The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Identity and (dis)empowerment in Team-Based Learning

Nick Cartwright, University of Northampton (United Kingdom)


Over one academic year the author and a post-doctoral researcher observed the discussions around the Team Readiness Assurance Test which are part of the Team-Based Learning (TBL) teaching methodology.  Students who participated in the TBL activities were invited to take part in semi-structured interviews at the end of the acemic year.

The research finds that there is a disparity between what the author and researcher observed and how the students described their experiences.  The semi-structured interviews revealed that students had different ideas as to whose knowledge counts and how their identity positions them in relation to knowledge.  These positions of power or disempowerment correlate with race and, to a lesser extent, gender.

The paper explores how the educational policies of the government during the students schooling may have shaped their identity and concept of what counts as knowledge and whose knowedge counts.  The paper further explores institutional attitudes with further research drawingon semi-structured interviews with senior colleagues at the case-study institution.

The results of the research are grounded in the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire, the work of Professor Michael Apple on knowledge and power in education and tradtion of critical race pedagogy and feminism. 

The paper concludes with recommendations as to how innovative teaching methodologies like TBL can be deployed in a way which empowers all learners.


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