AIOU Solved Assignments 1 & 2 Code 8625 Spring 2019. Solved Assignments code 8625 Higher education 2019. Allama iqbal open university old papers.
Course Higher Education (8625)
Level B.Ed (1.5Year)
Semester autumn 2018
Assignment no 01
Q.1Justify the need of university ina society with argument from pakistan perspective.
Education system of Pakistan:
The education system of Pakistan is comprised of 260,903 institutions and is facilitating 41,018,384 students with the help of 1,535,461 teachers. The system includes 180,846 public institutions and 80,057 private institutions. Hence 31% educational institutes are run by private sector while 69% are public institutes.
Analysis of education system in Pakistan
Pakistan has expressed its commitment to promote education and literacy in the country by education policies at domestic level and getting involved into international commitments on education. In this regard national education policies are the visions which suggest strategies to increase literacy rate, capacity building, and enhance facilities in the schools and educational institutes. MDGs and EFA programmes are global commitments of Pakistan for the promotion of literacy.
A review of the education system of Pakistan suggests that there has been little change in Pakistan’s schools since 2010, when the 18th Amendment enshrined education as a fundamental human right in the constitution. Problems of access, quality, infrastructure and inequality of opportunity, remain endemic.
A) MDGs and Pakistan
Due to the problems in education system of Pakistan, the country is lagging behind in achieving its MDGs of education. The MDGs have laid down two goals for education sector:
Goal 2: The goal 2 of MDGs is to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) and by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. By the year 2014 the enrolment statistics show an increase in the enrolment of students of the age of 3-16 year while dropout rate decreased. But the need for increasing enrolment of students remains high to achieve MDGs target. Punjab is leading province wise in net primary enrolment rate with 62% enrolment. The enrolment rate in Sindh province is 52%, in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK) 54% and primary enrolment rate in Balochistan is 45%.
Goal 3: The goal 3 of MDGs is Promoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. It is aimed at eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 and in all levels of education not later than 2015. There is a stark disparity between male and female literacy rates. The national literacy rate of male was 71% while that of female was 48% in 2012-13. Provinces reported the same gender disparity. Punjab literacy rate in male was 71% and for females it was 54%. In Sindh literacy rate in male was 72% and female 47%, in KPK male 70% and females 35%, while in Balochistan male 62% and female 23%.
B) Education for All (EFA) Commitment
The EFA goals focus on early childhood care and education including pre-schooling, universal primary education and secondary education to youth, adult literacy with gender parity and quality of education as crosscutting thematic and programme priorities.
EFA Review Report October 2014 outlines that despite repeated policy commitments, primary education in Pakistan is lagging behind in achieving its target of universal primary education. Currently the primary gross enrolment rate stands at 85.9% while Pakistan requires increasing it up to 100% by 2015-16 to fulfil EFA goals. Of the estimated total primary school going 21.4 million children of ages 5-9 years, 68.5% are enrolled in schools, of which 8.2 million or 56% are boys and 6.5 million or 44% are girls. Economic Survey of Pakistan confirms that during the year 2013-14 literacy remained much higher in urban areas than in rural areas and higher among males.
C) Vision 2030
Vision 2030 of Planning Commission of Pakistan looks for an academic environment which promotes the thinking mind. The goal under Vision 2030 is one curriculum and one national examination system under state responsibility. The strategies charted out to achieve the goal included:
- Increasing public expenditure on education and skills generation from 2.7% of GDP to 5% by 2010 and 7% by 2015.
- Re-introduce the technical and vocational stream in the last two years of secondary schools.
- Gradually increase vocational and technical education numbers to 25-30% of all secondary enrolment by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2030.
- Enhance the scale and quality of education in general and the scale and quality of scientific/technical education in Pakistan in particular.
Problems: The issues lead to the comprehension of the problems which are faced in the development of education system and promotion of literacy. The study outlines seven major problems such as:
1) Lack of Proper Planning: Pakistan is a signatory to MDGs and EFA goals. However it seems that it will not be able to achieve these international commitments because of financial management issues and constraints to achieve the MDGs and EFA goals.
2) Social constraints: It is important to realize that the problems which hinder the provision of education are not just due to issues of management by government but some of them are deeply rooted in the social and cultural orientation of the people. Overcoming the latter is difficult and would require a change in attitude of the people, until then universal primary education is difficult to achieve.
3) Gender gap: Major factors that hinder enrolment rates of girls include poverty, cultural constraints, illiteracy of parents and parental concerns about safety and mobility of their daughters. Society’s emphasis on girl’s modesty, protection and early marriages may limit family’s willingness to send them to school. Enrolment of rural girls is 45% lower than that of urban girls; while for boys the difference is 10% only, showing that gender gap is an important factor.
4) Cost of education: The economic cost is higher in private schools, but these are located in richer settlements only. The paradox is that private schools are better but not everywhere and government schools ensure equitable access but do not provide quality education
5) War on Terror: Pakistan’s engagement in war against terrorism also affected the promotion of literacy campaign. The militants targeted schools and students; several educational institutions were blown up, teachers and students were killed in Balochistan, KPK and FATA. This may have to contribute not as much as other factors, but this remains an important factor.
6) Funds for Education: Pakistan spends 2.4% GDP on education. At national level, 89% education expenditure comprises of current expenses such as teachers’ salaries, while only 11% comprises of development expenditure which is not sufficient to raise quality of education.
7) Technical Education: Sufficient attention has not been paid to the technical and vocational education in Pakistan. The number of technical and vocational training institutes is not sufficient and many are deprived of infrastructure, teachers and tools for training. The population of a state is one of the main elements of its national power. It can become an asset once it is skilled. Unskilled population means more jobless people in the country, which affects the national development negatively. Therefore, technical education needs priority handling by the government.
Poverty, law and order situation, natural disasters, budgetary constraints, lack of access, poor quality, equity, and governance have also contributed in less enrolments.
An analysis of the issues and problems suggest that:
The official data shows the allocation of funds for educational projects but there is no mechanism which ensures the proper expenditure of those funds on education.
- The existing infrastructure is not being properly utilized in several parts of the country.
- There are various challenges that include expertise, institutional and capacity issues, forging national cohesion, uniform standards for textbook development, and quality assurance.
- The faculty hiring process is historically known to be politicized. It is because of this that the quality of teaching suffers and even more so when low investments are made in teachers’ training. As a result teachers are not regular and their time at school is not as productive as it would be with a well-trained teacher.
Aiou Solved Assignments 1 & 2 code 8625 Autumn 2018
Q.2 Highlight the significance of research and suggest some ways to promote reaserch in higher education institution in Paksitan.
Significance of Research in Research Methodology
“All progress is born of inquiry. Doubt is often better than overconfidence, for it leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to invention” is a famous Hudson Maxim in context of which the significance of research can well be understood. Increased amounts of research make progress possible. Research inculcates scientific and inductive thinking and it promotes the development of logical habits of thinking and organization.
The role of research in several fields of applied economics, whether related to business or to the economy as a whole, has greatly increased in modern times. The increasingly complex nature of business and government has focused attention on the use of research in solving operational problems. Research, as an aid to economic policy, has gained added importance, both for government and business.
Research provides the basis for nearly all government policies in our economic system. For instance, government’s budgets rest in part on an analysis of the needs and desires of the people and on the availability of revenues to meet these needs. The cost of needs has to be equated to probable revenues and this is a field where research is most needed. Through research we can devise alternative policies and can as well examine the consequences of each of these alternatives.
Another area in government, where research is necessary, is collecting information on the economic and social structure of the nation. Such information indicates what is happening in the economy and what changes are taking place. Collecting such statistical information is by no means a routine task, but it involves a variety of research problems. These day nearly all governments maintain large staff of research technicians or experts to carry on this work.
Promote Capacity for Research-Based Practice in Teaching and Learning.
In order to promote research capacity relating to teaching and learning the first priority was to develop a teaching and learning research orientated consciousness among staff. Initially this was accomplished via socialization in certificated courses on teaching and learning which require a minimum level of pedagogic research for successful completion. Through these courses, staff are encouraged to think of their professional practice as requiring investigation and evaluation using relevant theoretical frameworks with which to reflect on and analyse their teaching. In one of the two institutions, opportunities also exist for more experienced staff to engage in masters level programmes in which they must demonstrate (inter alia) high level critical reflection on the interrelationship between theory and practice and the ability to take and implement decisions based on analysis and investigation (O’Reilly, 1996). For many staff in these institutions their first published pedagogic research has been a paper originally submitted as part of the coursework of a certificate or master’s programme.
One implication of having staff in many departments across the institution engaged in pedagogic research is that there needs to be a mechanism whereby their publications can be recognised for the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). We discuss below some of the difficulties inherent in the current RAE which militate against the achievement of full recognition of pedagogic research, nevertheless in the case studies being reported here attempts were made to ensure that staff who were isolated within their subject departments and undertaking research into learning and teaching could count towards the RAE by being recorded under the education unit of assessment. Funding received from the RAE was then redistributed to each of the staff who contributed to the
Another approach to building research capacity is the appointment of Visiting Professors and Fellows whose responsibility is to lead the pedagogic research agenda through advice and guidance to staff and deliver a professorial lecture in the area of scholarship of teaching and learning. They also assist in the development of proposals for external funding and by being associated with applications for research grants. Bringing their experience, reputation and expertise from more research intensive universities lends weight and credibility to the application process for institutions that lack the track record in applying for large scale grants.
Further Discussion on Capacity Building
The case studies we have described above provide a model for increasing research capacity in teaching and learning in higher education, however it is important to recognise that they both represent a significant commitment by the institutions within which they are situated. In both instances the two universities have had Educational Development Centres for seven years. It was within these Centres that the strategies for creating the capacity for research in teaching and learning were developed, taken forward, monitored and evaluated. The investment by the institutions included funding for the EDCs and a budget for the various programmes we have described. Nonetheless it is also important to note that the funds for the internal teaching and learning grant programmes were rarely more than a couple of thousand pounds. Most were a type of seed grant to assist staff in preparing for applying for ‘real’ money from outside grant sources.
An additional factor which must be recognised as important in building the research capacity is the need to overcome resistance to the creation of what is perceived as yet another demand on staff. The current climate of continuing change in higher education has resulted in increasing pressures and a constant conflict of competing demands for staff time. Some of these include external demands from the QAA for subject review, the requirements of the publication regime for the RAE, the increasing numbers of students and the decreasing resource per student. Internal pressures are often evident in the perception by department heads/ higher ranking colleagues that pedagogic research is of little value to the research agenda – particularly in relation to the RAE. The rules of the RAE and the failure of panels to give full recognition to pedagogic research within the areas of assessment (Yorker, 1999) has also meant that departmental heads sometimes steer their staff away from researching pedagogic practice.
Aiou Solved Assignments 1 & 2 code 8625
Q.3 critically discuss the provision for higher education in national education policy 1998-2010.
Salient Features of
National Education Policy 1998-2010
Aims and objectives of Education and Islamic Education
Education and training should enable the citizens of Pakistan to lead their lives according to the teachings of Islam as laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah and to educate and train them as a true practicing Muslim. To evolve an integrated system of national education by bringing Deena Madras and modern schools closer to each stream in curriculum and the contents of education. Naira Qur’an will be introduced as a compulsory component from grade I-VIII while at secondary level translation of the selected verses from the Holy Qur’an will be offered.
Literacy and Non-Formal Education
Eradication of illiteracy through formal and informal means for expansion of basic education through involvement of community. The current literacy rate of about 39% will be raised to 55% during the first five years of the policy and 70% by the year 2010 Functional literacy and income generation skills will be provided to rural women of 15 to 25 age group and basic educational facilities will be provided to working children. Functional literacy will be imparted to adolescents (10-14) who missed out the chance of primary education. The existing disparities in basic education will be reduced to half by year 2010.
About 90% of the children in the age group (5-9) will be enrolled in schools by year 2002-03. Gross enrolment ratio at primary level will be increased to 105% by year 2010 and Compulsory Primary Education Act will be promulgated and enforced in a phased manner. Full utilization of existing capacity at the basic level has been ensured by providing for introduction of double shift in existing school of basics education. Quality of primary education will be improved through revising curricula, imparting in-service training to the teachers, raising entry qualifications for teachers from matriculation to intermediate, revising teacher training curricula, improving management and supervision system and reforming the existing examination and assessment system.
One model secondary school will be set up at each district level. A definite vocation or a career will be introduced at secondary level. It would be ensured that all the boys and girls, desirous of entering secondary education, become enrolled in secondary schools. Curriculum for secondary and higher secondary will be revised and multiple textbooks will be introduced.
to increase the effectiveness of the system by institutionalizing in-service training of teachers, teacher trainers and educational administrators through school clustering and other techniques. To upgrade the quality of pre-service teacher training programmes by introducing parallel programmes of longer duration at post-secondary and post-degree levels i.e. introduction of programs of FA/SC education and BA/BSc education . The contents and methodology parts of teacher education curricula will be revised.
Technical and Vocational Education
to develop opportunities for technical and vocational education in the country for producing trained manpower, commensurate with the needs of industry and economic development goals. To improve the quality of technical education so as to enhance the chances of employment of Technical and vocational Education (TVE) graduates by moving from a static, supply-based system to a demand-driven system. Revision and updating of curricula shall be made a continuing activity to keep pace with changing needs of the job market and for accommodating the new developments.
Access to higher education shall be expanded to at least 5% of the age group 17-23 by the year 2010. Merit shall be the only criterion for entry into higher education. Access to higher education, therefore, shall be based on entrance tests. Reputed degree colleges shall be given autonomy and degree awarding status. Degree colleges shall have the option to affiliate with any recognized Pakistani university or degree awarding institution for examination and award of degrees. To attract highly talented qualified teachers, the university staff will be paid at higher rates than usual grades. Local M.Phil.
Computers shall be introduced in secondary schools in a phased manner. School curricula shall be revised to include recent developments in information technology, such as software development, the Information Super Highway designing Web Pages, etc
Library and Documentation Services
School, college and university libraries shall be equipped with the latest reading materials/services. Internet connection with computer shall be given to each library. Mobile library services for semi-urban and remote rural areas shall be introduced.
Private Sector in Education
Encouraging private investment in education. There shall be regulatory bodies at the national and provincial levels to regulate activities and smooth functioning of privately-managed schools and institutions of higher education through proper rules and regulations. A reasonable tax rebate shall be granted on the expenditure incurred on the setting-up of educational facilities by the private sector. Matching grants shall be provided for establishing educational institutions by the private sector in the rural areas or poor urban areas through Education Foundations. Existing institutions of higher learning shall be allowed to negotiate for financial assistance with donor agencies in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
the National Education Testing Service will be established to design and administer standardized tests for admission to professional institutions. Qualifying these tests will become a compulsory requirement for entry to professional education. This mechanism is expected to check the incidence of malpractice in examinations. Likewise, standardized tests shall be introduced for admission to general education in universities.
Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation
a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system has been envisaged from grass-roots to the highest level. The District Education Authority will be established in each district to ensure public participation in monitoring and implementation. The education Ministers at the Federal and Provincial levels will oversee monitoring committees, responsible for implementation at their levels. The Prime Minister and Provincial Chief Ministers will be the Chief of National and Provincial Education Councils respectively which will ensure achievements of targets.
Aiou Solved Assignments code 8625 Autumn 2018
Q.4 Explain the system of higher education in German. How this system is different from the system of education in other developed countries.
Higher education system in Germany
Germany is a federal country. German higher education sector is regulated partly at federal, but predominantly at state level.
- Universities (Universitäten)
these institutions offer the whole range of academic disciplines. In the German tradition, universities focus in particular on basic research so that advanced stages of study have mainly theoretical orientation and research-oriented components.
- Universities of Applied Sciences.
These institutions concentrate their study programmes in engineering and other technical disciplines, business-related studies, social work, and design areas.
The common mission of applied research and development implies a distinct application-oriented focus and professional character of studies, which include integrated and supervised work assignments in industry, enterprises or other relevant institutions.
- Universities of
Art/Music (Knut- und Musikhochschulen)
These institutions offer studies for artistic careers in fine arts, performing arts and music; in such fields as directing, production, writing in theatre, film, and other media; and in a variety of design areas, architecture, media and communication.
Besides these three main types, which may be either state institutions or private institutions recognised by the state, some special categories exist, like church-maintained colleges, universities of cooperative education (Berufsakademien), colleges of education or colleges of public administration. In their operations, including the organisation of studies and the designation and award of degrees, all types are subject to higher education legislation.
Types of programmes
German higher education used to be offered in integrated “long” (one-tier) programmes leading to Diplom- or Magister Artium degrees or completed by a Staatsprüfung (State Examination).
German higher education is currently adapting to the three cycle degree system of the European Higher Education Area. Therefore, the old one-tier programmes are successively being replaced by a the new system. Bachelor and Master’s programmes are now offered at most institutions instead of the integrated “long” programmes, except for most study programmes in law and medicine. The Bachelor and Master’s programmes are designed to provide an enlarged variety and flexibility to students in planning and pursuing educational objectives and they also intend to enhance international compatibility of studies and thus international mobility. Increasingly, higher education institutions offer study programs taught in English to attract a larger number of incoming students. Doctorate or PhD programmes are for the most part not yet subject to state regulations, but there exists a clear trend towards more integrated programmes.
- Alternative schools “Ersatzschulen”. Providing equal lessons and courses as public secondary schools.
- Complementary schools “Ergänzungsschulen”. Teaching additional courses, despite those that are also offered in the public secondary schools.
Which are the Objectives of the German Secondary Education?
Lower secondary education in Germany, as its core mission has the fundamental education, individual specialization, and identification of individual abilities amongst children.
German secondary education objectives are achieved by:
- Engaging children intellectually, emotionally and physically.
- Teaching them independence, decision making, as well as personal, social and political responsibility.
- Assisting them in attaining their educational goals.
- Supporting them in advancing their specialist knowledge.
Upper secondary education offered during 2 full-time years by the German vocational high-schools “Berufliches Gymnasium” prepares youngsters to get a vocational qualification for a skilled work as qualified staff “Fachgebundene Hochschulreife”. Such qualification allows them to get a job in a profession requiring a formal qualification. The same time, such qualification can lead into a university entrance qualification, if the holder shows a good command on a second foreign language. Additionally, with such qualification the holder can study in a technical university, but before that, they’ve to study for 2 years until they get a maturity certificate “Mittlerer Schulabschluss”.
Which is the Grading system in the German Secondary School
The progress of pupils in the German secondary schools is evaluated upon a 6-mark grading system as follows:
- 1 (very good).
- 2 (good).
- 3 (satisfactory).
- 4 (adequate).
- 5 (poor).
- 6 (very poor).
What Makes a Tertiary Education in Germany?
German tertiary education in Germany provides higher education for qualifying individuals, who before all, have completed secondary education in Germany or abroad which entitles them to enter higher education studies.
Who’s Responsible for Supervision of German Tertiary Education?
Higher education institutions under the Basic law enjoy the autonomy to independently manage the scholarship awarding, research and teaching activity.
For administrative issues, such as academic and governmental matters, these institutions have to be in accord with the Lander’s ministry.
Which Are the Institutions of German Tertiary Education?
Higher education studies (tertiary education providers) in Germany are named the recognized institutions providing higher education study courses leading to a profession that addresses needs of the local and international labour market.
Germany’s education providers, recognized as Higher Education Institutions are:
- Universities “Universitäten” and Equal Institutions.
- “Technische Hochschulen”/”Technische Universitäten”.
- “Pädagogische Hochschulen”.
- Theological colleges.
- Universities of Applied Sciences “Fachhochschulen”.
What Are German Universities and Equal Institutions Specialized In?
German universities are higher education institutions providing wide range of study courses. Equivalent institutions to universities offer a minor number of study courses, i.e. natural and engineering, theology, pedagogy, or alike.
What Are Colleges of Art and Music in Germany Specialized In?
German colleges of art and music are higher education institutions delivering study courses for education of the future artists or musicians, including teachers of art or music. Some of these institutions teach all art subjects and some others only certain study subjects of such area.
German colleges or art and music offer the following study courses:
- Visual, design and performing arts.
- Film, television and media.
- Theoretical studies, through the following core subjects:
- Fine arts.
- Art history and art pedagogy.
Aiou Solved Assignments 1 & 2 Autumn 2018 code 8625
Q.5 Analyze comparatively four mode of university .Exlpain each of them with examples.
In the classroom we as teachers spend much of our time explaining, analyzing, and debating the factual accuracy, rational coherence, and overall sense of the texts we present, read, and examine. In a seminar teacher and students are seated in chairs separated by the span of the table; in lectures we stand before a seated audience uniformly facing us. Preparing for class, both teacher and student have been sitting at desks and bringing our minds to bear on the readings that will be lectured upon, discussed, and for which papers will be written. All of this is designed to maximize the sense of equidistance among the students and the sense of distanced objectivity; it also subordinates personal contact and engagement to intellectual demands.
and papers likewise tend to emphasize the importance of consistency and
analytical clarity. Although there is increasing flexibility in style and
genre, assigned paper topics generally place a premium on theoretical mastery
and the careful analysis of textual evidence.
Thus, within the framework of our institutional practices-in lectures, discussions, reading texts, and evaluating written work-our primary mode of engaging undergraduate students is intellectual, and students naturally strive first and foremost to grasp textual ideas in terms of their logical relationships and coherence.
The texts that we examine in religious studies, however, often contain knowledge that was not appropriated in a primarily or exclusively intellectual mode. Texts conveying knowledge of ritual, visions, dreams, personal encounters, and the like may appeal to intuition, emotion, and bodily or somatic awareness as much as to intellectual understanding. Different genres emphasize different modes of knowledge. Journals, essays about personal experiences, and fiction often appeal equally to a differentiated sense of affect as to intellect. Poetry and works of devotion frequently represent a blend of intuition and affect. Manuals on ritual and meditation speak of somatic appropriation. All texts are subject to intellectual analysis, but the full range of their contents may not be accessible to the rational intellect alone.
The representation of texts in religious studies occurs at the historical intersection of complex practices. On the one hand, the secular, liberal, democratic university based largely on the ideal of public, equal access to objective bodies of knowledge could not have been created without the distance and universality thought to be afforded by the rational intellect. On the other, the content of texts in religious studies indicate that other modes may be involved. The intellect has tended to be regarded as objective, while intuition, affect, and somatic understanding have been relegated to the problematic sphere of the subjective or even the irrational. Yet these other modes of knowledge suggest a logic each unto its own, highly differentiated and consistent within its own sphere.
Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that these other modes are completely excluded from undergraduate education. In fact, it would be impossible to engage students meaningfully in their subject matter without some appeal to the intuitive sense and emotional impact of textual ideas. This is especially true in religious studies. Thus, we intersperse our explanations with analogies, illustrations, and stories to evoke interest, wonder, empathetic understanding, appreciation, disgust, and humor in our students. But there are limits to the extent to which we can ask students to become engaged. One might explain William James’ conception of prayer in the Varieties of Religious Experience and convey some intuitive sense of the world of meaning that it constitutes for him. However, it would be going too far to insist that students identify with James’ sense that prayer is “the very movement itself of the soul . contact with the mysterious power. Similarly, one might explain the logic and sense of a Zen Buddhist meditation manual, but it would be inappropriate to require that students engage in formal training in meditation techniques.
The religious studies curriculum of the contemporary American university provides access to a wider range of texts in religious studies than ever before, but we are far from having worked out the problem of how and to what extent knowledge of these texts can be conveyed. This essay represents a preliminary attempt to consider three questions related to this problem: What is the relationship between different modes of knowledge in the pedagogy of religious studies? Whence does the teacher derive her or his knowledge of texts in religious studies? And how does one bring different texts into conversation with one another?
The Relationship between Different Modes
Thus far the intellectual, intuitive, affective, and somatic modes of appropriating knowledge have been mentioned. There may be many others, but I have found it a useful point of departure to begin with these four. In terms of working with students towards an understanding of texts, I have also identified a general sequence of progression between these modes, although exceptions are frequent enough. In actual practice there is a shifting back and forth between modes rather than a smooth linear development, and more than one mode is usually operating simultaneously. I have nevertheless found the following schematization helpful.
The first mode of engagement is intellectual, since students usually seek to work out the conceptual relationships between ideas before they can fully enter the world of the text.
Once a general framework has been established at this level, the students can start to explore individual ideas and themes within the larger context. That is to say, they begin to internalize a map of meaning by means of which they can intuit the sense and meaning of individual pieces in light of the whole. A map, however, can be no more than a crude approximation of the actual landscape.
In order to see what it might be like to actually traverse and live in the world represented by the text, students need to become responsive to the shades of emotion found therein; this is probably the most difficult area to facilitate on the part of the instructor. In order to engage students and to present a sophisticated rendering of the text, the teacher must open the possibility to affective engagement but not coerce students into emotional identification. It is difficult, for example, to appreciate the passion with which Simone Weil pursues her philosophical endeavors without having some inkling of the suffering undergone by the factory workers with whom she toiled; at the same time, it would be sermonizing to tell students that they must confront the class conflicts at work in their own lives. As mentioned earlier, one means of providing the opportunity for affective engagement without forcing students is to give illustrations and analogies as indirect channels of access.
While somatic modes of acquiring knowledge are integral to athletics, performing arts, and the like, we rarely attempt to engage students at this level in religious studies. At the same time, many students become highly intrigued by the possibility of engagement at the somatic level, such as what it might mean to do meditation. On the one hand, it is enticing precisely because somatic engagement is excluded, and students feel that their overburdened minds are cutoff from their bodies; on the other, somatic knowledge seems to some to provide a more intimate, deeper knowledge of the ideas represented in the texts they study.
It should be noted here that somatic engagement does not entail an exclusively or even predominantly sympathetic attitude towards the object of study. The practices associated with virtually any idea can have both positive and negative effects, and one can often gain the deepest and most critical understanding of these effects at the somatic level of engagement. The violinist who is competing for a chair in a major professional orchestra knows intimately both the beauty of playing Stravinsky’s The Firebird and the almost cruel demands of practice and competition that pervade the professional world of concert performance. Similarly, some of the harshest and most incisive critics of religious traditions have come from adherents and former adherents of these traditions. All of this is further complicated by the fact that the ideological practices that have produced texts used in religious studies not infrequently mask the darker side of the ideas they propound. Peter Berger has suggested that the true adherent must also be the harshest critic, one who obeys “the heretical imperative.” This is one reason why the application of external perspectives and theories to critique ideas represented in a text plays an important role.
My pedagogical strategy in negotiating the four modes has been to bring the intellectual and intuitive modes of engagement fully into the classroom, to open possibilities for affective engagement through lecture and discussion, and to provide opportunities for deeper affective and somatic engagement at the individual level when queried. If a student comes in during office hours expressing interest in doing Zen meditation, then I will provide information about nearby meditation centers. If she or he would like to meet a Buddhist monk, then I can similarly provide information about public talks and other situations to fulfill their needs. I also offer advice about things to look out for and further texts they might read to acquire a broader base of knowledge, but at this point I usually restrain my avuncular instincts and keep this to a minimum. As individuals on their own life-journeys, students need to find out things for themselves.
The Teacher’s Appropriation of Knowledge
The issue of how to convey knowledge of texts on various levels implies a second question, that of whence and how the teacher derives the knowledge she or he communicates. Graduate training today involves both research and pedagogy, and while the two are closely related, they are not always complementary. In graduate research there is a high degree of specialization, the audience or readership is usually small and learned, and students learn to qualify their statements extensively in both papers and at conferences. In undergraduate pedagogy, especially in lectures, material is presented at the introductory or intermediate levels, the audience is often large and highly diverse, and the ability to evoke interest and start with useful generalizations is important.
In a word, graduate research is significantly devoted to professional training, while in undergraduate education students are in a much more exploratory, search mode. For this and other reasons described by Mark Berkson in his essay, “Reflection on/through Comparison,” effective undergraduate pedagogy depends upon the teacher’s skill in enabling students to enter imaginatively into an unfamiliar world of textual ideas. In order to do this, we go beyond the boundaries of our research to draw upon analogies and examples from daily life with which students can identify. Furthermore, many of us are required to teach texts outside of our research specializations.
As we blend the knowledge gained through research with our own reservoir of experience in order to create an effective pedagogy, we have to ask ourselves, how accurate is the representation of the text that we communicate to the students? Unlike some, I do not believe that there is a single, exclusively correct reading of a text. At the same time, I think that there are better and worse renderings, as indicated by Andrew Flescher in his essay, “Teacher as Authority and Mediator,” and just as one can say that there are better and worse interpretations of a Mozart piano concerto. Like a Mozart concerto, our knowledge of texts involves the intellectual, intuitive, affective, and somatic levels, and we can examine our knowledge by asking ourselves, “On what levels have I appropriated knowledge of this text, and on what levels can I speak competently?” It is not that difficult to give a convincing representation of a text to an audience completely unfamiliar with that text, but it is another question altogether of whether a particular representation is fair and faithful.
By continually reexamining our own knowledge at various levels or modalities, we can gain a greater degree of internal consistency at the same time that we develop a more effective outward presentation. In talking about Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, I might draw on my own experiences of encountering prejudice; I can set the appropriate sense of distance by explaining differences in degree and kind. In examining Confucius’ understanding of ritual (li) in the Analects, I might draw parallels with an orchestral performance. but I am careful to explain that this is a metaphor that makes intuitive sense but is not meant to be an illustration of the Confucian implementation of li, which is historically and culturally delimited.
By simply being clear about what I do and do not understand and at what levels, misinformation is avoided, students receive a more effective presentation, and they themselves may become more aware of the limits and possibilities of their own.