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Sub-brand to go here. Thoughts on Pedagogical Research: Scholar-teacher or Teacher-Scholar?. Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London University of Westminster HERC seminar, 11 October 2013. Centre for Higher Education Studies. A student’s story.

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thoughts on pedagogical research scholar teacher or teacher scholar

Sub-brand to go here

Thoughts on Pedagogical Research: Scholar-teacher or Teacher-Scholar?

Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London

University of Westminster HERC seminar, 11 October 2013

Centre for Higher

Education Studies

a student s story
A student’s story

‘ … I had no … awareness of my own ability, so when you get an inspiring teacher that has faith in you, or helps you understand a topic then you know, it’s amazing.

… You get excited … it makes you want to know, say, if it’s about a particular topic, then you want to go and know more about it, you want to find more … and that way you end up learning more

… if a teacher inspires you in a subject then you are going to pay a lot more attention, feel that drive to get involved in a way.’

(4th yr student, UK post-92 university)

faith hope mystery
Faith, hope, mystery
  • ideas of faith, hope, mystery – in the student’s own words
  • the student undergoes experiences that can’t be fully explained
  • the formation of excitement
  • of a will to learn (‘you want to find more’)
  • of a will to engage (‘feel that drive to get involved’)
  • but perhaps we can work towards an explanation
the scholarship of teaching and learning first thoughts on scholarship itself
The scholarship of teaching and learning – first thoughts on scholarship itself
  • Ernest Boyer’s book, ‘Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate’
  • Scholarships of Discovery; Integration; Application; Teaching
  • The idea of scholarship
  • As care/ concern, reflection, public mission, contribution to community/ service, taking matters forward.
boyer s scholarship of teaching and learning
Boyer’s scholarship of teaching and learning
  • NB: the addition of ‘and learning’ is subsequent to Boyer but was implicated in B’s conception of the SofT
  • ‘T is … a dynamic endeavour involving all the analogies, metaphors, and images that build bridges between the teacher’s understanding and the student’s learning’. (p23)
  • ‘Good T means that faculty, as scholars, are also learners. Thro (good T), professors themselves will be pushed in creative new directions.’
being a scholar of teaching and learning
Being a scholar of teaching and learning
  • Levels of scholarship
  • 1 of reflection-in-action
  • 2 of reflection-on-action (Schon)
  • Perhaps B was mainly focused on level 1
  • And that’s necessary – but it isn’t sufficient
  • We need level 2 as well
on the student experience
On ‘the student experience’
  • What does it mean – ‘the student experience’
  • What is the experience of being a student?
  • Do we have a sense of what it would be like to change places with our students?
  • Is the experience of being a student out there – or is it with us, in our teaching, in our approach to teaching, in our conceptions of learning?
  • What is it, what are its possibilities?
  • What responsibilities does it imply? And for whom?
  • (NB: talk of students as consumers – responsibilities are shared.)
expressing a voice losing a voice finding a new voice
Expressing a voice; losing a voice; finding a new voice
  • ‘ I’ve always had a huge passion for languages. But coming to (x university), I found the French and Italian departments very different, and I did start to feel a bit bitter towards French. And I wasn’t enjoying that any more. I loved it at school more than Italian. I found the French department very rigid … I did feel I was back in school, but not in the sixth form … I felt I was going back to GCSE … I didn’t feel very free to express myself in the lessons, whereas (in) the Italian … department, you go to know all the individuals. With the Italian classes, we all sit round a big table, or chairs without tables in front. There would be a lot more interaction … It was more friendly, just a liberating atmosphere.’
  • (student just having graduated with a 2.1 at a post-92 university)
enhancing the student experience
Enhancing the student experience
  • Can’t be a matter of a pedagogical/ technological fix
  • It’s problematic – not at all straightforward
  • A matter of values/ priorities
  • Is ‘student voice’ important?
  • Is student ‘excitement’ important?
  • The will to engage?
  • So reflection on/in teaching (as part of SofTL) takes two forms:
  • How are my/ our students faring? What is their experience? (empirical enquiries)
  • How might they go forward? (conceptual and values-led enquiries)
on anxiety
On anxiety
  • ‘Being pulled in a large number of different directions … [is] not easy to cope with … [beginning the student journey] is [an entry into] a scary, exciting and fascinating world … We need … self-belief to survive and prosper … I remember thinking … this is amazing, exciting, exhilarating and downright terrifying … Working with a complex world is also about attitude … not giving up when you feel overwhelmed … You can never be totally prepared.
  • (Natasha Thomas, a recent graduate, talk at Univ of Surrey, June, 2006)
  • … What’s fascinating about Alison’s courses is the amount of panic, you know, that surrounds the essays and I felt it personally … It was a very, very scary thing to do because … there were no right answers.
  • (Postgraduate student, Univ of Glasgow)
scholarly texts 1
Scholarly texts - 1
  • Scholarship is a love of texts
  • But what are the texts in question here?
  • Two kinds of texts:
  • Books and papers on T and L

- and these are of three kinds

i Empirical research

ii Scholarly reflection – eg Rowland, Nixon, Macfarlane, McLean, Walker

iii Philosophical/ theoretical work as such – eg Heidegger, Bourdieu, Zizek (who are our favourites to be?!)

‘Teaching is more difficult than learning because what teaching calls for is this: to let learn’ (H: What is Called Thinking, 1968)

scholarly texts 2
Scholarly texts - 2
  • Concrete practices subjected to reflection and interrogation:

i those that illuminate what it is to be a student today

ii tutor’s/ tutors’/ own practices

  • So lots to hand in becoming a scholar of T&L – but requires close, self-critical and creative attention.

- It includes reflection on one’s own values and assumptions (‘assumptive world’)

are lecturers even necessary
Are lecturers even necessary?
  • A story from nursing studies:

‘After five weeks, one day we turned up about half an hour later than them and they were doing exactly what they would have been doing with us …’

  • A medical student’s story
  • - ‘there were a couple of occasions when I was the only person in the resuscitation room …’
being a university teacher
Being a university teacher
  • ‘To me, teaching is engaging with young people who are visionaries and dreamers in vibrant spaces that resonate with the collective energies of intellectuals … Teaching is a passion and a commitment that is a constant joy on my life … The simple and yet complex concepts of honesty, integrity and respect are fundamental in my professional and personal interactions with students. The value I place on my teaching and research contributes to the passion I bring to teaching and ultimately to the successful learning by students.’
  • (Winner of both a national and a university teaching prizes.)
forms of pedagogical research
Forms of pedagogical research
  • The student experience – interviews etc with students (disciplines/ groupings)
  • Academics’ conceptions/ practices – interviews/ observations with academics
  • Examination of particular approaches (PBL/ e-learning/ dialogue/ self-learning)
  • Curricula/ disciplines/ T&R/ ped rel/ student & ac identity
  • Conceptual/ theoretical (social theory/ philosophical analysis – eg ‘space’, ‘time’, ‘openness’)
  • Overviews of literature
  • Managers and their conceptions of students
  • Institutional environment
  • History/ histories
  • Policy analysis – how has the new fee regime affected the student exp/ the ped rel?
  • Comparative essays

NB: small-scale empirical enquiries can go a long way, even conducted from one’s own computer/ laptop. (But do involve more than one institution.)

scholar teacher or teacher scholar
Scholar-teacher or teacher-scholar?
  • Does the scholarship derive from the teaching OR
  • Does the pedagogy emerge from the scholarship?
  • (A particular example of the T-R relationship debate)
  • Likely to be oriented according to the individual dispositions
  • BUT there should be SOME degree of inter-relationship
  • And these reflections bring into view the matter of academic identity
    • Eg Joelle Fanghanel/ Mary Henkel/ RB& RdeN
    • Just what is it to be an academic these days? Do we even use the term ‘academic’ as a form of self-identity?
  • Being a scholar of T&L is precisely a matter of continuing
  • critical reflection on one’s own T
  • What are our possibilities – for ourselves & for our students?
  • We gain insight into these possibilities by close
  • attention to the many texts around us
  • Conventional academic texts are helpful but let’s recognize that
  • there is much to hand, in our students, and in ourselves.
  • Being such a scholar is to live a life with many parts
  • – and so it’s challenging
  • But, seen in this way, such a never-ending journey is
  • all the more worthwhile.

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selected bibliography
Selected bibliography
  • Barnett, R (2007) A Will to Learn: Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/ Open University Press.
  • Cowden, S and Singh, G (eds) (2013) Acts of Knowing: Critical Pedagogy In, Against and Beyond the University. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Fanghanel, J (2012) Being an Academic. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.
  • Ngaard, C, Branch, J and Holtham, C (eds) (2013) Learning in Higher Education: Contemporary Standpoints. Faringdon: Libri.
  • MacFarlane, B (2004) Teaching with Integrity: the ethics of higher education practice. London & New York: Routledge.
  • McLean, M (2008) Pedagogy and the University: Critical Theory and Practice. Continuum: London and New York.
  • Preece, S (2009) Posh Talk: Language and Identity in Higher Education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Rowland, S (2000) The Enquiring University Teacher. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Savin-Baden, M (2008) Learning Spaces: Creating opportunities for Knowledge Creation in Academic Life. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/ Open University Press.
  • Sotto, E (2007/1994) When Teaching Becomes Learning: A Theory and Practice of Teaching. London and New York: Continuum.
  • Tynjala, P, Stenstrom M-L and Saarnivaara, M (eds) (2012) Transitions and Transformations in Learning and Education. Dordrecht: Springer.