Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2020-01-25T02:49:34+00:00 Daniela Gachago Open Journal Systems <p>Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles and essays that describe, theorise and reflect on teaching and learning practice in higher (university) education continentally and globally. The editors welcome contributions that are critical and well-researched, whether they are analytical, theoretical or practice-based, as well as contributions that deal with innovative and reflective approaches to higher education teaching and learning. We are particularly interested in articles that have relevance to the South African educational context.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Editorial: December 2019 2020-01-25T02:45:30+00:00 Sherran Clarence <p>Editorial for Volume 7, Issue 3, December 2019.</p> 2019-12-20T10:40:53+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Sherran Clarence Reviewer Thanks: 2019 2020-01-25T02:44:55+00:00 Sherran Clarence 2019-12-20T10:42:32+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Sherran Clarence The obstinate notion that higher education is a meritocracy 2020-01-25T02:48:24+00:00 Simpiwe Sobuwa Sioux McKenna <p>Student success is an enormous concern in light of the high drop-out rates in South African universities. There is a wealth of local and international research which provides complex explanations for these statistics, but the common-sense understanding is that those students who have the right attributes and who work hard will do well. While the notion of higher education as a meritocracy is pervasive, it is invalid given the effects of numerous other mechanisms at play in the students' educational experiences. This article draws from the literature to discuss the problems of the meritocratic explanation in how it fails to sufficiently account for the centrality of agency and the ways in which this intersects with societal structures. We argue that more useful understandings of student success and failure require social theory that acknowledges the complexities underpinning student success or failure.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Simpiwe Sobuwa, Sioux McKenna Going beyond the official domain in the search for the culture of employee learning: The case of junior support staff at a South African university 2020-01-25T02:48:59+00:00 George Mavunga <p>Based on HCT (human capital theory), employee learning and the culture associated with it in South Africa and globally have generally been researched from the perspective of the normative government or employer-initiated policies and programmes. Using Bernstein’s (2000) theory of the pedagogic device, this paper suggests the existence of different domains of learning with respect to junior support staff at a South African university. The paper also borrows from critical realism to advocate an approach which asks questions pertaining to the influence of structure and agency on the form of the culture of employee learning in different domains with respect to the junior support staff members. The answers to these questions, the paper suggests, would help with a holistic characterisation of the culture of employee learning associated with this category of employees at the South African university.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 George Mavunga Recognition of prior learning: A critique of Council on Higher Education policy provisions 2020-01-25T02:49:34+00:00 Lunga Xolisa Mantashe Vuyisile Nkonki <p>Using Margaret Archer’s constructs, namely structure, culture, and agency, this paper argues that although there are commendable structural changes in the CHE (Council on Higher Education) and RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) policy which accommodate marginalized and unstructured experiential knowledge, thus equating it with ‘scientific’ knowledge produced by the university, there remains subtle preservations of material interests of the corporate agent (CHE policy maker) and the ideas, beliefs, and theories the latter holds about the place of unstructured learning and knowledge in universities. To advance this argument, a critique is mounted on three accommodative sub-units of the CHE RPL policy, namely: the notion of exemption, residency clause, and the ten percent ceiling on the number of applicants admitted through RPL. The rare allowance for exceptional deviations to the two latter notions (by CHE) is infused in the foregoing critique. In the final analysis, a reconsideration of these provisions is suggested.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Lunga Xolisa Mantashe, Vuyisile Nkonki Exploring the development of a hybrid and synthetic meaning of citizenship at a British university law school 2020-01-25T02:47:49+00:00 Piers von Berg <p>This study uncovers a previously underappreciated role of the social experience of university in shaping undergraduates’ civic identities. A multidisciplinary theoretical approach to citizenship is used to understand an individual’s attempts to negotiate meaning along with a qualitative methodology that allowed students a voice in the data collection and analysis. The findings show that some of the most formative experiences in a student’s civic identity is their interaction with peers and friends in a diverse student community. There is also a strong influence of a culture of performativity and credentialism on students’ attitudes to learning about citizenship. Both combine in a ‘synthetic civic identity’ shaped by a mixed environment of more open-minded civic norms and an instrumental and individualist outlook towards studies. There were varying degrees of critical awareness or reflexivity around these processes. This hybrid form of civic identity stimulates and challenges current narratives of tension in higher education.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Piers von Berg Leveraging Language: Preliminary evidence from a language-based intervention at the University of Cape Town 2020-01-25T02:47:14+00:00 Emma Whitelaw Tessa Dowling Samantha Filby <p>This paper assesses the effectiveness of essay tutorials offered to first-year economics students at the UCT (University of Cape Town) in their first language (L1). All students in the study are first-language speakers of an African language. Firstly, using propensity score matching, we econometrically assess the impact of these tutorials on students’ essay marks. Although our sample size is small [n=220], our findings provide preliminary evidence of a positive impact of the intervention on a student’s final essay mark. The results show that the average gain for students who attended an essay tutorial in their L1 was 4.85%, with this result being statistically significant at the 10% significance level. Secondly, students’ perceptions of the tutorials’ effectiveness, as documented by online evaluations and focus groups, are examined. These findings suggest that allowing for unmediated L1 use in tertiary education classrooms can foster inclusivity and promote participation in otherwise largely monolingual spaces.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Whitelaw, Tessa Dowling, Samantha Filby Book review: Mclean, M., Abbas, A., Ashwin, P. 2019. Quality in Undergraduate Education: How Powerful Knowledge Disrupts Inequality. London: Bloomsbury Publishing 2020-01-25T02:46:39+00:00 Amanda Hlengwa <p>Book review of:</p> <p>Mclean, M., Abbas, A., Ashwin, P. 2019. <em>Quality in Undergraduate Education: How Powerful Knowledge Disrupts Inequality</em>. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Amanda Hlengwa Book review: Mitra, S. 2018. Disability, Health and Human Development. Palgrave MacMillan: New York. 2020-01-25T02:46:04+00:00 Lesa DeShield Givens <p>Book review of:</p> <p>Mitra, S. 2018. <em>Disability, Health and Human Development</em>. Palgrave MacMillan: New York.</p> 2019-12-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Lesa DeShield Givens