Emergent frameworks of research teaching and learning in a cohort-based doctoral programme

  • M Samuel
  • R Vithal
Keywords: Cohort model of supervision, postgraduate research supervision, learning to become researcher, teaching and learning in higher education, democracy, Ubuntu, serendipity


This article argues that alternate models of doctoral research teaching and learning pedagogy could address the challenge of under-productivity of doctoral graduands in the South African higher education system. Present literature tends not to focus on the models of research teaching and learning as a form of pedagogy. The article presents a case study of a doctoral cohort model programme where attention to both quantity and quality of doctoral “production” are engaged in the curriculum design and methodological approaches employed. In this alternate to the traditional “master-apprenticeship”, epistemologies that the programme creates are influenced by its pedagogical methodologies. This reflective theoretical exploration draws on the experiences of supervisors, staff and students as co-producers of knowledge involved in the research pedagogical process. The doctoral graduands that emerge are able to embrace the roles and responsibilities as researchers and knowledge makers. Rather than the PhD being about individualistic learning, the programme attempts to infuse multi- and interdisciplinary notions of responsiveness to knowledge production in community. It concludes with emergent frameworks for doctoral pedagogies –“democratic teaching/learning participation”, “structured scaffolding”, “Ubuntu” and “serendipity”– as useful explanatory shaping influences which underpin and frame the model promoting a contextually relevant and appropriate doctoral research teaching and learning pedagogy.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0258-2236