Keynote and plenary speakers

Teaching and Research: bridging the abyss for effective practice

John Benseman

Dr John Benseman

John Benseman, Director, Critical Insight Research and Evaluation

Teaching is at the heart of what we do in education. Effective teaching ensures that learning occurs with our learners. And yet, despite its centrality to education, we have little systematic documentation about what teachers actually do or what best achieves the impact with our learners.

Many practitioners perceive research as remote, irrelevant and offering little to the nuts and bolts of what we do as teachers. Research is seen as an esoteric undertaking that largely feeds on itself and offers little insight for what we do on Monday morning in our work.

So what shapes teachers’ teaching skills and strategies? Where do teachers look for their inspiration and information about how to teach? What role could research play in improving our practice?

In this presentation I will briefly review some research findings about what happens between teachers and their learners and what influences their ideas about how to teach. I will then examine the argument for basing our teaching practices on the reasonable body of adult literacy and numeracy research that has emerged over recent years – research-informed teaching. Finally I will suggest a range of ways that individual teachers or whole organisations can implement a professional development programme to bridge the current divide between research and practice.

After a brief stint as a primary school teacher, Dr John Benseman has worked in adult education and literacy for all of his professional career as a teacher, programme developer, researcher and evaluator. After he studied adult education in Sweden, he then worked in a range of New Zealand adult education areas including continuing medical education for general practitioners, community education with the Auckland Workers Education Association (WEA) , academic teaching at The University of Auckland and UNITEC, as well many years as a self-employed researcher and evaluator. He has also worked in literacy research projects for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). For five years, he ran the national Upskilling workplace literacy, language and numeracy research project for the Department of Labour, which is the largest study of its type internationally. Currently he is the evaluator of an innovative community development project in Auckland’s Mt Roskill area and working as a workplace literacy teacher.

Public Pedagogies: Learning and Teaching in Public Spaces

Karen Charman, Victoria University

Karen Charman

What can we learn from others who engage in learning and teaching outside formal educational institutions? What and who are important to know and understand in these spaces? Welcome to the world of public pedagogy. The Public Pedagogies Institute (PPI) is a multi-disciplinary group involved in the practice, research and evaluation of public learning in institutions like museums, libraries, neighbourhood houses and community centres and includes people from the arts, community and public history. Come and hear about transformative practice of learning outside the classroom and what other disciplines can tell us about this space.

Karen Charman is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University with expertise in curriculum, pedagogy, public history, memory and narrative. She is the President of the Public Pedagogies Institute and editor of the newly published ‘Journal of Public Pedagogies’. This journal celebrates the transformative articulations that express multidisciplinary conceptions of the public while challenging how these ways of being and knowing are pedagogical within the everyday.