Welcome to the Teaching & Learning Network! 

The Teaching and Learning Network is a community of practice for academics and higher education teachers, where best practice can be recognised, scholarship and research disseminated, and university teaching supported. 

Building on over a decade of work as a PSA Specialist Group, the remit of the Network is:

  • To enable all politics academics/HE teachers to share the good and innovative practices that they have developed, within a community of practice
  • To support the production and dissemination of research and scholarship relating to the teaching and learning of politics
  • To support the PSA in contributing to policy relating to HE matters, including the TEF
  • To support early career academics in developing their practice as university teachers 
  • To support the development of politics students as critical and independent learners, able to contribute to economic, social, and political wellbeing as active citizens.


All academic and ECN PSA members are automatically affiliated to the Network, although we will endeavour to engage as many other categories of membership as possible.


2021 PSA Award winner!

We are delighed to win the Special Recognition Award from the PSA for extraordinary contribution to the profession over the last year, awarded during the PSA Annual Conference. Thank you PSA!


We want to hear from you!

It would be great to get some feedback from members about what you would like the Network to focus on. We are open to all suggestions, whether that’s workshops, conferences and events we could run or be involved in, publication/article/blog ideas, professional development/training opportunities, or anything else under our wide remit. Get in touch via

Blog writers wanted: do you have something to say about teaching and learning in politics and international studies? If so, why not write a blog for us. We are happy to publish content about best practice, scholarship, or your general thoughts about teaching and learning in the discipline. Contact us at with your idea.

Fancy running a webinar for us on teaching and learning in politics? You know what to do: contact us at!.


The International Political Education Database (IPED)

The International Political Education Database (IPED), curated by Network Co-Chair John Craig, is a bibliographic database of journal articles relating to teaching and learning in politics, international relations, public administration and related fields. It aims to raise the profile of existing publications to encourage further research and enhancements to student learning.

We believe that IPED is the world's most comprehensive bibliographic database of teaching and learning resources for politics.


Previous events

#PSA21 - PSA Annual Conference T&L panels 

We held the below panels - the recordings of the sessions are available online for people who signed up to attend the conference:

Panel: Futures of Political Studies Education in the UK (Part 1) day one panel session 1 - 29th March 09:30-11:00

CHAIR: John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)

  • Christopher Byrne (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Viviane Gravey (Queen's University Belfast)
  • Helen Williams (Nottingham)
  • Nancy Wright (Pace University)


Roundtable: Twelve months of Teaching Online: What works and what doesn’t (Part 1) day two panel session 5 - 30th March 13:30-15:00

CHAIR: Donna Smith (Open University)

  • Georgina Blakeley (Huddersfield)
  • Alexandra Mihai (UCL)
  • Mark Shanahan (Reading)
  • Rose Gann (Nottingham Trent)


Roundtable: Futures of Political Studies Education in the UK (Part 2) day two panel session 6 - 30th March 15:15-16:45

CHAIR: Donna Smith (Open University)

  • Helen  Williams (Nottingham)
  • Alison Statham (DeMontfort)
  • Sumeya Loonat (DeMontfort)
  • Victoria Honeyman (Leeds)
  • John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)


Roundtable: Twelve months of Teaching Online: What works and what doesn’t (Part 2) day three panel session 8 - 31st March 10:45-12:15

CHAIR: John Craig (Leeds Beckett University)

  • Chris Huggins (Suffolk)
  • Stephen Thornton (Cardiff)
  • Cathy Elliott (UCL)
  • Donna Smith (Open University)


Teaching Politics and IR Online: Key Issues, Skills and Pedagogy

The webinar series 'Teaching Politics and IR Online: Key Issues, Skills and Pedagogy' took place in the winter of 2020 and early spring of 2021. This webinar series focused on general teaching and learning issues, not just online learning!

The following webinars were held:


As a special thanks to our PSA Members, we are offering you a certificate of participation if you have attended at least three of our teaching and learning webinars (from any series) to assist you in your professional development. If you would like to request this certificate please contact

You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


'Teaching Politics and IR Online: Design Matters' webinar series

The PSA and BISA joint webinar series 'Teaching Politics and IR Online: design matters', took place during July and August 2020. This series focused on module design and production, looking ahead to autumn teaching, building on the previous seminars organised by each organisation. It was a huge success, with academics attending from across the world!

The following webinars were held:


You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


'Teaching Politics Online: Pedagogy, Support & Community' webinar series

The PSA Teaching and Learning Network opening webinar series on teaching politics online, was a huge success!

Most universities had to move their teaching offer online due to the coronavirus pandemic. This led to challenges such as getting to grips with technology, understanding online pedagogy, and creating an academic community at a distance, as well as opportunities such as the chance to do things differently, build on best practice, and reach students asynchronously. Once the immediate crisis-response phase had passed, we felt it was a good time to reflect on best practice in teaching online. 

The following webinars were held:


You can find the recordings here: /resources/multimedia


Inaugural events at the 2019 PSA Annual Conference

Taking a CPD/training focus, the Network held two workshops: ‘Getting ready for subject TEF in politics and IR’ and ‘How to run a simulation with your students: a practical introduction’. Both events were popular with conference attendees.

The TEF workshop was designed to support colleagues preparing for subject TEF; from 2020, all Politics and IR Departments are due to be assessed as part of the new subject level TEF process, with the results (Gold, Silver, Bronze) made available to the public. The workshop included details of the subject TEF pilots, and practical advice on the challenges of interpreting the TEF metrics and putting together a departmental submission. The key messages from this event were: get to know your data asap, the submission statement is as important as the metrics (you can write yourself up or down via what one speaker called ‘the art of the rhetoric’!), and work with other units when writing up (TEF should be a team approach).

Next up, Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey) delivered a workshop which explored how academics can use simulation games when teaching. Dealing with issues including how to design your own simulation and maximising the benefits of this pedagogy, the workshop equipped attendees with the necessary tools to bring something new to the classroom. Key learning points: getting students to do things is important, through simulations you can give knowledge, build skills and create different spaces for learning, simulations must always have a purpose (not just fun!), and students should be respected in and out of the game.

T&L Network at PSA Annual Conference 2019

From left to right, TEF workshop panellists Donna Smith (OU, PSA T&L Network Co-Chair), Simon Lightfoot (University of Leeds), Helen Williams (University of Nottingham), Georgina Blakeley (OU), John Craig (Leeds Beckett University, PSA T&L Network Co-Chair).


Joint International Teaching and Learning Conference 2019

Members of the PSA, APSA, BISA and ECPR met in Brighton from 17th to 19th June 2019 for the first ever conference jointly organised by the four associations. The conference focused on the theme of ‘Teaching Politics in an Age of Populism’. Participants engaged in three days of panels, workshops and debates to explore a range of issues relating to this topic. John Craig, Network Co-Chair, was on the organising committee.

The Network was delighted to sponsor the conference lunch which took place on the first day of the conference. You can read about the conference here.

PSA T&L Network Co-Chairs at teaching and learning conference 2019

From left to right, Donna Smith (OU, PSA T&L Network Co-Chair), John Craig (Leeds Beckett University, PSA T&L Network Co-Chair), taking in the sea views at the conference.


Contact Us

Donna Smith

Role: Co-chair
Institution: Open University


John Craig

Role: Co-chair
Institution: Leeds Beckett University


Or email:


PSA T&L Network Twitter


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Network article on page 15!
Simon Usherwood's slides on teaching via simulations.