Higher education institutions are expected to provide education and training relevant to labour market demands, conduct research activities that will build a knowledge-based economy, as well as contribute to social cohesion, regional development and global well-being. They must also strive constantly to fulfil their multiple missions, improve the quality of the education provided, increase their efficiency and demonstrate their contribution to society.
This in a nutshell defines UK HE policy. Ars gratia artis? I don’t think so. But, wasn’t that always a bourgeois luxury? Can we understand “social cohesion, regional development and global well being” through a myriad of local perspectives? Is this only a neoliberal, free-trade, carpetbagging vision? To whom in society must universities “demonstrate their contribution”?
- with respect to learners current and prior knowledge, skill and understanding: authentic to the person now
- with respect to the epistemology of the discipline/field: authentic to the accepted canons and methodological protocols of the discipline, laws, theorems, etc
- with respect to the practice of professionals in the discipline/field: authentic to the messy reality of practice, which at times confounds authenticity
These ideas are informed by a number of strands. Fullick (2004) refers to three aspects of authenticity: creativity, activity, language. Tatsuki (2006), following Taylor (1994) speaks of language, task and situation. Both these three-part typologies are quite similar to mine and I wonder if I have unconsciously paraphrased or adapted Fullick?In these cases:
- "language" aligns with my concept of authenticity 1): to where the learners are now: don't buffalo them with jargon too early, etc
- "task" (Tatsuki) and "activity" (Fullick) correspond (I think) with my authenticity 2): to the canons of the discipline
- Fullick's "creativity" corresponds, I think, with my authenticity 3) and may correspond with Tatsuki's "situation"
Kreber et al (2007) did a thorough lit review of authenticity, but do not reproduce this three-part structure. They cite another 3-part approach to authenticity in teaching where:
The three pedagogical principles … are (a) learners are validated as "knowers," (b) learning is situated within their experience, and (c) learning itself is conceptualized as mutually constructing knowledge. (Taylor 1991)
(i) creation and construction as well as discovery, (ii) originality, and frequently (iii) opposition to the rules of society and even potentially to what we recognize as morality.
This all seems to align with my authenticity 3.Can anyone shed light on this for me? Thank you References Fullick, Patrick Leslie. 2004. Knowledge Building among School
Students Working in a Networked Computer Supported Learning
Environment. University of Southampton, Faculty of Law, Arts and
Social Sciences, School of Education. Kreber, Carolin, Monika Klampfleitner, Velda McCune, Sian Bayne, and
Miesbeth Knottenbelt. 2007. “What do you mean by ‘authentic’? A
comparative review of the literature on conceptions of authenticity in
teaching.” Adult Education Quarterly 58 (1) (November): 22-43.
doi:Article. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27329878&site=ehost-live. Tatsuki, Donna. 2006. What is authenticity? In Authentic
communication: Proceedings, 1-15. Shizuoka, Japan: Tokai University
College of Marine Science.
http://jalt.org/pansig/2006/HTML/Tatsuki.htm. Taylor, C. 1991. The ethics of authenticity Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Taylor, D. 1994. Inauthentic authenticity or authentic inauthenticity? TESL-EJ, 1 (2) A-1
- (auto) biography
- the literature, theory
Dyke (2006) observes we need to do more of this. Evaluation informed by interdisciplinary social science in the critical theoretical tradition. Evaluation has to address:
By all means have a plan, but every moment is an opportunity for reflection. Reflect in practice on the things that can be managed or which are placed in our way to be dealt with: teaching space, time, curriculum. It is best to do so mindfully.
Every programme event or intervention is an opportunity for evaluation.
Evaluation is, itself, directed towards aims, These may or may not be aligned with the aims of whatever the subject of the evaluation is. Evaluators have perspectives. They should reflect on these and be committed to openness and transparency about them. Openness, itself needs to be bounded, but the boundaries want to be quite permeable (1000 mile question). Boundaries may be necessary for creative turbulence layers. Bringing together diverse peoples to learn from one-another. How does the enterprise address equality and diversity issues? Progress, development and hierarchy may be necessary to create movement. Communities may embrace, among others: discipline, profession, locale, domestic, global. Professional practitioners in graduate occupations and/or disciplines must be current with tools and practices, methods and methodologies, grounded in knowledge, history, language, epistemology.
- Objective oriented
Structure is provided by course intended learning outcomes or objectives. The lectures, workshops, activities and assessment strive for alignment as well as dynamic instability and points of harmony.
- semi-systematic and structured
Alongside an opportunistic outlook, having tools to hand helps. Start with course aims and outcomes. Use a questionnaire several times over; even if not perfect, comparisons are where the discoveries are made.
Ongoing, no end: hasta la lucha continua. But, there may be many review points, annual planning cycles: major and minor, etc
Course cycles, professional cycles, conference cycles, university bureaucratic cycles all run to different periods. Activity is mixed and multi-modal. Evaluation needs to be multi-purposed and reusable.
Because of all the above, impacts are going to be emergent as well as planned. An evaluator would expect to see new structures emerge and to see mechanisms in place to encourage this: enquiry-based learning, action learning, learner-led curricula, user-centred design.
Shares in the myth of modernism and the enlightenment, that there is progress and that this is modelled and trained through a ranked education system with levels of attainment, informed by human development psychology. Facilitates learner progression as defined in the plan.
Do differently and better, not necessarily more (Daly 2008). Fail. Fail again, better (Beckett cited in Žižek 2009).