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ERIC Number: EJ896006
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0633
Understanding the Disciplines within the Context of Educational Development
Taylor, K. Lynn
New Directions for Teaching and Learning, n122 p59-67 Sum 2010
Most educational developers can tell a story of a moment when they stood in the breach between their enthusiasm for an educational concept and their ability to communicate that concept in a way that seemed meaningful to a colleague whose expertise was in a field other than teaching and learning. These are defining moments in articulating the heart of educational development practice: the moments when educational developers find themselves challenged to communicate their knowledge of teaching and learning in ways that are meaningful and deep in a discipline context, while at the same time appreciating and connecting with the teaching knowledge that is inherent in that discipline. Increasingly, educational development specialists understand their role as engaging in collaborative learning processes with colleagues from diverse disciplines who are pursuing individual and shared interest in their students' learning. At its best, this collaboration is characterized by a three-way interaction among the "personal context" of practice, the "public context" of theory, and the "shared context" of a community of discourse about teaching and learning that gives rise to "the development of new practices and more developed theories." Generating this development dynamic in the disciplines is likely to have the greatest impact on student learning. It is also essential to fostering scholarly teaching: systematic, critical examination of how learning in each discipline can be improved. Bringing these different ways of knowing about teaching and learning together challenges educational developers to know--in an active sense--the disciplines in which they collaborate. In their work with colleagues, it is not sufficient to "know about" a discipline. Rather, their practice requires that they "know in" that discipline by participating in shared problem solving, discussions, debates, and commitment to learning and teaching. The need for awareness of disciplinary influences is reciprocal. Educational developers themselves come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and carry their own assumptions about knowledge, teaching, and learning. If used intentionally, this knowledge can be an asset; if used tacitly, it can become a barrier. This article explores the nature of disciplinary expertise and how an understanding of the diversity of knowledge structures, processes, and cultures across disciplines can optimize educational development practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A