Exploring Discomfort and Care in the Experience of a National Academic Staff Development Programme


This paper explores the use of the pedagogy of discomfort and care in the Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellowships programme, an innovative staff development programme in South African higher education. Our analysis of participant experience of the programme through the lenses of the pedagogy of discomfort and care draws on reflective commentaries submitted by the participants. We found that the initial experience of discomfort was widespread despite the relative seniority of participants. Elements of care built into the programme provided important support, activated agency, and formed the basis for a network of caring relationships among participants. Participants acknowledged these relations as key to their personal and academic growth during the programme and were seeking to extend these beyond the end of the programme.


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Author Biography

Jeff Jawitz, University of Cape Town

Associate Professor Jeff Jawitz is the convenor of the Curriculum and Course Design unit in the Centre for Innovationing in Learn and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town, currently supporting the transition of UCT teaching into the online space and the integration of social justice teaching into the curriculum.  The project that has shaped his work as teacher, educational developer and researcher over the years has been to help build a transformed higher educational system in South Africa and to help overcome the obstacles that undermine efforts to succeed on the part of students and academic staff.