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SPIP: Signature Pedagogies in the Professions



If you wish to understand why professions develop as they do, study their nurseries.

Shulman, L. S., 2005a

Signature Pedagogies in the Professions refers to the ways in which future practitioners (i.e., students) are educated to think, perform and act with integrity in their new professions (Shulman, 2005a) in the same way professionals in their field would. What are the habits of mind, hand and heart that are pertinent in your profession? How do you train and develop these in your students?

Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) anchors its broad based learning model and its ICT-enabled learning efforts on signature pedagogies in the professions with a service-learning and futures orientation.

From early childhood education to engineering, from nursing to network security, each diploma programme at NP is designed to prepare students for a particular profession with its profession-specific work practices, habits of thinking, and ways of being. Each diploma employs a purposeful blend of Signature Pedagogies in the Profession which are profession-specific teaching approaches, well-suited to shaping these practices, thinking, and behaviours. For example, the blend of Signature Pedagogies in the nursing diploma are work-based learning and scenario-based learning; as compared with the engineering diplomas, which are integrated project-based learning and design thinking.

What is SPiP?

Elon University. (2013, October 3). Lee Shulman: The knowledge we gain is specific to
       particulate situations
. [Video file]. Retrieved from

University of Chicago Law School. (2013, July 15). Signature and Shadow Pedagogies:
       Coexistence or Collaboration?
(Mandel Clinic 50th Anniv. Symposium).
       [Video file]. Retrieved from

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Key Features




   What are Signature Pedagogies in the Professions (SPiPs)?
   What are some key features of SPiPs?

   Shulman, L. S. (2005a). Signature pedagogies in the
         professions. Daedalus, 134, 52-59. Retrieved from http://c.


  What are some key features of SPiPs? Shulman shared with
  illustrations from the professions of medicine, law and

   Shulman, L. S. (2005b). The signature pedagogies of the professions
        of law, medicine, engineering and the clergy: Potential lessons for
                                        the education of teachers
. Presented at the Math Science
                                        Partnerships (MSP) Workshop 
"Teacher Education for Effective
                                        Teaching & Learning". February 6 - 8, 2005, Irvine, California.
                                        Retrieved from


  How do we teach students to do, think and value like
  practitioners in the field? Calder defined a signature
  pedagogy simply as “ways of being taught that require
  them (students) to do, think, and value what practitioners
  in the field are doing, thinking, and valuing”

   Calder, L. (2006). Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the
                                         History Survey. The Journal of American History, 92(4), 1358-
                                         1370. Retrieved from


   How can we create strategies, methods, structures for
  teacher-student interactions through signature

   Bryant, S. & Milstein, E. (2007). Rounds: A “Signature Pedagogy” for
         Clinical Education
. CUNY Academic Works. Retrieved from http://

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