Faculty perceptions on teaching

Shelleyann Scott and Kathryn Dixon (2008 ) in their edited book, The Globalized University: Trends and Challenges in Teaching and Learning, offer educational leaders a discussion about the changes information and communicate technology is bringing to their institutions.

Chapter 3: Faculty perceptions of learning and teaching with technology. They share seven principles for teaching and learning by Chickering, Gamson & Barsi (1987; 1989) as:

 

  1. For faculty and students to connect
  2. For students to work collaboratively and socially
  3. For students to actively engage in their learning
  4. To get prompt feedback
  5. To manage one’s time
  6. To set high expectations
  7. Be inclusive with diverse talents and learning styles

 

Also, adult learners have certain needs such as being self-directed, draw on life experiences, learning for social and work lives, problem-solving, application to their context, and are intrinsically motivated. They want a mutual learning experience with the instructor where their knowledge and experience are respected (Merriam & Brockett, 1997; 2006). Wlodkowski (2006) points out what motivates adult learners such as personal and professional goals, and are interested in learning that is relevant and applicable to their context. To feel motivated they need to feel included in the learning environment and respected and connected with others; relevant learning with choice; challenging and thoughtful learning experiences, and a feeling of success. However, instructors are concerned how to help students collaborate and discuss when there is so much diversity in the student population such as age, gender, ethnicity, and past experience. As well, adult students are motivated by their varied goals, financial incentives, status and recognition, interaction with others and the learning context. Thus, they need to have control with their learning (Knowles, Holton III and Swanson, 1997).

 

While many instructors use traditional teaching strategies, over half wanted to try new methods such as problem-based and cooperative learning, and to incorporate technology. Yet, short workshops proved to be ineffective for transferring skills into regularly teaching behaviours and improved student outcomes. Taking professional development to another level that is organizationally wide and transcends boundaries is more effective. This would promote multidimensional approaches to teaching and learning, resource sharing, evidence-based reflections and action planning. Another issue is workloads with faculty becoming overwhelmed with teaching assignments, conducting research, administrative tasks, high student numbers, and monitoring teaching assistants, all inhibiting their ability to find extra time and energy to engage in professional development, and reflect on teaching practices. Furthermore, faculty are frustrated with governments push for increased teaching quality and research output, drawing on their time to produce good work. There seemed to be more time in the past for these activities and to produce quality work.

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