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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to the first issue of the third volume of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences.

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Davydd J. Greenwood

Richard Arum and Josipa Roska (2011) Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 259 pp., 978-0-226-02855-2 (hbk).

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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, contributors from Canada, Denmark, Japan and the U.S.A. explore a variety of ways in which students’ learning on social science courses can be enhanced.

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The Embodiment of Learning and Teaching

The Enigma of Non-arrival

Nigel Rapport and Noa Vaisman

How people arrive at their convictions, and how they come to change them, remain immensely difficult questions. This article approaches convictions as manifestations of individuals' embodiment, and as allegories of their lives. As well as a rehearsing of moments of his own embodied learning, the main author engages in an email exchange with the second author, pondering how he might answer her questions about an anthropological methodology which more nearly approaches others' embodied experiences: the convictions represented by informants' words and behaviours. The article ends inconclusively. An individual's knowledge of body and self is part of that body and self, situated amid world-views and life-projects. Alongside the radical otherness of anthropologists' informants is the relative otherness of anthropologists to themselves. Our disciplinary conclusions concerning convictions, own and other, must remain provisional and open.

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Fern Thompsett

Free universities are diverse but loosely networked projects that resist repressive capitalist and state configurations of power by re-imagining teaching, learning and research on their own terms, often through radical and ongoing experimentation. Drawing from my own experiences as a co-founder and organiser of the Brisbane Free University, along with research I conducted with around twenty-five different free universities across the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico, I focus in this article on activists’ attempts to develop emancipatory countercapitalist pedagogies. Using Harney and Moten’s (2013) notion of the tension between ‘study’ and ‘education’, with the former connoting a vast realm of possibilities for learning and the latter pointing to the presence of pre-defined end-points, I ask: when does activists’ prefigurative work orbit around explicitly counter-capitalist end-points to learning (against capitalism), and when do they attempt to abandon end-points altogether, in favour of ‘radically open’ forms of ‘learning for its own sake’ (beyond capitalism)?

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Mary Taylor Huber, Joseph Heath, Rebecca Boden, John Craig and Christopher Newfield

Responses to ‘The academic rat race: dilemmas and problems in the structure of academic competition’, published in Learning and Teaching 5.2 from Mary Taylor Huber, Joseph Heath, Rebecca Boden, John Craig and Christopher Newfield

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Kevin Haines

This article uses a narrative approach to investigate the learning experiences of third-year medical students in a transnational higher educational setting, specifically during an elective period abroad. The students evaluate their learning experiences in an unfamiliar environment both in relation to previous learning and in relation to their possible or imagined future professional identities. Through this process, these students demonstrate how learning may take place through participation outside or alongside the formal curriculum, in the informal and the hidden curriculum (Leask and Bridge 2013). These narrative evaluations represent a reflective resource for the learners and their peers. They may also provide other stakeholders in transnational higher educational settings, including teachers, programme coordinators, educational managers and policy-makers, with an understanding of the experiences of mobile students in the informal curriculum.

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Eva Infante Mora, Luisa Álvarez-Ossorio Piñero and Bartolomé Miranda Díaz

This section of the comprehensive account of the action research and pedagogical reform of the CASA-Sevilla study-abroad programme concerns the introduction of community-engaged learning as a way to complement classroom instruction. Some experiential elements were already part of the programme’s previous design (homestays, cultural visits), but they needed to be structured into the curriculum, with clear learning goals and evaluation criteria. In addition, to palliate the obstacles students experienced when trying to establish connections with the local society, service-learning in community organisations was introduced into the core ‘Beyond Stereotypes’ course. This section describes the strategies that were designed to encourage active learning in the homestays, the cultural visits and the participation in community organisations, and the role these elements play in the new programme.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

We are delighted to introduce the first volume of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. As founding and now-former editors of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences (LATISS), our new journal reflects a strong continuity in the editorial aims that inspired our first journal. We remain committed to using social science perspectives to analyse learning and teaching in higher education. In particular we invite contributors and readers to reflect critically on how students’ and academics’ practices are shaped by, or themselves influence, wider changes in university strategies and national and international policies for higher education. Viewing changes in course design and curriculum, in students’ writing, in group work, seminars or tutorials as taking place within a network (or lattice) of institutional, political and policy contexts is the focus of this journal.

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Susan Wright and Penny Welch

Welcome to the tenth anniversary issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences (LATISS). This anniversary presents an opportunity for celebration and for reflection on the progress made by the journal. Our aim for the journal, as set out on the website, has remained unchanged:

Learning and Teaching (LATISS) is a peer-reviewed journal that uses the social sciences to reflect critically on learning and teaching in the changing context of higher education. The journal invites students and staff to explore their education practices in the light of changes in their institutions, national higher education policies, the strategies of international agencies and developments associated with the so-called international knowledge economy.