Does teaching matter? : Reconceptualising teaching, scholarship, and the PhD programme in New Zealand university English departments : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Recent international research in higher education laments the undervalued status of teaching. Teaching is research's poor cousin, the superstar actor's underpaid double, the motorbike's sidecar. An academic's time and energy are poured, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes grudgingly, into teaching, but numerous studies reveal that the glory, the kudos, the money, and the rewards come mainly from research. Moreover, most university teachers remain un(der)trained and un(der)supported. What of the New Zealand situation? Little research has been carried out into teaching and teacher training in higher education in New Zealand, and even less research exists on teaching in English in New Zealand universities. In a pioneering attempt to make good this omission, this case-study examines New Zealand English academics' attitudes, particularly towards the following questions. Does teaching matter? Are teachers being adequately trained? Should the PhD be modified to provide a more effective training ground for potential university teachers of English in New Zealand? Are research and teaching competing forces in an academic's life, and might we reconceptualise all the activities of the academic under a broader notion of "scholarship"? A brief historical overview of the development of the university, the discipline of English, and the PhD is followed by a detailed consideration of the introduction of English as a university subject to New Zealand. The evolution of curriculum, teaching methods, research and graduate study in English are described before current perceptions, policies and practices regarding teaching in English are considered in the light of questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews with full-time and part-time New Zealand English academics. The thesis makes recommendations regarding both teaching and the PhD, and self-reflexivity, discussion and collaboration are called for in order that a reconceptualisation of the PhD programme and the New Zealand English academic's role may occur.
University teaching, University teachers, Teaching English, Teachers of English, University English, Academics, English academics, PhD, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), PhD programme, English teachers