Thursday, 22 November 2012

Campus Session 3 Module 1 Professional Networks

This took place on 20th November and we started by coming to an agreed understanding of what networks are. Identifying those networks and drawing them out can be useful a map of networks can be useful and out by mapping out our networks both professional and personal.

We discussed the various networks we had mapped out further. Some questions we asked were….

  • Are there any crossovers between groups – are there some networks with the same members in each?
  • Which networks are more important to us in our professional practice and our learning and development?
  • Which networks are peripheral to us … that we are part of but not actively?
  • Do we put in (contribute) as much value as we get out of the network?
  • What happens when we actively contribute to a network?

Theoretical approaches to networks were discussed as set out in the Reader for this part of the module:

  • Co-operation (tit for tat)
  • Affiliation (sense of belonging)
  • Social constuctionism
  • Connectivism
  • Communities of Practice

We then revisited the networks we had mapped out and assessed if any of the above approaches could best be used to help us understand our participation and our activity in the our various networks.

Connectivism led to a discussion on the location of learning and knowledge. A question about where knowledge is located immediately brought the response that it’s in our head. How does it get there? It could be via having some information (from a book or a person) and linking this with experience. Or it could be from experience alone. Therefore, looking at a network through the lens of connectivism we tried to locate the knowledge – it was contained in the nodes on the network. It could be that the larger nodes have greater knowledge because they are linked to a greater number of nodes that others.

While there are no right or wrong answers to the above what is useful about this reader and the tasks is that it forces us to examine our professional networks and evaluate them for improving our professional practice and promoting learning, development and knowledge.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reflective Practice Feedback

Today, I have had chance to read through some of the blogs and see how everyone is progressing. By now, everyone should have moved on from the first section of the module (Professional Communication Technologies) to the second section (Reflective Practice).  The campus session (2) on Reflective Practice has been reported well on by Sarah Robinson and Melanie Brown, both of whom worked together on an exercise. Having a partner like this to listen to acts like a mirror – which is a familiar tool of reflection we use daily!

Reading the blogs shows that there has been engagement with reflective practice readers from Hannah Stewart who offers a highly insightful view on her wiki and applies theoretical perspectives to professional practice. Sarah Robinson in her post reminds us that reflection turns experience into learning.  Emily Hunt’s post is well worth reading and has already generated a lot of comment from peers on the personal application of Kolb & Gardner.

There was a range of blog posts on Journal Writing including Bethany Wells who demonstrates boundless enthusiasm for the practice and Clare Orlandi who referred us to Dumbledore’s contribution from Harry Potter.

Thanks to all of the above for being inspirational. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ethics Campus Session 2: Module 2

The theme of the campus session on 30th October was Ethics.  We started by discussing the Ethics reader and looked to gain a common understanding of what Ethics means, the different approaches to Ethics and how they apply to Professional Practice. Ethics from the word Ethos comes from Greek and means character.  Wrapped up in Ethics is the notion of promoting good and preventing harm. We came up with some words which encapsulates Ethics for us. Suggestions were:

Health and Safety

The Reader explains the approaches to ethics proposed by various thinkers through the centuries. These offer us a way to interpret and can inform how we handle the range of ethics dilemmas we face. JS Mill’s approach has been ascribed as Consequentialist – and this approach argues that the end can justify the means of an action if the action is for the greater good. The Deontological approach by contrast argues against this. A wrong is a wrong and can never be justified. Hence, lying is always wrong. Kant’s view is that if lying is permissible then lying will be become intrinsic and therefore we will never know whether one is lying or not and therefore this would not be helpful for social good.  Then there is virtue ethics first proposed by Aristotle which is about the habitual actions of the character. This is about not being honest just on Fridays, say, rather the character needs to be honest every day.

How grey the area of ethics is became clear when we discussed the case study of photographer taking a picture of a dying child in a war zone rather than helping the child. He was adhering to his professional code of practice and by taking the photograph the plight of children in a war zone could be viewed by a greater audience. A clear example of tensions that occur in professional practice in relation to ethics. 

Ethical principles can change with time and geography. Practices which are considered ethical in one part of the world can be considered unethical in others. Ethical principles can sometimes translate into Statutory regulations (rules) eg The Human Rights Act.

There was a discussion on the movie “The Black Swan” where the issue of unhealthy eating can be harmful in the world of dance. The balance is fine between maintaining a slim physique against long term health. Other issues in the movie included manipulation and drug taking. 

Then everyone thought about Ethics applies in their own professional practice and Codes of Practice were produced in class - check these clips out:

Nearly every profession has produced some code of practice and there are many examples of these given in the Reader.  Follow this link to Code produced by the Council for Dance Education and Training. If you are engaged in this type of work evaluate how this matches your own personal ethical stance and that of your workplace. Assess whether there are any conflicts between the personal, professional, organizational and social ethical principles.