FLIP: Similarities and differences in “good education”

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala 5

TOPICS: similarities and differences

WEEK 7 – TASK 2: Similarities and differences in “good education”

Link to blog

Share your ideas by (a) capturing one issue in 200-300 words using the following questions to prompt your selection AND (b) giving feedback on at least two people’s posting:

1) Similarities and differences that you see in your own and others’ representations around ‘good’ adult education?

I will summarize the differences and similarities found in the Koala group, and

add my comments. I will group them as follows:

Course requirements

Relevance to our Professional practice (educator)

Role of  English

Intercultural communication dimension

Our learning context / space


Course requirements:

Gursev and Kerrian talk about their difficulty in abiding by the words limit imposed for the written assignments. Jeanette also mentions having the feeling that she has forgotten all the readings.  Edouard talks about “heavy readings.”

Oscar shares Yolanda’s need for time efficiency and her task-oriented approach to work and learning.

Helga talks about the “being allocated to a group where other students don’t participate very much, or are on a different wave-length.”

Relevance to our Professional practice (educator):

Helga seems to be working full time in hers; I am working part-time, and Edouard is not currently working in education. Michiko, Oscar and Edouard recognize their marginality with respect to their respective educational professional practice. Michiko also talks about the “rubber band effect,” i.e the varying degree of proximity to the different subjects in the ALGC, and also mentions that she has “no background as a professional educator.”

Edouard talks about how other commitments may interfers with his participation.

Role of  English:

COMMENTS: There are varying levels of proficiency and comfort with regard to using English as our instructional language and main means of communication. I believe that such issue is understated, based on the assumption that proficiency is a requirement that was considered at the admission stage.

Helga is a native speaker; Oscar currently uses English as his first language but is aware of the implications related to being a non-native speaker; Edouard talks about ‘a lack of good command of english’.

Intercultural communication dimension:

We all see to share an approach embedded in multiple cultural experiences. We recognize the need for having intercultural communication embedded into our educational professional practice. Edouard advocates for closer examination of his country’s cultural assumptions.

Our learning context/space:

Helga talks about issues with the technology, others’ level of participation in group work, and “lack of response or lack of clear directions from some teachers.”

Oscar would add that – at least in this course – the amount of readings was fair and manageable. Issues with the technology side of Itslearning have been voiced by many.

SUMMARY

A version of “good education” that would collate the similarities found in our group would include:

  • A manageable amount of readings (Oscar, Gursev, Jeanette), “less is better”
  • Less emphasis on group work (Helga, Oscar)
  • Relevance to personal capability envelop (Michiko, Helga, Edouard, Oscar)
  • Inclusion of Intercultural Communication components (Helga, Gursev, Edouard, Oscar)
  • Time-managed, task-oriented approach hopefully agreed upon by all (Oscar, Yolanda, Helga)
  • Available technology assistance to participants (Helga, Edouard, Kerrian)

2) What you see as missing or hidden in the representations?

Intercultural dimension:

As I pointed out at different stages of the ALGC since we started the program, there is an understated representation of our cohort’s intercultural communication dimension. Aside from recognizing the cultural and geographic diversity embedded in our program, little is offered in ways to interpret and deal with the nuances emerging from such diversity. I believe there is the assumption that “things will sort themselves out.” This dimension also includes issues related to our language of instruction – as mentioned above – and the cultural assumptions embedded in the Anglo-Saxon approach to higher education.

Pedagogical assumptions:

Another hidden representation is the ALGC is the pedagogical assumptions on which it is based. We have been exposed to several approaches to teaching, learning and working and had opportunities for discussing relevant issues, but there has been no indication about the pedagogical parameters that inform the ALGC. In the readings I found several learning contexts that may apply to the ALGC, but they are at times contradicting. In the past, the instructional “strategies” adopted in some courses clashed dramatically against the academic content and ensuing discussions, which has affected my learning, and left me confused and at a loss.

3) An example (eg. an image) that shows how your cultural embeddedness shapes your view or expectations of adult education? Try to make this explicit in writing for your group.

I see myself as a bridge. This is a metaphor that has been used by others (e.g. Alexander Langer) and in other settings (the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia; the Europabruecke in Tyrol) to convey the idea of connectedness across differences.

Mostar bridge

Mostar bridge

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