Teaching in Higher Education: Using Reflexivity to Construct a Comparative Analysis of Tutor Biographies between South Africa and the UK

By David Needham and Nicky Lowe.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

It was Taylor (1981) who emphasised that “in order to have a sense of who we are, we want to have a notion of who we have become and of where we are going.” In the higher education setting of a teaching community, being self-referential enables lecturers who are new to the profession to make judgements derived from their own interpretations of past experiences. (Soros, 1994) This paper reports upon a collaborative study between the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa the NottinghamTrent University within the UK, that has considered the extent to which cultures, ethnicity and background contribute to the reflexive-self, as individuals respond to experiences within their first years of teaching. Focusing upon four case studies, the research attempts to illustrate the influence of the reflexive-self in different contexts. In doing so the research attempts to show that reflexivity has become, as Leydesdorff (1994) emphasises, “the operationalisation of reflection as a recursive phenomenon.” Through identifying the stories of individuals as they recount the processes before and during their time in higher education, this research attempts to analyse processes of reflexivity and its impact upon their professional practice.

Keywords: Reflexive-Self, Reflexivity, Reflection, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp.141-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.489KB).

David Needham

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

David's evolving research interests have focused upon and related to how young people learn within the business classroom. He has analysed the use of case study techniques for developing an understanding of how business studies students learn, and has also look at a range of classroom pedagogies and technique for improving learning within the classroom. Such work has included a focus upon inpreting the work of Vygotsky beyond the notion of cognitive apprenticeship to analyse the 'art' of teaching. His recent work has focused upon notions of art or science within education. Using the work of Martin Heidegger, David’s has a developed a variety of methods to look at whether business education within the UK in the late modern context has been straitjacketed through processes of technological enframing.

Nicky Lowe

Senior Lecturer, Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer in Business Communications, School of Accountancy, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Nicky Lowe has extensive experience in the higher education sector in South Africa and lectured in Business Communication within 2 universities. She joined Wits School of Accounting in January 2003 and has re-written the Business Communication Course for second year Bachelor of Accounting and Commerce students. She has engaged in various forms of research and is interested in Outcomes Based Education, Critical Literacy and the International Multi-Literacy’s pedagogy. She has made numerous conference presentations and has a developing publications portfolio.

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