Dr Anna Bokedal, Modern Languages and Scandinavian Studies tells us about how she set up a Pedagogic Practice Reflection group within the School to increase collegiality.
Academic teachers are often not formally teacher trained. We sink or swim, develop experience and interesting teaching methods, but rarely talk with other, so we keep reinventing the wheel. Different disciplines within the School work in different ways, and we don’t understand what students will expect from studying also other subjects.
I set up a Pedagogic Practice Reflection group within the School. It is simple, social and with the aim of sharing. All staff is invited to an open meeting, and for one hour we informally discuss and compare what we actually do in the class-room, share ideas, material and problems, but also reflect on how and why we do things.
I was inspired by my own curiosity of what others do, and desire to both learn from and meet with others. Also I had myself just had the much longed-for opportunity to just talk about teaching within the UoA mentor programme and the Pedagogy Lab initiative.
I hope to achieve increased collegiality and that teachers will be reassured, inspired and challenged in their own teaching, whereas meeting others is generally good for mental health. I also hope to instil some sense of belonging to and pride in our School. Whether this will be the case is still to be proved, but there is evaluation in the fact that staff from a variety of subjects are indeed coming and that discussions are lively. We are discussing creating a folder to share useful web links, marking templates, language games etc. If implemented, whether or not it is populated and used could be used as one objective measure.