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Developing Connective Pedagogy in Cultural Research—A Case Study from the Teachers’ Perspective in Adopting a Problem-Based Approach in Higher Education

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Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. box 35, 30014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. box 35, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. box 35, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040252
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 2 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 4 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problem-based Pedagogies in Higher Education)
The article examines the challenges university teachers face when adopting connective pedagogy in organizing teaching. Instead of studying the learning outcomes of the method, we decided in this research to focus on the teachers’ experiences when doing things differently in a fairly traditional pedagogical institution like a university. In spring 2019, as a part of our new degree programme entitled Culture, Communities, and Change (KUMU) at the University of Jyväskylä, we implemented a multisensory ethnography course in collaboration with a third sector development project promoting village tourism in Central Finland. On the course, we applied a problem-based approach to implement the connective pedagogy through which we wanted to increase the students’ working life skills and public engagement. While the main objective of the multisensory ethnography course was to develop village tourism and teach the students how to do ethnographic research, we also scrutinized our own teaching experience in developing higher education pedagogy through documenting our own activities in field diaries and analysing our own roles through self-reflexive ethnographic practice. The group discussions and the diaries of the teachers during the course are the data that has been analysed by means of social practice theory. The three elements of social practices—material, competence, and meaning—helped us to identify the important factors that should be taken into consideration when trying to change everyday practices in our work, in this case to organize collaborative teaching with a third sector development project. According to our results, a problem-based approach is an effective tool on a collaborative project course between the university and a third sector organization because it enabled us to practice connective pedagogy at a very practical level. There are also challenges in applying a new method. Studying our diaries and notes of group discussions and reflecting our experiences, we identified the following critical stages and weak spots: Planning and co-ordinating the course took a lot of time and resources and teachers must tolerate a certain amount of uncertainty. The competence of the teachers was also challenged; they needed to be open, for example, to dealing with unfamiliar research topics. Even if the teachers’ meanings, motivation, and values were in accordance with the principles of connective pedagogy, there are still many contradictions in the meaning element of problem-based teaching practice. Above all, the teachers were compelled to question their role as experts when taking third sector actors as equal partners in producing new knowledge. View Full-Text
Keywords: problem-based approach; social practice theory; connective pedagogy; higher education; teachers’ perspective; social practice theory; collaborative teaching; third-sector; ethnography problem-based approach; social practice theory; connective pedagogy; higher education; teachers’ perspective; social practice theory; collaborative teaching; third-sector; ethnography
MDPI and ACS Style

Kumpulainen, K.; Vierimaa, S.-M.; Koskinen-Koivisto, E. Developing Connective Pedagogy in Cultural Research—A Case Study from the Teachers’ Perspective in Adopting a Problem-Based Approach in Higher Education. Educ. Sci. 2019, 9, 252.

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