Guide to model lessons out soon
The Further Education Development Agency is working on an innovative pilot scheme to gather examples of high quality teaching in colleges, and publish guides to some of the best ideas from the classroom.
Researchers hope to build up a wealth of information about the best classroom practice in colleges, and run a series of masterclass-style roadshows.
FEDA officials fear that heavy workloads and increased competition between colleges has cut informal contacts between lecturers and hope their research will promote high quality teaching.
Education officer Liz Lawton said: "We are picking up some really interesting things that work well, but what we are not doing is saying this is how to teach."
The guides - designed as showcases for high quality work - will also be designed to aid colleges moving towards self assessment, by providing a benchmark against which to measure teaching.
Initial work is focusing on five subject areas: sport and recreation; English and communications; psychology and sociology; finance and accounting and construction crafts.
But researchers hope their work will lead to a comprehensive set of information about hundreds of subjects taught in colleges. The FEDA project involves groups of staff from colleges which have been given grade one or two for a particular subject in their inspection reports.
Those groups will draw up a framework, describing the outline of good classroom practice. That will be sent out to all colleges, with a request for a few examples of their best work, which will make up a database of expertise.
The best work will be used in a booklet designed to pass on good ideas to lecturers. The best lecturers will also be invited to join masterclass-style roadshows.
Ms Lawton said: "You see students streaming out of lectures and you know they have and an exciting and stimulating time. It's the teachers who really generate a buzz in the classroom we want. We also hope to find the examples of best practice in colleges which did not get a grade one or two."
The scheme will be unveiled at FEDA's annual showpiece Spotlight conference at the Cafe Royal in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Education Secretary Gillian Shephard, shadow education minister Bryan Davies and Liberal Democrat education spokesman Don Foster are due to make keynote speeches.