This chapter has argued that pedagogical work in higher education is an undertheorised ﬁeld, and that close attention should be paid to what goes on in tertiary classrooms because this is pivotal. Aside from an academic’s student evaluations which act as a quality metric for promotions and tenure, very little is known about how people teach. Unlike the secondary school sector which has massive resources at its disposal on
almost every aspect of teaching, the tertiary sector has very little indeed. For the most part, academics without teaching qualiﬁcations (the majority) tend towards replicating the ways in which they were taught at university themselves and even after academic development, they often revert to old patterns (Fink 2013). Whilst understandable, this has led to some stasis in tertiary teaching which is not well equipped to meet the challenges of the present or the future as well as it might. These challenges include the saturation of online learning wherein as more
resources are available online, the less likely it is that students will attend classes for face-to-face teaching, unless the teaching is engaging and valuable. In addition, there is the challenge of universities successfully meeting the needs of the growing numbers of undergraduate students who come from communities who have not traditionally attended university. Whilst the numbers accessing university are growing, so too are their attrition rates, with many dropping out. Some return, but many don’t. The causes of this are multiple, but one factor is the relatively inhospitable nature of universities which are more comfortable when dealing with students from middle-class backgrounds who share the same values and cultural protocols. Yet, the accounts of teaching such students discussed above, using inclusive,
transparent pedagogies, tell another story. They suggest that carefully explicit pedagogical work can lead to classroom cultures which are highly engaged and can lead to signiﬁcant student success. The efﬁcacy of such practices is extremely difﬁcult to assess given the difﬁculty of data gathering (the measurement of the teaching activities, difﬁculty in the use of control groups, for example). But it is possible to gain insight from those who have used them, and who have witnessed the impact levels. The following four chapters introduce a range of transparent pedagogies, the
rationale for their use and a step-by-step guide to using them. Beginning with the building of classroom communities which build social capital and self-conﬁdence, there is then an exploration of using collaborative teaching methods, followed by a range of pragmatic exercises which build academic literacies and the book concludes with critical thinking – the skill which should hold students in good stead throughout their university careers and beyond.