I work directly with students supporting teaching and learning in HE
Evaluating your own teaching
You might find it useful to systematically evaluate and reflect on your teaching and learning activities to enhance your professional development and the learning experiences of your students. This section provides guidance and links to resources to help you to do so. Professional development is a continuous, iterative and overlapping process, which includes:
- engaging in teaching-related and other CPD activities
- applying the concepts and skills developed in your teaching practice
- evaluating which aspects work, which do not, and reflecting on the reasons why, and
- developing action plans based on evaluations and reflections for further improvement.
Emphasis on CPD and on its evaluation is reflected in the areas of activity (A5), core knowledge (K5) and professional values (V3) called for by the UKPSF (2011).Adopting a reflecting approach involves reflecting in action as well as reflecting on action (Schön, 1983). It may be helpful to maintain a record of critical incidents in your teaching and learning activities. When reflecting on your teaching, it may be useful to record both positive and negative outcomes which might inform future practice and to do so from:
- your own experiences as learners and teachers
- your students’ eyes
- your colleagues’ experiences, and
- theoretical literature (Brookfield, 1995).
Some of the templates you might base your reflections on are:
- Gibbs (1998) Reflective Model (CPDme)
- Johns (1995), Borton (1970) and others (Greater Manchester AHP/HCS Life Long Learning Project Team)
- The Thinking Frame (CUREE).
You might also wish to use rating scales/questionnaires of teaching skills to assess your practice at different stages. A few existing resources to do so are linked below:
- Personal and key skills self-assessment (University of Exeter)
- Approaches to Teaching Inventory (University of Birmingham site)
- Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs Questionnaire (Mills, 2011)
- Feedback Audit Tool (University of Reading)
- Perth & Kinross Council – Individual self-evaluation forms:
Questionnaire for leaders and managers in education
Questionnaire for teachers
- Scottish Council and GTC Scotland
Matching yourself to the standards for full registration.
Evaluating changes in students' approaches to learning is another useful way to appraise your teaching.
Measuring the impact that teaching-related CPD has on student outcomes
Making causal claims about the impact that teaching-related CPD has on student outcomes is extremely difficult to do. This relationship is complex; it is problematic attributing specific action with student learning or to establish learning gain for students. There are two main ways in which teaching-related CPD might affect student learning:
- impact on how students acquire course content
- impact on how students learn.
These effects can be measured in terms of student satisfaction, changes to the way they study and their academic achievements. Currently most UK institutions measure student satisfaction through Student Perception Questionnaires (SPQs), also known as module feedback forms, and the National Student Survey (NSS) (reported though Unistats) as well as monitoring student achievements through degree classifications. There is currently less emphasis on how students study although there is a growing interest in this area.
If you are interested in exploring the impact of teaching-related CPD on students there are a number of ways that this can be done.
There are instruments that explore the students' perception of teaching and capture student study habits. These provide a snapshot of student behaviours which can be harvested over time to identify impact and change. The following are suggested as examples reported to have been used across the sector:
- Economic and Social Research Council's Teaching and Learning Research Programme Experiences of Teaching and Learning Questionnaire and shortened version.
- University of Edinburgh and Napier University Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8279.1982.tb02505.x/abstract and www.etl.tla.ed.ac.uk/questionnaires/ASSIST.pdf
- The Student Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ) is one of the most thoroughly developed and widely used student feedback questionnaires in the USA with a robust factor structure, excellent reliability and reasonable validity.
- Borton, T. (1970) Reach, touch and teach. McGraw Hill, London.
- Brookfield, S. D. & Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
- Gibbs. G. (1988) Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford Further Education Unit, Oxford.
- Johns. C. (1995) 'Framing learning through reflection within Carper’s fundamental ways of knowing in nursing'. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 22. pp 226-234.
- Schön, DA. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner. Basic Books, New York.