chapter  7
19 Pages

Learning to teach

WithTony Harland

This chapter starts with the premise that no teaching experience is required for the new university lecturer, in that academics are still mainly hired on the basis on research expertise rather than teaching. This complex situation is explored with respect to recent expectations from the higher education sector. The chapter then goes on to make a case for formal teacher education but also introduces the idea of ‘vanilla teaching’. This concept claims that something vanilla does exactly what it sets out to do, but no more. Teaching then becomes good enough. In universities, vanilla teaching is a rational choice for academics who are faced with many other demands that are often determined by compliance, measurement and reward. The second part of the chapter looks at different ways of learning to teach and presents a model of the postgraduate academic apprentice. Here PhD students seeking an academic career train in both research and teaching before taking up their first post.