Inspirational Teaching: Beyond Excellence and Towards Collaboration for Learning with Sustained Impact

Kathrine Jensen, Joelle Adams, Karen Strickland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Within higher education, there is a continued focus on teaching quality, with teaching excellence often linked to the idea of engaging and motivating students. This article examines the concept of ‘inspirational’ teaching, going beyond notions of excellent teaching, and proposes that inspirational teaching is defined by being transformational in the sense that it has a sustained positive impact on student learning. By exploring current literature on inspirational teaching, including some literature on teaching excellence, four overarching themes are identified as constituents of inspirational teaching: knowledge and passion for the subject, understanding learning and knowledge, constructive and challenging learning environment and students as individuals, partners and colleagues. The practices of the inspirational teachers presented are characterised by their focus on student learning rather than teacher performance and so indicate that inspirational teaching is an outcome that cannot be reduced to a set of characteristics or practices. Finally, we conclude that collaborative and scholarly relationships between students and teachers underpin these four themes and are central to creating inspirational learning experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2014


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