Exactly twice in my life I have prefaced commentary by explaining which author’s material I am reading. First there was Anthony DeMello, and now John Taylor Gatto. When I have turned to these and other authors to expand my awareness, my perspective winds up challenged. For some time I have wanted to study the hidden curriculum, but a want is not enough. Now I find myself asking how a greater understanding of the hidden curriculum benefits college students.
How could I best add to my profession or further educative literature? By illuminating societal and systemic educational parameters? When a student who barely graduated high school attends college and academically thrives, is it because the spark of learning found in the known and sound or in the chaos of experience and learning? When I think of guiding college students, I find something more fitting and inspirational about the habitual condition of a mythological bird than anything else. If that phoenix could talk, what would they have to say?
In preparation for applying to doctoral programs I reflect on how students learn and what advisors can do more of to facilitate students’ learning. Particularly in charged times such as these, I am curious if the way higher education adapts will lead to a new paradigm for teachers and learners alike. How might academic advising adapt to support campus and community stakeholders?
During a NACADA discussion on social justice through scholarly inquiry this week, I posed a question in the chat that I have pondered for the greater part of a year. As much as I have tried to apply it, the Advising as Teaching approach never quite felt the best description of what and how I advise.
“Has anyone else come to see Advising as Teaching as a statement of our privilege,
and not a statement on our profession?”
It did not take long before breakout room participants started unpacking this with me. Advising as teaching thrives in the literature and aids in professionalizing the advising role as a standalone career although it seems to have created some unintended consequences. Positioning advisors as curriculum authorities instead of student advocates is a statement of the advisor’s privilege, and not one of support for the twenty-first century multicultural student. While the understanding creates merit for advisors, I fear it can mislead students.
The advising cause has interdisciplinary beginnings. To make meaning of what advisors get to do, the literature turned to other fields such as teaching, counseling, psychology, social work, and student affairs in an effort to ground the work and avoid even inadvertently creating harm during the advising process. Aligning with CAS Standards, NACADA advising core values, etc., the advisor primarily assists, encourages, and serves students. Learning how to teach curriculum was not what endeared me to academic advising, but I did consider this advising approach because it alluded to the greater needs of the emerging student. Mapping the evolving needs of transfer student populations is where I plan to start my research.
This month I stumbled across a link to an interview about my graduate school journey for K-State’s Link alumni magazine. I include it here in example of how advisors may never know what can get in the way of a student completing their degree. I may know my students, but I do not always know their world.
Creative reflections on academic advising and learning
Cultivating dual resilience: Teaching shame recovery and image rebuilding through academic advising.
Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.