Reflective Practice

Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance

Insider/outsider research has received considerable attention often with in-depth consideration of how such positioning affects both researcher and research. This study is intended to engage with these issues from the perspective of a new researcher seeking to understand more intimately the ways in which research position informs subsequent insights.

Thus, the article explores the researcher’s own experiences of insider/outsider research and, in the course of this, challenges the notion of an absolute insider- or outsiderness. Furthermore, the work also looks to expand upon the suggestion raised by Hellawell (2006) with regard to the potential of such analysis for enhancing researcher reflexivity. Becoming a skilled researcher and understanding the link between position and derived insights is only accomplished through action and reflection (experience). Thus, the writer explores the application of a range of tools which continue to deepen her appreciation of the complexities of insider/outsider research and thereby enhance her reflexivity. This enhanced self-awareness has been reciprocal in nature, i.e., in seeking to understand the meaning structures of others the researcher has become more aware of the nuanced nature of research in terms of her own values, beliefs and identity construction and the influence upon her practice.

The writer suggests that the tools and insights derived from her research journey may prove of use to the neophyte researcher in terms of practical suggestions for developing self-awareness and enriching their learning process (Le Gallais1)Tricia Le Gallais (2008) Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 9(2), pp. 145-155., 2008).

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References   [ + ]

1. Tricia Le Gallais (2008) Wherever I go there I am: reflections on reflexivity and the research stance, Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 9(2), pp. 145-155.

Belief Systems and Mental Sets

A belief system is a network of proposition comprised of what we consider to be true or factual about reality. Each of us has a vast network of belief systems that act as a scaffold to help us make sense of the world around us. As we encounter new data we use this network to perceive, interpret, analyze, and organize this data.

Our belief systems also act as filters to eliminate data that does not correlate with our existing constructs. In this sense, our beliefs can limit thinking and learning (Harman and Rheingold, 1984). Below are described three different levels of belief systems, each successively harder to access and more resistant to change (Sisk and Torrance, 2001). (Johnson, 2011).

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A student guide to Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL)

Enquiry-based Learning (EBL) is an active kind of learning being implemented in higher education institutions across the UK and worldwide. It is being used across university courses, in myriad subjects as diverse as Medicine, Geography, English and Engineering. EBL gives students the opportunity to take control of their own learning, and get what they want and need from their university education.

This basic guide to EBL has been written by a student for students. In order to produce this guide, students have been consulted about EBL as they have experienced it and used it as a tool for learning. The product of these discussions is this guide. In an attempt to make this a useful resource across the disciplines, all the hints, tips, problems and discussions have come from real life student EBL experiences.

It’s here for you, to help you on your yellow brick road to practising good EBL. In here, you’ll find basic information, hints and tips, questions and answers, quotations and opinions from students about EBL (Whowell, 2006).

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Databite No. 76: Neil Selwyn

Neil Selwyn presents (Dis)Connected Learning: the messy realities of digital schooling: In this Databite, Neil Selwyn will work through some emerging headline findings from a new three-year study of digital technology use in Australian high schools. Neil will highlight the ways in which schools’ actual uses of technology often contradict presumptions of ‘connected learning’, ‘digital education’ and the like. Instead Neil will consider:

  • how and why recent innovations such as maker culture, personalised learning and data-driven education are subsumed within more restrictive institutional ‘logics’;
  • the tensions of ‘bring your own device’ and other permissive digital learning practices
  • how alternative and resistant forms of technology use by students tend to mitigate *against* educational engagement and/or learning gains;
  • the ways in which digital technologies enhance (rather than disrupt) existing forms of advantage and privilege amongst groups of students;
  • how the distributed nature of technology leadership and innovation throughout schools tends to restrict widespread institutional change and reform;
  • the ambiguous role that digital technologies play in teachers’ work and the labour of teaching;
  • the often-surprising ways that technology seems to take hold throughout schools – echoing broader imperatives of accountability, surveillance and control. The talk will provide plenty of scope to consider how technology use in schools might be ‘otherwise’, and alternate agendas to be pursued by educators, policymakers, technology developers and other stakeholders in the ed-tech space.1)Data & Society Research Institute, Published 7th April 2016

References   [ + ]

1. Data & Society Research Institute, Published 7th April 2016

Learning Styles & The Importance Of Critical Self-Reflection

The belief in learning styles is so widespread, it is considered to be common sense. Few people ever challenge this belief, which has been deeply ingrained in our educational system. Teachers are routinely told that in order to be effective educators, they must identify & cater to individual students’ learning styles; it is estimated that around 90% of students believe that they have a specific learning style but research suggests that learning styles don’t actually exist! This presentation focuses on debunking this myth via research findings, explaining how/why the belief in learning styles is problematic, and examining the reasons why the belief persists despite the lack of evidence.

Dr. Tesia Marshik is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her research interests in educational psychology include student motivation, self-regulation, and teacher-student relationships.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

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