Independent Thinking on Teaching in Higher Education is a very interesting and timely publication that offers a comprehensive overview of many aspects of teaching and learning in higher education.
The book asks important questions and offers useful insights into the ways in which the role of a university lecturer has changed over time. There is both a philosophical and practical element to the text, and Erik's voice of experience comes through in a reassuring manner. Each area of discussion is forward-thinking and concludes with challenges to consider and tips to try out. Also provided is a selection of useful teaching tools for those who are new to teaching in higher education and as well as those who offer training and CPD within higher education institutions.
The author understands very well that the key to successful encounters in education at any level is engagement: getting students involved and interested. Erik employs many useful analogies and metaphors in this regard that I imagine will be used again and again as the book comes into common usage, as it is often quite difficult to offer examples that cover generic principles over a wide range of subject areas. He also weaves key messages throughout the text, such as that of placing emphasis on learning rather than on content or what might be termed knowledge, while other crucial pointers - such as clarity around success criteria and ensuring purposefulness within any lesson structure or plan - are explored too.
The book provides a great deal of useful background to the debates that have been circling for many years about the purpose of higher education. These tensions are important and Erik provides a portal to understanding why it is so crucial for students to remain critical throughout their studies and into their own careers, whatever they may be.
Erik also explores the nature of assessment in relation to the pros and cons of the multitude of methods on offer. There is a strong emphasis on the key questions of -˜What?' and -˜So what?' in this discussion, which is a useful reminder when discussing this thorny issue. The reader is reminded that the role of an educator is crucial to every individual's relationship with assessment, whether as a conduit for information, a guide through the journey of discovery or as a cultivator of growth in skills - as each is equally important.
Ultimately, Independent Thinking on Teaching in Higher Education offers a very reassuring guide to the important things to consider as one develops their craft as a teacher in higher education.