The purpose of this module was to develop key skills in order to complete an effective dissertation. The two main components were ‘criticality’ and ‘reflection’. The module was broken up into four stages:
Stage 1: Opening Statement
The initial task was an 800 word reflection on myself as both learner and practitioner. As someone who takes time to reflect everyday, I was surprised at how challenging this task was. Writing it down, and in such a concise way, forced me to focus in on the issues that really mattered to me the most. A useful exercise that provided a contextualised foundation on which I could develop as an M.Ed. student.
Stage 2: Literature Review
A literature review of 3 – 5 books, articles or papers which have influenced your practice or understanding and have helped to shape you as a professional.
A stimulating task, I took the opportunity to write about four texts that had made me think and were early influences in the development of dissertation proposal. Moreover, having the opportunity to focus on a handful of texts, helped me develop my critical voice further; able to delve deeper into theses and ideas that stretched my evolving beliefs and values about systematised education.
The texts that I reviewed were:
- Belshaw, Doug (2011) Student attendance in the digital age, JISC Inform, Issue 31, Retrieved, January 2012 from the World Wide Web on: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/inform/inform31/DougBelshaw.html
- Facer, Keri (2011), Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change, T & F Books UK
- Mitra, S., Dangwal, R., Chatterjee, S., Jha, S., Bisht, R. S. and Kapur, P. (2005). Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the “hole in the wall”. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(3), 407-426. Retrieved, April 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet21/mitra.html
- Robinson, Ken (2006) Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, TED 2006 (Video). Retrieved, May 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
Stage 3: Critical Review
A critical review of an article inviting you to engage critically with a recent research paper, evaluating its strengths and limitations and considering its applicability for your own practice.
This was a particularly challenging task, requiring a critical engagement with one article. It made me get to grips with quantitative data analysis more than any other article had so far. Moreover, it encouraged me to read far more broadly into research methodolgies and paradigms. As such it has had a significant impact on the development of my research strategy for my dissertation.
The article we were asked to critique was:
- Harma, Joanna. (2009) Can choice promote Education for All? Evidence from growth in private primary schooling in India, Compare, Vol. 39, No. 5, March 2009, 151-165
Stage 4: Closing Statement
The module concluded with a second 800 word self-reflection. Evaluating my progress a year on was very helpful in identifying my strengths and weaknesses as learner/practitioner. Moreover, it allowed me to set my own development against the context of educational landscape; as well as my own values and beliefs.
I completed each stage of this module publicly online via Google Docs: