Social inclusion and exclusion in higher education : the role of pedagogy in English.
This study investigates how lecturers at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal construct pedagogy to socially include and/ or exclude students. The focus is particularly on two disciplines: English literary studies in the Faculty of Human Development and Social Sciences and English education in the Faculty of Education. The research question for the study is: how does the construction and practice of teaching in English literary studies and English education disciplines serve to include and/or exclude students? This question draws attention to how disciplinary knowledge structures inform pedagogic practice and how the disciplinary identity of these disciplines impact on pedagogic practice to include and/ or exclude. Since this study is grounded in a critical interpretive paradigm, it used social realist (Archer, 1995, 1996) and critical realist (Bhaskar, 1979) theories to conceptualise and to engage critically with the phenomenon of social inclusion and exclusion in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The substantive theories of Maton (2000), Bourdieu (1988) and Bernstein (1990) were used to understand how disciplinary knowledge and identities are constructed in the respective disciplines to include and/ or exclude. Classroom observation, documentary evidence and interviews were used as research instruments. Phenomenology was chosen as a research design. Research findings suggest that, irrespective of the discourses of equity and open access to HEIs, among other things, students from poor educational and socio-economic backgrounds are still excluded. Data suggests that the ways in which lecturers construct pedagogy heavily impact on the way inclusivity is achieved. Given the fact that not all students are able to acquire epistemological access equally, this study found that the system favours only those students who acquire the necessary linguistic and cultural capital prior to entering HEIs (Bourdieu, 1988).