The problem is all in the comma! Mark Tymms Worcester Graduate Research School PhD title: “Is Personal Development Planning delivering on its pedagogic claims?”
What comma? “Personal Development planning is a ‘structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.” QAA (2001)Guidelines for HE Progress Fileshttp://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/progressfiles/guidelines/progfile2001.asp
“The official literature on progress files contains references to several concepts that are ill defined, are often used with multiple meanings, are under-researched, poorly problematised and may often be dependent upon context.”Fry, H., Davenport, E. S., Woodman, T. and Pee, B. (2002),Developing Progress Files: a case study,Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 7, No. 1 Perhaps one such concept is that of ‘personal’.
What do we understand by the phrase ‘personal development’ as it is used here? What does it mean to you and what are its implications for teaching? How do we formalise and assess personal development?
QAA Intentions… To increase personal, academic and professional/career: • self-awareness • self-efficacy • motivation • autonomy • responsibility • positivity
But these are surely dispositionsor attributional styles. They can certainly be measured but can they be changed through education?
“expectations of personal efficacy are derived from four principle sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion and psychological states. The more dependable the experiential sources, the greater are the changes in perceived self-efficacy”.Bandura, A. (1977),Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioural Change,Psychological Review, Vol. 84, No. 2Social learning theory would support the potential for dispositional change
“beliefs, with their power to mould experience and actions, are central to this definition of personality. Moreover, showing that belief interventions do, in fact, change such consistent patterns of experience and action will be central to the case that personality can be changed”.Dweck, C. (2008), Can personality be changed? The role of beliefs in personality and change,Current Directions in Psychology, Vol. 17, No. 6So for Dweck, changing the beliefs that people hold about themselves and the world around them can also lead to dispositional change.
“The message is that good learning environments can improve the odds of groups of students becoming more employable but they do not guarantee that any individual will become articulate, emotionally intelligent and self-motivating”. Knight, P. T. & Yorke, M., (2003),Employability and Good Learning in Higher Education,Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 8, No. 1.
“Adult personality may depend mainly on childhood experiences (psychoanalytical approach), or it may depend on experiences throughout life (humanistic approach, social learning approach). Alternatively, it may depend largely on genetic factors (trait approach)”.Eysenck, M. (1998), Personality. In Eysenck, M. (Ed.), Psychology; an integrated approach, Addison Wesley Longman, Harlow, 459.
“Think how dull life would be if everyone had exactly the same personality! Everyone we met would have the same entirely predictable approach to life”.Eysenck, M. (1998), Personality. In Eysenck, M. (Ed.), Psychology; an integrated approach, Addison Wesley Longman, Harlow, 429.Do we really want such a form of social standardisation, and, ultimately, do we have the ethical right to impose a specific belief system for purely socio-economic reasons?
Can PDP promote changes in personal dispositions?Presently, that is the starting point of my research proposal.