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Title: A management studies curriculum for free thought in a changing South African context : learning from a unique experience
Author: Hesketh, Janet
ISNI:       0000 0001 3555 292X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2003
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This work is located in the unique context of the newly democratised South Africa of 1997 and comprises two phases reflecting its beginning as a Masters project and Its development into a doctoral study. It seeks to answer the research question: Can we improve the learning opportunities for South African Management Studies students from African cultures and restrictive economic and schooling backgrounds, by providing them with a curriculum that promoted free thought? The purpose of the first phase of this work was to evaluate an experience-based curriculum that was learner-centred. It aimed to meet the needs of the 'whole student' and to give the students opportunity to think freely and to achieve their potential. The evaluation, incorporating qualitative and quantitative data, formed the basis of a single case study: it explored the course's effectiveness in providing learning conditions that could promote students' personal, academic and intellectual growth from their first year of study. The purpose of the second phase was to problematise the case study, reflecting on it in the light of subsequent experience and research. This involved an exploration of the value of experience-based learning; the likelihood of the conclusions' replication, particularly within the faculty; the prospects for wider application of the case studied. The thesis argues that experiential learning helped this group of students perform better academically than their compatriots whose learning experience was limited to a traditional university approach, suggesting that the conditions under which teaching and learning occur affect the outcome. The concept of problem-based learning was found to provide an inadequate theoretical framework since its Western cultural underpinnings are foreign to the African culture and did not provide opportunities for 'whole student' independent thought. Since this thesis is based on a unique case study the conclusions cannot be generalisable although they are considerably strengthened in the light of students continuing to perform better over the next five years. Unless universities themselves change their approach to teaching and learning, however, it is suggested that it would be difficult to replicate these findings more broadly.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Experiential learning