Teaching Matters

Embodying the ‘invisible’ community: Enabling post-doctoral scientists to develop their teaching skills and share their knowledge with our students.

Nadia Tuzi (SBS) Daphne Loads (IAD) and Maurice Gallagher (SBS), run an annual tutor training course for post docs.

Tutorials are a valuable and key component of SBS courses. They allow students to learn in small groups, to work with their peers, to build a sense of community and to interact with their tutor in an informal setting.  Historically PhD students have been offered the chance to teach in the role of laboratory demonstrator and floor-leader.

However, the teaching talent of the post-doctoral community was not being realised before the introduction of the SBS Tutor Training course started in 2013. Effectively they were a large but invisible community who solely interacted with our students via project supervision. By providing the opportunity to gain insights and skills in tutoring and marking, they have new opportunities to become a more transparent and valued part of the University community.

The popularity of this course has now extended beyond our School and College. Involvement has grown year-on-year, with post-docs being given the chance to share their scientific knowledge with SBS students whilst honing their teaching skills. There is also the opportunity for them to acquire accreditation for their teaching via the Edinburgh Teaching Award. From the perspective of our students, they now have a more transparent understanding of how the University system operates and of the academic career structure. Moreover, the close interaction between members of SBS and IAD provides a well-balanced approach and add both enthusiasm and educational synergy to the event.