Work-based Education Research Centre WERC

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1. Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC) Thanks for the invitation Mark (& Berwyn) … Scoping the topic ..Thanks for the invitation Mark (& Berwyn) … Scoping the topic ..

2. A Culture of Research and Reflective Practice There are few- if any- private providers in the country with the culture of critically reflective practice and research which has developed at Workplace Learning Initiatives Pty. Ltd. Since 1999 when we completed our first commissioned research project for NCVER – a review of research literature on the changing nature and patterns of work & their implications for training … We have worked on a range of projects for NCVER, as well as other projects for State government, The Department of Health & Ageing and others … Various Projects on workplace literacy & numeracy Generic skills, employability skills Learning partnerships Employers perceptions of VET & qualifications The workplace learning environment etc … As well several key members of staff have completed post-graduate degrees, including Doctorates …several doctorates directly connected to our practice … at last count it was about 8 … It’s a proud track record. But too much to talk about here …A Culture of Research and Reflective Practice There are few- if any- private providers in the country with the culture of critically reflective practice and research which has developed at Workplace Learning Initiatives Pty. Ltd. Since 1999 when we completed our first commissioned research project for NCVER – a review of research literature on the changing nature and patterns of work & their implications for training … We have worked on a range of projects for NCVER, as well as other projects for State government, The Department of Health & Ageing and others … Various Projects on workplace literacy & numeracy Generic skills, employability skills Learning partnerships Employers perceptions of VET & qualifications The workplace learning environment etc … As well several key members of staff have completed post-graduate degrees, including Doctorates …several doctorates directly connected to our practice … at last count it was about 8 … It’s a proud track record. But too much to talk about here …

3. What do we mean by research in VET? Scoping the topic – too much stuff … So I’ve adopted a smorgasbord approach Scoping the topic – too much stuff … So I’ve adopted a smorgasbord approach

4. “In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solution through the application of research based theory and technique. In the swampy lowland, messy, confusing problems defy technical solution”. Donald SchÖn 1987, p.3. If we’re going to talk about reflective practice we can’t go past Schön and his famous (and helpful metaphor of the swamp) READ the quote The point about the swamp – according to Donald – was that this is where the really important problems and issues are … not on the “hard high ground” If we’re going to talk about reflective practice we can’t go past Schön and his famous (and helpful metaphor of the swamp) READ the quote The point about the swamp – according to Donald – was that this is where the really important problems and issues are … not on the “hard high ground”

5. Nowhere ever seems to be usual “The industry standards weight skills, prioritise processes and profile elements using some generic dip stick based on the way things usually happen in industry. But nowhere ever seems to be usual” Virgona 1996 Crina’s observation about industry standards is one example/illustration of the messiness, ambiguity & uncertainty of real-world practice – which Schön characterised as the swampCrina’s observation about industry standards is one example/illustration of the messiness, ambiguity & uncertainty of real-world practice – which Schön characterised as the swamp

6. Colour, risk and adventure “In the course of two decades of adult education practice many experiences I encountered were challenging, disquieting and often exhilarating. When I took up academic study of adult education, there seemed few texts that carried its colour, risk and adventure” Peter Willis, 1998 Inviting Learning Comment here re. Peter Willis’s metaphor of “squeezing the juice out of the lived experience” … I agree with Willis & I quite consciously set out in my thesis to present an account which was “warts and all” & very juicy … Comment here re. Peter Willis’s metaphor of “squeezing the juice out of the lived experience” … I agree with Willis & I quite consciously set out in my thesis to present an account which was “warts and all” & very juicy …

7. Personal & public data journal extracts reflective writings poems letters cartoons, drawings formal reports conference papers journal articles wider literature of the field For my thesis case studies I drew on a wide range of data – personal & publicFor my thesis case studies I drew on a wide range of data – personal & public

8. An Example I used these little cartoons which I drew – of ‘self-characters’ in my personal journalI used these little cartoons which I drew – of ‘self-characters’ in my personal journal

9. Another Example This is another extract from my journal – which was included in the thesis – in a section exploring the nature of experiential learning…. This is another extract from my journal – which was included in the thesis – in a section exploring the nature of experiential learning….

10. Traditional texts seem clumsy “Arts-based research moves us deeply by appealing not to ‘objective’ scientific findings but to experience-based evocations, partly unravelling but always retaining complexity. Traditional research texts seem clumsy by comparison.” Diamond, 1997, p.15 I was influenced by what some have come to call arts-based research … The attempt to capture the experience – with all of its juices … This seemed to me to be particularly important in an investigation of learning experiences because (it seems to me) that learning is as much about the affective/emotional domain as it is about the cognitive/thinking domain… I was influenced by what some have come to call arts-based research … The attempt to capture the experience – with all of its juices … This seemed to me to be particularly important in an investigation of learning experiences because (it seems to me) that learning is as much about the affective/emotional domain as it is about the cognitive/thinking domain…

11. Reflective thinking-action “Reflection is a dialectical process: it looks inward at our thought processes, and outward at the situation in which we find ourselves; when we consider the interaction of the internal and the external, our reflection orients us for further thought and action” Kemmis, S. (nd) “Action Research and the Policies of Reflection” in Reflection: turning experience into learning, (ed.) Boud, D. Keogh, R, and Walker D. London, Kogan Page, pp.139-163 The previous graphics were examples of inward looking … the following are examples of looking outward at the situation in which we find ourselves … This was about reading, interpreting and ‘mapping’ the context for the work … The previous graphics were examples of inward looking … the following are examples of looking outward at the situation in which we find ourselves … This was about reading, interpreting and ‘mapping’ the context for the work …

12. Prelude 1966-1972. I used these collages – fold-outs (show pages in thesis) as a way to contextualise the case study accounts I was developing … they attempt to situatate abd provide a socio-political-historical context for the work being described … the bookshelf symbolised the literature/influences in my personal life at the time … as well as providing a timeline … this extract is from the prelude covering the late 1960’s & early 70’s Comment on features illustrated … I used these collages – fold-outs (show pages in thesis) as a way to contextualise the case study accounts I was developing … they attempt to situatate abd provide a socio-political-historical context for the work being described … the bookshelf symbolised the literature/influences in my personal life at the time … as well as providing a timeline … this extract is from the prelude covering the late 1960’s & early 70’s Comment on features illustrated …

13. Prelude 1990-1992. This one is from later - 1990 – 1991 … comment on features illustrated … This one is from later - 1990 – 1991 … comment on features illustrated …

14. Reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world ... this movement from the world to the word and from the word to the world is always present, even the spoken word flows from our reading of the world. (Freire 1983:10) Reading the world Freire talks about the importance of context – of reading text within context – reading the word and reading the world … That’s what I was trying to do … Freire talks about the importance of context – of reading text within context – reading the word and reading the world … That’s what I was trying to do …

15. For those that may be interested … this little graphic provides an overview of the thesis design or structure … The heart or the ‘core’ of the thesis is made up of the four case studies The collage/timelines provide what I chose to call a prelude … these were placed before each case study Each case study also had a post-script … which adopted a different stance and reflected upon the case study and what it revealed in relation to the key research questions …For those that may be interested … this little graphic provides an overview of the thesis design or structure … The heart or the ‘core’ of the thesis is made up of the four case studies The collage/timelines provide what I chose to call a prelude … these were placed before each case study Each case study also had a post-script … which adopted a different stance and reflected upon the case study and what it revealed in relation to the key research questions …

16. Reflective teachers “Reflective teachers never stop asking themselves what the nature of teaching really is.” Max van Manen 1994, “ Pedagogy, virtue and narrative identity in teaching” cited in P.Willis,1998 Inviting Learning Some “quotable quotes” … reflections on the reflective process… Some “quotable quotes” … reflections on the reflective process…

17. Replaying the experience “One of the most useful activities that can initiate a period of reflection is recollecting what has taken place and replaying the experience in the mind’s eye, to observe the event as it has happened and to notice exactly what occurred and one’s reactions to it in all its elements.” Boud, D. Keogh, R. & Walker, D. (eds) in Reflection: turning experience into learning, London, Kogan Page, p.27

18. “While experience may be the foundation of learning, it does not necessarily lead to it: there needs to be active engagement with it. … Experience has to be arrested, examined, analysed, considered and negated to shift it to knowledge.” What Schon and others have called ‘critical reflection’ is an essential element in the action-learning process. We often talk about “learning from experience” but when we stop and think about it, it seems that people do not always learn from their experience … David Boud argues that … “While experience may be the foundation of learning, it does not necessarily lead to it: there needs to be active engagement with it. … Experience has to be arrested, examined, analysed, considered and negated to shift it to knowledge.” Boud et.al. in Boud, D. Cohen, R. & Walker (eds) 1993 Using Experience for Learning SRHE & Open University press, Buckingham. P.9 What Schon and others have called ‘critical reflection’ is an essential element in the action-learning process. We often talk about “learning from experience” but when we stop and think about it, it seems that people do not always learn from their experience … David Boud argues that … “While experience may be the foundation of learning, it does not necessarily lead to it: there needs to be active engagement with it. … Experience has to be arrested, examined, analysed, considered and negated to shift it to knowledge.” Boud et.al. in Boud, D. Cohen, R. & Walker (eds) 1993 Using Experience for Learning SRHE & Open University press, Buckingham. P.9

19. Commit description to paper “It may be helpful to commit this description to paper … the description should involve a close attention to detail and should refrain from making judgements.” Boud, D. Keogh, R. & Walker, D. (eds) in Reflection: turning experience into learning, London, Kogan Page, p.27

20. The act of writing … “Writing does more than convey our pictures of events and feelings: through it we can describe, analyse, and clarify events – those on a conscious level and those only dimly sensed. The act of writing may lead to further reflecting on, and reconstructing of experiences; reliving in our mind can deepen awareness, broaden perspective, and increase understanding of experience.” Holly, M.L. 1995 Keeping a Personal-Professional Journal, Deakin University Press, Geelong, p.10. I think we can under-estimate the significance of the writing process – I’m a great believer in the potential of the writing process as a learning process – writing is part of the research … I think we can under-estimate the significance of the writing process – I’m a great believer in the potential of the writing process as a learning process – writing is part of the research …

21. Writing as inquiry “Writing is “a method of inquiry, a way of finding out about yourself and your topic ... writing is not just a mopping up activity at the end of a research project. Writing is also a way of ‘knowing’ - a method of discovery and analysis.” Richardson 1994, p.516 The same/or similar point being made by a different researcher …The same/or similar point being made by a different researcher …

22. Meaning is multi-dimensional “Meaning is multi-dimensional and multi-layered. That is why the meaning of pedagogy can never be grasped in a single definition. Human science meaning can only be communicated textually - by way of organised narrative or prose. And that is why the human science researcher is engaged in the reflective activity of textual labor. To do human science is to be involved in the crafting of a text”. Max van Manen 1990, p.78 And again … And again …

23. Writing to explore what’s really going on …

24. Valuing our own stories “My approach to teaching critical thinking is one which emphasizes participants exploring their own autobiographies, using their experiences as the raw material for critical analysis” (p29). [However Brookfield also notes that] “experience without critical analysis can be little more than anecdotal reminiscence; interesting but unconnected, experiential traveler's tales from the front lines of practice” (p30) Brookfield, S. 1993 “Through the Lens of Learning: How the Visceral Experience of Learning Reframes Teaching” in Boud, D, Cohen, R & Walker (eds.) 1993 Using Experience for Learning SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham. Brookfield (and others) stress the value of our own experiences and stories – these needs to be re-collected And held to critical scrutiny … Brookfield (and others) stress the value of our own experiences and stories – these needs to be re-collected And held to critical scrutiny …

25. Naming, framing & problem setting “When a practitioner sets a problem he chooses and names the things he will notice. …Through complementary acts of naming and framing, the practitioner selects things for attention and organises them, guided by an appreciation of the situation … So problem setting is an ontological process … a form of world making”. (Schön, D. 1987, p.4) Back to Donald Schön again: NOTE: the practitioner could be male or female … the gendered language is of the original (1987) Schoen talks about the importance of being conscious/aware of the way we perceive issues/problems/questions/opportunities …he points out that the way a problem or issue is framed ultimately determines the answers, or solutions possible – So problem setting or problem framing is terribly important. Back to Donald Schön again: NOTE: the practitioner could be male or female … the gendered language is of the original (1987) Schoen talks about the importance of being conscious/aware of the way we perceive issues/problems/questions/opportunities …he points out that the way a problem or issue is framed ultimately determines the answers, or solutions possible – So problem setting or problem framing is terribly important.

26. Neutral and objective …”scientists firmly believe that as long as they are not conscious of any bias or political agenda, they are neutral and objective, when in fact they are only unconscious.” (Namenwirth cited by Lather 1991, p.10) I love this quote … and I’ve used it on several occasions in conference addresses – and it always gets a bit of ripple of laughter … And it’s true … but we can reframe it … in an audience of women it works really well to change scientists to ‘men’ … But we could also say ‘teachers’ or ‘researchers’, or ‘people’ …I love this quote … and I’ve used it on several occasions in conference addresses – and it always gets a bit of ripple of laughter … And it’s true … but we can reframe it … in an audience of women it works really well to change scientists to ‘men’ … But we could also say ‘teachers’ or ‘researchers’, or ‘people’ …

27. Espoused theories “It is important to emphasize that we are reporting more than that people do not behave congruently with what they espouse. We are reporting that people are not aware of the theories-in-use that inform their behaviour.” Argyris, C. 1976 Theories of action that inhibit individual learning, republished in Boud & Walker (eds) 1991 Chris Argyris wrote about this – and noted this important point … people are not aware of the theories-in-use that inform their behaviour.” This is really important … I’ve talked with VET teachers, for instance, who say they’re not theoretical at all, not interested in theory – and all they really want are practical teaching materials and strategies to help them get their job done. They fail to recognise that everything they do as teachers is based on some set of ideas, beliefs, propositions and values, in other words a “theory-in-use” which informs and often determines their choices and behaviours … but they are unaware of this theory-in-use and it has not been held to critical examination … They are ‘unconscious’ practitioners… Chris Argyris wrote about this – and noted this important point … people are not aware of the theories-in-use that inform their behaviour.” This is really important … I’ve talked with VET teachers, for instance, who say they’re not theoretical at all, not interested in theory – and all they really want are practical teaching materials and strategies to help them get their job done. They fail to recognise that everything they do as teachers is based on some set of ideas, beliefs, propositions and values, in other words a “theory-in-use” which informs and often determines their choices and behaviours … but they are unaware of this theory-in-use and it has not been held to critical examination … They are ‘unconscious’ practitioners…

28. Frames & framing Language always comes with what is called ‘framing’. Every word is defined relative to a conceptual framework … That’s a frame. (Lakoff, 2003) These linguistic expressions are anything but neutral. Each framing defines the problem in its own way, and hence constrains the solutions needed to address that problem. (Lakoff & Fergusson, 2006) So naming & framing is really important … And as Lakoff points out … the process isn’t a neutral disinterested one … So naming & framing is really important … And as Lakoff points out … the process isn’t a neutral disinterested one …

29. Naming Rights: Tanberg 1st Sept 2005 It’s not just academics that have an interest in these issues either … what about this piece by Melbourne cartoonist (a man who in my view should be declared a living national treasure … )It’s not just academics that have an interest in these issues either … what about this piece by Melbourne cartoonist (a man who in my view should be declared a living national treasure … )

30. Evoking & Reinforcing frames “Every word evokes a frame …Words defined within a frame evoke the frame … Negating a frame evokes the frame … Evoking a frame reinforces that frame … Every frame is realized in the brain by neural circuitry. Every time a neural circuit is activated, it is strengthened”. (Lakoff, 2006). From Leunig back to Lakoff again … He points out that the ‘framing’ of issues can be remarkably resilient because of the way frames work … Eg . Don’t think of an elephant! … Within the VET system our discourse is dominated by certain ‘frames’ … about ‘skills’, ‘ packages’ and ‘delivery’ these are the dominant metaphors of our field They are not always helpful frames – they don’t always lead us to the best solutions. I have been arguing form many years now that instead of ‘delivery’, for instance, we should be talking about ‘dialogue & design’ Reframing VET in terms of dialogue & design – instead of package & delivery takes us to quite different places, strategies and solutions … The Cert IV in TAA, for instance, would be a very different qualification if it was more focused on dialogue & design From Leunig back to Lakoff again … He points out that the ‘framing’ of issues can be remarkably resilient because of the way frames work … Eg . Don’t think of an elephant! … Within the VET system our discourse is dominated by certain ‘frames’ … about ‘skills’, ‘ packages’ and ‘delivery’ these are the dominant metaphors of our field They are not always helpful frames – they don’t always lead us to the best solutions. I have been arguing form many years now that instead of ‘delivery’, for instance, we should be talking about ‘dialogue & design’ Reframing VET in terms of dialogue & design – instead of package & delivery takes us to quite different places, strategies and solutions … The Cert IV in TAA, for instance, would be a very different qualification if it was more focused on dialogue & design

31. The potency of reframing “An important aspect of developing an appreciative spirit is learning to move out of using deficit language into an appreciation of what works well by reframing, words, issues or situations … We have been amazed by the potency of ‘reframing’.” (Goh, Simpson & Martin 2003, p.2) Appreciative Enquiry Appreciative Enquiry requires a move out of deficit language into an appreciation of what works well … you get more of what you pay attention to. (Goh, Simpson & Martin 2003, p.2)Appreciative Enquiry Appreciative Enquiry requires a move out of deficit language into an appreciation of what works well … you get more of what you pay attention to. (Goh, Simpson & Martin 2003, p.2)

32. Productive reflection There is an assumption about a formal course that someone somewhere knows how to do it. What productive reflection is focused on are issues that no-one knows, no-one anywhere knows, how to do it. It is about people coming together to address these unknown issues. Productive reflection is not a linear process, it’s a process of looking at problems, dilemmas and issues … and the learning comes from the felt experience of the group. (Boud in Mitchell, J. 2006, Campus Review Vol. 16, No. 27, July 12 2006) Finally a nother quote on reflection – this time taking a slightly different angle From John Mitchell’s regular column in Campus Review … based on an interview with Professor David Boud Discussing the concept of productive reflection Finally a nother quote on reflection – this time taking a slightly different angle From John Mitchell’s regular column in Campus Review … based on an interview with Professor David Boud Discussing the concept of productive reflection

33. Solutions thinking “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein, (cited by Covey 1990, p.42) The last word to Albert Einstein … The last word to Albert Einstein …

34. Contacts [email protected] Workplace Learning Initiatives Ground Floor, 2- 4 Mephan Street, Maribyrnong, Vic 3032 Ph: 03 9317 6000 Fax: 03 9317 6099 www.wli.com.au www.wli.com.au/blog NCVER www.ncver.edu.au or www.voced.edu.au

35. Focus on Practice: … critical incidents Slices of professional life snapshots/tales from the field … (or the “swamp” – Schon) looking under the rocks of our practice searching for hidden assumptions Describe … depict, (make a picture) … tell the story, rich detail … provide telling facts get it down (or out)

36. Focus on Practice: … critical incidents Identify: people, place, actions & feelings “Where did this happen?” “What sort of place is it?” “Who was there?” “Can you describe the characters?” Aim for rich evocative description

37. Interpret Explore meanings – interpretations (multiple) perspectives (multiple) Identify: principles, theory, rationale & assumptions … “It looks as if …” “What did you mean by ………..?” “What you’re doing seems to be …”

38. Challenge Confront assumptions challenge rationale problematize the simple Ask … “Why?” … “Why not?” “What makes you think ………?” “Where do/did these ideas/beliefs come from?” “Is it true?”

39. Reconstruct Reframe the situation/action/problem … reconsider “Does it have to be this way?” (just because it is) “What could I do differently?” “What actions to take?”

40. Story & argument “A good story and a well formed argument are different natural kinds. Both can be used as a means of convincing another … arguments convince one of their truth, stories of their lifelikeness. The one verifies by eventual appeal to procedures for establishing formal and empirical proof. The other establishes not truth, but verisimilitude.” Jerome Bruner 1986, p.11 Bruner’s stance has informed this research, which like that discussed by Bissex (1988), does not aim to prove anything. It does however aim to expose, to illuminate, to reveal - for the most part through telling stories. Bruner’s stance has informed this research, which like that discussed by Bissex (1988), does not aim to prove anything. It does however aim to expose, to illuminate, to reveal - for the most part through telling stories.

41. Story telling … “Like naming, story telling is a universal habit, a part of our common humanity. As far as we know, all cultures have forms of narrative. Stories are part of our conversation, our recollections, our hopes, our fears. Young and old, we all tell stories as soon as we begin to explain or describe events and actions, feelings and motives.” (Meek 1991, p.103)

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