The Enchantment of Teaching

The Enchantment of

Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

 

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This morning I found myself scanning through www.teachingandlearning.ie carrying out research for my masters in digital humanities. I immediately began analyzing the website for one of my resent assignments for evaluating sources. Professional, yes – 90%, website design, good – 80%, reliability, excellent – 100%. As the criteria for evaluation was running, almost machine like, through my mind I found that I was quickly drawn to the main text. This text was clearly displayed across the top of the page, taking up the top half of my computer screen.

It read ‘The National Forum for the Enchantment of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’

My eyes squinted. Did I read this wrong?! I did a double take…

Unfortunately for the entire student population of Ireland I did.

It actually read:

‘The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’

Of course the enhancement of teaching and learning is vitally important. The information shared through this teaching and learning portal I found extremely innovative and particularly interesting for my digital project. Most definitely a source I will be revisiting for further research. Especially around the pioneering work carried out to create a digital roadmap for higher education in Ireland.

However, I would now like to invite you to imagine, if only for a moment, what kind of world of possibilities might open up if only a small percentage of the power and resources of this faculty could be focused on the ‘enchantment’ of teaching and learning in higher education.

How might this potentially enhance our pedagogy?

Could ‘enchantment’ be considered among the diversity of approaches to accessing learning across all disciplines? Might it stimulate innovation and excellence in teaching and learning? It has certainly managed to capture the attention of the global youth sector in the book series, Harry Potter. How could Ireland’s education sector harness this somewhat elusive intelligence to engage students in the educational process?

What kind of places, innovations and pioneering thought would this suggestion alone ‘The Enchantment of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’ invite our imagination, our creative agency to attend?

As part of my own research project I am questioning the impact of marrying creativity and digital tools with the learning experience, musing over questions such as:

 

  • How can creativity be used to assist in ‘Teaching for Understanding’?
  • Will the creative process aid the emotional health of the student and therefore the overall receptivity to learn?
  • How can we use digital tools to assist in the creative potentialities of educational resources?
  • How can creative projects assist peer-to-peer and collaborative learning, and how can this be supported by the genius of today’s technology?
  • How can we move into a more collaborative, connected, engaged, creative space with traditional education?

These are all questions to support the research and development of my educational project Wisdom Hive.

For a while now I have been considering many different slogans, but after the unintended inspiration from the ‘Teaching and Learning’ website I will be including ‘Pioneering The Enchantment Of Education’ as a strong candidate.

Imagine if students greeted education the same way they do their favorite storybook, with eyes wide-open, imagination sparked and excited.

  • How would this change the classroom experience?
  • Who said curriculum has to be boring? Is curriculum boring? If so, why is it?
  • Imagine if the entire curriculum was revisited with that one intention in mind?‘For the Enchantment of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’
  • How much more engaged would students be?!

Imagine if schools could be transformed into Hogwarts, even if it were just through the eyes of the students?

What would it take to tilt the axis of education from being considered ‘work’ for students to being experimental, creative, alchemical explorations of imagination and creation – it invites the question, can education be magical?

Can the current shift into a digitally connected world provide the space for this alchemy to take place within the education sector?

Lots of questions, lots more to muse on.

I hope to gain some understandings and answers when I begin carrying out my pilot research with some local schools in Cork in the coming weeks. I will be bringing a treasure chest of possibilities for students to explore. TBC..

 

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