Stoa or Croton; a choice to be made?


What about school-time at universities? These scholarly academic institutions of old are under rapid change. Most notably is their transformation into places of certification for (more or less well) paid jobs for graduate students. What laid at the foundation of Von Humboldt’s reformation of the university in the 19th century , i.e., the linkage between research and teaching for the sake of knowledge advancement (1), is now under attack.
One could ask: Is the university still a place for teaching and learning to educate minds (as was common at the Stoa in Athens) or is it better viewed as a school for preparation and training with a well-defined purpose (like the school of Pythagoras at Croton)? University teaching has changed (2,3) after the Bologna declaration. It has become a system of delivering comparable degrees, with a system of credits, to ensure free mobility of students (4).
The article’s stress is that at the level of university staff the matter is not settled yet. The academic tradition of research and knowledge advancement clashes with the academics’ intent to develop students in their learning trajectories. The article pleads for a reintegration.
But would reintegration work or do we need to reinvent our way of teaching at universities? Most other educational environments (Vocational, professional and also elementary education) have embraced the notion of “knowledge as a tool”. Taking this seriously means there is no need for each university to create a protective belt as a knowledge provider (the notion of the French Faculté). What is upcoming in other teaching worlds is the rise of ‘flipping the classroom” (5). Relevant information can be found digitally at an instant (i.e for instance the BBC lectures by Dawkins on paleontology or Attenborough series on Zoology), and be distributed. After which (and that is the key connection here) academic staff in teaching university courses can work with their students to value and make use of that distributed knowledge in their own way.

Alisa Percy (2014) Re-integrating academic development and academic language and learning: a call to reason, In: Higher Education Research & Development, 33:6,1194-1207,
To link to this article:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s