Social Diversity and Difference: researching inequalities in teaching and learning across education, with particular reference to Higher Education Miriam E. David, AcSS, FRSA ESRC TLRP Institute of Education London firstname.lastname@example.org
Overview • My TLRP role on conceptualising social diversity and higher education (HE) especially Widening Participation in HE, lifelong learning, learning across the life course including adult and workplace learning • Re-Conceptualizations of social diversity and difference as aspects of inequalities within teaching and learning • Changing concepts or notions of social diversity and equity in social and educational research and policy • A brief review of changing research perspectives on/in higher education and the TLRP HE projects • Future challenges of concepts or theories of learning and teaching for social diversity and social justice
Introduction • TLRP role is to synthesise research on social diversity, and also work with projects on HE, including widening participation, and lifelong learning. • Critical and reflective perspective as an academic sociologist and educational researcher • Self-referential and intellectual biography (David 2003) • Social and gender justice or equality • Socio-political context and knowledge economy • Changing notions of ‘knowledge’, ‘education’, ‘evidence’ • Contested research or scholarship about teaching and learning, pedagogies, policies and academic practices
Aims of the thematic research on social diversity and difference • TLRP is a large UK programme of funded research over 10 years (1998-2008) and covering education across the life course with over 35 projects and almost £40 million • TLRP’s aim is of supporting • knowledge development, and • research and learning about teaching and learning across all levels of education. • The aim of this thematic work is to • synthesise research from across the TLRP and • deepen conceptual understandings in a comparative framework using the USA and Canada • Around the theme of social diversity and difference as aspects of social and educational inequalities
Conceptual framework from TLRP and social research Social inequalities may influence and affect: • The contexts and conditions for learning and teaching • The processes, pedagogies and practices of teaching • The learning outcomes of learners and practitioners, teachers and trainers
Conceptual considerations • Troubling concepts of diversity, equity/equality and inclusion: from ethnicity/race to social class, gender, faith/religion, sexualities and dis/abilities • Embedded within political ideologies and challenging moral values about social justice • Contested meanings of education, opportunities and equalities across levels and types of institutions and lifelong learning • Changing notions of education, teaching and learning (or vice versa) and ‘pedagogies’
Expected Outcomes from the TLRP thematic work on social diversity • To provide an evaluation, review and re-conceptualization of TLRP projects • To create a new knowledge base through • Self-reflections of the researchers involved across phases 1 and 2 that are completed • Self-reflections of the frameworks for the ongoing projects in phases 3 and 4, extensions and seminars • Critical and reflexive perspectives from independent evaluators with diverse theoretical frameworks, including comparative and conceptual work from north America, viz Canada and USA
Expected Outcomes from the visits to north America & seminar series • Edited collections of papers presented with diverse conceptual frameworks and across areas of the TLRP but especially conceptualizing social diversity across learning and teaching • A series of web-based commentaries on key issues produced on TLRP and other linked websites viz www.tlrp.org
My Lifelong Learning in HE • Researcher in/of education/HE for over 30 years • Research ‘evidence’ or scholarship of gender and social diversity broadly understood as including race/ethnicity, social class, faith/religion, sexualities and dis/abilities • Methodological and theoretical shifts • Understandings of policies, practices and pedagogies • Turn to the personal / biographical
Examples of some critical & reflective accounts • John Brennan (2006) ‘On researching ourselves: the difficult case of autonomy in researching higher education’ • Miriam David (2003) ‘Personal and political: feminisms, sociology and family lives’ • Magda Lewis (2005) “‘More than meets the eye’: the Underside of the Corporate Culture of Higher Education and possibilities of a new feminist critique” • Mary Evans (2005) Killing Thinking: The Death of the Universities • Sue Clegg & Miriam David (2006) ‘Passion, pedagogies and the project of the personal in HE’
The Political Concept of Diversity in UK linked to New Labour’s Third Way • ‘Education, education, education’ • Social inclusion replaces social equality as the vision (Levitas 1998/2005) and social exclusion relates to forms of social disadvantage for young men and women eg teenage pregnancy and parenthood (Alldred and David 2007). • Giddens’ (1998) Third Way between social democracy and neo-liberalism • Development of individualisation and ‘the project of the personal’ including personalised learning • Key distinction from Thatcherism is ‘centrality of women to the project’
Social and Educational Transformations: • Expansion of Educational Opportunities for Social Class, Gender, Ethnicity/Race, Faith/Religion and Dis/abilities through eg multiculturalism • Transformation of educational discourse to teaching or pedagogies; learning theories and outcomes or performance ‘metrics’ • Knowledge Economy and ICT (Brine et al) • ICT &/or high-tech manufacturing industries • Knowledge construction and transfer – the knowledge intensive industries
‘Massification’ & Diversification of HE in 1990s and into 21st century • Expansion of HEIs including colleges, FE/HE splits, disciplines, subjects and courses • Growth of [post]-graduate courses and subjects, including professional degrees and graduate schools for research ‘training’ • Learning in HE and the workplace linked to ‘employability’ (Morley 2007) • Growth and regulation of academic professions • Quality assurance and audit (Morley 2003) • New bodies for teaching and learning from Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) to Higher Education Academy (HEA) • Control of research through changing RAE
Transformations in HE Research: • Theoretical and methodological approaches • Changing concepts of knowledge • Turn towards ‘personal’ • ICT and personal learning • Transformations in Universities towards Teaching / Research split • HEA, subject centres for teaching excellence • Hefce and the RAE for research excellence • Role of ESRC and RCUK • TLRP major part of Educational Research • about teaching and learning across life course • key enhancement of learning outcomes
Diverse Research on HE in HE: • Teaching and Learning as pedagogy or academic practice • TLRP Widening Participation in HE – seven projects • ‘Pedagogical’ research within subjects eg education or sociology • Shifts towards different kinds of research • HEA/Subject centres versus educational research • ‘pedagogic research’ ie ‘about enquiring and reflecting on learning’ (Jenkins and Healey 2005, p. 21) • Development of Centres of Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETLs) • Rise also of personal(ized) learning • Distance learning and/or Personal Development Portfolios [Dossiers]
Massification of HE: Changing rates of ‘participation’ in UK • Expansion of student numbers over last 40 years in HE • from 0.5 million in 1960s to 2 million in 2005-6 • Questions of social class, gender, race, ethnicity, dis/abilities • Women have outnumbered men since 1996/7 • Women are 60% of full-time student population • in British universities (Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English differences) • Men are the majority in overseas enrolments • %age of first year, first degrees students from non-white backgrounds • Increase from 16.9% in 2001-2 to 17.2% in 2002-3
Massification of HE: Changing rates of ‘participation’ • Women as a percentage of part-time students 61.4% • Women as a percentage of Mature students 64.2% • Women with 2 or more GCE A levels (qualifications to enter university) 43% • (increase from 1992-3 from 20%) • Men 34% (from 18%) • This performance gap has widened to 9 percentage points from just under 2 in 1992-3!
Young participation in HE (HEFCE report January 2005) • Young participation versus mature students • 53.7% of first year undergrads were aged 21 or over • 5.7% of full-time and sandwich students known to have a disability • The participation rate in HE of young people (aged 18 or 19) in England is around 30% at the end of the period studied – in HEIs ie universities and HE colleges • ‘Inequality of the sexes in young participation has risen steadily: by the end of the period studied, young women in England are 18 per cent more likely to enter HE than young men. This inequality is more marked for young men living in the most disadvantaged areas, and is further compounded by the fact that young men are less likely than young women to successfully complete their HE courses and gain a qualification…’
Researching WP in HE: Projects from TLRP • Networks of intimacy and decision-making as an embedded social practice (Alison Fuller, Sue Heath & Brenda Johnson at Southampton University) • Socio-cultural and learning experiences of working class students (Gill Crozier, Sunderland University with Diane Reay of Cambridge University ) • Social Diversity and Difference: academic teachers engaging diverse students (Chris Hockings at Wolverhampton University with Sandra Cooke of Birmingham and Marion Bowl currently in Auckland New Zealand)
Networks of Intimacy: routes to participation in HE Professor Alison Fuller (with Professor Sue Heath) of Southampton University is leading a team to study non-participation in HE through focusing on decision making as an embedded social practice and giving consideration to the notion of ‘networks of intimacy’ as a key theoretical concept in relation to the life stage or course.
Socio-cultural & Learning Experiences of Working Class Students in HE The project aims are to study students as learners largely through qualitative methods. It focuses on the socio-cultural and learning experiences of working class students in four contrasting HEI’s and is led by Professor Gill Crozier of Sunderland University with Professor Diane Reay of Cambridge.
Diversity & Difference in HE: academic engagement? • Dr Chris Hockings of Wolverhampton University’s centre for excellence in teaching and learning is leading a study of aspects of learning and teaching for social diversity and difference. The particular focus here is on innovative teaching methods to engage diverse students with an inclusive pedagogy across a range of subjects, viz business studies and sociology. • Marion Bowl, co-director, has written about Non-traditional Students in HE (2004) • Sandra Cooke, co-director, of Birmingham University has worked with non-traditional students.
Researching WP in HE: Projects from TLRP • Quantitative cohort studies of young people and stages of education (Vignoles, Goodman) • Degrees of success? (VET) (Hayward & Ertl) • Maths Education as a demanding subject for HE student identities (Williams) • Dual systems of FE and HE: Role of FE in HE and vice versa (Parry & Bathmaker)
Quantitative Analysis of HE • Dr Anna Vignoles of the Institute of Education is undertaking a quantitative cohort analysis of widening participation in HE, using an innovative linkage of newly available data sets and sophisticated modelling techniques to examine determinants of entry into and progress within HE, which offers the promise of creating a definitive baseline study of both full and part time undergraduate students.
Degrees of Success? • Dr Geoff Hayward of Oxford University’s study is about the organization and development of vocational and educational training (VET) and its links into HE across the UK through a sophisticated study of progression routes into, and through, Higher Education. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques are being used to study students’ experiences, views, trajectories and outcomes in terms of employment.
Maths in FE/HE • Professor Julian Williams of Manchester University focuses on pedagogic cultures in relation to learning mathematics and mathematical identities in two contrasting programmes in FE (college) and Higher Education to understand how different students conceptualize their mathematical learning and identities in relation to university learning.
Diverse Access to/in FE-HE • Professor Gareth Parry of Sheffield University with Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker of University of West of England is leading a team studying the impact of the dual structures of further (community college) and higher education on strategies to widen participation in undergraduate education. The main focus here is on the policies and practices of colleges [of further education] and their role in the expansion and diversification of higher education.
Researching Students within HE in TLRP: some other examples • Disabled Students in HE (Mary Fuller, Sheila Riddell, Mick Healey et al) • SOMUL (John Brennan, David Jary, Mike Osborne et al) • Dai Hounsell and Noel Entwhistle’s work on enhancing teaching and learning environments in undergraduate courses (ETL) • A Values-based Approach to Teacher Education in Northern Ireland (Alan Smith et al) • Learning Lives (Gert Biesta, Phil Hodkinson, Flora Macleod et al)
Transformations to Mass HE: • Feminist Critiques are inter alia • Heidi Mirza (2006) The In/visible journey: black women and lifelong lessons in HE • Louise Morley (2003) Quality and Equality in HE • Jocey Quinn (2003) Powerful subjects? Are women really taking over the university? • Sue Jackson (2005) Differently Academic • Valerie Hey (2004) Perverse Pleasures – Identity Work and the paradoxes of greedy institutions
Challenging diversity & changing the HE landscape in the 21st century • Processes have created and sustained social diversity. • Research has potential for creating new practices • A key challenge is pedagogies for social diversity • personalisation and personal responsibilities or • choices for learning and subsequent earning? • A loss of challenging creativity and liberal humanism as ideology of education and university education? • Universities stratified by different sectors of a highly selective professional labour market, deepening social divisions and inequalities across teaching and research • Can we build upon the creative potential of learning and teaching for social diversity and social justice?