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Being subject-centred: A philosophy of teaching and implications for higher education

Morrison-Saunders, A. and Hobson, J. (2013) Being subject-centred: A philosophy of teaching and implications for higher education. Issues in Educational Research, 23 (2). pp. 212-226.

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Being subject-centred as a higher education teacher offers a rich and illuminating philosophical and practical understanding of learning. Building upon previous research on subject-centred learning, we draw on reflection, literature review and a phenomenological approach to show how our ways of being infuse the teaching and learning environment. Philosophically, it is our way of being with our subject as teachers that influences the learning within our students. We show how posing the question: 'What is the best way to teach this subject?' helps a teacher find the best way to enhance the learning experience. It entails moving away from reliance solely on approaches that simply 're-present' content, such as lectures and online learning management systems, to interactive classrooms where space is created for the students to enter into their own engagement with the subject in a shared pursuit with the teacher, resulting in more effective teaching and learning. We illustrate this with personal accounts of our own journeys as teachers. We acknowledge that it takes courage to teach and to fully be subject-centred in the face of prevailing trends and pressures for other ways of teaching currently prominent in the higher education sector. But, ultimately, it is who we are as teachers that matters most, and being subject-centred provides the most effective way for us to most meaningfully reach our students.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Teaching and Learning Centre
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Institutes for Educational Research
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