the complex,
context-specific and collaborative characteristics of HE teaching into an approach that has authentic and meaningful improvement at its core, along with an ethos of professional responsibility.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: X900 Others in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) > Re-thinking Practitioner Education and Professional Practice
UoA Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Depositing User: Matt O'leary
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2018 12:22
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 12:22
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6459

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