Welcome to the April issue of Teaching Matters on tutoring and demonstrating!

April intro image CROPTeaching Matters is the University of Edinburgh’s website for debate about learning and teaching, for sharing ideas and approaches to teaching, and for showcasing our successes, including academic colleagues who are leading the way in delivering brilliant teaching.

Every month Teaching Matters takes a theme and explores it through a number of blog contributions over the month. We also run an events listing page. You can explore last month’s posts, on peer teaching and learning, via our round-up bulletin.

The focus for April is Tutoring and Demonstrating. This month, we feature blog posts on support and development for tutors and demonstrators from across the University, and hear from tutors and demonstrators themselves.

Tutors and demonstrators (often postgraduate students, but also practitioners, artists, doctors, and postdocs) play a key role in teaching across the University. For current postgraduate students, gaining teaching experience is often important for future career development, and current students benefit from being taught by active researchers who are often able to relate to undergraduate students by virtue of having gone through a similar process more recently.

Supporting the large community of tutors and demonstrators is a challenge being met at both an institutional and School-level. The University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy explicitly recognises “the important role played by tutors and demonstrators”, committed to “supporting them to develop high-quality teaching practices” (University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Strategy, 2017). Similarly, the Code of Practice on Tutoring and Demonstrating, a University-wide guidance document on supporting tutors and demonstrators, is currently being revised in consultation with staff (including tutors and demonstrators) to provide clearer information and guidance (read more on the Academic Services website).

Tutors and demonstrators are provided with support and training in their Schools. Some examples of good practice are featured on Teaching Matters this month, including teaching observations, annual reviews, handbooks, and workshops. At an institutional-level, tutors and demonstrators are supported by the Institute for Academic Development, who provide workshops, accreditation support, resources, and a mailing list.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of Teaching Matters and encourage you to get involved. Future Teaching Matters themes include:

  • PhD experience – May 2017
  • Assessment and Feedback – June 2017
  • Student-led learning and teaching – July/August 2017

If you’d like to contribute a blog post, video, or other media on any upcoming themes or any teaching-related subject, let us know. Remember, you can also submit details about your event and we can advertise it on Teaching Matters.

Amy Burge

Dr Amy Burge is an Academic Developer working within the support team for tutors and demonstrators within the Institute for Academic Development. She provides training and resources for tutors and demonstrators from across the University, in particular those working in the humanities and social sciences.

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