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Friday, June 29, 2018

The Graduate Training Trade-Off 'Myth' | Inside Higher Ed

"New study says "tension" between graduate training in research and teaching is false and that teaching training may actually build research confidence and output" reports Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed.
Photo: Getty Images

Graduate school takes long enough already. That’s one of the reasons, among others, why Ph.D. programs tend to focus on research over teaching. A new study challenges assumptions that building teaching expertise has to come at the expense of research preparation, however. 

Looking at a national sample of life sciences Ph.D. students, the study’s authors considered how increased training in evidence-based teaching practices impacted students’ confidence in their preparation for research careers, their ability to communicate about their research, and their publication counts.

In a challenge to conventional but previously untested wisdom, the authors found that the research confidence and output of Ph.D. students who "invested" time in learning evidence-based teaching, or EBT, practices did not suffer. In fact, data revealed what the authors called a “slight synergy” between investing in evidence-based teaching and research savvy. That is, learning about teaching actually appeared to benefit students’ research skills. 

The long-standing “tension" between developing research and teaching skills "may not be salient for today’s graduate students,” reads "The Trade-Off Between Graduate Student Research and Teaching: A Myth?" The study was published this week in PLOS ONE. “This work is proof of concept that institutions can incorporate training in EBT into graduate programs without reducing students’ preparedness for a research career.”...

In an advanced analysis, increased training in evidence-based practices did not reduce students’ confidence as researchers, but rather had a slightly positive effect. Training in EBTs also increased students' confidence in communicating their research. 

Interestingly, teaching experience alone, as opposed to direct instruction in best practices, did not increase research communication confidence. 

Controlling for whether students had earned a master’s degree and year in their Ph.D. program, the analysis also found no negative relationship between number of papers published and investment in evidence-based teaching practices.

Source: Inside Higher Ed