Scholarship

I have a very vivid memory of first hearing the word ‘scholarship’.

I was sitting on the floor in a morning assembly at the Buckley CP school on my last day as an infant (in 1959).

The head of the Infant School was saying goodbye as my class moved to the Junior School. She wished us well and was enthusiastic about the possibility that we might have a scholarship to the Grammar School.

I remember being very concerned about this. I had never been on a boat of any kind and the thought of leaving home at 11 to go sailing was unthinkable. Back in 1959 I was convinced that a scholarship was a large sailing boat akin to a galleon.

It must have been a very powerful experience for me as I have a synesthesia relationship with the word ‘scholarship’ to the present day.

Fortunately the word brings out admiration in me these days!

Last week I was in awe of the scholarship displayed by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford. Diarmaid was a guest of Ramona Koval on Radio National’s Book Show.  The topic under discussion was 400 Years of the King James Bible.

I think the podcast of the interview is a wonderful resource for anyone seeking the characteristics and demonstration of scholarship.

I am keen to explore the links between scholarship and teaching and am interested in the ideas of two of Diarmaid’s colleagues from Oxford, Keith Trigwell and Suzanne Shale (2004) who propose:

a practice-oriented model that favours a notion of scholarship as activity; is concerned with the articulation of pedagogic resonance; assumes a learning partnership, rather than an instructional relationship, with learners; and privileges the work of knowledge creation with students.

I like all four components of this model and see them as particularly relevant at a time when higher education is transforming its practice.

Photo Credit

Ship Garthsnaid

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