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- Volume 3, Issue 2, 2015
Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) - Volume 3, Issue 2, 2015
Volume 3, Issue 2, 2015
Author James GarrawaySource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp i –iii (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.60More Less
This edition of CRiSTAL comes out at a time of enormous upheaval in higher education in South Africa, with many November exams postponed or cancelled amid scenes of riot police, security officials and violence and destruction on most of our campuses. Against this backdrop there is an urgent need to re-examine our practices not only in the way students are treated by management but also in approaches to teaching and curriculum. In the light of this, the articles in this edition offer timely suggestions for more equitable, social justice practices in higher education which may help us to re-imagine the future of higher education; there will be no more 'business as usual', but many of us need help in thinking about what will take the place of business as usual, and what we can do to ensure urgently needed change. Furthermore, the articles expose readers to innovative ways of thinking about higher education.
Author Monica McLeanSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 1 –22 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.52More Less
Attention has been drawn to reduction of universities' purposes to serve economic interests only. This dissatisfaction has provoked thinking about how to reclaim a critical, moral role for universities in society. Inspired by contemporary utopian studies this paper brings together traditional ideas about how transmitting university knowledge connects to universities' critical-moral functions, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach adapted for education, and Basil Bernstein's theories about knowledge distribution. Focusing on the educative function, the aim is to develop a theoretically-informed and practical vision of a university education which is both personally transformative and able to produce critical citizens and workers. Research evidence from two projects on university education reveals 'promising spaces' (Cooper, 2014) in which to realise these aims. I conclude that there is reason to believe that the transmission and acquisition of knowledge and understanding in specific fields is key to preserving and recreating a critical-moral mission for universities wherever they are in the world, even though current conditions are inclement and unequal.
Author Lindsay ClowesSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 23 –39 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.49More Less
In terms of gender equity the first two decades of South African democracy have seen substantial change - at least where legislation is concerned. In terms of daily lived realities however, such change seems to have had little or no impact. South African women continue to take primary responsibility for reproductive work and continue to dominate the ranks of the poor. Levels of gender based violence remain amongst the highest in the world. The last decade or so has seen scholars offer a range of overlapping and intersecting explanations for the slow pace of change, with some pointing to the lack of significant political commitment and the roles of 'custom' and 'tradition'. Others have suggested that change requires working more directly with boys and men. Despite these observations - and concomitant interventions - movement towards gender equity remains slow. In this paper I hope to contribute to the debate around resistance to change by drawing on student engagement with, and understandings of, an introduction to gender studies course between 2013 and 2014 at the University of the Western Cape. In the paper I reflect on ways in which teaching gender through a focus on men and masculinities offers insights into resistance to gender equity as well as possibilities for challenging such resistance.
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 40 –59 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.48More Less
E-learning is not just a learning and teaching innovation; it also signals a shift in human cognition and communication. The lexicon of e-learning borrows from the barren lexicon of information science: of users, usage and usability (Gould and Lewis, 1985), or of information-seeking and affordances (Pirolli and Card, 1999). Deep e-learning requires a more fecund idiom, a new myth: of the digital agora, an e-learning 'trading zone' (Mills and Huber, 1995). Here we reflect on the process of shaping an electronic version of our generic doctoral skills sessions, during which it occurred to us that, to match the benefits of interactivity in face-to-face teaching and learning and to be transformative of academic subjectivity, e-learning must be truly performative, rather than merely informative; e-learners (and e-teachers too) must enact the skills they hope to learn (or teach).
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 60 –82 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.42More Less
Martha Nussbaum (2011) reminds us that, all over the world people are struggling for a life that is fully human - a life worthy of human dignity. Purely income-based and preference-based evaluations, as Sen (1999) argues, do not adequately capture what it means for each person to have quality of life. There are other things that make life good for a person, including access to publicly provided professional services. The question then is what version of education inflects more towards the intrinsic and transformational possibilities of professional work and contributions to decent societies? This paper suggests that we need a normative approach to professional education and professionalism; it is not the case that any old version will do. We also need normative criteria to move beyond social critique and to overcome a merely defensive attitude and to give a positive definition to the potential achievements of the professions. Moreover universities are connected to society, most especially through the professionals they educate; it is reasonable in our contemporary world to educate professional graduates to be in a position to alleviate inequalities, and to have the knowledge, skills and values to be able to do so. To make this case, we draw on the human capabilities approach of Sen (1999, 2009) and Nussbaum (2000, 2011) to conceptualise professional education for the public good as an ally of the struggles of people living in poverty and experiencing inequalities, expanding the well-being of people to be and to do in ways they have reason to value - to be mobile, cared for, respected, and so on. In particular we are interested in which human capabilities and functionings are most needed for a professional practice and professionalism that can contribute to transformative social change and how professional development is enabled via pedagogical arrangements.
Growing the next generation of researchers: A handbook for emerging researchers and their mentors, L. Holness : book reviewAuthor Sioux McKennaSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 83 –88 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.56More Less
South Africa urgently needs more researchers (NRF, 2008; NDP, 2011). We also need a transformation in the demographics of our researchers. One indicator of this is that currently only 14% of university professors are black African, and only 2% are black African females (DHET, 2012). The Staffing South Africa's Universities Framework includes a number of initiatives to drive the process of growing the next generation of academics. For example, the nGAP project has inserted 125 new posts into the higher education system in 2015, with more to follow. This project allows for new academics to undertake postgraduate study and develop as teachers and researchers through mentorship, a reduced teaching load and so on.
Author Sharli Anne PaphitisSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 89 –92 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i2.57More Less
Recently, an employee at one of my institution's partner NGOs asked an insightful and illustrative question: 'If all the university buildings burnt down, even though the university is one of the main employers in this town, would the people - the people of this community - come together and rebuild those buildings?' He answered, tentatively, that he thought they would not, and I can't help but think that I agree with his opinion on the matter. Perhaps my community partner colleague's question is an unfair one - would the people of our community come together to rebuild the local and sole hospital building in our town, or the town hall, if they burnt down? I cannot answer these questions, or offer an analysis of the complex reasons why people might respond differently or in the same way to these scenarios here, but my colleague's question does provide us with an interesting point of departure for asking questions about the role that universities, seen as social institutions, might play in contemporary South African society - questions which in the wake of the #FeesMustFall protests need to be critically addressed.