June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Cech (2014) and Slaton (2015) have documented meritocracy and technocracy as salient ideological pillars in engineering education. These ideologies are also observable in the engineering mindsets articulated by Riley (2008). Meritocracy and technocracy form structural conditions within engineering education that broadly contribute to reducing engineering students’ sense of social responsibility over their engineering degree program (Cech, 2014), which we see as doing harm. In order to prepare students to pursue engineering for social justice, Leydens and Lucena (2018) call for engineering students to learn to identify structural conditions. However, learning to see these structural conditions is non-trivial since students more readily understand direct violence/harm, than structural and cultural violence/harm (Lachney & Banks, 2017; authors). Additionally, those from more privileged backgrounds are more likely to struggle in recognizing the "culture of power" within disciplinary spaces (Delpit, 1988). So, we anticipate that it will be challenging work for engineering students to come to see the harm precipitated by these ideologies. Hitherto, there has been limited exploration (Lambrinidou & Caney, 2016; Lachney & Bank, 2017; Authors; Canney, 2018) of how and to what end these ideological narratives emerge in engineering students’ reasoning. Our paper contributes to this line of inquiry.
We are studying undergraduate peer educators preparing for their teaching within an introductory, project-based engineering design course. Concurrent to teaching, the peer-educators take a pedagogy seminar. Our data consists of audio-video records of class discussions and coursework in the pedagogy seminar. Using tools of discourse analysis (Jordan & Henderson, 1995) and progressive refinement (Engle et al, 2007), we will operationalize how we “see” meritocracy and technocracy in peer-educators’ talk and/or writing within particular classroom moments and assignments. We study these peer educators, in particular, because they are in a unique position to do harm if the ideologies of meritocracy and technocracy aren't challenged, and, likewise, they are in a unique position to do good if they actively disrupt these ideologies in the introductory design course.
Listening to engineering peer-educators talk about pedagogy within particular classroom moments offers unique opportunities for seeing how they produce, reproduce, or challenge meritocratic and technocratic narratives in reasoning about engineering work and engineering education. In our seminar context, course readings and instructional activities aim to reveal how meritocracy and technocracy can be dehumanizing, and work to cultivate a sense of social responsibility in educators for bringing (particularly marginalized) students into meaningful engineering work. We aim to critically examine how these instructional supports influence students’ reasoning. In this paper, we explore: (i) how do peer-educators reason with meritocracy and technocracy in making sense of classroom moments, (ii) how do meritocracy and technocracy get constructed in dialogue, and (iii) how might peer educators come to see the harm that these ideologies do? Understanding how these reasoning dynamics play out in discourse can have unique affordances for learning how to disrupt these ideologies and generate alternative ideological constructions. In this way, we have the opportunity to investigate not only peer educators’ reasoning, but also the instructional conditions that may influence it.
Canney, N. E. (2018), Engineers’ Imaginaries of 'The Public': Dominant Themes from Interviews with Engineering Students, Faculty, and Professionals Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30421
Cech, E.A. (2014). Culture of Disengagement in Engineering Education? Science, Technology, & Human Values, 39(1), 42–72. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243913504305
Delpit, L.D. (1988). The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children, Harvard Educational Review, 58(3), pp. 280-298.
Engle, R. A., Conant, F. R., & Greeno, J. G. (2007). Progressive refinement of hypotheses in video-supported research. Video Research in the Learning Sciences, 239–254.
Jordan, B., & Henderson, A. (1995). Interaction Analysis: Foundations and Practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(1), 39–103. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls0401_2
Lachney, M., & Banks, D. A. (2017). Teaching the Non-neutral Engineer: Pathways Toward Addressing the Violence of Engineering in the Classroom. Presented at the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Retrieved from (link)
Lambrinidou, Y., & Canney, N. E. (2016), Professional Formation of Engineers’ Conceptions of “the Public”: Early-Concept Exploratory Research Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25970
Riley, D. (2008). Engineering and social justice. Synthesis Lectures on Engineers, Technology, and Society, 3(1), 33-45.
Slaton, A. E. (2015). Meritocracy, Technocracy, Democracy: Understandings of Racial and Gender Equity in American Engineering Education. In International Perspectives on Engineering Education (pp. 171–189). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16169-3_8
Turpen, C. A., & Radoff, J., & Gupta, A., & Sabo, H., & Elby, A. (2019, June), Examining How Engineering Educators Produce, Reproduce, or Challenge Meritocracy and Technocracy in Pedagogical Reasoning Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32778
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