The Rhetoric and Reality of Good Teaching: a case study across three faculties at the Queensland University of Technology

Carpenter, Belinda J. & Tait, Gordon W. (2001) The Rhetoric and Reality of Good Teaching: a case study across three faculties at the Queensland University of Technology. Higher Education, 42(2), pp. 191-203.

PDF (72kB)

View at publisher


Universities now have a lot to say about tertiary teaching. University policy, teaching units, and promotion criteria have a very specific understanding of good teaching within the academy. This case study of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) found that good teaching has two central features: it is necessarily student centred, and it is ‘innovative’, a characteristic that, at QUT at least, is increasingly equated with the use of technology. This paper—based upon interviews with twenty-four QUT academics across three faculties (Education, Science, and Law), an analysis of QUT’s teaching and learning policies, and some additional historical research—will suggest four things. First, that the concept of student centred learning, based on ideals of progressive education, is neither an historical inevitability nor theoretically unproblematic. Second, that irrespective of discipline, all lecturers espouse an underpinning ‘progressive’ teaching philosophy, even though, in practice, teaching style appears to be determined primarily by subject-matter. Third, given that, in practice, the progressive model seems to suit some faculties and subject areas better than others (ie. Education, as opposed to Science and Law) this has significant professional implications for the lecturers concerned. Finally, that rather than promoting a ‘progressive’ pedagogy, the use of technology in teaching actually appears to reinforce traditional teaching techniques. Consequently, it is suggested that monolithic understandings of good teaching, when applied across the academy irrespective of context, are often inappropriate, ineffective and inequitous, and that universities need to think through their teaching policies and programmes more thoroughly.

Impact and interest:

17 citations in Scopus
13 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

368 since deposited on 09 Mar 2007
22 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 1391
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: technology and teaching, good practice in university teaching, good teaching
DOI: 10.1023/A:1017514502456
ISSN: 1573-174X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Springer
Copyright Statement: The original publication is available at SpringerLink
Deposited On: 09 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:25

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page