The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in and across Disciplines

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in and across Disciplines

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in and across Disciplines

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in and across Disciplines

Synopsis

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) began primarily as a discipline-based movement, committed to exploring the signature pedagogical and learning styles of each discipline within higher education, with little exchange across disciplines. As the field has developed, new questions have arisen concerning cross-disciplinary comparison and learning in multidisciplinary settings This volume by a stellar group of experts provides a state-of-the-field review of recent SoTL scholarship within a range of disciplines and offers a stimulating discussion of critical issues related to interdisciplinarity in teaching, learning, and SoTL research.

Excerpt

Travel between the disciplinary and interdisciplinary poles of the scholarship of teaching and learning has always been exciting—sometimes easy, sometimes arduous; sometimes welcomed, sometimes feared. the tensions were evident early on, when Sherwyn Morreale and I edited an exploratory collection of essays titled Disciplinary Styles in the Scholarship of Teaching: Seeking Common Ground (2002). We noted then how the work “draws strength from being situated in a discipline and its particular style. But growth in knowledge also comes at the borders of disciplinary imagination,” and we called attention to the “trading zones” where scholars from different fields were exchanging insights, ideas, and findings “even though the meanings and methods behind them may vary considerably among producer groups” (2–3).

As this new collection demonstrates, travel between disciplinary and interdisciplinary destinations remains a defining feature of the scholarship of teaching and learning, and gives a special flavor to the experience of engaging in the work. Yet the essays gathered here also testify to two important developments. First, there has been the emergence of a more robust “teaching commons” in higher education, where “communities of educators committed to pedagogical inquiry and innovation come together to share ideas about teaching and learning” (Huber and Hutchings 2005, x). Second, through the enriched opportunities for trade that the commons provides, we now have a core set of resources—concepts, methods, analytical strategies—that all can draw on for inquiry into learning. What does this change in the landscape mean for the role of the disciplines in this work?

There’s long been agreement that disciplines are key to the scholarship of teaching and learning. This comes in part from the work’s character as practitioner inquiry in the classrooms (and associated labs, field sites, and community settings) where particular courses in particular fields are taught and learned. the questions scholars ask typically focus on what and how their students are (or are not) learning about course- and field-specific subject matter, values, dispositions, and skills. and while the main goal is improvement—designing learning environments that foster better learning outcomes—there has also been a strong conviction that inquiry emerging from one setting will be of interest to faculty teaching in the same discipline in other settings, both closer to home and further away. So another defining feature of the scholarship of teaching and learning has been a commitment . . .

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