Symposium: Student Academic Freedom

Claire Skea, Amanda Fulford

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This Symposium discusses the issue of student freedom in higher education, with the focus on universities in the UK. It has been inspired by a recent publication by Bruce Macfarlane, Freedom to Learn. This argues that the development of the student engagement agenda with its stress on ‘active learning’, vocal participation and group exercises may well inhibit student freedoms – for example, the right to remain reticent. The first paper introduces this main theme and three other contributions follow on by exploring different facets of student freedom. The second examines the role of student voice and its ‘domestication’; insights from the philosopher Gabriel Marcel are used to further explore the role of functionality in undermining freedom. Writings from Cavell are also used to develop further what is meant by the term ‘voice’. The third paper takes as its theme the difficulties of co-constructive learning and argues that student engagement agenda, as promulgated via the Teaching Excellence Framework is unduly prescriptive both in tone and content. The final paper examines two central freedoms that students need to have – intellectual and ethical freedom. It uses insights from Kant’s What is Enlightenment? and Charles Taylor’s concept of strong evaluation to strengthen these claims.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventPhilosophy of Education Society of Great Britain : Annual Conference - New College, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Duration: 31 Mar 20172 Apr 2017


    ConferencePhilosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
    Abbreviated titlePESGB Oxford
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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