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1 EDUCATIONAL CONSUMERS OR EDUCATIONAL PARTNERS: A CRITICAL THEORY ANALYSIS

By Geeta Singh Ms and Palmerston North

Abstract

This paper uses aspects of Jurgen Habermas’s critical theory of societal development as the evaluative stance for the introduction, application and implications of evaluation of teaching quality in universities. It argues that the practice of student evaluation of teaching or Student Ratings of Teaching (SRT) is clearly designed to position students as consumers in their educational experience. While the informal student feedback is embedded in a student-teacher relationship, it is the Tayloristic approach to student feedback that is an issue of concern. SRT legitimises the commodification of students ’ educational experience, reifies the student-teacher relationship, and it supports a very limited conception of academics ’ accountability. It is believed that the dominant “production-measurement ” approach is inadequate and distortive. With its focus on the efficient use of resources and outcomes of the process, it is constitutive of “educational consumers”, when students need to be our educational partners. It reduces the student-teacher relationship to a customer-producer relationship, which sanctions each to profit at the expense of the other, whereas quality in education calls for a commitment both from students and teachers. To maintain quality in education, we need an approach that involves communicative action, an approach that brings back students and teachers as a community of scholars, where both sides recognise their commitment towards the process of inquiry.

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.198.3492
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