‘Learning through experience is the normal, common place approach to learning, and we take it for granted.’ Miller and Boud (1996)
After my work experience at Franklin College and St Mary’s school, I whole heartedly agree with this statement. During my life I have taken my experiences for granted for example throughout my academic career and vocational encounters I haven’t really reflected on them.
Swedish research that was later developed by Marton, Hounsell and Entwistle (1997) suggested that there were two types of learning – deep or surface learning. Whenever I have looked back at my experiences, I have looked at it at surface value rather than from a deep view; Piaget (1971) defines the deep view as ‘people who are willing to change their existing knowledge-the cognitive structure-in order to accommodate the new idea.’ In the past I haven’t been willing to change my knowledge, just add to it which leads to surface learning.
In order for me to deepen my learning I produced a learning contract which included learning outcomes in it for me to achieve; a learning log from which I could ‘reflect’ upon and as Moon (1999) says ‘A learning journal is essentially a vehicle for reflection.’ So this was an important component of my experience.
The first stage was to plan for my experience and for it to be successful I had to plan well because ‘effective planning is at the heart of effective teaching and learning.’ Gower (1997) I had to produce an initial proposal where I put forward potential career area that I could work in. I then had to submit a work placement details form, and this involved me ringing Toll Bar school and agreeing the placement which initially seemed easy; I managed to speak to someone who worked in the department and they said it would be fine but would ring me back to confirm this; I received no phone call so rang them on numerous occasions only to be told every time that the P.E department weren’t available and that they would get back to me. I had another institution in mind just in case this had arisen and had learnt from my previous experience and manage to get a firm answer this time. I realised sometimes things aren’t as easy as they seem and that I have to persist and follow things up want if I want anything done; even if I am frustrated I still have to act in the appropriate manner. I then had to develop my learning contract and think about previous experiences to help me write it.
During my experience I had to refer to my learning contract and found it to be very generic; all my learning outcomes were vocationally based and not particularly specific, so did not aid my experiential learning as much as I would have liked, to help my progress I should have revised my learning outcomes. My strategies that I created were very vague, because shadowing and observing were the only ones. I should have produced more strategies, for example one of my strategies could have been to make a list of questions that I wanted answering;...