Making of a Community of Learning at the Times of Solitude

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Higher Education in the European context has been transformed radically since 1990s, partly in line with global political and economic trends. In the Swedish context these trends also manifested itself, among other things, in how teaching is practiced and valued. The managerial and paradigmatic shift altered the balance between teaching and research in the favour of the latter. This happened while monetary resources assigned to teaching at the universities proportionally diminished at the national level. Mentioned professional and monetary degrading resulted in reduction of contact-hours for university students -particularly for students of social sciences and humanities in Sweden, misrecognition of teaching skills at the institutional level, and treatment of teaching as a burden among academic staff. These radical changes accompanied with, and partially legitimized by, a novel teaching and learning philosophy which effectively criticized old-school lecture-based teaching built on unidimensional knowledge transfer. It promoted instead self-learning and championed interactive teaching. However, according to various reports, students spend less and less time for learning, which is coming closer to the state of threating the overall teaching and learning quality in the higher education in Sweden.

In this paper, I analyse the teaching and learning practices in a course that I am responsible for at the bachelor level, in the background of abovementioned paradigm shift. Specifically, I discuss two teaching forms introduced and experimented in the course, discussion seminars and workshops, which aimed to improve the quality of the course learning outcome, encourage overall engagement of students, social learning, and skill transfer. Discussions focused on applying course literature on to empirical cases, and workshops included topics such as grading a paper, analysing a text, and writing an essay. While doing this, I refer to a theoretical literature develop around the concept of “social practices”, in particular “communities of practices”. Within this literature the social and cultural aspects of learning is accentuated, and the significance of embodied learning by doing together is highlighted. I position the practice-based epistemological and pedagogical perspective as an alternative to the established dichotomy of traditional lecture-based teaching versus self-learning.

Details

Authors
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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • Communities of practice, practice theory, Pedagogy, Teaching, Learning
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventLund University's Teaching and Learning Conference 2019: Interdisciplinary pedagogy in higher education - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2019 Nov 7 → …
https://www.medarbetarwebben.lu.se/event/lund-universitys-teaching-and-learning-conference-2019

Conference

ConferenceLund University's Teaching and Learning Conference 2019
CountrySweden
CityLund
Period2019/11/07 → …
Internet address