One of my aims for this year was to write a reflective practice paper, and submit for publication. I really struggled with identifying the story I actually wanted to tell. Additionally, I am currently working on my SFHEA application and I just realized that I began my professional journey studying and researching how we make sense of the world, how we learn and which are the best ways to teach 20 years ago!

wild orchid 3d photo manipulation
Need to change perspective

20 years ago this year I went to my very first lecture. I was 1,5 hours too early, because I wanted to learn. And I was nervous. There was one other anxious student with me. Way too early in the morning. The lecture hall was in the then brand-spanking-new building and could hold 1000 students at the time.

Yes, let that sink in.

1000 students! We used to have the most boring macro economics lecturer you could possibly imagine. I usually sat in the very back next to an exit. Which meant I could barely see his face and all of a sudden he stomped his feet and shouted at us because we were talking while he spoke–without a microphone. And no there were no smaller screens dotted about it was only one big screen in the front. So after that most people I knew stopped going all together.

– a little trip down memory lane
wild orchid image manipulated to look like abstract chinese dragon
Wild orchid dragon

Initially, I did a stint in business education, but threw in the towel because it was too much business and not enough education, bar our really interesting courses in educational psychology. So I changed degree studies to Erziehungswissenschaften (Education Sciences)–a much much better fit. And not only because it was a liberal arts degree from statistics to philosophy, more psychology, Didaktik (no this is not a dirty word in German didactics simply refers to the Science of Teaching Methods but this would be too long a word even for Germans), and then specialist topics such as museum’s education or violence prevention. I worked in museums, in culture education and community work, and taught English in Kindergarten. Was a PGR who taught, and guest lecturer at university during my PhD, an effective learning advisor and finally an lecturer in academic and digital development.

So where is the story?

The story lies in answering two questions.

How do you know?

– my mentor

Where did you learn to ask questions like this?

– a senior colleague

These are crucial questions to answer when teaching on and leading postgraduate courses in academic practice. Yes, models are okay to open the door for people, but a reflexive in-depth understanding of my own practice can only serve to support others to develop their own. So I am stepping out of my usual “read–think–reflect–read some more–and sometimes share” cycle, into the realm of analyzing my own writing, reflective diaries, and blog posts, to gain more in depth understanding of: How do I actually know?

Wild Orchid photo manipulated to look like dotted about Islands
Wild Orchid Islands

My mentor called me an unconscious expert–yeah, heard that term some-when during a CPD session long forgotten—actually maybe not forgotten and this is the hole point–but to be able to share this expertise better–more effectively, I need to drag the thinking thoughts and learning processes back into consciousness.

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