The scholarship of teaching and learning

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TERESITA TANHUECO-TUMAPON

TWO papers in 2008 and 2009 which my former tutor at Surrey University, UK, Dr. Lewis Elton wrote, were both an early advocacy of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). In those papers he discussed why SoTL can properly be linked to the continuing professional development (CPD) of academics. In the mid 1990s, while serving as professor of higher education at the University College London (UCL), Lewis founded the Higher Education Research and Development Unit, later named the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching and more recently, in February 2017, was renamed as the UCL Arena Centre for Research-Based Education.<https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/…/new-name-and-location-centre-advancing-…>. In adopting this new label, the teaching center comes up with three UCL initiatives, namely: “1) the UCL connected curriculum which embeds research and enquiry in all levels of the students learning, 2) the UCL Arena with its resources, networks and development for UCL staff who teach and 3) the UCL Change Makers which refer to students and staff working in partnership to enhance learning.” <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/…/new-name-and-location-centre-advancing-….>

SoTL and the Humboldtian model. Both Elton papers argued “that the way towards the university of the 21st century should be through SoTL with its stress on the unity of teaching and research; its demand that university teaching should become a trained profession and its recognition that the Humboldtian university, with its structure now validated by complexity theory, continues to be the way forward.” The 2008 paper titled “CPD in HEd – the role of the scholarship of teaching and learning” was published in Practice and Evidence of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 3, No. 2 (October 2008, pp. 193-208). The 2009 paper with the title “Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education: The Role of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” was published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Volume 3 |No.
1 Article 28, I-2009. The Humboldtian model of higher education was considered as a “holistic combination of research and studies.” <https://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldtian_modelof_higher_education>.The spread of democratic polity, liberalizing access to education spawned the growth of mass higher education in the 20th century. Catering to students from different levels of the economic pyramid, the teaching function faced varied teaching and learning issues for which answers were necessary. The Humboldtian model of higher education with its core idea as “a holistic combination of research and studies” addressed the necessity of finding answers to various teaching and learning issues through investigative inquiry and which findings are made public.
<www.historyandpolicy.org › Policy Papers>. Also, “sometimes called simply the Humboldtian model, it integrates the arts and sciences with research to achieve both comprehensive general learning and cultural knowledge, and (which) is still followed today.” <https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Humboldtianmodel_of_higher_education>. The Humboldtian model demonstrates that it is possible to integrate the research and teaching functions to result in an “unbiased knowledge and analysis” of teaching and learning issues.

SoTL today. Many definitions of SoTL have been put forward since the “conceptualization that teaching can undergo the process of research.” This raised ‘the traditional role of teaching from ‘a routine function, tacked on’ to an essential component of a professor’s scholarly life.” <https:// my.vanderbilt.edu/sotl/understanding-sotl/origins/>. The same source posits that scholarly work should have “clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation and reflective critique.” These goals are familiar to academics from their evaluations of the scholarship of discovery (traditionally called simply “research”) yet are now applicable as “standards of the other three scholarships—the scholarship of discovery; the scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application; and the scholarship of teaching.” As a scholarly inquiry into post-secondary student learning, SoTL does advance the practice of teaching by making research findings public.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholarship_ofTeaching_and_Learning>. A fundamental dichotomy between university and school, established by Humboldt is that the university treats scholarship always “in terms of not yet completely solved problems, whether in research or teaching, while a school is concerned essentially with agreed and accepted knowledge”. The consequence “is that in universities,” “the teacher is then not there for the sake of the student, but both have their justification in the service of scholarship.”

SoTL in Philippine research. While the web reports that investigation of student learning is becoming more common on campuses as part of a body of work known as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), my web search for Philippine examples failed. Very likely, investigative inquiries on teaching and learning may have not been referred to as SoTL. Its value lies in the opportunity for us academics “to reflect on, and transform, teaching and learning practices” focusing “on teaching and learning strategies underpinning the curriculum, and (promoting) research-informed teaching.” <www.bu.edu/ctl/sotl-scholars-program> As Lewis Elton’s papers argue, the way towards the university of the 21st century should be through SoTL, with “its stress on the links between research and teaching, its demand that university teaching should become a trained profession and its recognition that the Humboldtian university, with its structure now validated by complexity theory, continues to be the way forward.” <l.elton@ pcps.ucl.ac.uk>.


“Changing the status of the problem in teaching from terminal remediation to ongoing investigation,” subjecting it to reflection and review by co-practitioners, is what scholarship of teaching is all about. <crlt.umich.edu/resources/SoTL>. For “it is only when we step back and reflect systematically on the teaching we have done, in a form that can be publicly reviewed and built upon by our peers, that we have moved from scholarly teaching to the scholarship of teaching.”<http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/ResearchAndScholarship/SoTL/whatIsSOTL/otherdefs.php>

Email: ttumapon@liceo.edu.ph

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