Identifying Good Pedagogical Practices in Doctorates of Education Dr Alexis Taylor Brunel University
Literature • compared the distinctive and common elements of traditional and professional doctorates (Thorne and Francis, 2001; Malfroy, 2005; Fink, 2006). • how diversity in doctoral degrees relates to the knowledge economy and imperatives for universities (Usher, 2002; Tennant, 2004). • structural, organisational and developmental features (Bourner et al, 2001; Maxwell; 2003).
U.K. Context confusion about the aims and mission of professional doctorates (Lunt, 2002) the nature of professional knowledge impacts differently in the work context of different professional areas (Scott et al, 2004) variation in construction relates to different values placed on knowledge which effect matters such as supervision (Heath, 2006)
Gap in the Literature what is understood by pedagogical practice used within this particular route of doctoral education – especially the research training element.
The Project • designed within a phenomenological and descriptive/interpretive paradigm • underpinned by the theoretical framework of qualitative variation in understanding teaching and learning in higher education (Prosser and Trigwell, 1999).
Methods • Contextual Background and Literature Review • A search and analysis of publicly available documentation and web-sites to identify common and generic pedagogical practices currently underpinning for Doctorates of Education; and • A micro-level in a small number of institutions through semi-structured interviews and the collection of relevant documentation relating to the specific Doctorate of Education programmes
Designed to : identify the consensus and variation in how teaching (and learning) is conceptualised and approached by tutors, and how this informs pedagogical practices undertaken
Design of Data Analysis • as a complete data set • through an iterative process using an open-coding framework developed through the constant comparative method But • interim Analysis
Focus : knowing about research, • Giving information about research studies • Giving practical knowledge of research techniques and methods • Students take notes and listen in class and invited to ask questions • Research Training programme sessional-based and organized by tutors individually according to individual areas of expertise • Preference for this to be presented in an organized and structured way through individual lecturers, via use of PowerPoint and supported by directed reading and structured tasks. • Programme seen as functioning discretely in the university, • Assessment activities seen as separate from teaching programme • Feedback and guidance on research activities provided through individual tutorials • The doctoral qualification in its own right was an important outcome
Focus : doing research • University sessions supplemented by ‘tasks’ to be carried out between sessions in students’ professional setting • Development of competence in a variety of research methods through application of expert knowledge. • Variety of teaching techniques used : the giving of “solid” information about research studies and methods, but also student presentations of their research work; peer discussion; group tutorials; workshops • Connections made between the university programme and students’ work in the professional context, both conceptually and actually and seen as an iterative process • Focus on transactional nature of the programme, understanding that it was helping them as individuals to “do things better” in their professional setting, to reflect on their individual practice and to try out alternatives.
Focus : Student Learning • Programme perceived and planned as a whole by teams of tutors • Critically consideration about the principles and practice of research connections within the programme and the research students undertake in their workplace. • Critical engagement about generic professional practices and also about generic research methods. • Tutors perceive that the programme has a transformative impact on students with the ultimate aim to get students to grow in understanding about research in the profession and about themselves as researchers • Focus on developing student identity of themselves and also how research will enable them to develop in their professional context • Teaching focuses on what students have to say; asking students to bring in research studies they had found themselves for critical discussion with peers and tutors; use of previous students work as exemplars (not best practice); pre-reading preparatory work; on-line discussion and interim workshops to keep cohort feel between sessions; students workshops on their own research; critical engagement with research literature, etc
Tutor Learning • perceive of themselves as learners in and about their profession of enabling professional research students • collaborating with professional colleagues, an holistic way on learning, making connections between the university and workplace. • spoke about having increased confidence in their own thoughts and decisions, and of being able to understand the alternative viewpoints of others; of taking initiative in the university setting; of being able to work in different ways with different people, and in doing this establishing for themselves a new identity. Tutors felt they also were changing as a person
Pedagogical Focus Teaching information about research will enable students to know ‘what it looks like’ and consequently students will learn how to research themselves Focus on the tutor and what is to be taught Teaching the skills and craft of research will enable students to understand the research process and consequently they will learn to use the research strategies to affect research in their professional context Focus on the learner and how it is to be learnt Teaching is approached by a focus on what students say, reflect on, work with, what they are learning about and through research Focus on interaction and relationship between teaching and learning, between university and profession; on the tutor and the student
Implications • How do EdD Teams work together ? • How do university tutors understand student learning experience and do how we approach teaching on EdD professional doctoral programmes • How are the the implicit theories individual tutors have about the EdD teaching and learning confronted ? • How are these presented in course aims and teaching ? • How are differences in understandings between students and universities and their tutors managed ?