SHAPE your CLASS: Improving the Lecture Experience

  1. Lookup NU author(s)
  2. Dr John Colquhoun
  3. Marie Devlin
  4. Dr Lindsay Marshall
Author(s)Colquhoun J, Devlin M, Marshall L
Publication type Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)
Conference NameLearning & Teaching Research Conference (CLTR)
Conference LocationOrmskirk, Lancashire
Year of Conference2011
Date9 June 2011
Sponsor(s)Palgrave Macmillan, Pearson
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Many HE institutions have faced a worrying drop in lecture attendance in recent years which seems independent of the subject matter or the level of study of the students. In this paper, we review the lecturing model most HE teachers follow today in order to determine if poor attendance is directly related to a lack of engagement and interaction in lectures and if a more student-centred rather than a teacher-centred approach to education can improve the situation. There are have been many studies of learning style, but little work seems to have been done specifically on teaching style, which is surprising considering how critical a role it plays in the successful communication of knowledge. Defining style is a more subjective process for teaching than for learning, but it is clear that teachers can identify particular traits of other teachers that define the way they work. We introduce the SHAPE teaching style dimensions and CLASS environment descriptors: constructs that allow teachers to think about their teaching style and to evaluate how it works best in their particular teaching context. We then present the results of a pilot staff and student questionnaire that sets out to gauge the student experience in lectures and teachers thoughts on how their teaching style might impact engagement and attendance at lectures. The key objectives of the pilot questionnaire were: To elicit student views and experiences of teaching quality in lectures. To determine whether teaching style has an impact on the student learning experience and teacher approach in lectures. To define the environmental and contextual challenges to providing ‘best practice’ teaching in a lecture, as perceived by students and staff.