BERA 2013: Defending difference in higher education pedagogies - Penny Jane Burke [PPT 3.77MB]

Defending Difference in
Higher Education Pedagogies
Penny Jane Burke
Professor of Education
Director, Paulo Freire Institute-UK
Formations of Gender &
HE Pedagogies (GaP)
• funded by the Higher Education Academy’s
National Teaching Fellowship Scheme
• Participatory Methodology:
in-depth interviews (64 students),
16 focus group interviews with students & lecturers a
20 observations of pedagogical practices
intensive forums, workshops & seminars, designed to
promote reflexivity through critical discussion
symbolic violence
• [Shame] exists with reference to how we
anticipate others may see and reject us’ –
but it is experienced as internalized
disappointment with self i.e. it exists with
reference to how we judge our own
shortcomings, feelings of failure or inadequacy
(Raphael Reed et al, 2007: 19).
Dividing practices
• Foucault explains that
– ‘the subject is either divided inside himself or
divided from others. […] Examples are the mad
and the sane, the sick and the healthy, the
criminals and the “good boys”’ (Foucault, 1997:
• Dividing practices are “related to the political
ambition to govern, was made possible by
pedagogy, education, sociology, psychology
and statistics” (Fejes, 2008: 90).
Naming & shaming
• I think the government has set this unrealistic goal of having fifty
percent of the population go through university. Now that
inevitably means a massive proportion of people at university today
probably shouldn’t be here, and from my experience I can think of
several people who obviously shouldn’t be at university, and call me
very, you can say I’m being very harsh there, I probably am, but the
simple fact is I don’t think they should be here, I don’t think they are
bright enough. But I think that’s what it comes down to, this
perception that lecturers should adapt to students, it shouldn’t be
that way. Students should adapt to the lecturers, students should
have the intelligence to adapt to their lecturers, and they should just
have the simple respect and not talk in the back of the class (Male
student 1, Sports Science).
Aiming high
• I would say, it sounds so bad, I would say like maybe eighty percent,
this is just me, this is a guestimate, eighty percent of people who
come from a lower class, whose parents didn’t go to university,
might not address learning in general with as quite a passion as
those who maybe came from middleclass, or those who had their
parents who went to university. Like going back to what I said
when I came here I saw university as the way to finish it, because
college wasn’t. I went to a secondary school which although it was
state it was quite top end, we had the PM’s children there, and from
there you always had high expectations bred into that sort of way of
thinking. You moved into that way of thinking, that that is the way
forward, and that is a normal thing to do, whereas people who
went to other schools might not see it like that, like some say oh, I
can get a job without a degree, they don’t really…or they say I
only need three GCSEs, they don’t aim for high enough because
they don’t know any higher (Male Student 2, Sports Science).
Disciplining difference
F1: It should reach the point that they get sent out. Or they shouldn’t be allowed
to come, to give an example of people coming twenty minutes late with their iPod
headphones in, and continue listening to their iPod in the back, and, you know, why
are you taking it? There’s no point you being here, just get out the class.
M1: The lecturers always stop short of sending them out of the class, and that’s
what they should do, if it happened one time where they get sent out straight
away without any warning it would never happen again.
Int: Why do you think the students are behaving like this, do you know?
M1 Because they are idiots.
M2 It sort of relates to when I was in college, because the same thing happened
in college. You’d get people who would come in, not really knowing what they
were doing, then sit in the class and just waste time.
Int: But if they are paying all this money…Why are they just throwing it away?
M2: They are not that bright.
(Focus group discussion, all white students, 2 female and 2 male)
Habitus & embodied identities
• Oppression is “deeply rooted in psychological and
physical dispositions” (McNay, 2008: 181).
• Habitus is the incorporation of “the regularities and
tendencies of the world into the body” (McNay, 2008:
• Practice is the “product of power relations that have
been internalized into the body and also of an active
engagement with social structures” (McNay, 2008:
• Embodied subjects are situated within a “given set of
relations that comprise distinct spheres of social
action’, or ‘fields’” (McNay, 2008: 182).
embodied identities
• “We need to think how bodies are being
inscribed simultaneously by different symbolic
systems; how inscription attributes difference
and how we learn to interpret bodies through
the different perspectives to which we have
access” (Beverly Skeggs).
politics of misrecognition
• But it’s impossible to educate, you know, in the
sense that we don’t have time to sit down and
navel gaze about how we can engage these
people better in order to do this, that and the
other or do we look right back at our
admissions criteria and say, ‘ok, we only
choose the ones who are like us.’? (Female
Teaching Inclusively