BPP colleague John Irving has taught me a great deal about reflection, self-coaching and self-observation since I joined BPP University College in the summer 2010. John has a way of looking at educational context which is still alien to me at times but hugely challenging. I think we all want to work with people who stretch us and challenge us and I'm often frustrated at the lack of thought leadership around me. So it's been a delight in recent months, as John and I embarked on a third module in our pilot PGCert programme, to write an overview of reflective practice together and explore the implications of reflection for educators, particularly in the context of professional education. Very much a case of standing on the shoulders of giants this paper, part our own reflection, part literature review, identifies the very personal characteristics of reflective practice and the importance of emotion in that process. It explores the nature of reflection served by solitary deliberation and engagement in communities of practice and identifies the individual attributes of reflection as defined by Schön and Brookfield. Finally, this paper provides a review of several reflective models and suggests that personal transformation and reflective practice must form the basis for effective teaching. We've found Brookfield's four critical lenses a very effective way to contextualise and plan our academic development support and this paper fits nicely for us into a growing body of resource to encourage faculty to embrace the change! The paper is available for download on my pages on Academia.edu and from BPP's Publication pages.
Working this week with a variety of practical tools to develop learning content and thinking seriously about how they are structured, internally referenced, and where the opportunities for scaffolding professional development within them might be. This seems easiest at first glance with the Frontpage eXe editing tool which creates reasonable XHTML code and has a variety of expert options including IMS/SCORM packages that work fine in Moodle at least. However, it raises some really interesting questions about ‘how’, in practice, most academic staff actually build the materials they use in their teaching. Here I’ve been dealing with content written in word and passed to an administrative member of staff who has ‘transferred’ it into eXe. There are clear issues with awful Mso code being imported which is tiresome to get rid of.
More interesting is perhaps the mismatch or disjuncture in the authoring process for Word than for the delivery environment. We may NOT want academic staff authoring content direct into the VLE, but we need them close enough to the delivery context to understand the issues of sequencing, pause, reflection and action. The argument might be for the development of a more structured ‘template’ for each authoring environment, and indeed the professional conversation with authoring teams around the development of a template would in itself prove valuable. My own development of the these MS-Word-> eXe materials for one specific undergraduate course makes me think there must be a better way. Just need more time to think about what it might be.