In the scope of the Faculty of Education and Psychology International Week, Professor Paul Trowler, from Lancaster University and director of the PhD programme in Higher Education Research, Evaluation and Enhancement, will give a talk on “Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Universities through a Practice Lens.” The event will take place on March 31th, at 2:30pm at the Carvalho Guerra Auditorium, at Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
Enhancing learning and teaching in higher education across a single institution and especially across a national system is not straightforward. Often it is attempted with only-implicit and simplistic theories of change processes. While understandings of teaching and learning processes are usually better-developed, attempts to enhance those processes require stronger understandings of the forces which constrain and scaffold change.
In this talk Paul argues that a social practice lens offers those interested in teaching and learning enhancement an illuminating way of seeing current practices in their context, as well as contextually-sensitive approaches to enhancing them.
Social practices evolve as teams work on a common project over time. Meanings, emotions, discourses, and identities are shaped and reshaped as they work together. Conflicts as well as commonalities develop. The context of their practices becomes unique as they develop their specific practice repertoires in this way. But in this development they draw on ideational reservoirs that are common across many contexts, in particular educational ideologies and taken-for-granted assumptions. Agency and structure are thus both at work.
So, the practice lens looks at the repertoires and reservoirs in the location of interest. And a practice approach to enhancement focuses specifically on the practices already in place, on the imagined new practices and on any artefacts, tools, technologies that are or will be employed in that change. It makes a series of propositions about how to effect enhancement, and what is, and what is not likely to happen in that process. Paul’s talk elaborates on this.
Please use the link to access the webpage Prof. Paul Trowler for his keynote on the 31st of March. Here you can access references he will mention during his keynote.
Paul Trowler is Professor of Higher Education, Lancaster University and Director of the PhD programme Higher Education Research, Evaluation and Enhancement. He has research interests which include: social practice theory as applied to teaching and learning; academic 'tribes' and their disciplinary territories; higher education policy-making and enactment; cultures in universities; enhancing student engagement.
Paul also engages in research, evaluation and development work with universities and higher education funding and policy bodies across the world. Paul has published numerous books, articles and reports in his fields of interest. Most relevant to this keynote are:
- Trowler, P. (2020) Accomplishing Change in Teaching and Learning Regimes: Higher education and the practice sensibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://tinyurl.com/2s5bujfk
- Trowler, P. (2021) Doctoral supervision - Sharpening the focus of the practice lens. Higher Education Research and Development. https://tinyurl.com/5be7cmtu
- Bamber, V., Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Knight, P. (eds) (2009) Enhancing Learning, Teaching, Assessment and Curriculum in Higher Education: theories within practices. McGraw Hill/SRHE. https://tinyurl.com/4v2kfpzu
Paul’s full CV is available online at: