TITLE: THE SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION: ON ITS CONSTITUTION AND TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL
EDITORS: Shirley Booth and Laurie Woollacott
PUBLISHER: SUN Media under the imprint SUN PRESS. First edition 2015. SA Price: R250.00
The book introduces Earnest L. Boyer in 1990, as the creator of the concept of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and goes on to show the historical and social evolution of the idea. The notion has grown to encompass many different views of the nature of SoTL since then. The book deals with the philosophical underpinnings that gave rise to SoTL and traverses thinking on the issue from Aristotle to the current times. The Aristotelian view that ‘Man by nature cannot be without others’ concurs with the African philosophy of Ubuntu and is reflected in the assumptions that underpin UNESCO's recommendations for Higher Education that, “Higher Education personnel …. are expected to enhance the observance in society of the cultural, economic, social , civil and political rights of all people.”
In the chapter “Invitational Pedagogy” by Teboho Pitso, he avers that, “The basis of developing the alternative pedagogy was mainly to restore students’ agentic and discretionary power through creating learning environments where students could engage in independent research. Invitational dialogic constructions were central to these efforts.” He succinctly puts forward the case for SoTL and invitational learning in the creative approach he uses in his ‘learnshops’.
Chapters 4 will be of interest to those in teacher education specifically and those in the field of education generally. Laurie Woollacott presents an interesting case study in MEDIATED INTERACTION GROUPS (MIGs). His findings suggest that this innovative pedagogy (MIG) has a potential impact on educational practice.
The rest of the chapters consider SoTL and transformation through a range of pedagogical approaches in the Health Sciences, Engineering, Teacher Education and in Academic Development. Overall the book is an interesting account of the historical and philosophical aspects of SoTL together with real pedagogical experiences of academics in the field. It confirms for those of us in higher education that we influence, just as much as we are influenced by those with whom we converse at a given moment and that our influences range over the scope of the human condition – morals, habits and the political condition.
In the final chapter, the editors, Booth and Woolacott summarize by considering the five core domains and two contextual domains of SoTL. The core domains are: didactic, epistemic, social, moral and ethical and finally societal. The contextual domains are the disciplinary and professional.
They conclude that SoTL has a bearing on the status of the profession and the potential for its transformation, at the individual, the institutional and the societal levels.
For those who want a deeper understanding of where SoTL started, and where it is now, the first chapter is lovely. it is also useful for those who want to incorporate it into their teaching, and to make teaching more invitational, this is a book to buy.