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Appendix 2. Teaching development for research students

Many research students apply to be 'teaching assistants' in the School - and elsewhere. This can provide useful experience, particularly for those wanting to continue in academia. If you are interested in teaching in the School, discuss this with your supervisor - and make sure that time spent on teaching does not compromise your research plans. If you do decide to teach, then the School expects that all postgraduates with teaching responsibilities undergo basic training in teaching. There are three 'levels' of training already available in the School. These are offered through the Teaching and Learning Centre - email tlc@lse.ac.uk| or phone ext 6624 in the first instance, and we will then be able to keep you up to date on workshops and other forms of support.

Level 1: Basic induction (compulsory for all new graduate teaching assistants registered as PhD students in the School)

  • Being a GTA at LSE workshops, covering student learning, class teaching, presentation skills and assessment. Note these workshops are spread over the first term, as several full- and part-day sessions and is available on several occasions. There is also an intensive one-day version in January for those teaching in the Lent Term and for those who missed the first series. Contact your departmental manager for dates.
  • Dean's School-wide induction (run only once in early October - but thereafter recording is available for reference).
  • Briefing/induction at departmental and/or course level (check with your department for details).

The programme is non-certificated, with no additional mentoring or support, other than that provided by the tutor responsible for the course you teach on. The Teaching and Learning Centre will, on request, issue you with a letter indicating the sessions you attended.

Level 2: The LSE Teaching Record (optional)

  • Induction workshop/departmental briefing (as above) - additional briefing session on developing the LSE Teaching Record.
  • Record of at least one observed teaching session.
  • Report of student feedback results.
  • Assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses in teaching preparation and delivery.
  • Preparation of a teaching development plan - based on above evidence.
  • Tutorial meeting with the Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre to review evidence and plan.

This programme will lead to a certificate/record of teaching practice provided by the Teaching and Learning Centre. It should provide useful evidence for those wishing to pursue a career in higher education (HE) in the UK, and may enable you to gain exemptions from some elements of future training in teaching which increasing numbers of HE institutions now make compulsory.

Level 3: The LSE Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

LSE offers all its teachers the opportunity to undertake a formal, externally accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. The programme is recognised by the Higher Education Academy, and accords with  statutory expectations of university teaching staff.  

The programme offers PhD students who teach a valuable additional professional qualification which may be advantageous for those seeking UK academic jobs. In the majority of UK HE institutions, new lecturers are expected to obtain such a qualification in their first few years in post, and as a requirement of probation. To come into a new lectureship with all or part of this requirement complete can be a big bonus!

The programme includes development across six main areas of work:

  • developing teaching practice (focused on different types of teaching - face to face large group, small group, on-line, one-to-one, etc);
  • student support and student guidance;
  • assessment;
  • lecturing;
  • course design;
  • evaluation, feedback and teacher personal development.

Two 'levels' of qualification are available: the 'associate' and 'full' certificate. Associates work on three of the six areas noted above. The full certificate requires work across all six areas. Participants prepare their own work plans to address the programme outcomes, in consultation with Teaching and Learning Centre tutors. The programme is made up of a combination of workshops, tutorials, reading, actual 'live' work as a teacher and focused projects (research or research and development) focused on issues of interest to the individual teacher.

There is formal assessment for the programme, which comprises a portfolio of work to include self assessment of strengths and developments as a teacher, reports on student feedback and teaching observations, and some formal projects which draw together practical teaching experiences with readings and insight gained from talking to key stakeholders in the teaching and learning process.

The LSE Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education is a two-year programme and people need to be able to set aside around half a day per fortnight during the teaching terms to work on the programme. Participants can join the programme in October each year, and submit portfolios for external examining in the following June.

If you are interested, please contact the Educational Development team in the Teaching and Learning Centre - tlc.eddev@lse.ac.uk| or ext 7180 - for further information.

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