Key Note abstract

Collaborative practices for university teachers - obstacles and potentialities

As teachers in higher education, we have a core obligation to prepare students for future professional lives in positions like priests, deacons or teachers. In both research literature and policy-documents, transformative learning is underscored as an ideal for how teaching should be designed. Transformative learning can be understood as a theory of adult learning that utilizes different – often contrasting – assumptions and expectations to challenge students’ thinking. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking and questioning to consider if their personal underlying assumptions and beliefs about the world are accurate and proper for (professional) actions.

This lecture will not take the perspective of the students, but rather the teachers. I argue that transformative learning should be held as a key premise also for professional development of teachers in higher education. Furthermore, I argue that critical thinking and questioning have a large potential for enhancing transformative learning for university teachers. In that regard, we need arrangements where teachers thinking about designs for learning and their confirmations can be challenged within collaborative teams.

The task of designing constructive learning environments in our society is complex and multi-layered, and it is well documented that the best learning environments for students are those in which teachers collaborate. However, both teaching and supervision are tasks typically enacted by teachers as solo actors. Hence, a key question is how more collaborative practices can be cultivated, in order to support the development of transformative learning for both university teachers and students. This question will be addressed through a discussion of an ongoing project financed by the Norwegian research Council: “Faculty peer-tutoring in teaching and supervision – Innovating teacher collaboration practices in Norwegian higher education” (PETS). The project is about how to improve teaching and supervision in higher education through collaboration. By documenting work in four cases through different phases, we collect a rich, in-depth data set on processes and change. This material will give us the opportunity to learn about collaborative processes on teaching and learning, and to gain insights about obstacles and potentialities in these.

 

For more information about PETS, see: https://www.uv.uio.no/iped/english/research/projects/wittek-faculty-peer...