SoTL: Through the Learner’s Lens

During last week’s GCP session, we explored scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and considered the various methods that we could employ to answer our own questions re: our teaching practice and effectiveness.

With goals to enhance and augment learner’s processes, SoTL is a useful tool to inform us about the overall alignment between our intention, belief and action. Its dissemination is a by-product of our continual efforts to improve our discipline-specific pedagogical approach – its core value lies within the process of these systematic investigations (e.g., self-reflection to identify specific issues of teaching and/or learning, critical appraisal of said issues using appropriate methodology and analysis, and application of results to practice).

To immediately apply what we’ve just learnt, we were asked to identify areas we’d like to learn about our current teaching practice and to develop a research question based on our personal reflection. I noticed that all of the questions that I had about my teaching practice were through my own lens as an instructor! I totally neglected to consider the other, and arguably more important, side of the “teaching and learning” equation – where was my learner’s lens?

This exercise really illuminated my blind spots as a developing instructor – it is not about me! In order to truly assess my teaching effectiveness (i.e., alignment between my intention, belief and action), I’ll have to actively involve my learners, seeing that they are the only credible source to comment/provide feedback on the impact of my teaching!

My key take-away from this session was: to consciously prioritize my learners’ learning above my own eagerness to “perfect” my teaching practice – to actively use their lens to inform how I approach teaching to deepen their learning. Another note to self – this is a learning process that requires a whole lot of self-compassion, patience and honest reflection!