Conflict Studies Across Post Secondary Education Sectors: Best Practices in Teaching Mixed Level Classes

By Jennifer Martin, Helen McLean, David McElgunn, Irene Pagliarella and Siew Fang Law.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes a research project that investigated the learning and teaching issues that can arise in postsecondary educational settings when conducting mixed level classes in the area of conflict and mediation studies. The post secondary sector is being increasingly challenged to efficiently develop new ways of developing communities of learning and teaching that embrace diversity as well as designing stimulating and relevant learning environments to engage and motivate students for good learning. This challenge is particular to a dual sector university where higher education and VET sectors have distinct but complementary roles. At a university level, policy development in this area is at the nascent stage, however, there are emerging possibilities to collaborate and develop communities of learning to equip students with a range of skills that prepares them for the workplace. The findings of the research provide some insights into these issues, by revealing some benefits and drawbacks taken from the approach of teaching mixed level classes. The research drew on the experiences of respondents who taught classes that combined students from the Vocational and Educational Training (VET) and the Higher Education (HEd) sectors, or classes that combined students from undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Keywords: Post Secondary Education, Mixed Level Classes, Best Practice, Communities of Practice

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp.167-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 526.209KB).

Dr. Jennifer Martin

Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Jenny is the Chief Investigator on the Communities of Practice Research team funded by RMIT University to examine best practices in Learning and Teaching Conflict Resolution and Mediation in mixed level classes combining students from VET, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She teaches conflict resolution and mediation at both an undergraduate level and postgraduate levels.

Helen McLean

Coordinator of Learning and Teaching, Portfolio of Design and Social Context, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Helen is an investigator on the Communities of Practice Research team funded by RMIT University to examine best practices in Learning and Teaching Conflict Resolution and Mediation in mixed level classes combining students from VET, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Helen is the coordinator of Learning and Teaching in the Portfolio of Design and Social Context. This includes VET and Higher education Programs in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning. A focus of her role is developing innovative quality learning and teaching strategies.

David McElgunn

Director, Vocational Education and Training, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

David is an investigator on the Communities of Practice Research team funded by RMIT University to examine best practices in Learning and Teaching Conflict Resolution and Mediation in mixed level classes combining students from VET, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. David is the coordinator of VET programs in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning. He is responsible for course and program development within the VET sector. A focus of his role is developing pathways and good working relationships across the VET and tertiary sectors. David has coordinated a range of VET Programs in Youth Work and the Human Services.

Irene Pagliarella

Coordinator, Criminal Justice, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Irene is an investigator on the Communities of Practice Research team funded by RMIT University to examine best practices in Learning and Teaching Conflict Resolution and Mediation in mixed level classes combining students from VET, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Irene is the coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program in the VET sector of the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning. She is responsible for course and program development in conflict resolution and mediation. Irene teaches and coordinates a range of courses in Criminal Justice and the Human Services.

Dr. Siew Fang Law

Research Assistant, School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Siew Fang Law was employed as research assistant on the Communities of Practice Research team funded by RMIT University to examine best practices in Learning and Teaching Conflict Resolution and Mediation in mixed level classes combining students from VET, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Siew Fang has taught conflict resolution and meidation at VET, undergraudate and post-graduate levels including cross cultural mediation.

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