In medicine, concern about preserving the humanity, empathy, and moral reasoning of prospective doctors during their medical education has spawned the field of medical humanities. Building on the logic of the medical humanities, I propose an educational humanities to support the relational, emotional, and ethical bases of teaching practice in higher education.
Through this experiential workshop, we will consider the potential for an analogous “educational humanities” as an approach to attuning university teachers’ emotional and ethical sensitivity and surfacing alternatives to dominant narratives, such as the student-as-consumer. Discussions of poems, for example, can provide rare spaces for staff to critically reflect on their profession, its demands, and the kind of professional they want to be in this context. Poems are particularly useful because, like real life ethical dilemmas, they are emotionally evocative and open to different interpretations. As examples, we will discuss several poems from Quinlan’s 2016 book, How Higher Education Feels, that represent a dilemma in teaching. We will consider how this approach can be integrated into professional development programmes for academics, particularly for teaching about values.
Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan is Reader in Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent.
She holds a PhD in Education from the Stanford School of Education and has researched teaching and learning in higher education for more than 20 years. She has led educational development programmes at The Australian National University, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University of Oxford and served as Educator-in- Residence (August 2014) at the National University of Singapore. Her recent work focuses on emotions in learning and teaching in higher education. She is researching what interests students about their subject and about studying in higher education, as well as the link between teachers’ emotions and their values. She edited the book, How Higher Education Feels: Commentaries on Poems that Illuminate Emotions in Learning and Teaching (Sense Publishers, 2016). Read more...