22 SES 04 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
The point of departure of this project (funded by the Swedish Research council, 2012-2015) is the written product which constitutes the primary artefact in a scientific research context. Universities do not consist of uniform language environments with common requirements for what characterises a good scientific text and how the relationship between the scientific activities and the writing is conceived. Different disciplines or “tribes” (Becher, 1994) have sets of implicit assumptions or doxa(Bourdieu, 1980) that define what is taken for granted and what is important for scientific activities and writing. This project focuses the different language and text worlds that student teachers encounter, and considerations and negotiations that may arise due to different disciplinary traditions and epistemological requirements on the way towards an independent degree project. Teacher education is a broad vocational education that covers several disciplinary areas and traditions though an ongoing trend within the Bologna process is its inclusion in Higher Education (Europa, 2010). In Sweden, all areas of teacher education (from preschool to upper secondary level) were integrated in university structures in 1977. Since the mid-1990s all students are required to write an independent degree project, equivalent to a Bachelor’s essay. Against this background the aims of the project are to investigate and critically examine (1) the language worlds and contradictory epistemological and written requirements teacher students encounters during their education, (2) how teacher students look upon the position and function of writing in their own education, (3) how teacher students relate to the (different) demands they face in the work with their written assignments, (4) if and in what way these demands have an impact on the papers and (5) how and to what extent the students’ gender is of importance for aspects 1-4. For a comparative perspective, the project is implemented in various disciplinary areas in teacher education at three Swedish universities and one Norwegian teacher educational institution. In this paper we present preliminary results on data collected from two Swedish teacher education programs in two university settings: Preschool Teacher Education and General Education Studies with Mathematics/Science Education profile.
Our research question in this presentation is how different pedagogical practices can influence academic writing development of teacher students.
The analysis is based on Bernstein’s (1990/2003) two generic types of pedagogic practice: a visible (VP) and an invisible (IP) pedagogy and the concept of implicit hierarchy. Bernstein’s (1999) theory of vertical and horizontal discourses for different ‘forms of knowledge’ will also be used. A VP practice applies explicit instructions, rules and frames, and places emphasis on the external performance of the student. An IP practice applies fewer or no explicit instructions, and the focus is on procedures internal to the acquirer (cognitive, linguistic, affective, motivational). Implicit hierarchy refers to hidden power relations in communication, i.e. teachers’ direct foci are on the context but indirectly on the acquirer. Following Bernstein, knowledge in the vertical discourse is coherent, hierarchically and systematically structured, whereas knowledge in the horizontal discourse is likely to be context dependent and segmentally organised.
Becher, T. (1994) The significance of disciplinary differences. Studies in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 2, June, pp 151-161. Bourdieu, P. (1980). The Logic of Practice. Stanford, Stanford University Press. Bernstein, B. (1990/2003). Class, Code and Control. Volume IV. The Structuring of Pedagogic Discourse. London & New York: Routledge. Bernstein, B. (1999). Vertical and Horizontal Discourse: An Essay. British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol 2. No.2, 157-173. Europa (2010) Summaries of EU legislation. Education, training, youth, sport. Lifelong learning. http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/lifelong_learning/c11088_en.htm Updated 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
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