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Oxford Brookes Conference on Graduate Employability: Oxford: 16/06/09 Learning about me as well as the subject: enhancing employability through critical.

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Presentation on theme: "Oxford Brookes Conference on Graduate Employability: Oxford: 16/06/09 Learning about me as well as the subject: enhancing employability through critical."— Presentation transcript:

1 Oxford Brookes Conference on Graduate Employability: Oxford: 16/06/09 Learning about me as well as the subject: enhancing employability through critical reflective learning John Buswell University of Gloucestershire

2 Learning to learn is the educational paradigm for the twenty-first century (Ruth Deakin Crick 2004) You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself (Galileo) But what does it mean and how do we do it (if we think it is important)?

3 Outline of session Student-centred learning- the why and wherefore Metalearning and self-awareness A structured, progressive and supported process The use of critical storytelling and learning inventories Their impact

4 Why is student-centred learning so important for employability? We are preparing students for a world of increasing uncertainty; Increasingly electronic; Knowledge society; Learning in the 21 st century requires active, autonomous, flexible and lifelong learners; Increased emphasis on transdisciplinary knowledge and competences?;

5 Changing HE context Numbers, diversity, AWP Outcomes-based approaches Dearing vision The opportunities provided by active learning and reflective thinking The centrality of reflective learning to PDP Potential to transform the HE curriculum by placing the student at the centre and moving away from content-based models (Broadfoot 2006) What does this mean? Do you agree with it? Links between PDP and employability The Leitch Report

6 The Leitch Report (December 2006 ) Even if the UK were to reach all of its skills targets for 2010, it would still be trailing behind other key competitors in the knowledge economy Complex based knowledge roles forecast to be 45% of workforce by 2014 Challenging targets for 2020, especially in higher order skills

7 Consequent importance of developing self-reliant, independent and collaborative learners who know and understand themselves; and are prepared for the increasing complexities of employability and citizenship; Transferability In our rapidly changing world, the ability to learn quickly, to be flexible, to be comfortable with newness, is a core skill. It might even be the most important (Parker and Stone 2003:19) This helps in presenting a clear and positive image to employers and others

8 at the end of the day, it is the graduates of our universities and colleges who will need to have the clearest idea of their skills, capabilities and achievements, both in order to sell themselves to employers and academic selectors and to manage their own careers in increasingly less supported working environments (Burgess 2005) The key lies in self-awareness and metalearning

9 Metalearning Bourner points out that developing students capacity for reflective learning is part of developing their capacity to learn how to learn (Bourner 2003:267) Employers are not interested in seeing extensive documented outcomes, but they do wish to see for themselves how candidates think and behave in new situations (Edwards 2001:8)

10 ( University of Gloucestershire Metalearning Awareness and control of ones own learning How?

11 Self-empowerment and autonomy Self-awareness and strategic awareness Ownership – self-regulated learning Capacity for lifelong learning Reflective practice and reflective learning, especially learning from experiences

12 Reflective thinking experience is not quite the same thing as learning from experience (Moon 2004:105) Reflective learning is not what happens to a student; it is what the student does with what has happened (Bourner 2003:4) And it requires us to mediate and create the appropriate learning environment

13 metalearning capacity requires a skill in learning that is quite different from, and superordinate to, the acquisition of complementary skills (such as how to take notes, use the library and so on (Meyer and Shanahan 2004:444) i.e. skills in learning as well as skills for learning

14 University of Gloucestershire case study Metalearning Emphasis on transdisciplinary learning Which depends on SKILL OF TRANSFERABILITY SELF-AWARENESS (Metacognition ) Self-management 1 Self-identity 2 Self-authorship 3 THROUGH 1. Tools/techniques of reflective writing 2. Peer support 3. Self-assessment of capabilities 4. Language to describe learning 5. Making sense of experiences 6. Fully embedded model of PDP 1.Engagement by students and staff 2.Action and reflexivity Key challenges Level

15 Metalearning through Constructivist and socio-constructivist approaches to learning; and An integrated and progressive approach to PDP, incorporating: A model of progression in metalearning; The tools and techniques of reflective writing (including recording and planning); Methods of peer support and mentoring; Learning inventories/self-assessment tools ELLI ECI-U (Emotional Competence Inventory-University Edition

16 Reflective writing (but critically reflective ) Learning agreements/diaries/logs/journals R cards Unsent letters Portraits Critical incidents Critical storytelling – see handout

17 1. Using Stories to reflect on placement experiences … Creating social environments to encourage reflective thinking and peer support Developing techniques for encouraging reflective writing and peer support Creating a placement story which includes developing skills in reflective writing, listening and questioning techniques

18 when we tell stories and process them, using reflective dialogue, we create the possibility for change in ourselves and others. Our capacity to express ourselves through narrative forms not only enables us to reshape, reassess and reconstruct particular events, it allows us to learn from discussing our experiences with individuals who raise alternative views, suggest imaginative possibilities and ask stimulating questions. (McDrury and Alterio 2003:38)

19 2. The use of learning inventories Self-assessment Concepts of learning Provides language with which to understand, evaluate and articulate learning and capabilities They are an important element of learning to learn

20 ELLI (Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory) Based on learning power Learners are: All different Constantly learning Able to change to become better learners Able to reflect on their learning Motivated to be better learners

21 ELLI contains seven dimensions of learning power Positive pole Negative pole Changing and learning Being stuck Meaning making Data accumulation Critical curiosity Passivity Creativity Rule bound Learning relationships Isolation Strategic awareness Robotic ResilienceDependent

22 ELLI measures learning power The qualities and dispositions that enable students to learn and go on learning throughout life A research project in schools in 2002 led by Professors Patricia Broadfoot and Guy Claxton (University of Bristol) Contains an online questionnaire (ELOISE)

23 ELLI contains an online survey that: Takes approximately 20 minutes for each student to fill in Comprises 97 statements Produces individual profiles about each student s learning power Produces class profiles to show how groups of students view themselves as learners

24 ELLI can : Identify dimensions of learning to work on with students Focus students attention on learning Give them am immediate profile and supportive material Help students think about how to improve learning Help to provide students with a language with which to understand and articulate their learning Be a learning experience in itself

25 Individual Profiles can show: how each student feels about learning who are the fragile learners which students could achieve much better if they worked on one or two aspects of learning

26 Example 1

27 Example 2

28 2. ESCI-U (Emotional and Social Competency Inventory- University Edition Applied to learning from 12 month placement and other experiences; Focuses on self-awareness; social-awareness; self-management; relationship management; and cognitive competencies 70 statements in paper-based questionnaire plus opportunity for feedback questionnaire from someone who knows the student well Supported by a work book explaining each competency and containing sections for reflective writing

29 The growing importance of EI to employability EI is essential for Self-management; Developing others; Facilitating relationships between others; and Management of our relationship with others (Sparrow & Knight 2006)

30 OK Corrall: Life Positions (Sparrow & Knight 2006: 40) I m NOT OK I m OK I-U+ I+U+ You re OK You re NOT OK Stuck Critical I-U- I+U- Submissive EI

31 Student feedback on both inventories A little mixed on ELLI but overwhelmingly positive on the ESCI-U Perhaps influenced by the stage of the student s progression in their degree However, there was a correlation between the perception of ELLI and the academic attainment of students in one group

32 Student feedback and student assessments suggested that their ability to learn from reflecting critically on their experiences was enhanced by the use of learning inventories, particularly in the following ways: Identifying and analysing strengths and weaknesses; Seeing themselves in a different light; Increased self-identity; Greater awareness of how others viewed them; A trigger for critical reflection (rather than simply descriptive reflection) and strategic awareness; How to learn better

33 Conclusions Learning about me as well as the subject (particularly when it is contextual knowledge and involves applying subject theory) can be effective and critical (including the highest order cognitive skills and metacognition) PDP is, I believe, helping to transform the higher education programme from one that is still primarily geared to the transmission of knowledge to one where self-identity is also important. When the specialist knowledge we acquire through a higher education becomes redundant, all we are left with is our capacity to keep learning. This has to be the key skill for life which higher education equips us with and it is the one that PDP serves (Jackson 2005)

34 References Broadfoot, P (2006) Empowering the learner: theories, tools and techniques. Keynote address to Researching and evaluating PDP and e- Portfolios, International Seminar, Oxford, October 2006 Bourner, T (2003) Assessing reflective thinking, Education and Training, Vol.45, Issue 5, pp Burgess, R (2005) Measuring and recording student achievement: Report of the Scoping Group at suringachievement.pdf suringachievement.pdf

35 Deakin Crick, R (2004) in (Tew, M Deakin Crick, R Broadfoot, P & Claxton, G (2004) ELLI, Learning Power: A Practitioners Guide, Lifelong Learning Foundation, Manchester Edwards, G (2001) Connecting PDP to Employer Needs and the World of Work, LTSN Generic Centre, York Jackson, N (2005) Towards the tipping point: an intensely personal view of Progress Files and PDP DPUKDEC05.pdf McDrury, J & Alterio, M (2003) Learning through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning, Kogan Page, London

36 Further reading Meyer, J & Shanahan, M (2004) Developing metalearning capacity in students: actionable theory and practical lessons learned in first-year economics, Innovation in Education and Teaching International, Vol.41, N.4 4, November 2004, Moon, J (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning, RoutledgeFalmer, Abingdon Parker, C & Stone, B (2003) Developing Management Skills for Leadership, Pearson Education, Harlow Schon, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action, Arena Publishing, Boston Sparrow, T & Knight, A (2006) Applied EI: The importance of attitudes in developing emotional intelligence, Chichester, John Wiley & Sons

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