Call for confidence boosting study on pedagogical research

January 5, 2001

The Learning and Teaching Support Network has called for a study into how pedagogical research is rated by subject panels when they are considering research assessment exercise submissions.

Replying to the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultations on the future of research, the network said the study "would help to build confidence that subject-based pedagogical research is being taken seriously". The network was set up last year "to support the 24 specialist subject centres around the country.

"The inclusion of subject-based pedagogical research in the RAE, which we welcome and support, needs to be accompanied by funding to engage in scholarship that recognises the importance of both the content and process sides of learning and teaching," said the network.

It said the requirement for institutions to have a strategy for staff development as a funding condition should not be limited to research. "Indeed, to do so would send out an undesirable message about the status of all other activities, notably teaching and learning, and would run counter to many existing institutional policies."

The network said that scholarship should be distinguished from the creation of knowledge, and evidence about effective learning and teaching processes ought to be as firmly embedded and funded as research is.

It said: "The teaching process and its effectiveness are important, independent of the content of the material taught. Brilliant research and scholarship, as defined in the paper, are of little utility in teaching unless they are delivered in a way that stimulates and enhances student learning."

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