Director's Message

Welcome to the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning. CDTL offers academic development opportunities to both faculty and students; our goal is to collaborate with you to improve learning and teaching at NUS. We work closely with various partners across campus to foster a dialogic approach to student learning: one founded on complementing academics’ expertise in their disciplines with what education scholarship and the learning sciences have to say about how learning works within those disciplines. Collaboration with students is needed if we are to help them become independent, self-directed learners. From this perspective, teaching involves a collaboration between the expert teacher and her or his students.

We believe, with John Biggs and Catherine Tang, that good teaching supports “those activities that lead to a deep approach to learning and to the attainment of the intended learning outcomes” (Biggs & Tang 2011, 55). We therefore see teaching as a scholarly activity in its own right, one that needs to become increasingly evidence-based if as academic teachers we are to assess whether what we do helps achieve these outcomes.

As academic developers  we base our work on a number of key principles:

  1. Our programmes aim to be practice-based: relevant to faculty and students.

  2. These programmes seek to encourage reflection on practice that is underpinned by relevant scholarship, hence evidence-based.

  3. We help to design, where appropriate with the aid of technology, environments that can foster active and indeed interactive learning.

  4. We aim to follow an integrated approach to academic work: integrating pedagogy and technology; integrating learning, teaching, and research; and integrating research in the disciplines and scholarly investigations into teaching and learning.

  5. Consequently, we are committed to not only formal, but informal learning opportunities. We recognise that there is something artificial about workshops and courses, and that deeper learning about learning may be better supported through fostering communities of practice.


Johan Geertsema
Director, NUS Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning


Biggs, John & Tang, Catherine. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does (4th ed.). Maidenhead: McGraw Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education/Open University Press.