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Teaching and Learning Network
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.
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 PSATeach@psa.ac.uk.
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 PSATeach@psa.ac.uk with your idea.
Fancy running a webinar for us on teaching and learning in politics? You know what to do: contact us at PSATeach@psa.ac.uk!.
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.
*SIGN UP NOW!!!* 'Teaching Politics and IR Online: Design Matters' webinar series
The PSA's Teaching and Learning Network are pleased to announce their second series of webinars on 'Teaching Politics and IR Online', this time in conjunction with our colleagues at the British International Studies Association (BISA). The webinars will be delivered by expert academics including Simon Lightfoot (Leeds), Cathy Elliott (UCL) and Will Brown (OU), and will take place during July and August. Each session lasts one hour, from 3-4pm, in Zoom. You can sign up for all of them or just the ones that interest you.
This webinar series focuses on module design and production, looking ahead to autumn teaching, and builds on the previous seminars organised by each organisation. If you missed previous events you can watch them at your leisure on our website. You can also find the BISA's previous teaching webinars on their Youtube Channel.
'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:
- ‘How are you going to get through this’ by Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey) Thursday 14th May 3-4pm: /events/how-are-you-going-get-through-webinar
- ‘Supporting students in unprecedented times’ by Mark Shanahan (University of Reading) Thursday 21st May 3-4pm: /events/supporting-students-unprecedented-times
- ‘What campus universities can learn from online/distance ones’ by Georgina Blakely (University of Huddersfield) Wednesday 27th May 3-4pm: /events/what-campus-universities-can-learn-online/distance-ones
- ‘Scaffolding learning: how to guide and engage your students into online learning' By Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds) Thursday 4th June 3-4pm: /events/scaffolding-learning-how-guide-and-engage-your-students-online-learning
- ‘Replacement or supplement: asynchronous teaching, accessibility, and methods’ By Natalie Jester (University of Bristol) Wednesday 10th June 3-4pm: /events/replacement-or-supplement-asynchronous-teaching-accessibility-and-methods
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.
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.
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.