n South African Journal of Higher Education - Paradoxes of teaching as deliberation

Volume 19, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article reflects on my experience as a tutor of Philosophy of Education (PGCE) at Stellenbosch University in 2004. The theoretical framework within which I locate my practice is that of critical theory. Specifically, I intend to utilise deliberation that seems to have conceptual space for reflection and imagination as method, which I deem necessary to guide discussion and engagement. I discovered in my teaching that though some students freely participated in discussion, others were passive listeners, whilst most were more interested in what the exam content would be and whether the content of the discussions would be important for exam purposes. Also, on the return of assignments, students were more interested in the mark obtained than in the detailed comments and guidelines which formed part of the ongoing deliberation. I argue that the attitude of students toward academic work best befits a notion of globalisation where the emphasis is on outcomes commensurate with certification and where deliberation is not a priority. This in essence relates to my interpretation of what I refer to as a paradox. There seems to be a paradox because, on the one hand, students seem to be relying on the outcomes for certification, whilst this (as an exclusive activity or expectation) militates against teaching and learning as deliberation. Education, I contend, should be valued for both its intrinsic as well as its extrinsic value and there should be a complementary relationship between the intrinsic and the extrinsic.

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