Supporting a pedagogic community

Yeah. It’s like this. Just like this.

When I talk with people about the work I have done in L&T over the years, I often find myself remembering that I’ve covered a lot of ground in that time.

However, I’m also frequently reminded that there’s a lot more I could have done, and could be doing. And so it’s been in recent weeks, where I’ve just started mentoring some colleagues at my home institution as they prepare for their application to Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

For those of you unfamiliar with the HEA, it’s the UK body for HE teaching. I was very proud to become one of its National Teaching Fellows a couple of years ago, having been a Fellow for a lot longer.

The Senior Fellowship is the next step for most colleagues once they have their initial qualification and UK universities are putting a lot more effort into getting staff to work towards these higher levels of recognition.

For me, it’s a new opportunity to translate existing skills into a new environment. My mentees have to produce an e-portfolio to document how they meet the various criteria and then either write an essay or give a presentation in a viva, to show how all those elements fit together.

Once again I am reminded that we often don’t reflect on our teaching practice very much, and that we also tend not to document what we do: my mentees are having to start with some discussion about how to capture their activities, despite their copious experience.

It also makes me think that this blog – and the ALPSblog community in general – has been a very positive development on this front, precisely because we do all unpack and explore the different aspects of what we do as educators and pedagogists in a way that goes beyond the usual forms of quality assurance that we experience.

As so often, I’m finding that I’m gaining as much as those I work with from this process, as I am asked to reflect on how to engage with the particular requirements of this process and on how to make the most of it.

In short, there’s always more to learn out there.