What is scholarly teaching?


Getting started

Orientation

  • What is the relationship of research to my teaching?
  • How do I take a scholarly approach to my teaching?

The Link Between Research, Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of tertiary education is the strong link between research and the educational experience. University teachers are usually academics who are required to combine research, teaching and service activities. Teaching and learning is typically structured around subject disciplines, and the body of knowledge that underpins the learning is largely developed through research activities: research projects, publications and involvement in a research community. In short, good teaching is informed by subject discipline research.

In addition to being informed by subject discipline research, teaching can be informed by research into teaching and learning. When this happens, teaching practice becomes scholarly. 

Helen Sword from the Centre for Academic Development talks about scholarly teaching:

Click here to view the video (Requires Flash Player).

Richlin (see Taking it Further) has provided a very clear and concise explanation of scholarly teaching. His explanation also makes a clear and useful distinction between scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching. Richlin describes the scholarly process as follows:

  1. Identify the problem or opportunity

    The scholarly process begins with the identification of a problem the teacher would like to solve or with the identification of an opportunity that can be realised. For example, the teacher might notice that students seem to be consistently struggling with a particular concept or the teacher might see a new technology as providing a way to do things in a different way.

  2. Establish a baseline of activity

    Stage two in the scholarly process consists of establishing a baseline of activity. For example, are students failing to achieve particular learning outcomes? Are students consistently scoring badly on a  particular assessment? The success or otherwise of the intervention will be judged against this baseline.

  3. Review existing practice

    The next stage is to look at what others have done. This stage involves consulting the relevant literature to see what has been done to solve the problem or to realise the opportunity that is being considered. For example, a teacher might decide to take a case based approach to teaching a particular concept. The teacher would then consult the literature on case based learning.

  4. Select an appropriate intervention

    The next step in scholarly teaching is to select an appropriate intervention and to justify the selection with reference to the literature.

  5. Intervene, monitor and document

    The next stage consists of implementation, observation, recording of evidence  and evaluation of evidence. The details of this process will differ according to the nature of the intervention. For example, the implementation, observation, recording and evaluation of a case based learning will differ from the  implementation, observation, recording and evaluation of an online discussion forum. However, no matter what the intervention, the process of observation, recording and evaluation must be systematic and rigorous.

  6. Evaluate

    The final stage is to consider the success (or otherwise) of the intervention through comparing the results to the baseline.

Scholarly teaching comes to an end with the completion of stage 6. Teachers who progress beyond that point are engaging in the scholarship of teaching.

Adapted from Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. In L. Richlin (Ed.), New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 86, pp. 57-68). Brisbane, Australia: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Adapted from Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. In L. Richlin (Ed.), New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 86, pp. 57-68). Brisbane, Australia: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Action

Satisfactory performance in the Contribution of Scholarship, Research and Professional Activities to Teaching and Learning might be evidenced by showing an awareness of a body of literature in the field of education and by relating your own teaching to the literature.

  • Scholarly teaching requires familiarity with the teaching and learning literature. This might be something that you develop over time. However, you can start an ePortfolio record to make a note of your initial thoughts about teaching challenges and/or opportunities that might be answered through taking a scholarly approach to your teaching.
Merit and distinction might be evidenced by involvement in the scholarship of teaching along with evidence of contributions to teaching and learning theory and practice at an international level. This resource does not provide content on contributing to teaching and learning at an international level.

Taking it further

Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. In L. Richlin (Ed.), New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 86, pp. 57-68). Brisbane, Australia: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
This chapter distinguishes among the concepts and practices of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching. It focuses on the ongoing cycle that begins with the scholarly process and can lead to improved teaching practice, scholarly publications, and presentations.
 

Brew, A., & Ginns, P. (2008). The Relationship between Engagement in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Students' Course Experiences. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(5), 535 - 545.

While there has been a good deal of discussion about the scholarship of teaching and learning, and models have been developed to understand its scope, the effects on students’ learning of academics engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning are unclear. In the context of initiatives to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning in a large research-intensive university in Australia, this paper discusses the relationship between faculty performance on a set of scholarly accomplishments in relation to teaching and learning from 2002 to 2004, and changes in students’ course experiences from 2001 to 2005. The paper provides evidence of the relationship between the scholarship of teaching and learning and students’ course experiences and demonstrates the effectiveness of institutional strategies to encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning.
 

Tsang, A. (2010). The Evolving Professional (EP) Concept as a Framework for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 4(1).

This essay describes The Evolving Professional (EP) concept at use within the School of Dentistry, the University of Queensland as a mutli-level framework that connects the learner and the educator in the scholarship of learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning and professional development. Perspectives and reflections into how this concept could be used to connect the nexus between professional development and scholarship of teaching and learning, to broaden the “teaching commons” and how this concept relates to learners and educators of professional training programs are explored.

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What is scholarly teaching?

“A teaching philosophy can help you to reflect on how and why you teach. If you don’t have a teaching philosophy, you might want to consider writing one. You can take a look at What makes a good teacher? to get started. If you already have a teaching philosophy, you might want to reflect on how the work that you are doing here fits with that philosophy”.