2 March 2020 / Events

‘Just Teach Will Ya!’ – Top Tips from our Experts!

The New Researchers’ Network Committee want to thank all the participants to ‘Just Teach Will Ya!’. It was an incredibly valuable opportunity to share insecurities with peers and be inspired by the interventions of more experienced teachers. 


Alice, a first-year PhD student at the University of Warwick, agreed to comment on the event and writes: 


“I haven’t started teaching yet and I have no teaching experience whatsoever. That’s exactly why I decided to participate in the NRN’s event ‘Just Teach Will Ya!’. I hoped to meet people who are as inexperienced as I am and share with them my doubts. Most of all, I was scared of the expectations that others might have had of me: how can my teaching practice be good and effective if I don’t know how to teach? I left the event with some new friends and with greater self-confidence. I realised that good teaching practice is something that you build in time and with the crucial help of others, both in your home institution and beyond!”


For those who have missed the New Researchers’ Network event ‘Just Teach Will Ya!’, here are some tips from the guest speakers who shared their expertise.


Dr Richard Bale, Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Development in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship at Imperial College London and a Senior Fellow of the HEA. 

  1. Although teaching has a performative nature, students are not passive spectators
  2. Build trust in your class and enable students to take risks
  3. Observe others’ practice but be authentic to yourself 
  4. Look for a kind set of eyes in your class, it’s reassuring 
  5. Tell stories that engage your students
  6. Take charge of the teaching space, you are in command of the situation
  7. Be daring and try new things out


Dr Dawne Irving-Bell, Principal Fellow of the HEA and Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Development at Edge Hill University.

  1. Be prepared, take time to plan and build a toolkit of strategies that work for you 
  2. Know your institutions policies and know where to send students if they need support 
  3. Be clear when you share your expectations to students
  4. Use multiple modes of communication
  5. Think self-care, don’t be afraid to ask for help
  6. Don’t be afraid to include Educational Technology in your classes, but if it doesn’t enhance your students’ learning don’t use it


Dr Kate Holmes, early career researcher at the University of Exeter working on the AHRC funded ‘Theatre and Visual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’ project.

  1. Don’t be afraid to teach the same module more than once, but …
  2. Be prepared to teach different modules, even covering subjects with which you’re not entirely familiar
  3. It’s ok to say no: if something does not fit into your schedule or is not worthwhile, you’re not obliged to please others
  4. Make strategic choices: prioritise activities that contribute to your professional development
  5. Nothing is ever perfect, do your best and don’t be too hard with yourself 
  6. Most of all, build around you a supportive community!


The major goal of the NRN is exactly that of building a supporting community of PhD students and ECRs. Be part of it and stay tuned to know more about our next event!