Pedagogical Relations in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Developing Nations: The Class-Size Challenges
Keywords:Student welfare, Education development, Teaching and learning, Higher education, Caring culture, Student-lecturer relationship
This qualitative study investigates the challenges associated with pedagogical relations exacerbated by large-sized classes in higher education institutions (HEIs) found in developing nations. Using the University of the Free State (UFS) in South Africa as a case study, the perspectives of the undergraduate students and their lecturers were examined. The research was carried out at the university campuses of Bloemfontein Campus, QwaQwa Campus, and South Campus. For this study, 79 students and 37 faculty members from seven faculties were interviewed. The Institutional Research and Academic Planning (DIRAP) conducted the interviews electronically using semi-structured interviews. Given the present changes brought on by the pandemic, this research shows that a relational pedagogical orientation is crucial for successful teaching and learning. It permits the development of students’ self-assurance, enhances class engagement, assists students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and decreases the dropout rate and underperformance. The finding also reveals that the interviewed lecturers were apprehensively divided in their responses regarding the possibility of actualising pedagogical relations due to large-sized classes, and the difficulty of drawing the line between leniency, familiarity, contempt, and fairness also presents a challenge. The research indicates that lecturers should pay close attention to the usage of technical jargon and the language difficulties encountered by most new entrants. It also suggests that small classes should be encouraged; initiatives to make lecturers more approachable should be bolstered; students’ names should often be used in classes; faculty and staff should have a caring culture and assist students; and lecturers should maintain "humane" professionalism.
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