Integrating research, teaching and practice in the context of new institutional policies: a social practice approach

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Abstract

Most research on the implementation of research-informed teaching has focused on influencing the individual practices of academics. However, social practice theory has criticised individualist approaches, arguing that attention must be paid to the context of practice, which in the academic context requires a focus on how academics articulate agency in their teaching practices in relation to specific contextual opportunities and constraints. This small-scale qualitative study in a UK university explores how academics across eight disciplines reshaped their understandings and practices of research-informed teaching in the context of a change in institutional mission from teaching and professional practice to incorporate expectations around research, drawing on developments in social practice theory when applied to academic workgroups. Understandings of identity and agency developed in postcolonial literary theory are used to further explore the academic work involved in creating new narratives for research-informed teaching in the context of changing, and often contradictory discourses of research, teaching and practice. This has implications for approaches to implementing research-informed teaching, which should recognise the work of academics in developing new narratives for research-informed teaching in the context of unique configurations of the nexus between research, teaching and practice in different disciplines. Social practice theory provides a lens for considering the contextual elements impacting on academic approaches to research-informed teaching, while approaches to narrative borrowed from postcolonial literary theory foreground the agency of academics in working across contradictions that surfaced with changes to the nexus between research, teaching and practice, to create emergent practices of research-informed teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-815
JournalHigher Education
Volume78
Issue number5
Early online date8 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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