Edev_502 response wk5_1

In section B, you say that Beaty, Gibbs, and Morgan (1997) categorise learners as surface, extrinsic who limit their engagement to leisure activities. Universities, though, you categorise as offering deep, extrinsic and challenging approaches. Do you mean this? I think rather that Beaty et al. described learners on a continuum from surface to deep, extrinsic to intrinsic and socialite to self-improving.

A major theme I took from these distinctions was the empirical question of how universities might adapt their teaching styles to better address learner types. I can see no other viable way except to offer the challenge/ intrinsic route. However, if educators model only ‘independent’ and ‘contextual’ knowing’, i.e. Baxter Magolda’s highest stages of epistemological development to students (Moon, 2005), there are risks. One is the potential overlooking of how lower-level concepts combine into higher-level concepts, resulting in a lot of content appearing as ‘threshold concepts’, that is indiscriminated higher-order concepts that block some students’ cognitive grasp of the subject. Students typically begin their higher education at the lowest epistemological developmental level and very few ever reach the final one (Abdullah, 2014). If teaching is really about developing learners from their current level to a higher one, the argument that initially presenting knowledge as information is a strong one. As long as the end-of-course qualification is a degree, i.e. extrinsic motivator, having no requirement for personal growth, there is very little educators can do to alter the mind-sets of those students who are unwilling to challenge their own sense of being. This problem partially explains the recent popularity of reflective requirements in courses: to externally validate what is basically an internal and private process.

Abdullah, N. (2014). A Case Study on Final Year Students in ICS: Are they Really Adult Learners? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 164(August), 230–236. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.11.071

Beaty, L., Gibbs, G., & Morgan, A. (1997). Learning orientations and study contracts. In F. Marton, D. Hounsell, & N. Entwistle (Eds.), The experience of learning (pp. 72–86). Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.

Moon, J. (2005). We seek it here … a new perspective on the elusive activity of critical thinking: a theoretical and practical approach. Bristol.

Moon, J. (2005). We seek it here … a new perspective on the elusive activity of critical thinking: a theoretical and practical approach. Bristol.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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