Moving Beyond Teaching Excellence: developing a different narrative for England’s higher education sector

O'Leary, Matt and Wood, Phil (2019) Moving Beyond Teaching Excellence: developing a different narrative for England’s higher education sector. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 21 (2). pp. 112-126. ISSN 2396-7404

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Purpose: Teaching excellence remains a contested term in English higher education. This paper begins by reflecting on its complex and sometimes blurred meaning, charting the divergence between academic interests in the complexity and contextual questions relating to practice development and organisational and sectoral shifts which have been driven by managerialism, accountability and ‘topdown’ ideas of change. We argue that this divergence, epitomised in the development of the Teaching
Excellence Framework (TEF), has led to a confused, if ubiquitous, use of excellence to identify organisational and sector-led ideas of what it means to deliver quality teaching. However, these frameworks have become progressively detached from the complexity of practice investigated by those interested in pedagogy.

Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper which brings together literature from teaching excellence, organisational science, time and higher education to develop an alternative approach to pedagogic development.

Findings: Based on a critique of the current, confused conceptualisation of teaching excellence, we offer a different narrative which demonstrates how a reconsideration of the factors important in developing
critical and challenging teaching opportunities. Based on a ‘bottom-up’ system focusing on dialogue, sustainability and ‘unhasty’ time, we argue for a re-establishing of a holistic approach in HE providers based on emergent pedagogies as opposed to teaching excellence.

Originality and value: This paper demonstrates why teaching excellence has become conceptually
fractured in an English context, and why a new approach to pedagogic development needs to be considered to establish a more positive and critical approach at both institutional and sectoral levels. This paper outlines a possible approach to developing such renewal.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
28 October 2018Accepted
13 May 2019Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability, higher education, teaching excellene, dialogic change, pedagogic practice, teaching excellence framework
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Matthew O'leary
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 08:29
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:01

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