22 SES 12 C, Researching Practice in Higher Education
This workshop seeks to explore the use of a particular contemporary practice theory - the theory of practice architectures - as an analytical tool for researching practice in higher education. The workshop draws on a project that is currently being conducted in universities across five countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Colombia, and Australia), and which uses the theory of practice architectures to explore how pedagogical practice as praxis is constrained and/or enabled in the contemporary university. In addition to the authors listed above, the following persons participate in the project (some of whom will contribute in the workshop): Jessica Aspfors, Tess Boyle, Christine Edwards-Groves, Susanne Francisco, Annette Green, Peter Grootenboer, Martin Hall, Gunilla Karlberg-Granlund, Mervi Kaukko, Lill Langelotz.
Background to the project and project aims
Higher education literature (Gibbs et al., 2004; Hardy, 2010; Hardy et al., 2016; Hartman & Darab, 2012) points to ongoing concerns regarding the challenging conditions that academics are encountering in their everyday practice; conditions which affect the efforts of academics to work in ways that are sustainable and oriented towards educational and social-justice goals. Some common global issues that have received much attention, and that appear to be making practices in higher education increasingly complex and challenging, include, for example, accountability pressures, work intensification, fiscal constraints, ‘new public management’, de-professionalisation of teaching, commodification of knowledge, and a high rate of institutional change (see, for example, Connell, 2013). Many of these issues have been linked to the pervasiveness of neoliberalism, and sometimes, rather grimly, to the loss of a moral and civic purpose within the contemporary university (Giroux, 2010).
Believing that relatively little of the research to date has focused specifically on how academics and academic communities are responding to complex and challenging conditions through their practices, and in order to investigate the effects of neoliberalism (and associated changing university conditions) on pedagogy and practice/praxis in our own institutions, the authors/facilitators of this workshop are conducting a cross-institutional analysis of practices in particular universities. The focus of analysis in the project is specifically on how practices enacted as praxis are constrained and enabled within particular universities, and how possibilities for transformation are being and can be created.
The research project is framed by a practice theory perspective. In particular, the project is informed by the theory of practice architectures (Kemmis et al., 2014), an ontological account of how practices are constituted and mediated by the conditions within sites of practice. The theory of practice architectures contends that each local site is made up of practice architectures that enable and constrain the practices that occur in that site. In this project, we are concerned with academic practices in sites of higher education.
The workshop will explore the analytical possibilities of the theory of practice architectures for examining practice in higher education. This will be of relevance to those interested in researching practice and praxis, researching higher education, and/or, conducting analysis using the theory of practice architectures. By combining theoretical discussion, ‘hands on’ analytical activities, and collaborative critical reflection we hope to facilitate knowledge sharing, generation, and critique about analytical processes, the analytical value of practice theory, and possibilities for researching practice in higher education.
In the workshop, we will:
introduce the theory of practice architectures and explain how it is being employed analytically in the project outlined above;
provide an opportunity for workshop participants (in small groups) to conduct some analysis of transcripts (supplied by the authors/facilitators) using the theory of practice architectures;
- facilitate a critically reflective discussion about the theory of practice architectures as an analytical lens in light of the small group experiences.
Connell, R. (2013). Neoliberalism and higher education: The Australian case [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.isa-sociology.org/universities-incrisis/?p=994 Gibbs, P., Angelides, P., & Michaelides, P. (2004). Preliminary thoughts on a praxis of higher education teaching. Teaching in Higher Education, 9(2), 183-194. Giroux, H. A. (2010). Bare pedagogy and the scourge of neoliberalism: Rethinking higher education as a democratic public sphere. Educational Forum, 74(3), 184-196. Hardy, I. (2009). Teacher talk: Flexible delivery and academics’ praxis in an Australian university. International Journal for Academic Development, 15(2), 131-142. Hardy, I. (2010). Academic architectures: Academic perceptions of teaching conditions in an Australian university. Studies in Higher Education, 35(4), 391-404. Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2016). Praxis, educational development and the university sector in Australia. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(7), 925-945. Hartman, Y., & Darab, S. (2012). A call for slow scholarship: A case study of the intensification of academic life and its implications for pedagogy. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 34(1), 49-60. Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2014). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Singapore: Springer. Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing practices, changing education. Singapore: Springer.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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