Written by Jennifer Friberg, SoTL Scholar-Mentor at Illinois State University
Dr. Janice Miller-Young, director of the Institution for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Mt. Royal University, recently authored a blog post title “How to tell the story of SoTL,” focusing on the reasons that researchers engage in SoTL inquiry at her university. In this post, she suggests that faculty engage in SoTL research for three main purposes: to generate and study innovations in teaching, to apply and study innovative pedagogies, and to better understand the complexities in teaching and learning. Likely most SoTL researchers fall into at least one of those categories. .
My involvement in SoTL began with my desire to understand my students more thoroughly as learners. I sought evidence to connect what I subjectively observed as an instructor to the actual reality for my students. I wanted to know what activities, experiences, and methods were most successful in helping them to learn and expand upon course material. My initial SoTL studies helped me to move beyond scholarly teaching to become a scholar of teaching and learning. And, while I still engage in such studies, my interests have turned to studies which might help build the commons (Huber and Hutchings, 2005), synthesizing and combining my SoTL work with that of other professionals to allow for broader understanding of teaching and learning questions. In short, my SoTL work crosses all three categories suggested by Dr. Miller-Young in her post, though I would add that I also engage in SoTL to give my students an active voice in their learning processes.
Why do you SoTL? What motivates you to engage in SoTL and share it with others? Feel free to comment below!
Huber, M. T. and Hutchings, P. (2005). The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.