Referenced Articles/The Scholarship of Teaching

What is The Scholarship of Teaching?

Key and Essential Reading An annotated bibliography

  • Andresen, L. W. (2000) A useable, transdisciplinary conception of scholarship Higher Education Research AND Development 19(2): 137-153.[1]

Abstract: If the notions of scholarship, scholar and scholarly are to avoid emptiness and become useable as descriptors of teaching, as Ernest Boyer hoped, the concepts behind these terms need clarifying and tightening-up, particularly in the context of a university system re-inventing itself and unsure of its future direction. A three-fold analysis of scholarly is proposed, referring to critical reflectivity as a habit of mind, scrutiny by peers as a modus operandi, and inquiry as a motivation. The paper asks what scholarly teaching might look like if this conceptualisation were adopted. Answers suggested include knowledge-based teaching, discipline-based teaching and inquiry-based teaching. The implications of these ideas are explored in regard to contributing to “good teaching , opening up teaching to peer-scrutiny, strengthening teaching as a collective enterprise, and sustaining university teachers in danger of burn-out and demoralisation. An extensive bibliography of recent work on scholarly teaching and an Appendix illustrating micro-level, scholarly analysis of a teacher’s work are included.

  • Benson, R & Brack, C (2009) Developing the Scholarship of Teaching: what is the role of e-teaching and learning?

Abstract: Discourse about the scholarship of teaching and learning appears to represent some views about higher education more than others. For example, disciplinary perspectives have been acknowledged, and ideas from critical theory and phenomenography have been presented, with the role of reflection receiving considerable attention. While approaches to e-teaching have been examined as examples of scholarship, there has been limited exploration of whether e-learning discourse has potential to extend the concept of scholarship. In this paper we ask: Can ideas about e-learning add to current understandings about the nature of the scholarship of teaching and learning? If so, what additional perspectives might they add? We begin by reviewing some conceptual and contextual dimensions of the scholarship of teaching and learning, before exploring the role that understandings from e-teaching and e-learning might play in developing the concept of scholarship. We use an academic professional development programme from our institution as an illustration.


  • Brew, A & Ginns, P (2008) The relationship between engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning and students’ course experiences. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 33(5): 535-545. doi.org/10.1080/02602930701698959

Abstract: While there has been a good deal of discussion about the scholarship of teaching and learning, and models have been developed to understand its scope, the effects on students’ learning of academics engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning are unclear. In the context of initiatives to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning in a large research-intensive university in Australia, this paper discusses the relationship between faculty performance on a set of scholarly accomplishments in relation to teaching and learning from 2002 to 2004, and changes in students’ course experiences from 2001 to 2005. The paper provides evidence of the relationship between the scholarship of teaching and learning and students’ course experiences and demonstrates the effectiveness of institutional strategies to encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning.


  • Kreber, C (2002)a Controversy and Consensus on the Scholarship of Teaching Studies in Higher Education 27(2): 151-167.

Abstract: Once downplayed as an amorphous and elusive term devoid of any clear meaning, the scholarship of teaching has gained much clearer contours over the past few years. Programmes that support and foster the scholarship of teaching now exist on many campuses and the implications for staff development have been recognised. Yet, to what extent do scholars in the field agree upon present conceptualisations of the term and the potential problems associated with it? Following the Delphi survey method, this study identified the extent to which a panel of 11 ‘experts’ in teaching and learning in higher education agree on the features and unresolved issues associated with the scholarship of teaching, and how these compare to perspectives discussed in the relevant higher education literature.


  • Kreber, C (2002)b Teaching Excellence, Teaching Expertise, and the Scholarship of Teaching. Innovative Higher Education 27(1): 5-23.[2]

Abstract: The previous decade witnessed significant advancements in the scholarship of teaching at the levels of both theory building and program development. Notwithstanding these achievements, there remains considerable ambiguity regarding the meaning of the concept. This ambiguity has implications for faculty evaluation. Excellence in teaching, expertise in teaching, and the scholarship of teaching are analyzed according to the nature and sources of knowledge construction underlying each. Practical examples are included to illustrate differences. It is argued that excellence in teaching and the scholarship of teaching are both important but should be recognized and rewarded in their own right.


  • McCarthy M & Higgs B (2005) The Scholarship of Teaching and its Implications for Practice in G. O’Neill, S. Moore & B. McMulllin (eds) Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Teaching AISHE Readings No 1. Dublin. [3]


  • Trigwell, K., Martin, E., Benjamin, J. & Prosser, M. (2000). Scholarship of Teaching: A model. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(2): 155-168.[4]


Further and Specific Reading

  • Akerlind, G (2008) A Phenomenographic Approach to Developing Academics’ Understanding of the Nature of Teaching and Learning. Teaching in Higher Education 13(6): 633-644.

Summary: This paper discusses what ‘conception’ and ‘conceptual development’ mean from a phenomenographic perspective and how phenomenography and variation theory can be combined with empirical research on academics’ conceptions of teaching to inform the design of a postgraduate course for academics, aimed at the development of academics’ understanding of the nature of teaching and learning.

  • Bambino, D (2002) Redesigning Professional Development: critical friends. Educational Leadership 59(6): 25-27.

Summary: A discussion of how groups of critical friends can help teachers improve student learning.


  • Boshier, R & Huang, Y (2008) In the House of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), teaching lives upstairs and learning in the basement Teaching in Higher Education 13(6): 645-656.

Abstract: Staff and students grumble about how research allegedly obscures the merits of exemplary teaching at universities. Modern efforts to move teaching from the periphery to the centre of the university were marked by books on the scholarship of teaching (SoT). Starting in the 1990s it became possible for academic staff to cite their SoT in claims for promotion. After being criticised, advocates of SoT hurriedly added ‘learning’ and now speak of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Unfortunately, within the house of SoTL, teaching lives upstairs and learning in the basement. For SoTL to flourish there must be a more willing embrace of learning. The concept could gain traction by embracing work on adult education, lifelong education, self-directed learning, farm-gate intellectuals, communities of practice and learning communities. With SoTL struggling, it is time to launch the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoLT).


  • Brown, M N & Freeman, K (2000) Distinguishing Features of Critical Thinking Classrooms Teaching in Higher Education 5(3): 301-309.

Abstract: Critical thinking comes in many forms, but all possess a single core feature. They presume that human arguments require evaluation if they are to be worthy of widespread respect. Hence, critical thinking focuses on a set of skills and attitudes that enable a listener or reader to apply rational criteria to the reasoning of speakers and writer. Those classrooms that encourage critical thinking possess distinguishing features that assist programme evaluators and teachers themselves to assess whether critical thinking is a regular occurrence in a particular classroom. This article suggests that a critical thinking classroom commonly re¯ ects the following attributes: frequent questions, developmental tension, fascination with the contingency of conclusions and active learning. These attributes reinforce one another to provide developmental stimuli for enhanced critical thinking.


  • Dall’Alba, G & Barnacle, R (2007) An Ontological Turn for Higher Education. Studies in Higher Education 32(6): 679-691.

Abstract: In this article, the implications of foregrounding ontology for teaching and learning in higher education are explored. In conventional approaches to higher education programmes, ontology has tended to be subordinated to epistemological concerns. This has meant the flourishing of notions such as the transfer and acquisition of knowledge and skills, either generic or discipline-specific. The authors challenge this emphasis on what students acquire through education by foregrounding instead the question of who they become. They do this through a theoretical/conceptual exploration of an approach to learning that undermines a narrow focus on the intellect by promoting the integration of knowing, acting and being.


  • Greenbank, P (2006) The Academics Role: the need for a re-evaluation. Teaching in Higher Education 11(1): 107-112.

Summary: draws upon Boyer to argue for a broader definition of teaching, research and service as interconnected scholarly activities. Draws on experience being a lecturer in management studies and business mentor for the UK Prince’s Trust.


  • Hung, D. Ng, P T. Koh, T S & Lim, S H (2009) The social practice of learning: a craft for the 21st century Asia Pacific EDUCATION Review 10: 205-214.[5]

Abstract : This article argues that the social practice of learning (SPL), involving life-long learning, meta-learning, deep reflection, and dialogue in a community, should be the distinguishing knowledge base of schools in the twenty-first century. This article also analyses the strategies and challenges of the recent education reforms in Singapore through the lens of an SPL education paradigm. Although the Singapore government has done much to train teachers, trim syllabi and introduce new ways of teaching and learning, such as project work, the real challenge is to go beyond the provision of structural changes to the substance of the epistemological reform.


  • Karlsson, J (2007) Service as Collaboration: an integrated process in teaching and research. A response to Greenback (cited above).


  • Mann, K, Gordon, J & MacLeod, A (2009) Refection and Reflective Practice in Health Professions Education: a systematic review. Advances in Health Science Education 14: 595-621.DOI 10.1007/s10459-007-9090-2

Abstract The importance of reflection and reflective practice are frequently noted in the literature; indeed, reflective capacity is regarded by many as an essential characteristic for professional competence. Educators assert that the emergence of reflective practice is part of a change that acknowledges the need for students to act and to think professionally as an integral part of learning throughout their courses of study, integrating theory and practice from the outset. Activities to promote reflection are now being incorporated into undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education, and across a variety of health professions. The evidence to support and inform these curricular interventions and innovations remains largely theoretical. Further, the literature is dispersed across several fields, and it is unclear which approaches may have efficacy or impact. We, therefore, designed a literature review to evaluate the existing evidence about reflection and reflective practice and their utility in health professional education. Our aim was to understand the key variables influencing this educational process, identify gaps in the evidence, and to explore any implications for educational practice and research.


  • McArthur, J (2010) Time to look anew: critical pedagogy and disciplines within higher education, Studies in Higher Education 35(3): 301-315.

Abstract: This article explores the attitudes of writers within the tradition of critical pedagogy towards disciplines in higher education. With particular focus on Henry Giroux’s work, it contrasts his portrayal of disciplines as closed, limiting and elitist with an alternative one of disciplines as complex, permeable and contested spaces. Critical pedagogy has a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity, and proponents regard interdisciplinary spaces as crucial to the pursuit of their emancipatory ideals. However, this article challenges the assumption of writers such as Giroux that disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity are alternatives, and regards them instead as complementary. More complex understandings of interdisciplinarity, as well as disciplinarity, could also assist critical pedagogy to work through some of the theoretical and practical dilemmas associated with the myriad of ideas that this broad movement contains, and ensure it is better placed to resist current trends that appear to strip higher education of its wider social purposes.

  • Trevitt, C & Perera, C (2009) Self and continuing professional learning (development): issues of curriculum and identity in developing academic practice', Teaching in Higher Education14(4): 347-359. DOI: 10.1080/13562510903050095

Abstract: Even as the notion of continuing professional learning or development (CPL) in academic practice has become more established, the concept of curriculum and the nature of the learning involved remains problematic. We argue for a focus on transformation of self, and posit this as an expanded version of one established curriculum model. Through a case study of a participant in one graduate programme offered as CPL for clinical medical academics wanting to formalise their educational qualifications, this paper explores ways in which prevailing institutional management orthodoxies as well as historical institutional epistemologies influence possibilities for growth and development. We suggest that institutions need to find ways to strengthen their sense of identity and self-confidence if this situation is to improve.


References from within the text

  • Andresen, L. W. (2000) A useable, transdisciplinary conception of scholarship Higher Education Research & Development 19(2): 137-153. [6]
  • Berkey, R., and others. "Collaborating for Reflective Practice: Voices of Teachers, Administrators, and Researchers." In Education and Urban Society, 1990, 22(2), 204–232. [7]
  • Berman, L. M., and others. Toward Curriculum for Being: Voices of Educators. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991.
  • Bullough, R. V., Knowles, J. G., and Crow, N. A. Emerging as a Teacher. New York: Routledge, 1992.
  • Brubacher, J. W., Case, C. W., and Reagan, T. G. Becoming a Reflective Educator: How to Build a Culture of Inquiry in the Schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, 1994.
  • Calderhead, J., and Gates, P. (eds.). Conceptualizing Reflection in Teacher Development. Bristol, Pa.: Falmer Press, 1993
  • Day, C., Calderhead, J., and Denicolo, P. (eds.). Research on Teacher Thinking: Understanding Professional Development, Bristol, Pa.: Falmer Press, 1993.
  • Day, C., Pope, M., and Denicolo, M. (eds.). Insight into Teachers’ Thinking and Practice. Bristol, Pa.: Falmer Press, 1990.
  • Dollase, R. H. Voices of Beginning Teachers. New York: Teachers College Press, 1992.
  • Carlgren, I., Handal, G., and Vaage, S. (eds.). Teachers’ Minds and Actions: Research on Teachers’ Thinking and Practice. Bristol, Pa.: Falmer Press, 1994.
  • Clark, C. M. Talking Shop: Authentic Conversation and Teacher Learning. New York: Teachers College Press, 2001.
  • Collay, M., Dunlap, D., Enloe, W., and Gagnon, G. W. Learning Circles: Creating Conditions for Professional Development. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, 1998.
  • Hauser, M. E. “Working with School Staff: Reflective Cultural Analysis in Groups.” In G. D. Spindler and L. Spindler (eds.), Pathways to Cultural Awareness: Cultural Therapy with Teachers and Students. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 1994.
  • Hung, D. Ng, P T. Koh, T S & Lim, S H (2009) The social practice of learning: a craft for the 21st century Asia Pacific Education Review 10:205-214. [8]
  • Jalongo, M. R., and Isenberg, J. P. Teachers’ Stories: From Personal Narrative to Professional Insight. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.
  • Kreber, C. (2002) Controversy and Consensus on the Scholarship of Teaching Studies in Higher Education 27(2): 151-167. [9]
  • McCarthy M & Higgs B. (2005) The Scholarship of Teaching and its Implications for Practice in G. O’Neill, S. Moore & B. McMulllin (eds) Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Teaching AISHE Readings No 1. Dublin. [10]
  • Miller, J. L. Creating Spaces and Finding Voices: Teachers Collaborating for Empowerment. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.
  • Osterman, K. F., and Kottkamp, R. B. Reflective Practice for Educators: Improving Schooling through Professional Development. Newbury Park, Calif.: Corwin Press, 1993.
  • Preskill, S. L., and Jacobwitz, R. S. Stories of Teaching. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2001
  • Trigwell, K., Martin, E., Benjamin, J. & Prosser, M. (2000). Scholarship of teaching: A model. Higher Education Research & Development, 19(2), 155-168. [11]
  • Valli, L. (ed.). Reflective Teacher Education: Cases and Critiques. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993


Back to Referenced Articles

Page tools