Students' experiences of challenges and threats in changing epistemic contexts

  • EL van Heerden Rand Afrikaans University
  • CPH Myburgh Rand Afrikaans University
  • M Poggenpoel Rand Afrikaans University


Students at higher education institutions in South Africa are exposed to changing epistemic contexts and postures. The concept "epistemic posture" refers to the ways in which human beings "do knowing" and the presuppositions they have about the "epistemic meta-narrative" (Newman & Holzman 1997:7). Not taking it for granted that lecturers' changing epistemic postures will live up to students expectations of a lecturer, the researchers found it necessary to pause for a moment to ask the questions: What do students expect from lecturers? And will the introduction of socio-constructivism as a theory of knowledge and learning in an undergraduate Education course live up to the students' expectations of a lecturer? Therefore this article intends to:
briefly describe and explain which epistemic changes are taking place in South African higher education; discuss the results of qualitative research done about undergraduate students' expectations of lecturers at a residential university; discuss some possible challenges and threats which students might experience in a changing epistemic context at a higher education institution.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.15(2) 2001: 158-161

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