Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) - latest Issue
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2016
Author Chris WinbergSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp i –iii (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.71More Less
These are trying times for Higher Education. The student activism of the past year has alerted us to the many relics of our colonial past (and neo-liberal present) that need to fall: outdated curricula, deficit understandings of student learning and techno-rational notions of how higher education practices change. At a time when resources are crucial, the aftermath of #FeesMustFall has resulted in a time of austerity for South African universities, making teaching and learning in Higher Education ever more complex and ever more 'entangled' in what Hannon calls its 'social and material arrangements'. To think through these new complexities we need new ideas and theories - and this is precisely what this edition of Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning offers.
Author John HannonSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 1 –15 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.67More Less
Research into effectiveness of teaching practices and professional development invites questions of teaching and learning change: how it takes effect and is accounted for, and where its agency is claimed and contested across a range of institutional, disciplinary and pedagogical actors. This article investigates change in teaching practices and professional development through the notion of obduracy (Law, 2003): ordered arrangements that persist in the background and surface in a process of change. In focussing on practice as the object of inquiry, this study is part of a shift away from the study of professional learning drawing on individualist, cognitive traditions towards practice-oriented understandings of change and agency as an effect of social and material arrangements. The setting for this study of teaching practice is two disciplinary academic collectives, or workgroups, in one Australian university. Rather than approaching change as a human-centred and intentional process, the method of sociomaterial tracing was applied to teaching practice undergoing an institutional change process. The study highlights the process in which change is assembled, resisted or accomplished through heterogeneous networks of curriculum, discourses, technologies, and policies. Teaching and learning change, it is argued, involves recognising how obduracy is embedded in distinct networks across the university. The contribution of this study is to draw attention to the agentic role of materials and spaces in the negotiation and stabilisation of teaching practices and in approaches to professional development.
Author Lynn ColemanSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 16 –38 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.59More Less
This paper contributes to the current introspection in the academic development community that critiques the persistent conceptualisations of students as deficient. Deficit discourses are also implicated in many of the student support, curriculum and pedagogic initiatives employed across the higher education sector. The argument developed here, unlike most of the existing debates which focus on pedagogic or institutional initiatives, explores how the research interests and methodological choices of academic developers and researchers could incorporate sensitivity against deficit conceptions and foster more contextualised accounts of students and their learning. This article uses an ethnographic study into the assignment practices of vocational higher education students to show how certain methodological and theoretical choices engender anti-deficit conceptualisations. The study's analytic framework uses the concepts of literacy practices and knowledge recontextualisation to place analytic attention on both the students' assignment practices and the influence of curriculum decision making on such practices. The significance of this dual focus is its ability to capture the complexity of students' meaning-making during assignment production, without remaining silent about the structuring influence of the curriculum. I argue in this paper that the focus on both students and curriculum is able to offer contextualised accounts of students' interpretations and enacted experiences of their assessment and curriculum environment. Exploring the multidimensional nature of student learning experiences in ways that accommodate the influence of various contextual realities brings researchers and their research agendas closer to offsetting deficit conceptualisation.
Peer tutors as learning and teaching partners : a cumulative approach to building peer tutoring capacity in higher educationAuthor Sherran ClarenceSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 39 –54 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.69More Less
Peer tutors in higher education are frequently given vital teaching and learning work to do, but the training or professional development and support opportunities they are offered vary, and more often than not peer tutors are under-supported. In order to create and sustain teaching and learning environments that are better able to facilitate students' engagement with knowledge and learning, the role of peer tutors needs to be recognised differently, as that of learning and teaching partners to both lecturers and students. Tutors then need to be offered opportunities for more in-depth professional academic development in order to fully realise this role. This paper explores a tutor development programme within a South African writing centre that aimed at offering tutors such ongoing and cumulative opportunities for learning and growth using a balanced approach, which included scholarly research and practice-based training. Using narrative data tutors provided in reflective written reports, the paper explores the kinds of development in tutors' thinking and action that are possible when training and development is theoretically informed, coherent, and oriented towards improving practice.
Actant affordances : a brief history of affordance theory and a Latourian extension for education technology researchSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 55 –73 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.50More Less
Affordance theory provides a useful lens to explore the action opportunities that arise between users and technology, especially in education. However developments in the theory have resulted both in confusion and misapplication, due partly to issues related to affordance theory's ontology. This paper outlines two competing perspectives on affordances by Gibson and Norman, before arguing that Latour's theory of 'actants' provides a useful middle way between these competing positions. This 'actant affordance' provides new opportunities for undertaking educational technology research that focuses on the network of negotiations taking place between actants (student, teacher, technology, pedagogy, etc.) rather than studying causality or simple binaries.
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 74 –88 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.61More Less
In 2013 the Council on Higher Education (CHE) released a proposal for the reform of South Africa's undergraduate degree arguing that all current 3-year degrees and diplomas, as well as 4-year Bachelor's degrees be extended by one year with an additional 120 credits. This paper argues that the structure proposed provides the conditions for a different kind of curriculum that enables epistemic access and development. The paper firstly offers a set of theoretical tools for conceptualising this enabling curriculum structure. Secondly, drawing on the CHE exemplars, the paper makes explicit the general curriculum reform principles that underpin the enabling structure. Finally, the paper describes how these reform principles translate into qualification-specific curriculum models which enable epistemic access and development. This research is an important contribution to the next phase of curriculum reform in South Africa, what we refer to as a 'new generation' of extended curricula.
The Posthuman Child : educational transformation through philosophy with picturebooks, Murris, K. : book reviewAuthor Vivienne BozalekSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 89 –91 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.70More Less
Karen Barad, a theorist to whom Karin Murris makes extensive reference in her recently published book The Posthuman Child, writes about the concept of the apparatus, based on Niels Bohr's work. This is a different way of thinking about apparatus than we are normally used to - here it is not seen as an instrument for observation, not as a thing, but rather as a doing. Karen Barad describes apparatuses as open-ended practices which create boundaries. More particularly, she sees apparatuses as 'specific material arrangements and material-discursive practices, which provide determinate meanings for concepts and things, entailing exclusions to make them intelligible', in this way 'enacting what matters and what is excluded from mattering' (Barad, 2007: 148).
Discerning critical hope in educational practices, Bozalek, V., Leibowitz, B., Carolissen, R. & Boler, M. (Eds). : book reviewAuthor Kasturi Behari-LeakSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 4, pp 92 –94 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v4i1.68More Less
Discerning Critical Hope in Educational Studies is a thought-provoking and percipient book that draws its relevance from the context of crisis in which it is currently embedded. It offers a robust and critical engagement with the notion of hope in a society in dire need of positivity, critical thinking and practical strategies. The multifarious struggles, both symbolic and real, facing academics, practitioners and students in higher education today, could be interpreted as a dynamic interplay between hope and its counter-part, despair. The fulcrum however, around which ideological battles are being fought, is defined by a criticality, needed to rescue hope from its shadow self, hopelessness.