Friday, October 29, 2010

Adult Learning Symposium 2010 day 2

Today, 3 keynotes followed by one parallel session and concludes with a panel discussion. First keynote from Professor Peter Jarvis who spoke on ‘learning practice: developing the roles of the adult educator’. Although now officially ‘retired’, Professor Jarvis continues to write and research. Contents of his keynote useful in setting the scene for mine later in the morning. He presented a very comprehensive overview of ‘practice’ as ‘learning by doing’ (adaptation, imitation, by instruction, practice, follow thought, exploration and experimentation. ‘Learning practice’ involves practical instruction, experience (novice to expert and the 10,000 hours rule), reason , intelligence, wisdom and reflection. Included defining tacit knowledge. Forming the case for researching practice as practitioner and action research. Implications include concerns about the practice itself, continuing learning, effects of getting older and the practitioner doctorate. Finishing with the quote “we must learn to orientate our thinking, our teaching and our research to the arts (not science!) of practice’.
Next up, Dr. Peter Coolbear from Ako Aotearoa provided a background of the “further and higher education context in New Zealand: Issues, challenges and responses”. He provided a thorough overview of the NZ tertiary sector, covered the critical issues, presented the recent policy reforms and Ako Aotearoa’s role in how tertiary education may move towards in the next few years.
My presentation centred on a teaching practitioner’s perspective on: application of concepts of ‘learning as becoming’ to students’ effective feedback and learning of judgement. Basically, to begin to envisage learning as a holistic process (in apprenticeships as a process of occupational identity formation).  Discuss the importance of learning ‘judgement’ and the role of feedback in learning the skills to be able to ‘judge’.  Underpin with cognitive apprenticeships as a pedagogical approach and provide examples from CPIT programmes (baking, engineering, painting, welding, online learning, fashion design and adult education).
After lunch, I attended the parallel session with Dr. Helen Bound (IAL) on ‘helping learners learn: what do we know and what can we do’. Helen provided a workshop for participants to explore educators’ learning philosophy / beliefs about teaching and learning. Then to compare our beliefs with what we actually do. Proposed a ‘map of dialogical inquiry’ as a means for unpacking whether our espoused beliefs are matched by practice.
Followed by Dr. Soo Wai Man from Singapore Management University on ‘how to align learning facilitation and assessment of WSQ courses’. Presented on a model to assist with the design of courses and assessment activities. Used a series of tables to match course phases with the knowledge, skill and attitudinal (KSA) components as detailed in a CTAG (Singapore version of a NZ unit standard). In each KSA, identify ‘content types’ including fact, concept, process, procedure or principle. Then match the content type to instructional strategy, assess learning and evaluate course.

Last session a panel ‘discussion’ ably chaired by Professor Andrew Brown, where each keynote speaker summarised their perspectives on CET and the productivity agenda: reflections and insights. An overall discussion on aspects of productivity (increased innovation etc.) and concepts of competency, expertise and professionalism. Questions were also taken from the floor and good discussion ensued.
Overall an interesting conference. Picked up several different perspectives for approaching things. Some of these approaches are influenced by the Singapore socio-cultural milieu but many are useful in all teaching / learning contexts.

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