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Being a Graduate in the Twenty-first Century Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London International Career Studies Symposium, University of Reading,

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Presentation on theme: "Being a Graduate in the Twenty-first Century Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London International Career Studies Symposium, University of Reading,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Being a Graduate in the Twenty-first Century Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London International Career Studies Symposium, University of Reading, September, 2009 Centre for Higher Education Studies Sub-brand to go here

2 2 Context – and Emmas tale A present context: the unemployed graduate Last year, I created a new society for the University, for my course. That involved quite a lot of responsibility and taking control and Ive never been in that, sort of, leadership position before. … the society stuff definitely helped my degree – if no other reason than just feeling more accessible to the lecturers and the tutors. Im [also] an artist.. I tend to do [large] landscapes in acylics. Q Do you see that as something quite separate or do you think it spills over in any way? Yeah, I think it does in a way because I was thinking about how long it takes me to do the paintings, I think thats, kind of, patience and the motivation to do it because theres times when I think, I just want to give up.

3 3 Beginning questions So from these two starting points: Just what is it to be a graduate in the C21? Just what might we hope for from our students? What might they want of themselves? How might we understand career now (eg amid (worldwide) recession) What is it to learn in a university? What are the responsibilities of a university towards its students?

4 4 Changing answers Built successively around the themes of: - knowledge/ understanding (initiation) - skills (employability) And now emerging? - wellbeing (therapy) - citizenship (the global citizen)

5 5 The twenty-first century Challenge Change Uncertainty Complexity/ supercomplexity Division – differences – of values, of resources, of perspectives Global dimension

6 6 Students as Global Citizens A care/ concern for the world A sense of interconnectedness Not living in ones own world Helping to bring about a better world (cf wisdom) A project of engagement Implies first-handedness; genuine (critical) thought & action Impact on curricula And on opportunities while a student

7 7 Forms of learning Sense that learning takes place in multiple sites Even for the student Is anything special about the students academic learning? Lifewide learning – horizontal learning Lifelong learning – learning through time (Well come back to these matters in a moment.)

8 8 The ideas of graduate attributes & graduateness (So) the world presents human being with considerable challenges – technical, social, communicative, personal We look to graduates esp to be human beings who can live purposively in the face of these challenges Even to be exemplary human beings Such a world requires, in the first place, neither knowledge nor skills but dispositions and qualities of certain kinds

9 9 Dispositions for a world of challenge A will to learn A will to engage A preparedness to listen A preparedness to explore A willingness to hold oneself open to experiences A determination to keep going forward

10 10 Qualities for a world of challenge Carefulness Courage Resilience Self-discipline Integrity Restraint Respect for others Openness

11 11 Dispositions and qualities compared The dispositions are necessary; the qualities have a degree of optionality in them Hence, just a few dispositions; but many qualities The dispositions enable one to go forward The qualities colour that forward movement; give it character

12 12 The (higher) educational significance of the dispositions and qualities The dispositions and qualities are concomitants of a genuine higher education Curricula and pedagogies could nurture them But often fall short Students are denied curricula space, and pedagogical affirmation But the dispositions and qualities (above) are logically implied in a higher education.

13 13 The idea of a career The idea of career implied steady progression in a particular (and challenging) field of work And that there were clear boundaries between work and non-work Both of those axioms have to be ditched Against the considerations here, a career becomes the continuous public working out of ones possibilities in an uncertain world It is the sedimentation of the dispositions and the widening and strengthening of the qualities In particular, the will to learn (disposition) and courage and openness (qualities) are paramount Careers Units should perhaps be renamed For-Life Units

14 14 Lifewide learning Being a graduate (it follows) calls for both lifelong and for lifewide learning If lifelong lng is lng through ones lifespan, lifewide learning is learning across ones life experiences Implications for universities: the opening up of learning experiences outside the formal curriculum – both on and off campus. It just may be that graduates gain as much – in the formation of the dispositions and qualities – from non-formal settings as from the formal curriculum. So the idea of the life-informed curriculum beckons (We are unclear as to the relationships between the students manifold sites of learning; to what degree learning in one domain can assist learning in another domain. The answer may lie in Ds and Qs.)

15 15 Conclusions Becoming clearer about being a graduate in the C21 calls for a sense of the world in which graduates find themselves & of the responsibilities graduates have in the world - to themselves and to others and even to the world itself In turn, the idea of career diminishes But there arises larger questions as to the relationship between graduates and the wider world In turn, arise profound issues over curriculum & pedagogy & in turn, arise qs as to the responsibilities of universities And so arises the question of the university in the C21 It is that, no less, that lies before us in these considerations. Institute of Education University of London 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL Tel +44 (0) Fax +44 (0) Web

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