Satisfaction, settlement and exposition: conversation and the university tutorial

Amanda Fulford

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Abstract

In this paper, I consider the tutorial conversation in Higher Education. To focus the discussion I use the scenario of a tutorial conversation between a lecturer and a student. I begin by suggesting that the increasing emphasis placed on student satisfaction in certain Higher Education Institutions tends to focus the tutorial conversation towards a form of settlement that I then consider in light of Thoreau's Walden. To explore what other conversation might be possible, I turn to the philosophical writing of Martin Buber. I discuss his 'life of dialogue' in relation to the distinction he draws between I and Thou and between I and It and to how Nancy Vansieleghem and Jan Masschelein analyse this in relation to the 2002 film, Le Fils. With reference to the film adaptation of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, I suggest a different starting point for the tutorial conversation. I conclude that the tutorial discussion, seen as an invitation to speak, and as a form of exposition and dialogue, is the possibility of the opening up of a new dimension of thinking and acting. This is the invitation to a conversation in education that is itself truly educative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalEthics and Education
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Buber
  • conversation
  • discussion
  • satisfaction
  • settlement
  • tutorial
  • unsettling; Thoreau

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