Changing university teaching and curriculum: Points of reference for university teachers

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Quality teaching and quality curriculum are deeply intricated and interwoven. However, efforts to enhance students' experience of university tend to focus on the improvement of teaching and curriculum development as if they were somewhat disparate activities (Ramsden, 1992; Martin, 1997). At the very least, the discourses of university teaching, university curriculum, and the curriculum field pass like ships in the night.

The aim of this research is to understand how enhancing teaching constructs changes in the curriculum as it is experienced in practice. How does the focus on changing teaching in staff development change the ways in which staff relate to students? How does this focus change the ways in which knowledge is interpreted, organised and engaged in and how is the dialogue between teacher and taught different? As well as studying how changes in teaching diffuse through and relate to other educational sub-practices (administration, staff development, evaluation and research), the study will examine the points of reference university teachers use in reflecting on their practice. What constructs the aspiration and intention to change? But aspiration and intention are framed and occur amidst the exigencies, habits and customs of political life. What does the real politik of university life nurture and inhibit in teaching? These understandings will be crucial to informing and revitalising academic staff development and lay the foundation for further collaborative inter-institutional action research projects.