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Learning to teach: professional development can make a difference in your classroom

Learning doesn’t need to stop once you’ve entered the world of work. In fact, greater numbers of established professionals are opting to continue their education for a number of reasons, including increasing professional qualifications, earning a higher income, gaining confidence and improving social networks.

Written by Lindsay Alexander |

Gary Ng Boon Hui
“This programme provides the perfect platform for me to improve and bring life into my teaching."

The University of London recognised that staff who teach and support learning in Higher Education often have no formal teacher training and we have developed an innovative programme to support the higher education teaching workforce. Delivered completely online our Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education supports professional development for those teaching face-to-face and teaching on-line.  

To promote continuous professional development among tutors who deliver University of London Undergraduate Laws programmes (UG Laws) at Recognised Teaching Centres around the world, UG Laws has provided bursaries to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

The programme has been specifically designed to foster the professional skills of those teaching, tutoring and supporting the learning of students in Higher Education. Studied online, it allows students to develop an understanding of, and strategies in, teaching, learning and assessment in face-to-face teaching.

I discovered that good teaching involves a more student-centred approach together with an emphasis on learning outcomes.

Gary Ng Boon Hui is one of the first bursary recipients to complete the programme. Gary is Head of Law Studies at Crescendo International College in Malaysia. He holds an LLB and LLM from the University of London and felt that continuing to develop his skills through the University’s online Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education was a natural step:

“Studying the University of London’s distance and flexible learning programmes is a natural choice for me because it allows me to stay in my home country and continue with the progression of my career.”

As a teacher of 10 years, without formal training and education in teaching, Gary considered the programme a good opportunity to evaluate his teaching strategies and learn new ways of supporting diverse learners.

“This programme provides the perfect platform for me to improve and bring life into my teaching. I discovered that good teaching involves a more student-centred approach together with an emphasis on learning outcomes.

The experience of this programme made an impact to my practice and professional development. My view on how to teach has changed and this certainly has helped me to provide a better learning experience for my students.”

Sarah Tarar and Simon Askey
"The wealth of knowledge, experience, insights and perspectives that I have had access to is unmatched."

Sarah Tarar, Head of the Law School at University College Lahore, Pakistan, also received a UG Laws bursary to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Having completed her LLB and LLM with University of London, Sarah had been teaching for 16 years prior to beginning the PG Cert. Most of her training was informal through her teachers, peers and learning through her successes and mistakes.

“I took up this course with the view to attain formal training as a teacher, but in the beginning I remember wondering what exactly I would be learning from this programme after having taught for so many years.

However, this proved to be a truly humbling experience. The exposure to such a wide range of literature on learning theories increased my understanding of how to support learning, undertake assessment, provide feedback and introduced me to the world of blended e-learning.”

The best part of this journey was that it was not only through formal teaching, but also through interaction with my peers who were from a variety of different backgrounds.

Sarah considers her time studying the PG Cert as a rewarding experience that has provided insight into unanswered questions, and an exploration of new methods of teaching and learning. She values having the opportunity to share her learning experience with peers from across the globe through the flexible, online learning programme.

“The best part of this journey was that it was not only through formal teaching, but also through interaction with my peers who were from a variety of different backgrounds. The wealth of knowledge, experience, insights and perspectives that I have had access to is unmatched. I hope this makes a better learning as well as a teacher out of me.”

Sarah and Gary benefited from joining a cohort drawn from across the world and who are themselves teaching a wide range of different subjects in many types of contexts. This brings a rich learning opportunity for all who join the programme.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.