9 Strategies for Teaching with Links to Research


Extract from Issue#12 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link

By Gabrielle Baldwin

Source: The Teaching-Research Nexus. Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne. Retrieved from https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/

This 11-page document can be downloaded from the above website source. It contains practical suggestions for actively using links between research and teaching with the main focus on how your own disciplinary research and that of your colleagues can be used to inform your teaching.

QUOTE: Most undergraduates would not have any idea of the research interests and strengths of the staff in the departments in which they are studying.

1. Draw on your own personal research in designing and teaching courses

  • a. This can be as the focus of a module, or just a single lecture.
  • b. Introducing your own research experiences into classes in the form of illustration can help students to understand ideas, concepts and theories.

2. Place the latest research in the field in its historical context in your classroom teaching

  • a. This section discusses the potential benefits and challenges of this approach.
  • b. Benefit: can provide student motivation as being part of an intellectual adventure.
  • c. Benefit: helps to avoid the ‘cardinal academic sin’ of teaching clearly outmoded theories or practices.
  • d. Benefit: offers valuable insights into the ‘messiness’ of reality and the provisional nature of knowledge.

3. Design learning activities around contemporary research issues

  • a. For example, investigate the status of a current research question.
  • b. This section includes practical tips for different types of tasks that will also incorporate graduate learning outcomes.

4. Teach research methods, techniques and skills explicitly within subjects

  • a. Fits naturally within practical laboratory-based subjects.
  • b. But, also research methods or skills subjects.
  • c. Knowledge and skill level should be developed across a course.

5. Build small-scale research activities into undergraduate assignments

  • a. Builds on skills that are now being developed in pre-tertiary education.
  • b. Analyse real-world data.
  • c. Can incorporate group work to complete different parts of a research project.

6. Involve students in departmental research projects

  • a. Undergraduate students are a great intellectual resource.
  • b. Benefits for both students and departments.
  • c. ‘On-the-job’ learning.

7. Encourage students to feel part of the research culture of departments

  • a. Establish ‘special interest groups’ to meet from time to time.
  • b. Make students aware of the research activities of your colleagues.

8. Infuse teaching with the values of researchers

  • a. This section lists 14 significant values, including objectivity, scepticism, honesty, respect for evidence, openness to the new, tolerance, analytical rigour, persistence.
  • b. A powerful pedagogical strategy is to admit uncertainty.
  • c. Another effective procedure is to canvass opposing views on an issue.

9. Conduct and draw on research into student learning to make evidence-based decisions about teaching

  • a. This means research in the field of Education, on student learning and the student experience.
  • b. Part of the function of the Division of Learning and Teaching is to distil the research literature into accessible forms for busy academics, including Teaching Tuesdays.
  • c. You may also wish to conduct research into teaching and learning yourself in order to make evidence-based decisions – see the following section on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Examples of research reports:

  • Naidoo, K., Haigh, N., Holmes, A., Kuiper, A., et al. Unlocking student learning: The impact of teaching and learning enhancement initiatives (TLEIs) on first year university Students. Retrieved from http://www.tiri.org.nz/
  • Prebble, T. Hargraves, H., Leach, L., Naidoo, K., Suddaby, G., & Zepke, N. Impact of student support services and academic development programmes on student outcomes in undergraduate tertiary study: A synthesis of the research. Retrieved from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/

And, if you have the time, check out this recent 184-page book discussing research-based teaching. Free to download: A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education.