When I studied TU812 in 2010 and first attempted an answer to this question, my domain of practice was very different to what it is now. Then I worked in local government and was engaged in policy development and partnership coordination. Now, I spend the equivalent of my ‘working week’ engaged in the practices of ‘researching’ (doing my PhD) and ‘educating’ (as an Open University associate lecturer).
On and off for the last 6 months or so, I have been trying to construct a ‘claim’ for associate fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (via a scheme operated by the OU itself). In essence this is a way of getting recognition for my teaching competences. One of the main elements of the claim is a ‘reflective statement’ that needs to demonstrate the ‘why?’, ‘what?’, ‘how?’ of my practice in supporting adults to learn at a distance and any ‘so what?’ that arises from that reflection. When I set out I thought that this would suit me down to the ground given how much I have written about my experiences and practices in the past. But, I have experienced it as really constraining and at times annoying. I think I can understand why. Firstly, there are certain ‘buttons’ that I have to press in terms of the range of tasks I am involved in, the types of knowledge I use as I am doing so, and, how certain values guide me. Secondly, there is word ‘guidance’ in essence a hint of how much material the assessment panel will want to read. These constraints are making me focus so much on achieving an acceptable output that I am not enjoying it or getting any value (i.e. learning) from the experience. Continue reading