Engagement with the discourse of professional development

Engagement with the discourse of professional development

School or equivalent: English Language Education

Team Members: Lindsay Knox, Jill Northcott, Jessie Paterson, Catriona Bell, Michaela Hubmann


The enhancement of student learning is a key objective in higher education, with the professional development of academic staff viewed as central to achieving this goal. However, there is a perception that disciplinary differences, particularly those related to conceptions of learning and teaching, are not recognised in these initiatives, resulting in a sense among academic staff that such development opportunities have limited value (Becher, 2006:158).

In particular, it has been noted that the discipline-specific education discourse of professional learning employed in staff development workshops may act as a barrier to staff engagement with the process. This has also been identified in other studies (e.g. Benson, Drybrough, Knox, Northcott and Northcott, 2015).

This small-scale study aims to explore how academic colleagues from different disciplinary areas across the university interpret and react to the professional development discourse of teaching and learning. It is envisaged that these initial findings will make a positive impact on learning and teaching by demonstrating how staff development initiatives are framed and understood with a view to making these accessible across the disciplines.

Final report

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