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Conceptions of teaching and learning interactions among industry practitioners taught by practitioner-tutors: a case study of part-time MBA students in Singapore

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Sadanand Varma
Publication date2019
Number of pages249
Awarding Institution
Award date21/09/2019
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Private graduate management education in Singapore is an expanding space that is experiencing an influx of students who are industry practitioners pursuing an MBA on a part-time basis. This influx has created an associated demand for faculty, which is largely being filled by part-time faculty, or ‘Local Counsellors’. These Local Counsellors are drawn from industry as practitioner-tutors, and are expected to connect theoretical content to local industry practice. This situation has created a new phenomenon where industry practitioners are being taught by industry practitioners, which is distinctly different from traditional teacher-student teaching and learning interactions. Both parties engage in teaching and learning interactions with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge, resulting varying degrees of expectations that contribute to conceptions of teaching and learning effectiveness. This thesis, therefore, is an exploration of the conceptions of these students that combines phenomenography with Bourdieu’s metaphorical concepts of social practice, namely, field, habitus, capital, and doxa.

These conceptions of effectiveness ranged from the qualities of the Local Counsellor, the actual experiences during teaching and learning interactions, and learning and development. The research discovered that the structure of the field students operated in, and the associated habitus, played a primary role in shaping their conceptions of effectiveness. More importantly, habitus shaped how students perceived themselves as individuals in teaching and learning interactions, specifically whether they were industry practitioners engaged in teaching and learning, or students who happened to be industry practitioners. These different orientations have a direct influence on their conceptions of teaching and learning interactions being ‘effective’. From a methodological perspective, phenomenography and Bourdieu’s concepts are complementary approaches, where phenomenography lends order to the massive data related to the conceptions, while Bourdieu provides a lens to unravel complexities that might have been masked by the decontextualised nature of phenomenography.