We’ve long needed a better way to improve the teaching that happens in classrooms everywhere for so long. There are so many subjects, so many contexts, so many grade levels, so many needs, and so many personalities involved—we’ve often wondered where do we even begin to make things better? Now we know—the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is where we begin.
In a nutshell, SoTL is a burgeoning area of study devoted to conducting educational research within and across disciplines and sharing the results publicly. Simply stated, every discipline is unique, but SoTL recognizes they share the need to discover ways to improve learning by teaching those disciplines well. If the knowledge we gain about teaching and learning is left unexamined and confined to our classrooms, we deny others the opportunity to grow and innovate from what could be shared.
That’s where the Jane and Ron Graham Centre for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning comes in. We support the rigorous study, development, and application of novel teaching and learning approaches that have the power to transform the future of education. The Centre houses and supports researchers doing discipline-based education research, provides graduate programing to develop leadership in the conduct of research and scholarship in teaching and learning, and provides a location and community for interdisciplinary research on teaching and learning across disciplines.
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) benefits us all.
Educational research in disciplines is distinct from disciplinary research. A chemist does disciplinary research to discover new knowledge in chemistry, but educational research in chemistry seeks to discover new knowledge about how we improve learning in the specialized culture and demands of that discipline. And so it goes with every discipline. Teaching and learning cultures and practices in the disciplines differ substantially. Students are taught differently in humanities, and say, Law. Different traditions and expectations are embedded in the disciplines. Pedagogies that flourish in one discipline are unthinkable in another. But there is much to be learned from each of these disciplines about teaching and learning that could hold value in other teaching contexts. If the knowledge we gain about teaching and learning is left unexamined and confined to our classrooms, we deny others the opportunity to grow and innovate from what could be shared. In response, SoTL is a burgeoning area of study devoted to conducting educational research within and across disciplines, and sharing the results publicly. Simply stated, every discipline is unique, but SoTL recognizes they share the need to discover ways to improve learning by teaching those disciplines well.
Located in USask's College of Education, the SSoTL provides a place for faculty, students and researchers to examine their classroom practices with a goal of sharing their experiences in ways that enhance the application of teaching and learning practices to benefit all stakeholders in education, and it offers graduate programs and professional events to develop leaders who can use SoTL to create change in their own organizations.
We work collaboratively with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning, the University Library, and across disciplines to enhance teaching and learning practices at the University of Saskatchewan and beyond. Our graduate and certificate programs are the first in Canada to prepare professionals who specialize in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
SoTL research, targeted at the classroom level, has the ability to find practical answers to the challenges that teachers face every day in their classrooms.