30 October 2006

Essay 2 - outcomes of success at university

Bizzell (1986) argues that in order to succeed at university it is necessary to become 'bicultural'. Critically discuss this idea drawing on relevant SSK12 materials and your own experience.

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986, "What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College?", College Composition and Communication, vol. 37, No. 3, October, pp. 294-301

What is the question about? It is about the outcomes of what might be considered success at university. It is about the importance of biculturalism to these outcomes.

What do I already know about the question? What is success at university? graduation, acquisition and production of knowledge, demonstrated learning/knowledge skills such as the ability to critically evaluate knowledge, to situate this knowledge, to present this knowledge in an acceptable manner.

How important is culture to these outcomes? The product of culture is world view. A world view is used to create sense and meaning from our knowledge. A student brings their own world view to university, and there is an academic world view at university.

What is the academic world view - that there are no 'absolutes', no right or wrong that holds good for all time and places. Academics show a willingness to question even their own thoughts, at how their data is organised and the assumptions they have made, and compare these assumptions with other academics. It is necessary for academics to adopt a common 'transactional' language and discourse conventions which both presents and creates knowledge.

What is culture? it is the everyday language, conventions and rituals of a community or group. University has its own culture, and we bring to university a world view formed by our own culture.

What is the significance of our own world view to the culture we experience at university? although academic world view is dominant, it makes us question and might even alter our world view, it is our world view that ultimately situates our knowledge, creates the meaning necessary for us to draw conclusions which we verify by comparing to the conclusions of other academics.

What might my theme or thesis be?

We go to university to acquire and communicate knowledge. We find meaning from knowledge in our background culture, and we develop and give expression to knowledge through university culture.

An important outcome of success at university is the demonstration of knowledge in such a way that it is accepted by the academic community. At university we learn that there are no absolutes with knowledge, that it is situated and it is our particular world view that situates this knowledge (substance). It is the academic world view that validates and presents this knowledge (form). The two world views must co-exist since form does not exist without substance, and substance cannot be communicated without form.

How much breadth or depth can this essay have? It needs to be discussed with reference to what I have learned in SSK12. Length 1200 words.

What we bring to university and what we take away.

What are the possible main points?

  • what it means to succeed at university
    - the main objectives, desired outcomes

  • what it means to be bicultural
    - the culture we bring with us to university
    - the culture we acquire at university

  • the necessity of becoming bicultural
    - its affect on outcomes
    - its importance on outcomes

How will I structure my answer to the question? CRITICALLY DISCUSS - give a judgement about the merits of theories or opinion, about the truth of facts, and back this judgement by a discussion of evidence.

"... in order to succeed at university it is necessary to become bicultural."

There are three parts:

  1. to succeed at university

  2. to become bicultural

  3. the effects of becoming bicultural - whether it is necessary for success

What role might my personal opinion play in this essay? How I define "success at university", the difficulty of acquiring university culture and merging it with my own culture.

26 October 2006

Analysing an essay question

Exercise 24 (pp 271-282) from A Learning Companion (Marshall, 2006)

Important because:

  • helps with research and forming initial thesis

  • helps ensure you answer the question

Developing and analysing a question:

  • what is the question about

  • what do I already know about the question

  • what might my thesis or theme be

  • how much breadth or depth can this essay have

  • what are the possible main points

  • how might I structure my answer to the question

  • what role might my personal opinions play in this assignment

Researching information

Quality is better than quantity! Avoid being overwhelmed by keeping in mind your purpose, the scope of your assignment, how much material you need, how much you can absorb and how much time you have.

Preparing for your research (from Guide to learning independently)

  • Selecting relevant material - draw up list of main points and search terms when analysing material. If you have time, peripheral info handy to get a wider overview of the topic; sometimes an idea can be illuminated with material from an unexpected source; look for material that is not obvious - avoid 'tunnel vision'.

  • Evaluating your selection - according to your objectives and its complexity

  • Buy, copy or borrow material?

  • Previewing research material - be especially careful with material on the internet (a "free-for-all"). Also start thinking about how research materials will be recorded, stored and retrieved.

  • Thinking about your audience - different genre's acceptable?]

As you work with material

  • Questioning and evaluating - interpret primary and secondary sources confidently. Above all, trust your own intelligence and common sense in questioning and evaluating research material.

  • Selecting, recording and filing information - always back up your research material. Read material and edit notes before you file them, no point keeping stuff that is not useful.

  • Organising and integrating ideas and information
    - Write a tentative thesis/theme of your essay, keep this in front of you as you work
    - Write each of the possible main points as a heading. Enter relevant information and ideas under each heading.
    - As you work, add new heading if you decide on another major point, re-organise and delete material as necessary.
    - Check number of major points you want to make against the essay length and time available. It is better to have fewer points that are well backed-up than many points that are only covered superficially.
    - Check that each main point supports thesis/theme and clearly relevant to topic/question.

  • Expressing your ideas - talking to others helps sort out your ideas and put them into words; write things down as you think of them to help you capture an idea you may use later. Trying to express your current thoughts accurately can lead you to other useful ideas.

Towards the end of your research

  • Your revised definition - review your written statement about the essay objectives and produce a revised definition; re-analyse the topic or question. Compare the definitions - is anything missing, does your revised definition still reflect your objectives for the essay. Make sure you are answering the set question or sticking to the set topic. Remember that focusing your written work around a thesis is a fundamental expectation for argumentative essays.

"An assignment is designed for a specific, limited purpose, rather than to find out all you are ever likely to know on a topic. Analysing a question and researching a topic should enable you to select from your current knowledge of that topic, even if your knowledge continues to grow and expand in areas far beyond the focus of your assignment." (Marshall, 2006 p.112)

Research Skills

  1. Technique?
    - only look for material that relates to your analysis of the question
    - refer to study materials for a starting point
    - look under relevant subject headings in library catalogue
    - check references mentioned in lectures

  2. Secondary sources?
    - websites, books, journals, newspapers, lectures, television programs, microfilm etc

  3. Primary sources?
    - experiment data, ABS, interviews, original manuscripts, contemporary records

  4. Usefulness?
    - keep question in mind throughout
    - use effective reading skills - previewing, skim reading

  5. Problems?
    - books not available
    - too much information
    - too little information

  6. How to deal with problems?

  7. Recording information?
    - keep bibliographical details on all info
    - only make notes that are relevant
    - only photocopy absolutely useful stuff

  8. Organising information?
    - develop system before you begin

Citing material from lectures

I think the trick is to consider where YOU found this source.

If you read the transcript of that lecture, then you cite as found on the heading of SSK12 reader, p.29 with the wording text of lecture

If you read it from the SKK 12 reader, then you cite the reader itself

If you were at the theatre and heard the lecture then you do not cite, because you did not get your source from something that was published, but from personal witness, so you just say: In the Murdoch Theatre #45, on March 26, 2004, during her lecture about Concepts of the Self, Prof Hobson said.

If you listen to an audio of the lecture that you got from the streaming web site of WEBCT, then you cite the website:

Hobson J, 1996, Lecture: Concepts of the Self, SSK12p3, WEBCT, http://online.murdoch.edu.au/SSK12p3/content/mod1_conc_audiolect1.htm, Murdoch University, WA (accessed October 26, 2006).

If you ordered by mail the free CD that includes the lecture, then you cite the CD as: Hobson J, 1996, Lecture: Concepts of the Self, CD. Murdoch University, WA

I am not 100% about all this, but this is my understanding as until now about citing

PS, I forgot to answer your question!,
The library has citation guides, Chicago is the one we use in SSK12

24 October 2006

Communicating at University - Lecture

Colin Beasley Snr Lecturer
Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Informal language

  • contractions

  • hesitation filler

  • personal pronouns

  • informal vocabulary

  • unqualified statements

Formal language

  • passives

  • formal vocabulary

  • hedges (qualification - "it appears")

  • nominalisation (turning other parts of speech into nouns - eg male and female -> gender)

  • evidence

  • argumentation

Register - adjusting of language according to context

Genre - constraints operating at the level of discourse structure eg. report, essay, sermon, article

Ballard & Clanchy - to be successful at university you must learn the culture of the university - when in Rome, do as the Romans.

Bizzell - bicultural means adding to your repertoire; doesn't have to be something that you take away from one when you're adding another.

23 October 2006

What happens when basic writers come to college?

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986, "What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College", College Composition and Communication, vol. 37, No. 3, October, pp. 294 - 301

What are basic writers? why do they come to college? is college in US like university in Australia? what are basic writers in Australia? what changes? who changes?

  • basic writer - "outlander"; most alien to college community

Three major problems experienced by the basic writer at college.

  1. "clash of dialects" - the problem of a preferred academic dialect (Standard English) - how something is said v. what is said.
    - go with the majority to get ahead
    - lose focus on learning when dealing with language barrier

  2. "discourse conventions" - familiar form of discourse not academically acceptable. To what extent just a surface feature, to what extent does the form of discourse generate different thoughts.
    - go with the majority to get ahead
    - address how discourse influences thought, change criteria for success in college

  3. ways of thinking - incapable of college-level thought?
    - correct cognitive 'dysfunctions' (normalise - go with majority to get ahead)
    - don't risk ignoring cultural differences, stigmatising basic writers

  • Thinking of difficulties faced by basic writer in terms of only one of these problems is a narrow approach. Thinking in terms of college as a language community sets a relationship between dialect, discourse and ways of thinking which constitute a particular world view.
    - by learning dialect and discourse conventions - new world view is acquired
    - puts difficulties into another perspective: distance between world views; resistance to change

To understand difficulties, need to ask three questions:

  1. What world views are brought to college
    - necessary to identify class and other factors sufficiently to form a hypothesis

  2. What is the world view demanded in college
    - Perry: the world is seen as a place where there are no 'Absolutes'; critical evaluations are made which result in 'Commitments'

  3. Does old world view need to be discarded in order to learn new world view
    - difficulties in maintaining old WV with the dominant academic WV
    - privileged, more powerful position in society of academic world view can be turned to advantage
    - Perry's nature of 'Commitment' - not autonomous, necessary to connect with like-minded groups for 'Commitment' to be realised, to maintain individual integrity. Maintaining ties with old world view is part of mastering the academic world view.

Adopting academic world view has difficulties which vary according to background of student. Acquisition of academic world view by the student reaps its rewards.

Uni is easier when you know how

Vivekanda, Killy & Shores, Penny, 1996, 'Introduction', 'Joseph: A strong finisher', and 'Maria: Doing what you can', Uni is easier when you know how, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, pp 3-5, 13-17 & 30-35.

What do successful students have in common?

  • find a course that suits their interests and talents

  • good time management

  • develop good networks, utilise available resources

  • make the most of opportunities

Coping with personal challenges:

Joseph - A slow start, did not attend orientation and missed out on important information which affected his studies, spent time at the student bar and fell behind. The wake-up call was when he spoke to another student who was repeating the year because he had previously failed. Worked very hard to catch up. Got involved in various activities and discovered interests which helped with his studies. Then fell ill and while recovering he had to look at time management issues. Would work in short bursts, set small and achievable goals. Gradually recovered, changed courses to one he was more interested in. He would get up early in the morning to study, over breakfast would plan what he needed to do that day and the rest of the week. Influenced by his hard working student girlfriend found he was working harder than ever and doing better than ever. Strong finish.
Maria - Mature age student juggling study with four kids; time management a challenge. Benefits from studying in short bursts - better concentration to remember things. Combined study with housework. GIve priority to task - combine review with writing assignments, easier to study for exam.

University culture - Lecture

Dr Jenny Silburn, Senior Lecturer Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Examined the Murdoch University Mission Statement.

University culture

  • a culture of collectivism, community

  • academic freedom (sometimes problematic)

  • critical thinking

  • independent learning (challenges to new students)]

  • creation of new knowledge

  • transmission of beneficial knowledge

  • learning as empowerment to the individual as well as to the community

Language - acquiring academic language empowers the student, allows them to move within the culture.

Behaviour - discourse.

Rituals - orientation, graduation

Artefacts/outputs - academic reports, research findings, applied research, debates

Strategies which enhance transition into university culture

  • quality of teaching

  • commitment of staff to student (sometimes resource issues)

  • enthusiasm and interest of staff (infectious, joy and engagement)

  • presence of clear and effective information about unit objectives and assessment

  • good orientation and transition/induction into the culture

  • successful social transition - support networks

Factors which hinder transition, or cause withdrawal

  • emotional ill health - alienation

  • university not what expected - not as glamorous etc

  • dislike of course

  • dislike of study

  • financial reasons

  • problems with daily travel

  • family commitments

Critical thinking - Lecture

Dr Liana Christensen, Lecturer in Student Learning
Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Academics begin by defining terms on a conceptual level.

  • What you already know about critical thinking
    - Ennis: "critical thinking is reflective and reasonable thinking aimed at deciding what to do or believe"
    - Reflecting, gathering evidence, surveying range of opinions, seeking appropriate advice, talking as thinking, writing as thinking
    - Critical thinking is a lifelong activity, you already know how to do it

  • What you need to know about critical thinking at university
    Critical thinking at university requires a deep engagement with generic skills and qualities, as well as careful attention to specific disciplinary orientations.
    - Deep engagement: approach a subject a) intending to understand its content (ie not cramming as much information in as you can) b) vigorously interacting with the content c) relating new ideas to previous knowledge d) relate concepts to everyday experience (points c and d are how we build a bridge to new knowledge, how we draw the knowledge in) e) relating evidence to conclusions f) examining the logic of the argument.
    - Generic skills: giving and assessing arguments (deductive and inductive), definitions, assumptions, factual claims, value claims, observation reports, generalisations, causal claims (logic), predictions, points of view; ordering and classifying information; comparing and contrasting; problem solving; asking questions; clarifying; challenging; using metacognition (thinking about thinking)

  • What critical thinking can and cannot do for you
    Will not help you become rich, popular, slim, happy or ethical.
    - Without emotional intelligence, critical thinking skills can be distorted and negative. This is not good critical thinking. Need to think critically about critical thinking!
    - Personal qualities required for critical thinking (emotional intelligence): open-mindedness, contextual sensitivity, interpersonal sensitivity, sensitivity to contrasting points of view, decisiveness, persistence, willingness to explore background knowledge.

What will mark you out as someone who has studied at university is that you've learned to research effectively and think critically.

22 October 2006

Disciplining Students: the construction of student subjectivities

Grant, Barbara, 1997, "Disciplining Students: the construction of student subjectivities", British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 18, No. 1., pp. 101-114


While university is generally seen as a place where a student has the opportunity to more fully realise their individual potential, there are tendencies for this potential to be restricted by discipline and normalisation imposed by the university and the student themself, to become what is perceived as a 'good' student. The Foucauldian view of university as a 'disciplinary block' is supported by the experiences of a group of students, which is presented to help university staff and students resist these tendencies.


  • The 'good' student - autonomous and independent, a self-reliant individual. Only the fittest survive, otherwise bad luck. If help required, the student should seek it. Does not take into account that some students have difficulty approaching staff, from position of relative weakness.

  • In contrast, Foucault's view of student-subject as one constructed from student's situatedness and shaped by power relations between student and university. The student is both subject to controls of university and subject of their own self-knowledge (as produced by, and which in turn produces the university culture).

  • Essential to the relations of power is one who can act and so there are many possible responses and positions within a relation of power.

  • Disciplining the student-subject firstly through disciplinary technologies in the Foucauldian sense of a disciplinary block. Secondly through the twin-concept of "discipline" as a form of knowledge, and a means of bringing about obedience. The university holds position of authority of particular knowledge claims.

  • Technologies of domination - enrolment, teaching practices, student submissions, exams - construct the student as a governable subject. Constant domination/surveillance has the effect of students attempting to normalise themselves through self-discipline.

  • Technologies of the self - the culture of autonomy and individualism creates students who believe success or failure lies with them. Students equate good or bad grades with being a good or bad student.

  • Power relations occur between and among acting subjects, creating possibility for resistance/insubordination.

  • Adopting a critical disposition towards the way universities teach, and produce students should be accompanied by a commitment to ongoing adaptation of practices.

20 October 2006

Understanding the nature of university essays

  • Choose and analyse essay question carefully, refer back to maintain relevance

  • read and assess other essays to understand what is expected in essay writing

  • write down your own ideas in your own words before and during research, use these notes to stimulate and clarify your thinking

(From the Guide:) Choosing and analysing a topic

  1. What is the question about?
    - examine the exact wording
    - note key terms and concepts
    - any underpinning assumptions

  2. What do I already know about the topic?

  3. What might my thesis or theme be?
    - thesis (argumentative essay), theme (expository essay)

  4. How much breadth or depth can this essay have?
    - a broad overview, or one or two facets in depth?
    - limit to what is most significant from your research

  5. What are the possible main points?
    - based on level of interest or importance, either from the question itself or your background knowledge

  6. How might I structure my answer to the question?
    - directive or process verbs in the question
    - argumentative or expository
    - how many parts to the essay

  7. What role might my personal opinions play in this assignment?
    - identify and question your biases, preconceptions

Directive Verbs

  • Analyse
    Show the essence of something, by breaking it down into its component parts and examining each part in detail

  • Argue
    Present the case for and/or against a particular proposition

  • Compare
    Look for similarities and differences between propositions

  • Contrast
    Explain differences

  • Criticise/critique
    Give your judgement about the merit of theories or opinions about the truth of facts, and back your judgement by a discussion of the evidence

  • Define
    Set down the precise meaning of a word or phrase. Show that the distinctions implied in the definition are necessary

  • Describe
    Give a detailed or graphic account

  • Discuss
    Investigate or examine by argument, sift and debate, giving reasons for and against

  • Enumerate
    List or specify and describe

  • Evaluate
    Appraise and judge different perspectives; include your opinion

  • Examine
    Present in depth and present the implications

  • Explain
    Make plain, interpret and account for in detail

  • Illustrate
    Explain and make clear by the use of concrete examples, or by the use of a figure or diagram

  • Interpret
    Bring out the meaning, and make clear and explicit; usually also giving your judgement

  • Justify
    Show adequate grounds for decisions or conclusions

  • Outline
    Give the main features or general principals of a subject, omitting minor details and emphasising structure and relationship

  • Prove
    Demonstrate truth or falsity by presenting evidence

  • Relate
    Narrate/show how things are connected to each another, and to what extent they are alike or affect each other

  • Review
    Make a survey, examining the subject critically

  • State
    Specify fully and clearly

  • Summarise
    Give a concise account of the chief points of substance of a matter, omitting details and examples

  • Trace
    Identify and describe the development or history of a topic from some point or origin

Your initial working definition. Write down:

  • Your objectives and aims of unit materials, your teacher

  • Exact full question you will research

  • Your responses to questions under these headings:
    - directive verbs in the topic
    - assumptions that seem to underpin the topic
    - key concepts of the topic
    - ways of limiting the scope of the assignment
    - possible main points
    - possible thesis or theme

18 October 2006

Concepts of the Self, Hobson

"The self is a politically, culturally, socially and historically constructed concept" - Hobson, J 1996 lecture

CRITICAL THINKING: contextualise, clarify and problematise

1. What is concept?

  • Concepts are constructed ideas or notions to create meaning; can change depending on context, place, time; self is a concept

  • Sets of concepts become theories, stories we tell to make sense of our experience

  • Shared theories turn into 'world views'

Studying at university requires the learning skills to appreciate that all knowledge is constructed within a particular culture of time.

2. What have been the different concepts of self during the history of (Western) philosophy?

  • Mediaeval world view: God/soul
    - chain of being
    - self = soul
    - fixed social identity, part of a larger story
    - participatory knowing eg. walnut (looks like brain) good for brain ailments; magical thinking

  • Modern world view: light of reason opened enlightenment
    - man becomes the measure (instead of God) with reason, ratio, science, relationship between parts
    - mind over matter: I think therefore I am (Descartes)
    - social atoms (Locke); implied social contract between individuals
    - objective knowing, relying on reason instead of the senses

  • Post-modern world view: beyond Modern understanding
    - no longer can believe in grand unified theories (eg. science's claim it has all the answers). Question science.
    - critique of rationality - does not solve all problems
    - acknowledge other ways of knowing, other cultures
    - acknowledgement of the sub/unconscious - there are parts of our own mind that we don't understand

  • Post-modern concept of self:
    - many concepts of self
    - celebrate diversity
    - context is crucial

To be that self which one truly is, Rogers

Rogers, Carl R, 1967, "'To be that self which one truly is': A therapist's view of personal goals", On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy, Constable, London, pp. 163-182

Who is Rogers? psychologist, humanistic ie concerned with the whole person; feelings, the unified self, striving for self-development. The person's view of self.


  • Title - get to the crux of who you are as a person. Define yourself. It is about our identity, how we determine it.

  • Author - humanistic psychologist. Has written books about learning by knowing yourself as a person first.

  • The date - written 1967. It is a post-modernist view, therefore still relevant today and obviously an influence since it relates to themes we are studying in SSK12!

  • Introduction - observations of a world view

  • Thesis - Rogers applies his study of clients towards people in general; that people identify their goals (and therefore define themselves) through a process of moving away from or towards thoughts/concepts that help them articulate their goals and themselves as a person.
    In defining their life goals Rogers likens the approach of his clients the people, if given the freedom of choice will ask questions and find answers by moving away from, and towards ways of 'being' that help them to articulate their goals.

  • What is a facade - a constructed view of oneself

  • How do people fight against 'ought' - by looking at the person/group that has the expectations and evaluating them.


  • Toward
    - self-direction
    - fluid process of becoming. No fixed goal/being.
    - complexity, openness -> openness to experience
    - listen to oneself inner/outer experience
    - acceptance of others appreciation for what 'is'
    - trust of oneself, individual expression
    The individual moves toward what he/she really is through an exploratory journey that is directed from within, constantly changing and appreciative/open to inner/outer experiences

  • Away
    - facade, separating self
    - oughts, expectations from others
    - expectations of society/culture
    - conformity, why
    - pleasing others
    People can define their goals by realising what they do not want to be. Move away from ways of being that are externally imposed.


  • Fixity - change only occurs when an individual 'becomes' themself

  • Evil - acceptance of feelings that are bad or negative is part of the balance in creating a harmony of good and bad. Complexity.


I think on the whole I agree with Rogers. Makes sense that we should reflect on our true being in order to develop as a person.

To be the self that one truly is, is to separate oneself from the facade, to accept the complexity of who we are, and appreciate the fluidity and experiences which make us who we are.

More or less, I think people in therapy have been driven to a certain point where they've had to break down their thoughts about themselves. Not everyone might reach this point, or find the freedom in which to explore these aspects of themselves.

Yes, does ring true. Honesty is the best policy.

Honesy, openness, acceptance - all values I try to apply to my own life and my identity of who I am. STUDY: recognise what I am NOT as a student, focus, accept, experience what I want to be.

Lecture transcript: directly addressing audience
p166 'ring true'
p188 'offer it to your consideration'

Conforming to requirements of university?

It is more about being aware of the university culture and adapting to that, rather than conforming to it. It is a good thing.

Tutor Advice for Essay 2

Hello all,

In response to a few queries about Essay 2, I have compiled the following material to (hopefully) help you pull the questions apart.

Feel free to discuss these topics with your wonderful tutors in your tutorial groups.


Phil (E-tutor)

Essay 2

**Firstly, do not wait for the feedback from Essay 1 before you start planning and working on Essay 2.

Unlike the first essay, this essay is about students in general, not about the individual student. However, if the question directs you to provide examples from your own experience, then this is what you must do.

Topic 1.

Barbara Grant (1997) asserts that the end product of university education is a 'docile' student. Critically discuss this statement with reference to ideas contained in relevant SSK12 materials on culture and universities, and your own experience of university.

READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY.NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss", "with reference to", and "your own experience".

What will your thesis be? Do you agree with Grant's statement? What is meant by "docile" student? What other words draw your attention in the question? What about "end product"? That to me, sounds like a factory production line!

Now we want you to think in terms of university culture. What is culture within the university? What examples can you think of? Remember, culture is linked to language (eg. are we expecting you to communicate ideas to us in a particular way? Yes, we want you to write academic essays!). However, remember, communication isn't just about writing. Culture is also associated with rituals. Do we have rituals at university? Yes we do, we all get to dress up as peacocks and wear silly hats when we graduate! (that"s just one example). Is critical thinking a part of university culture?

Which readings do you think would be useful, apart from Grant? Where has culture appeared before? The lectures too may be useful.

Remember too, that you are now part of the system. Have you experienced ways in which the university has tried to "make you a docile student"?

Clearly, you can see how important it is to come to grips with some of Grant's ideas before you carry on.

Topic 2

Bizzell (1986) argues that in order to succeed in university it is necessary to become "bicultural". Critically discuss this idea drawing on relevant SSK12 materials and your own experience.

READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY.NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss", "your own experience" etc.

Again, do you agree with the statement? Yes or no? Why and how? Make notes on this. Herein lies your thesis.

Pull the question apart with questions.

What does Bizzell mean by "bicultural"? What does this mean in terms of world view? Which articles may be relevant here (in addition to Bizzell?).

By the way, what do you consider a "successful" student? What does one have to do to be successful at university? Relate this to the idea of university culture and what it entails. Eg. do you think a good student would be one who engages in critical thinking? who follows all rituals? (oh oh, is there some relation to what Grant also talks about?).

Listen to Colin Beasley's lecture. There is already good discussion on this topic on the forums.

Topic 3

According to Marshall and Rowland (2006) "A university education that focuses on critical thinking is designed to encourage you to identify and question your world view with its values and assumptions" (p. 43). Critically discuss the concept of world view in academic culture and its effect on communicating at university.


NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss" etc

What is our central concept here? The concept of world view in academic culture and its effect on communicating at university.

Again, what is world view? What does it mean in terms of studying at university?

What do we mean by communicating at university?

Where does critical thinking come into play here? Look again at the quote. What articles are useful here? Warren, Brookfield and listen to the lecture by Liana Christensen.

Always remember the WHOLE question. Now, think about the skill of critical thinking. It is something that you already have, however, at university we hope to build on this. In otherwords, critical thinking is an essential component of university culture (that word again!).

I hope this is useful. You can see that the topics, although separate, are linked somewhat. This part of the unit is dealing with the idea of university 'culture'. Thus, the topics reflect this.

Again, I hope this is useful,


Phil (E-tutor)

The Health Report, Radio National Transcripts

Radio National Transcripts, The Health Report, 'The Group and the Self' (Robin Hughes and Penny Oakes) Monday 10th June 1996 (online) http://www.abc.net.au/ra/talks/8.30/helthrpt/histories/hr100696.htm [accessed 18 Sept 2006]

Who Am I
Self-categorisation theory
A process
- comparison
- stereotyping & inter group relationships
- ethnocentric, favour the 'in' group
- group identity

The question of 'who am I' can be answered by looking at the groups we identify with.

We can be a member of several groups, and have values that conflict between the two, but that is an individual thing.

We can deal with something on an individual level, and deal with it completely differently on a group level.

Groups are formed from a shared perspective or a common 'enemy'.

We lose our identity when a single group becomes all encompassing and excludes other groups, eg cults.

To lead many groups (eg politician) must appeal to a common thread.

Charting Post-Modernism, Lather

Lather, Patti, 1991, 'Charting Postmodernism', Geminist research in education: within against, Deakin university Press, Geelong, pp. 31-2

Define - valorise

A collectio of conceptual words and phrases depicting the three points of view of several different facets of existence - pre-modern (mediaeval), modern, post modern.

  • authority, source of knowledge

  • concept of self

  • history

  • economic

  • place of community/tradition

Thirteen years of wanting to know, Trudgeon

Trudgeon, Richard, 2000, 'Thirteen years of wanting to know', Why warriors lie down and die, Reprinted in SSK12 Introduction to University learning unit reader 2006, pp 69-84, Murdoch University, Perth Australia

Cross cultural communication is not merely about language, it is also about recognising a different world view.

Barriers to communication have serious implications on community health, which can be averted by recognising not only language differences, but differences in world view.

13 years search of Yolnu man, of reasons why bad kidneys, enlarged heart, why should he give up sugar, salt, cigarettes; doctors, specialists 'could not tell him'.

Trudgeon visited doctor with man and applied his knowledge of both language and world view to communicate between them.

Language - some words from one language do not exist in the other.

World view - each a product of many environmental and historical factors.

World view problems:

  • authority of doctor, patient would not question doctor or diagnosis

  • language, recording of information - understanding v. memorising words

  • misunderstanding role/relationships within Yolnu/Western cultures

  • unable to explain nature of illness by other than medical terms

  • questioning (authority, respect)

  • unfamiliar/unknown units of measurement

  • assumption of pre-knowledge

  • nature of providing information

Language problems:

  • conclusively

  • 'thick blood'

Understanding of world view essential even if language not a problem.

The knowledge nation, Christie

Christie, Michael, 2001, 'The Knowledge Nation', The Age as reprinted in SSK12 Unit Reader, 2006, Murdoch Uni

Knowledge is something you DO rather than something you HAVE. It is a process.

Aboriginal knowledge plays a vital role in the teaching and research effort of a university.

Yolngu -> ancestors
Western culture -> ancestors

Yolngu metaphors explain nature of knowledge, how produced. Corroborree - each shares own story, no-one else's to create a rich combination of perspectives.

White students studying Yolngu language and culture must learn both together. These studies help students reflect on their own environment, language, history, ancestors.

Epistemology: Yolngu knowledge wide ranging from medicine and law to pharmacology and educational theory.

Aboriginal knowledge process feeds into the university as much as the knowledge content.

Aboriginal knowledge brings the challenge to apply knowledge from rituals and tradition towards research of social and economic benefit to their community.

Identity in the age of the Internet, Turkle

Turkle, Sherry, 1995 'Introduction: Identity in the age of the Internet', in Life on the Screen as reprinted in SSK12 Unit Reader, 2006, pp 91-100, Murdoch University, Perth

Computers and specificlly the Internet change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, our communities.

Computer, as well as a tool, is also a medium on which to project our ideas and fantasies.

Virtual communities - the self is constructed, the rules of social interaction are built, not received.

Computer -> internet -> virtual worlds
Modern -> post modern

As the role of computers in our society has changed, so has the thinking of our identity.

Cultural War Zone, Wark

Wark, McKenzie, 1997, 'Cultural war zone', The Australian, Wednesday October 1, p.40

- Everything is strangely cultural (in the '90's)

What is culture?

  • the most complex word in English language (Williams)

  • signals of who we are and how we are different

  • indifference makes possible the intermingling of different cultures

  • rules in different behaviour and attitudes exist both within and outside a culture, creating 'contestation'

  • 'structure of feeling' (Williams) awareness of everything around you, and how you react

  • uses rituals and artefacts to sustain its coherence across space and time, but is not defined solely by those things.

  • Is something that must be applied to everyday life. Actions.

  • Culture mades sense of time and space for its members. Familiarity - identity? A resource for times of hardship.

Modern living -> culture wars

  • Capitalism has accelerated the changes that culture has to try and make intelligible to its members

  • 'false compensation'

  • means of resistance, hope

  • the media puts culture under stress, blurs boundaries

A complex concept, one meaning is the structure of feeling that is shared (more or less) by members of a culture to make sense of things. Culture is under stress from modern living - accelerated changes and blurred boundaries of the media.

Culture is a set of signs and rules that signal how people differ and influence behaviour between people.

Modern, urban culture is as much about indifference as it is about difference. Necessary for different cultures to 'get along'.

Cultural politics - what is accepted behaviour and attitude between cultures.

Rituals and artefacts sustain a culture's coherence across space and time, but do not define the culture.

Cultures make sense of space and time for members, and create a sense of identitiy which is a resource for dealing with good and bad fortune.

The situated self, Thiele

Lecture by Assoc Prof Beverley Thiele.

1. Concepts of situated self

BAGGAGE - beliefs, perspectives, world view. Influences the way we see things.

"A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing" - Berger

Do not see the world the same way, may not understand the way another person sees things.

University study hopes to give you the skill to recognise the gap exists.

Baggage always exists, but it is not fixed baggage. Learn from experiences.

2. Think about ways you are situated as a university student

Different disciplinary baggage can be just as hard to escape as non-academic baggage.

Despite greater skills, broader knowledge etc the baggage is still there.

Privilege/power governs knowledge relationships between people who are situated differently.

Politics of knowledge - rhetoric, objectivity, knowledge of less value - is all a game.

3. Explain implications for learning

Be aware of your baggage and that of others, be open to exploring both with a view to rethinking them.

Be sensitive to the conventions and politics of knowledge (as a student - constraints, appropriateness, whether to ask "stupid" questions) - and understand your learning is not context free.

Be active in pursuing and engaging with your learning. Don't be a tourist. Make the most of the opportunity to think.

16 October 2006

Learning and remembering

How you learn, and how you remember information relies a great deal on YOU - your interest in the subject, your state of mind and your surroundings.

Reflection is vital to learning and remembering.

The information we comprehend is filtered by our world view, our senses, whether we have an active interest in the subject and how we feel.

We remember information because - it gives us pleasure, or we are interested in the subject; we apply ourselves to learning the information for work; or we are required to know the information, for example uni.


  • Pre-requisites for learning
    What is important to you
    When you are ready
    A way that suits you
    Building on what you already know
    Suspend the filter

  • Selecting what to learn
    Clarify question, objectives
    Select information that needs to be remembered
    How information is to be recorded and retrieved

  • Learning thoroughly - Once selected, the information needs to be learned thoroughly. Do what you can to sustain interest - make into a game or challenge.

  • Different ways for the same material - Repeat in different ways - read, listen, speak. Repeated and different ways helps understanding and memory.

  • Patterns and principles - Summarise visually

  • Study session techniques - Recognise different material cater for it

  • Memory keys - a precis of the information

  • Transferring what you learn - repeat and apply