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Academics’ Perspectives of the
Concept: Socially Just Pedagogies
A University of Johannesburg case study in the making
Sem...
SOTL @ UJ- Towards a
Socially Just Pedagogy
• To support a community of practice at UJ with regard to the
scholarship of t...
SOTL @ UJ Team at work
Capacity building: workshops
SOTL @ UJ Project
Capacity building:
seminars
SOTL @ UJ Project
Dissemination
http://sotlforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/
Intended project outcomes
• Mini-conference: 1 December 2015 (and July 2017)
• Published articles
• Concept document for u...
Examples of SOTL Projects
CURRICULUM RESTRUCTURING IN HIGHER
EDUCATION SOUTH AFRICA: Is it socially just?
Judaism 101: Ret...
More topics
“The Sandton City of UJ” or “The Art of
Accomplishment”: Exploring the relationship
between social class, tast...
Draft ‘Manifesto’
– Why we need SOTL for social justice
– What socially just teaching encompasses
– Guiding principles
– G...
Why do we need a social justice
perspective?
Higher education in South Africa faces key
challenges in relation to teaching...
Why…
• Low success rate and low throughput in
institutions across the country, with significant
differences between instit...
Why…
• Social interaction and identity matters in
higher education in South Africa does not
reflect an integrated and soci...
Participatory Parity
Tripartite dimensions:
• Maldistribution
• Misrecognition
• Misframing
(Nancy Fraser, 2008)
‘there ca...
Why…
South Africa’s responsibility towards the rest of
Africa
Inaugural Meeting of the Southern African Universities
Learn...
Why…
• Higher education can contribute towards
peace
social development
human flourishing
sustaining our planet
SOTL in and for social justice
socially just pedagogy (equitable learning
conditions for academic success)
v.
and a pedago...
SOTL for Social Justice pays attention
to ….
• Issues of access to higher education (widening
participation)
• Epistemolog...
Graduate outcomes – efficiency and
impact
knowledge as sense of what is
possible, knowledge as ethical
responsibility; edu...
Graduate outcomes
‘teaching is transformative and really making an
impact on students' lives, particularly at first-
year ...
SOTL for SJ pays attention to
• Values that inform our teaching
– Sense of purpose
– Sustain us when in despair
– Help us ...
… and SOTL for SJ pays attention to
• Issues pertaining to knowledge and power
(whose knowledges are valued, and how
knowl...
… and to
• Issues of voice – whose voices ‘count’ and
what are the silences? Are students heard –
which students?
…and to
• How the institutional culture influences
teaching and learning interactions, ..
• How time and space are used an...
… time and space
‘like the lecture venues that …don’t support a projector, I’ve
actually done a workbook for students. ......
… and attention to
• The respectful co-production of knowledge – where co-
producers are in other institutions such as com...
Some guiding principles
• In this project we seek to look towards the
future, a pedagogy of possibility and critical
hope....
Some guiding principles
• A socially just pedagogy also pays attention to
the pedagogic approaches (one cannot ‘teach’
stu...
Some guiding principles
• A socially just pedagogy assumes that
dialogue is never finished. Teaching and
learning fosters ...
Guiding philosophies
 Participatory parity (Fraser)
 Capabilities approach (Sen, Nussbaum, Walker)
 Indigenous knowledg...
Implications for research approaches
• Ethical approach
• Benefit students (and community)
• Students are not objects, mer...
Research relations within social justice
approach
• Collaboration amongst staff
• Appreciation and robust debate
• Respect...
Evaluation (with Kibbie and Razia)
• Consider seminars, blog entries
• Interviews
• (Follow up interviews)
• 16 interviewe...
Interview questions
1. What are the higher educators’ perspectives on social justice? And on
critical, compassionate citiz...
Coding Framework
*Unique number; *by discipline or service;
*seniority; *gender; *race; *member SOTL @
UJ; *challenges int...
Early trends
Challenges responded to:
Student diversity, inequality, knowledges not valued,
(No ‘opportunities’ in the fir...
Role and distance
We don’t really have the clout to actually – we can sort of suggest things to lecturers, this is what ca...
Emotions
• Yes, then we talk again a lot about you and your relationship with other
people and how you can get hijacked – ...
Language, knowledge and power
• Second language – lack of confidence,
participation
• Wants to give students textual resou...
Early conclusion
• In some cases, link between SJ and
discipline/practice
• Speakers vary from articulate about SJ to less...
Badat, S. 2009. “Theorising Institutional Change: Post 1994 South African Higher Education”. Studies in Higher Education 3...
Academics’ Perspectives of the Concept: Socially Just Pedagogies – A University of Johannesburg-based Study by Brenda Leib...
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Academics’ Perspectives of the Concept: Socially Just Pedagogies – A University of Johannesburg-based Study by Brenda Leibowitz

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This presentation was given by Professor Brenda Leibowitz on 22 October 2015 for the NRF Posthumanism Project, based at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. All work in this presentation is to be credited to Professor Brenda Leibowitz

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Academics’ Perspectives of the Concept: Socially Just Pedagogies – A University of Johannesburg-based Study by Brenda Leibowitz

  1. 1. Academics’ Perspectives of the Concept: Socially Just Pedagogies A University of Johannesburg case study in the making Seminar for Posthumanism Project 22 October 2015
  2. 2. SOTL @ UJ- Towards a Socially Just Pedagogy • To support a community of practice at UJ with regard to the scholarship of teaching and learning • To generate scholarly debate about what social justice in regard to the teaching and learning might mean at a comprehensive South African university • To use findings to inform strategic planning about teaching and learning at UJ.
  3. 3. SOTL @ UJ Team at work Capacity building: workshops
  4. 4. SOTL @ UJ Project Capacity building: seminars
  5. 5. SOTL @ UJ Project Dissemination http://sotlforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/
  6. 6. Intended project outcomes • Mini-conference: 1 December 2015 (and July 2017) • Published articles • Concept document for university on SOTL for Social Justice • But: the process as a learning moment
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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)
  12. 12. Why… • Social interaction and identity matters in higher education in South Africa does not reflect an integrated and socially just, participatory formation
  13. 13. Participatory Parity Tripartite dimensions: • Maldistribution • Misrecognition • Misframing (Nancy Fraser, 2008) ‘there can be no recognition without distribution’ (de Sousa Santos, 2000)
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Why… • Higher education can contribute towards peace social development human flourishing sustaining our planet
  16. 16. 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)
  17. 17. 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).
  18. 18. 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)
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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)
  21. 21. … 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.
  22. 22. … and to • Issues of voice – whose voices ‘count’ and what are the silences? Are students heard – which students?
  23. 23. …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
  24. 24. … 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)
  25. 25. … 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.
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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.
  28. 28. 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.
  29. 29. 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)
  30. 30. Implications for research approaches • Ethical approach • Benefit students (and community) • Students are not objects, mere data sources • Also partners (Griffiths 2004)
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. Evaluation (with Kibbie and Razia) • Consider seminars, blog entries • Interviews • (Follow up interviews) • 16 interviewees from at least five faculties; 6 individuals from academic, postgraduate support and professional development, varied but 11 white; three non-group members; (and more)
  33. 33. Interview questions 1. What are the higher educators’ perspectives on social justice? And on critical, compassionate citizenship? 2. What pedagogical approaches do they use for teaching about /for social justice? 3. What are their notions of critical citizenship/social justice education and how do they practice this in their classrooms and to what effect? What they are trying to achieve in their own practice regarding critical citizenship/social justice/ social inclusion? What is their perspective and/or practice in relation to emotional reflexivity? 4. What sort of knowledge/qualities/dispositions/values are they wanting to develop in their students, and why? 5. What are the achievements and joys they encounter when implementing their pedagogical approaches and how do they explain this? 6. What are the challenges or obstacles they encounter when implementing their pedagogical approaches and how do they account for these?
  34. 34. Coding Framework *Unique number; *by discipline or service; *seniority; *gender; *race; *member SOTL @ UJ; *challenges interviewee is responding to; *opportunities interviewee is responding to; *interviewee pays attention to what SJ is/beliefs about SJ; *what critical citizenship is; *philosophy, ethics cited; *what the interviewee does; *joys, positive impact; *challenges, frustration; *other; *coder's comment
  35. 35. Early trends Challenges responded to: Student diversity, inequality, knowledges not valued, (No ‘opportunities’ in the first five) Attention paid to: Student outcomes; student values; tutors; student participation; academics’ identity and agency Philosophy/ethics cited: Capabilities; Gramsci (but ….) What the interviewee does: Examples and dilemmas; PLA; groups, groups, groups … Joys: Student growth; acknowledgement as a teacher Frustrations: Resist groups; timetable packed; managerialism
  36. 36. Role and distance We don’t really have the clout to actually – we can sort of suggest things to lecturers, this is what came out or if something specific has come out of a specific department, but again it’s, well we’re kind of in the middle and we don’t – you know you sort of don’t always know to what extent do I have power to actually make sure that that change happens, you know. At the very least you can motivate those tutors to themselves to go an find the solution within their department. But as far as us doing something, sometimes you kind of feel, well I can’t really take it much further as I would like to challenge: not in department so can’t give advice Ja, you know if they have to wait for government to wake up one day, they’re going to wait a very, very, very long time. So I don’t want them to have that victim mentality. I want them to understand that this is your problem too. And on your level you could solve it because yours is the most powerful level to solve it on. Because if you are strong morally, ethically and if you know what is just and what is fair , then nobody else is going to change your mind. Not even Zuma. Personal responsibility No, 20% get it. It’s the other way around. And I always have to keep in mind that my students see me as somebody from a different race group. What does she know. Ja, white lady, you’ve got it all. Ja, she thinks she knows everything. And I get that, I absolutely get it, but I can’t change that for them. I can give them the information, what they do with that is up to them. And my prayer is that one day they will realize that this had nothing to do with race or with gender or with anything, but the colour of our hearts. If that makes sense. It’s not the colour of the skin that is important here, for me it’s the colour of your heart.
  37. 37. Emotions • Yes, then we talk again a lot about you and your relationship with other people and how you can get hijacked – your brain can get hijacked and how you prevent it. So it teaches them to not be the slaves of emotion, but to use emotion as a different form of intelligence. To use emotion as a form of intelligence. V • I do, but I find there’s a gap. Some students have the ability to think abstractly. The .........they can just go on and on forever and then you have students who can’t think abstractly. It has to be literal. They like those ......... skills ........because that’s like ching, ching, you know. But when they have to think on this different level, it makes it very difficult for them. That is why I’m always grateful for the class discussions as the students do think abstractly because they impact on the other students who can’t yet, students who don’t think abstractly • So, then, that component for them, there’s no reflection that – no reflectivity, there’s just emotions, emotions, emotions. They’re tired. They don’t want to do it. ‘Just tell me what you want, I just want to pass’, you know. That’s what they say.
  38. 38. Language, knowledge and power • Second language – lack of confidence, participation • Wants to give students textual resources • “epistemological access” • Access to knowledge v. acknowledging different knowledges
  39. 39. Early conclusion • In some cases, link between SJ and discipline/practice • Speakers vary from articulate about SJ to less articulate about concepts and practices • Speakers vary from liberal/humanist to more ‘radical’ • How to use this process to move all team members’ understanding forward? • - The interviews seem to be a useful mechanism to:
  40. 40. 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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