FLIP: reflections as an adult learning practitioner

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: reflections, adult learning, practice, workplace, context.

WEEK 8 – Task 1: reflections as an adult learning practitioner in your workplace/professional context.

Link to forum

Link to blog

Task 1
Begin by thinking back to the issues that came up last week in the discussion of this course. Then think about those issues in relation to the following questions:
•    Do you see connections with your own workplace?

As a teacher in my workplace, I do not have to deal with issues related to readings. However, other issues identified last week may be relevant.

  • A manageable amount of readings : n/
  • Less emphasis on group work: we end up having meetings that are, in my opinion, not very productive. As for group work as an instructional approach, I have the same reservations as I have for our ALGC courses. The majority of my students constantly complain about issues related to their group work (logistical difficulties; others’ lack of participation and commitment; unfair group evaluation; effects on final outcomes)
  • Relevance to personal capability envelop: it remains to be seen whether the activities we do as teachers are increasing our personal and professional goals. Institutional goals are prioritized. In my particular case, I try as best as I can to link both my classes and the meetings we have to my learning experience in the ALGC. This is a great opportunity for applying learning to practice. For example, many of the issues I am discussing as an ALGC student reflect my current practice in teaching critical thinking and group work dynamics.
  • Inclusion of Intercultural Communication components: This is the crux of my hot issue. It has been discussed at length in my first assignment report and in the discussion forums. In my current workplace, this issue is not adequately addressed.
  • Time-managed, task-oriented approach hopefully agreed upon by all: tasks are distributed from the top down, even when it seems there is a negotiated approach to task sharing. When it comes to organizing a large work group, my preference goes towards fairly well-structured activities, to avoid the kind of issues mentioned above under “Less emphasis on group work.” This is also the preferential corporate approach, embedded in the Northern, Anglo-Saxon work ethic.
  • Available technology assistance to participants: in this regard, the college where I work is very active in bringing teachers up to date on the technology available to them. Many teachers – however – have still issues with working with technology, and many others want to use the technology they are more familiar with, instead of using the streamlined platform that has been enforced on us by corporate management. This platform is actually pretty good and does provide with cutting-edge options for teaching design. Unfortunately it also penalizes those who already have their own platforms (web sites and other curricular frameworks) which would now need to be transferred into the main frame of the institutional platform.

•    Can you identify instances when people in your workplace approach tasks with different cultural understandings?

There are differences found among departments. I work in the General Education department, which employs a humanistic approach to education. In many cases, the emphasis may be on the process, rather than on the result. The meetings are a lot about processing dynamics and information; unfortunately, this affects the achievement of “practical goals” versus “developmental objectives,” even though the curricular structure appears to be evenly distributed among the building of behavioral, cognitive and affective learning goals.

Different approaches to teaching and learning are evident also among teachers of the same course. I believe there is a tendency to imprint our own background onto the curricular activities. Our identity seems to inform our teaching practice

•    How do you think these differently embedded cultural understandings might apply to fostering learning in practice in your workplace setting?

Tricky question. In most instances, we all have to abide by corporate guidelines. Issues of power are very present in my work environment. In reality, however, since I operate within a highly individualistic context that gives lip service to academic freedom, many teachers are still steering away from corporate “corralling” policies and pursue a more personal approach to their teaching practice.

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