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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2018

Philip Baron and Anne Catherine Baron

When comparing pre-school teachers with university lecturers, society generally acknowledges the latter as a highly skilled professional, while the former does not achieve…

Abstract

Purpose

When comparing pre-school teachers with university lecturers, society generally acknowledges the latter as a highly skilled professional, while the former does not achieve such admiration or financial reward. Upon studying this status quo, the authors introduce ethically resilient teaching as a set of seven + one common qualities that are shared by both levels of educators. The purpose of this paper is to present these qualities, describing how they relate to the function of teaching and learning with the aim of bridging the perceived gap between these two levels of educators.

Design/methodology/approach

Over several years, the authors observed patterns in the ideas and comments surrounding ethically resilient teaching that have arisen in teacher training sessions in both the pre-school and university domains. Through these reflexive communal conversational training sessions, attributes that are commonly associated with ethics and resilience in teaching and learning were identified. These attributes were then clustered into seven groups or qualities which represent the authors (and their participants’) compilation of ethically resilient teachers.

Findings

Ethically resilient teachers are not specific to a single educational level with there being considerable overlap in the qualities that describe ethically resilient teaching in both the pre-school and university levels.

Research limitations/implications

The study considers two educational contexts: pre-schooling and tertiary education only. The outcomes arise from an urbanised South African multicultural context.

Practical implications

The qualities (seven + one) that describe ethically resilient teachers may be used as predictors for ethical resilience in teaching in both the pre-school and university levels.

Social implications

There are many ethical teachers who leave the vocation as they are not resilient. There are many resilient teachers who would not be labelled as ethical. It is proposed that ethics should be a qualifier to the term resilience in terms of teaching and learning for highly effective sustainable pedagogy.

Originality/value

The topic of ethically resilient teaching has not been found in the literature. The authors have proposed that an ethically resilient teacher is one who for various reasons, has found a strategy for continuing in a self-fulfilling vocation as a teacher in which his or her students achieve their goals in a sustainable manner. These teachers are steadfast, hardy and committed, even in the face of turbulence and are deeply concerned with their students’ results and experiences within the classroom.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2018

Philip Baron and Christiane M. Herr

Discussing cybernetics as an enacted practice within specific contexts, this paper aims to identify key similarities and differences of two cybernetically informed…

Abstract

Purpose

Discussing cybernetics as an enacted practice within specific contexts, this paper aims to identify key similarities and differences of two cybernetically informed approaches to tertiary education in the distinct contexts of China and South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Making explicit and comparing two cybernetically informed educational approaches, the authors identify shared aspects as well as differences arising from their practice in social contexts that have differing norms and values.

Findings

The authors find that conversational settings for learning, immediacy of feedback, the key role of the teacher and assessment strategies that are matched to cybernetic learning and teaching strategies all constitute shared vital aspects of cybernetically informed teaching that are valid across two distinct educational contexts. Enacting these key aspects however requires careful adaptation to local contexts.

Research limitations/implications

Primarily qualitative in nature, this study is limited to the examination of two bodies of work conducted independently of each other in differing contexts.

Practical implications

Arising from the long-term examination of applied educational practice, findings discussed in the paper are intended to inform similar practice in other contexts. The authors however emphasise that enacted ethical practice requires careful adapting of learning and teaching strategies to local conditions.

Social implications

Based on the authors’ findings, the authors demonstrate the value of cybernetically informed tertiary education that emphasises ethical settings for learning on the basis of mutuality, equality and social inclusion.

Originality/value

Based on two bodies of work that consolidated practice-based insights independently of each other, this paper presents insights on cybernetically informed education that, shown to work well in two very different contexts, may offer a broader applicability.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Philip Baron

There is a lack of epistemological considerations in religious studies methodologies, which have resulted in an on-going critique in this field. In addressing this…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a lack of epistemological considerations in religious studies methodologies, which have resulted in an on-going critique in this field. In addressing this critique, the researcher’s observer effect needs to be actively accounted for owing to the influence of the researcher’s epistemology in the author’s research. This paper aims to answer the question of why a researcher should address one’s epistemology in the research.

Design/methodology/approach

Using second-order cybernetics as an approach, observer dependence is exemplified and justified in the context of religious studies research methodology. The research activity is shown as a relational temporal coupling that introduces inter-subjective aspects to the research. The research process is analysed showing the need to provide scope for the researcher’s epistemology in one’s research.

Findings

A relational observer-dependent approach to research embraces the epistemology of the researcher and the participants providing equality in the relationship. The research results are thus framed according to the nature of the relationship and are thus not detached. This addresses social justice and reduces troubling truth claims.

Research limitations/implications

This first paper focuses on the question of why epistemology should be included in scholarly research. A detailed framework for how scholars may achieve this goal is to be part of the future study and is not presented in this paper.

Practical implications

In many positivist approaches there is a motivation to hide the researcher; however, recently there has been a move towards including authors in the first person, realising that science is tied to politics, which does not reach its ideals of objectivity. Cybernetics is presented as an approach to addressing the move from “objective” to “subjective” research.

Social implications

Researchers cannot get into the minds of their participants and thus an authorial privileged presentation by the researcher of the participant’s experiences is fraught with epistemological weaknesses. Attempting to own one’s own epistemology could address social justice in research by personalising the research and accounting for the observer effect and the inter-subjective attributes of the research relationship.

Originality/value

The principle of observer dependence in cybernetics is not new; however, a research approach that focuses on the nature of knowing and how this may influence one’s research in religious studies is uncommon. It is thus presented here as a viable option to address the critique of epistemologically weak research methodology in religious studies.

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Philip Baron, David Griffiths and Ben Sweeting

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 46 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 22 November 2017

Philip Baron

The legacy of colonisation and apartheid in South Africa has resulted in a radical challenge to the public universities. The successful #FeesMustFall campaign that took…

Abstract

Purpose

The legacy of colonisation and apartheid in South Africa has resulted in a radical challenge to the public universities. The successful #FeesMustFall campaign that took place in 2015 accentuated several aspects of post-apartheid transformation that have not been adequately attended to. The public universities are now faced with meeting the needs of students and interested parties who would like to see transformation at various levels, in particular, the decolonisation of knowledge. This paper aims to present an approach to address the decolonisation of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

Shifting universities’ approach to teaching and learning is a challenging endeavour, especially as it entails an embrace of previously ignored worldviews. Taking a metaphoric approach, an analysis of this problem is presented in systemic terms from a family therapy approach adhering to second-order cybernetics. A solution to bridging the disconnect between the participants in the decolonisation of knowledge in a South African context is presented.

Findings

Early successes were attained on the back of a therapeutic approach to meeting the needs of students who took part in curriculum and policy changes. The findings suggest that for a transformation to take place, all the participants in the university should acknowledge that the problem (which may have different forms) is a shared one and that decolonisation requires the participants to learn about other participants in the system. Reflecting on historical narratives and its present status quo from the epistemology of the directly affected parties is suggested as an indispensable step that should occur prior to the implementation of any solutions. Without the reflection process, the other members of the system may not understand the context and reasoning for the decolonisation, resulting in friction and fear, in turn mitigating the decolonisation process.

Research limitations/implications

Methods of empathetically engaging people who have been discriminated against is important in the goal of restoring equality and social justice. Family therapy is presented as a vehicle for communal dialogue in a therapeutic empathetic context. This approach has value in many settings other than in the education arena.

Social implications

Legacies of apartheid are still in effect in the South African public university system. Decolonising knowledge is one topic that may address social justice which helps to diffuse social tension and subsequent protest action.

Originality/value

Family therapy as an approach to decolonisation of knowledge and as an approach to appeasing social tension in the educational context is unique.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 46 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 November 2014

Philip Baron

When reviewing the prospectus of mainstream universities that offer psychology majors, one would be hard-pressed to find any cybernetic approaches included in their course…

Abstract

Purpose

When reviewing the prospectus of mainstream universities that offer psychology majors, one would be hard-pressed to find any cybernetic approaches included in their course material. This is an unfortunate observation as most psychological problems arise in a relational context. Reasons for this status quo are presented. The purpose of this paper is to reduce obstacles for prospective learners in cybernetic psychology, with the hope that cybernetic psychology may be assimilated and seen as an equal footing paradigm in mainstream psychology teachings.

Design/methodology/approach

A popular cybernetics web site is often used by students who are learning cybernetic psychology. Using the responses from students who frequent the online resource, solutions are presented based on the questions that students have asked the author of the site.

Findings

Students are taught different therapy paradigms in terms of models; the psychodynamic model, the medical model, the person-centred model; the systems model and so forth. Their position to the model is external and they can critically evaluate the different models and apply each model in an interpretation and analysis of various psychology case studies. Cybernetic psychology becomes problematic when that line of thinking is used.

Practical implications

Cybernetic psychology stands as an ethical choice for therapy. Reducing the boundaries for cybernetic therapies to be assimilated in the mainstream context, especially if offered by universities as an equal footing paradigm, which would be in keeping with the WHO's call for responsible ethical therapy interventions.

Originality/value

There is limited information on how to perform cybernetic psychology. This is understandable owing to the nature of cybernetics; however, reliable and stable approaches should still be available for students who are new to this epistemology. There needs to be an entering point into this way of thinking so that cybernetic psychology remains accessible to newcomers.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 43 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Philip Baron

Much information is hidden from consumers including social and environmental violations, poor labour practices and unethical economic activities. This paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

Much information is hidden from consumers including social and environmental violations, poor labour practices and unethical economic activities. This paper aims to present a model for both consumers and corporations that can assist in empowering consumers when making purchasing decisions by bringing the behind the scenes information to the buyer. A responsibility rating is provided at each step in the production chain.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an argument with research findings of how consumers are linked to their purchases, and how these purchases contribute to the current manufacturing cycle and perpetuation of land and labour abuses.

Findings

Consumers can influence the product lifecycle of their chosen products. The model provides a mechanism for consumers to purchase items that are in keeping with their worldview. A certifiable standard for corporations is presented.

Practical implications

Consumers are provided with a system that they can immediately obtain the responsibility ratings of any of their chosen products in real-time. Companies with low responsibility ratings lose out in their sales revenue and are thus motivated to change their production methods. Companies would compete in an atmosphere of total disclosure regarding social and environmental matters giving rise to a new ethic of consumerism.

Originality/value

A new form of consumerism is uncovered, one that takes the recursive nature of consumer actions into account.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 42 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Philip Baron and Anne Catherine Baron

The purpose of this paper is to determine if there is value in performing studies comparing a cybernetic approach over a traditional teaching approach in regards to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine if there is value in performing studies comparing a cybernetic approach over a traditional teaching approach in regards to improved pre-school tuition.

Design/methodology/approach

A two independent groups design was implemented with each group receiving a different treatment. The first group had their lesson presented in the traditional teaching approach while the second group were part of a cybernetic approach. After each group had their lesson, each child was assessed and asked a series of ten questions. The total correct answers for the traditional group was compared to the total correct answers of the cybernetic group. The results were statistically examined using a t-test and Pearson r correlation.

Findings

The group who took part in the cybernetic lesson had a 46 per cent increase in the total number of correct answers. The cybernetic approach to the pre-school lesson was an improvement in terms of memory retention. This initial study justifies a series of further experimental designs.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a basis for further studies of comparative educational approaches to pre-school education and learner memory performance. A cybernetic approach to pre-school instruction has a lot to offer and is especially beneficial for children who are learning language, whether first or second language. This is a model to develop further, for use in the teaching-learning environment.

Practical implications

The use of Teachback within a pre-school context may have additional benefits such as improved language acquisition through additional practice of verbal expression. A practical method of addressing the challenge of cybernetics training was also presented in this study.

Social implications

When the Teachback is performed, the person creates a verbal expression based on their language and background. As the Teachback occurs in a social context amongst peers, an opportunity for an exploration into the diverse backgrounds of the individual pre-school children can take place, especially beneficial when in a multi-cultural setting.

Originality/value

There are few cybernetics studies conducted on pre-school aged children. This is the first study whereby cybernetic tools such as Teachback have been used in pre-school education.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 44 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Philip Baron

Mainstream counselling psychology with its Western epistemology implies several assumptions about the therapeutic conversation. One assumption is the ability of the…

Abstract

Purpose

Mainstream counselling psychology with its Western epistemology implies several assumptions about the therapeutic conversation. One assumption is the ability of the therapist to hear and see accurately during the therapy session. Apart from language difficulties and multi-cultural awareness, training in psychological counselling does not adequately address aspects of hearing and seeing as cognitive processors that are observer dependent and circular in nature. The purpose of this paper is to address this missing link by providing a single document addressing errors in hearing and seeing, which can then be used for training new therapists.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a Western epistemology, an argument based on multidisciplinary research findings is used to challenge the ideas of objective hearing and seeing in the therapeutic conversation of the counselling activity.

Findings

Research findings show that the act of hearing and seeing are personal and subjective. This would be in keeping with a cybernetic epistemology; however, cybernetic psychology is not well known nor widely accepted in mainstream institutions. Teaching counsellors who have a Western epistemology poses challenges when attempting to negate the objective reality of the trainees. Training counsellors to incorporate a cybernetic ethic of participation has obstacles, especially when the training has time constraints. Using Western positivistic research findings as a basis for providing an argument for subjectivity in perception may be a quicker method to achieve at least partial observer dependent thinking for counsellors in a short-time space during training sessions.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a concentration of multidisciplinary research that can be used as part of counsellor training for the purposes of providing a basis for the error and filtering that take place in human perception of sound and vision.

Originality/value

The modalities of hearing and seeing are not readily addressed in counselling psychology praxis. The errors in human sense perception are integral in framing the therapeutic conversation as one of subjective co-construction between observers, moving closer to an empathetic position. This paper provides a research-based argument in denying objectivity in human perception during the therapeutic conversation.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 44 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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