Challenging performativity in higher education: promoting a healthier learning culture

Deasy, Christine and Mannix McNamara, Patricia (2017) Challenging performativity in higher education: promoting a healthier learning culture.


The nature and context of education have changed dramatically in recent decades. The
increased prioritisation of standardisation, performance indicators and metrics often
means that holistic, affective and wellbeing education are seen as less important in
the educational endeavour. The value of education for education's sake is under siege.
Previous emphasis on the education of the whole person (i.e., moral and creative aesthetic
development) is often replaced by a more functionalist perspective of education
as servicing economic need and global capitalist interests. Marketization of education
has increased at an exponential rate and has had an adverse impact on the health and
well‐being of both educators and students. This chapter elucidates how the triad of
assessment, student well‐being and academic well‐being intersects in the ever increasing
performative and neo‐liberalist cultures of higher education. It demonstrates the reciprocal
dynamic of stress that is becoming more and more evident among educators and
students. The chapter makes the case for more empowering and human‐centred educative
contexts in order to facilitate better educational outcomes for students and healthier
outcomes for all involved in the educational endeavour.

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