Edinburgh Research Explorer

Principal's Teaching Award Scheme: The disciplinary effect: Exploring the effect of disciplines on learning and teaching among fixed-term and temporary university teachers (£10,000)

Project: Other ProjectUniversity Awarded Project Funding

Description

It would be difficult to overstate the relevance of disciplines for higher education teaching and learning. The effect of disciplines on pedagogic practice is a well-trodden area of education research (see e.g. Berger 1970; Palmer 1998; Trowler 2008a, 2008b, 2012). However, most existing research in this area has focused on established academic staff, or those in more senior positions. Staff in earlier career roles, or who teach on temporary or fixed-term contracts (such as tutors or teaching assistants), make up a significant proportion of university teachers and yet scant research has been carried out specifically focusing on their pedagogic practice and the influence of disciplines.

This research project will investigate how attitudes to learning and teaching might be affected by disciplines for this group of university teachers. We aim to explore how disciplines shape role perception, development, and attitudes to teaching and learning.

Emphasising co-creation, we will work with colleagues across the three Colleges at the University of Edinburgh to collect research data from this group using a two-stage, mixed-method approach. Using Trowler’s (2012) conception of axes as a model, we will consider the cause, scope and strength of the influence of ‘discipline-specific pedagogical knowledge’ (DPK) (Berthiaume, 2009) and the ways in which this affects role perception and attitudes to teaching and learning.

Finding out more about how this group of teachers perceive their roles in relation to their disciplines contributes to ongoing critical debate and will contribute to developing practice for this group of staff at Edinburgh.