Framing scholarly accounts for learning and teaching in higher education Stephen Billett, GALTS Purposes ………. Open up discussion about and considerations of the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT) Delineate some key elements of and bases for those scholarly activities Assist participants identify issues of interest which could become focuses for scholarly activities Commence a process that might led to individual or collaborative scholarly projects Inform about and make accessible the support available through Griffith and GALT, in particular Progression Defining key terms and setting out the terrain Scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT) Accounts of learning and development Theories of learning Education intents Goals for higher education: Knowledge to be learnt Curriculum, Teaching and learning practices Curriculum practices Pedagogic practices Epistemological practices Definition Martin, Benjamin, Prosser and Trigwell (1999) propose three related activities constitute the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL): • engagement with the existing knowledge on teaching and learning, • self-reflection on teaching and learning in one’s discipline, and • public sharing of ideas about teaching and learning within the discipline. However, much and perhaps most of what is taken as being ‘informed’ is contested and still contestable. The nature of social sciences i) few unambiguous truths; ii) evolving understanding of human learning and development, and iii) how it can be intentionally promoted through teaching and other educational efforts. Why engage in the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT)? Trigwell (2012) suggests this scholarship is a: • way to raise the state of teaching • means to through which teachers can be become more knowledgeable • means to assess the quality of teaching • way to enhance students’ experience of learning. However, there are other reasons to engage in SoLT: • advancing your thinking, procedures or theorising • securing employment and improving prospects of tenure and/or promotion • securing teaching and learning scholarships and grants • enriching your work life • making your research on teaching accessible to others • addressing issues impacting upon you, your community or discipline • others …………. Issues that attract your attention As we progress make note of some issues that concern you and might form a basis for the kinds of scholarly work in which you might engage. For instance, ………. Some ‘new’ challenges for higher education ............ 1. Time jealous students Educational provisions are nothing more or less than invitations to change 2. Time jealous teachers !! 3. Resource jealous practice settings But there are many other issues and challenges that warrant scholarly consideration Nascent state of educational science The science and informed practices of education still in its infancy Understanding the knowledge to be learnt and processes of that learning are nascent, and are often overturned by what was accepted earlier Curriculum and pedagogic concepts and practices are relatively immature (e.g., curriculum studies 1949, educational psychology 1930s) Development not always scientific (e.g. psychological thought, political imperatives, history, fads) Uncertainty about what experiences are generative of what kinds of knowledge What constitutes effective higher education teaching? ... new cultural means are being elaborated at an accelerating rate in industrialised nations. Hardly have we approached the problem of understanding the intellectual impact of the printing press, than we are urged to confront the psychological implications of computerisation. (Scribner 1985: 138) The limits education and the schooled society ‘Schooled’ societies have orthodoxies and assumptions about the inherent value and privileged status of ‘schooling’ Education and ‘schooling’ have brought many benefits, yet its discourse offers narrow accounts about: • human knowing (i.e. what can be observed) • learning (i.e. what can be measured) • knowledge (i.e. what can be declared) Such accounts are increasingly emphasised in prescriptive standards and educational provisions Please note: the critique of teaching and educational institutions here is advanced in the belief that teachers and these institutions make a positive difference – the concern is to improve those differences Yet, not captured, articulated or privileged in this discourse: • Many procedural capacities (i.e. strategic and specific) needed by graduates to effectively practice • Embodied learning (i.e. knowing through the sensory system) • Haptic qualities (i.e. feel, tactile competence) • Dispositions (i.e. values, interest, intentionality – ethical conduct, for instance) Yet, these capacities are central to much of occupational performance required by graduates So, there is lots of scope for drawing, yet also building, upon what is known about promoting learning in higher education But let’s start somewhere ………….. Accounts of learning and development Broad orientations Evolution of theories of learning and development Perspectives on human cognition and learning (nativist vs. empiricist accounts) Nativist Individuals are genetically endowed with knowledge Chomsky, Fodor, Kant, Barsalou Empiricist Individuals construct all they know from experience Pavlov, Skinner, Bruner, Rousseau Let’s, for argument’s sake, follow through with the empiricist account Definitions …… Learning: Change in individuals’ knowledge Arises from experiences that are either externally (i.e. interpsychologically) or internally (i.e. intra-psychologically) initiated Moment by moment and continually - not reserved for particular kinds of experiences, although there may be specific legacies – “activities structure cognition” (Rogoff & Lave 1984) Change by degree – transformational through to refinement and honing of what is already known Person dependent, by degree Development: accumulation and legacy of moment by moment learning across individuals’ life courses – (i.e. ontogenetic development) shapes how they learn Some questions What do the empiricist views suggest in terms of approaches to learning (and, therefore, teaching)? What should come first a consideration of teaching or learning in higher education? What is emphasised in current educational experiences in which you are involved? How well are your students prepared to be active and self-initiating learners? What needs to happen for them to be more active constructive learners? Human learning and development … Across human history most learning and development premised on individuals’ active learning, not teaching Teacherly acts appear to be largely a product of schooling and schooled societies Active processes of learning seem to predominate, although teaching was available to some … Whatever the origins of the didactic mode, it has always been a minor mode of knowledge acquisition in our evolutionary history. In the West, however, the didactic mode of teaching and learning has come to prevail in our schools to such an extent that is often taken for granted as the most natural, as was the most efficacious and efficient way of going about teaching and learning. This view is held despite the many instances in our own culture of learning through observation and imitation. (Jordan 1989: 932) So, what accounts inform teaching and learning in higher education? Three major movements (see elaborations in handouts) Behavioural accounts – responses to stimulus – person mediating responses Cognitive account – emphasises intra-psychological processes – ability to manipulate knowledge (cleverness) Key contributions: i) individuals’ domains of knowledge, ii) role and extent of memory, iii) limitations of processing capacity and iv) development of expertise Sociocultural, cultural psychological and anthropological accounts – emphasises inter-psychological processes Contributions of history, culture and situations as mediated through the suggestion of the social world sources of access to knowledge generated in society Behavioural accounts of knowing (Skinner, Pavlov, Thorndike, Watson) Learning - a learnt response to a stimulus Stimulus Response Neo-behavioural knowing - learnt response is mediated, in part, by the organism (Watson & Kantor) Secondary reinforcement might be required, can be used Stimulus Organism Response (i.e. learning) From here, the discussion is largely about the degree by which what is experienced and responded to – perception – action – is shaped by the organism (person) or by factors ‘beyond the skin’ Cognitive psychological account Learning arising from individuals’ manipulation of knowledge and experience Sensory input (experiencing) Organism (mind) Change in knowledge Intra-psychological capacities (cognitive structures) General capacities – strategic and specific functions (literacy, numeracy) Domain specific capacities (e.g. occupational knowledge) Abilities and cleverness (i.e. ability to manipulate knowledge) Importance of: i) individuals’ domains of knowledge, ii) role and extent of memory, iii) limitations of processing capacity and iv) development of expertise Sociocultural/cultural psychological/anthropological accounts Learning (intra-psychological change) arising from the mediation of the social suggestion Historical, cultural and situational factors Domain specific capacities (e.g. occupational knowledge) General capacities – strategic and specific functions (literacy, numeracy) Projection of social suggestion Experiencing Individual Changes in knowledge Micro-genetic actions leading to ontogentic development Intra-psychological capacities (cognitive structures) General capacities – strategic and specific functions (e.g. literacy, numeracy) Domain specific capacities (e.g. occupational knowledge) Abilities and cleverness (i.e. ability to manipulate knowledge) So what? Suggests that higher educational provisions need to account for both: i) experiences provided for students and ii) how they will come to experience them Affordances and engagement • Affordances – the degree by which students are invited and supported in their learning) • Engagement – how students engage with and learn through what they are afforded Need to consider these in the provision of educational provisions Educational intents Educational programs and provisions need to be guided by clear and informed intents (i.e. what is intended to be achieved) Also, often used to assess students’ learning, teaching efficacy and course evaluations Aims – broad statements Goals – more specific statements Objectives – detailed statements, such as those against which students might be assessed How adequately are statements of educational intents in your courses and programs addressing the learning required for your students? How should they be changed? Concerns about educational intents Who should formulate them? A range of perspectives adopted in considering these intents. Educators cannot claim to have privileged role in stating educational intents - a range of interests Yet, without engaging educators in their development it is unlikely that others’ intentions will be faithfully enacted Often, highly measurable educational intents focus on relatively unimportant kinds Case study: CBT in vocational education Adaptability and flexibility was the stated goal Let’s now consider the kinds of knowledge that higher students needs to learn – to progress smoothly into practice on graduation – these should be sources for such intents Knowledge required for disciplinary or occupational practice • Occupational specific capacities (i.e. domain-specific conceptual, procedural and dispositional knowledge) • Also, capacities that augment and are embedded in occupational activities (e.g. communication, calculation, values, working with others, problem-solving) • These capacities exist at the canonical (i.e. occupational) and situational (e.g. workplace) levels • … yet need to be constructed by individuals as their personal domains of occupational knowledge Knowledge required for effective practice Domain-specific conceptual knowledge – ‘concepts, facts, propositions – surface to deep) (e.g. Glaser 1989) Domain-specific procedural knowledge – how to achieve goals - specific through to strategic procedures) (e.g. Anderson 1993, Sun et al 2001) Dispositional knowledge - (i.e. values, attitudes) (e.g. Perkins et al 1993), includes criticality Conceptual knowledge Procedural knowledge Dispositional knowledge What kinds, combinations and sequencing of experiences can generate these interlinked forms of knowledge? Curriculum considerations Definition – provision and pathway of experiences What is the best sequencing of experiences? What should be the intended learning from these experiences? What should be the duration of experiences? How might those experiences be integrated? Formulating and enacting curriculum Three conceptions of curriculum Intended curriculum – what is intended to occur by sponsors or developers in terms of educational outcomes (e.g. syllabus, course outline etc). Enacted curriculum – what is enacted as shaped by available resources, teachers and others’ experiences and expertise, interpretation of intentions and, values Experienced curriculum – what students experience and learn when they engage with what is enacted Increasingly the first one is becoming the key imperative across most sectors of Australian education, and higher education is no exception Curriculum considerations Sequencing and purpose of learners’ experiences e.g. midwifery students’ follow throughs and clinical practice How might these experiences be ordered? Year 1 Follow throughs Year 2 Follow throughs Clinical placements Year 3 Clinical placements Considerations for the ‘experienced’ curriculum include: Students' interest and readiness central to their engagement and learning in higher education immediate concerns and goals focus of students' interest early and staged engagement in practice settings boosts many students' confidence to re-engage and learn effectively challenges to personal confidence and competence can be redressed by effective group processes, including sharing of experience Strong emphasis here on readiness to participate Pedagogic practices Pedagogy – kinds of guidance provided to assist students’ learning, - augmenting and supporting learning in specific ways Where to begin!!!.. A whole range of pedagogic practice (e.g. direct teaching, project work, group work, independent studies, internet enhanced learning support, guided learning etc.) Pedagogic practices directed to achieve particular outcomes Findings ways of engaging students with experiences through which they will construct the knowledge they need to learn – need aligning with what is to be learnt For example, some pedagogic practices adopted to integrate experiences Debrief - journalism Classroom group discussion – journalism Preparatory and debriefing activities – applied theatre/law/public relations Portfolio preparation - creative arts Reflections on prior experiences – medicine, teacher education Practicum preparatory workshops – health sciences, social work Reflections on current experiences of work – business, music Project based activities - tourism Learners’ (students’) personal epistemologies Personal epistemologies – how individuals construe and construct knowledge premised on what they know, experience, including their interests, intentionalities and subjectivities. It is they who learn Educators merely offer an invitation to change It is their taking up of that invitation that is most important ... Some focuses for developing agentic personal epistemologies orient students to requirements for effectively engaging in higher education preparing students to participate as agentic learners develop procedural capacities required to be an effective learner make links to, and reconcile between, what is taught (learnt) in the academy, and what is experienced elsewhere (e.g. practice settings) facilitate the sharing and drawing out of students’ experiences generate in students critical perspectives on their learning processes So what………? Much important scholarly work to be done to inform, design, enact and evaluate effective learning experiences in higher education That is, to identify what constitutes effective learning and teaching in higher education Effective higher education provisions require careful and informed planning, enactment and clear educational intents All of these need informing by scholarly activities, …… Also, … i) teacherly processes can enrich those experiences, but need guiding by informed and intentional (i.e. scholarly) practices ii) students likely need to be convinced, guided and assisted to realise and secure the worth of higher education experiences iii) processes of engaging students in knowledge constructing activities likely to be more effective than ‘just telling’ All this requires higher education teachers to be scholarly practitioners whose practice is informed and developed through their own practice Questions, clarifications etc etc Questions, clarifications, contestations etc etc What are the kinds of learning and teaching issues that motivate your interest in scholarly work? What kinds of scholarly outcomes would you like to achieve? What kinds of support do you need to achieve those outcomes?