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Teaching and Learning - Action Learning

Teaching and Learning - Action Learning



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Published by Christine
Strategies for teaching in higher education. Specific learning problems of artists and designers. Postgraduate learning, how to support researchers. Suggestions of how to evolve new natural learning environments.
Strategies for teaching in higher education. Specific learning problems of artists and designers. Postgraduate learning, how to support researchers. Suggestions of how to evolve new natural learning environments.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Christine on May 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Critical Reflections on the benefits and limitations of ‘An Action Learning Set’Christine Sterne 27 
September 2007  ABSTRACT
I have to admit I have not been a fan of education theory. I feel that teaching and learningstrategies have done little to truly assist lecturers at the ‘coal face’. The research I have read hasseemed to me to be reiterating the bleeding obvious but renaming it in new ‘sexy’ jargon. Termssuch as ‘transferable skills’ and ‘reflective practice’ are I feel essential components of goodteaching and cannot be avoided, if you are doing your job properly.In this context Action Learning has been a terrific surprise.This paper will examine personal experiences and reflect on the experiences of ALS members;analyzing participants Conversation, Discourse, and Protocol in addition to evaluating thegroups’ ‘Symbolic Interaction
. I will evaluate the contribution Action Learning has made todeveloping my PhD proposal. I will also reflect on the benefits of action learning and suggestcreative strategies to develop learning in the future.
Conversation analysisDiscourse analysisProtocol analysis
Sociology/linguisticsSociology/linguisticsPsychologyAnalysing the way in which talk is structurally organised, focusing on sequencing and turn-taking which demonstrate the way people give meaningto situationsExamining the way knowledge is produced within aparticular discourse and the performances, linguisticstyles and rhetorical devices used in particular accountsExamining and drawing inference about the cognitiveprocesses that underlie the performance of tasks
Sociology/socialpsychology Exploring behaviour and social roles to understandhow people interpret and react to their environment
Reg Revans is the originator of action learning. An award winning physicist and Olympian, it was at Cambridge University that Revans developed the concept of action learning. Heexperienced first hand the importance of team working, collaborative thinking, and the creativeeffect of having views challenged by coworkers. His clear incisive reasoning and elucidatingdefinitions of specific factors such as the difference between a puzzle
 and a problem arepragmatic and practical.The innate appeal of Reg Revans’s methodology is that it is based on an ethical attempt toresolve real-life problems. His consternation at the ridiculous and ineffectual hierarchicalmanagement structure of the Titanic
 and the deeply embedded and stultifying class structurethat was underlying this, due to its’ historical context; caused him to create an egalitarianlearning environment within the company structure, constructed to generate ‘the upwardexpression of doubt (in contrast to the downward expression of certainty)’ [Margerson Charles.1995] to avoid such horrors re-occurring.
1.Participants experienceThe Set Advisor
had a diverse range of knowledge. Her experience of creating new businessesand innovating existing businesses; both within the private and public sectors in addition to hercreative understanding as a practicing artist allowed empathy with every ALS member. Usingthis erudition she was able to connect with the existing knowledge of each participant torecommend highly specific and personal strategies for both cognitive and affective learning.
Student One
is a pedagogic researcher with a commitment towards resilient therapy.She was unsure how to advance her research and had not yet enrolled on the PhD programme.Her research is involved with investigating how and why some children are more resilient thanothers when confronted with emotional trauma, abuse and problems. Her intentions were tofind a means of disseminating her ideas to a wide audience; and to write a handbook forparental guidance.
Student Two
is a graphic designer having completed a highly successful masters programme isnow researching her PhD; she is investigating Fugitive Moments from the Edge of Memory: how Social History and artwork can be integrated to reveal perceptions of women’s’ roles.She was having problems finding the best matched supervisor. She was concerned to strike aharmonic balance between a creative supervisor and a more theoretical and academicsupervisor who could challenge her intellectual concepts. She had to complete an application fora research grant, and also had a responsibility as a single parent to address problems of bullying
at school with her young son and negotiate a consensus with her ex-partner.The Set Advisor recommended someone who could provide a list of supervisors.
Student Three
(Me) I arrived at the ALS with an idea of researching the semantics andarchetypes contained in tarot cards and hopefully locating where they originated and if they have a relationship with the kabbalah. I have a great interest in alchemy, symbolism andsemiotics.My initial concern is to refine my research to a more specific area. It was suggested that I shouldinvestigate female archetypes within tarot, as this was an area of interest to me.
Student Four
was researching for a professional doctorate in the area of childhood bereavement and how this affects their educational progress. I was impressed by his genuineconcern and commitment towards resolving bereavement issues for children who are oftenneglected by society at this difficult and sensitive time. After a detailed discussion it was suggested he should talk to his supervisor at the next availablemeeting and renegotiate how to progress and make changes regarding feedback andcorrespondence.I felt a little worried by the amount of anger being expressed and a focus on emotional issuesrather than discussing and developing research ideas, which I was very interested in.
Student Five
is from a business background but with surprising areas of knowledge in othersubjects, particularly alternative theology. He is researching reasons why ethics are not upheld within business and has great commitment to engendering ethical and morally responsibleattitudes in the workplace.He is finalizing his in-depth proposal and analyzing what to pursue.
2.Review of participants learning from actions taken
Some of the problems outlined in Tom Bourner’s article Action Learning comes of age areapplicable to this experience.The two comparable experiences were similar to those described in the ‘The uncommitted set’and the ‘The set adviser’s set’ but for very different reasons.Student four did not continue the ALS; it was disappointing and upsetting, as he would havemade an interesting contribution. I tried to persuade him to re-attend but he was not interested.I think he felt it was not structured enough and he was extremely angry that medical students

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