After swearing for years I would never sit another exam, I have finally bit the bullet and became a student again.
I am conscious that my development as a researcher will require me to think in new ways, but also that I will bring much of my own experience and previous knowledge to the task. As an experienced professional I have been successful in using those things which I ‘just know to be true’ as the basis for my professional practice without much reflection on how this knowing has been arrived at. I am well aware that particularly with regard to workplace issues of equality and diversity many of my colleagues do not think as I do, so it is not a position which can be assumed as shared. It will be challenging to go back to basics and understand why I think the way I think and make a clear justification for the approaches I choose. It will also be interesting to gain new understanding of the ‘researcher language’ of ethics, ontologies, epistemologies and the various ‘isms’. In the course of writing my first asssignment I have found myself referring to dictionaries and encyclopaedia in a way I have not done for a while. I have also had occasion to reach into my dusty book piles for Wenger’s community of practice , Schon’s reflective practitioner, Kolb’s learning cycle , Handy’s organizations and Lewin’s action researcher. It is nice to see these old friends again.
In the classroom it was interesting to become a student again. I did my masters more than 15 years ago. It was fun to see how a room full of successful professionals cope with being challenged to identify the sheer scale of stuff that they do not know when faced with the daunting writing task. As well as researcher-thinking skills I will need to develop new digital skills. I’m fairly confident in searching the internet and library catalogues, and I think/hope I am ok at evaluating sources for credibility. Taking a critical researcher view again will be different. I will also have to learn to use Endnote and wrangle a large (document) piece of writing much longer than the reports and projects plans I write day-to-day.