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The Scholarship of Engagement for Politics: A Research-Based Approach to Placement Learning Alasdair Blair De Montfort University and Steven Curtis London.

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Presentation on theme: "The Scholarship of Engagement for Politics: A Research-Based Approach to Placement Learning Alasdair Blair De Montfort University and Steven Curtis London."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Scholarship of Engagement for Politics: A Research-Based Approach to Placement Learning Alasdair Blair De Montfort University and Steven Curtis London Metropolitan University

2 The project team Staff from the Politics and IR departments of the University of Warwick, Oxford Brookes University and Coventry University. Transferability partners: the Politics and IR departments of the University of Huddersfield, the University of Leeds, Keele University, and London Metropolitan University.

3 Existing models of placement learning Our survey of Politics and IR departments found: 28 out of 94 departments used placements. Three ideal types focused on employability: The Brunel sandwich. The Westminster model (Norton). The work placement module. Lengthy duration and possible social exclusion. Free-floating quality: often not embedded.

4 Model Attributes The Brunel SandwichThe Westminster modelWork placement module DescriptionStudents take the third year out of their studies for work experience The third year of a four year legislative studies degree spent with MP in Westminster Module, usually at level 3, assessing work placement UniversitiesAston, Bath, Brunel, De Montfort, Glamorgan, Kent, Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan Hull, Leeds, SalfordCork, East Anglia, Exeter, Greenwich, Huddersfield, Limerick, Liverpool John Moores, London Met, Middlesex, Queens Belfast, Sheffield Hallam, Surrey, Swansea, Westminster, West of England, Wolverhampton DurationOne yearOne year or one semesterVaries. Usually at least one month full time, often at least ten weeks or more Placement organised byStudentAcademic staffStudent Integration into courseVaries. Often very lowHighVaries Enhancement of employability HighVery high and tailored for careers in politics Medium Potential for adoption across HEIs MediumLow – there are only 646 MPsHigh

5 A new approach Short (5 to 16 days), local, during term time. Embedded in the curriculum (EU, British politics or independent study module). A research-based approach (Boyer): Researching politics in action. Undertaking a research project for placement provider. Placement learning, not work placements.

6 What have we learned? Practical issues: setting up placements, partnership agreements and assessment. Enriching students understanding of politics. Personal efficacy: political education and employability. The benefits of blogs (online journaling).

7 An enriched understanding of politics Placements illustrated class-based learning. Placements complemented formal learning. Prior learning enhanced placement activity.

8 Davids enriched understanding

9 Phil learns about local government

10 Political education and employability The re-enchantment of politics: Enriched perceptions of politicians and processes. Enhanced sense of personal efficacy (including out of knowledge from studies). Politics as a vocation: A broader range of options. Finding entry points (e.g., local government). Relevant experience: first step on ladder.

11 Helen: knowledge in practice

12 Anna: preparation for employment

13 The benefits of blogging Promotes creativity (a self-expression session); flair and humour in writing for publication; use of photos; and reflection on politics, not personal feelings. Students are more likely to keep journals up to date, producing a better record for their essays and reports. Facilitates remote monitoring of placements. Enables student interaction.

14 Andy: blogging as a release

15 Remote monitoring of placements Blogs permit rapid identification of problems with placements and immediate intervention. Remote monitoring enhances students sense of ownership of their placements, along with feelings of autonomy and responsibility. We were able to insert comments into the students blogs, spurring deeper reflection.

16 Calls for intervention Like the previous time he said he would look into arranging a monday at [the placement providers office in London] however as yet he hasn't done [sic] contacted the people involved. (excerpt from Stuarts blog) i made a firend today, there are lots of ppl here doing short placements and im goin to go sight seeing with her on friday as i ahve the day off! (excerpt from Shelleys blog)

17 Lucie and Natasa on autonomy

18 Spurring deeper reflection Among our interventions in blogs, we asked students to reflect on and research: The value of traditional political procedures. Institutional resistance to new technology. The extent to which constituents letters are in response to parliamentary debates. Whether written questions from one MP to another are about making political points or acquiring information.

19 Publications to date S. Curtis and A. Blair (eds.), The Scholarship of Engagement for Politics: Placement Learning, Citizenship and Employability (Birmingham: C-SAP, 2009). S. Curtis et al., Placement Blogging: The Benefits and Limitations of Online Journaling, ELiSS: Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2009. S. Curtis et al., Making Short Politics Placements Work, Politics, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2009. P. Sherrington et al., Research-Led Placements in Politics: A New Approach? European Political Science, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2008.


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