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Module B: In-practice Learning and Development

The overall aim of this module is to enhance students' ability to articulate and analyse professional practices, including their own, particularly in relation to the process and substance of current educational change. In this way the module emphasises your reflexive engagement in day-to-day professional activity. This engagement is stimulated and informed by four areas of literature examining: the relation between policy and practice; communities of practice; organisational culture and the management of change.

Your learning activity in Module B is structured through supported engagement in four pieces of action research, which each focus on a different aspect of the literature listed above. The work on each piece begins with a review of the relevant literature and a discussion of its significance for students' professional contexts. In line with the module's primary focus on reflexivity in professional action, the emphasis in each strand is on examining the relationship between your experience of professional practice and your critical examination of literature which seeks to explain aspects of this practice. Issues that arise in examining this relationship include the distinctions between:

  • 'Common sense' and theoretical interpretations of practice,
  • official and non-official discourses,
  • reductive (eg. Marxist or behaviourist) or rationalistic (eg. planning) models and the actualities of situated action

Support for this work will be provided through discussion and tutorials in residential sessions as well as during the inter-residential periods (by email, or via the Moodle site).

The outlines below of the foci of each piece of action research provide guidance (rather than prescription) on the range of work involved in the module:

  • Strand 1: Understanding the relation between polocy and practice
    Students are introduced to a variety of literature which problematises the relationship between policy and practice, which they then draw on to analyse their experiences of this relationship within their professional context.
  • Strand 2: Critically engaging with communities of practice
    Students critically examine the relevance of the notion of communities of practice to their professional practice.
  • Strand 3: Understanding organisational cultures
    Students are introduced to a number of ways of conceptualising organisational cultures and draw on these in analysing aspects of their professional context.
  • Strand 4: The Management of Change
    Students are introduced to a number of ways of conceptualising organisational cultures and draw on these in analysing aspects change in their professional context.

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