Today the results of the TEF were announced, with some unsurprising surprises! It is causing some controversy, specifically about the underlying principles of the process and what many (including me) consider to be a false divide between teaching and research. I thought it might be useful to put online my own teaching statement, which questions the false divide. I’ve copied it below. Hopefully, it’s of some use to those crafting their own statements for jobs, tertiary teacher training certificates, promotions and for their own reflective teaching practices.
My research-led teaching philosophy is rooted in the concept of the classroom (both physical and virtual) is a space for transformation, where I support students’ own learning. I approach all pedagogical work, whether classroom teaching or research supervision, from a feminist pedagogical perspective. Drawing on the seminal work of scholars such bell hooks, Sara Ahmed, Kimberly Crenshaw and Bourdieu, I engage with learning and teaching through a lens of social justice, with awareness of the intersectional power dynamics inherent in teaching. My teaching is driven by three core goals, transferable learning, personal transformation and accessibility. SCQF and Heriot-Watt graduate attributes underpin my curriculum development and are clearly mapped onto content for students to understand the relevance of their learning.
Transferable learning: My teaching is research-led both in terms of content and pedagogical approach. Through engaging with pedagogical and management research I position my teaching to support students in the development of transferable skills as well as crucial knowledge for engaging with the world of work, and society more broadly. In addition to learning principles of HRM and conflicts between practice and policies, students are also encouraged to engage in critical thinking – to assess the validity and usefulness of sources. The knowledge and skills learned by students helps them not only in a management role, but also across sectors and in their everyday lives. Students regularly send me examples of where they have applied knowledge gained in my teaching, for example, in their own teaching practice, their engagement with popular culture and discussions with friends and family. One former student emailed me last year to say she takes the critical thinking skills learned in my classes ‘everywhere I go’.
Personal transformation: Through the creation of a physical and virtual classroom where students are able to engage with personal experiences of employment and their own research/lives, the classroom becomes a space for personal transformation. I achieve this through an emphasis on an egalitarian space where challenging ideas is welcomed. Students have reflected that, for the first time, they were able to discuss difficult experiences of workplace sexual harassment, racism and sexism. I help student to develop a language for understanding these experiences and for challenging the discriminatory practices and behaviours. In addition, the classroom is a space for my own transformation. Students have been invaluable for engaging with my own research and shaping its presentation and content. As such teaching and research are entangled practices for me, and are both integral to my pedagogical practices.
Accessibility: this is at the core of all my pedagogical practice. I am passionate that the classroom should be accessible to all, irrespective of disability, gender, ‘race’, sexuality and nationality. I position my teaching to ensure that disabled students are able to contribute fully, with individual adjustments made as required. An accessible classroom minimises the need to single out students with particular needs, creating a space for full participation. Accessibility also is reflected in the changing student profile with increasing needs to accommodate care work, financial pressures and an international student profile. I ensure teaching is scheduled at times to coincide with campus childcare. Taught content draws on a variety of national contexts and challenges the dominance of white male European thinkers present in much of management education.