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Time future - the dominant discourse of HE?

Time future - the dominant discourse of HE?

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Time future - the dominant discourse of HE?

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  1. Time future - the dominant discourse of HE? Sue Clegg s.clegg@leedsmet.ac.uk

  2. Time – a resource for theorising Argue dominant modality of policy and practice involves orientation to future Explore theorists of time and critique of present future as empty and open The future already populated Multiple existential temporalities Implications for pedagogies of reflection Archer on different forms of reflexivity

  3. Time future Creating the employable flexible neo-liberal self UK example 2003 The Future of Higher Education Image of speeded up present driving Presented as ‘a world of pure potential that is subject to human design’ (Adam and Groves 2007, 55)

  4. Futures (Adam and Groves) Historically: ‘told’ (through divination), ‘tamed’ (for example through ritual), ‘traded’ (as time becomes commodified) ‘futures transformed’ subjugation of time to human will whereby the future is presented as open:

  5. Present Future Emptied of content and meaning, the future is simply there, an empty space waiting to be filled with our desire, to be shaped traded or formed according to rational plans and blueprints, holding out the promise that it can be what we want it to be (Adam and Groves 2007, 11)

  6. Future already entailed in the present ‘future present’ ‘Future present’ which ‘as a standpoint [ ] positions us with reference to the deeds and processes already on the way (Adam and Groves 2007, 196). Ontological status of the latencies already inbuilt in the actions of the present. Futures are already non-factually but actually entailed in the present (Bhaskar, 2008)

  7. Higher education futures Universities appear to achieve is the consolidation of status and the avoidance of downward social mobility rather than its extension High participation rates of middle class students going into higher education a norm rather than a choice Reproduction of natal context, not break with it Implied promise of mobility in the discourse of employability depends in large part of conditions not of students choosing

  8. Pedagogies and time future Individualisation as a ‘fate’ Personal development ‘planning’ - oriented towards the future Own research and next paper suggest much more complex Present time is created between past, present and future (Araújo 2005) The 'phase' of the students' lives a passage between school and becoming a graduate in which the ‘present’ was lived differently in relation to past and future

  9. Personal projects and reflexivity ‘communicative reflexives’ remain anchored in their natal social context ‘autonomous reflexives’ adopt strategic stances towards constraints and become socially upwardly mobile ‘meta-reflexives’ are ‘contextually incongruous’. : ‘subversive towards social constraints and enablements, because of their willingness to pay the price of the former and to forfeit the benefits of the latter in the attempt to live out their idea’ (Archer 2007, 98)

  10. Forms of reflexivity (Archer) Higher education, however, discursively valorises only certain forms of reflexivity and limits the ways in which we might think about the future In neo-liberal narrative ‘staying put’ is stripped of reflexivity and represented as personal failure Also strips out ethics rendering unintelligible the moral choices of ‘meta-reflexives’ who move on in nomadic mode rather than upwards and onwards

  11. As a theoretical resource Thinking about time disruptive of dominant discourses of neo-liberal subject in the making A rich resource for making sense of students’ multiple experiences of time and valorising these Recognition of different personal projects and forms of reflexivity Rich way of addressing both structure and agency

  12. As an impetus for new research We have taken these theoretical concepts and operationalised them drawing on theories of the ‘middle range’ Using the idea of ‘possible selves’ as a spring board for exploring students own conceptions C-SAP project with Jacqueline Stevenson Illustrative of the complex temporalities in the ways students imagine their possible futures

  13. Possible Selves • Representations of the self in the future (Markus and Nurius, 1986) • Those that are ideal and hoped for; those that one does not wish for • May be well developed, less so, underdeveloped • Relate to career, education, health, housing, other areas • May be experienced singularly or multiply “individuals’ ideas about what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming” (Markus and Nurius, 1986, p 954)

  14. Possible selves Role in motivation: influences expectations; influences the development of specific plans for action; imagining the outcome of achieving a particular positive self brings about a particular feeling or emotion - people look forward to positive emotions and try to avoid negative ones Those with highly developed career-possible selves are: more motivated, goal-oriented and energetic; more likely, when confronted with a sizable threat to the viability of their career-possible self, to persist with their goals or construct new career-possible selves

  15. Possible selves • Possible selves can only include those selves which are envisaged as achievable • those around us validate/affirm or threaten/ignore possible selves; influenced by family, friends, peers and school, past academic experience, socio economic status, and psychological well-being (Rossiter, 2007). • gender and racial differentials are particularly significant (Garcia, 1995)

  16. The C-SAP research • Perceptions and experiences past present and future of students in HE and FE settings • Purposefully selected courses reflecting a range of applied and basic UG social science courses (four) and FECs offering Access courses (three) • Focus groups; nine (67 students); Individual interviews with 19 students and with course leaders • All individual but identified six broad positions – illustrative of the complexity of temporality and ways of thinking into the future and complexity of intersections of race, class and gender

  17. “I will plan for tomorrow and if I wake up tomorrow I will do what I planned” (James) • Underdeveloped view of themselves as the future employed but not incapable of thinking forward; didn’t need to work as much as some others; focussed on enjoying academic life; would prefer to continue studying • Undertaking few/no activities which might support them to become the future employed; either fatalistic or felt future was so far into the future that no action needed to take place • Not necessarily going to fail in the future; may develop a more future focused orientation allowing them to retrospectively capitalise on current activities; but not concretely thinking into the future in the present

  18. “I want to keep my options open” (Emma) • Views of the future constantly changing; elected to undertake degree courses which might lead to multiple different careers; know that at some point want to be employed, in a graduate-level job, but unable to decide which career route to follow • Had so many opportunities to explore different career options that keep changing their minds so unable to determine and develop strategies • Views of the future highly unstable – a snap shot likely not capture the complexity and fluidity of the lifeworld

  19. “I’ve got ideas, I’ve just not followed them through” (Bridget) • Unrealistic view of their future possible self; persisted even when confronted with evidence that they were highly unachievable • Not putting any strategies in place to support the achievement of their desired future (perhaps recognising their lack of realism?) • Appeared to need time, space and opportunities to reflect on their future to enable them to make their plans more concrete and more achievable • Imagined a future but a disconnect with the present

  20. “I hope to be working for the UN one day – that’s my dream” (Adelina) • Middle class with potentially rich resources to draw on • Planning for an unknown future; know that they want to be employed in a graduate-level job, but not what this might comprise; undertaking activities which they hope will be of benefit; aware that in the future they will need to be ‘employable’, with a competitive CV • Because their future career possible self is vague their strategies are also vague, unstructured or haphazard • Have social, cultural and family capital that they can draw on and mobilise in to the future and can imagine the future in a very different way; can be more confident and ambitious

  21. “ My past is a double edged sword” (Mitch) • Students whose past relates to future possibilities; mature students, esp. on Access courses, may have complex, disjointed pathways into FE/HE • Mitch motivated by own past experiences with the criminal justice system • Relatively well developed views of the possible self they would like to become but past strongly influenced possibilities; acting in the present to attempt change their personal trajectory but not confident they would be able to realise their aspirations • Bring personal resources and community wealth which can be drawn on

  22. “ I already knew I wanted to go into the police” (Natalie) • Imagined futures are focussed and highly realisable; highly elaborated career possible selves as fully employed people in graduate-level employment; highly integrated past, present and future; able to concretely relate their future possible selves to present actions • Had made decisions about their future careers and were actively building CVs which would facilitate the achievement of goals; able to plan for a future often many years ahead; highly motivated and persistent • Exemplar of the type of student strongly focused on future and strategic - but cannot be used as exemplars of how all students are thinking and acting as they plan for their future

  23. Conclusions • Diversity and complexity of the narrative of students and of students’ capacities to think about and rehearse their future • Need to consider how students have developed the disposition to think forward into the future; classed, raced and gender differences • Many had been given little/no opportunity to reflect on their personal journeys • Previous educational experience, personal problems, lack of self-worth/anxiety can make reflection difficult • Present lived in relationship to both past and future • This existential self at odds with the neo-liberal construction of the employable subject and the ‘present future’ as open

  24. Conclusions • Privileging of future orientation but considerable reflexive work involved in ‘staying put’ rather than moving on and in positioning the self in the present • However... • UK policy on employability assumes a reflective student able to present themselves as an employable subject; Pedagogical strategies, esp. PDP aim to equip students with the capacity to reflect and plan for a not always certain future (Clegg, 2004) • Underlying pedagogical interventions and policy is the assumption that students can imagine their future and the possible selves this entails – our research suggests this is not so

  25. References • Adam, B. Groves, C. (2007). Future Matters: Action, Knowledge, Ethics. Leiden: Brill • Adam. B. (2004) Time. Cambridge: Polity. • Araújo, E. R. (2005). Understanding the PhD as a Phase in Time, Time and Society 14 (2/3): 191-211. Araújo, E. R. (2005). Understanding the PhD as a Phase in Time, Time and Society 14 (2/3): 191-211. • Archer, M. S. (2007) Making our Way through the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Archer, M. S. (2007) Making our Way through the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Clegg, S. (2010) Time future – the dominant discourse of higher education pedagogy, Time and Society (Forthcoming) • Clegg, S. Bufton, S. (2008) Student Support through Personal Development Planning: Retrospection and Time, Research Papers in Education 23 (4) 1-16.

  26. References Garcia, T. (1995) Gender and Ethnic Differences in College Students' Academic Possible Selves, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995 Leondari, A. (2007) Future time perspective, possible selves, and academic achievement, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 114, 17–26. Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41, 954-969 Pizzolato, E.J. (2007) Impossible Selves Investigating Students’ Persistence Decisions When Their Career-Possible Selves Border on Impossible Journal of Career Development, Vol. 33, No. 3, 201-223 Plimmer, G. and Schmidt, A. (2007) Possible Selves and Career Transition: It’s Who You Want to Be, Not What You Want to Do, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 114, pp 61-74 Rossiter, M. (2003) Constructing the Possible: A Study of Educational Relationships and Possible Selves. In Proceedings of the 44th Annual Adult Education Research Conference, edited by D. Flowers et al., pp. 363-368. San Francisco: San Francisco State University, 2003 Rossiter, M. (2007) Possible selves: an adult education perspective, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 114, 5–15.

  27. Booklet