Imperial College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Page: 54 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0036
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Commonly, attempts to professionalise teaching in higher education and pedagogical transformation initiatives are met with scepticism. Drivers such as local departmental culture, prestige economy, and any overarching institutional priorities modulate engagement from academics. This is particularly true of research-intensive institutions specialising in STEMM disciplines.

As educational developers we aim to facilitate a transformational learning experience for our students, helping them navigate their transition from an insular academic to an educationally informed teacher scientist. This transformation can therefore be difficult to negotiate, as our students have firmly established identity perceptions that carry different perceived risks.

As our institution moves towards implementing an ambitious teaching and learning strategy, academics have been called on to design and deliver innovative and pedagogically sound future-ready curricula. A key aim of the strategy is to design and implement academic Programmes which in turn will develop future-ready graduates who are not only highly proficient in their chosen discipline, but also have skills which will set them apart in the 21st Century workforce. Subsequently, the academic staff that deliver these programmes therefore have to not only excel in their respective subject disciplines, but to also demonstrate pedagogical expertise that facilitates student development. Competing tensions between their identities as an active and experienced academic and a budding educationalist could often create barriers in the successful transition of their identities.

Through their participation in our Programme, these same academics have the opportunity to experiment with enhanced teaching practices while still in the confines of a ‘safe space’. We wanted to explore whether this safe experimentation might lead to greater confidence in engaging with and implementing enhanced teaching techniques in their own contexts upon completion of the course.

In this presentation, we report on data from semi-structured interviews with 8 academics which explored their perceptions of experimentation, and perceived tensions between their professional and educational identities. These data help us gauge our students’ interpretations of what constitutes pedagogical risk, as well as how taking on the identity of a postgraduate student whilst being an active member of academic staff might influence their engagement with pedagogical risk both as part of the programme, and subsequently in their day-to-day teaching practice in their respective faculties.
Higher education, education development, educational culture, student transition, pedagogical innovation, pedagogical risk-taking.