Higher Education

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 283–310 | Cite as

An investigation into excellent tertiary teaching: Emphasising reflective practice

  • Ruth Kane
  • Susan Sandretto
  • Chris Heath


This study is an attempt to understand betterthe complex nature of tertiary teaching byidentifying and investigating the attributes ofa group of excellent teachers in sciencedepartments of the University. In working withthis group of teachers we examined what theysay about their teaching and what theydo in their teaching practice. Ourfindings, as well as confirming much of theexisting literature at primary, secondary andtertiary levels, emphasise the strong linkbetween the teaching practice and researchcommitment of our excellent science teachers;as well as the key roles played byinterpersonal relationships and the `person' ofthe teacher. We propose that purposefulreflective practice integrates the manydimensions of teaching for this group ofexcellent science teachers. We present atheoretical model that can be used to assistnovice or less experienced university academicsin their development and understanding ofteaching excellence at the tertiary level.

academic staff development reflective practice research/teaching nexus teacher attributes teacher characteristics university teaching 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationMassey UniversityNew Zealand (author for correspondence, e-mail
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Higher Education Development CentreUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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