Measures of Human Worth: the Place of Value(s) in Academia Gill Rutherford
A Return to the â€œDark Agesâ€?
Implications of Attachment Theory for Tertiary Teaching
Kumari Fernando Valentine
Closing the Loop: Evaluating the Spotlight on Teaching Conference 2013 Jenny McDonald
SEEDS: Teaching Tips 22
My Journey From Radiation Therapist to Teacher
Akoranga is: Editors: Jenny McDonald and Clinton Golding. Design: Gala Hesson. Team: Candi Young, Swee Kin Loke, Adon Moskal.
Editorial Spotlight on Teaching Jenny McDonald
he relative value of teaching and research at the University of Otago was brought into sharp focus last year by Associate Professor Gordon Sanderson, winner of the 2013 NZ Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching. His views, that teaching is a waste of time for those who want promotion and that “The university ... are much more interested in research and they reward their staff for good research” (ODT, July 10th, 2013), sparked a flurry of debate both in the media and on the TEU discussion lists. The University responded with a statement issued by the University Executive and published in the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday 31 July which gave an assurance that the University of Otago holds teaching equal with research. While strong arguments were made on all sides of this debate, perhaps the most important thing is that the debate happened at all. There will always be those who feel that teaching is undervalued, just as there will be those who feel that it is strongly valued. Educational questions do not lend themselves to generalisations or straightforward answers, so it is hardly surprising that views about the business of education, including balancing teaching and research imperatives, become polarised. This is not to say that we should avoid asking the questions or become entrenched in our own views. As David Berliner has noted in his paper, ‘Educational research: the hardest science of all’, “unrestricted questioning is what gives science its energy and vibrancy” (Berliner, 2002, p.18). Encouraging debate between teachers, researchers and indeed all University staff will help tertiary institutions, including our own, to make well-founded decisions appropriate to contemporary contexts. In the spirit of promoting ongoing and vibrant discussions, in this issue of Akoranga we seek to extend some of the conversations from the Spotlight on Teaching and Learning 2013 Conference held at the St David Theatre complex at the end of August. Since 2013 was dubbed ‘the year of the MOOC’, we begin our News section with a brief review of a recent article from the Times Higher Education by Professor Diana Laurillard, where she questions the viability of MOOCs. Gill Rutherford’s thoughtful keynote at Spotlight 2013 explored the place of value and values in higher education, in the particular context of disability studies. Gill has provided a feature article for this issue of Akoranga, which develops the themes from her keynote address. Karyn Paringatai and Kumari Valentine won awards at Spotlight 2013 for the most creative and thoughtprovoking presentations respectively, and have revisited their presentations as feature articles. Closing the loop in evaluation is discussed in the context of participant feedback from Spotlight 2013. Finally, we continue our SEEDS column with reflections on clinical teaching from Nadia Smith and Ewan Kennedy, who are both undertaking study in the HEDC Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. As always, we welcome your feedback and comments on Akoranga and hope you enjoy this issue. All the best for a productive year ahead from the Akoranga production team! Berliner, D. (2002) Educational Research: The Hardest Science of All.
news Free online courses that require no prior qualifications or fee are a wonderful idea but are not viable according to Professor Diana Laurillard writing in the Times Higher Education last month.
Laurillard has been in Educational Technology long enough to have experienced all the hype cycles that have beset the field in the last 40 years or so and is acknowledged as one of its leaders. She is also author of Rethinking University Teaching, now its second edition and still arguably once of the best guides to the thoughtful implementation of technology in the classroom. Online content, she points out, has to be produced by someone who understands how the content relates to intended learning outcomes and this comes at a cost. Current estimates suggest around 60% of MOOC enrolments come from people who already have degrees and therefore MOOCs hardly solve the global issue of access to an undergraduate education. She directs her strongest criticism at the notion that peer support is a replacement for a professional tutor or teacher, “a course format that copes with large numbers by relying on peer support and assessment is not an undergraduate education.” But she saves her best line for last, “I have had many opportunities to observe that very intelligent people leave their brains behind when it comes to technology. The MOOC phenomenon is just further confirmation of that simple truth.” The article sparked a lively and thoughtful online discussion. You can read the article in full and the discussion that followed, here: http://bit.ly/1i5y8p0 Get the low down on ‘Big Data’ from an old pro: Peter Norvig on big data, machine learning and the Internet: http://t.co/CYMjI3yg4j
Where to turn for news, views and commentary in Higher Education Whether you are looking for background on professional accreditation, tracking research rankings, trying to understand the impact on teaching of government policy or finding out what a MOOC is, the following news sources are useful places to start. The HERDSA news feed provides a useful and regular summary of Higher Education news from The Times Higher Education, The Chronicle and The Australian delivered to your desktop or mobile. http://higheredheadlines.wordpress.com/ If you like to browse, below are the individual links and a very brief summary for each source included in the HERDSA news feed. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/highereducation The Australian Higher Education covers a wide range of Higher Education news 04
and topics with special relevance to those working in the Australian and NZ tertiary sector. http://chronicle.com The Chronicle of Higher Education is a U.S. based website covering a wide range of topics and disciplines of interest in Higher Education. It is usually updated daily and provides an excellent starting point for researching views on contemporary issues. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/ The Times Higher Education (THE) online is similar to The Chronicle and The Australian Higher Education but with a UK/European slant. Several specific news feeds are available from the site in addition to features and commentaries.
MEASURES OF HUMAN WORTH: THE PLACE OF VALUE(S) IN ACADEMIA Gill Rutherford
ou will be of much greater value to the university once you’ve got your PhD.” This was the advice given by a senior staff member who was encouraging me to hurry up and finish The Big Story (aka thesis). Working within a Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) environment while in the midst of a ‘management of change’ process in which numerous, highly-regarded colleagues were made redundant, I found the notion of being of ‘greater value’ troubling. As a teacher, I was drawn to postgraduate study simply because I thought I needed to learn more, to do justice to my students, particularly those whose identity and inherent human value were often diminished by the imposition of disability related labels. Recently, thanks to an article intriguingly entitled The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity, I was able to interpret this judgment of my potential value in a more theoretical way. Ball (2003) proposes that, in an era of ‘market driven’ educational reform, “teachers are represented and encouraged to think about themselves as individuals who calculate about themselves, ‘add value’ to themselves, improve their productivity, strive for excellence and live an existence of calculation” (p. 217). “We learn that we can become more than we were and be better than others” (pp. 218-219). In such a context, “value replaces values - commitment and service are of dubious worth within the new policy regime” (p. 217, italics added) and “authentic social relations are replaced by judgemental relations wherein persons are valued for their productivity alone. Their value as a person is eradicated” (p. 224). Ball’s (2003) assertions appear valid within the current PBRF era, in which one measurement of academics’ value is their research productivity, expressed in terms of ‘outputs.’ The apparent privileging of research has led to vociferous debate about the respective value of research and teaching in tertiary education. In focusing on the question of perceived value however, I have been influenced by Ball’s distinction between value and its plural, and wonder whether we are overlooking the centrality of values within what Slee (2010, p. 562) describes as the “indivisible trilogy” of teaching, scholarship, and activism/ service. I’d therefore like to shift the focus from judgements of value, to explore the place of values within the University, as evident in our teaching, research and service responsibilities. Why? Because “values are fundamental guides and prompts to action…To act responsibly in education we have to relate what we do to our values” (Booth, 2011, p. 308). The nature of knowledge produced through research activities, the knowledge and skills ‘transmitted’ through teaching and the kinds of service activities we undertake are determined by and reflect what we value. Having had the privilege of working in the field of disability and education for the last 35 years, I am particularly concerned about the ways in which disability issues are perceived within university contexts. Why does this matter? At an individual level, one in five people are touched by disability at any given time, and all of us will experience impairment at some point in our lives – understanding disability is therefore central to understanding what it is to be human. At a societal level, in response to the discrimination and oppression experienced by disabled people, there are numerous covenants, laws, and policy documents that safeguard the humanity and rights of all citizens. The purpose of the New Zealand Disability Strategy/Whakanui Oranga is to promote an inclusive society, which will be achieved when “people with impairments can say they live in ‘a society that highly values our lives and continually enhances our full participation’” (Minister for Disability Issues, 2001, p. 1). Twelve years after the Strategy launch, how well are universities valuing disabled people and enhancing their full participation – whether as students, staff, as well as within the content of papers, teaching practices, and research ventures? As society’s critic and conscience, and as “the ultimate arbiters of what counts for meaningful knowledge” (Barnes, 2007, p. 139), institutions of higher education hold significant power in the production, legitimation, and dissemination of knowledge. What kinds of disability related research and knowledge are currently created? Are we perpetuating narrow, pathological (mis)interpretations of disability that are confined to the “boundaries of treatment, torment, and troubles” (Ware, 2011, p. 249), or are we democratising the creation of knowledge in partnership with (and/or led by) disabled people (Barnes, 2007)? To be consistent with university values (e.g., equity and social justice, ethical standards, the application of knowledge for public good), I argue for prioritising knowledge that portrays a rights-based and dignified view of difference (Barton, 2003), unburdened by the pessimism that shadows the lives of many disabled people.
In terms of teaching, what kinds of values, knowledge, and skills do graduates develop? As “seedbeds for tomorrow’s politicians and policy-makers… it is important that disabled people’s perspectives are properly represented within the academy” (Barnes, 2007, p. 141). Future leaders “equipped to shape the future” need to exercise “the right and responsibility to question and test conventional wisdom” (University of Otago, 2013, p. 2), in this case, about disability. The deficit assumptions underpinning the following comments must be interrupted and countered by alternative, more respectful ways of knowing disability:
Of course you’d terminate a pregnancy if test results indicated Down syndrome - why wouldn’t you? (Undergraduate students’ discussion of a bioethics seminar).
Students like that are not my problem. (A student teacher’s comment about disabled students.)
‘Value added’ graduates leave university armed with a qualification that gives them power within society. It is therefore imperative that they are prepared to think critically and thoughtfully, to question and change, rather than reproduce, the inequitable status quo, and to work in ways that respect rather than diminish our shared humanity. How can we incorporate disability issues as an integral part of the University of Otago core values, policies (e.g., Graduate Profile; Strategic Direction to 2020) and practices, across multiple disciplines? Internationally, a growing number of universities are recognizing Disability Studies as a legitimate multidisciplinary field of scholarly inquiry (Barnes, 2007; Ferguson & Nusbaum, 2012; Ware, 2011). Disability Studies recognises that disability is a key aspect of human experience, and that disability has important political, social, and economic implications for society as a whole, including both disabled and non-disabled people. Through research, artistic production, teaching and activism, Disability Studies seeks to augment understanding of disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to advocate for social change. (Society for Disability Studies, n.d., as cited in Ferguson & Nusbaum, 2012, p. 71, italics added) Proponents of Disability Studies recognise that disability is socially constructed, and argue that it needs to be seen as a “normal – but not normalising – aspect of study in the humanities [and university as a whole], central to any adequate understanding of the human record” (Berube, 2002, p. 343). Disability Studies provides a valuable theoretical framework for enriching research and teaching possibilities within and across disciplines. The imperative to create a valued place for disability issues within academia is analogous to the experiences of other marginalised groups of people who have advocated for the recognition of their rights and respect for their ways of knowing (e.g., Māori, Pasifika, Gender Studies and Children’s Issues). Just as we have a Māori Strategic Framework and Pacific Strategic Framework, I believe the development of a Disability Strategic Framework, as well as the establishment of a Centre for Disability Studies, are worthy initiatives that would strengthen our individual and collective research, teaching and service. Such developments would also provide another means of realising the University of Otago’s mission, “to enhance the understanding, development and well-being of individuals, society and the environment” (University of Otago, 2013, p. 1). I began with an account of resisting the notion of calculating a person’s value on the basis of their academic ‘ticket.’ As I’ve written, memories of many students have brightened my thoughts. Some of my most powerful learning has come from individuals whose right to access an education and lead decent lives has been and continues to be conditional, contested, and less than it could or should be, because of other people’s flawed assumptions of their worth. They have taught me the difference between measurements of individuals’ value and the fundamental role of values in determining who and what matters. They are the reason I am advocating for change. 08
References Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacherâ€™s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Educational Policy, 18(2), 215-228.
Ferguson, P. M., & Nusbaum, E. (2012). Disability Studies: What is it and what difference does it make? Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 37(2), 70-80.
Barnes, C. (2007). Disability, higher education and the inclusive society. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 28(1), 135-145.
Minister for Disability Issues. (2001). The New Zealand Disability Strategy: Making a world of difference: Whakanui oranga. Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Ministry of Health.
Barton, L. (2003). Professorial Lecture: Inclusive education and teacher education: A basis of hope or a discourse of delusion. London: Institute of Education, University of London.
Slee, R. (2010). Revisiting the politics of special educational needs and disability studies in education with Len Barton. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(5), 561 - 573.
Berube, M. (2002). Afterword: If I should live so long. In S. L. Snyder, B. Brueggemann, & R. Garland Thomson, Disability studies: enabling the humanities (pp. 337-43). New York: Modern Language Association of America.
University of Otago. (2013). Strategic Direction to 2020. Dunedin, NZ: Author.
Booth, T. (2011). The name of the rose: Inclusive values into action in teacher education. Prospects, 41, 303-318.
Ware, L. (2011). Disability Studies in education. In S. Tozer, B. P. Gallegos, A. Henry, M. B. Greiner, & P. G. Price (Eds.), Handbook of Research in the Social Foundations of Education (pp. 244-260). NY: Routledge. 09
a return to the â€œdark agesâ€? Karyn Paringatai
ew teaching methods and approaches have developed alongside the latest technological trends. Virtual learning environments, distance teaching, computers, clickers, smartphones and iPads all have a place in today’s education systems and when used appropriately can enhance student learning. It is therefore refreshing that in an era of rapid technological change something as simple as turning off the lights at the beginning of class and leaving them off can also benefit student learning. I implemented a pre-European Māori teaching methodology into the teaching of Māori performing arts to get students to focus on what they were hearing and not what they were seeing. I turned off the lights at the beginning of class, and left them off whilst students learnt the lyrics and tune, or beat, to various waiata and haka. This teaching method is reflective of a Māori world view and derives from Māori traditions and cultural processes which are outlined below From a Māori perspective, after the separation of Rangi-nui (Sky Father) and Papa-tū-ā-nuku (Earth Mother) our world was originally void of superior forms of knowledge. This knowledge resided in the realms of the Gods and was brought back to earth by Tāne (a child of Rangi and Papa) so it could be used by mankind. The three baskets of knowledge he obtained helped to create a balance between good and evil, between the godly realm and the human realm and those who dwelt within each. Because it was obtained from the gods it was shrouded in tapu (placed under restriction, sacred). Once brought back to earth, certain rituals and procedures had to be followed whilst using that knowledge in case offence was given to the gods and they exacted revenge. In pre-European Māori society much of the education of children occurred informally. Children acquired skills and knowledge by watching and observing the activities of adults within the village. However, there were some forms of knowledge singled out as too important for their acquisition to be either informal or left to chance and they became subjects of formal study in the whare wānanga (a pre-European institution for learning esoteric knowledge and occult lore). The whare wānanga differed from tribe to tribe and was not always an actual physical location or space. The curriculum was divided into two complementary parts: the first being te kauwae runga (the upper jaw) which included everything pertaining to the gods. The second was te kauwae raro (the lower jaw) which included knowledge relating to terrestrial matters. By learning both curricula students were able to see the interconnection between the spiritual and physical worlds. That knowledge was used in all aspects of Māori society and was passed down orally from generation to generation. The teaching employed in the whare wānanga generally involved the recitation of information in some mnemonic form. Whare wānanga operated during the winter months of April to August and as a result instruction sometimes occurred in total or semi-darkness. During this time the mind was said to be free of distractions: limiting external stimuli was thought to be more conducive to developing the student’s mnemonic abilities and retention skills. The gods were invoked to make students’ minds clear and receptive to the knowledge that they were about to receive. Any lapse in concentration could prove disastrous in the long term as the material could be mislearned and subsequently recited with errors in it. Young children who were gifted in their abilities to remember things were selected to be students of the whare wānanga where they would become receptacles of tribal knowledge. In a pre-literate society, the aural receptive skills and memory recall abilities of the Māori population were finely attuned. Screeds of information could be repeated after hearing it only once. European arrival to New Zealand and the establishment of a formal education system, which placed an emphasis on reading and writing, quickly inhibited the importance and development of aural receptive skills amongst Māori. We forgot how to listen. Māori knowledge and pedagogies were quickly replaced with that of the European. We forgot our own epistemologies and styles of teaching and learning that worked for us. Students today, no matter their ethnicity, are so entrenched in a learning process that involves copious amounts of note-taking during a lecture that they find it difficult to just sit there and listen. They are constantly worried about how they will remember information if they do not write it down, or how they will keep their attention from wandering if there are no visual aids.
With this in mind I decided to experiment with the teaching of Māori performing arts and take it back to the “dark ages”. For obvious reasons, I could not schedule a class in the middle of the night in order to replicate the darkness that was required. Fortunately, we are located in the old Hocken Library where one of the teaching rooms was previously an art gallery with no windows. Turning off the lights at any time of the day immerses the classroom in complete darkness. Over a 13 week semester a total of ten haka and waiata (words, tune, actions and choreography) were taught. Students were not given the written words to any of the items, even after having learnt them. They were taught the lyrics and the tune or beat in the dark before emerging into the light to learn the actions. The two main aims of teaching in this way were to enhance the students’ aural skills and to emphasise the Māori language. Over half of the class were international students and 80% of the students did not have a Māori language background. As a result, students were sceptical that they would retain the information after only hearing it. I feel like learning words and how to pronounce those words by just listening to them is almost impossible. I believe one needs to see the words to make sure the word is being said correctly. This doubt was eliminated after they had learnt two songs in a two hour session. The class were surprised by their progress and grew more confident in their aural abilities. Although there was also first language interference, particularly with the pronunciation of Māori words, this was reduced by the end of week two with careful modelling and repetition. This pre-European Māori teaching methodology has benefits that I did not envision. Eighty per cent of the students do not have a background in Māori performing arts, or an art form that requires singing in another language. Therefore, mistakes are inevitable. Using conventional teaching methods, students often felt embarrassed when they said the wrong words, sung out of tune or misjudged timing. These issues disappeared in a darkened classroom when students realised that others in the class could not see them. Furthermore, the speed with which items were learnt has freed up more time to perfect actions, particularly of the poi and haka. More time was also spent on explaining what the items mean in order to display the necessary facial and body emotions and expressions to enhance the performance. These factors resulted in an improvement in grades for the assessment of practical items. Additional waiata have been taught as the learning of set items was completed three weeks earlier than expected. This has allowed students to add to their repertoire of waiata and haka and transfer these skills to their own communities. Whilst I have only used this teaching methodology when teaching Māori performing arts, I am convinced that the skills and outcomes are transferable to any other subject. Whare wānanga existed as a means of transferring expert knowledge until the late-1860s, around the same time that the University of Otago was established. We work in an institution that has adopted the term whare wānanga in its Māori translation. We are providers of esoteric knowledge and only those who have the necessary entry requirements are able to attend. Our over-reliance on reading, writing and technological innovations has meant that students have switched off and have become immune to listening. Maybe it is time that we take a step back from the technological inventions that fill the mind with distractions and simply turn the lights off.
implications of attachment theory for tertiary teaching Kumari Fernando Valentine
am a clinical psychologist and also teach university students. As a result of completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, I suddenly started seeing connections between psychological theory and teaching practice. In this article, I will outline an idea I developed that I am quite excited about: that Attachment Theory has implications for teaching. I will first describe Attachment Theory before discussing a few implications, as I see them, for tertiary teaching. Throughout this article, I will be talking about the “classroom” but I do not necessarily mean that teachers will have students for an extended length of time. Although a greater length of time means that you get to know your students more, I also teach tertiary students in a very time-limited manner (e.g., 1 – 4 lectures per cohort) and I believe the implications of Attachment Theory are just as relevant. Bowlby (e.g., 1988), considered the “father” of Attachment Theory, suggested that the way primary carers responded to infants powerfully shaped infant behaviour. Although attachment can be categorised in a number of ways, fundamentally, infants are considered securely attached when they have had experience of a consistent carer who has been sensitively and empathically attuned to them. Infants are insecurely attached when their caregiver has displayed negative caring behaviour (e.g., being consistently non-attuned) towards them (e.g., Benoit, 2004). Approximately 1/3 of infants are insecurely attached (e.g., van Ijzendoorn, Schuengel, Bakermans-Kranenburg, 1999). Attachment results in an internal working model (e.g., Ammaniti, Van Ijzendoorn, Speranza & Tambelli, 2010) of how to behave with other people and expectations of how one will be treated by others. Attachment is relatively stable (Fraley, 2002) and other attachments have been studied (e.g., to romantic partners; Hazan, Zeifman, Cassidy, & Shaver, 1999) and are considered to be a consequence of early attachment patterns. As can be imagined, there are consequences of insecure attachment (which can be measured in a variety of ways). For example, insecure attachment is associated with a range of psychopathology (Belsky & Fearon, 2004; Benoit, 2004) and can influence response to psychotherapy (Daniel, 2006). Although this seems dire, the good news is that individuals can “earn” a secure attachment, due to the influence of others such as being in therapy (Daniel, 2006). Although not fundamental to my theory, it is one of my propositions that teachers are also attachment figures and they can help heal attachment issues. Implications of attachment for Tertiary Teachers 1. Nurturing environments encourage growth. Attachment is fundamentally about providing a safe haven in times of distress and a secure base for exploration (e.g., Bowlby, 1988). Thus, I believe that as teachers we have a fundamental role in creating lecture spaces that are a safe haven and helping students see us a secure base. We can create a safe haven by making explicit and implicit our ground rules for classroom/lecture hall behavior and being warm and accessible to our students. We can be a secure base by responding in a timely and caring manner when students try to “explore” (i.e. seek answers or respond to questions). It goes without saying that being critical (e.g., putting students down) creates neither a safe haven nor a secure base. 2. Notice and respond to emotions. Attachment is about helping children (or students) learn to regulate emotions and using emotions when creating opportunities for learning (e.g., Siegel, 2001). I suggest that as teachers, we need to keep a check on the emotional “climate” of the classroom and regulate this as necessary (for example, changing activities as necessary depending on the emotional state of students and incorporating material into lectures that students can emotionally relate to). We also need to be aware of the emotional state of the students who make contact with us and respond calmly when students are distressed, while acknowledging how they feel. This emotional validation is an important aspect of developing a secure attachment relationship. When we ignore feelings, we are being invalidating. If appropriate, students may need to be gently referred on to professional services if their high levels of distress is impeding their learning. However, in my experience as a clinical psychologist working with students, even in this instance, recognition and validation by a lecturer can be a very powerful source of support. 3. Recognise that students have individual needs and that this may be a function of, amongst other things, their attachment history. A student who is insecurely attached may display different classroom 15
behaviour than a student who is securely attached. For example, when faced with stress (e.g., a thesis deadline), a securely attached student may feel very able to come and see you and discuss things. A student with a dismissing attachment style may try to complete tasks by themselves and you may not be aware of problematic issues until much later on. I also suggest that we can consider that there are two aspects we need to consider when dealing with students: emotional work (e.g., reassurance, validation) and cognitive work (e.g., teaching of facts, giving of information). For example, a student who repeatedly emails and is agitated about some aspect of an assignment is not just emailing you for content, I would suggest, but is anxiously also asking for reassurance. 4. Recognise that growth needs to be scaffolded in order to optimize each student’s learning. Vygotsky’s ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (e.g., cited in Stone, 1998) is about the level at which a child is able to achieve on their own relative to the (increased) level they can achieve with the support of a teacher or a peer. Teachers who are sensitive to the individual abilities of their students can provide the necessary extension to help develop abilities and do this in a manner that is validating, safe, and allows optimal exploration. Summary and Conclusion Attachment theory is about the quality of relationships between two individuals, typically about infants and carers. I argue that an attachment model is useful for informing teaching practice at the tertiary level and that enhancing attachment relationships is likely to be associated with good learning outcomes. Based on the literature about attachment and my experience as a clinical psychologist, I discuss how an attachment framework might influence some teaching decisions and propose strategies (with associated research hypotheses) for improving tertiary attachment teaching relationships. Acknowledgements I sincerely thank my colleagues, friends and fellow learners for all they have taught me.
References Ammaniti, M., Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., Speranza, A. M., & Tambelli, R. (2010). Internal working models of attachment during late childhood and early adolescence: an exploration of stability and change, Attachment & Human Development, 2, 328-346. Belsky, J., & Fearon, R. M. P. (2004). Infant–mother attachment security, contextual risk, and early development: A moderational analysis. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 293-310. Benoit, D. (2004). Infant-parent attachment: Definition, types, antecedents, measurement and outcome. Pediatrics and Child Health, 9(8), 541-545. Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory. Routledge: London. Daniel, S. I. F. (2006). Adult attachment patterns and individual psychotherapy: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 968-984 Fraley, C. (2002). Attachment Stability from Infancy to Adulthood: Meta-Analysis and Dynamic Modeling of Developmental Mechanisms. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 123-151. 16
Pearson, J. L., Cohn, D. A., Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (1994). Earned-and continuous-security in adult attachment: Relation to depressive symptomatology and parenting style. Development & Psychopathology, 6, 359-373. Siegel, D. (2001). Toward an interpersonal neurobiology of the developing mind: Attachment relationships, “mindsight”, and neural integration, Infant Mental Health, 22, 67-94. Stone, C. (1998). The metaphor of scaffolding: its utility for the field of learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 31(4), 344–364. van IJzendoorn, M. H., Schuengel C., & BakermansKranenburg M. J. (1999) Disorganized attachment in early childhood: Meta-analysis of precursors, concomitants & sequelae. Development and Psychopathology. 11, 225–49.
closing the loop: evaluating the spotlight on teaching conference 2013 Jenny McDonald
ood teachers understand the need to reflect on and evaluate the impact of their teaching and use a wide range of methods to achieve this. What is less often practiced is sharing the results of an evaluation with students; this is called ‘closing the loop’. Closing the loop serves several important functions:
It improves the quality of student feedback by demonstrating that their responses to questionnaires can make a difference (Spooren et al, 2013). Furthermore, students are more motivated to participate in the evaluation processes if they believe that their feedback is taken seriously (Chen and Hoshower, 2003);
It strengthens the learning community between teachers and students as communication is more transparent and valued;
It provides evidence of ongoing good evaluation practice when this is needed for internal and external bodies; and
Reporting on the evaluation assists teachers with the process of reflection.
In the spirit of ‘closing the loop’ and in an attempt to model good practice, during the closing plenary of Spotlight 2013, we undertook to share the results of the Spotlight evaluation. A summary of the 72 responses (52% response rate) we received to a questionnaire seeking your feedback on Spotlight is on Pages 20-21. The evaluation was designed to assess the extent to which the stated goals of Spotlight were met. These were to: •
Share good teaching practice;
Disseminate findings of higher education research;
Promote research into university teaching; and
Foster networks of staff interested in sharing ideas.
The organising team for Spotlight 2013 met to review the results of the questionnaire in addition to reviewing individual feedback we received. Many of your comments resonated with our own impressions. Some key suggestions for the next Spotlight in 2015 include: •
Providing a presenter contact list;
Providing a list of delegates;
Explicitly linking the conference programme to the aims of the conference;
Increasing the amount of time for presentations;
Incorporating posters into morning and afternoon teas;
Encouraging members of the University executive to become more involved in the event;
Attend to specific points for improvement in communication with authors and timing of acceptance notifications.
If you have any specific comments or suggestions for the next Spotlight in 2015, please do let us know! Suggestions and comments via email are most welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like advice or support in relation to evaluating your own teaching check out the evaluation resources on the HEDC website: http://hedc.otago.ac.nz/hedc/teaching/evaluating-your-teaching/ or contact the HEDC Evaluation Office: ext 7581 or email email@example.com. References: Spooren, P., Brockx, B., & Mortelmans, D. (2013). On the Validity of Student Evaluation of Teaching: The State of the Art. Review of Educational Research, 83(4), 598-642.
Chen, Y., & Hoshower, L. (2003). Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness: an assessment of student perception and motivation. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(1), 71-88. 19
Spotlight 2013 Questionnaire Summary
Spotlight 2013 Questionnaire Summary
Q1. There were four aims of the Spotlight on Teaching and Learning Colloquium. The first aim was to share good teaching practice. How well do you think the Colloquium met this aim? The third aim was to promote research
Very well Number Distribution 1
into university teaching. How well do 1 2 3 4 5 Not at all well you think the Colloquium met this aim? 35 30 4 2 0 49% 42% 6% 3% 0% 3%5 1 90%2 36% 4
Distribution 2* Very well Number 25 NIL Median Distribution 1 35%
1 1.5 Distribution 2* 1%
29 40% 75%
14 19% 19%
Not at all well
Q5 The third aim was to promote research into university teaching. How well do you think the Colloquium met this aim? 1 Very well Number NIL Median 25 Distribution 1 35% 1 1%
2 29 40% 75%
Distribution 2* NIL
3 14 19% 19%
4 2 3%
5 0 0%
Not at all well
Q6 Please explain your answer to the question above.
Q2 Please explain your answer to the question above. Participants appreciated the range of sessions offered, the opportunity to hear from colleagues about their teaching and the opportunity for discussion of teaching practice. Some also commented that they appreciated the cross-disciplinary nature of Spotlight. There were concerns that some sessions were too short and with little opportunity for more in-depth questions/discussion or presentation of evidence to back-up claims. The fourth aim was to foster Q3 The second aim was to disseminate findings ofnetworks higher of staff interested in sharing ideas. education research. How How well well do you think do you thinkthe the ColloquiColloquium met this aim? um met this aim? Very well Very well 1 1 Number Number 4027
2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 NotNot at all well at all well 2028 7 14 4 2 0 0 Distribution 1 156% Distribution 38% 28% 39% 10% 19% 6%3% 0%0% Distribution 2* 2* 83% 10% 6%3% Distribution 76% 19% NIL
Q4 Please explain your answer to the question above. There were mixed views about how well higher education research was disseminated. Some found it hard to tease research apart from practice. Some felt the research component was not very strong whereas others expressed the opposite view. The short time allowed for some presentations also came up again as an issue. Some folk found it very useful to hear of local examples of research into teaching practice.
Many commented that promoting research into university teaching was less apparent as an aim. Nevertheless, opportunities for sharing, hearing about the research of others, legitimising research into teaching were given as examples towards this goal
Q7 The fourth aim was to foster networks of staff interested in sharing ideas. How well do you think the Colloquium met this aim? Very well Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2*
1 2 40 20 56% 28% 83%
3 7 10% 10%
4 4 6%
5 0 0%
Not at all well
NILNIL Median Median
1 1 1%1%
Q8 Please explain your answer to the question above. There were many strong positive comments relating to Spotlight as a venue for fostering networks. Some participants noted that there were no formal activities for getting to know each other and suggested that this may be useful. A few folk suggested creating opportunities for ongoing networking or discussion through online fora or communities of practice.
Q9 How relevant was the Colloquium for your teaching? Very relevant Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2*
1 2 28 23 39% 32% 71%
NIL Excellent Median 1 Number 38 3 1.8 Distribution 1 53%
2 18 25% 78%
3 10 14% 14% 3 9 13% 13%
4 5 7% 4 5 7%
5 3 4%
5 0 0%
Not at all relevant
Q11 The creative communication session was new to Spotlight. Would you like to see this included in future Spotlights? Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2*
Q12 Please explain your answer to the question above. The majority of participants strongly endorsed the creative communication format although a number of folk commented that they did not attend this session.
Q13 Please rate the organisation of this Colloquium Excellent Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2* NIL
1 2 50 17 69% 24% 93%
3 3 4% 4%
4 1 1%
5 0 0%
2 18 53% 25% 78%
Distribution 1 4%
Yes No There were mixed views in relation to the relevance of 31 Spotlight to individual teaching. SomeNumber found it 39 very relDistribution 1 54% 43% evant, others less so but generally still found the97% event Distribution 2* to have value and stimulate thinking.
Yes No 53 6 74% 8% 82%
NILExcellent Median 1 3 Number 1.8 38
Q10 Please explain your answer to the question above.
no 6e %
Q15 Please rate the food at this Colloquium
3 9 13% 13%
4 5 7%
5 0 0%
Q16 Have you attended Spotlight before? Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2*
Yes No 39 31 54% 43% 97%
Q17 What were the best things about this Colloquium for you? The best things about Spotlight were generally the opportunities for sharing teaching and research, networkNIL Median ing and hearing about the work of colleagues. 13 18%
Q18 What areas could be improved in future Colloquia on teaching and learning? Suggestions for improvement included: greater involvement of senior University staff and executive team; rethinking the format for poster presentations; issues with the Spotlight programme numbering; use of parallel sessions in creative communication session; 10 minute presentation time too short; better briefing of session chairs; the provision of a participant list. NIL
*Distribution 2 shows the responses as %(1&2), %(3) and %(4&5). The “Median” calculation is an interpolated median. “Nil” means no response received for this question.
Q14 Please rate the technical support for this Colloquium Excellent Number Distribution 1 Distribution 2* NIL
1 2 48 17 67% 24% 90%
3 4 6% 6%
4 1 1%
5 0 0%
My journey from radiation therapist to teacher Nadia Smith
fter working as a radiation therapist in New Zealand oncology departments and internationally for about fifteen years, I chose to transition into a clinical teaching role. I was a practitioner but how would I become a teacher? What were the important things to know and to learn? I felt that I could step into a clinical teaching role by drawing on my background in all aspects of radiation therapy, as well as my experiences of student mentoring and assessment from working clinically. I was very aware that the course content and structure had changed since I was a student, yet I also felt that I had many experiences from my student days which I could draw from. I understood that becoming a teacher would be a challenge, but I had the support and encouragement of my radiation therapy colleagues and was ready for the challenge. During my first year as a Clinical Tutor Radiation Therapist, I received support and mentoring from friends who were employed as Clinical Tutors at oncology centres throughout New Zealand. A learning pathway incorporating education workshops and study days was provided by The Department of Radiation Therapy, and this enabled me to develop my teaching skills. I enjoyed having a new focus and I had a lot of enthusiasm and energy to bring to my teaching role. Following my first year as a teacher, I considered it was time to pursue some study of postgraduate tertiary teaching so I could expand my knowledge and understand what it means to be a good teacher. I wanted to learn some of the theory behind different approaches to teaching, and learn some new strategies which would enable me to become a better teacher. The staff from the Higher Education Development Centre gave me the encouragement and motivation that I needed to embark on part-time tertiary teaching study. I enrolled in HEDU501: Critical Reflection on Higher Education. It was slightly nerve-wracking when I first met the small group of Dunedin based â€˜studentsâ€™ who were taking this same course of study. The fact that everyone else in the room already had a PhD was slightly disconcerting! Apart from the obvious lack of letters after my name and my lack of
recent study, I did however seem to have a lot in common with my fellow students. Many were teaching at Otago University within the Faculty of Health Science, and the majority were teaching clinical studies papers. This teaching paper was structured in a way which fostered a reflective and collaborative approach to teaching. I enjoyed being able to reflect on some of the challenges that I have faced in my teaching, such as how to identify when my students were struggling to grasp a concept. It was also reassuring to hear that my colleagues on the course had faced similar challenges and it was helpful discussing the different approaches taken. By reflecting on my teaching, and comparing my approach with that of colleagues, I now have a better understanding of my teaching. My students come into the clinical setting with a good theoretical knowledge of radiation therapy. I assist them to further their knowledge and understanding by observing and participating in clinical procedures. I encourage the students to initiate discussions with the radiation therapy staff that they work with, and to determine why the staff members do things in a particular way. I encourage the students to take a deep approach to their learning so they understand the practice of radiation therapy, and develop good clinical reasoning, rather than just memorising the procedural steps which they have observed. My teaching style begins with engaging the students and communicating effectively with them. But I also offer support and mentoring, direction and guidance. My tutorials tend to start with an overview of a procedure or a process, and then I ask the students to explain why they think this procedure is performed in this particular way. I encourage the students to use the resources available to find the answers to their questions. I ask them which resources are most likely to provide the required information, and I encourage them to utilise textbooks, the internet or a specialist member of staff rather than just telling them the answer. I also ask the students to reflect on a procedure or concept which they have observed, but which they do not fully understand. I will discuss the procedure or concept in detail while deconstructing the process into smaller components to teach the students in a stepwise way. I want my students to take ownership of their learning, and I feel this teaching approach encourages the students to use their initiative and to become good problem solvers. Another common strategy I use is to encourage the students to reflect on something which they have recently observed or learned. As each student is rostered to a different area within the oncology department they are exposed to different learning experiences. The students love reflecting on something unusual and interesting they have observed - each studentâ€™s reflection tends to pique the interest of the others and they learn from each other by sharing their experiences. Working with cancer patients can be emotionally challenging at times, and I have found that incorporating reflection into my teaching enables the students to debrief in a supportive environment alongside their peers I realise there is a lot more to learn, and I plan to continue to build on my knowledge and understanding so I can bring new ideas to my teaching and become an even better teacher.
Clinical Reasoning Ewan Kennedy
have been a Clinical Supervisor/Educator of Physiotherapy students since 2008. When I started I had just completed my PhD in Clinical Anatomy and was essentially re-starting clinical practice. This gave me useful insight into how to develop clinical skills and reasoning, as I was very much learning alongside my students.
After a short time in this role I realised that although students entering their 4th and final year feel quite good about gathering information from a patient history and examination, they struggle to interpret what their findings mean. I believe that good reasoning is characterised by the ability to tell a story about the patient’s problem, incorporating concrete evidence from the history and examination. But my students seemed unable to tell this story. For example, a student might ask good questions about how an injury happened, but have trouble judging what part of the body was under stress. To help them, I gave feedback about their thinking, and worried less about issues like their style of questioning or hands-on skills. In practical terms, we talked through their clinical thinking process after taking a history and before examining the patient, and debriefed after each session. I found that when asked what they are thinking, students often report their findings and bypass the thinking process; a student merely repeats the information they learnt through taking the history: “So the patient has sharp right sided back pain, it started two weeks ago after a game of squash and is getting worse, they had a similar problem three years ago…” When prompted for their thoughts students told me they weren’t sure where to start. So I developed a planning sheet to provide a scaffold for making judgments from the history (clinical reasoning). The goal was to provide a series of questions that would prompt students to interpret their findings and provide a record of their thinking. The first two questions provided the terms of reference for the session, and helped students to separate their own concerns (e.g. “Can I improve their movement with treatment?”) from those of the patient (e.g. “I’m worried it might be broken”). The other questions required the students to think about their findings from parts of the history, and judge what they meant. For example, putting the answers from the sheet together a student can describe a high impact and inversion ankle injury in the acute stage. (“This injury is consistent with bone
and/or ligament damage. Details of the patient’s symptoms reveal constant pain consistent with active inflammation, perhaps because they were out drinking and dancing when the injury occurred, but these [assume pain and inflammation] are also worrying signs for a fracture.”) Using the sheet the student is prompted to interpret their findings, going beyond what the patient said. When put together, the answers tell a story of the presenting problem leading into diagnosis and treatment planning. The new form provides a vehicle for openly discussing not just what they found, but also how the student is thinking about their findings. Without the form, I found it difficult to deconstruct a patient session and identify specific issues. The student may have reached the wrong conclusion, but it might not be clear where things went wrong. Their written thoughts show a snapshot of their thinking about different parts of the history, which makes it easier to see which areas need to be discussed. I can now identify missing information when students struggle to answer questions in the planning sheet. I am able to see their answers to the questions and compare them to what I heard (or read in their patient notes) to see if we are thinking the same way, and then discuss any differences. In this way I can identify whether their issue is with gathering information, their knowledge base, or their interpretation. My feedback is now based on specific written examples of their thoughts. Using the form we can discuss how I came up with my answer and how it may differ from theirs, even when we heard the same patient history, Students not only see what I think, but how I think. When students present their thoughts, I find there is a tension between being too closed off and rejecting their ideas completely (e.g. “No, a fracture isn’t likely”), which leaves the students no option but to copy my thinking, and being too open (e.g. “Well it could be that too…”), which weighs ideas equally and doesn’t allow for judging one idea as more likely than another. I aim to walk a middle path that allows the students to think for themselves but leaves no doubt that some ideas are better than others (e.g. “What evidence supports a fracture?”). By helping the students to structure the evidence supporting their thinking they can better judge the quality of their own answers. I know I’m making progress when a student moves from talking about ‘right and wrong’ answers to ‘better and worse’ answers. While I am supervising, the first question I ask after a student sees a patient is “How do you think that went?” There are many reasons for asking this; perhaps the most important one is that this was the key question put to me by my most memorable clinical teacher. This teacher routinely asked this question, even during clinical exams. Through her approach I learnt to reflect on my own performance, which has been of great value to me. This question initiates an open reflective discussion and allows the student to lead the dialogue to the issues they are most concerned with. For example they might say; “That went really badly. I felt really lost during my examination because I had so many positive findings that I couldn’t make sense of them”. Through this comment I can see that the student had insight into the session, knew where it went wrong, and understood why they did things the way they did. From this platform it is straightforward to draw the specific issues out further and discuss ways to address them. I am gratified that my students find this approach valuable; when this approach is done routinely the student learns more than how to reflect – they become reflective. Being a supervisor is a great equaliser, as each patient is unique and supervisor and student meet the patient together. This context allows you to work alongside your students honestly, without a pre-decided answer sheet in your pocket. Establishing a common approach to reasoning has been useful for focusing attention on student thinking/reasoning, and regular open reflection plays a key role in creating a comfortable but challenging learning environment. I’d like to think this creates a place where students can focus on doing their best for their patients and grow into thoughtful reflective clinicians.