Reconfiguring Foundational Pedagogies through Theoretical Frameworks

Titles and abstracts deadline: 15 August 2018
Full article submission deadline: 30 December 2018
Publication date: 2019


Foundation provision is intended to both help students transition from school/work into first year as well as to navigate disciplinary discourses and develop a critical societal awareness. Such provision is seen as a vital initiative to improve quality and equity of outcomes in higher education. Throughout the years there have been regular national and regional colloquia on foundation provision teaching, learning and curriculum development. In 2015, based on these colloquia, there was a special edition of the SA Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE, 2015, 29:1). Dhunpath’s and Vithal’s 2012 book on Alternative Access to Higher Education: Underprepared Students or Underprepared Institutions?, furthermore, focused attention on the nature and success of foundation provision. Though there has been some theorisation of teaching and learning in these and other volumes, this has often been quite restricted to debates around, for example, ‘literacies’. Though such debates are important there is also a need to open up spaces for less normative, fresh and potentially disruptive social theories that can enrich our understanding of foundation provision. Thus the purpose of this call is to encourage the emergence of and discussion of theorisations of teaching and learning in foundation provision, including more recent ones, which can expand on and influence our understandings.


Teaching and learning initiatives in foundation provision have the potential to more generally improve teaching practices across the university. (Note foundation studies include all forms of curriculum extension/ enrichment which fall under this DHET term). The innovative practices are, however, not always underpinned by deeper theoretical understandings about how knowledge is structured, how pedagogies are enacted and how students learn new ideas. Such understandings matter as they support and strengthen the teaching initiatives. Theory, in some instances, enables practices to be lifted from their contexts so that they are more easily transferrable to different subjects or levels, and, in other circumstances, to alert higher education teachers to the importance of including epistemology, ontology and ethics in their thinking. As Kurt Lewinʼs ([1943/1951] 2003) maxim reminds us: ʻThere is nothing more practical than a good theoryʼ.

The past few years have seen an explosion of (relatively) fresh theorisations of teaching, learning and curriculum. For example the work of posthumanist and feminist new materialist writers including Braidotti, Barad, Haraway, as well as Deleuze and Guatarri, Massumi and Ettinger have brought about new contestations and disruptions to conventional pedagogical and curriculum practices. There has also been much focus given to Margaret Archerʼs critical realism theorisations and other social realist theories such as activity theory and legitimation code theory. Social justice theories and legitimate participation of students, drawing on the work of Nancy Fraser, were furthermore highlighted at the 2016 HELTASA conference, and have provided for a new and timely way to view theory or practices. There are many more emerging theorisations.

This special edition of Alternation seeks to provide a platform for these fresh theorisations of teaching and learning in foundation provision, and thus also in higher education more generally. In so doing it is hoped that readers may gain insights into improvements for the benefit of their students.


There are a large number of social theories which may guide approaches to teaching and learning in foundation studies and only some are mentioned here by name. Other theories which provide fresh perspectives, are being used in new ways and/or disrupt more normative ways of thinking would also be welcomed in this volume. Themes may fall under:

Theories related to justice, race, class or oppression
Feminist theories
Materialist, post-human and practice theories
Social realist theories (Archer, Maton, Bernstein, Engestrom)
Academic literacy, epistemological access and discourse-related theorisations
Other social theories


  • Title and extended abstracts (+/- 400 words) – 15 August 2018
  • Selected call for papers – 30 August 2018
  • Writing retreat on the special edition – 15-17 October 2018 (Mont Fleur, Cape Town)
  • First draft for peer review – 30 October 2018
  • Reviewer feedback – 30 November 2018
  • Final article – 30 December 2018
  • Publication date: 2019

Please submit proposed titles of your articles and an extended abstract of about 400 words to the guest editors A/Prof James Garraway ( and Professor Vivienne Bozalek ( Please do so by 15 August 2018.

Please use the alternation guidelines for contributors and style format.