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Improving the possibility of better teaching by investigating the nature of student learning: with reference to procedural understanding in politics in higher education

Cloonan, M., and Davies , I. (1998) Improving the possibility of better teaching by investigating the nature of student learning: with reference to procedural understanding in politics in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 3 (2). pp. 173-183. ISSN 1470-1294 (doi:10.1080/1356215980030204 )

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1356215980030204

Abstract

We argue that it would be possible and useful for teachers of Politics to establish structured investigations into the nature of learning. We suggest a way in which such investigations can be undertaken. These investigations are important as they would lead to a greater understanding of how students learn and suggest ways in which teaching can be improved. We discuss how such investigations can be conducted by making particular reference to procedural understanding of Politics in higher education. Procedural (or second order) concepts (such as evidence, interpretation) are distinct from substantive concepts which relate more narrowly to the study of particular issues (such as government or war). Ways in which procedural concepts can be identified are explained. We argue that students' learning will benefit if a series of levels of understanding can be proposed for each of those concepts. Work emerging from the Case Study Project based within the Department of Politics at the University of York is discussed as an example of one possible context for undertaking this necessary work. Ways of establishing an investigation are outlined and it is hoped that the article will prompt some collaborative work in the cause of more effective teaching and learning. The need for this work is obvious at a time when the space between some innovations and quality audits is not characterised by sufficiently fundamental thought on the nature of what is being taught and learned.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Cloonan, Prof Martin
Authors: Cloonan, M., and Davies , I.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Journal Name:Teaching in Higher Education
ISSN:1470-1294

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