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Open access

Editorial

Walking on the edge: Educational praxis in higher education

Lill Langelotz, Kathleen Mahon, and Giulia Messina Dahlberg

Abstract

This special issue is a collection of articles that emerged from a series of symposia on praxis in higher education, aimed at critically exploring challenges and possibilities for educational praxis, including its role in the contemporary university. The collection highlights the need for asking critical and uncomfortable questions about what is and what could be in higher education. It calls for more focused attention on the consequences of what we do as teachers and university communities, both intentionally and inadvertently, so that higher education can be more socially just and responsive to student and societal needs amidst contemporary challenges. In explicating the concept of ‘educational praxis’, the editorial introduces the metaphor of ‘walking on the edge’ to illustrate the concept's ‘uncomfortable dimension’ in terms of academics’ responsibility to engage critically with challenging issues in endeavours to address educational concerns.

Open access

Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, Giulia Messina Dahlberg, and Sylvi Vigmo

Abstract

This article focuses on the Swedish context of upper and post-upper secondary education provided in two sectors, universities and the Swedish Folk High School. The article is centred on the analysis of the support services offered by fifty-five university and Swedish Folk High School institutional websites to individuals and groups designated as being ‘peripheral’. Taking as a point of departure a ‘practiced policies’ theoretical position, the study focuses on the ‘situated nature’ of institutional policies, that is, how policies become operationalised in local institutional contexts. Of interest is the nature of expectations placed on participants in the provision of support, and the ways in which different target groups are conceptualised and categorised. The findings of this national scale mapping, that build on two ongoing projects concerning equity and social justice, are discussed in terms of fundamental dimensions of democracy that shape students’ opportunities to access upper and post-upper secondary education.

Open access

Aimee Haley

Abstract

Using Bourdieu's Theory of Practice, this study examines the practices of Swedish students when entering higher education. Logistic regression is used to examine relationships between the educational resources and geographical origins of students born 1973–1982 (N = 382,198) and 1) their probability of migration when entering higher education and 2) the type of institution they entered. The results indicate that students’ practices differ by geographical origin, suggesting that students use migration in different ways to access higher education. For example, the students with the highest probability of migration are students originating from rural areas with high upper-secondary grades and students from large urban areas with low grades. Implications for expanding access to higher education while also creating sustainable communities are discussed.

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Kokums to the Iskwêsisisak

COVID-19 and Urban Métis Girls and Young Women

Carly Jones, Renée Monchalin, Cheryllee Bourgeois, and Janet Smylie

Abstract

The national COVID-19 pandemic response presents a sharp contrast to the matrilineal social kinship and knowledge exchange systems that Métis women and girls rely on for safety, security, and wellbeing. In this article, we demonstrate that while Métis women and girls have been left out of the national pandemic response, they continue to carry intergenerational healing knowledges that have been passed down from the kokums (grandmas) to the iskwêsisisak (girls). We show how urban Métis girls and women are both managing and tackling COVID-19 through innovative and community-based initiatives like Well Living House and the Call Auntie Hotline.

Free access

Claudia Mitchell and Ann Smith

As with Zika, Ebola, HIV and AIDS, and other pandemics in recent history, girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 socially and emotionally if not medically. Some observers have referred to the current crisis as a tale of two pandemics in reference to both the obvious health issues and the pervasive gender inequalities that have become exacerbated, and others have referred to it as “the shadow pandemic” (UN Women 2020: n.p.) in highlighting the negative impact that physical distancing and social isolation are having on already vulnerable girls and young women experiencing sex- and gender-based violence. All over the world girls and young women are facing increasing levels of precariousness as a direct result of the health measures being taken to curb the global transmission of COVID-19. The increasing lack of privacy in the home furthers the practice of cultural forms of patriarchy that lead to violence.

Free access

The Men and the Boys, Twenty Years On

Revisiting Raewyn Connell's Pivotal Text

Victoria Cann, Sebastián Madrid, Kopano Ratele, Anna Tarrant, Michael R.M. Ward, and Raewyn Connell

It is twenty years since the publication of Raewyn Connell's highly influential text The Men and the Boys. This book, building on feminist and pro-feminist perspectives of gender formation, was written over a ten-year period from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. It was published five years after the release of the groundbreaking text Masculinities (1995) and tackled multiple issues concerning boys and men. While providing an important platform and summary of where the research from the social science and humanities on men and masculinities stood in the year 2000, the book also contained a theoretical framework for understanding men and masculinities as part of gender relations. Importantly, the future direction of the field was outlined, and suggestions were made as to likely future agendas. These subjects included investigating the implications of globalization and its different characteristics on gender formation, the role of men's bodies, the impact of the media and culture in men's lives, sexuality, education, health, politics, change, violence, and peace. In recent years, questions about the lives and experiences of men and boys continue to raise remarkable media interest, public concern, and controversy on a global scale. Global changes in practices of knowledge have ensured that across the humanities and social sciences, research in the field of masculinities (of all ages) has continued to flourish and expand.

Open access

Multidisciplinary peer-mentoring groups facilitating change?

A critical educational praxis perspective

Melina Aarnikoivu, Matti Pennanen, Johanna Kiili, and Terhi Nokkala

Abstract

This article discusses the potential of multidisciplinary peer-mentoring groups to facilitate individual and institutional change. To do this, we view peer mentoring as a form of critical education praxis (), the purpose of which is to create a space for reflexive thinking and asking critical questions. The data were collected by interviewing all thirteen participants – doctoral students and more established scholars – of a multidisciplinary peer-mentoring pilot project. The results show a variety of both individual changes and desired changes within the university, which were brought into view as a result of the sharing of experiences, views and ideas in an open, confidential, multidisciplinary space. Based on these results, we argue that multidisciplinary peer mentoring has a high potential to offer an excellent space for collaborative, critical dialogue, which could ultimately facilitate change among individual academics, but also potentially more widely within higher education institutions.

Open access

Transculturality in higher education

Supporting students’ experiences through praxis

Heidi A. Smith

Abstract

One way in which higher education has responded to globalisation and the emergence of transculturality has been to expand its focus on internationalisation at an unprecedented rate. Traditionally this occurred through international students and their contact with local students. A longitudinal case study into the student experience of transculturality in the Erasmus Mundus Transcultural European Outdoor Studies Masters programme found transcultural self-growth and transcultural capabilities of resilience, intelligence and the ability to work through fatigue to be central to their experience. Using themes related to praxis (doing, morally committed action, reflexivity, connection, concreteness and a process of becoming) this theoretical article explores the place of critical transcultural pedagogical praxis in supporting transcultural learning experiences of higher education students.

Open access

Active learning in criminal justice

The benefits of student investigation of wrongful convictions in a higher education setting

Jill Dealey

Abstract

Active learning, with students engaging in research or activities within the community, is a favoured approach in contemporary higher education. To support this approach, the Criminology and Forensic Studies programmes at the University of Winchester have included student research into miscarriages of justice. The students interrogate evidence from a criminal trial to attempt to establish if there has been a wrongful conviction. This article discusses the importance of this work for students of Criminology. It considers the contribution to the learning experience of the range of opportunities available to undergraduate and postgraduate students and evaluates the potential impact on curriculum and learning development during the degree programme, in addition to the benefits for future employment.

Open access

Anxiety and learning

Cultural polarisation in social science courses

Jose Leonardo Santos

Abstract

University social science instructors sometimes encounter student silence or quarrels around culturally contentious subjects. In a culture that promotes distrust around the issues they teach, how do professors perceive and cope with such difficulties? Preliminary research using qualitative interviews with teachers from two different US universities explores problems they encounter and strategies they employ in the face of student struggles with nuance and a phenomenon referred to here as polarisation anxiety. Professors strategise how to teach the complexity of phenomenon some students have been culturally predisposed to oversimplify, polarise or remain silent about.