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Teaching and Learning



teachingJourney.jpgTeaching and Learning in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Article of the month: How to teach Reason Properly  15 June 2017, Times Higher Education,  

About the author: John Hendry is a life fellow of Girton College Cambridge and is professor emeritus of management at the University of Reading. His most recent book is Reason: Its Power and Limitations, Uses and Abuses in Science, the Humanities, Ethics and Religion.



What does 'GOOD TEACHING' actually mean?

by Dr Karin Cattell, Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning

'Good teaching' is a phrase widely used in universities' vision and mission statements, criteria for teaching awards, articles on pedagogy, etc. It is also an aim that lecturers are advised to – and desire to – achieve. But what does it actually mean?

Chickering en Gamson (1987) suggested seven principles of  'good teaching' in undergraduate courses, which is still perceived as the most fitting definition of the concept, and applied accordingly today.' Good teaching':

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty.

2.Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.

3. Uses active learning techniques.

4. Gives prompt feedback.

5. Emphasizes time on task.

6. Communicates high expectations.

7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

(Chickering & Gamson, 1987:2)

Together, they employ six powerful forces in education: activity, cooperation, diversity, expectations, interaction, and responsibility. (Chickering & Gamson, 1987:3)


These teaching practices incorporate the SU graduate attributes and aligned teaching and learning guidelines: "For the University to support graduates to become enquiring, engaged, dynamic and well-rounded", lecturers are required to be "critical and scholarly", provide an "engaging curriculum design" and "dynamic delivery", and assist students in acquiring an "enriched campus experience" (SU Strategy for Teaching and Learning 2014-2018:7-8).


This is no easy task! You are, however, most likely already applying these principles, or at least some: If you engage in continuous reflection on your teaching (and ask your students to reflect as well, even mid-course), for example, if you align the outcomes, assessment and activities of your modules, if you are transparent about your outcomes and assessment, and if you facilitate lectures (engage your students) rather than lecture traditionally ('chalk and talk'), you are well on your way to becoming a 'good teacher'.


'Good teachers are made, not born' (Kreber, 2002:9).

If you would like to discuss your path towards 'good teaching', or just share your thoughts about the concept, you are welcome to contact me at kcattell@sun.ac.za or 021 808 3074.