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Principal Lecturer Mereana Rapata-Hanning with Nursing students
Photo by Otago Polytechnic

Learning teaching

Lesley Brook —

A new teacher's personal experiences of learning can influence their teaching practice.

In polytechnics new teaching staff are often selected for their domain-specific knowledge and skills. At Otago Polytechnic these novice teachers are therefore expected to gain a formal teaching qualification, our Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education (GDTE), whilst doing the job of teaching. The programme uses a work-based learning approach that situates learning within each learner's own teaching context.

Julia Walne, a member of our Learning and Teaching Development team, undertook a literature review to investigate what constraints this approach puts on learning and what can be done about them.

  1. Novice teachers in the ITP sector often come to teaching with strongly-held, partly-formed conceptions of teaching which can operate as a filter on how novice teachers interpret and learn from their everyday experiences of teaching. 
  2. These conceptions can affect engagement in formal learning opportunities because of a perceived mismatch between espoused pedagogical approaches and existing knowledge. 

Novice teachers therefore need to identify and unlearn their beliefs, assumptions and expectations of teaching and also of learning, including perceptions of self as a learner. This will enable them to usefully reflect on their own teaching practice, and to be open to considering the advantages of different ways of teaching for different contexts.