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Pedagogy of The possibilities for social and personal transformation in an Academic Language and Learning curriculum Jenny McDougall Helen Holden CQUniversity.

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Presentation on theme: "Pedagogy of The possibilities for social and personal transformation in an Academic Language and Learning curriculum Jenny McDougall Helen Holden CQUniversity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pedagogy of The possibilities for social and personal transformation in an Academic Language and Learning curriculum Jenny McDougall Helen Holden CQUniversity

2 Today...  Context: the changing higher education landscape  Concept: “pedagogy of hope” (Giroux, 1997, 2005)  Academic Language and Learning (ALL) curriculum in STEPS  Conclusions/Implications

3 The changing higher education landscape

4 Broadening access to higher ed  Bradley Review (2008): Focus on ‘non-traditional’ students: “those from remote parts of Australia, Indigenous students, those from low socio-economic backgrounds and those from regional locations”  Social inclusion: “core responsibility”  Knowledge economy → human capital

5 Broadening access to higher ed  Predicated on notion of ‘hope’  Enabling programs  e.g. Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) operating at Central Queensland University since 1986; distance since 2006

6 Exhibit A

7 False hope? “…the [higher education] sector is awash with rhetoric about aiming higher and raising aspiration for university as if … a higher education is self-evidently better in terms of cultural identity, life choices or even economic prosperity. Clearly it is not, at least, not necessarily.” (Gale, 2010)

8 Exhibit B

9 Pedagogy of hope

10  Henry Giroux: critical theorist, influenced by Paulo Freire  Hope: “ a belief that different futures are possible” (Giroux, 2002)  “Pedagogy of hope”: view of education as pathway to radical democracy, expanding the possibility for social justice and freedom

11 Pedagogy of hope Focus on critical thinking: ability to critique commonsense assumptions Fundamental, political act – to go beyond existing forms of knowledge and social structures Social transformation begins with the individual – examination of personal histories and worldviews (Giroux, 1997)

12 Pedagogy of hope Help students (and teachers) transcend cultural borders Appreciate how these spaces have been “historically structured and socially organised” (Giroux, 1997, p. 147)

13 Pedagogy of hope Achieved through...  Language of critique  Opportunities for shared dialogue – giving students a voice (Giroux, 1997)

14 Academic Language and Learning curriculum

15 Curriculum influences


17 Becoming a Writer: Circles of Concern

18 Curriculum influences  Critical thinking  Is encouraged by looking at Contemporary Australian issues

19 Curriculum influences  Critical thinking  Through shared critical dialogue “They may be controversial, but it's interesting to have differing opinions on things. I'm sure there will be some lively discussions!”


21 “I have spent endless hour[s] reading various articles and research on this subject since starting this assessment and I have to say that my eyes have well and truly been opened. I'm not sure how or why it has taken me this long to take a genuine interest in this planet … Perhaps it's because it's constantly in the media that many of us have become numb to the real issues and complacency has crept in.”

22 Curriculum influences  Critical dialogue...  Students critically evaluate information e.g. annotated bibliography

23 The following comment highlights a student’s struggle to gain a sense of objectivity in this process: “I am also finding it hard to separate my feelings and thoughts on the issue of consumerism of waste and electricity. This is making it difficult for me to research the topic fully from all sides. Any tips?”

24 Curriculum influences  Critical thinking...  May lead to active citizenship

25 “Researching for this assignment has made me stop and think 'What am I doing to help the environment?' I looked around my bathroom this morning and counted 18 plastic containers of one sort or another and that's not including what's in the cupboard! I'll throw them in the recycle bin when there're empty and feel good because I'm helping the environment! Needless to say I NEED to do MORE for the environment.”

26 Curriculum influences  Critical thinking...  Do I know who I am?

27 Curriculum influences to infinity and beyond... Hero’s Journey metaphor (Vogler, 1998)

28 “This experience has made a life changing impression on the way I think and look at the world; STEPS (Academic Language and Learning) has had had a huge impact on my life and has challenged my once narrow view of the world.”

29 Conclusions and implications

30 Conclusions & Implications ALL curriculum:  reflects a pedagogy of hope  opportunities for critical thinking about self and the world  provides hope of individual and social transformation

31 Conclusions & Implications  Critical reflection has an essential role in ALL curriculum – and in university learning in general  Outcomes difficult to justify in economic terms


33 “Four years into the future may seem like a faraway dream right now. Closer to home was the experience I had last week. As I filled in my child’s prep school application I realised that for the first year since becoming a mother, I would tick the box that recorded my education level as ‘year twelve or equivalent’. I almost cried.”

34 Thank you

35 References Bradley et at. (2008). Review of Australian Higher Education: Final report. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Retrieved 14 September, 2009, from ustralianhighereducationreport.aspx ustralianhighereducationreport.aspx Gale, T. (2010, 3 June). Let them eat cake: Mobilising appetites for higher education. Knowledge Works Public Lecture Series, Bradley Forum, University of South Australia, 3 June. Giroux, H. (1997). Pedagogy and politics of hope: Theory, culture, and schooling. Westview: Boulder, CO. Giroux, H. (2002). When hope is subversive. Tikkun, 19 (6), 33-39. Giroux, H. (2005). Border crossings: Cultural workers and the politics of education. (2 nd ed.). New York: Routledge. Vogler, C. (1998) The writer’s journey: Mythic structure for storytellers and screenwriters, 2 nd revised edition. London: Boxtree.

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