At Flinders University we believe that teaching should:

  • focus on desired learning outcomes for students, in the form of knowledge, understanding, skill and attitudes;
  • assist students to form broad conceptual understandings while gaining depth of knowledge;
  • encourage the informed and critical questioning of accepted theories and views;
  • develop an awareness of the limited and provisional nature of much of the current knowledge in all fields;
  • see how understanding evolves and is subject to challenge and revision;
  • engage students as active participants in the learning process, while acknowledging that all learning must involve a complex interplay of active and receptive processes;
  • engage students in discussion of ways in which study tasks can be undertaken;
  • respect students' right to express views and opinions;
  • incorporate a concern for the welfare and progress of individual students;
  • proceed from an understanding of students knowledge, capabilities and backgrounds;
  • encompass a range of perspectives from groups of different ethic background, socio-economic status and gender;
  • acknowledge and attempt to meet the demands of students with disabilities;
  • encourage and awareness of the ethical dimensions of problems and issues;
  • utilize instructional strategies and tools to enable many different styles of learning; and
  • adopt assessment methods and tasks appropriate to the desired learning outcomes of the course and topic and to the capabilities of the student

Good Practice

1. Encourages Contact Between Students and Faculty

Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. This may be achieved through on-line communication and peer support. It is especially important during the important first year of study.

2. Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding.

3. Encourages Active Learning

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and completing on-line quizzes. Students need opportunities to talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make sense of what they learn for themselves. This does not necessarily mean more class time, much of this sort of activity can happen outside the class but it needs to be encouraged and valued by the academic staff.

4. Gives Prompt Feedback

Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during their course, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

5. Emphasizes Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.

6. Communicates High Expectations

Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone -- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra efforts.

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to university. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do as well with theory. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Once they gain confidence it is possible to encourage them to take risks and learn in new ways that are more challenging.

(Developed and up-dated from Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, 1987)

Student-Centred Learning. Flinders University encourages student centred teaching practices for more information in relation to student centred learning view this vodcast.

Resources supporting Teaching effectiveness are also available.