Being a Teacher in Higher Education

By Peter T. Knight | Go to book overview

1
Being at work in
higher education

A stance

Being a teacher in higher education is about you, and your work environments, and your non-work environments. The stance is mat each influences the other. For example, your non-work environments affect the way that work feels. Reviewing research into stress in the workplace, Briner (1997: 63) noted that as far as people referred for occupational stress counselling were concerned, 'the limited evidence available suggests that the sources of client difficulties are more usually connected with life outside work'. Life counselling is outside the scope of this book but that omission is not intended to signal mat what happens outside work is a closed system with no connection to it. The interplay is acknowledged but only explored insofar as it helps us to understand better the experience of being a teacher in higher education.

Academic work is the main concern of this book. It is seen as a complex net of expectations, tasks and communications. Being a teacher is a part of this net, although the act of selecting this one role for deliberation is as artificial as selecting your work while keeping issues of identity, personhood and non-work systems in the background. Regardless of whether teaching invigorates research, whether research sustains teaching or whether they compete like ferrets in a sack, teaching and research are networked to each other as well as to administration, pastoral work, self-advancement and other academic functions.

So, teaching is a web of communications, activities, beliefs and such like. If this were represented in a simple sketch it might look like Figure 1.1. The stars stand for elements of the work of teaching, which will include beliefs, understandings, activities and procedures. The lines invite you to imagine some of the many, many connections between the elements, with the heavier lines showing connections that have become 'hot-wired' through frequent use so that they are almost automatic patterns of reaction to a particular task that is to hand. In this scheme of things, connections are

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Being a Teacher in Higher Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Part 1 - People, Times and Places 1
  • 1: Being at Work in Higher Education 3
  • 2: Learning Teachers, Learning Students 22
  • 3: Being a New Teacher 37
  • 4: Feeling Motivated 54
  • 5: Maintaining Teaching Vitality 72
  • 6: Part-Time Teaching 86
  • Part 2 - Teaching Practices 99
  • 7: Instruction 104
  • 8: Learning Tasks 124
  • 9: Creating Feedback 143
  • 10: Designing for Learning 160
  • 11: Getting Good Evaluations 178
  • Part 3 - Times of Change 187
  • 12: Change, Experiencing Change and Making Change Happen 189
  • 13: Managing Your Career 199
  • 14: Being a Teacher in Higher Education 215
  • References 220
  • Index 233
  • The Society for Research into Higher Education 246
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