SOAS University of London

Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT)

4th Learning and Teaching Conference June 2017

The fourth SOAS Learning and Teaching Conference took place on Friday 9th June 2017 and focused on collaborations and partnerships between staff and students and was aimed at all those with an interest in teaching and learning, education development and student engagement.

The conference included presentations from students as well as staff and provided a great opportunity to exchange ideas, and to celebrate, promote and disseminate good practice in learning and teaching in a higher education context.

This year’s conference closed with the presentation of the winners of the 2016/17 SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize.

The conference programme can be accessed  LTD Conference Programme June 2017 (pdf; 25mb)   This includes abstracts for each talk in full.

Video recordings of each talk with accompanying slides can be accessed via Moodle. If you are not affiliated to SOAS you will be able to logon as a guest.

Speakers showcased a series of talks:


Engaging students as partners and change agents: Concepts, motivations and practice  - Dr Abbi Flint (Independent Education Developer & Visiting Research Fellow in Student Engagement at Birmingham City University)

This keynote explored some of the conceptual frameworks and models for understanding student as partners and agents of change, reflecting on our own understandings of and motivation for engaging with students as in the wider field of student engagement.


The pedagogy – policy – practice nexus: A problematic paradox or opportunity for purposeful partnership? - Dr Ian Pickup (SOAS)

This keynote explored the inherent tension in promoting and facilitating student engagement within the evolving Higher Education policy landscape, with the metric-laden and medallion centred Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) at its core, and shined a light on the tensions faced in facilitating student engagement within the prevailing policy landscape.

Incorporating positionality and lived experience into SOAS classrooms: A decolonial approach - Dr Lindiwe Dovey, India Banks, Ifeanyi Awachie, Camille Barton, (SOAS)

This session proposed an idea for an ongoing framework, which can be introduced into SOAS classrooms, specifically in subject matters where a level of safety and sensitivity would be welcome around discussing issues such as identity, culture, race, gender and sexuality. This intends to work in conjunction with the efforts to decolonize SOAS and make the university environment an inclusive, safe space for diversity.

How diverse is your curriculum? Student-staff collaboration in the examination of reading lists - Dr Karen Schucan Bird (UCL-IOE), Lesley Pitman (UCL)

This presentation invited you to reflect on the value and meaning of a diverse and inclusive curriculum. The session reported on collaborative student-staff projects that interrogated the composition of reading lists in two different modules. These projects examined the gender, ethnicity and geographical origins of authors on two reading lists.

PASS for Arabic teaching - Sarah Bailey, Renata Albuquerque (SOAS)

This presentation reported on findings from the SOAS’ Arabic Peer assisted study schemes (PASS) pilot project, which started in February 2017 and consisted of five sessions.  Learners’ difficulties were categorised and compared to end-of-sessions feedback for evidence of how difficulties were addressed and what follow-up actions were taken.

How peer coaching can improve the academic attainment of undergraduate students: A mixed methods case study - Dr Jill Andreanoff (Independent Coach & University of Essex)

This presentation highlighted the findings of a mixed methods study of a peer coaching programme, utilizing a control group, enabling a comparison to be made between the academic attainment of non-coached students with those who received up to ten weeks of peer coaching.

A talent management perspective - Dr Keith Jackson (SOAS)

This presentation conceptualised relationships between research supervisors and research supervisees as a distinct form of creative and (potentially) mutually beneficial coach-mentor partnership. Drawing on the author’s professional experience the presentation developed a talent management perspective on coach-mentor partnerships.

The effects of experiential emotional intelligence training on veterinary student attitude and engagement - Dr Jackie Cardwell (Royal Veterinary College)

A 3-day ‘Professional Orientation and Development’ programme for Royal Veterinary College students was developed. The overarching aim is to nurture the sustainable development of resilient, engaged students with the emotional intelligence to thrive in whatever roles they pursue after graduation. Guiding principles of the programme and further details of research findings were presented.

Placement transition project overview - Debbie De, (Aston University)

Aston University’s Learning Development Centre  and Careers+Placements team are investigating student perspectives on the transitions around a work placement year: pre-placement (the search and application process); placement (‘soft skills’, ‘professionalism’); post-placement (consolidating academic and placement skills). Initial research findings were presented.

Study mentoring pilot: Skills for Learning  - Karen Croft (Leeds Beckett University)

This presentation explained how a pilot project which aimed to find out whether and how we could run a one-to-one study mentoring scheme to support the development of students’ academic skills including: academic writing, time management, library skills and using IT, has worked, and shared some information and insights from the evaluation data.

Moodle inclusive teaching and learning and assessment module -Angela Axon, Zoe Davis (SOAS)

This talk presented the Inclusive Learning and Teaching Module which is an open resource for SOAS staff and students which shares good practice from other institutions alongside relevant research, legislation and guidelines; encourages the development and sharing of good practice and case studies within SOAS; and encourages discussion between staff and students on how learning and teaching can be more inclusive.

PhD students as (near) peer tutors: Perspectives on motivational and learning processes - Dr Angela Gallagher-Brett, Roberta Ginleiz Gattadoro, SOAS)

This presentation described a (near) peer tutoring scheme in which PhD students are recruited and trained to act as essay, dissertation writing and language advising one-to-one tutors to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and the motivational and learning processes experienced by the tutors during the tutorial sessions.

Mutual Symbiosis: One-to-one tutoring - Joanna Nolan (SOAS)

This talk addressed the mutually beneficial relationship of one-to-one tutoring, and outlined the multiple domains in which students and tutors can learn from one another and benefit from the medium. Issues such as feedback, critical thinking and analytical writing were explored.

‘It’s not what you do – it’s the way that you do it’: Paying attention to the process of student-staff partnership working - Karen Clark, (University of Hertfordshire)

In this talk three aspects of student-staff partnership work undertaken in a number of different Schools at the University of Hertfordshire over the past eight years was presented - firstly findings from a questionnaire asking staff what they see as essential features of the process of partnership working, secondly identification of the principles of student-staff collaboration, and finally current work involving student-staff projects.

Students as co-creators of knowledge and solutions in the case of IFSTAL - Lauren Blake, (Royal Veterinary College)

This presentation outlined The Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning programme which is a consortium of seven higher education institutions, open to postgraduates from any discipline interested in tackling global challenges of food security and environmental change, and where they have had freedom to experiment with teaching and learning methods and bringing people together across physical, institutional and disciplinary barriers.

Give ‘em an inch: Student use of space in the library - Regina Everitt, (Library, SOAS)

This presentation looked at the available Library space, how students use the spaces, initiatives to enhance space use and the outcomes, and aspirations for Library spaces in the future.

SOAS students as producers: The path towards collaborative learning - Caitlin Clark (SOAS)

This talk analysed from the perspective of a SOAS student the benefits of introducing the ‘Students as Producers’ initiative to SOAS, which involved a re-appraising of the relationship between research and teaching.

Unafraid to dialogue: SOAS students as co-researchers and contributors to scholarship - Dr Alena Rettová, Claire Amaladoss (SOAS)

This joint presentation reviewed the strategies, impressions, and achievements of collaborative work between academics and students in research and scholarship; and how SOAS students at all levels (UG, PGT, PGR) have shaped research in Swahili studies and, more recently, in African philosophy.

Turning feedback provision into a dialogical process, tailored to contemporary communication infrastructure - Mehmet Izbudak (SOAS)

This presentation explored the dynamics of the feedback provision to students and its potential role in the 21st century higher educational construct as a dialogical process in the everyday pedagogy of university life. It was proposed that we need to embed a dialogical feedback system, which provides both learner and teacher with the information to optimise the learning and teaching process.

Student-directed use of individual and cohort learning gain data to monitor professional skills development - Simon Carrington, Dr Gwyneth Hughes, Andrew Mellor (UCL-IOE)

This presentation presented a project where the concept of ‘learning gain’, a measure of value added offered by a course of study, was used with a cohort of part-time MBA students to encourage developmental reflection by both students and staff.