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Ensuring each student reaches their potential: (2) transferability issues

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Lorna Rosemary Sibbett

School/Research organisations


Isolation of knowledge within disciplines, or for students, within the confines of single taught modules, diminishes the learner’s richness of understanding. Whilst flexible degree programmes are attractive to prospective students, there is a need to ensure that such programmes do not situate understanding within narrow contexts. The curriculum must provide both incentive and structure for students to develop transferability in their knowledge and skills.

Transferability of skills is dependent upon transfer of both principles and dispositions. Teaching to maximise the former requires active development of student understanding of generalisable principles, this being a minimum aim of any educator. However, transfer of dispositions, for example towards critical thinking, is more problematic, particularly within the higher education (HE) sector where individual students are exposed to varied tutors and lecturers, each of whom has built a career upon arguing the uniqueness of their thoughts and approaches.

In the University of St Andrews School of Biology, introduction of core skills teaching has facilitated and integrated learning across modules and from co-curricular activities. This structure has been successful in establishing transfer of both principles and dispositions. This reflexive analysis reviews the strategies and successes of this programme in relation to transfer conditions.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2010
EventInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI) - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 15 Nov 201017 Nov 2010


ConferenceInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI)

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