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Pedagogic Research in HE

This Learning Circle, which was led by John Kirkman and Richard Smith, is currently on hold.

Exploratory pedagogic inquiry – a useful approach in challenging times

As a Learning Circle, we had focused since 2020 on the development of an approach to pedagogic inquiry which teachers can adopt to make sense of and improve their current practice in a very immediate and practical way. Our latest iteration of this came in the second half of spring term 2022. Here's what two previous participants said:

'This turned out to be a most useful experience. It allowed us to focus on a current problem in a fast, effective and supported way, generating quick results. The method is very solid and the peer system means having a wonderful sounding board, which contributes to further questioning. The beauty of it is that it allows quick development and self-improvement!'

  • Dr Sandra Pereira, Senior Teaching Fellow, Warwick Business School

'In these difficult times it has been great to have an intellectual challenge to both provide a means to improve my teaching, refreshment and much needed interaction with other people! The focussed peer-coaching sessions and group discussion are a great combination as they have not only helped me with particular teaching problems but have given me the chance to learn from colleagues from across the whole university.'

  • Professor Miriam Gifford, Head, School of Life Sciences

The process initially required the following commitment:

  • Attending a series of four one-hour weekly sessions

  • Engaging in a one-hour dialogue with one colleague ('peer-coaching' as referred to in above quotes) at a mutually agreed time between the weekly sessions

The first weekly session was introductory, then before each subsequent group session, participants 'peer-coach' a partner at a mutually convenient time according to a set of questions which were provided by the Circle (alternatively, if a meeting could not be arranged, it was carried out in 'self-coaching' mode).

Although this seemed to represent quite a significant time commitment, experience of the Circle members suggested that benefits included:

  • Gaining peer support and new perspectives from across the University

  • An enhanced understanding of teaching and learning issues

  • An increased appreciation of your own achievements

  • A better understanding of student perspectives

  • An increased appreciation of ethical issues in practitioner research

  • An improved ability to carry out practitioner research

  • An increased sense of being in control of your further pedagogic development

  • Enhanced ability to coach others to engage in pedagogic inquiry

  • Documentation of your practice which may be useful in promotion and fellowship applications

The Circle had three working groups exploring different aspects of the approach - one group wrote up their experiences for submission to a journal, the second considered the ethics of small-scale pedagogic inquiry, and the third explored how to disseminate the approach within the university.

Members of this Learning Circle included:

  • David Bather Woods
  • Kogi Balakrishnan
  • Catherine Bennett
  • Deborah Biggerstaff
  • Zhiqiong Chen
  • Miriam Gifford
  • Zhiyan Guo
  • John Kirkman (Co-lead)
  • Debbi Marais
  • Celine Martin
  • Ines Molinaro
  • Helen Nolan
  • Nancy Olson
  • Martyn Parker
  • Sandra Pereira
  • Cathy Hampton
  • Richard Smith (Co-lead)
  • Elke Thonnes
  • Leticia Villamediana Gonzalez

Other participants:

  • Komila Tangirova
  • Clytie Tian
Meeting overviews