Innovative teaching rewarded

A drive to go deeper is what catapulted Dr Michael Noetel to be recognised with a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the 2020 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Dr Noetel is a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences and an innovative contributor to numerous research projects at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education. Among other topics, he has explored the benefits of pre-recorded videos in teaching, how to communicate better in a crisis, and how primary school teachers can better improve the health and physical activity of children.

The Universities Australia citation in the social and behavioural sciences category lauded Dr Noetel’s excellence in development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field.

More simply, it recognised his determination to put students first by identifying the robust data that underpinned his own research, and use that kind of research both in what he teaches and how he teaches it.

“When I started teaching in 2013, psychology was in the midst of a replication crisis. When researchers tried to replicate foundational theories or seminal findings, it wasn’t working,” Dr Noetel said.

“The best decisions use the best data, which are usually drawn from systematic reviews and meta-analyses. All I did is use that data to inform my teaching and teach my students to use that data themselves.

“The results are decisions that work, instead of decisions that some dusty textbook says should work.”

The Citation Awards Committee was exuberant in its feedback: “You have been recognised as being among Australia's most exceptional university teachers. You have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to student learning through your dedication to quality teaching. Your work is valued highly by your students, university and [the] Australian Government.

“The developments described in the nomination are ground-breaking, and of fundamental importance for significant impact on student learning and long-term graduate outcomes in the field of sport and exercise science, in which cutting-edge, research-led, concordant practices in both the science and client psychology, together with authentic graduate competence and confidence, are of paramount value.”


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