In reading Dall’Alba and Barnacle (2007), I recognise the importance of added layers of meaning to what I have been doing so far. In particular how ‘ways of being’ builds on concepts of habitus (and particularly field habitus that chimes with ‘situating and localising knowledge within specific manifestations of practice’) and the suggestion that there is something more intrinsic than skills development. As I write this I am completing a Self Evaluation Document as part of Periodic Academic Review, which of course has a major focus on the acquisition of skills and the measuring of success through recruitment, retention and achievement. At the same time I am updating course blogs on activities last week that offered students the chance to meet alumni who had embarked on their advertising careers and who’s very attitude showed how in as little as six months they were becoming advertising creatives and planners and had moved on from the student habitus. The industry was letting them learn what couldn’t be taught. Through this lens I see planned Taster Day activities as an opportunity for applicants, in a temporary and limited way to learn a little of what it is to be a student, to sample the particular student habitus.

“An ontological shift means engaging with being-in-the-world differently. As dedicated learning environments, higher education institutions are ideally situated to do this. Not only can they provide a forum for challenging taken-for-granted assumptions, but also promote ways of being that integrate knowing, acting and being. Indeed, educational institutions cannot help but promote ways of being.” Dall’Alba and Barnacle (2007)

Dall’Alba, G. and Barnacle, R. (2007) An ontological turn for higher education. Studies in Higher Education 32 (6), December, pp679-691.


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