My Scholarly Reflections

This is where I tell what I think, so that I see what I say

emotional misalignment in constructive alignment!

with 4 comments

After a lot of dithering, I have at last summoned up enough courage to launch a blog. This blog is about my teaching experiences. I believe teaching connects me to my tribe of higher education professionals more than research! Teaching is our main bread and butter. Teaching is what we do most of our working days. Teaching dominates our daily (hallway!) conversations (“finished my class” ….”going to class”… etc).  And most significant of all, at least for me, teaching is about emotions. Our emotions. Anxiety: Not sure about the soundness of the assessment tasks. What if marking criteria fails to adequately do justice to student effort? Justifying marks to the ‘authorities’. Student complaints. Student apathy. Students sleeping. Students ‘smart-phoning’. Students absent. Standing in front of the class, the deep, unspoken need to please students, to win their approval, to gain their attention.

Trying to fix ‘constructive alignment’ but loosing emotional alignment.

Equally important, the broader techno-social environment. The foreboding alarm, in the face of the rising criticism that universities are not working, business education is becoming obsolete etc   The nagging feeling that technological advances are rendering our practices useless and irrelevant.  BUT at the same time, the heady feeling that we are all on the cusp of a new age marked by creative destruction of the old ways and the birth of new paradigms. Am I ready to ride this new wave? Do I have the skills? How can I get those skills quickly?

I need to externalize these emotions. Give them a cathartic outlet. So, my friends, I open up a well spring of my emotions and ideas to you. A well spring that I believe connects with your streams of thought on teaching and learning in the higher education domain.

What does your inner voice say?


Written by Amer Khan

February 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. What a beginning, Amer! Some of the educational thinking that underpins the contemporary accreditation practices appear to follow the logic and framework of “systems engineering.” This thinking also appears to correspond with the “mechanistic” paradigm in organisational studies. By recognising the emotional processes involved in education, you seem to be looking beyond these. That is exciting! I tend to think that the key to education does not lie under the accreditation lamp post. We may have to look for it elsewhere, quite possibly in the dim crevices of the subconscious, where emotions, dreams, and suppressed desires play with unfathomable force. The minuscule tips that do become visible above the conscious waterline, in corridors and classrooms, can cue us to the vast but invisible realm that lies below the waterline. You are looking for skills to “ride the wave,” but your inquiry maybe located deep down the wave, where technological waves pale in comparison to the emotional undercurrents, the drives, desires, and impulses, which structure our beings and channel our feelings, thoughts, and behaviour. Yours seems to be an important quest. I look forward to reading more.


    February 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    • Thanks DP, for being the first to comment on my first blog entry! Your comments are right on the spot! Over time, I will explore the tensions between the mechanistic paradigm of performance measurement and the discourse of alignment on the one hand, and the emotional undercurrents of learning and teaching activities. Yes, we need to look beyond the mechanistic mode to realize the creative side of our workaday lives! I want all my respected colleagues and friends to appreciate and bring out the emotional and creative sides of their learning and teaching endeavours. I think that would be good not only in terms of pedagogy but also in terms of their personal wellbeing!


      February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

  2. Dear Amer,
    Congratulations for starting a blog! I have started similar blog on being an academic. And, I can find similarities in our opinions- basically questions to ponder on! I am still at the beginning stage of the journey. I have more questions than answers. In fact, I too am riding a wave in the same ocean (but my wave can be a different one as compared to the wave you are riding).
    Some of the questions which I raise while embarking on the journey are there in my Blog:
    I do feel that teaching is an emotional quest, an obvious path of an academic. But, I am still lost in my journey at the basic questions like what is the role of a teacher? One obvious explanation is the role is what we make out of the role for ourselves (role making). But, at the same time, is it not important for us to care for the expectations? I ask questions: What are the expectations (from students, universities, Community at large) and how we know these expectations? How these expectations are being formed among students, universities and community? Do I expect myself to fulfill all expectations of others? Is it necessary to fulfil the expectations?
    Your comments are welcome.

    Anand Agrawal

    March 19, 2012 at 5:31 am

    • Thanks for your interesting and thought-provoking questions. Congratulations on your blog! Yes, you are right, expectations determine our behaviour to a great extent. And as an ‘academic’ there is a complex mix of those expectations which sometimes pull us in different directions. I look forward to exploring these issues with you in the future


      March 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

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