Group processes in higher education: The uses of theory
Subject specialists have been too dismissive of the experiential dimension of learning, and the advocates of experiential learning have had too little to say about knowledge. This article suggests a possible common ground. Academic subjects are reproduced within the systems of relations established in the classroom, and both students and in the widest sense learning suffer from the replication of taken-for-granted forms of dialogue and exclusion. Yet the study of group relations does not in itself necessarily open up the critical epistemological questions that would need to be addressed if we were to re-invigorate our practices of knowing. What is needed is a study of group relations which in turn takes seriously the questions about language, and about the constitution of social forms through discourse which are raised in contemporary literary theory. The article sketches a partnership between group relations and theory which could give us new insights into teaching and learning as discursive practices, into the power relations of the classroom, and into the sources of academic success and failure.
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