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A comparative analysis of university pedagogical centres’ activities in Mozambique and Sweden
Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
2014 (English)In: A Nordic perspective: on the cultural and the activity approach in theory and practice / [ed] Hans Knutagård, Britt Krantz och Marie Jedemark, Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press , 2014, 65-73 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many universities around the globe consider raising the pedagogical competence of their teachers to be an important task. The common way of approaching this task is the creation within the university of a specialised centre in charge of staff pedagogical development. This study attempts to provide an analysis of activities conducted by two pedagogical centres situated in two dramatically different contexts: one of the poorest countries in the world (Mozambique) and one of the richest (Sweden). A qualitative study was carried out based on a comparative policy document analysis, on-site observations and semi-structured interviews with two staff members from both centres. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) provided a theoretical framework for the analysis. The collective activity system is taken as a unit of analysis that connects psychological, cultural and contextual perspectives (Engeström, 1999). We found that the official rhetoric of both universities explicitly focuses on the development of pedagogical competence for all categories of teachers. Therefore, as was expected, similarities were identified in the object and expected outcomes of the centres’ activity. However, due to significant differences in historical pre-conditions, cultural contexts and artefacts used for mediating activities in the two centres the findings revealed many differences in the corresponding collective activity systems. The study suggests that the implementation of pedagogical training at a university should carefully consider contextual, social and cultural factors shaping collective activity systems and if necessary construct compensatory artefacts to ameliorate possible frictions in the developmental process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press , 2014. 65-73 p.
Series
Kristianstad University Press, 2014:01
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93951Libris ID: 16419511ISBN: 978-91-979422-6-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-93951DiVA: diva2:751987
Note

Bidrag från konferens: The sixth Nordic conference on cultural and activity research, Kristianstad 12-14 June 2013

Available from: 2014-10-02 Created: 2014-10-02 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Developing teaching and learning in Mozambican higher education: a study of the pedagogical development process at Eduardo Mondlane University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing teaching and learning in Mozambican higher education: a study of the pedagogical development process at Eduardo Mondlane University
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the implementation of a student-centred learning approach at the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), in the context of the current curricular reform. The main objective of the thesis is to gain understanding of the implementation of a student-centred learning approach and how the innovation is related to the acquisition of teachers’ pedagogical competence at the above mentioned university. A sociocultural approach and more specifically Cultural Historical Activity Theory is used as a theoretical framework given that it provides a view of learning as a context based social activity. A qualitative approach based on document analysis, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with different actors in the process of teaching, learning and teacher training was used. The findings of the three studies carried out and presented in four articles in the thesis show that the lecturers do not feel ownership of the curriculum reform introducing the new pedagogical approach, and revealed a conflict of interests in the process of implementation of the reform. Students appear to be unclear about the significance of the new approach and they cannot judge if it is correctly implemented. Contextual factors such as a high number of students in the classroom, poor infrastructure and inadequate access to educational resources also affect the students’ performance in their learning. The university teachers expressed a need for training and the creation of adequate material conditions in order to be able to apply the innovations. However, signs of positive attitudes towards this approach were also revealed by the informants, which demonstrates the existing potential of the reform. It was found that the role of the teacher is crucial in making students active, motivated and self-regulated. Moreover, the students’ active learning depends on several factors, such as contextual, social and psychological aspects of the process. In relation to the acquisition of teachers’ pedagogical competence, a comparative study of the official documents of Eduardo Mondlane University and Umeå University explicitly shows a focus on the development of pedagogical competence for all categories of teachers. However, due to significant differences in historical pre-conditions, cultural contexts and educational artefacts the findings revealed many differences in the corresponding collective activity systems. In conclusion, the thesis indicates that the implementation of student-centred learning at UEM depends on the availability of good educational infrastructure and also the development of human resources. Furthermore, less hierarchical communication at the university could accelerate the process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 34 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 56
Keyword
Cultural Historical Activity Theory, curriculum reform, higher education, student-centred learning, teacher professional development
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93954 (URN)978-91-7601-130-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-10-30, N410, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-09 Created: 2014-10-02 Last updated: 2014-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Mendonça, MartaPopov, Oleg

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