Quick access

    Autobiograghical Narrative le 17/08/20


    I use adventurous teaching by creating an element of surprise or uncertainty of outcome.


    I use adventurous teaching by creating an element of surprise or uncertainty of outcome.

    Surprise is seen as a tool for motivational learning: when subject expectations are not borne

    out, students' attention is focussed. I was pleased to discover a whole article on 'surprise' (Adler, 2008) in which students are able to recognise gaps, weaknesses or false assumptions 

    in their understanding and thus, seek deeper learning. Adler supplies a persuasive 

    argument for using surprise as a pedagogical tool for educational benefits and enhanced 

    learning and I was able to provide background material to support an example activity of 



    Reflection and Outcomes 


    llleris (2009) describes the 'incentive' dimension whereby attitudes to intended learning and 

    mental energy are mobilised through interest. The incentive here was to meet the UKPSF 

    but I found much interest in consolidating my understanding of established pedagogy and in 

    the exploration of those approaches not well recorded. I enjoyed the challenge of gathering 

    appropriate evidence and mastering the lexicon of focussed semantics. The excitement of 

    presenting a personalised collection for the enhancement of professional practice was 

    rewarding beyond the decision on the outcome. 


    A brief analysis of colleagues' motivations for undertaking portfolio collation towards 

    Descriptor 3 showed commonalities with my own experience and some differences in 

    emphasis. Some saw the award as the motivating factor, particularly initially, and another 

    thought that it was important to outline practice and why it was worth recognising. 


    However, most saw the process of compiling a portfolio as a journey of discovery, 

    eventually more rewarding than the end product as it allowed for a synthesis and cogent 

    ordering of diverse activities and ideas into a coherent structure. Varied and complex 

    strands reached a higher level of organisation to uncover synergies not previously 

    recognised but consistently were underpinned by strong principles, beliefs and values. One 

    member of staff felt that there were aspects of his portfolio which he could use in other 

    areas of professional development such as planning peer reviews, performance reviews and 

    applying for a teaching award. All commented on the importance of sharing valuable and 

    innovative ideas on approaches and practice through a personal narrative influenced by 

    personal philosophy and professional practice. 


    The process is iterative. There is no pass/fail and I am not even sure what the pass mark 

    would be. In this sense it is 'qualificatory' and aligned with a judgement on meeting the 

    Professional Standards or not. Portfolios which do not meet the standards are referred back 

    as 'portfolios requiring additional work to meet UKPSF'. 


    My portfolio was initially referred back as needing more pedagogical theoretical framing 

    beyond my own authorship but was successful on resubmission. I saw this as frustrating at 

    first, particularly since I had been advised to the contrary and my submission reflected the 

    format submitted for Fellowship previously. However, I soon realised that this was a 

    learning process for all, including my mentors, particularly as I was one of the first to submit 

    in this way at my institution. I recognised that once the criteria had been fully understood 

    and met, the portfolio would be accepted. Furthermore, I can now contribute to 

    subsequent mentoring of, and advice to, future candidates and to the evaluation of the 

    escalating number of portfolios through reasoned and lived judgement.


    The collation and focussing of evidence for continuing professional development and 

    enhanced professional practice for teaching and the support of learning in Higher Education 

    is an intrinsically rewarding and challenging process. Evidence-based reflective practice 

    through the submission of a portfolio is seen as a valuable tool for self evaluation and 

    development. In trying to meet the UKPSF, a range of pedagogies was explored : 

    'traditional', new and unrecorded approaches were researched and led to exciting and 

    motivational learning in the pursuit of the enhancement of student learning experiences 

    and the improvement of the quality of teaching and the support of learning. This 

    autobiographical narrative on the journey towards attaining UKPSF is presented as a 

    learning process and one which it is hoped might guide and support other colleagues in their 

    own professional development and encourage them to write and collate a portfolio towards 

    achieving professional standards recognition.


    1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1741-5446.2008.00282.x
    2. https://paperleaf.ca/
    3. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/guidance/teaching-and-learning/ukpsf
    4. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/where-to-study/study-in-canada
    5. https://www.universityaffairs.ca/features/feature-article/2019-canadian-higher-education-in-review/