What is Teaching For Excellence Framework?
The Teaching For Excellence Framework (or TEF) is a scheme that has been introduced by the government to measure the quality of teaching and or learning outcomes at colleges and Universities. Originally designed to be used by English HE institutions, educational establishments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can chose to opt into the scheme.
TEF is voluntary and participating universities receive a gold, silver, bronze, or provisional rating indicating the level of teaching quality they provide. The gold rating is awarded to the higher education establishments that fit the outstanding teaching and learning outcomes most beneficial to its students. According to the UCAS website these ratings are decided by an independent panel of experts that include academics, representatives and other students. Although it is currently a voluntary scheme, the results can be very beneficial to universities with good ratings as it provides a further incentive for future students to enrol.
Is Learning Space Design a TEF Requirement?
Lecture theatres and seminar rooms can be designed to facilitate learning through architectural intent, to have an impact on its users from the moment they walk through the door. All elements of the higher education sector are considered within the TEF scheme, meaning that Learning Space Design, quality of resources, and sustainable investments in an institutions physical environments all figure in overall award. For example:
According to the University of Oxford, their gold rating was in part down to the ‘physical and learning environment of the highest quality encompassing exemplary and varied teaching and study spaces, resources and support’.
The University of Birmingham, their ‘effective and sustained investment in excellent physical and digital learning resources’ enabled them also to be awarded the highest gold TEF rating.
Can Learning Space Design Improve the Quality of Teaching?
It’s certainly possible to improve the quality of teaching through aspects such as acoustic properties, effective display systems, lighting, and aesthetic finishes for both formal and informal learning environments. Developing the design of an academic environment is essential for the quality of teaching as it compliments its user’s ability, helping excellence in education thrive.
An exploration into the ideas behind Learning Space Design shows that modern technologies are being adopted to create collaborative group work environments as opposed to the traditional method of sit facing forward and stay quiet. In such spaces, populated by tens of thousands of pounds of new technology, a surprising find has been that academics and students requests for writing surfaces. It seems that when we need to explain concepts in the most intuitive of ways, we innately fall back to writing and drawing.
TB Spaces Acoustic Mobile Glassboards are frequently used in such situations. Their mobility allows them to be deployed effortlessly and stored against perimeter walls when not in use, while their sound absorbing properties assist in reducing the noise travelling across the space – ideal when groups of students are working collaboratively. This is just one example of how our understanding of teaching spaces can be leveraged to assist in positive learning outcomes for students and academics. If you would like to further explore how writing surfaces can be used to better engage academics in technology rich environments, contact our dedicated University team today.