Teaching trio win awards hat-trick
Three of our fantastic teaching staff have won Students’ Association Teaching Awards, including for their approach to feedback and inclusive learning.
An annual celebration of excellence in teaching, research supervision, tutoring and support, the Awards are nominated and judged by current students across the University of Edinburgh.
Now in their tenth anniversary year, they are the oldest prizes of their kind in the UK and this year received over 1,600 nominations for upwards of 780 staff members.
Staff from three different subject areas in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) won in a third of the nine categories open to staff in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, including two brand new categories for 2018.
Best Assessment Feedback Award
Eleoma Bodammer, a Senior Lecturer in German at LLC, won in this category for the feedback she gives students on their coursework.
The Award recognises that “Good feedback feels tailored towards your individual piece of work and… inspires you to improve your work and gain a better understanding of your subject”.
Eleoma's supporting statement, submitted by a student, reads:
"Normally, I find essay feedback an incredibly mixed bag, but Eleoma’s feedback on essays is direct and to the point, but is never overly critical to the point where you feel beaten down by what you’re reading."
"What’s more, she manages to do the three important things (in my opinion) when you get something wrong. She explains: 1. Why it’s wrong 2. How you can make it right 3. How you can avoid this mistake in the future."
Reflecting on her win, Eleoma said:
“It was fantastic to get the award and an exciting confirmation of the quality of my marking and my approach to giving feedback. I strongly believe that within feedback there should be a pathway forward and not just a post-performance assessment.”
“Feedback is key to future improvement and should be personalised, critical, and contain positive as well as negative aspects. In creating a culture of approachability we create feedback opportunities, where students can engage with us at different stages of the assessment. The award has and will prompt more conversations about feedback, which is a very good thing indeed.”
Best Implementer of Student Feedback Award
This is a new Award for 2018, recognising staff who “Listen with respect to all feedback that you take the time to provide, discuss why it can or cannot be implemented, are clear about when any changes may be made, and… make changes, big or small, to implement your feedback to improve the student experience.”
Sakie Chiba-Mooney, a Language Assistant in Japanese, was the winner in this category.
Sakie’s supporting statement, submitted by a student, reads:
"Not only did Chiba take our feedback into consideration but she completely reconstructed our class and handouts within the week so that the very next lesson after discussing the feedback we would be able to have a lesson more tailored to our needs. From that point we have been able to understand our class better and feel better about what it is we need to do to achieve our goals."
Speaking about her win, Sakie said:
“This award means a lot to me, building my confidence as a teacher and motivating me to be better. The next goal would be to receive the best overall award by creating a wonderful course with students!”
Students’ feedback is important because university courses are for students. Rather than simply following feedback (which could be chaotic!), teachers should listen to students’ voices carefully and analyse what and how they want to learn. To meet various needs, it is important to share all the feedback from students with their peers and to have specific, shared and clear course objectives.
Best Practice in Inclusive Learning and Teaching Award
This is another brand new category for 2018, which flags up the importance of providing our diverse student body with inclusive, accessible content, teaching, and student engagement practices.
Katherine Inglis, a Chancellor's Fellow and Lecturer in English Literature, won in this category.
Katherine’s supporting statement, submitted by a student, reads:
"Katherine represents what is truly wonderful about learning: being taught by someone who is truly energised by the materials, compassionate, and perhaps most importantly of all, imparts information not for the sake of later exam regurgitation but to engage her students in a meaningful dialogue with the text, with each other, and with ourselves."
Commenting on her win, Katherine said:
“Students at this university are doing vital critical work in identifying structures and practices that exclude, alienate, and silence, and in turn they have been generous in their recognition and support of the work of those who are developing inclusive learning and teaching practices. I am immensely grateful to them for their feedback (positive and constructively critical), their intellectual curiosity, and their dedication.”
“Their writing on inclusive learning is a primer on good scholarship and academic practice, celebrating the achievement of deep engagement with the intellectual content of the course, enthusiastic discovery of diverse perspectives and approaches, and the ethical and critical importance of meaningful, respectful dialogue, within the seminar room and with the texts they read.”
Inclusive practice is fundamental to good teaching, because in essence, inclusion is about enabling full and meaningful participation. That means developing a learning community in which every student is welcome, listened to, and valued.
LLC and the Teaching Awards
In the past three years alone, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures has won in six categories of the Students’ Association Teaching Awards. In addition to this year's successes, we have won: Best Feedback (Carlos Soler Montes, 2017); Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor Award (Sarah Dunnigan, 2017); and The Ian Campbell Award for Teaching in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (Marwa Mouazen, 2016).