Understanding effective teaching: perceptions from students, staff and executive managers in a post-1992 university.
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AbstractThis study proposes a model for effective teaching based on the development of an affiliative culture for both students and staff. Characteristics such as respect, helpfulness, and approachability are combined with specific teaching skills that are perceived by staff and students to be effective both for displaying these traits and also to enhance teaching. Although the literature shows that qualitative attributes are not new, from the data gathered, it appears that they are not always recognised by staff as significant for students’ learning. The literature also indicates that there is a disjuncture in the perceptions of effective teaching from executive management, staff and students. The context of the research is in a post-1992 university and current trends indicate there has been a shift in higher education towards a more bureaucratic approach to accountability in terms of student numbers and financial aspects that have resulted in larger teaching groups especially for post1992 universities. Additionally, the student funding system has changed so that students are now responsible for paying all their tuition fees, albeit via student loans. The literature proposes that this means that students may consider themselves as customers which indicate a different kind of relationship with a university. The research literature posits that these reforms have led to increased pressures on teaching staff so that they do not have time to develop a climate of affiliation which encompasses openness, trust and a sense of belonging for the students which, in turn, leads to creating a positive learning environment and student success. The literature review considers the perceptions of effective teaching from academic teaching staff, students and executive managers. This research uses a case study approach with the research design set within an interpretivist paradigm whereby the opinions and perceptions of the respondents are explored. Data were gathered through multiple data collection tools, such as internal student surveys, a student focus group interview, and filmed teaching observations, stimulated recall discussions with staff and conversational interviews with executive managers. In addition, secondary data were used from the narrative comments in the National Student Survey, (NSS) (2012) to complement the internal survey. The research questions focus on the perceptions and strategies that are viewed as part of effective teaching from the three groups of participants. 4 From the findings, I have developed a model to promote effective teaching which proposes an alignment of affiliation with specific teaching skills that encourages participation from both staff and students so that learning is jointly constructed. The model presents a way that combines the personal qualities and values gathered from the data, with students’ preferred teaching strategies which are perceived to enable effective teaching to take place. The inter-relationship between specific teaching skills and personal characteristics, identified in the model, is unique because it is the only approach that combines teaching methods with a values base that encourages a culture of affiliation for both staff and students.
DescriptionA thesis submitted