Student Run Biology Workshop: An Educational and Transformative Experience in Biosciences

Katerina Kedraka


Ιn this article we argue that integrating and self-directed knowledge across university learning can lead to critical reflections and potentially transformative learning, for both students and educators. Student Run Biology Workshop (SRBW) is an innovative, self-directed learning project, carried out by the students of the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, in the Democritus University of Thrace-Greece. Our aim was to find out whether this educational experience was a transformative experience, as well. Qualitative research method was used; data was collected in December 2017 at the end of three feedback discussions by personally-written opinion documents and proceeded through Content Analysis. Results showed that students’ participation and consequently their teamwork within the SRBW energized them to face assumptions, to engage in new concerns, to adopt alternative learning practices, to gain a critical and comprehensive understanding of Biosciences and their role within the field. The experience gained by the students has led them to a review of roles, to the building of a new perception of knowledge, to co-operation, to self-management of educational activities, and, eventually, to a more emancipatory learning. But what if this SRBW project is something much more? Which are the key dilemmas concerning this emancipatory learning strategy deriving from this experience for the participant students- future Bioscientists? Furthermore, what about the dilemmas that we, their professors, faced when we saw our students fly so high –without needing us? And, as Brookfield (1996) underlined, can we critically approach our assumptions and assertions without experiencing the consequences of our actions?

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