CRADLE Seminar Series: Kate Thomson on Informal Professional Learning

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Deakin Downtown

727 Collins Street

Melbourne, VIC 3008

Australia

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Sales Have Ended

Registrations are closed
Sorry, but registrations for this event have ended. To find out more about upcoming CRADLE events, visit our blog, www.blogs.deakin.edu.au/cradle
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Informal interaction and professional learning:
Considerations for higher education

Dr Kate Thomson, Faculty of Health Sciences,
University of Sydney

Conversations about teaching in higher education occur despite contexts which offer inconsistent support for teaching development – so how might conversations between colleagues enhance professional learning? Join the University of Sydney’s Dr Kate Thomson as she explores the influence of informal conversations on academics’ professional learning in higher education.

This seminar highlights key findings from research into academics’ conversations about teaching and reflects on how to enhance informal interaction and professional learning in higher education. Conversations about teaching in higher education occur despite contexts which offer inconsistent support for teaching development. To examine academics’ experiences of conversations within their departmental contexts, thirty interviews were conducted with early and mid-career academics. Analysis revealed that academics’ conversations were useful in at least five ways: to support them to manage their teaching context; to improve their teaching and student learning; to reassure themselves about their teaching practice; to vent about teaching-related issues; and to transform their thinking and practice of teaching (Thomson & Trigwell, 2018).

The learning from conversations can complement and conflict with the learning from formal professional development initiatives (Thomson, 2015), and talking to colleagues represents a private and efficient strategy for time-poor academics who cannot be seen to seek assistance with their teaching. Further, academics’ engagement in conversations appears to be driven by a desire for camaraderie – which is likely in direct response to endeavouring to learn about teaching within contexts perceived as adverse. Exploring the roles of camaraderie, familiarity and proximity in influencing academics’ conversations provides insights into our understanding of professional learning in higher education. The seminar will conclude by considering the implications of these findings for engaging academics in informal learning, and possible avenues for future research.

After Kate's presentation, join us for afternoon tea to continue the conversation around informal interactions and professional learning.

This seminar will be available across all Deakin campuses via Skype for Business (please select your location via the ticketing options for room details), and will also be accessible to all non-Deakin locations online or over the phone (please select this ticketing option for further details).

Photograph of Dr Kate Thomson

Dr Kate Thomson is a Senior Lecturer in Work Integrated Learning at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences. Primarily, her research has centred on the professional learning of university teachers (i.e., academics and clinical educators), and her emerging interest is in developing future professionals through enhancing students’ learning before, during, and after their work integrated learning placements. She has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, conference presentations and invited seminars on informal professional learning, and won the 2016 HERDSA Taylor and Francis Prize for Best Paper by a New Researcher. She has successfully acquired more than $200,000 in grant funding for education and research, including two national competitive grants, one as lead. She serves as an Associate Editor for Higher Education Research and Development, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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Deakin Downtown

727 Collins Street

Melbourne, VIC 3008

Australia

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