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Providing pathways for adult
learning is one of the key objectives
for societies today and crucial
to economic success. Dr Bobby
Harreveld, Associate Professor
and the Director of the Learning &
Teaching Education Research Centre
(LTERC) at CQUniversity, is at the
forefront of inquiry into education
and training reform, leadership
and learning for diverse workplaces
and spaces, educational partnerships
Rodan talks about the prejudices that need to be
overcome if Australia is to remain attractive to foreign
students who, as an export ear ner, bring about A$17
billion to the Australian economy annually. Students
coming from more traditional societies may have learnt
by rote, for example. " ere's a kind of western elitism
that believes that learning by rote means that the
students are dumb or under-achieving." Instead, says
Rodan, we should acknowledge that under neath these
di erent approaches there can be a depth of learning
that is genuine and valid.
Seminars, tutorials and lectures are
typical for ums of lear ning for western
students but some cultures fear loss of face
or are not used to challenging authority,
he says. "Fortunately modern technology
allows us to accommodate that without
students feeling exposed." Rodan cites an example of
"the clicker", a device about the size of a mobile phone,
linking each student to the teacher at the front. As the
teacher proceeds, he or she can (inter alia) check the level
of understandingamong studentswho -- while remaining
anonymous -- can click if they have not fully understood.
Blogs a nd emails are also used to communicate outside
the for mal classroom.
It's not only the style of teaching but content that
needs addressing. A reference about r ugby may alienate
foreign students, and metaphors can be a problem."Over
the long-ter m, we need to respond to these issues with
specialised professional development where sta are
taught about di erent cultural backgrounds."
He points out that universities are unique in
education in that academics do not require a teaching
qualification. While this wasn't a big issue in the days of
elite higher education, "it seems almost self-evident that
some form of teacher training would be helpful as
sta encounter students from a much wider range
of backgrounds and cultures," says Rodan.
e implication is clear; the learning stream
between academic sta and the international
student body runs in both directions.
Understanding each other for mutual benefit is
the challenge for the future. ■
WHAT COMES NEXT?
"We are in a changing workforce that
is global and transnational," says
Harreveld and much of her work is
focused on the implications of that for
society and governments. Harreveld
is currently undertaking a variety of
studies including one on workplace
mobility -- how people with trades
can be transitioned into teaching.
Another topical study is investigating
leadership for school reform in literacy
teaching and learning. Harreveld has
also been part of an international
consortium of scholars examining the
history of international multicultural
education and future of the sector.
EDUCATION: Masters and PhD in
adult learning. Harreveld's PhD
thesis investigated the professional
identities of 23 Central Queensland
adult literacy teachers.
INSPIRATION: People who intervene
and make a di erence as educators
despite the enormous challenges.
LD OF LEARNING
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