Found a brilliant Etienne Wenger chapter called Identity in Practice in the book Pedagogy and Practice: Culture and Identities. I’ve only just started reading this chapter but already I’m picking out little snippets which relate to my project, whether or not these end up in my final dissertation remains to be seen.
“Engagement in practice gives us certain experiences of participation, and what our communities pay attention to reifies us as participants.” (Wenger, 2008, pg.105)
The notion of what it means to be part of a community of practice is an angle I find interesting when relating to course structures in place at a University. Academics are part of a course, which is in turn part of a department, which is part of an institution. Many academics are on fractional contracts maybe only working a few hours a week, however they are still identified as being part of a community they might rarely spend little time engaging with.
Wenger, E., 2008. Identity in Practice. In: K. Hall, P. Murphy and J. Soler, eds. 2008. Pedagogy and Practice: Culture and Identities. Milton Keynes: Sage Publications. Ch.7.
Today I had a presentation in front of the rest of the MA cohort, it actually went a lot better than I thought and I received some really welcome feedback from others in the course. It was really beneficial to hear how everyone’s getting along and reassuring to know that we all share the same worries regarding the final write up stage. This is still the final stumbling block for me, I’ve got one more transcription to write up before I continue writing up. At this point in time I’m contemplating starting again with my write up, the structure I’ve put in place for my dissertation so far seems to be limiting me so I may well start again! Meeting for a tutorial with one of the MA students from last year to get my head around the writing up!
Today HEA released the key findings from their student academic experience survey. A particular part of these findings stood out as being related to my current research project;
“A key finding from this year’s survey relates to the importance that students put on their teachers in higher education being trained to teach. When asked to rank the importance of three characteristics of the people who teach them, a higher proportion of students rated staff having been trained in how to teach (39%) and having professional or industry expertise (44%) as the number one priority, than staff being active researchers (17%).”
Although this paragraph puts them emphasis on the training of teachers to me the number one priority was of more interest. The importance of teachers having professional or industry experience was of particular interest especially given my research project. Of the academics I’ve surveyed as part of my MA 85% of respondents state they have professional or industry experience, either previous to teaching or alongside their academic roles.
Even if I use these figures as an aside in my dissertation it’s worth noting that the emphasis students put on professional practice experience appears to be consistent with the lecturers at the University.