22 SES 07 B, Teaching and Learning: Reflections & Skills
Public universities are expected to play a formative role in contemporary societies by providing advanced knowledge through cutting-edge research and graduating students who will engage as responsible citizens in society (Bergan, Harkavy and Land 2013). Such goals are often elaborately articulated in university strategic plans (Sutphen et al, 2018) though the plans may not be clear either about what makes cutting-edge research or the formation of responsible citizens. This paper focuses on the latter, drawing on recent studies on intellectual and epistemic virtues (Baehr, 2016; Baehr, 2013; Paul, 2011), such as qualities as being responsible. The use of DC has helped us identify intellectual virtues, such as courage, as well as helping us be deliberate about how to foster virtues we value.
This paper explores the uses of collective and individual practices for reflection on intellectual virtues. Its purpose is to suggest practices designed for reflecting on intellectual virtues among academic staff and leaders. The practices are part a pedagogy one of the authors has developed for higher education, which is based on principles advanced by John Dewey and Juergen Habermas, and dubbed deliberative communication (DC) (Englund, 2006). The practices are designed to create conditions wherein participants are prompted by a problem to reflect on their beliefs, articulate them, and then come to a consensus about how to solve or move forward with the problem.
Englund (2006) suggests the following are needed to achieve deliberative communication:
Different views are set against each other and arguments for each are presented.
There is tolerance and respect for the “specific other” and participants learn to listen to the other person’s argument.
Elements of collective will-formation are present, or reach consensus; if not consensus then to reach temporary agreements while also acknowledging and drawing attention to differences.
All are given opportunities to question authorities and/or traditional views and opportunities to challenge one’s own tradition or point of view
All in a group are encouraged to communicate and deliberate both inside and outside of a formal setting (such as a course or meeting), in other words: argumentative discussions between students aiming to solve problems or shed light on issues from different viewpoints is encouraged in a range of contexts.
The five conditions DC asks participants to enact certain intellectual virtues, such as courage or open-mindedness.
We will present a case study in two parts. One part of the case study consists of an analysis of an academic developer (AD) from a Swedish University who uses DC to lead a discussion among doctoral supervisors on the question “What is PhD education (good) for?” Although in this context, the use of DC has several purposes, this paper will analyse how the reflective practices inherent to DC provide a structure for doctoral supervisors to reflect on the purposes of doctoral education. DC encourages a relational and collaborative approach to supervision, where having an open mind and being willing to challenge one’s thinking on a topic are privileged. The second part of the case study consists of analysis of the use of DC by community of researchers who study DC, a community that includes the AD who led discussion among doctoral supervisors.
We aim to articulate how DC might be used to help class participants to enact intellectual virtues, specifically courage during a discussion. We also explore how individual and collective reflections might be in tension with and invigorate each other. Our research questions are:
What intellectual virtues does DC foster?
In discussions with academic staff, how does DC serve as a method to surface or foster intellectual virtues?
Through this paper and others undertaken by an international team of researchers (Formation and Competence Building of University Academic Developers), we aim to better understand the formation of academic developers, as well as academic staff in five research-intensive universities, two in Sweden, two in Norway, and one in the United States. We use formation to describe the ways in which individuals are ‘shaped’ and ‘reshaped’ by their experiences and critical reflection on those experiences, which can in turn help them clarify their goals, attitudes, values and ethical stances (Sutphen and de Lange, 2015). We use an insider/outsider approach to analyse: 1) a video-taped session course meeting of academic staff facilitated by an AD using DC; 2) a recording of conversations using DC and discussing the course meeting by the AD (Jacobs, 2005; Solbrekke and Sugrue, 2014). The insiders consisted of the AD and a colleague from the same Swedish university and the outsiders who are researchers from Norway and Ireland. By combining insider-outsider-perspectives, the AD is part of the author team and the other three are critical friends. Two critical friends also had a series of conversations with the AD both before and after the class. Throughout the process the AD asked the critical friends for feedback on specific areas and thus contributed some structure to the conversations.
We found that the concepts of trust, vulnerability, and courage run through the classroom dialogue and the conversations among the authors. Our analysis focuses on how these concepts might be lived out in universities, whether in courses or other arenas, and whether there are opportunities or limitations for using DC. In this paper we focus only on the intellectual virtue of courage and provide a fine-grained account of how the virtue was enacted using DC. We have found that using DC in this study (and in our teaching) has led to abductive, iterative, and ongoing conversations, which have aided us in our reflections on practices, values, and institutional norms. The use of DC has helped us identify intellectual virtues, such as courage, as well as helping us be deliberate about how to foster virtues we value. Thus, we are more aware of the intellectual virtues and the virtues we seek to nurture in students and academic staff. We offer in this paper concrete recommendations about how to use how reflective practices, such as DC, with academic staff as a means for academic staff to articulate their praxes in Higher Education.
Bergan, S., Harkavy, I., & van’t Land, H. (2013). 28. Reimagining democratic societies: thoughts for the road. Reimagining Democratic Societies: A New Era of Personal and Social Responsibility, 18, 283. Baehr, J. (2016). Intellectual virtues and education : Essays in applied virtue epistemology (Vol. Vol. 75, Routledge studies in contemporary philosophy). New York: Routledge. Baehr, J. (2013). ”Educating for Intellectual Virtues: From Theory to Practice.” Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47(2), 248-262. Englund, T. (2006). Deliberative communication: a pragmatist proposal. Journal of Curriculum Studies 38(5), 503-520. Jacobs, C. 2005. “On Being an Insider on the Outside: New Spaces for Integrating Academic Literacies.” Teaching in Higher Education 10 (4): 475–487. Paul, H. (2011). “Performing history: how historical scholarship is shaped by epistemic virtues.” History and Theory, 50(1), 1-19. Solbrekke, T.D. (Principal Investigator): Formation and Competence Building of University Academic Developers Norges Forskningsråd (under grant number 246745/H20). http://www.uv.uio.no/iped/english/research/projects/solbrekke-formation-and-competence-building/ Sutphen, M., Solbrekke, T., and Sugure, C. (2018). Toward Articulating an Academic Praxis by Interrogating University Strategic Plans. Submitted January 22, 2018 to Studies in Higher Education. Sutphen, M. & de Lange, T. (2015). What is formation? A conceptual discussion. Higher Education Research and Development http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2014.956690, 411-419.
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