education Inequality sociology values

Transforming education

Vaneeta D’Andrea is Professor Emerita, University of the Arts London. An edcuator and sociologist, Vaneeta literally wrote the book on improving teaching and learning.   Vaneeta has a belief in the role of values so we talk about where those came from, and how that has influenced her career including what she describes as the disconnect in education.

The obligation to the other people we share the world with.

Opinions are valid, but that’s not evidence in my class.

Challenge of how to make people consider lives of other people more seriously

Sustainable: try to act in ways that will sustain the planet.    We’re seeing the impact of a non-sustainable world on the current generations.

Success: funding for research what it means to be a “western academic” – the role of affirmative feedback.

Superpower:  Experience.  47 years of experience in higher education.

Activist: Yes.  I won in 1972 a sex discrimination case against my employer.  It was a precedent that allowed other people to make claims.

I don’t see (activsim and teaching) as mutually exclusive.  I don’t have an agenda about my activism in my teaching, I just try to model what I consider to be good human behaviours and hope that people respect that.

It’s a question of what you accept as evidence.

Motivation: Opportunity to work with people and chance to facilitate their learning and my learning – the opportunity to learn something every single day of my life.  Being a learner and helping other people learn.

We don’t have a tendency to be able to abstract – we’re very concrete thinkers – we have to have something concrete in front of us, we have to see that this action affects this action, affects that action.   Unfortunately with issues around sustainability, you can’t see immediately the impact of that one decision, say to recycle that piece of glass. And you can’t make the leap of that to the climate problem. So when scientists say they can see this relationship, people feel threatened by that – because they think “well I don’t see it”, what are these smart guys trying to do, and then there’s this resistance to the smart guys because we can’t see the relationship, we can’t go there.   Questions around sustainable practice are really challenging because of that level of abstraction that’s required.

Challenge: More of these projects learn something everyday.   Helping institutions reconceptualise their learning and the way that they function – and bringing a sociological perspective to that.

If you slow down you will stop.

Miracle:  Progressive governments to make the lives of more people better.