First real posting on hopeful pedagogies

Welcome to this blog on hopeful pedagogies. This is an experiment in many senses. It is the focussing of a general conversation at Stellenbosch University on specifically how we can TEACH for the public good. It is the first time that I am doing something so ‘techno’ as using a blog. It is a very daunting venture, but JP Bosman of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (e-Learning portfolio) has been incredibly helpful. In the words of Faaiz Gierdien from the Education Faculty, I am performing a ‘thought experiment’. Academics are often quite busy, so can we use an electronic platform like this to keep a conversation going? The idea behind this blog is three-fold: firstly, to garner examples of public good teaching strategies, that can be shared; secondly, to raise important philosophical, educational or ethical issues, ie. food for thought; and thirdly, to draw to readers’ attention to public events, or to report on these. This blog will be different to most other blogs, in that I hope to feature opinions of individuals at Stellenbosch University and beyond, rather than to publish my own opinions on a regular basis.
Brenda Leibowitz

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4 Responses to First real posting on hopeful pedagogies

  1. Mags Blackie says:

    I just found this blog and think it is a fabulous idea. I hope it takes off.

  2. Neil de Kock says:

    Ek was gister in ‘n bespreking waar die vraag wat ‘n universiteit is, gestel is. Die verskeie perspektiewe was insiggewend en die hoeveelheid fasette wat uitgewys is, was baie relevant tot die verstaan van wat ‘n universiteit is en hieruit voortvloeiend moet wees.
    One of the questions that provoked quite a discussion after the event was what the profile of a graduate student should be. Most agreed that it is two-fold. On the one hand it will be a generic set of skills and a certain consciousness and on the other it will be specific for a field of study. I would like to focus on the former a bit.
    To my understanding, graduates must be critical thinkers. They must be able to be informed by different sources and analyse, evaluate and reflect on the relevance, correctness, preciseness and impact thereof. It is thus a way of thinking and doing and reflecting on it. Graduates must use the critical thinking skill to also improvise when unknown or unusual situations arise. They should be innovative and open-minded and at Stellenbosch University, also multilingual. All these generic skills and attributes must be applied to contribute to the public good.
    I will elaborate on critical thinking. It is very easy to ask: “Why?” Many students (and people generally) think that by asking this question, they are engaging with the issue/problem/etc. This is far from the truth and only in a small way part of critical thinking. Anyone can ask why. The art of asking a critical question is to know what to ask to truly engage with the issue at hand. It is more than just the question; it is also the intent of the questioner and the expectation of the answer. Critical thinking goes beyond just the question and explores the reasons for asking the question as well as the reasons for wanting an answer. It is thus a skill you develop that will be useful in all people’s lives.

    • Charl Cilliers says:

      I fully agree with Neil that especially graduates need to be critical practioners (beyond mere ”challengers”).
      However, we need to always strive towards holistic wellness as our overall goal for ourselves and all our graduates, sothat this specific attribute can also be modelled and sustained rather than just advocated, desired and expected.
      Hope is largely hopeless if not also practised by the hopeful !

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