Lunch lecture 'Team-based professional development: possibilities and challenges of collaborative curriculum design in higher education'
On the 24th of January 2020 Inken Gast, assistant professor at Maastricht University, will shed more light on the opportunities for teacher professional development during collaborative curriculum design and implementation, as well as on ways in which higher education institutions can positively influence teacher attitudes towards curriculum innovations.
Universities and other higher education institutions have to innovate their curricula due to changes in the job-market and increased competition on a national and international level. The success of curriculum innovations is, however, highly dependent on the teachers who have to implement them, and who are often also involved in the design of these innovations. For a successful design and implementation of these curriculum innovations, teacher professional development is crucial and needs to focus on teachers’ attitudes towards the innovation, as well as the development of necessary knowledge and skills.
Collaborative curriculum design in teacher teams is a more recent development in higher education and can be an effective way to design curricula. Moreover, it can support teacher professional development (in terms of teachers’ attitudes and knowledge and skills) at the same time. Although the professional development during collaborative curriculum design has often been studied in primary and secondary education, this is not the case for higher education.
From primary and secondary education it is known that teachers make use of various professional development activities such as learning by doing, formal learning activities, or self-study. Collaborative curriculum design is another promising learning activity to support teacher professional development. Through exchanging ideas, collaboratively designing new teaching methods and materials and collaborative reflection, teachers have the possibility to learn together and to develop new ideas to implement in practice. Conversations during which information is merely exchanged but where no collective planning or reflection takes place are insufficient for teacher professional development. However, when teacher design conversations show sufficient depth, these conversations can be of great value for teacher learning.
Professional development, however, is often not a goal for teachers during collaborative curriculum design. Teachers do not realize that collaborating with others can have a positive impact on their own professional development. They think of the end product – the curriculum innovation – and how to implement this product in practice. Although universities are aware of the positive aspects of collaborative curriculum design for teacher professional development, they are unsure how to support it.
About Inken Gast
Inken Gast is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Educational Research and Development at the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University. During her PhD at the University of Twente, she conducted research on team-based professional development of university teachers. The project was funded by the 4TU.CEE.
Date: 24 January 2020
Location: TU Delft, Teaching Lab
Costs: free of charge for anyone working at 4TU
Registration: through the 4TU.CEE website