Dr James Campbell_Deakin University.ppt

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Institutional arrangements and pedagogy University autonomy directly relates both to the specific relationships and interactions universities have with broader social institutions, and the competencies of the students produced in such institutions


Malaysia and the Triple HelixThe needs of the knowledge economy and the changing role of university education in a triple helix environment are clearly recognized and accepted by the Malaysian government. There is an overwhelming understanding and acceptance of the importance of structural change to Malaysia educational system and a very deep understanding of the relationship between structural change and innovation. Put another way the arguments of Malaysian policy workers and government directly grasp the relationship between structural reform and pedagogical reform to move Malaysia into the knowledge economy. The clarity of the direction of Malaysian education and in our case universities and the need for interconnection between the private and public spheres as well as the correlation of this with pedagogical reform points to the clear recognition of Malaysian political authority for pedagogical reform.


Triple Helix of Relationships


ThesisMy basic argument is that an overly reductive helix based simply on the state-market-academia model, without a fourth strand of public or civil society involvement, will not provide the proper institutional support and values legitimacy to the types of pedagogy that are needed for innovation to prosper in universities.


Fourth StrandForms of social capital underpin the ability of Malaysian universities to successfully reform pedagogically and structurally and that these factors are reflexive to each other. The types of social capital and interrelations that characterise university structures and practices can add or detract from the legitimacy of reform A fourth strand is needed in the helix metaphor to balance and give grounding to the debate over university reform This strand we can call the public or civil society strand. In the Malaysian context, the growing salience of civil society, associations, clubs and social movements is acting as a propellant for democratic reform and social legitimacy. It also recognizes and includes practical and lived ‘cultural’ practices from civil society in ways that are neither beholden to state or market power. University practice in ways that are authentic and lived rather than static and imposed.


Legitimacy of Pedagogy: Pedagogy of LegitimacyIncluding the fourth strand balances out the problems of university relations with business and government and provides an important institutional pillar to support the kinds of pedagogy that is both cooperative and dialogical. This fourth strand also provided institutional support for the kinds of cooperative democratic pedagogies that are necessary for a knowledge economy to prosper. The fusion of a fourth strand of civic associations, social groups and civil society more directly into the institutional and structural activities of the university, provides an arena or ‘incubator’ for the values legitimacy of the Deweyan pedagogy that lays at the heart of pedagogical reform in knowledge society theory Deweyan socially constructivist pedagogy exemplifies forms of interaction that that are dialogical and participatory. Such pedagogy is productive and articulates forms of social capital that are not merely technical abilities or strictly technical competencies but rather deeper forms of social interaction. Socially constructive pedagogy produces not simply technical ability in students but is also representative of values and forms of social interaction that are not simply possessive individualistic nor traditionally authoritarian.


Civil society and reform legitimacyA failure to include the fourth strand in the discussion of university functioning will lead to unintended consequences both in the legitimacy of the university in Malaysian society and in the legitimacy of forms of pedagogy necessary for the knowledge society. A corollary of this argument is that any reform to Malaysian education must take into account the specific cultural and national traditions of the host society. A simplistic notion of easy transference between pedagogical and structural models from the West to Malaysian conditions is bound to lead to difficulty. Deepening Malaysian universities connection and engagement with civil society and connecting them more intrinsically to the public good (not as state provision and direction nor as market driven individualism) provides both a way to frame autonomy as neither beholden to the state or the market and by inference not beholden to those constituencies that are seen to dominate these arenas.


Such a dynamic shift in the interconnectivity and engagements of universities provides legitimacy to collaborative non-hierarchical and innovative social practices, which are the basic supports for innovative pedagogy. Why is this so? Essentially much of what passes for pedagogical theory reduces our ideas of pedagogy to technique. How to teach? What approach to use. Properly understood however, pedagogy is not simply technique. Pedagogy is a form of social practice. It involves social capital and draws on cultural traditions. Understood in this way pedagogical practice within a university are forms of social interaction and expressions of cultural values. The legitimacy or otherwise of forms of social interaction depends in large measure on the value given differing forms of social practice. This issue connects back to the structure and nature of institutional practices within a university.


Interaction and innovationInteraction and innovation, is not simply technique. It is not divorced from social values and structures. To treat the pedagogical aspect in the knowledge economy equation as simply a problem of accumulating techniques misses the fundamental social aspect of pedagogy.


Traditional Pedagogy Top Down


Progressive Pedagogy


MIT as benchmark?What then would such reform look like in detail? MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory Guidelines are an excellent example of the kind of pedagogy that characterises the contemporary reform agenda (a benchmark approach). MIT follows in meshing university business and government, and in engaging directly, the kinds of pedagogy necessary for Malaysian reform and represents a kind of best practice example of the directions necessary for university pedagogy in a Triple Helix environment. MIT’s Teaching and Learning Guidelines are an outstanding example, put into practice; of progressive pedagogy serving a university that is realising intellectual cooperation with business and government (as well as community and civil society) in the context of autonomy properly understood as autonomy to do things rather than autonomy simply understood as autonomy from things. The MIT benchmark and other best practice examples must be theorized in culturally specific situations.


One size fits all globalization? Or situated reform?The triple helix approach and the pedagogically social constructivist DNA that runs through it is derived in large measure from two intellectual streams. First, the work of Schumpeter who outlined the connection between innovation and economic development. Second, Dewey who outlined the connection between progressive education and educational development in the context of democratic self growth and empowering participation in day to day democratic practices.


The Schumpeterian strand is techno-economic, the Deweyan strand is participatory-social. One of the basic problems with those who advocate the new globalised forms of pedagogy they tend to conflate as if they were unproblematic the Schumpeterian and Deweyan aspects of the reforms. They then compound this by gliding over the cultural specificities that characterise reform in differing settings.


There is a real possibility of a practical contradiction between the demands of globalization (the neo Schumpeter thesis outlined above) and the aims of pedagogy of affective self-realisation and expressive growth (the post Deweyan social constructivist pedagogy).


Pedagogy and social frameworksAn educational project that articulates universities as simply market driven entities and sees autonomy as simply freedom from regulation within a possessive individualistic frame of reference will correspond to a social value system that is individualistic competitive and possessive. Socially constructivist pedagogy will either be in severe tension with this ethos or identified with it as part of an assault on values and equity. The social values and capital that inform pedagogy both in its formal level as officially sanctioned techniques but also in its informal level as the implicit practices that characterise human interaction on campus require a much closer look at pedagogy and social structure. Yet all socially constructivist pedagogy is culturally situated.


ConclusionI have argued that the adages of neo liberal economic and progressive pedagogical theory are espoused without adequate recognition of the cultural complexity and problems that characterise host societies. My essential argument is that neo liberal economic and structural reform to universities if carried through uncritically carries with it severe problems if it uncritically accepts a kind of laizzesse faire market approach to universities. Such approaches can be culturally blind. This is because marketization in extremis undercuts the values that inform progressive pedagogy especially socially constructivist pedagogy. In other words, pure marketization undercuts the social values realised through social constructivist pedagogy.


Marketization must be tempered by also connecting universities to civil society in such a way that tempers both extremes of the state and market and allows a more sustainable relationship between cooperative socially constructivist pedagogy and the social framework within which it operates. However an over simplification of our understanding of innovation and development means that fully marketized universities will place negative pressure on principles of collaboration and cooperation which are the hall marks of innovation. Here lies the tension. To defend a space for innovation as collaboration and non-possessive engagement a significant strand of university practice must be involved with civil society and civic engagement.


If autonomy is reduced to simple marketization then pedagogy based on collaboration, free dialogue and innovation will be under stress in universities. Local cultural norms will be subsumed under a need to expand market logic. The pressure of the neo liberal ethos will be too hard to resist. If on the other hand autonomy is understood as being protected from the market by the state then it is hard to see how creativity and innovation can take root as core values in the academy and by inference in the pedagogy of the academy. The effective promotion of the ‘fourth strand’ to the helix structure situates the dynamic possibilities of Malaysian civil society within the university structure. It acts to bring legitimacy to universities in an era where suspicion of both the state and the market abound. It locates cultural norms back into our practices not as simply imposed authority but as constantly negotiated developing norms drawing legitimacy from the aspirations of a democratic populace. Finally such a restructuring provides a better home and support for forms of socially constructivist pedagogy rooted in a concern for democratic growth, respect of difference and dignity.

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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