Program design practice in a New Zealand polytechnic: Caught in a language trap?

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

This paper describes a research project aimed at understanding the ideological values and beliefs that influence program design practice in New Zealand polytechnics. This project identifies five interpretative repertoires that participants draw on to communicate the meanings of ‘program’ and ‘program design’ in relation to ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’. This paper characterises the identified repertoires in terms of metaphors: a consumable product, a production process, a guided tour, a guided adventure, and a mission. The differences and tensions between the metaphorical types are explained in terms of political-economic and educational ideological discourses. The paper proceeds to show how current educational language either compromises or excludes ideologies. It keeps educators captured within the discourses and practices that are favoured by policy- makers, and limits the opportunities for change and innovation.

Keywords: program design, ideological discourses, metaphor