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.
Walking on the edge: Educational praxis in higher education
Lill Langelotz, Kathleen Mahon, and Giulia Messina Dahlberg
A critical educational praxis perspective
Melina Aarnikoivu, Matti Pennanen, Johanna Kiili, and Terhi Nokkala
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 (Mahon et al. 2019), 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.
Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, Giulia Messina Dahlberg, and Sylvi Vigmo
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.
Most academics that I know take it for granted that higher education in capitalist countries has become deeply corporatised over the last thirty years. But as an undergraduate student in the 1990s, dreaming of joining the ranks of the professoriate, the institutional and structural changes that were transforming the university were largely hidden from my view. Looking back, I had no idea how such trends might be impacting the men and women who excited my intellect and set me on an academic path. I did not even think to ask.
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.
University–Community Engagement Universities remain centres of liberal learning; however, by following business models ( Strathern 2000 ) and responding to market pressures of a globalised neoliberal economy, academic knowledge is commoditised and
Ethics, Ethnography and Social Theory
catalogues the objects and sites that show the transnational in the local, and back. In this contribution, I wish to further develop the idea of the learnings of post-socialism beyond Eastern Europe, and suggest another avenue for such theory (re
Formative Experiences and Identity in Peasant Childhood
’s participation in agrarian work in the daily social construction of contrasting identities. Specifically, I explore the meaning of work for girls as learning that builds their identities as peasants in the contemporary world. Regulatory definitions of children
Managing Knowledge in UK Social Care
Joseph J. Long
services is not to provide ‘intervention’ or ‘treatment’, but rather to support wellbeing and enable a meaningful life on supported autistic people's own terms. As such, Schön's ‘reflection in action’ model of professional learning is more likely to prevail
Gender at Play
In 2001, in an effort to reform preschool and elementary education, the Québec Ministry of Education implemented the Québec Education Program (QEP), which mandates play in early learning. In 2015, I carried out a study to investigate how this