Posted by: MandyS | November 9, 2010

Time for a post…

I think it is about time for another post.

Just seen a post in the forum from someone who has come late to the SA, only to find it more of less done. This has made me think about how I feel about the ‘proactivity’ part of this course. The course seems heavily biased towards those that can be ‘proactive’ i.e. have knowledge, time etc. We are told at every turn that ‘proactivity’ is the key to a distinction and it is the Supplementary Activities which are the door. I don’t necessarily disagree with the concept of it, but I do see it as raising some issues for those of us that don’t fall into the proactivity category for whatever reason. These are my thoughts:

For me this is my first course in over 20 years. There are many new things I need to learn simply to complete the ‘basics’ of the course. Some would say, why take the course if you can’t take the pressure? why indeed? Well, I took the course because it is a first step for me to try to gain some qualification so that my teaching has some ‘legitimacy’ (I teach my own students about this in relation to the government in constitutional law, I was fascinated when I found reference to it in the Lisewiski & Joyce), I need to learn more about technology and I just thought it would be interesting. I knew I would have to work hard and I knew there would be lots of people on the course who would know significantly more than I do, but the undue pressure does not necessarily come from the work. I think it would be inaccurate for anyone to say that they don’t start a course hoping to do well. However, when doing well means having to excel in a particular way which you know you are unlikely to achieve, the pressure is on to either drop everything else and focus on only that or be resigned to the fact that ‘doing well’ is just not going to happen.

The other aspect is that, unless you are extremely knowledgable, work in the field of education or have the time, it is a struggle to be proactive. As my one of my fellow students has pointed out, it is demoralising. Her experience was in relation to time but I think that it applies to other aspects. It has to be accepted that there will always be those who can be ahead of the game. I do not criticise that, but it just makes it creates pressure for those of us for whom time is an issue, for whatever reason. From my own point of view, I know very little about education and it isn’t my day job. This means, before I can start contributing, I need to know what I am talking about. This inevitably takes time, although I endeavour to do so as quickly as I can.  The result is, I go to contribute and it has already been covered or worse, it is regarded as insignificant. The latter has happened twice now. I might not have much to say but I see my contribution as being just as important. I find this aspect very demoralising. How do I develop my skills here if I keep getting knocked back and how do I ever get to show proactivity?

I can understand why ‘proactivity’ is an important skill, but I find it strange that so much emphasis is placed on it. In some respects it makes the rest of the work (and the competencies) seem insignificant. Is this not all undue pressure a learner can do without?

As an aside, I chuckled at the beginning of the course when I saw a post on another forum which said “ha, just wanted to be the first to post for a change”….

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