So this week we discussed moral dilemmas – placing our ethical selves in the spotlight. The discussions brought in the concept of emotions versus ethics and/or professional practice… Do we save the ‘lover’ or the ‘wife’ – or abandon both? How do we deal with our own emotional dimensions when in professional – but perhaps difficult – situations?
We mentioned the conscious or unconscious philosophic underpinnings of our actions or inactions: were we Utilitarian – where the imperative is the greatest good for the greatest number (and it would be okay to sacrifice that innocent bystander by pushing them in front of the runaway trolley that would otherwise kill five people) – or are we Kantian – with a belief in Moral Imperatives (thus no – we could not push the plump one under the trolley – for we must not ourselves take a life…)? And if we were in that over-loaded lifeboat – how would utilitarianism or Kant help us work out whether or not to save the drowning older people? (Oh do not dare to be old with this group of students! Remember the first people sacrificed in those nuclear bunkers!)
From there we moved on to read the brief article on whether or not it is possible to ever capture authentic student voices. This was to inform our research projects – to make us think about the Method we choose – and what we hope to achieve by using just that particular Method.
The article proposed that it is practically impossible to get authentic student voices even in overheard conversations – because even in the lunch queue, we are ‘performing’ student…
How does that ‘fit’ with the Method that we read about last week on the zig-zag approach to generating written research data? Remember – the idea with the zig-zag is that different voices are raised in random routes through a group. We all hear all the voices – but write in response to the person who spoke to us – and then we can swap and write again and again – as long as we want. The writing generated would constitute the data that the researcher could analyse and discuss.
The argument was that the performing of ourselves as students would be disrupted by the unpredictable pattern of speaking and listening – and that a more authentic writing would emerge. What do you think about that? How do you think you will get something authentic – or at least useful – in your own research project?
FINALLY – we brought our mentoring to a conclusion with a party – where YOU ALL brought in the food, the treats, the drinks and the goodies!! You all made it a warm and friendly event. THANK YOU!!
We hope that you enjoyed the mentoring experience – and that next year, you choose the Peer Mentoring in Practice module so that you can help other students to settle in, to see friendly faces and to know that they belong to a University that wants them to do well…
No really – this is the AND FINALLY – your BLOGS:
We reiterated how important it is for you to ‘blog your learning’ each week. A brief but thoughtful reflective post will help make apparent the meaning or point of our weekly activities. It gives you a small time and space to make the learning conscious – and to think: how does this help me as a student who is becoming an educationalist? How might I harness this sort of thing in my own practice in the future? What would I do the same or differently to the way it was done here today? Why? What will I now do or read or write in the light of today? Why?
Our argument is not just that this writing makes the learning conscious – though it does – but that it also helps us all to acquire necessary academic thinking/writing strategies through this slightly more informal thinking/writing process. AND of course at the end of this module – three of these blog posts will be submitted for 30% of the course marks. The three you submit will be your best three – reflecting your favourite achievements over the year: your Digital Me artefact and Poster – your Reading Diary – your end of year Performance – your Research Project … anything that showcases your creativity, endeavour, enthusiasm, energy, commitment… And those three blogs that you do submit WILL BE BETTER if you write regularly – cos your writing will get better by writing regularly. Nuff said!