The Politics of Student Voice and the Future of Personal Tutoring: How might tutors and advisers begin to address epistemic injustices played out in the tutor-student encounter?

Owen G Barlow (University of Bristol)

Monday, April 8, 2024 4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

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Session Outline

The harm caused by an unfair distribution of voices, knowledge, and information has been brought to the attention of numerous philosophy of education scholars. Theoretical frameworks across social and political philosophy will be explored to help understand the knowledge exchanges etched into personal tutoring/advising relationships. Fricker’s notion of epistemic injustice (2007), which helps advisers consider how their practice could facilitate or hinder knowledge democracy, has entered educational debates recently. At the same time, ‘Student Voice’ agendas have been routinely drawn on by many Universities and Student Unions to frame and sustain more appropriate, fair, and inclusive policies, curricula, and extracurricular options for students. The presentation will contextualise this theoretical background within the tutor-student encounter. The presentation surveys both systemic and institutional educational dimensions, as well as how the personal advising curriculum can represent spaces where educational (in)justice plays out. The presentation hopes to demonstrate how existing efforts to facilitate student voice via the tutor-student encounter could be complemented by reflective investigations into how epistemic injustices play out in one's professional practice and what remedies seem viable. I outline plausible objections and responses from advisers/tutors to the different degrees of epistemic injustices in Higher Education. The combination of a literature review and qualitative research into student feedback is used to highlight the role tutors/advisers play in moving systems and individual tutoring practices across the spectrum of epistemic in/justice. The presentation concludes with an invitation to education scholars and tutors to innovate and evaluate their existing student voice, listening, and feedback-gathering practices to keep the lens of epistemic injustice in mind.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C4 - Expected outcomes of academic advising and tutoring
P2 - Appreciate students’ views and cultures, maintain a student-centred approach and mindset, and treat students with sensitivity and fairness
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach