The Ideal and the Experienced: University Teachers’ Perceptions of a Good University Teacher and Their Experienced Pedagogical Competency

Virve Pekkarinen
University of Eastern Finland

Laura Hirsto
University of Eastern Finland

Anne Nevgi
University of Helsinki, Centre for University Teaching and Learning

This study explores how university teachers perceive the features and characteristics of a good university teacher and how they self-evaluate their experienced pedagogical competency. Furthermore, this study explores how the experienced pedagogical competency and perceived features and characteristics of a good university teacher are related. The data were collected by a questionnaire (N=73) from two groups of university teachers: the participants and non-participants of an educational development project. The results showed that the teachers perceived a good university teacher as having a wide knowledge base, having versatile professional roles, and continuously developing their professional competency. They also self-evaluated social reflection, emotions, and active participation in teaching development as core areas of their pedagogical competency. The university teachers perceived ideal of a good university teacher was mainly consistent with their experienced pedagogical competency, however, an emotional aspect was not perceived to include the ideal of a good university teacher. Comparing the two groups revealed differences in how the university teachers experienced their expertise as teachers. It seems that strategic educational development projects can act as gateways to develop teaching skills through systematic development of teaching for university teachers who may not find formal university pedagogy courses suitable for them.

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