UR – Grounded Theory, Context, and Enactivism

COURSE: Understanding Research—UR

FORUM: Elaborating the logics of research approaches

TOPICS: Research, ontology, epistemology

Step 2 – Part 1

Keywords: context, grounded theory, enactivism

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CONTEXT

Throughout our program issues of context have been prominently presented and discussed. I realize that also plays a role in research. With regard to the two main research strategies, quantitative and qualitative, my current understanding of context is as follows. Researchers in both approaches claim giving context their full attention, however, in two very distinct and almost antithetic ways. In quantitative research the context is the “here and now” reality of the relevant research environment, where variables are measured according to an objectivist ontological perspective that views phenomena as external events “beyond our reach of influence.” (Bryman, p. 18) In qualitative research, instead, context seems to include a variety of factors that, according to constructivism, definitely influence the observed phenomena. This simplified distinction makes me think that whenever we talk about context, we may be referring to two very different concepts that would be better understood by using different words.

Clearly, the contextual scope in qualitative research is much broader than the selected, controlled environment in a quantitative design. In my view, it is exactly the context of a certain phenomenon that qualitative researchers are after. Therefore, the context (and related processes) of a given case scenario is not only the framework within which researchers develop their strategy for data collection and analysis; it is also the object of their investigation. Given the relevance of context in both research strategies, I find it strange that Bryman’s book does not include any relevant entry in either the glossary or the index.

An example of the importance of context in qualitative research is Grounded Theory (see Bryman, pag 541). Although I have not completed the readings, I believe that this particular kind of approach includes a broad context for the study of all interacting factors, actors and even observers. When considering these issues, I remembered our discussion in a previous course. Back then we were examining different approaches to experiential learning and the roles of observation and participation. Fenwick (2001) provided the following definition of context, which I find very relevant to my comments in this post. I believe that Fenwick’s definition helps understand how learning is influenced by our environment, but also how a qualitative education research needs to be mindful of a very broad and inclusive context:

Context involves the social relations and political-cultural dimensions of the community in which the individual is caught up, the nature of the task, the web of joint actions in which the individual’s choices and behaviors are enmeshed, the vocabulary and cultural beliefs through which the individual makes meaning of the whole situation, and the historical, temporal, and spatial location of the situation. (Fenwick, 2001, p. 20)

Going back to my previous mention of Grounded Theory, it seems to me that context defines the background against which identities play out, but it can also become indistinguishable from the actors. In a process of ongoing negotiation and reframing, context is simply a reality that is constantly transforming itself. Grounded Theory researchers persistently re-evaluate their findings, which reminds me a lot of the enactivist/ecological perspective as discussed in Fenwick (2001):

The enactivist perspective insists that learning cannot be understood except in terms of co-emergence: each participant’s understandings are entwined with those of other participants, and individual knowledge co-emerges with collective knowledge. Educational theory also must examine the subtle particularities of “context” created through the learning of complex systems, embedded in their constantly shifting interactional dynamics, and the relations among these particularities. Educators need to become alert to a “complexified awareness…of how one [individual] exists simultaneously in and across these levels, and of how part and whole co-emerge and co-specify one another.  (Davis and Sumara 1997, p. 120)

When it comes to education research, it seems to me that we – in our multiple roles of educators, researchers, and learners – would move between different degrees of participation and observation to gain a deeper understanding of the context, whether that be for our research or for our engagement in our professional practices.

Would it be correct to say that Grounded Theory follows an enactivist/ecological approach to the understanding of context e to the emergence of theory?

REFERENCES:

Bryman, A. (2008). Social Research methods (3rd ed). Oxford; Oxford university press

Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

FLIP: synthesizing my learning experience

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 10 – Task 2: synthesizing my learning

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TASK 2 WEEK 10

1)   What is your case (expressing the learning dimension in your workplace) a case of? (restate)

My learning dimension is the Intercultural Communication dimension.

My hot case clearly shows that in my professional context there is a prevalent lack of consideration for issues related to the intercultural learning dimension. My hot issue prompts me to advocate for the introduction of Intercultural Communication practices into the college educational and work environment.

2) What do you now see as the identity issues that relate to your learning dimension?

I have identified two levels at which identity is negotiated within my professional practice:

At the micro-level, we engage in identity building, i.e. the building of our autobiography, through the construction of a narrative made up of carefully selected episodes. Such narrative is likely to fit into existing discourses of education and actualization.

At the macro-level, we engage in the contextual reality of our professional practice, which may result in having to negotiate our identity and “adjust” it to our workplace environment.

3) What conceptual understandings of adult learning in practice do you feel relate to your learning dimension?

The most appropriate approach cannot really be established a priory.

The following structure develops from a system, non-linear perspective.

I would exclude Lave and Wenger’s participation perspective, as it believes that “the educator’s role is not to develop individuals, but to help them participate meaningfully in the practices they choose to enter.” (Greeno, 1997) (Fenwick, p.36)

I have selected two levels that will be helpful to outline my position.

Micro level:

Constructivist (humanist/progressive)

Macro (global) level:

Constructivist (radical)

Constructivist (transformational, Merizow)

System approach (enactivist perspective)

4) What are the best actions that you feel would move the learning dimension forward? Why would these actions be best? How might these actions be organised as a learning strategy in your workplace?

DEVELOPING A SOLUTION-ORIENTED RELATIONAL PERSPECTIVE

Support noticing, mindfulness, and reflection activities.

Relational view (Chappell et al.)

By acting at the two levels suggested above, I will be able to raise awareness of the intercultural communication dimension. By acting as a communicator, story maker, and interpreter I will assist learners in the emergence of a new consciousness through processes of transformation.

At present, in my current workplace I can only see room for action at the micro level.

Injecting the intercultural learning dimension into my workplace will require institutional commitment. This will require me to renegotiate my role within the college by promoting my level of “intercultural expertise.” That would require a shift in my role towards a more pro-active and solution-oriented approach.

Firstly, with regards to the students, towards the recognition of the cultural differences embedded in their narratives. That could be done by implementing curricular changes in courses and by explicitly recognizing the intercultural communication competence.

Secondly, with regards to staff/faculty, towards the implementation of appropriate initiatives such as professional development opportunities, aimed at creating and promoting an understanding and awareness of the intercultural communication dimension beyond the make-shift approach currently in place.

Intervention at the macro level remains currently a philosophical exercise, given the education orientations currently in place. It remains to be seen whether changes at the micro level will also open the way to a transformation in attitudes that will acknowledge issues of false consciousness, confessional education, and governmentability. The kind of intercultural shift I am advocating would need to extend way beyond current essentialist views and embrace the challenges presented in a systemic paradigmatic shift.

FLIP: my role as an adult educator

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 10 – Task 1: my role as an adult educator

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Task 1

1) Select a quote from this reading that is your favourite or that you find significant for whatever reason

The co-emergence of an entwined understanding:

“The enactivist perspective insists that learning cannot be understood except in terms of co-emergence: each participant’s understandings are entwined with those of other participants, and individual knowledge co-emerges with collective knowledge.” (p. 49)
“The educator’s role might be first, a communicator: assisting participants in naming what is unfolding around them and inside them, continually renaming these changing nuances, and unlocking the tenacious grasp of old categories, restrictive or destructive language that strangles emerging possibilities. Second, the educator as story-maker helps trace and meaningfully record the interactions of the actors and objects in the expanding spaces. Third, the educator as interpreter helps all to make community sense of the patterns emerging among these complex systems and understand their own involvements in these patterns of systems. Naturally, educators must be clear about their own entanglement and interests in the emerging systems of thought and action.” (p. 49)

Think about why you have selected this quote.  Then consider what your insights arising from this process of selection and reflection help you notice about your learning dimension.

There are so many quotes in Fenwick’s paper that would help represent my orientation on adult learning and that would be suitable to address the Intercultural Communication learning dimension outlined in my hot case. I selected a quote on the enactivist perspective as it links my reflections to the broader, global perspective of whole system thinking. That allows me to consider my professional practice as part of a much more complex hologram that relates to the emergence of a new thinking paradigm. Traditional approaches to intercultural understanding have attempted to stereotype cultural traits and perpetuate the Eurocentric, essentialist view of culture. The enactivist perspective allows for ways to transcend such confinements.

How do Fenwick’s comments on the role of the adult educator (identified above) help you to view your role in addressing the learning dimension you have identified?

  • I relate to Fenwick’s quote because it is linked to a new paradigm of learning emerging from a whole system thinking approach. It allows me to transcend the confinements of traditional education and of the established worldview in which our education system is rooted. Acting in a differentiated role of a communicator-story maker-interpreter is really what I like doing as an educator. That entails an investigative, open-ended approach to understanding and learning that is not separate from teaching. The language used in the enactivist perspective is conducive to understanding relations between systems, including the interplay of actors and issues in the education universe.

2) Then reflect on your overall experience in this course. What will you take away with you?

See below under 3)

3) Through this reflection, crystallise a ‘take home’ message. Then describe in one paragraph what prompted this message.

The main value in this course has been the recognition that the vast majority of us learners already engage in their respective professional practices. This implies that, in our daily interaction, the emphasis is more on reflection and effectiveness than on doing research. FLIP has allowed for an open-ended approach to learning, and valued written outcomes that reflect learners’ experience rather than the enumeration of academic scholarly citations. The work group enhanced the processing and reflective phase without turning into the usually debated chore of “writing a group paper.” This course has also showed a conducive and respectful learning environment free of wounding learning drama and has provided a very effective hands-on experience in applied mindfulness and reflection.

I will come away with renewed confidence that “another learning is possible,” paraphrasing the well-known motto of the World Social Forum.

FLIP: Perspectives on adult learning and my learning dimension

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 9 – Task 2: Perspectives on adult learning and my learning dimension

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TASK 2

What insights do you now have about the way you view the learning dimension in your workplace setting?

I am more aware of the established function of the institution, which, in spite of lip service to themes and values found in the contructivist/humanistic perspective, still influences teachers’ and students’ behavior and attitudes towards teaching and learning. These reflections were prompted by my readings on Usher and Edwards, Foucault and Chappell et al. (see my previous post, and my comments below )

What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the selected perspective/s that best ‘fitted’ you in the context of your positioning as a learning practitioner in your workplace?

Since I have engaged in a system, non-linear perspective, I will need to include the major factors in my analysis.

I have selected two levels that will be helpful to outline my position.

Micro level:

  • manages the learning context;
  • promotes dialogue;
  • provides for a conducive and respectful learning environment

At this level I believe in the applicability of the following perspective(s):

Constructivist (humanist/progressive)

Possible strengths:

Learner oriented, geared towards self-realization and growth; mindful of others’ differences; open to dialogue; learning environment based on trust, authenticity, integrity, mutual respect, and patience; scaffholding pedagogy; partial recognition of experiential learning.

Possible weaknesses:

possibly enmeshed with the established institutional structures; focused on adaptation rather than transformation; learning experience may be piloted by educators;

Macro (global) level:

  • Allows for discussion of diverse themes.
  • Awareness and recognition of issues of governmentability (Foucault) , self-subjugation (Chappell et al), and confessional education (Usher and Edwards)
  • Awareness, recognition and critique of social dimensions (radical view and transformation approach (Merizow, p. 13) are suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions)

At this level I believe in the applicability of the following perspective(s):

Constructivist (radical):

Possible strength:

Fostering social awareness and action-oriented learning; mindful of issues of governmentability (Foucault), confessional education (Usher and Edwards) and false consciousness (Chappell et al.); suitable to examine, discuss, and challenge cultural discourses, assumptions, issues of representations and otherization, and personal narratives. A radical orientation could be more effective at uncovering and possibly overcoming issues of oppression, cultural relativism and essentialism, and ultimately addressing the imbalances that are still part of our social and educational models.

Possible weaknesses:

may be difficult to apply to current world view; too theoretical; possibility for culture clashes; difficult to implement given the level of psychological and cultural embeddedness of current learning and teaching paradigms and ensuing social frameworks and discourses.

Constructivist (transformational, Merizow):

Possible strengths:

dialectic, suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection (leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.” “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them”); (p. 13)

useful for the introduction of learners into a system thinking approach (see macro level)

Possible weaknesses:

Not everyone is interested in shifting perspective; not everyone is interested in or capable of cognitive reflecting; it may feel like a piloted operation;

System approach (enactivist perspective):

Possible strengths:

participation and co-emergence, innovative, forward thinking, global; interdisciplinary; thinking outside the box of current education orientations; empowering; may lead to actual breaks through (The system breaking point sometimes heralds the start of a paradigmatic macroshift, as suggested by Dr. Ervin Laszlo);  “Educators can provide feedback loops to a system as it experiments with different patterns leading out from disequilibrium.” (p.50)

Possible weaknesses:

Not easily understood; requires a lot of reframing of current paradigms and world views;

In what ways do they help you to make sense of how you might approach/ move forward with your learning dimension?

By acting at the two levels suggested above, I will be able to raise awareness of the intercultural communication dimension. By acting as a communicator, story maker, and interpreter I will assist learners in the emergence of a new consciousness through processes of transformation.

FLIP: my position on adult education

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 9 – Task 1: my position on adult education

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Task 1

Read the rest of the Fenwick monograph, ensuring that you understand the different perspectives on adult learning that she describes.

Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

Which of the perspectives described by Fenwick do you feel best ‘captures’ each of the reasons you had identified in Learning Task 1?

REASON 1: Adult education is important to me because it allows people to create an alternative path to personal development and education, and creates an arena for opportunities that would be otherwise restricted to younger learners.

I would exclude Lave and Wenger’s participation perspective, as it believes that “the educator’s role is not to develop individuals, but to help them participate meaningfully in the practices they choose to enter.” (Greeno, 1997) (Fenwick, p.36) I agree with critics of this perspective on that “Relations and practices related to dimensions of race, class, gender, and other cultural/personal complexities, apparently ignored by situative theorists, determine flows of power, which in turn determines different individuals’ ability to participate meaningfully in particular practices of systems.” (p. 38)

Knowles’ perspective seems to better capture reason 1 as it recognizes the following:

  • The educator is a facilitator of learning
  • Past experiences need to be honored, shared, analyzed, linked
  • The learning environment is based on trust, authenticity, integrity, mutual respect, and patience.

The educator does not need to take on a psychoanalytic role, but remains committed to the learners’ progress, self-development and growth, in line with the constructivist perspective.

However, Usher and Edwards criticize the traps of “confessional” education practices that adhere to standardized pedagogical approaches. Therefore, to create real opportunities that would allow learners to rise above currently entrenched patterns of exclusion, oppression and disempowerment (Foucault, p.42) and to escape the danger of governmentability, I would argue in favor of a transformational perspective. Foucault also reminds us that “the notion of individual choice and freedom within such [confessional” education] practices are illusions.” (p. 43)

REASON 2: Adult education is important to me because it also allows for broader, less academic discussion of issues that are important to many.
The most appropriate approach cannot really be established a priory. There are many factors involved, such as age, culture(s), educational goals, learning context, expectations, desire to learn, level of commitment and participations. When I think of a non-performance-driven learning environment, then I favor a transformational approach to adult education. That would also be more suitable to address the intercultural learning dimension; free the discussion from established, stereotypical essentialist views of cultures; and explore and clarify issues of identity, assumptions, otherization, representation through thick description of discourses and personal narratives.

From a more theoretical vantage point, I would also consider introducing learners to the fascinating realm of the ecological/enactivist perspective. In a sense, I feel that as a teacher I tend to appreciate the roles suggested in this approach: as a communicator, a story maker, and an interpreter. They all help learners “to make community sense of the patters emerging among these complex systems.” (p.49) Ultimately, this is the way that I really believe transformation can be enacted. From an intercultural communication perspective, understanding the intertwined dynamics of intercultural communication and cultural diversity is in my opinion more important that the analysis of cultures as detached, unchanging units of human experience.

What do you notice about doing this learning task:

1. Did you find it easy to find a match between your reason and the perspectives presented by Fenwick?

Yes, it has been relatively easy and very interesting to use a newly acquired vocabulary and adjust it to the learning dimension in my hot case and to the context of my professional practice.

2. What was the basis of the decisions you made about where to locate yourself? What part of the reading made you recognise where you ‘fitted’?

As I said before, I do not really think that I have to fit into any given orientation. I posted earlier in the course that I see myself as a “bridge,” which mean that I am interested in different perspectives and have the ability to synthesize and find meaning across disciplines.

For now I would say that the basis for my decision to locate myself in a certain orientation is to be found in my own approach to learning and experiencing, which is anchored to a systemic world view and partly represented in the enactivist perspective.

3. Were you located in more than one perspective?

Yes, I find myself at the intersection of several perspectives. I will analyze this in more detail in a separate post. Being situated across disciplines and paradigms is not unusual for me, as I also happen to believe in a systemic approach to understanding that emphasizes relationships over the individual characteristics of the actors and context separately considered.

FLIP: orientations to experiential learning at my workplace

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, Fenwick, constructivism, humanistic

WEEK 8 – Task 2: orientations to experiential learning

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Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

Chapter 1

Keywords

Experiential learning

Constructivism

Adult Education

John Dewey

Andragogy

Freire

Boud

Watskin and Marsick

Progressive

Radical

Humanistic

I have two part-time jobs. One at a corporate art college, the other one teaching adults in the foreign language evening program at Seattle University. Since my hot issue took place at the art college, I will consider the questions for this task as they apply to that context

1) How prevalent do you feel ‘experiential’ learning is as the basis of an approach to adult learning in your workplace setting? What evidence do you draw on to reach this position?

My workplace is organized around a corporate framework that streamlines educational approaches across its network of colleges.

At first it would seem that my college has adopted many of the elements found in the constructivist-humanistic perspective, including an emphasis on student-centered teaching and critical thinking theories. This is reflected in the course syllabi.

In spite of a number of adult learners found among the students, adult learning practices are not specifically addressed and/or recognized.

Experiential learning, however, finds recognition in the coursework, as many of the college’s programs focus on the development of vocational skills.

2) Are you able to see evidence of either the progressive, humanist or radical orientation to adult learning (Fenwick, p.7) in your workplace? What ‘evidence’ do you call on in making your judgement?

Curricular activities cover a broad range of hands-on learning. I believe that the curricular competencies fall within the progressive and humanistic orientations.

Progressive: Students are made aware of the level of responsibility required in their educational path. They engage in problem-solving activities to become successful in their chosen fields.

Humanistic: The General Education Department emphasizes humanistic aspects by stressing student-centered theories and the development of students’ personal success though the reinforcement of self-awareness and self-actualization strategies. Teachers’ professional development across departments also relies on humanistic guidelines, as I realized during my teacher’s training, which emphasized student-centered learning. (I remember “The biggest enemy to learning is the talking teacher.” – John Holt)

Evidence of these two orientations is found in course documents and school policies.

3) Which of the orientations do you feel best captures your own approach/ orientation as a learning practitioner in your workplace?

As a teacher in the General Education department I am comfortable with a humanistic approach augmented with problem-solving strategies as suggested in the progressive orientation.

However, in the case of my hot issue, which focuses on the intercultural communication learning dimension, I would argue that a radical approach would be more suitable to examine, discuss, and challenge cultural discourses, assumptions, issues of representations and otherization, and personal narratives. A radical orientation could be more effective at uncovering and possibly overcoming issues of oppression, cultural relativism and essentialism, and ultimately addressing the imbalances that are still part of our social and educational models.

4) Is there an alignment between your orientation and the orientations that are enacted in your workplace? Does this matter

At first I connected well with the humanistic-constructivist perspective at my workplace. Later, through my own self-reflections and from conversations with the director of General Education, I have become more aware of the corporate ‘hidden goals” and the “business as usual” power-oriented mentality that influence the academic environment.

Does this matter? Absolutely. At the very least, it makes the humanistic orientation in our teacher training sound phony; and at its worse, it makes the curriculum and relevant coursework look like the usual assembly line of traditional education, so beautifully described by Chappel et al (2002):

“Today, epistemological discourses emphasise knowledge constructed as practical, interdisciplinary, informal, applied and contextual over knowledge constructed as theoretical, disciplinary, formal, foundational and generalisable.” (Chappell et al, 2000, p. 2)

Adult education is important to me:

Because it allows people to create an alternative path to personal development and education, and creates an arena for opportunities that would be otherwise restricted to younger learners. It also allows for broader, less academic discussion of issues that are important to many.

It achieves a more generalized level of active citizenship and participation across many generational, social, cultural and gender barriers.

It fosters personal responsibility for one’s own participation both in society and in one’s personal self-actualization.

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.

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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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