All entries for Friday 19 June 2009

June 19, 2009

Role of work in people's lives

Writing about web page

Peterson & Cortéz González (2000) consider the role of work in people’s lives from a career guidance (counselling) perspective and this highlights the role of work values and work ethics follows. Historically, cultural ethics and movements have perceptions of the role of work in the United States. In that context, the protestant work ethic, the puritan work ethic, the industrial revolution, and the importance or myth of self-reliance, individualism, and resilience have all been important, but so too have minority work ethics, such as the Confucian work ethic. Their work highlights how different cultural themes and understandings can underpin how people view work and career.

Follow the link for an Education Review of 'Peterson, Nadene & Cortéz González, Roberto. (2000). The Role of Work In People’s Lives: Applied Career Counseling And Vocational Psychology' by Jennifer M. Whitney (Ohio State University).

Gendered talking styles when learning in groups

Writing about web page

The following is an interesting take on the extent to which time spent talking on task and establishing rapport in a group is gendered. Here is a short extract from Education Review (a journal of book reviews) on 'Hayes, Elizabeth; Flannery, Daniele D. with Brooks, Ann; Tisdell, Elizabeth; and Hugo, Jane. (2000). Women as Learners: The Significance of Gender in Adult Learning' reviewed by Richard W. Race, (Keele University):

'Hayes suggests that talk in the classroom needs to strike a balance between report talk and rapport talk. She contrasts this perspective with one that simply favors the practice of teaching women to become more adept at report talk. Her concern with the latter approach is that it ignores an important benefit of women's more tentative approach, namely its sensitivity to multiple sides of an issue. Helping women make better use of report talk, however, might enable them to exercise their voices more effectively in work and academic settings. In the end, Hayes points out the wisdom of efforts to expand the talking-style repertoire of both men and women. 

Hayes concludes the chapter with the reminder that there are multiple voices and multiple identities that need to be honored in all learning environments. Because domination by one cultural voice should be resisted, adult educators ought to examine the connection between voice and power in their classrooms, workplaces, and other sites in which teaching and learning take place. Hayes argues that the best solution is to strive for collective voice and shared power. And she asks the following question to foster thinking about ways to realize such a solution in practice: "How might we support women in developing individual and group voices?" (p. 109).'

Relationship between research, policy and practice

If you are doing research in areas such as careers, learning and development you are conscious that the research has to engage with practice, but a further dimension is raised if you seek to influence policy too. An article by Gold and Villeneuve (2003) throws light on the need to reconceptualise the relationship between research and practice if it to have an impact upon policy. Their argument revolved around the need to go beyond traditional forms of research dissemination:

  • Knowledge transfer is still widely thought of in terms of researchers producing research and then disseminating it (push).
  • Some researchers have begun to focus on helping decision makers access, appraise, adapt and apply research (pull).

In a review of 24 studies that asked over 2000 policy makers what facilitated or prevented their use of research evidence the number 1 factor was personal contact! (Innvaer et al. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 2002; 7:241). This means that dissemination and uptake strategies are necessary but not sufficient in many cases. Relationships matter! Some researchers and decision makers are going beyond separate dissemination and uptake efforts and are engaging in true joint knowledge production. When this model is used, many still encounter difficult barriers to effective collaboration and exchange. The most commonly mentioned were:

  • A lack of understanding of each other’s culture and work environment
  • A lack of a common language
  • A lack of understanding of the relative roles and responsibilities in the process.

Gold and Villeneuve argue that relationships between researchers and decision makers are needed to overcome these barriers. Brokering is about building and nurturing relationships between those involved in joint knowledge production:

  • Finding the right people and linking them
  • Helping to set agendas and facilitating their interactions
  • Brokering is also about building relationships between communities
  • Understanding each others realities
  • Creating a common language and frame of reference
  • Helping to establish realistic expectations, roles and responsibilities.

Reference: Busting the silos: knowledge brokering in Canada Irving Gold and Julie Villeneuve Knowledge Transfer 5th International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services Washington, 2003.

The Canadian Health Sciences Research Foundation have a part of their website devoted to the promotion of knowledge brokering and networking.

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