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Celebrating good teaching at the EUSA Teaching Awards 2016

I would define good teaching as rock-climbing– you are all climbing the same mountain–staff and students. You might throw them down a rope, you might point out a clear route for them to take– they may not take it. The really good students will take off and will far surpass you. They may throw you down a rope at some point. I think that good teaching is not one universal method. I think it’s the type of teaching that can adapt to different environments, to different people. I think good teaching matters because I don’t know if we’re ever told enough you can do something meaningful. I think great teaching does that first and foremost, but I think it matters because, again, it’s about helping to mould our students– into becoming all that they can be, whatever they decide that might be. Good teaching is important to me because it makes students realise they are valued as not just a consumer, but as a human being. Good teaching practice is about learning how to be a better teacher. It’s also about learning your subject. It’s also about being open to the things you know and also what you don’t know. To staff who want to improve their own teaching practice, I’d say, the first thing is, if they’re thinking that way, they’re well on their way already. So I think the most important practical piece of advice is to engage with the IAD. They run a wonderful series of courses and workshops. It illustrates good teaching because it isn’t just a didactic process of someone from the IAD standing there saying, do this, do that, and everything will be fine. The most important things come from the conversations between the lecturers who are there to learn. And I think that mirrors what happens with our undergraduate learning and teaching– that it’s the whole group working together to take a journey and to learn something.

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