November 2016

Research paper

Inspiring student and teacher through research-led teaching; a pilot study

Nirma Samarawickrema, Janet Olwyn Macaulay and Gayani Samarawickrema
This is a pilot study demonstrating the beneficial relationship of the teaching-research nexus through integration of the teacher’s disciplinary research on human papillomavirus and cervical cancer into the second year undergraduate medical curriculum. Students were required to research the literature on specified themes of the topic through Student Project Cases (SPCs) designed as part of the curriculum to involve them in inquiry-based, active learning. Students worked in small groups to respond to specified topic objectives through the production of both written reports and oral presentations. Questionnaires and focus group interviews examined students’ understanding of research, their knowledge of this particular SPC topic and the impact of research on their attitude to learning. Our findings indicated that students had variable understanding of research and knowledge of the topic prior to engaging in the SPC activity. Student feedback also showed an overall positive effect research had on their attitudes to learning and their engagement with the topic. Student feedback was inspiring to the teacher providing new research directions. These findings suggest the value of exploring and introducing learning designs that have their basis within the teaching-research nexus and more importantly that students play an important role as partners of the nexus.

Book review

Nixon, Jon. Interpretive Pedagogies for Higher Education: Arendt, Berger, Said, Nussbaum and Their Legacies. Kindle edition. London: Continuum, 2012.

George Roberts
Pedagogy struggles with a complex and interconnected world to acknowledge the conflicting demands of both dissensus and consensus. I argue that there is "value" in explicitly taking on critical discourse, creatively appropriating theory. Hermeneutics resists structure. Pedagogy, for Nixon, turns out to be more than a practice, it is a way of being in the world, which is illuminated, but not defined, by lives lived consciously in this dual inflection: not quite dialogic, not quite dialectic, resistant to closure. In the end Nixon produces an explicit framework of interpretive pedagogy. This takes the form of a familiar paradigm with two axes (dissensus/consensus :: open/closed) setting out a four quadrant grid. He deploys this framework as a way of interpreting pedagogy. Nixon postulates a clockwise movement through the grid and numbers each quadrant sequentially. He builds, that is, a prop for thinking about pedagogy that, although arrayed in a grid, clearly has a value hierarchy overlaid onto it. “Open Dissensus”, quadrant four on the grid, is where the most highly valued engagement takes place