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The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - A social justice perspective

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Talk given at the First International Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at the Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, on 1 - 2 October 2015

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The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning - A social justice perspective

  1. 1. The Scholarship of Teaching – a Social Justice Perspective 1st International Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning CUT, 1- 2 October 2015
  2. 2. Background • Me • SOTL at University of Johannesburg • Draft ‘Manifesto’: – Why we need SOTL for social justice – What socially just teaching encompasses – Guiding principles – Guiding philosophies – Implications for research approaches • How we relate to students; colleagues • The SOTL @ UJ project • Concluding thoughts
  3. 3. The trouble with SOTL…
  4. 4. Why do we need a social justice perspective? Higher education in South Africa faces key challenges in relation to teaching and learning: • Small number of matriculating students to draw from and simultaneously, students are drawn from more privileged echelons of society, due to inequality in society in general, fostered by unequal conditions in schools across the society
  5. 5. Why… • Low success rate and low throughput in institutions across the country, with significant differences between institutions (Cooper, 2015, “stalled” revolution) • Higher education institutions enjoy less funding and resourcing than universities in the global North • The curriculum remains by and large ‘derivative’ of the centre or metropole (Badat, 2007)
  6. 6. Why… • Social interaction and identity matters in higher education in South Africa does not reflect an integrated and socially just, participatory formation
  7. 7. Participatory Parity Tripartite dimensions: • Maldistribution • Misrecognition • Misframing (Nancy Fraser, 2008) ‘there can be no recognition without distribution’ (de Sousa Santos, 2000)
  8. 8. Why… South Africa’s responsibility towards the rest of Africa Inaugural Meeting of the Southern African Universities Learning and Teaching (SAULT) Forum, 14 – 16 April 2014
  9. 9. Why… • Higher education can contribute towards peace social development human flourishing sustaining our planet
  10. 10. SOTL in and for social justice socially just pedagogy (equitable learning conditions for academic success) v. and a pedagogy for social justice, (transformation of learners, knowledges and contexts through critical questioning and engagement) (Moje, 2007) SoTL that is ‘authentic’, in and through higher education (Kreber, 2013)
  11. 11. SOTL for Social Justice pays attention to …. • Issues of access to higher education (widening participation) • Epistemological access to those within higher education (‘success’ and ‘throughput’) • Appropriate graduate outcomes (so that graduates can find employment; so they can flourish and contribute to society).
  12. 12. Graduate outcomes – efficiency and impact knowledge as sense of what is possible, knowledge as ethical responsibility; education is more than imparting skills. I don’t want a doctor who is only a critical thinker, when he is opening up my chest – but I want him to be able to use those skills in relations of inequitable power… doctors in Germany; (Henry Giroux)
  13. 13. Graduate outcomes ‘teaching is transformative and really making an impact on students' lives, particularly at first- year level where you’re kind of at that transition between school and university, and getting to think about learning differently. … I suppose I've always tried to think about producing scientists, but different kinds of scientists. So scientists who will be able to think more broadly about the wider context of science. Teaching that is transformative impacts on students’ lives’ national teaching excellence award winner – physics lecturer
  14. 14. SOTL for SJ pays attention to • Values that inform our teaching – Sense of purpose – Sustain us when in despair – Help us to circumnavigate obstacles – Provide a sense of passion – Provide a sense of autonomy, when we feel not in control (Rowland, 2000)
  15. 15. … and SOTL for SJ pays attention to • Issues pertaining to knowledge and power (whose knowledges are valued, and how knowledge is made accessible) (de Sousa Santos, 2001) • Issues of communication and democracy in relation to language – without essentialising speakers of particular languages or languages themselves.
  16. 16. … and to • Issues of voice – whose voices ‘count’ and what are the silences? Are students heard – which students?
  17. 17. …and to • How the institutional culture influences teaching and learning interactions, .. • How time and space are used and how they shape the teaching and learning experience
  18. 18. … time and space ‘like the lecture venues that …don’t support a projector, I’ve actually done a workbook for students. ... if they can’t see the board or they can’t hear me, they’ve still got the notes in front of them … because I have problems with voice projection in large classes, I end up circling the lecture venues, so that everybody can get to hear me at some point in time. …I spend a lot of time making my notes and getting them printed … if I didn’t have to really do all of that, in other words if students could see the board, … I wouldn’t have to give them as comprehensive notes and then I could actually spend time on research and my own professional development. ‘ (time and space should not cage learning – nor cripple it)
  19. 19. … and attention to • The respectful co-production of knowledge – where co- producers are in other institutions such as community organisations, schools, and where we address the gap between higher education and other institutions. • Issues of democratic citizenship – in relation to internationalisation and responsibilities closer to home. • The relationship of epistemology to ontology – we are not just teaching students what knowledge to learn, but how to reason and feel towards a just future.
  20. 20. Some guiding principles • In this project we seek to look towards the future, a pedagogy of possibility and critical hope. However we acknowledge the importance of criticality and critique
  21. 21. Some guiding principles • A socially just pedagogy also pays attention to the pedagogic approaches (one cannot ‘teach’ students to become critical citizens, using approaches which discourage independence and criticality). • A socially just pedagogy takes into account the past – of the institution, of students, academics and faces the future with a sense of continuous possibility.
  22. 22. Some guiding principles • A socially just pedagogy assumes that dialogue is never finished. Teaching and learning fosters our becoming, not brokenness. • A socially just pedagogy requires academics to explore their own assumptions and experience the kinds of discovery and vulnerability that they require from their students.
  23. 23. Guiding philosophies  Participatory parity (Fraser)  Capabilities approach (Sen, Nussbaum, Walker)  Indigenous knowledge systems (‘Odora-Hoppers)  Pedagogy of discomfort (Boler, Zembylas)  Political ethics of care (Tronto)  Democratic education (Waghid)  Democratic and inclusive education (Soudien)  Post-humanism (Braidotti)  Socio-materialism (Barad, Deleuze-Gattari; Mazzei and Youngblood-Jackson)  Cognitive justice (Visvinathan; de Sousa Santos)
  24. 24. Implications for research approaches • Ethical approach • Benefit students (and community) • Students are not objects, mere data sources • Also partners (Griffiths 2004)
  25. 25. Research relations within social justice approach • Collaboration amongst staff • Appreciation and robust debate • Respect diverse perspectives • Capacity building • Conscious generation of corporate agency (Donati) • Symmetry of principles at all levels SJ
  26. 26. SOTL @ UJ- Towards a Socially Just Pedagogy Team engaged in research
  27. 27. Examples of SOTL Projects CURRICULUM RESTRUCTURING IN HIGHER EDUCATION SOUTH AFRICA: Is it socially just? Judaism 101: Rethinking Teaching Approaches and Content Academic literacies transitions: senior undergraduate to postgraduate Contemplating the heart of social justice in a Teacher Education Service Learning (TESL) module: A case study for using “troubling dialogues” to teach social justice.
  28. 28. More topics “The Sandton City of UJ” or “The Art of Accomplishment”: Exploring the relationship between social class, taste and student achievement at FADA What are the enablements and constraints in doctoral supervision support in SA HE
  29. 29. SOTL @ UJ Team at work Capacity building: workshops
  30. 30. SOTL @ UJ Project Capacity building: seminars
  31. 31. SOTL @ UJ Project Dissemination http://sotlforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/
  32. 32. Intended project outcomes • Mini-conference: 1 December 2015 • Published articles • Concept document for university on SOTL for Social Justice • But: the process as a learning moment
  33. 33. In conclusion …
  34. 34. Badat, S. 2009. “Theorising Institutional Change: Post 1994 South African Higher Education”. Studies in Higher Education 34 (4): 38 – 41. Boler, M. and M. Zembylas. (2003). “Discomforting Truths: The Emotional Terrain of Understanding Difference”. In Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change, edited by P. Trifonas, 110–136. Routledge Falmer, New York. Cooper, D. 2015. “Social Justice and South African University Student Enrolment Data by ‘Race’, 1998 - 2012: From ‘Skewed Revolution’ to ‘Stalled Revolution’”. Higher Education Quarterly 69 (3): 237 - 262. de Sousa Santos, B. (2001) Nuestra America: Reinventing a subaltern paradigm of recognition and redistribution. Theory, Culture and Society, 18 (2-3) 185- 217. Donati, P. 2010. “Reflexivity after Modernity: From the Viewpoint of Relational Sociology”. In Conversations about Reflexivity. Edited by M. Archer, 144 - 164, Abingdon: Routledge. Fraser, N. 2008.”Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World” in Adding Insult to Injury: Nancy Fraser Debates her Critics, edited by K. Olson, 273 – 291. London: Verso. Fraser, N. 2009. Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World. New York: Columbia University Press. Gale, R.,2009. “Asking questions that matter … asking questions of value”. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 3(2), http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol3/iss2/3 Gilpin, L. and D. Liston. “Transformative Education in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: An Analysis of SoTL Literature. 3 (2) http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol3/iss2/11 Griffiths, R., 2004. “Knowledge Production and the Research - Teaching Nexus: The Case of the Built Environment Disciplines”. Studies in Higher Education 29 (6): 709–726. Jansen, J. 2009. Knowledge in the Blood; Confronting Race and the Apartheid past. Cape Town: UCT Press Kreber, C. 2013a. Authenticity In and Through Teaching in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge. Kreber, C. 2013b. “Empowering the Scholarship of Teaching: An Arendtian and Critical Perspective”. Studies in Higher Education 38 (6): 857 – 869. Leibowitz, B., V. Bozalek, R. Carolissen, L. Nicholls, P. Rohleder, and L. Swartz. 2010. “Bringing the Social into Pedagogy; Unsafe Learning in an Uncertain World”. Teaching in Higher Education 15 (2): 123 – 133. Leibowitz, B., L. Swartz, V. Bozalek, R. Carolissen, L. Nichols and P. Rohleder, P. Eds. 2012. Community, Self and Identity: Educating South African University Students for Citizenship. Cape Town: HSRC Press. Mabokela, R. 2000. “’We cannot find qualified blacks’: Faculty Diversification Programs at South African Universities. Comparative Education 36 (1): 95 – 112. Moje, E. 2007. “Developing Socially Just Subject-matter Instruction: A Review of the Literature on Disciplinary Literacy Teaching”. Review of Research in Education 31: 1 – 44. Rowland, S. 2000. The Enquiring University Teacher. Buckingham: SRHE and OUP Soudien, C. 2008. ‘The Intersection of Race and Class in the South African University: Student Experiences”. South African Journal of Higher Education 22 (3): 662-678. Tabensky, P. and S. Matthews. 2015. Being at Home: Race, Institutional Culture and transformation at South African Higher Education Institutions. Pietermaritzburg: University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press. Vice, S. 2015. “‘Feeling at Home’: The Idea of Institutional Culture and the Idea of a University”. In Being at Home: Race, Institutional Culture and Transformation at South African Higher Education Institutions, edited by P. Tabensky and S. Matthews, 45 – 71. Pietermaritzburg: UKZN Press.

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