Teaching Matters

Celebrating teaching at the EUSA Teaching Awards

University of Edinburgh teachers and students share their thoughts on good teaching at the EUSA Teaching Awards 2016.

University of Edinburgh teachers and students share their thoughts on good teaching.


Sharon Boyd – Lecturer in Distance Student Learning, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Shortlisted Nominee, Award for Teaching in Veterinary Sciences

“I would define good teaching as rock-climbing--you are all climbing the same mountain--staff and students. You might throw them down a rope, you might point out a clear route for them to take--they may not take it. The really good students will take off and will far surpass you. They may throw you down a rope at some point.”

Gergana Daskalova – 4th Year Ecological and Environmental Sciences Student, School of Geosciences, Nominated Conservation Science for Innovative Assessment

“I think that good teaching is not one universal method. I think it's the type of teaching that can adapt to different environments, to different people.”

Alex Gapud – 3rd Year PhD in Social Anthropology, School of Social and Political Science, Shortlisted Nominee, Best Student who Tutors

“I think good teaching matters because I don't know if we're ever told enough you can do something meaningful. I think great teaching does that first and foremost, but I think it matters because, again, it's about helping to mould our students--into becoming all that they can be, whatever they decide that might be.”

Rachel Ram – 4th Year Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences Student, Nominated SPS in Practice for Best Course

“Good teaching is important to me because it makes students realise they are valued as not just a consumer, but as a human being.”

Dr Isla Myers-Smith – Chancellor’s Fellow, School of Geosciences, Winner, Innovative Assessment for Conservation Science

“Good teaching practice is about learning how to be a better teacher. It's also about learning your subject. It's also about being open to the things you know and also what you don't know.”

Professor Jamie Davies – Professor of Experimental Anatomy, Edinburgh Medical School, Winner, The Kendell Award for Teaching in Medicine

“To staff who want to improve their own teaching practice, I'd say, the first thing is, if they're thinking that way, they're well on their way already.

So I think the most important practical piece of advice is to engage with the IAD. They run a wonderful series of courses and workshops. It illustrates good teaching because it isn't just a didactic process of someone from the IAD standing there saying, do this, do that, and everything will be fine.

The most important things come from the conversations between the lecturers who are there to learn. And I think that mirrors what happens with our undergraduate learning and teaching--that it's the whole group working together to take a journey and to learn something.”