NCI Professional Development Workshop


Workshop by Teresa Whitaker based on the newly launched A Handbook and Tool Kit for Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Independent Higher Education Institutions in Ireland

Today more than ever, students of all ages are attending college to achieve higher qualifications and fulfil their work and life goals. The independent higher education sector continues to change and evolve in response to these needs. Yet despite numerous innovations in policy, infrastructure and technology there is still one simple truth that underpins our education system; it is that the quality of learning depends essentially on the quality of teaching.

Teaching and learning is what we do, it is at the heart of the college experience and there is no substitute for a fully resourced, accomplished teacher to encourage, guide and assess student attainment. Teaching in higher education, whether full-time or part-time, can and should be a life-enhancing, enjoyable and rewarding occupation. As educational institutions strive to provide high quality programmes, they face the challenge of recruiting the brightest and the best teachers.


Higher education teachers need to be experts in their chosen field but they also need to quickly acquire the specialist skills and knowledge required for effective teaching. This is especially the case for part-time teachers who bring valuable experience from wider contexts into college classrooms.

This is why A Handbook and Tool Kit for Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Independent Higher Education Institutions in Ireland is such a valuable resource. It serves as a companion for college teachers to accompany their professional development journey. It provides the most up-to-date understanding of age old insights. Underpinning the entire work is an appreciation of central role of scholarly reflection and portfolio development as a means of teacher professional enhancement.

Teresa Whitaker has put together a comprehensive collection of resources and tied these to tools and connections to open our thinking. Placed at the heart of this resource, is an exercise on the development of one’s own ‘Personal Philosophy of Teaching’. It is an engaging and challenging exercise that serves as a compass point for all of us. In the maelstrom of technical and managerial approaches to teaching and learning, it is all too easy to overlook important qualities such as well-being, care, equality and inclusion.