(c) Duane Schoon

(c) Duane Schoon

This is an introductory blog post directly related to a class being taught at the University of Sheffield – EDU103 – run by Tim Herrick @minkymonkeymoo (I’m liking the Twitter handle Tim :)). Earlier this year, Tim asked me if I was willing to engage with the students regarding a paper I had previously published (with Tony Brown) – Learning as relational: Intersubjectivity and pedagogy in higher education. Of course I agreed as it gives me a chance to discuss my work while also being part of innovative and exciting forms of HE pedagogy. Many thanks to Tim for the invite.

And hello to the students on EDU103 – for an introduction to myself please go here.  I hope you don’t mind these interactions being open to regular readers of the site, but it might make for some useful discussions down the line. Or at least further thinking about how we can bridge the traditional and digital academic divide. Given the content and focus of the paper it seems like a good place to start. It should also be noted that the setting up of this site is a practical outcome of the thought process that to some extent lies behind the ideas put forward in the paper. This may not be obvious from reading it, as it’s quite theory focused, but theory is never that far from practice (depending on where you look) …

The paper, which you will be discussing with myself and Tim this semester, is an attempt to explore alternatives to what are increasingly becoming marketised and consumerised relationships between students and academics. We locate one potential alternative via ideas generated in the fields of critical theory and psychoanalysis – specifically we argue that the intersubjective world of relations (as entities in themselves) is a good place to start when attempting to move away from the rigid dichotomies of teaching/learning and teacher/learner. As we state in the abstract:

By emphasising the intersubjective nature of learning and teaching and the role of emotions in this regard, the paper argues that a relationally centred approach takes seriously questions of trust, recognition and respect at the heart of the academic–student relationship, while also making space for doubt, confusion and relational anxiety.

I’ll leave it at that for now – looking forward to talking to you all soon, Mark

PS: And if anyone else wants to join in this discussion of HE pedagogy, feel free!