Towards sustainable lecturers’ learning in Kenyan private universities

Omingo, Mary Odinga (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017


ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Studies on lecturers’ learning to teach focus mostly on how learning takes place in formal settings. However learning to teach happens in both formal and informal settings. This study answers the question: how do lecturers, based on their own accounts, learn to teach both in formal and in informal settings in private universities in Kenya? The study was mainly explanatory and qualitative in nature. The research approach was abductive in line with realist philosophy. The study, using social realism (morphogenetic approach) as a conceptual and methodological framework, explains lecturers’ learning within formal and informal settings. The morphogenetic approach was useful in explaining the interplay between the structural, cultural and personal emergent properties. Twenty-five lecturers were purposively selected and three academic directors were interviewed. The semi-structured interviews were transcribed and the data was coded and analyzed using content analysis. The qualitative software Atlas.ti was used to analyze data. Lecturers’ learning took place in both formal and informal settings. Application of a learner-centered approach, perceived effect on students’ learning, affirmation of lecturers’ current practices, and lecturers’ personal and professional growth were identified as the outcome of lecturers’ learning. In formal settings they learned from the facilitator and colleagues but in informal settings they learned from students, colleagues and the wider society. In formal settings, funding was found to be a prior condition to enabling lecturers’ learning. The organization of the programmes in terms of facilitation and design were enabling to most lecturers. The practices, the roles played and positions held by lecturers enabled the lecturers’ courses of action in informal settings. The Deans’ support or lack of it was found to be both enabling and constraining. University policies, the teaching and learning conditions and the student composition were identified as the structural and cultural factors (systemic conditions) that prompt lecturers to learn to teach. Lecturers were prompted to learn to teach by what they perceived as constraints to students’ learning. Student development was the lecturers’ main concern but in some cases they cared about their own personal and professional growth. The lecturers mainly learned by being self-aware, committed and intentional. Both formal and informal settings play a significant role in lecturers’ learning. Whereas lecturers acquire knowledge and skills in formal settings, they internalize them in informal settings. Learning in the two settings complement each other in a virtuous cycle. Lecturers as individuals and as a group contribute towards shaping their learning in the two settings. The interplay between the emergent powers in the settings through the reflexive deliberations of lecturers are decisive for their learning to teach effectively. A study on the role personal emergent powers such as values and emotions play in lecturers’ learning to teach may be useful in determining more ways of sustaining lecturers’ learning how to teach.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geen Afrikaanse opsomming geskikbaar nie

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