EDEV_505 Week 1_1

Good to see you again after the space of three modules. Our differences are likely to bring up interesting areas for investigation which will undoubtedly become a critical avenue for development in this module. One such salient difference can be found in our reactions to Ogden’s belief that “Older, working adults … believe they know what they need to learn” (2008, p. 10). I noted while reading—in red ink no less—that I strongly contest this statement. Our differences are useful in highlighting a number of issues from this week’s topic.

At the time of accreditation, JIU offered degrees in business communication (Ogden, 2008), and in that business training context, Ogden cited Kriger and Scheurman (2000) to support the notion that working adults have a greater sense of agency to direct their learning. Two strands may be differentiated here. The first is the epistemological development that arises during the educational maturation process as described first in the work of Perry (1970) and continued by others (see for example Baxter Magolda, 2004; Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1987; Hofer & Pintrich, 1997; King & Strohm Kitchener, 2004). According to this stage theory, older students become more discriminating in their handling of raw information and are able to evaluate and process knowledge in line with their developed sense of autonomy. In many ways, this process is supported by stage theories of personal growth such as those of Kohlberg (1969) and Kegan (1982). Older students are therefore more likely to frame existing knowledge structures within their own perceptions of self-identity, and strive to fill gaps in knowledge in a more directed manner. In other words, they are more likely to know what they do not know and deliberately try to cover those gaps. The second strand is the type of information and training in question. Education that aims to fulfil a societal need, or vocationalism (Halstead & Taylor, 1996), is categorically separate from pure academic education (Strohl, 2006). There are many parts to this separation, and the one that Kriger and Scheurman (2000) contend with is the linking of business vocationalism with rising managerialism in corporate America. They (Kriger & Scheuerman, 2000) argue that higher education may be transformed by business management practices eroding the core values of academic autonomy.

A parallel may be drawn easily between breaking down the curriculum into discrete processes (Kriger & Scheuerman, 2000) and the grammar-focussed curricula that have plagued English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) education since World War II. It took the rise of social constructivism heralded by Luckmann and Berger (1967) and the ensuing communication-driven approaches in the 70s to readdress the structural weaknesses in EFL curricula that had ignored critical aspects of language in use, language in situation and notions of actors in language that all play a vital role in the selection of grammar structure and choice of vocabulary (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014). Perhaps objectives based curricula in business management is still too young for these issues to be worked out fully.

I cannot fully accept either the stage theorists view of epistemological development nor the idea that there exists critical differences between academic and applied knowledge. Neither do I accept that fully worked out objectives-based curricula are necessarily deficient or the opposite that all teaching should be left entirely flexible. Space forbids a fuller explanation of these issues, but I will add that I decided to study on a doctoral course precisely because I did not know what I wanted. If I knew the exact gaps in my knowledge, I would simply fill them quickly without recourse to paying $60,000 USD and four years of my time. I don’t know what it means to be doctoral level (although I am gaining some insight into that) and chose to represent my ignorance symbolically as ‘doctoral training’ in the hope and expectation that this course would satisfy that ignorance. In other words, this particular working adult does not know what to believe to learn. I need to place my trust in ‘the system’. The questions from that are: whose system, on what basis does that system exist, where does the system derive its authority and what are the mechanics that allow the system to function?

Jim

P.S. I find it odd that you would reference Duff and Duffy (2002) to support your endorsement of Honey and Mumford’s LSQ when Duff and Duffy show that the LSQ contains many serious validity issues. Can you explain this?

References

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2004). Evolution of a Constructivist Conceptualization of Epistemological Reflection. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 31–42. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep3901_4

Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1987). Women’s Ways of Knowing (Tenth Anni). New York: Basic Books.

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The social construction of reality. New York: Doubleday.

Duff, A., & Duffy, T. (2002). Psychometric properties of Honey & Mumford’s Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ). Personality and Individual Differences, 33(1), 147–163. http://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(01)00141-6

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (2014). Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar. http://doi.org/10.4324/9780203431269

Halstead, J. M., & Taylor, M. J. (1996). Values in education and education in values. (J. M. Halstead & M. J. Taylor, Eds.)Values in education and education in values. London: The Falmer Press.

Hofer, B. K., & Pintrich, P. R. (1997). The Development of Epistemological Theories: Beliefs About Knowledge and Knowing and Their Relation to Learning. Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 88–140. http://doi.org/10.3102/00346543067001088

Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self: Problem and Process in Human Development. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

King, P. M., & Strohm Kitchener, K. (2004). Reflective Judgement: Theory and Research on the Development of Epistemic Assumptions Through Adulthood. Educational Psychologist, 39(1), 5–18. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep3901

Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence; the cognitive developmental approach to socialisation. In D. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialisation: theory and research. New York: Rand McNally.

Kriger, T. J., & Scheuerman, W. E. (2000). Edubusiness comes to the academy: The virtual university and the threat to academic labor. Working USA, 4(2), 39–55.

Ogden, J. (2008). CYBER U: The Accreditation of Jones International University. The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Perry, W. G. (1970). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Strohl, N. M. (2006). The postmodern university revisited: reframing higher education debates from the “two cultures” to postmodernity. London Review of Education, 4(2), 133–148. http://doi.org/10.1080/14748460600855195

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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