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15th ECPR General Conference, University of Innsbruck

Speaking Not Listening: The Negative Impact of Enquiry-Based Learning

Comparative Perspective
Higher Education
Heidi Maurer
University of Oxford
Heidi Maurer
University of Oxford

In this paper, we first debate the employability agenda that has dominated thinking and policy on Higher Education for some years now. We argue that it is past time to recognise that the social sciences have long provided opportunities for students to develop those skills which are deemed to relate to employment versus their discipline-specific knowledge and understanding. That said, we also recognise how the employability agenda has affected the learning and teaching methods employed by us. Based on extensive experience using enquiry-based learning (David) and problem based learning (Maurer), we explore the question of whether certain key skills have actually been lost in the shift from traditional to innovative methods. We focus specifically on listening and note-taking skills, both of which are fundamental to learning processes but are also very useful, often necessary, workplace skills. In so doing, we consider whether existing literature comprehensively considers the merits of traditional teaching methods versus enquiry-based learning approaches. Our findings are significant in the context of the current employability discourse but also relate more generally to the professional understanding of academics and their contribution to society. This paper is co-authored with Dr. Maxine David, Leiden University.
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