教育学具有教育意义

黛比·科顿(Debby Cotton)、伊丽莎白·克里弗(Elizabeth Cleaver)和迪利·冯(Dilly Fung)称,不可避免的术语或低质量研究并不是否定整个学科的理由

十二月 2, 2020
Students in a lecture theatre
Source: iStock

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许多人认为,试图指导学者就像“放猫”一样。作为在职业许多阶段都尝试过这一壮举的人,我们知道有些人一定对改变自己的教学方法有所抵触。但是,仅仅因为与某些教育专家的一两次不佳经历就无视整个学科的研究证据,这一想法是站不住脚的。因此,上周泰晤士高等教育的一篇《教育学教不了我们什么》在推特上引起争论也就不足为奇了。

以不陷入教学任务为由,批评这篇文章的匿名作者是很容易的,很多网友已经这样做了。显然,对一些高等教育工作者而言,研究才是他们的挚爱,教学只是例行公事——如果我们看看该文章的措辞:“研究时间”和“教学量”就能说明这一点。 但是,这些年来出现了许多关于教学发展的负面文章。这些争论我们的确都听别人谈论过,也值得考虑。因此,我们打算在此为教育发展能如何帮助学者成长提供更积极的看法。

泰晤士高等教育所登文章提出的第一个问题是术语。作者强烈反对的教育学总是和严格的、学究式的儿童教师的形象联系起来。因此即使在教育学领域内,这一术语也并不总是有帮助的。但是,每门学科都有自己的语言,且在大多数情况下,教育学术语跟其他学科比起来并不会更复杂或更存在争议。为不熟悉该学科的人翻译这一术语应该是教育开发人员的工作之一。

第二个问题是以研究为政策、实践和决策提供信息。这在高校中很少被接受,但使用证据来加强教学似乎引起了人们的极大愤慨,而教学研究的质量也常常受到质疑。毫无疑问,教育研究文献中存在一些不一致和欠佳的研究,这在任何领域都不可避免。但是,在专家的指导下,人们可以筛选论文,将注意力投向关键理论,并激发来自不同知识立场的批评与挑战。

高校需要为具有专业知识的教育开发者塑造具有吸引力的学术角色和职业发展轨迹,并持续吸收这类人才,以延续这一职责。尽管教育理论通常需要放在语境中讨论,但它们为加强不会出现没有学术含量的尝试与错误的教学提供了跳板。要帮助学者们理解这一点,高校履行上述职责至关重要。

这些开发者需要了解特定学科以及通识课程的教育实践与文化。关于特定学科的教育方法的文献越来越多;我们的学科教育法可以并且应该成为教学工具包的一部分,以支持学生掌握重要的学科式思考和做事方式。

但是,正如泰晤士高等教育所刊的那篇文章所述,一个长久以来的看法是,由于一些教育研究与许多学科无关,因此任何涵盖众多学科的教育课程都是无用的。而我们必须突破这一看法。学术人员肯定能够发现,一些原则在不同学科间的作用是类似的。毕竟,教学不仅仅教授了学生们研究和知识。毫无疑问,教学本身可以产生和扩展对学科的理解。

我们需要记住,学科既不是排他的也不是一成不变的。学科永恒的本质(不断扩展我们的知识和理解)和非封闭式的边界为不同方向涌现出的新的思考和行事方式提供了机会。我们亲眼见证了整合新的教学方法可以如何为科学实践提供思路,让人们重新审视原本习以为常的事物,并引发不一样的阐释。

正如泰晤士高等教育这篇文章下的评论所讲,这是一个日益两极化的辩论,双方提及的两个部分被外部压力越拉越远;这就如同英国割裂的教学与研究评价框架一样。因此,在结语部分,我们想提出一个将教学与研究联系得更紧密的请愿。作为身兼研究和教学两职的学者,我们认识到使用证据来加固我们在高等教育中所做的工作的重要性。这些证据包括教育学研究以及在研究过程中的学生参与。我们还认识到跨学科方法对于解决“邪恶的”21世纪问题的重要性。

单一学科和跨学科的优秀教育都可使学生积极参与研究,并利用互联课程等模式搭建学生与本领域或其他领域前沿研究的联系。作为教育工作者,我们对自己学术生涯的构建不仅局限在自己的专业领域,还可以通过教育学研究。后者对课程设计、教学和学生评估都有启发意义。

那些愿意怀疑本以为自己所知的,并质疑批判性的默示假设、被广泛接受的智慧和“常识”的学者正在展示一种作为教育者的真正学术式的作风。让我们保持礼貌和开放的态度——正如我们要求学生们做到的那样。

黛比·科顿是普利茅斯·马洪大学(Plymouth Marjon University)的学术实践总监和研究生教育负责人。伊丽莎白·克莱弗是新白金汉大学(Bucks New University)分管教育和数字化的副校长。迪利·冯(Dilly Fung)是伦敦经济学院(London School of Economics)的教育副主任,也是伦敦政治经济学院(London School of Economics and Political Science)公共政策学院的实践教授。

本文由陆子惠为泰晤士高等教育翻译。

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Reader's comments (11)

Thanks. Well put. I hope our anon friend has an open enough mind to consider your points.
I agree that pedagogy is valuable, and perhaps the European tradition of Didaktik is even more valuable. Those who prefer the unexamined life of teaching need to read a bit of Socrates and Schön. But I wonder whether we are emphasising Boyer's scholarship of teaching too much. Surely for most higher education teaching and teachers the main goal is quality teaching. Quality teaching may be the same as or at least overlap substantially with scholarly teaching. While scholarly teaching relies on the findings of the scholarship of teaching and learning, they remain different and separate activities. While all teachers should aspire to scholarly teaching, only a minority of specialists are engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Perhaps our emphasis on the scholarship of teaching and learning undertaken by the few is diverting us from developing scholarly teaching amongst the many.
Let's be clear here; education is not a discipline. Any such attempts to establish credibility that it is, just alienates discipline devotees further. A telling line from this article is; "to offer here a more positive view of how educational development can help academics develop as scholars". Well no thanks, if I want to develop my scholarship further I'll take guidance from my discipline's colleagues. They are better positioned to embrace and to advise because they understand my discipline's complexities. Educational Development is nothing more than interference; often by taking a moral high ground posture of 'knowing better'. I have no difficulty in the pursuit of educational curiosity, be my guest; but please reign in this curiosity and please self isolate yourselves.
There is a sizeable literature on effective educational practice grounded in evidence ranging from randomised control trials to qualitative analysis. Quantitative studies are summarised in meta analyses, such as Schneider and Preckel (2017) for higher education and Hattie (2009) for school education. Hattie, John (2009) Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, Routledge, London and New York. Schneider, Michael and Preckel, Franzis (2017) Variables associated with achievement in higher education: a systematic review of meta-analyses, Psychological Bulletin, volume 143, number 6, pages 565-600.
Forgive me for asking this question, and with the greatest respect, ... so what??
Educational development is not 'taking a moral high ground posture of "knowing better"', but applying the results of research to practice.
If ALL the research leads to an unequivocal acceptance of those approaches being proposed by educational developers, then you, (as an educational developer??) might have a stronger case. It doesn't though does it?? At the moment educational developers seem only to profess what has emerged from the faculty of opinion, not the faculty of science. My opinion has little in common with most educational development ideas that have been forced on my profession. The debate that educational developers seem to want to have is similar to that of a debate about good parenting. Exchanging views on parenting is both important and captivating, BUT never make the mistake of telling a parent what to do; in your language "applying the results of research to practice". At that point a line has been crossed.
But I have cited 2 studies of educational research which are based on evidence, not on a consensus of opinion. To which I add Kirschner and Hendrick (2020) who summarise 28 seminal studies in cognitive science and educational psychology which inform education. Kirschner, Paul A and Hendrick, Carl (2020) How learning happens: Seminal works in educational psychology and what they mean in practice. Routledge.
I think you have to accept that, despite the evidence you insist exists, educational developers are still struggling to win their arguments. What you get excited by does not excite me. Or indeed many of my colleagues who, at best, humour those who promote prescribed approaches to teaching and learning. Quite frankly many of those within your fraternity have not acquitted themselves well with teaching. This is not to say that my colleagues, or I, dismiss new ideas in teaching and learning, we often have engaging and relevant discussions about both. I think we object to evangelical impositions from our fellow academics from across campus because they infiltrate the soft underbelly of our VC's weakness, and they try infect us with views we don't share. Hence my comment about crossing lines. I would never advocate dismissing your scholarly activities. If you get excited about either the Psychology, Philosophy or Sociology of Education then good for you. If you wish to espouse the evidence you think exists then fine. If you wish to think that the eclectic use of established disciplines has formed another respectable discipline then be happy in your scholarly activities. By all means get excited by the work of others in your fraternity. Please remember, however, there are many others who do not share your views, and we all need to be respected.
I acknowledge that many university academics are poor teachers and refuse to examine evidence that would improve their teaching, but I do not respect persistence with practice which is both poor and poorly informed.
What a fascinating discussion! I'm not sure if shutting your mind to evidence just because you don't "get excited" about it is the best nor most rational strategy, Descartes. I don't get particularly excited about climate change either but this does not stop me from trying to recycle, ride my bicycle and eat less meat. Even if the field of education research is quite young it does have evidence to back it, be it highly situated to the type of institution, cohort and discipline. The field also has many arguments over methodology, the more robust studies using a triangulated model incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data (including Schaffer). There is so much to gain from learning how to teach and design education well, including a better and more nuanced understanding of the discipline you do "get excited" about.