EDUCATION: You can Lecture but can you Teach?

You Can Lecture, But Can You Teach?

Eric Sotto argues that protests against the idea that academics be given teacher-training are misguided.

Click here to read the article in Times Higher Education

Eric Sotto is the author of ‘When Teaching Becomes Learning’ (second edition, 2007, paperback).  London & New York: Continuum Education.

Evidence-based qualification to teach at universities
An annotation by David Booth1 to Eric Sotto’s case

Eric Sotto’s perspective is not specifically Christian.  Nevertheless it provides a very direct challenge to the commitment of Christians who teach at degree level.

His article in THE (see link above) has some sharp words for those in any academic discipline who object to evidence-based professional training in the effective support of degree students’ learning.  I commend his inclusive but succinct article to your consideration if you contribute to the teaching of any degree, or indeed if you are interested in any aspect of the education provided by British universities in the 21st century.

The learned society in Britain for my academic discipline of Psychology takes very seriously the standards of the teaching of its discipline to undergraduate and postgraduate students and of its practical uses to trainee practitioners.  The parts (called Divisions) of the British Psychological Society for the practice of specialised applications of research for the benefit of individual members of the public and of organisations have included for over a decade now a Division for academics committed to carrying out their teaching, research and administration with fully professional competence – for example, reporting annually to the Society their self-monitored continuing professional development.

This BPS Division for Teachers and Researchers in Psychology sponsors one of the peer-reviewed journals for psychological research into the processes of teaching and learning in universities and schools, and also an annual prize for excellence in the teaching of psychology.  Furthermore Psychology has its own network in the government-funded UK Higher Education Academy.  This HEA Network runs its own journal and an annual conference on teaching and learning of the academic discipline.  The BPS’s Board for Psychology Education is working in partnership with the HEA and Heads of Psychology Departments to update the benchmarking the undergraduate curricula across the country.

Yet, despite these vigorous developments, the status of research-based education has proved contentious among academic psychologists and indeed remains questionable by any frank appraisal.  Psychologists who value research into teaching might differ from Sotto on some details of his approach but would I think greatly welcome his general approach.

David Booth
David Booth once served as the chair of the Division for Teachers and Researchers of Psychology in the British Psychological Society (

On DTRP’s pages on that site, there are some resources available to anybody that could be of interest to academics of any discipline.
One item is a freely editable format (in Word) for an all-inclusive academic CV, the relevant parts of which can be copy-pasted into the different sorts of personal record needed for particular contexts.

Another is an outline and a detailed breakdown of nationally agreed standards of personal professionalism in occupations based on psychology as a research discipline, adapted separately for the two primary roles of an academic, Teaching and Research.  Apart perhaps from the ‘reflexive’ nature of the practice of psychology in teaching psychology and in doing research into psychology, most of those criteria for self-evaluation could be translated for use in any other university discipline.