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Examining the graduate attribute agenda in Australian universities

A review of (continuing) problems and pitfalls

Peta S. Cook

Graduate attributes refer to an amalgamation of cognitive, personal, interpersonal and social skills, abilities and qualities that students are expected to develop and apply during and after their degree programme. They have been widely adopted across higher education in Australia and internationally. In this article, I review some of the continuing problems of graduate attributes in the Australian higher education sector some twenty years after their introduction, including the concepts of employability and work readiness, the processes of mapping and resourcing and whether graduate attributes are generic. This examination foregrounds the ongoing pitfalls of graduate attributes in relation to their purpose, contextualisation and implementation. While there remains potential positive student and institutional outcomes from graduate attributes, the continuing problems of resourcing and the diversity of roles and purposes that universities serve for students and communities, are being overlooked.

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Jason Hickel

Participation in development projects in the Global South has become one of the most sought-after activities among American and British high school graduates and college students. In the United States this often takes the form of Alternative Spring Break trips, while in Britain students typically pursue development work during their 'gap years'. Development projects offer students a way to craft themselves in an alternative mould, to have a 'real experience' that marks them off from the cultural mainstream as 'authentic' individuals. The student development craze represents an impulse to resist consumerist individualism, but this impulse has been appropriated and neutralised by a new logic of consumption, transforming a profoundly political urge for change into a form of 'resistance' compatible with neoliberal capitalism. In the end, students' pursuit of self-realisation through development has a profoundly depoliticising effect, shifting their attention away from substantive problems of extraction and exploitation to the state of the inner self.

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Kerry D. Feldman and Lisa Henry

When engaged in doctoral research (1972) on urban squatter settlements in the Philippines, Feldman’s approach was guided by the pedagogy of Paulo Freire (2005[orig.1970]), which gratefully steered his behaviour away from the typical ‘Ugly American’ abroad in the world at the time (during the Vietnam War). Feldman became aware of the notions of ‘teacher-student’ and of ‘student-teacher’ primarily through his discussions with two Filipino doctors, Jess and Trini de la Paz (a husband and wife team), who organised a health education and training programme for volunteer participants from 12 squatter settlements in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao. They invited him to serve as a social science consultant for their project. They explained that their approach to health education and training was grounded in, and would always adhere to, Freire’s insistence that oppressed people should be viewed as teachers for anyone engaging in their instruction or assistance, requiring that their teachers also become their students in understanding or assisting their lives.

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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Ibn Khaldoun

Theories on Education with Reflections on Problem-Based Learning Strategies

Abdullah A. Al Sayyari and Fayez Hejaili

Ibn Khaldoun is the recognised founder of sociology. We propose that he is also the father of education and education methodology. We reflect on how close and relevant his educational theories are to contemporary educational strategies. He emphasises three stages of teaching and abhors coercion in education. Developing the interest of the pupil in the craft that he is studying is the central theme of good education. Ibn Khaldoun describes the influence of 'emotional intelligence' as an important component of educational and personal development, and he rejects the idea that intelligence is ethnically determined.

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Michael Shire

In the post-war period, numerous Jewish schools and other educational institutions emerged throughout Europe. Some of these were recreated from old institutions of learning while others were brand new, catering for a new population in the post-war era. Each country and city grappled with the provision of Jewish education of its young in its own way. The national governments in Europe have different attitudes to funding and controlling religious education, and this has shaped formal Jewish education. Countries like England have incorporated Jewish day schools into their national schooling system, which require certain conditions on governance and curriculum provision to be met, but thereby provide free, accessible Jewish schools to all. Other countries like France and Germany offer a different model where Jewish religious education is handled outside the core curriculum of state schooling. Other factors that influence the differing models are the availability and training of teachers and madrichim as well as the funding possibilities for new schools, kindergartens and youth programming. Often new educational initiatives were sponsored by a single individual or were nurtured by Israeli or international Jewish organisations such as ORT or the Joint. In this last decade we are beginning now to see more systemised attempts to provide Jewish education, including more centralised training and cooperation.

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Sam Beck

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

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Stephen M. Lyon, Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová, Lucie Storchová, Robert Gibb, Jakob Krause-Jensen, and Veerendra P. Lele

The choice of interdisciplinarities

Stephen M. Lyon

Multidisciplinarity as a necessity and challenge: the Department of General Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague (FHS UK)

Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová and Lucie Storchová

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Robert Gibb

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Jakob Krause-Jensen

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Veerendra P. Lele

Response from the authors, Ageeth Sluis and Elise Edwards

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Democratizing the Digital Collection

New Players and New Pedagogies in Three-Dimensional Cultural Heritage

Jane-Heloise Nancarrow

ensure its utility? And how do we navigate the problems presented by the digitization and printing of cultural heritage in a wider learning environment? This article assesses the feasibility of all stages of three-dimensional museum artifact production

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Eluned Jones

Gaunt, Kyra D. 2006. The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes From Double-Dutch to Hip hop. New York: NY University Press.