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Transformative Teaching

Focus on Pedagogy 2022
Reimagining educational quality through transformative learning
H. Riese & E. Annamo
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


The paper discusses how to enable for development of academic literacy as an integral part of the subject matter, and emphasising creativity through valuing authentic subjective contributions. The discussion is framed in a meta philosophical framework inspired by critical realism, existential pedagogy and transformative learning. Rather than looking for answers within the existing frames of higher education, educational quality is reimagined through investigating new orientations to the world. Concerns regarding retention and inclusion are high on the political agenda in what is currently described as massification of higher education. Simultaneously education is critiqued as individualizing and responsibilizing the learner. This critique suggests a contradiction between the concern for quality and inclusion and the logic of higher education. Higher education is legitimated through a meritocratic system where some students are approved and included, and others fail. We posit that these meritocratic ideas condition the way we think about our role as teachers as well our conceptions of the student, which again pose problems to our teaching and endangers students’ chance to become educated. Challenging these conventions, we work collectively to develop teaching practice within the frames of action research. This implies investigating how students and teachers experience teaching and the development of academic literacy, as well as the structural conditioning of these experiences. In class, subject matter is explored using wide range of genres and emphasising students’ subjective voice. To deepen student-teacher conversation and critically examine teacher subjectivity, we explore assumptions underpinning reactions, evaluations, and responses to students and student work.


Hanne Riese is Professor in Education at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. She is currently heading an action research project on inclusive approaches to teaching academic literacy. Riese’s research interests covers education policy, research methods, and racialisation in education. Recent publications: Riese, Hilt and Søreide (eds) (2022) Educational Standardization in a Complex World. Emerald., Riese, Hilt and Abamosa (2022) The migratory experience: Challenging inclusionary measures. In: Done, E. (2022), International Perspectives on Exclusionary Pressures in Education. Springer.

Eirin Annamo is Associate Professor in Education at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and has a special interest in transformative learning practises. Beside being part of the ongoing action research project implementing and investigating inclusive approaches to the teaching of academic literacy in education, led by Hanne Riese, Annamo is also further developing the transformative learning project that her PhD thesis is based on. Using a combination Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism and Edmund O’Sullivan’s transformative learning perspective, she is investigating into education and learning as a praxis of bringing something creative new into existence (including among others each person’s unique life purpose and a new way of coming together in what she calls a higher we).