Pedagogical meanings emerging in practice (Part 2)


Shirley O'Neill
Language and Literacies Education, Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD


PP: 001 - 003


This is the second part of two issues of the International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning in 2008 both of which relate in a variety of ways to the theme of meanings emerging in practice. This theme was the major focus of the Third International Conference on Pedagogies and Learning in Brisbane, Australia in 2007 and several articles were post-conference submissions. In this issue, Part two, there are eight anonymously peer reviewed articles and a book review. Although two articles (the third and eight) were not submitted for the conference theme they are highly pertinent to the investigation of the way pedagogical meanings are emerging in practice. Similarly, the book review highlights the longer term impact of authoritative pedagogies and learning on the mobility of both staff and students in higher education, with this article and all others strongly reflecting the current global context of cultural, economic, linguistic and political diversity and controversy that surrounds the nature of learning and the ongoing demand for particular learning outcomes.

Overall these articles cause one to reconsider the concept of learning, and the nature of pedagogies and practices for twenty-first century learning. Besides drawing attention to how learning may be conceptualised by young children in primary school, and the importance of student voice in the development of effective learning environments in schools, they draw attention to a range of issues impacting on preservice teacher education and the role and impact of ICT in learning. These papers also provide a variety of valuable insights into approaches to improve pedagogical practices across sectors, including primary, secondary and tertiary, and in particular raise awareness of issues impacting on arts education, child protection education, languages education and the use of ICT.


In his first article Caroline Lodge highlights the importance of involving students in dialogue about the concept of learning, learner expectations and their own learning as a way to help them become better learners and for teachers to become better teachers. While remaining conscious of the school improvement, accountability agenda, within which today's teachers' work, she provides an exciting and lucid description of classroom pedagogical developments that demonstrate learning through dialogue. She both emphasises that 'talk, and particularly dialogue, is a key process for developing meta-cognitive abilities relating to learning' and as a result 'teachers understand the learning of their pupils in new ways and change their pedagogy as a result'.

Article two, by Denise Murray reminds us how the use of ICT in classrooms has developed and changed over time as has the technology itself. She reports on how evidence-based practice has informed pedagogical change and in the way ICT has been used in second language learning, concluding that for effective learning 'instruction needs to be carefully scaffolded to include modelling language, explicit teaching of the characteristics of language, and feedback that is timely, specific and multimodal'. In article three, Wong Yew Leong and Charlene Tan describe their use of audio-visual media such as film and podcasts in their pedagogical approach to the challenge of teaching philosophy to secondary school students. They describe how these students learn to examine and evaluate their own reasoning as well as that of others. Besides highlighting the use of ICT they provide a convincing argument for the teaching of philosophy as contributing to students' development of critical and creative thinking skills. In the fourth article Deborah Kember reports on preliminary research into the potential of career-change pre-service teachers (people who have decided to leave an occupation to become teachers) to use their existing ICT skills in their pedagogical approach and also contribute to the upskilling of their future colleagues in the workplace. Besides highlighting the importance of teachers needing to be skilled in the integration of ICT in the learning environments they create, she explores the perceived barriers and enablers to transforming ICT skills developed in the workplace into digital pedagogies for enhanced student learning. These include students' knowledge, skills and expectations with respect to their use of ICT for teaching and learning.

The fifth article by Rachael Jacobs focuses on Arts education and the preparation of pre-service teachers. The impact of the negative perceptions of the arts and arts education that pre-service teachers' bring to their learning are discussed in relation to developing a pedagogical approach that tertiary educators find effective. In article six Donna Matthewson-Mitchell also focuses on pedagogical practices in the arts in her proposal of a pedagogical model that supports teachers in the creation of purposeful and integrated learning experiences in the context of art museums. She argues that art museums provide distinctive sites for transformative and inclusive school-based pedagogies and that this model will improve and enhance teachers' ability to use museums for learning.

Angela Fenton's article seven highlights the need for effective pedagogies in tertiary education for the preparation of pre-service teachers to address issues related to child-protection and child safety. She adapts the Strengths Approach to the education context and reports on preliminary research on its value as a pedagogical approach for pre-service teachers in early childhood education.

In article eight Shirley O'Neill explores the impact of pedagogy in languages education for English as a foreign language (EFL) on Japanese high school students' views of effective language learning strategies and cross-cultural attitudes. These results highlight the need to consider both languages education policy and pedagogy particularly with regard to EFL.

Finally, the book review by Emilio A. Anteliz, Phyllida Coombes and Patrick Danaher provides yet another insight into learning and the learner to remind one of the importance of the learning journey or pathway. Even though confined to the academic context, as noted, a 'strength of the book is the glimpses . . . that it affords of the aspirations, experiences and reflections of groups of students and staff members who have encountered academic mobility'. The contemporary learning situation is portrayed in the vivid description that these learners 'convey . . . a complex mix of hope, fear, uncertainty and commitment to exploring new understandings, set against the backdrop of cultural, economic, linguistic and political diversity and both the challenges and the opportunities that such diversity entails.'

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