Wenger on professional practice

I am at a one-day conference organised by our PBPL CETL which includes contributions from Etienne Wenger and Yrjo Engestrom. Hurried notes just taken in the Eitienne Wenger session - will write up summary reflections later…

  • Quality of the community we are part of impacts on the quality of the output
  • Scientific revolution move from alchemy – personal construct to a communal process making a statement of knowledge which is then contestable by the community. Move to community base is a key change – stabilisation around an idea – some trust around that idea… Wikipedia, buy cialis when an article stabilises it represents something trustworthy, ailment knowing as a social act. Knowledge is the property of a community. Act of participation even if its an act of contesting the knowledge. Engagement in the production of knowledge.
  • How meaningful it is to engage with partners around something you care about.
  • Engagement with colleagues, in reflection on what we are trying to do, brings me back to the sense of vocation, which is core to our practice, meaningful engagement.
  • Knowledge is the property of communities
  • Meaningful engagement is the foundation of professional identity.

 

 

 

 

Stories
  • Non-professional communities, group of patients with a rare form of disease. No cure, have to manage your life, they connect on a simple listserve. What are they talking about? Exchange ideas and support, shared experiences, All build from one original person. Important lifeline for those involved in that community. May not post, but are reading and still a meaningful connection and process of learning. Loosely organised community.
  • How do we understand about each others languages – when we are a heterogenous community to cross the boundary between different systems.
  • World Bank – traditionally very vertical organisation, had a different meeting, a CoP to help countries transition fro Soviet system to a more EU-liked public expense management system
  • Community process of negotiating transition, not just about needing the knowledge, its about sharing of ideas and practice and negotiation, what are the skills we need to develop, what is the new shared identity, how do we put all of this into practice when we go home, how can we engage in a new transformation process, entering into a worldwide practice. Clear sense that it was not just a local practice – was world wide. Becoming part of a world-wide conversation.
  • Engaged together in transformation of their identity – this is very much what professional learning is about

 

Practice based learning and professional identity

  • Range of aspects make up experience of practice based
    • Theories, perspectives, schools of thought
    • Data what works and what doesn’t
    • Curriculum – institutions – which put into a course
    • Local practices and communities what works and what doesn’t
    • People’s personal experience
  • Complex – different institutions – research, practice, regulatory system, or a mixture. Each have multiple constellations of communities and different boundaries between research and teaching, teaching and practice, management and workers, etc. Complex landscape which serves as the body of knowledge, complex social system, each with own perspective and boundaries.
  • We are representatives of this complexity, instantiate it in some sense
  • People come to you in that sense, expecting you to embody that professional identity
  • It is beyond mere curriculum – complex landscape of different components.
  • Our identities come to embody and rework the world we identify with, landscape is constantly changing
  • Knowledge ability as the management of identity of a complex knowledge system, what is professional learning and how can an institution engage with learning in this sense?
  • Finding a meaningful engagement
  • What would it mean for an institution to take this as a foundation for thinking, what is a true curriculum for professionalism. OU is in a unique position to take this position.
  • Learning as engagement in a system of practice. Distance learning could be closer to the practice potentially. Campus based is further from the practice.
  • Practice as a place for learning, doesn’t need to be local and narrow
  • Learning is situated in our lives, in our identity, in term of who we think we are
  • Imagination as a construction of a picture of the world so that who you are makes sense – imagined communities - Benedict Anderson  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagined_Communities
  • Understand alignment as a two-way process:
  • Role of a university – in role of half way between regulatory agencies and work based practices, also role of imagination, what does a research do? How does evidence based prescription come up, what can I trust, for a curriculum to open your imagination. Problematising boundaries. Tension between regulatory demands and dealing with the situation in hand. Mustn’t fall into assumption that we teacher roles and every thing else follows – in reality practice isn’t like that. How can we use the boundaries – engagement, alignment and imagination.
  • Crossing of boundaries – demands of identity – mixture of accountability and expressibility – part of how we express ourselves as knowers in the world.
  • System of accountability that connects us, expressibility is also important.
  • Become more and more engaged in the community and how expressible that community will be when the individuals goes home and try and apply in their own context.
  • Engaging and reconciling the idea of multiple forms of identity and belonging. Identity is not uniform, it is always that tension between being one person in one body, but many places of belonging and expressions of who we are etc.
  • We are always reinventing ourselves as we move forward.
  • How do we take this into the professional curriculum – find an identity of participation
  • Seems that if you take practice based learning seriously we have to think about how we shape our relationship to these places of practice, so rich experiences of professional identity can be experienced there. How do we transform our whole practices so new learning can be expressed. It is not about curriculum and testing solely – there is a much richer relationship with the practice itself potentially.
  • Boundaries between the different sources of knowledge – what is the role of the university in the role of professional identity in the future
  • Two opposite trends – increasing colonisation of professional requirements – codification, standardisation of qualifications, regulation, best practice, etc cf. with a reconfiguration of the landscape at the same time which is interesting and is acting in the opposite direction – patients acting in their own, informal community. What does it mean to be a doctor when the community knows more about a rare disease than the doctor does…
  • Also increasing complexity of the “professional space” more societies, organisations, professional guidelines, etc. No single person can claim to own a professional practice space. Reconfiguration of the geography of identity. Many people don’t identify strongly with their employer, pillars of identification are decreasing in importance, new spaces are arising – blogosphere etc example, generalisation of expression. Complex multiple identity
  • Managing who you are becomes more important than having access to any particular thing.
  • Access to information is less important, more important is who am I in that see of information? Reconfiguring identity
  • Viewer learners as co-professional, coach in a learning journey
  • Notion of a learning citizen – if we all belong to dynamic and complex communities, an ethics of professionalism, trajectory which is unique to you, what is your responsibility with respect to learning in your community. What are the ethics of learning which helps me decide which communities I will be part of?
  • Where are their new communities where things are needed?
  • What does it mean to be a learning citizen?
  • How can somewhere like the OU form learning citizens – individual trajectories to manage and responsibility to support others in the process

 

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