22 SES 01 B, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
In a recent study on higher education curriculum, Bernstein’s analysis of the pedagogic discourse (Bernstein, 2000) was used to capture complex and ‘multilevel nature’ (Goodlad, 1984) of the curriculum and the specific practice of university teachers in the curriculum planning process (Geirsdóttir, 2011). The study was undertaken at a single university in Iceland and explored the conceptions and felt agency or space (Barnett and Coate, 2005) of university teachers within three disciplines (industrial and mechanic engineering, physics and anthropology) of making curriculum decisions. The findings demonstrated how each of the three disciplines carried within it a specific pedagogic discourse, a local curriculum, focusing on different aims and goals, different attitudes towards the role of students and teachers and a specific instructional discourse where these regulative ideas are carried out. Among other issues, Bernstein’s theoretical concepts were used to study teachers’ perceptions of their disciplinary curriculum in terms of the student identity. Each of the three pedagogic discourses portrayed a very different and disciplinary- specific picture of the ideal student.
In a follow up phenomenological study, the educational experience of students within the three disciplines was explored in order to understand students’ conception of their discipline and their socialisation process into the disciplinary pedagogic discourse. The aim of the research was to explore students' conceptions of the their own "construction" as students within different disciplines.
Barnett, R. and Coate, K. (2005). Engaging the curriculum in higher education. Maidenhead, Berkshire: SRHE and Open University Press. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. Goodlad, J. I. (1984). Curriculum inquiry. New York: McGraw Hill. Gudrún Geirsdóttir (2011). Teachers‘ conceptions of knowledge structures and pedagogic practices in higher education. In G. Ivinson, B. Davies and J. Fitz (Eds.). Knowledge and identity. Conceptions and applications in Bernstein‘s sociology (pp. 90-107). New York: Routledge. Northedge, A. (2009). Guiding students into a discipline,. In Kreber, C. (Editor), The university and its disciplines. London: Routledge.
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