oa Journal of Education - Pedagogic responsiveness for academic depth

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



In the aftermath of apartheid and apartheid education, South African universities are exploring ways in which they can make their curricula more responsive to the needs of under-prepared students. There are many possible kinds of �curriculum responsiveness�. This paper focuses on �curriculum responsiveness� for epistemological access. It explores what it means to be responsive to both epistemological activities underpinning systematised forms of inquiry synonymous with academic practice and to the needs of under-prepared students in relation to these. The main focus of the paper is on the practices which constitute academic knowledge as fundamentally different from everyday-life ways of making meaning. This account entails an examination of the analytic logic of academic practice and the social conditions which underpin it. This account includes an analysis of the systematic inquiry through which university studies fulfil their necessary functions. The paper explores ways in which under-preparedness for such practices may be demonstrated, particularly in relation to �text-based practices� (Wertsch, 1991). It concludes with an examination of ways of initiating newcomers into these specialised activities of academic meaning making. This paper is based upon, and developed from an earlier paper we wrote on �Curriculum Responsiveness� commissioned by SAUVCA and published in H. Griesel (Ed.) Curriculum Responsiveness: Case Studies in Higher Education, 2004. Pretoria: South African Universities Vice-Chancellors Association. 2004.

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