Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, PG Certificate


Extend understanding of course design and the process of learning, teaching and assessment. Learn through study and demonstration of commitment to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). Foster a critically reflective approach to the pedagogy of your discipline(s) and in relation to the UKPSF.


Duration: One year, part-time, October start


Award: PG Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (60 credits / Level 7)

About the course

This course will not be accepting applications for 2020 entry.

Central’s Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PGCert TLHE) aims to provide you with developmental opportunities within your professional practice as an educator. This course is designed for higher education staff undertaking a teaching role and seeks to engage teachers in reflective teaching practices. Successful completion of Unit 1 provides you with an accredited route to Associate Fellow (AF) of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Successful completion of both Units 1 and 2 provides you with an accredited route to Fellow of the HEA.

The course links the practice of supporting learning with theory and is underpinned by critical reflection. Participants undertaking the programme will have the opportunity to develop their practice through an individually tailored process of evaluating their own learning and teaching experiences. Participants will also have the opportunity to share and compare pedagogy from a range of disciplines. Unit 1 is available as a stand-alone unit for research students and specialist teaching masters students.

At Central, you will be part of a thriving community of practitioners with a shared vision of learning and your own particular field, pushing forward the boundaries within your own chosen area of practice. As a participant in the PGCert TLHE, you will become part of a School-wide community for research and experimentation comprising theatre and drama facilitators working collaboratively to imagine pedagogic practice for the future.

Course Detail

The PGCert TLHE is a part-time course delivered via blended learning. This means that in addition to attending the face-to-face sessions, you are required to utilise selected online resources and to engage regularly in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Learnzone. The course is work-based and flexible, drawing on participants’ experience as learners and teachers to contextualise their professional practice within a reflective pedagogic framework. In addition to conventional face-to-face teaching sessions, participants will be largely self-directed. You will select and utilise your own specific teaching and research opportunities to evidence your active engagement with the UKPSF and to meet the course learning outcomes.

Although the course is designed around generic issues concerning learning and teaching, there is, nevertheless, a particular focus on your professional context. While we assume that most applicants will be involved in teaching theatre (whether it be drama, movement, voice, lighting, costume or another discipline) and the arts, applicants are welcome to apply from any discipline. Since the focus of the course is on supporting student learning, support staff (e.g. technical, library, learning resources) and PhD candidates may also find that this programme is well suited to their needs.

The approach we have taken is firmly located in your professional experience and your day-to-day activities in supporting learning, teaching and assessing. It is based on the underlying premise that people learn best when they are active and take responsibility for their own learning, which they then apply to their professional context. In order to achieve the course learning outcomes, you will need to adopt a critically reflective approach throughout. Reflective practitioners are able to view their particular achievements and make informed judgments about them in relation to the broader theoretical context. The course is designed to support the interrogation and integration of contemporary praxis within your professional practice.

Peer Observation is a required element of the course and is achieved on this course through a minimum of three teaching observations (one in Unit 1 and two in Unit 2). While these are not formally assessed, they are requirements of the course and provide a valuable opportunity for direct feedback and subsequent reflection on your practice. You will be given guidance on what to expect whilst being observed and how to act as an observer during the course.

Students are also expected to observe teaching by their peers. This should be approximately six hours for Unit 1 (excluding observations of teaching provided online via Learnzone). For Unit 2 you would be expected to continue to observe the teaching of your peers. This should be approximately 10 hours.

Your record of peer observing will be part of your evidence submitted as part of your portfolio assessments. You must also be formally observed by experienced members of staff within your own teaching practice three times. The three formal observations over the course are as follows:

  • Observation 1: 30-60 minutes as part of Unit 1 (Pedagogies: Integrating Theory and Practice)
  • Observations 2 and 3: 45 to 60 minutes for each observation as part of Unit 2 (Scholarship and Enhancement of Professional Practice).

Students on the course are expected to be undertaking the following minimum teaching loads:

  • 15 hours in Unit 1 (Pedagogies: Integrating Theory and Practice unit)
  • 35 hours in Unit 2 (Scholarship and Enhancement of Professional Practice unit).

Download PG CERT Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.58 MB)


Dr Jo Shah, SFHEA is the Course Leader for this course and Dr Josh Abrams, SFHEA has a role of course director, and works with Jo. A number of other Academic Staff at central who are themselves Principal Fellows, Senior fellows and Fellows of the HEA also contribute to the course through teaching, assessment, and lesson observations. 

Dr Jo Shah, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE (PC), PhD, SFHEA

Programme Leader, Learning Skills / Course Leader, Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning

Dr Joshua Abrams, SB, SB, MA, PhD, SFHEA

Director of Learning & Teaching

Professional Focus

You will base your learning process on a ‘work-based learning’ model, drawing on your own teaching or your own work supporting other students’ learning. Most of your time will be spent reflecting on your own job/ work, but seeing it in new and different ways because of the reading you will do, and the classes you will attend.

Geared towards academics and those seeking to teach in Higher Education, successful completion of the PGCert TLHE means you will be recognised as a Fellow of the HEA (Higher Education Academy). This is because Central’s PG Cert TLHE is accredited by the HEA and the PG Cert enables you to meet the criteria for the HEA’s professional recognition for Fellowship.

Fellowship in the HEA:

  • Consolidates personal development and evidence of professional practice in your higher education career;
  • Demonstrates commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience, through engagement in a practical process that encourages research, reflection and development;
  • Fellowship is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;
  • Provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly recognised by international institutions.

The learning outcomes for this course are written to enable you to meet the requirements of the UK Professional Standards Framework (PSF). This is the HEA’s framework and it has various aspects or ‘dimensions’ to it. Our course is structured to facilitate your engagement with that framework, and the work you do on the course will generate ‘evidence’ of your engagement with the framework.

You need to guarantee that you will undertake at least 5 hours of teaching – or supporting learning – at HE (degree) level in the first (autumn) term and a further 20 hours (minimum) across terms 2 and 3. You need to do this many hours in order to have enough time to implement new ideas, be observed, reflect on your own teaching, make changes and reflect again.

Your teaching / support for learning must be at Higher Education level - BA, MA or Research degree based - because the course is about teaching and learning in Higher Education.

Entry Requirements and Admission

Admission is by formal application and interview. In order for your application to be considered, you must have a first degree and currently be engaged as a teacher of theatre and performance or analogous discipline in Higher Education.

You will be required to teach at least 15 hours in the autumn (Term 1) and 20 hours in the spring and summer (Terms 2 and 3).


If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, PG Certificate course, we will require you to participate in a short interview with the lead tutor in order to discuss your experience in relation to learning and teaching in Higher Education (including your perceived strengths and needs) and your preparedness for the course.

This interview may be conducted at Central or by telephone/Skype at the discretion of the lead tutor. The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.

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