So – after we all produced our name plates illustrated to reveal something about ourselves, we started with a quick quiz – reflecting back on what we covered last week – and why we covered it. This was not meant to be a pass or fail test – but something dialogic or discursive – a quality that we think it very valuable in meaningful education. So if people did not know the answers – they could point to a friend and the conversation could continue.
BTW: Really liked the point about Object Based Learning – when someone said: ”Because you were the object you had to answer our questions!!” Oh yes! AND so happy that people were already blogging – and starting their own subject dictionaries. Tip: Technophiles amongst you might like to start up a class wiki (an editable shared webspace – e.g. PBwiki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neHt9G3R7TE) where you can collaborate on producing a shared Subject Dictionary??
Simulation and role play: The nuclear bunker
Our first group activity was the nuclear bunker – in groups of ten deciding who stays and who goes… In the de-brief, we discussed what our decisions might reveal to us about our taken-for-granted values – and how we perhaps need to surface our values in our journey to becoming successful educationalists. We considered the values or qualities a successful educationalist ‘should’ possess… See: <http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/take5/simulations.html>.
Tom went on to speak about ‘common sense’, Utilitarianism and Neo-Kantianism as over-riding narratives in our worlds. Again – no answers here – but more questions: what do we take away from that discussion? What are we now thinking about? How are we thinking? Should or could we be thinking differently?
Tips: As always – when reflecting on the sessions – don’t just think about what we did – but consider why we did it that way – and how you might adapt the session in your own practice in the future.
Topic Mediated Dialogue (TMD)
TMD is a way of mediating (or enabling) dialogue by setting specific topics to discuss. In this case we offered three provocative statements about education – all quite negative. Did you notice that one was from a general Marxist position, one from a Daily Mail right wing perspective – and one from a more libertarian position?
After discussion, people drew a representation of one of their conversation partners – and Tom managed to show some pictures – comparing them with the self-representations that started the day.
The big tip: think about using TMD as research method
A research method is the way (the method) that we go about collecting data or evidence or raw material on a subject or topic that we are researching. So – if you wanted to know what your fellow students FELT about, say, academic writing – you could get them into pairs or threes – give them three controversial or provocative statements about academic writing and let them discuss freely.
To turn those discussions into DATA that you could analyse you could:
- Record the conversations
- Ask the participants to write a short piece that reflected their experience of the conversation
- Get participants to make a collage or draw a ‘rich picture’ that captured their experience of the conversation
- Ask the participants to produce a pattern note or concept map of the conversation.
After that you could then analyse the data – those conversations or that writing or those pictures or those pattern notes – to see what they revealed about your participants’ feelings about academic writing.
Tip: If you are interested in ‘researcher-interpreted dialogue’ – you might want to read this:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0N3pJlgca_MC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=Research+Methods+%2B+Topic+Mediated+Dialogue&source=bl&ots=X1q-6Gn645&sig=HoL7rN35NT_obqaI-9PSg_k6kTM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBGoVChMIu9if_52zyAIVgj0UCh2-nQbO#v=onepage&q=Research%20Methods%20%2B%20Topic%20Mediated%20Dialogue&f=false (sorry – could not work out a way of getting the shorter URL).
In that example the researcher asked the participants to produce concept maps that they then interpreted.
Why are we mentioning this?
Remember your Research Proposals have to be handed in in W10!! So, to be on the ball, check out everything that we do each week and work out how far it is useful to you in preparing your proposal:
- Are we offering your something to think about and research further?
- Are we offering you something to read to help you put together your literature review?
- Are we suggesting interesting methods that will help you to collect rich data to analyse?
Generally we are trying to do many of these things at once – so be on your toes!
AND – this is why it is so important for you to actively reflect on our sessions each week. Our sessions are designed to be interactive and experiential, we are not telling you stuff (well – okay – we are a bit) – but, you are hopefully experiencing many different things all at the same time. However, all those experiences will slip away and be lost if you don’t do something with them. Make those experiences conscious – turn them into learning. That is why you need to spend some time reflecting on everything: in conversation with friends, on your own in your blog, when reading and commenting on someone else’s blog. That way, you are telling yourself what’s what!
Something to read for your literature review
Interesting if long paper on emergent learning:
Postscript: Are you feeling out of your comfort zone?
University is all about change – and it is hard to change. None of us likes changing – and it is perhaps more difficult for us, the so-called non-traditional students, who yes want to change – but do not want to ‘betray’ their class or culture or community… Just how far should we go – and how in control are we of our changes?
But being a student requires that we do change – otherwise why bother going to university in the first place? So – start to trust yourself – you won’t betray anyone if you do change a bit! And start to embrace change as a positive: get involved, make new friends and do new things!
Tips: TRY – FAIL – TRY AGAIN – FAIL AGAIN – BUT FAIL BETTER!! Check out our POSITIVE THINKING resources: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/positive.html