Reflective Professional Development: Opening Statement [#mainedu]

In a previous post I discussed my plans to write the various assignments for my current MA modules publicly online. I completed and submitted the first of these assessments yesterday. To begin the ‘Reflective Professional Development‘ module we were asked to write a brief, reflective ‘Opening Statement’ considering a number of questions, including:

  • What were the motives and experiences which led to my choice of profession?
  • What were the motives and experiences which led me towards MA study?
  • What are the specific areas which I am concerned about in MA study? Which gaps am I hoping to fill in my skills/knowledge/experience through MA study?
  • Where am I now as a practitioner and what are my main concerns and challenges?
  • How can the MA help me in these areas?

I am not completely satisfied with my response. I found this far more challenging than all of the assessments I have completed thus far. The word limit was particularly restrictive and as such I ended up making significant edits, impairing the quality of my writing IMO. Nevertheless, the assignment is available to read here:

The reflective process itself was useful, helping me to further clarify what I hope to achieve through MA level study.

I would welcome any comments or observations that you may have, particularly with regard to my views about education and the direction of my research.

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James Michie

Husband, Educator, Writer, Runner...

2 thoughts on “Reflective Professional Development: Opening Statement [#mainedu]”

  1. Hi Jamie,

    I have read your opening statement and read your comments on the current state of education with greta interest. I teach in Further Education at a community college (Engineering) both to school leavers as well as more mature students on Foundation and Bachelor degrees. I have to say that the large majority of the students I see have the attitude of wanting to ‘do the assessment that has to be done’ often with very little interest in real deep learning of useful knowledge and skills in preparation for work. I think that this attitude is largely fostered because of the tightly constrained curriculum from school where there is I believe such an incentive to just teach to the test in order to raise the schools position in league tables. This cannot be the fault of individual teachers or schools, but more of the policies passsed down from above. It is little better in further education where the awarding bodies fix the learning ooutcomes of the courses we teach. The shackles only really come off on our degree level courses where the leaning outcomes have been written the flexibility to be able to adjust the learning to suit the needss of learners to a certain extent.

    I look forward to reading more about this as you progress through your MA


  2. Thanks for commenting Mike, you make some very valid points, mirroring conclusions that I have similarly drawn… the challenges facing both learners and educators in the 21st Century are only compounded by policy that is poorly researched, and by the pressure that is felt by both classroom practitioners and school leaders; forced to focus on grades and league tables. 

    I do think it is interesting to note however, that while these pressures can have a detrimental effect, there are schools across the globe that buck the trend when it comes to ‘teaching to the test’. There are schools that utilise a more students centred, creative approach to learning, that implemented correctly results in high achievement. 

    I think that the pressures of league tables and Ofsted inspections create fear, and that fear results in an avoidance of risk. This is oxymoronic as risk is often a route to success. Whether the risk immediately pays off or that it results in failure, it most often provides opportunity for deep learning and a discourse around how learners’ learn. 

    It’s time students were given more freedom to decide what they want to learn and perhaps more importantly how they want to learn it. After all, engagement is key to effective learning. This might be a risky strategy but if the learner is engaged they are more likely to succeed.

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