Reflective Takeaways from the 2012 HEA Annual Conference: workshops

Thoughts on two engaging workshops I attended at the HEA Conference:

John Francis (Brunel University) used the terminology “Bio-pedagogy” during his presentation on ‘Personas: Personhood to Pedagogy’ which I found interesting. This is the act of drawing from past experiences to inform your teaching practices. He provided examples of lecturers drawing from their experiences in previous non-teaching jobs to inform their teaching practices. He conducted video interviews with several Brunel academics who had previously worked as bar managers, magicians and croupiers and now use their experiences to inform their teaching practices.

John’s session focused on academics’ revealed personas in the classroom but not all academics are willing to share their non-teaching history with their students even if it is relevant to the subject topic. This made me think of the digital personas that academics share online and how easy it is for students to google and find out more about their lecturers (this of course depends on their social media privacy settings). The web has enabled interested or nosy students (depending on your perspective) to know more about their lecturers’ biographical and professional histories.

Check out Brunel Personas on Youtube:


I found Alan Mortiboys’ interactive workshop ‘What makes for inspiring teaching’ quite stimulating. He shared three teaching approaches that enable lecturers become inspirational teachers:

(1)Mindfulness, (2) Loving your audience (students) and (3) Preparing for the unpredictable.

A lot of the content he presented was sourced from Iain Hay’s ‘Inspiring Academics: Learning with the world’s great university teachers’ book. At the Teaching and Learning Institute we have decided to order this book because Inspirational Teaching is one of the Teaching and Learning Institute’s key themes.  We are committed to supporting staff at the University of Huddersfield develop their teaching practices. Alan raised some interesting questions which I plan to mull over in the coming weeks:

(1) Is who you are and how you are more important than what you know and the methods you use in making you an effective teacher?

(2) Can inspirational teaching be learnt and developed?

(3) If so, how?

I would appreciate your thoughts and input on these questions. Please use the comment box below.

Posted Olaojo Aiyegbayo     Twitter:@olaojo15


About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
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