Experimenting with practice: a monstrous pedagogy

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/proceedingBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review

Teaching executive courses always raises the challenge of how to deal with the tension between theory and practice. The present chapter analyses the use of experiments in practice as a pedagogical approach to deal with this tension in Master’s programmes.

The empirical data comprise eight qualitative interviews with former students, exam papers and participant observations during the course ‘Experimental Management Practice’ over a period of five years.

The course requires the participants to experiment with their (managerial) practice and make these experiments the learning material and stepping stone for formulating problems in new ways. We argue that it is fruitful to make a distinction between practical problems and knowledge problems, and that playful shifts back and forth between the two forms of problems can provide learning. We also argue that it is important to observe the distinction between the role of the manager and the role of the student in order to meet ethical challenges, inevitably raised by experimenting with practice. Finally we argue that the experimental teaching practice can be conceptualised as a monstrous pedagogy, as the pedagogy creates a liminal zone with hybrid characteristics.

Research limitations/implications
The chapter provides new conceptualizations of the tensions between theory and practice based on our experiences from one degree programme. It would have been interesting to study other executive programmes and which pedagogy they use fort dealing with this tension.

Practical implications
Many Master’s programmes draw empirical data from the students’ own practice into the teaching. We argue that using experiments is highly useful to identify some of the general challenges inherent in analyses of one’s own practice. It does not solve the tension between theory and practice but creates new challenges, potentialities, dilemmas and insights.

We suggest using ‘monstrosity’ as an umbrella term for ‘hybrid’ and ‘liminality’ of the complex relations that are at play in further education of practitioners. We compare the idea of the monstrous to the notion of educating ‘reflected practitioners’, and we argue that in a situation where the public manager is expected to define his/her own role, we might be better off educating a ‘monstrous practitioner’ instead of a ‘reflecting’ one.
TitelDeveloping public managers for a changing world
RedaktørerKlaus Majgaard, J.C.Ry Nielsen, Brid Quinn, John W. Raine
Antal sider21
ForlagEmerald Group Publishing
Udgivelsesår22 dec. 2016
ISBN (trykt)978-1-78635-080-0
StatusUdgivet - 22 dec. 2016
BegivenhedCopenhagen Forum Annual Workshop: Experimental learning within master programmes - Copenhagen, Danmark
Varighed: 4 nov. 20156 nov. 2015


WorkshopCopenhagen Forum Annual Workshop
SerietitelCritical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management


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