A Workshop as a Lever for Pedagogical Change?

The case of Active Learning: from Practice to Theory, and Back

Authored by: Roberto Di Napoli , Johan Geertsema

The Routledge International Handbook of Student-Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367200527
eBook ISBN: 9780429259371
Adobe ISBN:


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We understand Active Learning to be a constructivist pedagogical approach that moves beyond “teaching as telling,” to create conditions for learning regardless of discipline. It can be considered a concept linked to practices firmly belonging to a wider “student-centric” paradigm, in which meaning-making, concept adaptation, and the relationship between cognition and affect are pivotal tenets. These tenets are central to a workshop aimed at pedagogical enhancement: Active Learning: From Practice to Theory, and Back. The latter responds to institutional needs to enact transformative pedagogies for the enhancement of the student experience and has been very successfully received both in the UK and internationally. We illustrate this in relation to the contexts in which the authors operate: St. George’s, University of London and the National University of Singapore. While critically elucidating the structure, aims and purpose of the workshop, we ask whether this kind of initiative, however well thought out and delivered, is sufficient to shift the pedagogical culture of an institution significantly. We argue that this is possible, but only if individual initiatives are embedded within forms of policy and governance that are systemically and systematically transformational across all institutional educational activities and communities.

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