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Creating a reflective space in higher education

The case of a Swedish course for professional principals

Katina Thelin

This article considers the conditions, possibilities, and challenges of creating what is referred to here as a ‘reflective space’ within a higher education course for principals. It is informed by the findings of a qualitative research inquiry conducted in the interests of enhancing the principals’ learning and professional praxis and the university educators’ pedagogical praxis, within a Swedish course for school and preschool principals. Analysis of the findings highlighted two significant patterns. The first relates to the transformative benefits of creating a ‘reflective space’ for the principals attending the course. The second is more ambiguous and reflects their relation to and engagement with scientifically constructed knowledge. Based on these findings, the article offers considerations relevant for creating ‘reflective spaces’ as a means to enhance the quality of learning in higher education. Additionally, some guiding pedagogical implications are included in the final remarks.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, academics from Sweden, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom offer insights into a number of features of undergraduate study – independent study projects, the development of political attitudes, the graduate attributes agenda, general education courses in global studies and the attainment gap between students with different types of entry qualifications.

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Dan W. Butin, John Craig, Erin M. Sergison, and Ellen E. Gutman

Craig A. Rimmerman (ed.) (2009) Service-Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why It Works Review by Dan W. Butin

David Watson (2007) Managing Civic and Community Engagement Review by John Craig

Anne Colby, Elizabeth Beaumont, Thomas Ehrlich and Josh Corngold (2007) Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement Review by Erin M. Sergison

Russell J. Dalton (2008) The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation is Reshaping American Politics Review by Ellen E. Gutman

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, academics from Denmark, Chile, the United States and the United Kingdom analyse capacity-building projects between European and African universities, the experiences of mobile academics returning to their home country, the role of tutors on international interdisciplinary MA programmes, the contemporary relevance of classical and medieval approaches to education and levels of information literacy among undergraduates.

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A European Computer Driving Licence

integrating computer literacy in the new Social Work degree

Claire Gregor

'Informacy', the learning of information technology skills, is now a key element of all Social Work curricula in the U.K. following the General Social Care Council's accreditation requirements. These stipulate that all undergraduates acquire computer literacy skills to the level of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) or its equivalence and require that all accredited Social Work courses assess students to ensure that this is achieved. However, many universities do not have the support of information technology departments in order to ensure that their students are taught how to use a computer. Nor do they have access to interactive web-based packages that assist the students in teaching themselves IT skills to the high levels required by the European Computer Driving Licence. The research suggests that an integrated e-learning teaching and assessment strategy can help to promote computer literacy among Social Work students. This paper explores some of the challenges that arise from integrating e-learning into the teaching and assessment of a Social Work degree, based on the experience of the Social Work Department at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (now Bucks New University).

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Barbara Madeloni

Neoliberal policies in teacher education marginalise faculty voice, narrow conceptions of teaching and learning and redefine how we know ourselves, our students and our work. Pressured within audit culture and the constant surveillance of accountability regimes to participate in practices that dehumanise, silence and de-form education, teacher educators are caught between compliance and complicity or the potential and risks of resistance. Written from my lived experience within the neoliberal regime of teacher education, this article examines the vulnerabilities, fears and risks that shape our choices, as well as the possibilities for ethical, answerable action.

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Jakob Krause-Jensen, Eurig Scandrett, Penny Welch, and David Mills

K. Holbrook, A. Kim, B. Palmer, and A. Portnoy (eds) Global Values 101: A Short Course with Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Robert Reich, Juliet Schor, Katha Pollitt, Paul Farmer, Lani Guinier and others Review by Jakob Krause-Jensen

Janet MacDonald Blended Learning and Online Tutoring Review by Eurig Scandrett

Amie MacDonald and Susan Sa´nchez-Casal (eds) Twenty-First Century Feminist Classrooms: Pedagogies of Identity and Difference Review by Penny Welch

Monica McLean Pedagogy and the University: Critical Theory and Practice Review by David Mills

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Silvia Rief, Antonino Palumbo, John Craig, Dorothy Sheridan, Barry Stierer, and Gabriela Edlinger

Myra H. Strober (2011): Interdisciplinary Conversations. Challenging Habits of Thought

Review by Silvia Rief

Hans Radder (ed.) (2010): The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University

Review by Antonino Palumbo

Gabriela Pleschová (ed.) (2010): IT in Action: Stimulating Quality Learning at Undergraduate Students

Review by John Craig

Les Back (2010-11): Academic Diary, http://www.academic-diary.co.uk/

Sally Fincher, Janet Finlay, Isobel Falconer, Helen Sharp and Josh Tenenberg (2008-11): The Share Project, http://www.sharingpractice.ac.uk/homepage.html

Review by Dorothy Sheridan and Barry Stierer

Sabine Hikel (ed.): Leaving Academia: Offering Resources for Academic Leavers and Accounting for the Phenomenon of Brain Drain in Academia, http://www.leavingacademia.com/

Review by Gabriela Edlinger

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Eva Infante Mora, Marina Markot, Stephen Capobianco, Melina Ivanchikova, Richard Kiely, Richard Feldman, and Amy Cheatle

The action research process initiated in 2015 to make a thorough reform of the CASA-Sevilla study-abroad programme not only produced significant pedagogical developments but also brought about a profound change in the way of working and relating within the programme work organisation itself and with Cornell University colleagues. This section focuses on organisational changes in each of the units involved, and reflects a path full of transitions, diplomacy, exchange of perspectives and inter-institutional as well as intercultural learning. To make these pedagogical reforms work in practice required significant organisational change and support efforts on the part of both CASA-Sevilla and the supporting organisations at Cornell University.

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Leslie C. Moore

In both Qur'anic and public schools in Maroua, Cameroon, the development of competence in a second language is fundamental, and rote learning is the primary mode of teaching and learning in both types of schooling. Through the lens of language socialization theory, I have examined rote learning as it is practiced in Maroua schools and reframed it as a tradition of learning and teaching I call 'guided repetition'. In this article I discuss similarities and differences in how and why guided repetition is done, linking interactional patterns with the second-language competencies and the ways of being that children are expected or hoped to develop through Qur'anic and public schooling. While the use of guided repetition in both types of schooling is rooted in very similar goals for and ideologies of second-language acquisition, it is accomplished in culturally distinct ways to socialize novices into 'traditional' and 'modern' subjectivities.