Unfathomable changes in the health care system, rapid transformations in the nature and delivery of nursing care and diminishing resources in higher education have created a place for a new pedagogy for nursing. Schools of nursing are responding to contemporary challenges by instituting curricular and instructional innovation at a phenomenal rate. The self-evident assumptions of traditional nursing education are being challenged as a new pedagogy for nursing is emerging. In exploring how to transform nursing education and create a new pedagogy, feminist, critical, phenomenological and post-modern approaches offer new possibilities for us to consider.
In some schools of nursing, the new pedagogy includes student co-participation in curriculum and governance. As teachers bring the dilemmas they experience in their day-to-day lives to their classrooms and clinical areas, new partnerships are being created among students, teachers and clinicians. These partnerships overcome barriers to learning such as: passive instruction, teachertalk, student silence and the denial of subjects in the curriculum important to students. Through embracing feminist and critical approaches, an emphasis on empowering and emancipatory concerns is reducing hostility and fostering community in many schools of nursing.
A new pedagogy for nursing is not easy to sustain however, as the forces to return to teacher-centered approaches are formidable. Educational experience is always constrained by the processes of tradition (Gallagher, 1992). However, a tradition is never something left behind, rather it lives on and biases teaching and learning in both positive and negative ways. Utilizing post-modern discourse, through dialogue, debate and action, the meanings of traditional approaches can be continually explored, critiqued, challenged, deconstructed and overcome. In this way, the new pedagogy for nursing can create and recreate the curriculum as community reflexive scholarship. Listening, creating a place for everyone that is safe, fair and respectful but with limits and boundaries are practices that matter and can be explored. For example, how the limits and boundaries are set is focal in community reflexive scholarship to creating egalitarian and emancipatory communities of students, teachers and clinicians.
In Teacher learning: New policies, new practices, McLaughlin and Oberman (1996) discuss the importance of reconceptualizing teaching. They discuss the movement in education toward the creation of "intellectual communities" of students and teachers. Current approaches to faculty development are challenged and attention to creating intellectual communities is advocated as a place for shared scholarship. Through community reflexive scholarship self-evident assumptions and phenomena rarely discussed are explored: for example, discussing the nature, definition and meaning of teaching. Perhaps these conversations never occur, because it is assumed either everyone has a shared view of teaching or everyone's view is different and therefore the discussion of similarities or differences does not matter. However, through community reflexive scholarship, exploring teaching can lead to an understanding of how teaching is an intellectual endeavor. In the new pedagogy teaching necessitates for teachers "a set of epistemiological shifts- changing beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, a deepening of their content knowledge, and reinventing their classroom practice from within the new conceptual framework" (p. 4). In the new pedagogy for nursing, teachers become explorers of meaning in addition to their roles as information-givers and facilitators of learning.
There is a reawakening in schools of nursing, of the centrality of language, meaning and voice in educative experiences. Language is not a neutral medium, rather it is inseparable from the lived experiences of students, teachers and clinicians. The development of how people create distinctive voice is a language experience and practice. The new pedagogy embraces the language of critique, deconstruction as well as possibilities. The curriculum as dialogue creates new paths to listening that will widen our understanding of the nature of teaching and learning (Diekelmann, 1989). It will be "attentive to the histories, futures, and experiences that nursing students and teachers bring with them to school as well as the experiences of nurses and our clients" (p. 37).
Many schools of nursing are challenging the role experience and knowledge-out-of-context play (Applebee, 1996) by recalling nursing practice as central in the new pedagogy. Conversations that explore how students and teachers develop meanings from their practice out of the experiences they encounter is transforming both the corresponding relationship between classroom and clinical learning and theory and practice (Benner, Tanner, & Chesla, 1996). Viewing teaching and learning as practices makes visible the ways students, teachers and clinicians share experiences (Diekelmann, Douglas, & Diekelmann, in preparation). Attending to the shared practices of teaching, learning and caring through community reflexive scholarship is one way schools of nursing are creating a new pedagogy for nursing.
- Applebee, A. (1996). Curriculum as conversation: Transforming traditions of teaching and learning. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- Benner, P., Tanner, C, & Chesla C. (1996). Expertise in nursing practice: Caring, clinical judgment and ethics. New York, NY: Springer.
- Diekelmann, N. (1989). The nursing curriculum: Lived experiences of students. In Curriculum revolution: Reconceptualizing nursing education, pp. 25-41. New York, NY: National League for Nursing.
- Diekelmann, N., Douglas, M., & Diekelmann, J. Schooling learning teaching: Towards a narrative pedagogy. Manuscript in preparation.
- Gallagher, S. (1992). Hermeneutics and education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
- McLaughlin, M. & Oberman, I. (1996). Teacher learning: New policies, new practices. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.