Loughborough University
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What's wrong with this picture? Connecting pedagogies to students’ lives

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posted on 2017-08-18, 12:41 authored by David RobertsDavid Roberts
This article is concerned with the gap between how we teach International Relations and Politics (IR & P), and how students learn this subject at the physiological level. It discusses a 3-year trial of a visual pedagogy that better matches how we teach, to how our students live and learn. A visual pedagogy challenges the prevailing hegemony of text as the logocentric medium of the message, addressing how contemporary media are changing and how universities are too often out of touch with the lived digital visual realities of the world they are tasked with serving. The article offers a pedagogy fit for purpose in the visual, digital 21st Century. It begins with a discussion of the wider social and pedagogic context in which IR&P sits, and continues with a discussion of a visual form of pedagogy I have been developing, applying and testing in lecture settings. The article then offers empirical data from longitudinal student-led evaluations that demonstrate a substantial increase in student engagement and which affirm a substantial increase in the presence of active learning characteristics in large group lecture settings. It concludes that for IR&P teaching to properly reflect the new realities of the digital visual era, the discipline needs to understand better why imagery is important and how it helps us present and understand complex scholarly material. The concept has been the subject of HEA-sponsored Fellowship events, and has been the subject of several peer-reviewed presentations in BISA conferences.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

E-International Relations


ROBERTS, D., 2017. What's wrong with this picture? Connecting pedagogies to students’ lives. E-International Relations, 18 May 2017.


E-International Relations


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Publication date



This article was published in E-International Relations.




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