Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Daniela Gachago Open Journal Systems <p>Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles and essays that describe, theorise and reflect on creative and critical teaching and learning practice in higher (university) education continentally and globally. The editors welcome contributions that are challenge hegemonic discourse and/or reconfigure higher education teaching and learning. We invite and well-researched, whether they are analytical, theoretical or practice-based, as well as contributions that deal with innovative and reflective approaches to higher education teaching and learning. We are particularly interested in articles that have relevance to the South African educational context.</p> <p> </p> Editorial 2024-04-24T15:21:52+00:00 Kasturi Behari-Leak Rieta Ganas 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Kasturi Behari-Leak, Rieta Ganas Book review 2024-04-18T19:35:49+00:00 Roxana Chiappa Andrea Lira 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Roxana Chiappa; Andrea Lira Book review 2024-04-19T10:56:39+00:00 Carolina Guzman 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Carolina Guzman Productive Disruption as a critical enabler for organisational change 2024-04-29T09:23:20+00:00 Kasturi Behari-Leak Rieta Ganas <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Faced with challenges of being isolated through COVID-19, HELTASA leadership embarked on a process of productive disruption to restructure and reshape the organisation to be more agile and responsive. Embraced as a potential organisational catalyst for change, we used productive disruption as a catalyst for structural reorganisation and expansive capacity building; and methodological disruption through the unprecedented (un)conference experience that encouraged equitable and socially inclusive participation. We present a duo-ethnographic case study of productive disruption of organisational structure in a context of crisis. Data was generated through deliberations, reflections, provocations, and memory work by the leadership level. We reflect on and analyse the outcomes of the expansion and change to assess if HELTASA’s shapeshifting could be contextually responsive, resilient, and relevant. We conclude that productive disruption is a necessary intervention when ‘business as usual’ no longer offers the stretch and growth needed for professional organisations to survive and be sustained.</p> </div> </div> </div> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Kasturi Behari-Leak, Rieta Ganas Two unlikely bedfellows: Towards a decolonial unconference methodology 2024-03-04T11:25:22+00:00 Daniela Gachago Mlamuli Hlatshwayo Sisanda Nkoala Leanri Van Heerden <p>This paper examines a specific unconferencing methodology designed for the HELTASA (un)conference, an international online event held in 2021 in South Africa. Drawing from the principles of unconferencing and decolonisation, the description of the unconferencing methodology in this paper is interspersed with collective autoethnographic reflections, collected through individual and collective writing engagements, to engage with our complex narratives as designers, facilitators and presenters/participants of this (Un)Conference. Through selected vignettes of reflective moments in planning and facilitating this (un)conference, we explore opportunities and challenges when adopting both principles of unconferencing and decolonisation in our practice. We end the paper with a discussion of the possibilities of adopting a decolonial unconferencing model in the global South through a colonial matrix of power.</p> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Daniela Gachago, Mlamuli Hlatshwayo, Sisanda Nkoala, Leanri Van Heerden A social realist view of contextual disruption through (un)conferencing 2024-03-04T10:45:44+00:00 Danie de Klerk Nelia Frade Arthi Ramrung Danielle Fontaine-Rainen <p>Disruptions within higher education are seldom effortless and often provocative. They may result in a break from traditional, established educational models of knowledge transmission, offering alternative ways of accessing and cocreating knowledge. In 2021, the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) adopted an (un)conferencing methodology for its annual conference. In this paper, the association’s Student Learning Project Team explores contextual disruption against the (un)conferencing backdrop. Critical reflective accounts by project-team members provide the empirical grounding for the paper. First, the notions of context and contextual disruption are discussed. Second, the reflective accounts are analysed using Archer’s structure, culture, and agency, as analytical framework. Third, Archer’s morphogenetic framework is used to appraise whether change or stasis occurred within the project team. Finally, recommendations for others wishing to facilitate intentional contextual disruption are shared. Ultimately, the article provides insight into the intricacies of contextual disruption as part of (un)conferencing.</p> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Danie de Klerk, Nelia Frade, Arthi Ramrung, Danielle Fontaine-Rainen Shifting mindsets from conference to (un)conference: A collaborative reflective perspective on conceptual disruption 2024-03-11T17:40:30+00:00 Subethra Pather Rosaline Govender Desiree Scholtz <p>The move from the traditional academic conference format to a loosely defined format of unconference can be contentious and spark a robust debate on the conceptual disruption of conferencing. As part of HELTASA’s strategic plan of re-structuring and re-imagining its vision and purpose, it initiated a new way of conferencing; participant-driven and participant-focused. Through self-reflective written narratives, this paper explores three academic development practitioners' experiences in planning and reflecting on the HELTASA’s (un)conference. We share our accounts of (un)conference as a conceptual disruption to the traditional conference format, concepts, and ways of doing and being. Qualitative data were collected from the three written narratives through a collective descriptive autoethnography research design and methodology. The insights collected are applied to the Conceptual Disruption Framework which proposes a tripartite framework for conceptual disruption, which distinguishes conceptual disruptions occurring at three levels (individual concepts, clusters of concepts, conceptual schemes), taking on two forms (conceptual gaps, conceptual conflicts), and leading to three distinct levels of severity (mild, moderate, severe). Using this framework, we describe our personal thoughts and perspectives in engaging with the novel approach of (un)conferencing. We probe into the potential of collaborative reflection to gain deeper insights and understanding of our shift from a traditional academic conference to a HELTASA (un)conference. We explore the discomfort, displacement, and learnings of the intentional disruption of our conceptual understanding of (un)conference practices. This paper highlights our shifting mindsets as we reflect and interrogate our thoughts and perspectives on the conceptual framing of (un)conferencing. The analysis of the data reveals that the engagement in the conceptual disruption of (un)conferencing together with the engagement with the concept planning and event provided the environment and atmosphere where the team appreciated brainstorming conceptual understandings, self-reflecting, and exploring different perspectives. This study provides empirical evidence of strength in collaboration, the building of conceptual disruption as a community of practice and possibility of (un)conferencing being a shape-shifter in higher education. At an interpersonal level, the process allowed us to self-interrogate the conceptual disruption, unpacking our thoughts and shaping our own thinking. The paper asserts that shifting mindsets from conference to (un)conference, involves conceptual disruption which is a messy process and requires a level of trust, openness, adaptability amongst all members of the organising team.</p> <p><strong> </strong></p> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Subethra Pather Unconferencing methodology as a cultural disrupter in higher education: Enabling reflections on promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equitable spaces 2024-03-04T09:46:47+00:00 Rosaline Govender Anthea Jacobs Ntsoaki Malebo <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>In applying the collective mind to challenges in higher education, there is hope for innovative solutions. HELTASA’s approach to adapting the unconference methodology during the annual learning and teaching (un)conference in 2021 demonstrated its vision to reflect on a re-imagined inclusive higher education using the questions: Sivela phi? (where do we come from?), Si phi? (where we are?), and Siya phi? (where are we going?). This paper reflects on how the unconferencing methodology was used as a cultural disrupter during the HELTASA’s (un)conference. We identify with ‘culture’ as emphasising active meaning-making instead of unchanging, static ideas by homogenous groups. ‘Culture’ is dynamic, and it changes over time. In the context of unconferencing methodology, cultural disruption refers to a deliberate effort to challenge and disrupt traditional cultural norms and values to promote greater inclusivity, diversity, creativity and problem-solving. The unconference is intended to disrupt current thinking and practices in conferences and open higher education spaces for creative, critical dialogue and innovation. Cultural disruption plays a transformative role in deconstructing established norms of knowledge, identity, and practices within higher education. The unconference seeks to challenge the prevailing power dynamics inherent in higher education and mirrored in traditional conferences by adopting a participant-driven and focused approach. The unconference supports the notion of collective thinking or collaboration, which re-frames knowledge boundaries as dynamic inter-relationships with due weight given to reflective ways of knowing (Brown, 2015). This paper uses the Reflection and Critical Thinking Model by Mugumbate, et al. (2021) as a framework to explore and understand how cultural disruptions were implemented and experienced during the planning and execution of the (un)conference itself. This paper critically reflects on the HELTASA (un)conference Call, cultural representations, presentation types, and structure of the unconference to share possible cultural disruptions. This paper's reflections delve into the effectiveness of unconferencing in higher education as a potent tool for cultural disruption in relation to power dynamics, participation, individual and collective thinking, and the imperative of amplifying diverse voices. Unconferencing, through its disruption <span style="font-family: 'Noto Sans', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 0.875rem;">of cultural norms and values, can promote greater innovation and creativity by enabling the incorporation of a wider range of perspectives and ideas. Additionally, unconferencing can create more inclusive and equitable spaces where traditionally marginalised voices are provided a platform to be heard and represented.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Rosaline Govender Holding a mirror up to Academic Development through the HELTASA (un)conferencing methodology 2024-03-16T14:34:54+00:00 Sandra Williams Anthea Adams Charlene Geduld-Van Wyk Patricia Muhuro <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>We, Academic Development (AD) practitioners, question whether AD's objective in South Africa (SA) as a 'liberatory educational and social movement' to enhance educational quality for all students, is effectively pursued. AD practitioners often work on the fringes of the academy, fighting for relevance and legitimacy within an increasingly performative and managerialist academic culture. Despite innovative AD initiatives AD work is criticised for being unresponsive, unreflexive, conformist, and lacking theoretical, scholarly, and critical engagement. We use critical pedagogical praxis, particularly the constructs of critique, reflexivity, power, and self-reflection, to interrogate the continuous tension between AD intention and practice. Through (un)conference methodology, this auto-ethnographic account of individual and collective engagements, using the "holding the mirror up" metaphor, critically questioned the tension and misalignments between the AD mandate and practices. Although in a SA higher education context, this research could be beneficial to HE contexts globally, given the ubiquity of AD work.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Anthea Adams, Sandra , Charlene, Patricia An evolving approach to unconferencing: Reflections from piloting the HELTASAFEST22 scholarly festival 2024-03-04T09:38:32+00:00 Greig Krull Benita Bobo Simone Titus <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>This article offers insight into the planning and facilitation of a scholarly learning and teaching festival which aims to negotiate the tensions between traditional and creative scholarly engagements in the Southern African higher education context. The aim of this case study is to critically reflect on planning and facilitating a scholarly learning and teaching festival as part of an (un)conferencing approach for HELTASA. The case study adopts a critical reflective methodology, where we reflect on our experiences and perceptions of planning and facilitating/participating in the festival. The article outlines the structure and methodologies of the festival and reflects on the contextual considerations for planning the festival and the positives and challenges associated with facilitating the festival. A major tension that had to be managed as part of the festival was the questions of academic rigour and the choice of a festival by some prospective participants.</p> </div> </div> </div> 2024-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Greig Krull, Benita Bobo, Simone Titus