Interpretive Pedagogies for Higher Education – Jon Nixon

I attempt to iron out my thoughts creased with the intersections of various histories posed throughout; that I understand from the reading.  The orientation towards a public good would be for curriculum that is open and not just centred on the traditional subjects but widened for global diversity. Public education for the masses I took as ideas for education that was equal and for the public good to have equal rights and opportunities for all.

1. Are all views worthy of our efforts to understand them?
The role of university is to provide a space for developments of ideas and perspectives. The idea is not to problem solve but to find ways to understand different people who points.

Students that come to the University will be from various backgrounds and cultural differences traditions points of view and beliefs. Some of which may challenge our own concepts and judgements. We may not have to agree with their views but they can be respected.

Parents may teach their children principles of understanding. My role as a teacher  is that student are encouraged to try listening to each other. They come in the form of many styles of programs one that springs to mind is  restorative justice.

Bauman’s quote sits comfortably with this question and agenda for inclusive pedagagy to allow universities to also function as a place for understanding communication and respect for shared ideas.

‘…talk to people rather than fight them; to understand them rather than dismiss or annihilate them as mutants; to enhance one’s own tradition by drawing freely on experience from other pools, rather than shutting it off from the traffic of ideas.’ (p143)

The university to function as a platform for people to debate concepts and views and avoid possible conflicts. This makes me think about Immanuel Kant’s philosophy from my reading of Stephen Palmquist: Kant’s Ideal of the University as a model for World Peace. Palmquist describing Kant’s philosophy states: Kant’s philosophy is that its purpose is to create peace, not destroying opposition, recognising and preserving in its integrity, and working with the opposition to create a new ability.

It is worth our efforts to try and understand even if it doesn’t fit with our own beliefs and values. You might find some reasoning as to elements of human behaviour through philosophical or theological ideas. Even if that part of human behaviour because of one’s own personal fear.

2. To what extent should traditions be protected (from other/new ideas)?

This question is difficult to answer because it depends on the tradition and the purpose it serves. If it’s a case of holding on to the traditions for one’s own privilege and power to remain exclusive of others, then the protection of those traditions will often become resistant to other and new forms of ideas.

3. Is a technical or ‘useful’ education a second-rate education?

I wouldn’t consider the technical education a second-rate. Why is that because of the development of technology and its growth in the economy. Understand the sense that human shouldn’t completely rely on technology to take over our own thinking. In this particular sense I’m a traditionalist when teaching graphics to students I still insist that students draw and layout their designs rather than designing straight onto a computer. Does that make me a traditionalist? This makes me consider the prior question of traditions protected from other or new ideas. For example use of a graphics tablet can employ a new style or approach to drawing and planning design. Therefore, does that make it second-rate? In terms of second-rate why is a useful considered secondary education? The term useful is implicit of a form of bias represented by educational and economic status.

4. How can the technological and the cultural be merged? I.e. is it possible to teach for liberation and transformation, AND to prepare students for socially useful occupations?

I really like this question. The problem I have with it is it would take me too long to answer in one blog post. It also means I’m encouraged to do further reading seek a more defined answer.

Making reference to Nixon’s article such a transformation will require a new kind of public educator – for whom the public comprises citizens, not subjects; for whom education is concerned with empowerment, not control; and for whom public education transforms rather than reproduces.

For this to happen the traditions of privilege and power will have to be performed to allow for new kind of public educator, you’ve dispositions to meet the above agenda.

My inclusive practice unit in teaching and learning philosophies and engagement with Shades of Noir promotes ideas for teaching within the constructs of liberation and transformation. Therefore through creative practice and communication of liberation can be managed through technical endeavours.

The technological and the cultural are being merged through the use of digital media. Our use and interaction with technology is soon moving to pole position. The use of more interactive software and social media is becoming an evidential part of the effects of our culture on technology and the effect it has on us.

5. How do these ideas connect with the theory you have been encountering on your elective unit (if you are doing one)?

This ideas within a reading connects in many ways and different levels with our teaching and learning unit. Which  has led me to this book.

Postcolonial Resistance: Culture, Liberation and Transformation
David Jefferess

Here is an insight to the book reviewed by Sarah Travis is a graduate student at Knox College,

Postcolonial Resistance opens up a space within postcolonial thought to challenge dominant. constructions of resistance associated with both colonial discourse theory and materialist critics.  In articulating a politics of change, Jefferess convincingly argues that resistance must be more than a freedom from oppression and must seek to free both colonizer and colonized.

The last sentence has using the term freedom from oppression has sentiments of Paulo Freire’s  Pedagogy of the oppressed.


Making Stories –

Storytelling is fundamental of part theatre design.
Students will be introduced to the session by showing a short video clip on collaboration.

Theatre design first-year students are working on ideas towards the theatre model sets.  Moving on from their mood boards students are now looking more in depth at the characters within both plays  The Cunning Little Vixen and Animal Farm. I wanted to students to consider the attributes of the characters within the plays.  Students were directed to consider the political aspects within the play Animal Farm and feminist aspects in the Cunning Little Vixen. The objective of this lesson was to enable the students to work collaboratively and discuss the underlying theories of in both the plays.

The students are yet to decide which play they will focus on to make their stage model set design. This lesson was a way for them to engage with the process of thinking through making. Using clay is an interesting material a to work with. It’s malleability  can remove any inhibitions of being wrong or making mistakes.  This allows the students the sense of freedom to explore whilst making. This freedom and exploration through play I had linked to Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer. where he introduces the concept of play where the spectator plays a crucial interpretive role in the meaning of the art piece being presented.  Students began by considering  and documenting the the attributes of the character in the play. They were encouraged to play with the idea of considering themselves as one of the characters in the play and to think about what personal attributes they would inject in the character in the play that they will focus on.  The first part of the session was an individual take where the student engaged with the character through the action of making whilst discussing the character attributes with their peer.


Students later considered

Teaching and Learning: Seminar One

This is to be our first seminar that reflected on the readings of both Monica Vilhauer’s Gadamer’s ‘Ethics of Play’ and Ian Munday.

I find it interesting to see how these philosophies came into effect through this seminar. The first being section 1 further into Gadamer’s notion of  notion of play.

Section 1

The first session started by having two sets of games. One was again using string where each participant would pass on a piece of string having answered the question as to form a physical and visual network of conversation between the group. I was involved with the cardplaying group where each turn of the playing card would have to answer a question posed by our peer in the group. The theme was based around Gadamer’s play and game. Interesting conversations arose from this active learning through game playing exercise. I felt quite satisfied having recognised understood this section based on my prior reading. This was really an engaging task which I consider to use within teaching and learning practice either as a lesson starter or introductory to a new project brief.


Section Two of Seminar1

this session to explore the issue of the student experience through the assessment and ranking of universities referring to the National student survey (NSS) and the Teaching Excellence Framework. It was interesting to see the historical and political aspects of that frames current issues of university status through such metrics.

Lindsey had explained in the session…Before, when students paid for their fees money would come directly from the government and that was differentiated in allocation of money according to subject. Arts and humanities courses were affordable to teach as they could access books from the library and so on. Science is a bit more expensive to teach and Creative Arts was even more as their expenses on spaces and resources materials et cetera. Then eventually the fee was introduced where students would pay thousand pounds for the course then it rose to £3000 and now it’s where it is today. This now has an effect on education sectors within the creative arts such as UAL that are heavily reliant on space and resources and require more funding. Special Institution Funding had been applied in the past and not knowing what the current state of play of receiving such funding is today.

Students are now officially considered as consumers of investing in their education and since 2014 covered by the consumer protection act. The focus on student satisfaction comes into play when shifting from private good to public good. Systems of measurement were introduced to ensure that students are making informed choices for courses the choosing however seen as essentially buying. This whole thing becomes quite political as a use of league tables suggest that students will use them to do the shopping of institutions they wish to be in. The suggestion then is that students will use the tables to determine which institutions they like to study in terms of ranking and categories that supports learning experience.

For University with a good classification of silver or gold obviously affects its overall national and international status. This date is also aligns itself with being forward thinking effective innovators in higher prospects of further funding.

So with the university ranking systems and classifications of gold silver and bronze the NSS becomes more important. Therefore, the pressures on institutions and eventually rolled down to teachers that there is a positive outcome from the NSS survey.

Ranking 2017

I am considering how this falls into Gabriel Marcel’s philosophy of being and having. What does it mean in terms of university status of being ranked gold or having such ranking status?

During the session we discussed issues of teachers encouraging and, in some cases, enforcing that students participate in the survey. However, you find that students who have a strong commentary on experience will use the NSS survey to express their feelings.

There is also a survey of recent graduates that I had received six months ago have been completed my MA fine art digital. The survey was to gauge what I was doing as postgraduate as well as to look at my cultural background race and gender and age.

Section 3
Values and Knowledge of our teaching practice

Last year the teaching excellence framework metric was introduced this was a new metric designed to measure the excellence of teaching. Within the session we worked collaboratively looking at aspects of good teaching and learning categorised within the teaching excellence framework.

We discussed our thoughts and feelings about what values are needed and wrote them down to later be shared with the rest of the group. I really enjoyed this part of the session using the TEF frame work as with our discussions.

Reading Response and Discussion Group

My initial response to the three texts, therefore this is a work in progress as I take some time to digest, reflect, compare and contrast and write the three before I consider any sort of conclusion if there are any.

  • Universities and their Function – Whitehead, A.N. 1929.
  • A Learning Model for the Future – Aoun, J. 2017.
  • Kant’s Ideal of the University as a Model for World Peace – Palmquist, S. 2004.

Universities and their function.
The first thing that strikes me is that the text was very male centred. Yes, I am aware that this text had been written back in 1929 when times were supposed to be different.  However, this was almost a decade after women in the US were given the right to vote. A hundred years today in the UK where some, not all women received that right.

Captured by the words of ‘It enables men to construct an intellectual vision of a new world’ my imagination spanned to being around during a time where like ships universities were described by Whitehead as ‘She’. Where would I (a woman, a black woman a British citizen with a link to an imperial past) be placed in the vessel of learning for ‘the imaginative acquisition of knowledge’?

I agree with Whiteheads notion for universities and their function is that they should be a place for imagination. Imagination is needed for creativity.
Thus this nurture and cultivation of imagination breed a zest for life through ambitious conquests.
‘The task of a university is to weld together imagination and experience.’

We learn by doing. Our experiences can be fuelled by our thoughts; ideas and imagination that projects our outcomes. In my teaching, I like to plan projects, lessons and workshops that provide positive learning experiences that both challenge and encourage students to use their imagination. Students should feel comfortable and safe in the freedom to do so. Isn’t that the nature of an Art and Design brief anyway? Should be, but not always the case when I think back to prescriptive art and design lessons and outcomes I have observed during my in some educational establishments I have once taught.  I suppose the mission in today’s society would be to facilitate some of Whitehead’s ideas of imagination and learning, where not only are there minds diverse in opinion along with a selection of diverse equipment at hand but also to be inclusive to educate and meet the needs of a diverse range of students.

‘Imagination is not to be divorced of facts: it is a way of illuminating facts.’

To facilitate some of Whitehead’s ideals of imagination and learning, in today’s society, would need to also consider there are minds diverse in opinion along with a diverse range of prior experiences and needs. 

Opportunities are then to be made for experiences to be shared confidently. 

This leads me to Aoun’s,
A Learning Model for the Future. In Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence.

By immersing students in diversity and celebrating its lessons, we enrich their minds, broaden their thinking and build their valuable human literacy.

In a world where computer technology can bring people further away closer together and people closer together further apart human literacy is the where we all need to start. Human literacy is not new at Aoun suggests but a transition. As technology advances, we learn to adapt and evolve with it. It’s something humans have always done to address the changes in climate. In terms of education, the space of a classroom no longer exists within four walls. Yes, I agree the importance of diversity and inclusive teaching practice is essential for all to reach their full potential.

I think of how schools and universities operate now with the use of online learning platforms such as  Moodle and Fronter,  Show My Homework for schools. Tools to support learning. There is the digital maker space at Camberwell and Chelsea that is a hub of activity embedding data and human literacy. However reading in earlier part of the chapter and making note of the comment and paraphrase that access to platforms and equipment, this can be sometimes restricted to privileged groups. For example, not everybody comes from a place of privilege where they have access to devices, internet and consoles available to them at home and educational establishments. In terms of computers as this can also be extended to household equipment, homeware and accessories etc. Thinking back to Whitehead’s Books are cheap can also come from a point of privilege. Books and computers are not cheap in today’s currency.

Something to bear in mind. Not all of my students at the school had access to Fronter, Show My Home Work so homework club was set up at school. Year 9 (13-14 year old) students in a girl’s school I taught had no Information Technology on the curriculum despite having to choose the GCSE options that year. Where some schools particularly in those that have Academy status and adequate funding that can be linked to ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grading; IT takes precedence in their curriculum. This migrates down to primary and even infant schools where children are being taught coding such as Scratch and Python. None the less, impressive as this may sound there still is a case for how creatively and imaginatively these are applied to engage all learning styles, abilities and educational needs.

My experience within Art Education in secondary school is that the cultivation of creativity liking to the Amazon rainforest is being cut away. The introduction of English Baccalaureate and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths).  In the case of STEM some schools still struggle with the creative aspect of technology and few apply STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, Art and Maths). Divergent thinking comes to mind when I think of STEM. Students need to be encouraged to think more laterally. For sustainability of art education in schools, STEAM needs to be employed for more dynamic and divergent thinking.

I mention schools as it is an important trajectory towards Higher Education. Universities cater for all ages, genders, backgrounds etc. Being inclusive has to consider prior learning, experience and exposure to the understanding of technologies. The experience provided by schools particularly in the UK can aid the progression and transition to Higher Education and beyond. Outside agencies such as Genetic Moo also helps to facilitate learning for the young.

The earlier part of the chapter suggests the importance to be prepared or rather prepare the young digital natives of our society to be more literate in technology and data.

Indeed it’s both beneficial an important to have an understanding of the mechanics of the machines we use. But what for the digital immigrants who were either not born into the world instant of technology or not have been able to keep up with it? I know a fair amount of educators not familiar with the language of new technical literacies proposed. They will need to keep up to speed to lower their guard on the fear of technologies and instead builds on their confidence.

This chapter jumps around a bit with discussions of coding and technology that was broken down into different components of The New Literacies. Therefore so have my responses.  The chapter raised many thoughts on educational practices regarding code and technology. I think how this is applied in art and design practice. Where technology is not simply using a computer. Some of these raised questions in my mind to what technological stance was Aoun was taking.

Context of teaching

My teaching practice aim is to provide lessons that engage, educate and inspire in a positive way. To bring together a classroom community where students feel comfortable to be able to share knowledge, ideas and aspirations.  The style of my teaching allows students make visual connections and unravel the possibilities in their work. It provides the opportunity to develop their own sense of identity, also to help raise confidence and self-esteem.

I find subject matter being taught a very important part teaching and learning to induce dialogue, discussion and debate. To draw on similarities where students can be engaged through relating to recognisable situations and to make comparisons.

I am hoping to gain broader knowledge in pedagogical practice for effective and inclusive teaching and learning.  The PgCert as part of the Teaching Within programme will enable me to expand and accomplish creative approaches to teaching whilst to bring up to date with contemporary methods, building further awareness of teaching practices. I plan to continue my practice as an artist and educator where I can encourage and share knowledge. Therefore I am looking forward to be able to utilise my skills proficiently, developed through my research, reflecting on my teaching and studies.