Microphones Part 13 – Other

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here for the previous blog.

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(AE Project Studio 2015)

Current stock

My current studio and live microphone stocks a modest range of dynamic microphones, dynamic ribbons, condensers, tubes and contact microphones. The range of microphones include: Shure 57s, 58s, Beta52As & SM7Bs; Electro Voice RE20s; Sennheiser e935s, e945s, e906s & MD441Us; MXL 550s & 551s; Rode NT-USBs, NT1s, NT3s, NT5s, NTRs, NT4s & NTKs; Audio Technica AT2020; AKG C414XLIIs, P420s & CGN523Es; Mojave MA101FETs, MA1000; Neumann TLM193, OPR87C, OPR87I & OPR84s; Royer 121s; RCA77s; DPA 4099s;  IK reference mic; a Zoom H6 XY and MS mic; Sony lapel mics; and a range of contact mics. This stock allows for versatility in most recording scenarios that have been presented to me; of course coupled with great instruments, amplifiers,outboard processing hardware, interfaces, consoles, and of course artists. But sometimes, in certain scenarios, even these are not enough.

Current Research Study Project

In my current doctoral research study project, I have designed a composition requiring me to source sonic samples of significant aspects of my life. Water is one of the most significant and influential elements in my life and my life partner’s lifestyle [see blog or Media Use Part 1], I felt a need to be able to record water samples across a range of contexts which I have experienced. The ocean, rain, waterfalls, swimming pools, and domestic water use. However, this needed to occur without causing damage to my current range of microphones. Ready and portable – armed with my Zoom H6 -my research project would not be complete without the range of real water samples – out in the environment. However, I also felt a need to record sonic samples of water from a submersed perspective. Of my current stock of microphones, there were none that allowed me to record in a submersed scenario, without needing a further layer between the microphone and the element of water, such as by using plastic bags or tubs, duct tape and silicon. I therefore felt an alternative solution was needed.

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Hydrophone H2a-XLR

I researched my options, exploring what other audio engineers have used to gather some water-based samples. I finally decided to purchase a fully submersible microphone, and  I now received what will be the latest microphone to add to my stock of studio and live microphones: an Aquarian Audio Products Hydrophone H2a-XLR microphone.
A hydrophone microphone is designed to be immersed in water – natural or salt water – multiple times without degrading from excessive water damage or corrosion.
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The Aquarian Audio hydrophone microphone is quite compact, measuring just 25mm wide, but 46 mm long. It weighs just 105 grams.
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It is a condenser microphone, requiring 48v power in order to charge the electro-static transduction process. As such it is extremely sensitive, with minimal extraneous noise. “The hydrophone sensor is cable of picking up sounds from below 20Hz to above 100KHz” (Aquarian Audio Products 2016). Designed for deep water where maximum microphone bandwidth can be achieved,  the Aquarian Audio Hydrophone apparently boasts an operating depth of up to 80 metres. However, the model I purchased came with a 9 metre cable, a length I thought was more than adequate for the sample events I am looking for.
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Using a Hydrophone – Context

Having just received the microphone, I am still yet to venture out into a deep water environment where I can test the microphone to its full capacity. However, I was keen to immediately test the microphone to get an idea of how sensitive it was going to be, how accurate it was going to potentially be in capturing the original sound source, and how much noise it may or may not inherently have. Using my Zoom H6 with this hydrophone to gather a number of preliminary samples, I considered the options I had immediately around me. I chose the 60,000 litre salt water fibreglass swimming pool found in our front garden as my first test environment. A place where my partner and I have spent considerable hours over the past two decades, it is surely a significant part of our lives, and therefore somewhere I am going to need to gather sample events for my composition. In saying that, embarking on this test I acknowledged there would be some limitations of using this test environment to trial the functionality of this condenser microphone. Namely, the structure of the pool – the pool is 4 metres wide, 9.5 metres long  and 1.9 metre deep (reducing to about 1.4 metres in the shallow end) and made of a fibreglass shell with the sides and bottom curved into one continuous surface. Due to this particular environment, the hydrophone microphone would likely display a narrower bandwidth than what it would optimally have in deeper waters; and the captured sound source was likely to include the original sound source and a number of reflections off the hard surfaces of this domestic swimming pool.  Irrespective, as I was going to need samples of this environment eventually, I considered it a useful initial test environment.

Using a Hydrophone – Part 1

The first 5 sample events I believe demonstrate the sensitivity this condenser microphone has in underwater situations. I was surprised how sensitive the microphone was, despite the large amount of water residing between/separating the subject and the microphone capsule during these recordings. As indicated above regarding the reflections, the captured sample events demonstrates a cacophony of sonic textures resulting from a fusion of both the intended sound source and its’ multiple reflections.
Note also the frequency range of each sample event relative to the micopphones’ depth and proximity to either the surface, the bottom, or the sides of the swimming pool. I have been reminded that in a shallower water environment: there is likely to be less fully developed low frequencies due to the shorter distance between any surfaces. Additionally, in calm water conditions the sound waves under the surface are likely to rebound back off a flat water surface, phase cancelling the original signal below it. This phenomena of a varying frequency range is particularly noticeable in Using a Hydrophone – Part 2 sample events 7 and 8 when the condenser microphone capsule is being bounced up and down at variable depths under the surface, and then breaches the surface of the water. Listen and compare the frequency range and the sonic texture of each sample event as the condenser capsule moves through the water.

Sample Event 1  (click to access audio)

In the first sample, the hydrophone was submerged in the swimming pool to a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level was set to 6 (of 10). My friend (the subject) was in the pool and approximately 2 metres away from the hydrophone, facing it and blowing bubbles under water in the direction of the microphone. The reverberations off the nearby pool surfaces are quite noticeable from about 1/3 third into the sample event, providing a minor delay of the original signal until the end of the sample event.

Sample Event 2 (click to access audio)

In the second sample, the hydrophone was maintained in the swimming pool at a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level was set to 7 (of 10). The subject was in the pool and approximately 3 metres away from the hydrophone, facing it and blowing bubbles. The overall levels are softer in this second sample event while she was mimicking what she had done previously – with the exception of when the hydrophone capsule got knocked by something (tall volume spike midway) – despite the gain level being increased marginally. See image i below. The reverberations off the nearby pool surfaces are quite noticeable from about one third into the sample event, providing a minor delay of the original signal until the end of the sample event for the second third, but then decays and releases back to mainly the original signal in the final third of the sample event.  As a result of the decaying signal, the amplitude reduces. With the return to the original signal in the final third, there is greater clarity of the signal.
pts-sample-event-1-2-comparison-20161117Image I – Pro Tools 12 Sample event 1 (top) and Sample Event 2 (bottom)

Sample Event 3  (click to access audio)

In the third sample event, the hydrophone was submerged in the swimming pool to a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level was maintained at 7 (of 10). The subject was in the pool and approximately 3 metres away from the hydrophone, facing it and trying to talk underwater.  I note that despite her being farther away from the hydrophone capsule than she was in the first sample event, as she was trying to talk loudly under water toward the microphone capsule, the audio is louder than both sample events 1 and 2. As you can see in image ii below, the overall mass of the wav file is exponentially greater in this third event than both the previous two sample events, with the subject’s speaking voice producing far greater mass and density than she did when blowing bubbles underwater. This mass and density represents increases in sound pressure levels, and reverberant signals, resulting in a cacophony of sonic textures.  Had I included a longer sample, you would observe, as per the sample event 2, at a certain point the signal decays and releases back to mainly the original signal, with reduce amplitude, but greater clarity.
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Image II – Pro Tools 12 Sample event 1 (top), Sample Event 2 (middle, Sample Event 3 (bottom)

Sample Event 4  (click to access audio)

In the fourth sample event, the hydrophone was submerged in the swimming pool to a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level was maintained at 5 (of 10). The subject is in the pool and approximately 0.5 metres away from the hydrophone, facing it and blowing bubbles. Sonically, this fourth sample event demonstrates a cacophony of sonic textures, resulting from excessive sound pressure levels due to the close proximity of the transducer relative to the sound source, and the accompanying  reverberant signals from the multiple surfaces of the pool.  The inherent distortion results from excessive sound pressure levels, with an over-gained signal. For non-audiophiles: note the clean flat line along the top of the wav form indicating a form of dynamic limiting. Given that no dynamic processing was used to achieve this limiting of the audio signal, the limiting effect indicates acceptable gain levels for the equipment were exceeded, resulting in what is referred to as digital (signal) clipping. See image iii below (top wav form).

PTs Sample Event 4 + 5 Comparison.20161117.png

Image III – Pro Tools 12 Sample event 4 (top) and Sample Event 5 (bottom)

Sample Event 5  (click to access audio)

In the fifth sample event, the hydrophone was maintained at a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level is reduced to 5 (of 10). The subject was in the pool and approximately 0.5 metres away from the hydrophone, facing it and trying to talk underwater. As you can see in image iii above (bottom wav form), the overall mass of the wav file is exponentially greater in this fifth event than the previous sample events, with the subject’s speaking voice producing far greater sound pressure levels than she did when blowing bubbles underwater. Sonically, this fifth sample event is heavily distorted due to the excessive sound pressure levels due to the close proximity of the transducer relative to the sound source. The digital recording is therefore clipped given the amplitude far exceeded the specified gain levels of the equipment. For non-audiophiles: in this example the cleaner flatter line along the top of the wav form – relative to the previous example – indicating extreme limiting of the audio signal. Again, as no dynamic processing was used – it similarly indicates excessive sound pressure levels at unacceptable gain levels for the equipment, resulting in severe digital (signal) clipping across almost the entire length of the audio wav file.  It is also worth noting the very thin sound of this sample event as a result of the absence of low frequencies in the shallow depths; and yet as per sample event 4, there is a cacophony of sonic textures given the multiple reverberant signals arriving from the numerous surfaces of the pool.

Using a Hydrophone Part 2

In the following examples, I gathered a number of sample events using the hydrophone closer to the surface of the water line.  I hope the sample events further show how sensitive the hydrophone microphone is, effectively capturing sonic qualities of very subtle movements.

Sample Event 6  (click to access audio)

In the sixth sample event, the Zoom H6 track 3 gain level was set at 6 (of 10). The hydrophone was being dragged along the surface of the swimming pool at a relatively slow walking pace. The sound of rushing of water is the wake of water that the small condenser capsule (25mm wide, but 46 mm long, weighing 105 grams.) is creating and capturing as it breaches the surface of the water. I think you will agree that this confirms both the sensitivity and low noise levels of this particular microphone. The deeper frequency you hear (boomy quality) in the audio file is when the transduction surface of the microphone capsule is re-submersed  under the surface of the water.

Sample Event 6wp (click to access audio)

Sample event 6wp indicates that it is the same sample as sample event 6, but with post-production audio processing added. In the studio – following recording the sample – I chose to add two (2) reverb processing devices – a Eventide and a Lexicon reverb – to the initial audio file. While doing this, and listening to the altered sonic textures of the audio, I am imagining the many applications that I could use such an effect in my sonic compositions and sound design.

Sample Event 7 (click to access audio)

The seventh sample event is a similar execution as sample event 6, with the hydrophone being dragged along the swimming pool at a relatively slow walking pace, but being bounced in and out of the water in an approximately 30 centimetre arc.  The popping and gurgling sounds are occurring as the capsule breaches the surface of the water (popping), then followed by the re-submersion (gurgling). It is a similar but more exaggerated version of sample event 6, with the sample event’s frequency varying dependent on where the condenser microphone capsule is relative to the water: being just under the surface, at depth (only about 30 cms in this example), breaching the surface, or above the surface of the water.

Sample Event 8 (click to access audio)

The eighth sample event is a similar execution as sample event 7, with the Zoom H6 track 3 gain level remaining at 6 (of 10). The hydrophone was being dragged along the surface of the swimming pool at a relatively slow walking pace, but being bounced in and out of the water over a much larger arc – approximately 1.5 metres.   This is a more exaggerated version of sample event 7, with the popping and gurgling sounds associated with the breaching and re-submersion are relatively deeper in tone due to the greater depth, speed and height the capsule was dropped from, back into and under the water.  Sonically, you may hear what sounds like wind noise in this audio sample event. I noted at the time that this was due in combination to both the faster movement of the capsule above the surface of the water after breaching; but also partially due to the wind in our local area picking up nearing the end of the test. You will also note that near the end of the sample event you can hear a voice – talking, describing my actions. This voice was captured by the microphone capsule after it had breached the surface of the water, with the speaker’s mouth about 2 metres away.

Sample Event 9 (click to access audio)

The ninth and last sample event had the hydrophone submerged in the swimming pool to a depth of about 1.5 metres held stationary. The Zoom H6 track 3 gain level remained at 6 (of 10). The subject was approximately 2 metres away from the hydrophone drop point, swimming up and down the pool in freestyle form. The low frequency plop occurred every time the subject kicked her feet, with training flippers on.  The bass frequency was pronounced, reverberating off the surfaces of the  pool, producing a sound somewhat similar to a deep tom sonic boom after the skin had been struck. And yet, the hydrophone microphone still clearly captured what sounds to be running water – the sound of the subject’s hand and arms entering and breaching the surface of the water with each and every stroke. Again, I am imagining the many applications that I could apply some processing to this sample event, and use such an effect in my sonic compositions and sound design.

Summary

The Aquarian Audio Products Hydrophone H2a-XLR microphone is an extremely sensitive fully submersible condenser microphone, with minimal extraneous noise. It is well designed and constructed to be impact resistant, using sturdy materials. Whilst it is designed to be submersed in a far greater depth than I have tested to date, I believe I have made a good purchase with this hydrophone, something that will complement my current stock of studio and live microphones. I believe this microphone will allow me even greater versatility in a range of recording scenarios that I can foresee me being presented. I daresay I will probably now go searching further afield, exploring less predictable outdoor terrain, and feeling the need to be less mindful than I usually would taking my more expensive studio microphones. I am looking forward to progressing my sonic compositions and sound designs using water samples across the range of contexts which I have experienced in my life – the ocean – including boating, body surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving – rivers,  waterfalls, natural pools, and domestic water use – in order to capture specific sample events that represent significant events and memories. I look forward to this next chapter in my creative practice.
It is intended for this series of microphone-related blogs to continue.
References
AE Project Studio Microphone Case image courtesy of: DLP Pinterest site  Accessed 28th August, 2015
Aquarian Audio Products. 2016a.  H2a-XLR Hyrophone Users Guide http://www.aquarianaudio.com   Accessed 17th November 2016
Aquarian Audio Products. 2016b. http://www.aquarianaudio.com  Accessed 15th November 2016
Hydrophone images courtesy of: Aquarian Audio Products  Accessed 16th November 2016
Page, David. L 2016. Soundcloud.  DLP Soundcloud  Accessed 17th November 2016
Pro Tools 12 Sample Event Images courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 16th November 2016
Zoom H6 image courtesy of: Sound on Sound  Accessed 16th November 2016
– ©David L Page 17/11/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Reflecting on my Education & Learning Practice

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Reflecting on 16T2 – the findings of this reflection, and what actions I have done as a result

Note: an abbreviated version of this blog is available as a powerpoint presentation. 
It is currently the week following SAE Institute’s Trimester two (16T2) grading fortnight. I am clearing my desk and organising my electronic folders of the last fifteen weeks of teaching resources and administration, and saving required items to the post-Trimester folder. Whilst I am in this process, I find myself reflecting on the Trimester in terms of:
  • the results students within my modules had achieved;
  • my perception of their learning experience within those modules;
  • my interactions with those students throughout the Trimester – their behaviours, comments and any feedback I received;
  • the resources I had provided them, and;
  • my education and learning approach – what approach I had taken, what I felt went well, and what with hindsight I would change if I had another opportunity.
16T2 was a particularly challenging Trimester for a number of reasons, and my thoughts were now on my preparation for another Trimester – 16T3 – due to start next week.  In 16T3 I will again teach on three of the same modules, two of which I also coordinate (administer and am fully responsible for) – a Trimester two (2) module Production I, and a Trimester five (5) module Final Project.
In 16T2 both of these modules were populated with February intake students: 15T1 and 16T1. The February intake at SAE Institute is largely made up of school leavers, having graduated their Australian high school in the proceeding November, made decisions regarding their immediate tertiary study choices, and been accepted into those respective undergraduate degree programs. Whilst there are usually a few other students within this cohort who have had some life experience since graduating school, I have observed that the February intake usually has considerably less mature age students than the other two (2) yearly intakes of May and September.

Professional Development Program

As a Senior Lecturer for the global Creative Media Institute, SAE Institute I am required to engage in their internal professional development program. A minimum requirement is to undertake three online programs per year. The topic selection is from a range of disciplines such as soft skills, education, supervision, management and compliance. These MaxKnowledge courses take approximately four (4) hours to complete, and are assessed progressively throughout the program, as well as upon its’ completion. Given I had not yet completed any courses, I decide to do these as part of my unwinding of one Trimester, and preparing for the next. Looking through the large list of course options, I highlighted a good number of potential topics.  The two courses I finally decided upon were ED117 Teaching Gen Y Students; and EDN112 Influencing Student Motivation. The reason I chose these two particular topics of the many topics available were two-fold:
  • I often observe peer Lecturer’s getting frustrated with certain cohorts of students for demonstration of qualities and characteristics that I believe could in part be examples of generational gaps;
  • As a mature Senior Lecturer in a Creative Media Institute a large portion of the students I interact with either school leavers or recent school leavers. Born approximately two decades earlier, they are from Generation Y – the Millennials. Whilst I believe I have maintained currency with contemporary educational practice including learning theory [Educational Philosophy – Part 1],  following my particularly difficult 16T2 Trimester with two groups of students with an approach to life, learning and engagement, that was at times at odds with my expectations of tertiary level study; I decided it could not hurt to hear another point of view regarding one of our Institute’s primary learner groups.

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General Characteristics Generation X

As outlined in Educational Philosophy – Part 2, I was born into Generation X (Gen X), the son of two parents of the previous generation, Baby Boomers. In Australia at that time, the resources boom was at its height, providing great levels of economic growth, and surplus levels of disposable income.  Many Baby Boomer parents took advantage of riding this wave of opportunity, especially as many of them had grown up as children in the previous veteran generation where they had experienced war or post-war economic hardship.  The result of working long hours for economic gain, was that in general Baby Boomer parents had less time for their families and children’s lives.
Simultaneously, technology was developing rapidly including space travel, telecommunications, computer technology and media. Social and cultural norms started to change with people questioning their values and beliefs – particularly the youth – motivated by political decisions that affected everyday citizens. Ongoing participation in the Vietnam war was protested in most developed nations, with popular artists and musicians using their popularity to express their anti-establishment views, and alternative life philosophies – be it drug-culture or alternative Eastern religious views. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix used the popular cultural stage to express their art in influential ways to the global youth market. All of these events influenced Generation X  (MaxKnowledge 2016).
Gen Xers grew up to become self-reliant, due to often having absent parents with either organisational or social commitments. Gen Xers therefore learnt that for something to be done, they had to do it for themselves. I recall many a times when my parents were away on business trips for a week, and my siblings were looked after by a live in carer, or as we got older, fended for ourselves. Because of this I became quite independent, in my choices of interests and thought processes. I also noted that I was shy to request assistance, a trait that according to MaxKnowledge is inherent with Gen Xers (MaxKnowledge 2016).
As a result of my upbringing, I have consciously sought balance of lifestyle and work in my adulthood. I like flexibility, and work well in non-traditional structures and times. Whilst I ensure I meet my responsibilities and accountabilities, where and when I actually do this work is less of a priority. Such work needs to be balanced around my family commitments. I have developed strong connections with my family – both my direct and my extended family. Whilst I have not been blessed with my own children, I have a god-daughter and nephew who I provide much attention and guidance to. It is also not coincidental that I have chosen careers across a range of industries which has allowed me to guide and mentor younger people in their education and learning. In many ways, this path has allowed me to address an aspect that I recognised was missing within my development – support, guidance and advice. I am comfortable with and quite technically proficient given my experience with the broad and rapid change of technology within my lifetime.

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General Characteristics Generation Y

In contrast to Generation Xers, Generation Ys (Gen Ys), have in general been raised by Gen Xers. Gene Xers have tried to correct history by providing total attention to their Gen Y kids, in many ways making up for the lack of parenting they received as children to their baby boomer parents. No question was too small or unworthy.  Due to the attention provided by their Gen X parents, Gen Yers have grown up in a heavily structured life. Gen Y’s lives have been planned down to the hour in a very busy daily schedule of school, sports, clubs, family and friends’ activities. Gen Yers have been engaged by their Gen X parents in discussing all aspects of their lives – their views, thoughts, feelings including social, cultural and political events. Gen Yers have in general received very tangible guidance and direction. As a result, Gen Yers have become used to receiving  instant feedback in regards to their many activities, thoughts and contemplations. Gen Yers have very high expectations of what they choose to focus on, and yet, do not cope well with outcomes less than their expectations. This is a trait that according to MaxKnowledge is inherent with Gen Yers (MaxKnowledge 2016).
Due to the attention and guidance Gen Yers have received over their lives, along with the social network opportunities for posting comments, photos and videos on line, it is not surprising that Gen Yers are a very ‘me-centric’ generation. They do however like to operate within social groups – family or friends – enabling them for more instant direct feedback from within their groups (MaxKnowledge 2016). Gen Yers have a high level of connectivity – connected at all times to all forms of social media and networks. Gen Yers are at the centre of the ‘like-generation’; following social media and liking people and their social media posts is a Gen Y activity. MaxKnowledge noted that Gen Yers – unlike other generations – did not distinguish between activities at school, home or work (MaxKnowledge 2016). This is very apparent in contemporary learning environments, when a student is usually seen with a mobile device – laptop, mobile phone – within their reach at any time during the class.

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Reflection: what I observed in my 16T2 Production I module

This Trimester two (2) undergraduate Production I module is a group project-based learning module. My aim for the module is to provide an opportunity for the students to apply their developing knowledge from the first seven (7) modules into this particular module group production project. Learning by proposing, receiving feedback, negotiation, exploring, trialling, failing, reflecting, correcting, researching and experimentation. The module is conducted primarily in the learning spaces of both a forty (44) seat theatrette & a number of  audio studios. The weekly module content is very specific to their production projects, guiding the learners in their project-based learning experience. I have observed over the course of five (5) Trimesters coordinating this module, students generally need assistance with their time-management. The 16T2 cohort was no different, with the clarification that they probably had more challenges with their time-management than any proceeding cohorts I have been involved with. I observed that students developed little of the required group production project documentation outside of class, leaving it to the last moment, or being less than the required standard, requiring redrafting post my formal feedback. In general, the standard of their audio session management was poor relative to previous cohorts, especially surprising given that much time was spent on this aspect within another module that I also taught. The final observation I had regarding this cohort in the module was that the students’ expectations of their Production Projects outcome (three songs recorded as a group, and mixed individually) were very high. However, given their (in general) lack of demonstrated competence regarding time management, their lack of development of the required documentation, and their poor attention to detail such as with their session file management, the students completed their production projects very late in the Trimester, leaving less than one (1) full week to attend to one of their largest learning opportunities in that module, their individual mixes. In contrast to some previous cohort who have spent up to four (4) weeks in the individual mixing stage of their productions, having spent less than one week meant that their Final Product were not only going to be less than my expectation; but perhaps more importantly, less than their expectation.

The Art of self-reflection

Reflective practice: could I have done anything differently in my 16T2 Production I module?

Considering my knowledge of a range of education and learning practice theories and approach options, could I have used alternative approaches and methods to that which I did use in the Trimester two (2) Production I module?
Given my understanding of the generational differences, was my approach that more aligned to a cohort of Gen Xers, rather than Gen Yers? Could my approach have been less of a holistic view and more hands-on? Perhaps I could have utilised a more focused education and learning theory and approach such as scaffolded learning? Perhaps I could have provided more opportunity within the learning sessions for the students to develop their project plans, rather than expecting them to develop these outside of class?Perhaps I could have provided more specific focus on having the learners develop their project schedules within the learning sessions with the Gant charts I had provided them as an out-of-class resource? Perhaps more of the learning session time could have been allocated to the development of their data and session management? In 16T2 I initiated weekly group debriefs in front of the group. I had thought it would allow a greater sharing of knowledge and experience amongst the whole cohort. Whilst this may have been useful, perhaps it may have been more useful to break into their production groups, and allowed for more group-based discussions over the class-based based debriefs I had organised? This may have allowed for more specific progress debriefing, reflection, discussion and forward planning. However, logistically this would have meant that I had less time per group, and less comments across all groups. But in terms of learning theory, this may have been more productive in the long run.
In terms of the large groups, perhaps I could have more consciously applied questioning techniques within the group discussions. As discussed in Layer 9: My approach in the learning experience perhaps I could have been more active in using a range of concept checking questions (CCQ), instruction checking questions (ICQ), and in general more focussed questions? In terms of the learners expectations of the level of their Final Product expectations, I am clear I needed to address this in more detail, with more specificity. As trimester two (2) aspiring audio engineer students, their expectations of the standard were unrealistic, and should have been more specifically addressed throughout the trimester. I am unsure as to how much difference this would have made given the particular learner’s personalities and attitudes, but I am confident it would have made some difference within at least several of the learners.  I also acknowledge that I could have been more proactive in changing the learning space to other locations, to allow for more group-based discussion. A lecture theatrette does impede effective education and learning irrespective of the experience of the learning facilitator. I find it is too easy to slip back into a teacher-centred learning approach due to the learning environment and layout. As several of my learners have noted: the theatrette style chairs are very comfortable and very easy to lie back, disengage, and become passive.
I would also consider that by following the department’s request to include more signal flow testing, my approach to this was quite focussed, and this was perhaps not the best approach for this particular Gen Yer group. Having used this approach with other cohorts that included other generations such as Gen Xers has proved successful in the past; but with this particular generational group, in hindsight I think it was too much for me to expect that of them.

The Art of self-reflection

Reflective practice: how I have responded, and what I have implemented in 16T3.

This trimester I have ensured from the outset that I have been more thorough in my pre-assessing phase with the 16T3 trimester two (2) Production I learners. I hadn’t met any of them previously due to me not having contact with any of the trimester one (1) modules in 16T2. Therefore, I needed to get to know each one of them from week 1. Prior to week 1, as per Layer 8: My approach in preparing for learning practice sessions, I gathered their 16T2 trimester one (1) assessment tasks that had relevance to this particular module. I ensured I was extra thorough in perusing their student files (electronic), and talked with their 16T2 learner facilitators for their perspective of each of the learners. In the week 1 introductory learning session I was very deliberate in discussing generational gaps, reviewing the learning styles they had learnt in another trimester one (1) module, and introduce myself in terms of these, as well as my relevant discipline practice experience.
In terms of my approach to the learning session – preparation and delivery – I have adopted this trimester a:
  • Less holistic learning approach, and a more detailed focus on specific content
  • More focused approach using a scaffolded learning approach
  • More in-class work, developing project plans in class. I have provide more specific examples and links to instructional blogs than I have previously.
  • More focus on Gant charts and project schedules. I have provide more specific examples than I have previously.
  • More class tasks specific to data and session management. I have provide more specific examples than I have previously.
  • I have consciously focussed more on providing small production group-based discussions, over whole class-based discussion. That is not to say I have omitted class-based discussion, but more so balanced this with more group-based discussions as well. Whilst it may be too early to tell [as of this update, it is week five (5) of a thirteen (13) week trimester],  following such an approach appears that it may have allowed for more specific progress debriefing, reflection, discussion and forward planning within each of the production project groups.
  • I have more consciously questioned all learners throughout their lecture format, small group discussions and their practical studio sessions, to ensure I am optimising the effective student learning experience of the particular learners during a learning practice session.
  • I have already introduced more open discussion as to the current learning cohort’s expectations of their Final Product expectations, and how to be more realistic with this.
  • I have negotiated with another Lecturer in another module to remove the formal Signal Flow component from my Production I module, but still reinforce the cohort’s development of signal flow within my module’s learning sessions as much as I can. This will leave the formal assessment of this function to another learning facilitator in another of their trimester two (2) modules.
  • I have consciously refocussed the way I use and interact with the learning spaces for this module. I have more consciously changed the learning space to another learning space when I require more discussion. i have done this as often as possible.

What I learnt as a result of undertaking the required professional development, and then from engaging in reflection of my practice experience.

The Art of self-reflection

Reflective practice: reflecting on my education & learning practice last trimester (16T2)?

In summary:
  • I had overlooked the thorough pre-assessment of the learners (Gen Y)
  • I mistakenly expected students to be self-reliant – even though as part of that self-reliance approach I had created and curated an enormous amount of resources for the learners to access outside of class)
  • I overlooked the need for scaffolded tasks for this learner group
  • I possibly reduced my focus on questioning with this group
    • Concept checking questions
    • Instruction checking questions
    • Focused questioning
  • I was accepting of the provided learning space
  • I did not consciously engage reflective practice of my education and learning practice as much as I could have across the Trimester
  • I did not consciously proactively pursue research of my education and learning practice during that trimester. Perhaps due to my current pre-occupation with my Doctorate in Creative Industries, I did made time to maintain my research in education and learning in 16T2.

bending-back-over-myself

Reflexive practice – how have I changed my education & learning practice this trimester (16T3)?

  • I have consciously returned to reading education and learning approaches and practice. I have returned to Millwood’s learning theories chart to review a range of learning theories, approaches and methods; and I have spent time reviewing  recommended higher education education and learning text books such as: 
    • Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430   Accessed September 14th, 2016
    • Knowles, Malcolm S, Elwood F Holton III and Richard A Swanson. 2012. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 7 ed. New York: Routledge.
    • Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
  • I have consciously returned to my roots to remind me of my practice. I have a large range of resources and past experience to draw upon, but I needed to re-familiarise my self with my philosophy and approach to education and learning. In order to develop my current understanding of education and learning practice, I have now planned more blog titles in my series, understanding this will assist in keeping engaged and proactive in terms of  developing my self and my practice.
  • I have returned to conscious engagement of reflective practice of my teaching practice. Acknowledging Boud’s (2001) view of the use of journal in reflective practice, I am more consciously and routinely taking notes of my practice. This blog is an example of my formalising many hours of recorded data about my practice over the past six (6) weeks.
  • I no longer accept the limitations of the provided space. I have changed spaces numerous times this trimester to optimise learning opportunities.
  • I have included a more scaffolded learning approach in my learning experiences in 16T3.
  • I have facilitated more small group work opportunities, allowing more individual assessment and engagement
  • I have more consciously included a deliberate focus on questioning
    • Concept checking questions
    • Instruction checking questions
    • Focused questioning

Where to from here, in terms of my education and learning practice, and my research practice?

As outlined in Educational Philosophy – Part 2, an analogy I have of my self and my practice is that of an onion. I as a practitioner, irrespective of my practice, have layers of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and bias. One of my beliefs is that it is up to me as part of my professional practice to embark on a journey to reveal who I am – both in terms of my self, and my practice.
There are two focal points that I choose to inform my practice – the theory generated from the field and discipline, and the methodology of my research practice. The figure below shows the relationship of these two foci with in my music practice (see figure ii below).

my-research-study-project_3-points_no-self-p0

Figure I Page (2015f)

The breadth of contemporary education and learning practice

However, the field of education and learning practice is developing inline with the needs of social and cultural needs. As Light et al (2009) outlined, the landscape of higher education education and learning practice has developed greatly in the past ten (10) years. My role as an education and learning practitioner now includes the functions of:
  • research
  • teaching
  • administration, and
  • student service
 As a professional education and learning practitioner, I am expected to perform diligently and competently across all four (4) areas as part of my professional practice. I am now expected to administer all aspects of learning programs within my responsibility and accountability effectively and efficiently, maintain a conscious eye over the progress and welfare of the learners under my responsibility, and deliver a learning experience in an engaging and verifiable manner (qualitatively and quantifiably).  I have taken figure i (above), and overlain Light et al’s four functions (see figure ii below).
education-learning-practice-20161015-p1
Figure II Page (2016)
Given my experience as a professional educator and learning practitioner over a number of decades, I do however need to consider Light et al’s (2009) use of the functional term student services. I believe that this term is very broad, and therefore could be misunderstood and misinterpreted.  Student services essentially consists of all functions outside of academic functions. The term student services usually includes the functions of the higher education organisational processes of recruiting and enrolling a student, registering them within a program, missing them with a student number, an ID card, an email address, allocating them into a class in order to allocate a timetable, arranging and advertising on student activities, and possibly assisting the learner with arrangement of suitable housing for the duration of their studies. However, a key area of student services that is central to my role as a Senior Lecturer in a Higher Education Institute I am employed here in Brisbane Australia, is specifically that of, pastoral care.
Pastoral care is beyond the range of functions that I have described above, as the term student services implies. Pastoral care includes the oversight of the learners in terms of their general health and welfare. The concept of pastoral care acknowledges that learners need to have balance in their greater life, in order to perform well in education and learning:  in their family life, their social life, and in their mental and physical health. I suppose I could summarise pastoral care as being the oversight of learners in their everyday life to ensure they are in a position to maximise their education and learning advancement. In contemporary higher education practice, with all institutes answerable to government for effective education outcomes – ie pass and/or completion rates – such oversight is ann important aspect of the contemporary education and learning practitioner. , it is a different function to both of these (see figure iii below).

DLP Contemporary Ed + Learning Practice diagram.v2.20180124.png

Figure III Page (2018)

Theories, approaches and methodologies of contemporary education and learning practice

As a professional education and learning practitioner, I know I need to read broadly and be clear on the theories, approaches and methodologies that I can draw on in my daily practice. Millwood’s Learning Theories ‘HoTEL’ (2013) chart (see figure ii above) is an excellent starting point for me to return to and re-familiarise my self in a range of education and learning theories, approaches and methods. It is holistically presented, and comprehensive in detail, easily enabling my further research into theories or approaches as a constantly developing education and learning facilitator.
learning-theory-v6_millwood-d2-2-1-20130430
Figure IV Millwood’s Learning Theories ‘HoTEL’ (2013)
By proactively researching and experimenting within my education and learning practice over time, I have been able to develop my content, information knowledge and skill gained across a wide range of experience in different learning theories and approaches. I accept that my practice is dynamic and in need of constantly revisiting, re-appriasing, and developing.
As outlined in Layer 7: My approach to educational practice I am fundamentally predisposed to a andragogical approach to education and learning practice. However, such an approach does not exclude instances where I consider a pedagogical approach to be more appropriate in order to optimise the effective student learning experience of a particular learner or learners at that time.
andragoigy-vs-pedagogy
Figure V – Pedagogy vs Andragogy Chart (2015)
 In figure v above both of these approaches are laid out in a transparent manner, allowing my self as an education and learning practitioner to consciously choose the most appropriate approach for the specific learning experience. As I have yet to find one theory or approach that that is optimal in every contemporary adult learning practice context, I draw on multiple theories, approaches and methods that I consider to be appropriate in the particular learning context.
future-past

Reflective and Reflexive practice

Following my completion of each of the respective professional development courses I had undertaken, I received the following automated email from MaxKnowledge (2016).
Dear David, Training is ineffective unless the desired behavior, knowledge and skills are transferred to the workplace. Applying what you’ve learned from your training will help you maximize your performance results. Please take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you intend to apply what you’ve learned in your workplace environment.Yours in learning, MaxKnowledge Support
 This email reminded me as a practitioner, that there is little point in being proactive in professional development research or learning, unless we take the process one step further and reflect upon what we have learnt, considering the possible application to our particular context; and then step two, to then decide for change, and implement that change into our practice. The first step is referred to as reflective practice. The second step – that of implementation –  is referred to as reflexive practice.
rp-advantages-2016o910
Figure VI – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)
Reflective practice
Lawrence-Wilkes and Chapman (2015) notes the importance of reflective practice for practitioners in their development “by enabling insight and assisting learning for new understanding, knowledge and action” (see figure iv above). There is much written of the benefits of reflective practice, along with many models for practitioners to engage in Reflective Practice.
Reflective Practice Cycle_Gibbs.1988
Gibb’s (1988) model is perhaps one of the best known, cited in numerous texts and websites globally (see above).  It is a relatively straight forward model for aspiring reflective practitioners to guide themselves through the six (6) step process by asking six (6) questions:
  1. Description – what happened?
  2. Feelings – what were you thinking and feeling?
  3. Evaluations – what was good and bad about the experience?
  4. Analysis – what sense can you make of the the situation?
  5. Conclusion – what else could you have done?
  6. If it arose again, what would you do?

rp_brookfield-20160910

Figure VII – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)
However, perhaps a more applicable model for education and learning practitioners is that of Brookfield (1995). Brookfield’s model asserts that as an education and learning practitioner and reflective practitioner, one needs to broadly and thoroughly gather data from a number of sources in order to gain a truly balanced perspective of the practice being studied. Brookfield outlines four (4) ways a practitioner can gain perspective regarding their practice (see figure v above) – through what he refers to as four (4) lenses:
  1. a lens of their own eyes;
  2. a lens of their learner’s eyes;
  3. a lens of one of their peers – referred to as a critical friend – and;
  4. a lens of their field or discipline – through literature
I will note that in my diverse education and learning practice, I have applied Brookfield’s approach over many years. I have found one of the most significant lenses to be that of number three (3), critical friend; interacting with peers who are engaged and proactive in their development of their education and learning practice. Irrespective of such interaction being informally in faculty staffrooms, and formally as an organised de-briefing session, I trust such engagement has provided me opportunities to enhance my “professional practice and my self-development by enabling insight and assisting learning for new understanding, knowledge and action” (Lawrence-Wilkes and Chapman 2015).  I am grateful to those fellow practitioners and for those opportunities over the course of my professional life.

forensic-reflective-practice_haseman

Figure VIII – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)

Reflexive practice

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Reflexive Practice. Reflexive Practice is the process of developing my practice based on my gathering of, and analysis of the data from my research into my practice (ie: from my reflective practice). Haseman (2015) proposes that for reflective practice to be of a robust and valid form, the reflective practice must necessarily include the two steps of reflective and reflexive practice. Forensic Reflective Practice demands that the practice is (see figure vi above):
  1. Reflexive , as well as Reflective Practice;
  2. Include all three dimensions of practice in the research: the field, the site of the practice, and the actual practitioner them self (inclusive of their experience, background, paradigms, values, beliefs and bias), and;
  3. that the practice of reflection and reflexive practice is not by accident. It is a deliberate practice that is scheduled regularly and routinely into one’s practice.
Given my approach to practice [see Layer 5: My approach to all forms of practice], I am of the belief that there is little point in being proactive in professional practice, without engaging in professional development research or learning. Further, having engaged in professional development research or learning, I need to take the process one step further and reflect upon what I have learnt, consider the possible application to the particular context I am engaged in; and to then decide for change, and to implement that change into my practice. Yes, being proactive in professional practice, means engaging in professional development research – that of reflective and reflexive practice.
I trust this blog has outlined an example of my engaging in professional development research practice with regard to my education and learning practice. I hope to have illuminated my experience as both a education and learning practitioner, and a research practitioner over the past six (6) weeks. As a result of this exercise, I am reminded of the value of professional practice, and the need to maintain currency of that practice, irrespective of how much experience one has. I am reminded that to be able to conduct one self at a professional level, there are certain disciplines that I need to maintain. Ongoing development of my education and learning practice is one; and ongoing research practice is another. Life is dynamic, and therefore I accept that as a professional practitioner I also need to be dynamic – proactive and engaged in the development of all forms of my practice. Listed below are some of the resources that I have embraced over the course of this experience. Perhaps others may similarly find these to be useful in their journeys of ongoing development of their education and learning practice; and their ongoing research practice. Irrespective of the field or discipline they may practice within, I wish fellow practitioners well in their journeys.

Generational Understanding

Understanding Millennials

Education and Learning Practice

Educational Philosophy Part 3a
Educational Philosophy Part 3b
Educational Philosophy Part 3c

Reflective and Reflexive Practice

Music Practitioner Part 3 Reflective Practice
References
Anderson, C, Carolyn Carattini, Heather Clarke, Gail Hewton, David Page 2015 QUT KKP623 Reflective Practice in Action Group Presentation submission  Accessed September 14th, 2016
Boud, David. 2001. “Using journal writing to enhance reflective practice.” New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 2001 (90): 9-18. doi: 10.1002/ace.16.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Fisher, Douglas and Nancy Frey. 2007. Checking for understanding: formative assessment techniques for your classroom. New York: ASCD.
Future Past image courtesy of: Future Past Lanes  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Generation X image courtesy of: Generation X  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Generation Y image courtesy of: Generation Y  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Gibbs, Graham. 1988. Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. New York: FEU.
Gibbs’ Reflective cycle image courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/543739354987865666  Accessed 5th June, 2015
Haseman, B. 2015. Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change. Accessed 14th September, 2016. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed 14th September, 2016 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Man Bending Back Over Himself  image courtesy of: Bending Back Over  Accessed 14th September, 2016
MaxKnowledge. 2016. ED117 Teaching Gen Y Students Course. http://www.careercollegelounge.com Accessed 14th September, 2016 2016
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2018. Figure III image courtesy of:  David L Page, adapting Light and Cox 2009 (see above)  Accessed 24th January, 2018
Page, David L. 2016 Figure II image courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 24th January, 2018
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2015b. Educational Philosophy Part 3a  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2015c. Educational Philosophy Part 3b  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2015d. Educational Philosophy Part 3c Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2015e. Music Practitioner Part 3 Reflective Practice Accessed September 14th, 2016
Page, David L 2015f. Figure I image courtesy of Research Practitioner Part 2 Accessed 14th September, 2016
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1  Accessed September 14th, 2016
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Reflection image courtesy of: Reflection  Accessed 14th September, 2016
SAE Qantm image courtesy of: SAE Institute  Accessed 14th September, 2016
Self reflection image courtesy of: Self-reflection-for-personal-growth  Accessed 14th September, 2016
– ©David L Page 15/09/2016
– updated ©David L Page 19/10/2016
– updated ©David L Page 24/01/2018
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Effective and best practice for the contemporary music practitioner

Pro Tools 11screenshot

Standards of effective practice have played an important part in the audio industry, even though these may be challenged by DIY culture and practices. Historically, the music and audio industry’s standards have addressed commercial and technical criteria. In commercial terms a “successful record producer is, by definition, someone who has had multiple hits” (Burgess 1997, 162; Grammy Awards 2015), while technical standards have been formulated through industry bodies such as The Audio Engineering Society (Gibson 2006, 42) and more recently, the Recording Producers and Engineers Wing (2008).

Historical development of practice

The Audio Engineering Society {AES} was formed in 1948 in New York as a governing body, and to offer industry expertise to the developing recording and broadcast industry (AES 2015). A significant outcome of the AES was the creation of standards for which the industry could operate, and that manufacturers of any recording and broadcast industry equipment could comply with. This was very beneficial as the development of certain equipment such as microphones were being constructed with a variety of unique fittings that meant that microphones were not universal, requiring different microphone cables for each manufacturer’s device. The AES was instrumental in influencing a universal standard over time (AES 2015; Huber and Runstein 2010, 111-179). However, the majority of standards developed, were technical or theoretical to audio engineering, not process or workflow-based for the more global discipline of music production (AES 2015). As access was limited to recording studios up until the 1980’s, such music production process or workflow remained to those in the one of the specific skilled roles previously referred to, or as an artist. Practice was aligned to the typical corporate organisational effectiveness objectives, to maximise profitability. Music production practice was controlled by the management of the commercial radio and television studios or the recording studios; the skilled scientists, technicians or manufacturers creating the technology or the processes, with the focus on ‘correct’ use and application of technology, inline with the studio management’s directives of conservatism to preserve the organisational objectives; or the music producers who had successfully produced recordings for artists, contracted to abide by management’s directives to meet the organisational objectives (Robbins et al 2009, 708-710; Burgess 2014, 38-41, 42-55, 82-97; Emerick and Massey 2007, 54).
As technology developed and music production related equipment became available to the prosumer market, user manuals provided by the manufacturer instructing the user how they were best to use the unit was one of the few mediums of effective practice being made available outside of the professional studio environment[1]. One of the first units with such a user manual was for the TASCAM series 144 model Portastudio user manual (TEAC 1979).  A decade later, the first industry functional text, sponsored by one of the major manufacturers on the sector was released. Initiated by two audio engineers, arranging sponsorship from the Yamaha Music Corporation to be able to write it, the “Yamaha-The Sound Reinforcement Handbook” was at the time the only comprehensive audio engineering textbook of its kind, and instantly became a standard reference book to the industry (Davis & Jones 1990). The text remained for more than a decade as the only text book comprehensively, outlining audio engineering theory and techniques for ‘sound reinforcement’[2]. The third service and support more recently provided for budding DIY music producers is a range of instructional courses, vocational courses such as the likes of the Australian-based SAE, the School of Audio Engineering (2015), and JMC Academy (2015). In order to teach subject content, audio engineers with studio experience had to be employed to teach the industry standard practices. Whilst it may have taken some decades for this process to become refined and consistent, Burgess confirms their relevance in the discipline: “combined with a proactive DIY approach, a good school program can fill in knowledge gaps and instill a deeper understanding of the fundamentals while increasing awareness of best practices” (Burgess 2013, 35).
The industry to date has only a few disparate best practice documents such as The Recording Producers and Engineers Wing (2008) “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production” advice but it does not comprehensively cover contemporary music production practice. The industry has progressed from the traditional music production model, where exemplars existed across the different roles and skills. However, now within the decentralized music production era, the disparate roles across the music production process tend to be fused and completed by the one person, the contemporary DIY music producer. Music production practitioners have access to a large range of ancillary services and products, such industry trade magazines, texts, forums and blogs. Audio industry magazines such as “Sound on Sound” and “Audio Technology” are recognized as reputable magazines within the audio industry and music production discipline. But do they truly reflect the contemporary music production practice, or are their roots from the traditional music production model causing a widening gap of relevance? Alternative press options such as “Computer Music” (2015) and “MusicTech Focus” magazines have their origins in the development of digital technology. But do their roots limit their relevance by not including the more creative and musical requirements of the contemporary music production practice? Other alternative press includes “Wire”, which focuses more on the cultural and aesthetic aspects of music culture and practice. There is a vast range of support for music practitioners in the form of forums and blogs, with some of these operated by recognised industry professionals[3]. However, many of these are run by hobbyists with well intentioned advice, whilst others are commercially driven, with some of their marketing tactics, products and advice is at best, questionable.

Current practice

Some scholars refer to the current field of DIY music production as being in transition (Hracs, 2012), although it can also be thought of as a fusion or hybrid of two prior developments: that of traditional large format console studio music production and computer-based sound generation. Irrespective of the definition, twenty-first century contemporary DIY music production illustrates the ways that practitioners have broken with previously accepted industry practices, with consensus about effective or best practice now difficult to identify, or indeed where the idea of best practice has been actively challenged through social and cultural changes in the practices of cultural production. As such, the discipline of contemporary DIY music production lacks the infrastructure of an established and mature industry where consensus of what effective practice is, might be found.
target
The notion of effective practice [4] originated in business centred on notions of effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity (Montana and Charnov 2000,12; Robbins et al 2009, 313; Griffin 1996). In this way, effective practice is a quantifiable measure and assumes the ‘organisation’ or practice has commercial or technical objectives. In contrast, contemporary DIY music production practitioners may not be motivated by either commercial or technical objectives, and therefore effective practice measures may not apply to many practices within the discipline (Rogers 2013, 168). In fact, contemporary DIY music production is a discipline in which notions of effective practice may actually be actively disregarded due to the perception that other motivations such as creativity, emotional connection and free-spiritedness are more important (McWilliam 2008, 38; Davie 2012, 41). As a result, the term best practice is perhaps more appropriate in the discipline of contemporary DIY music production, bringing with it the idea of benchmarking, or “analysing and copying the methods of the leaders” in the field (Robbins et al 2009, 313). However, without accepted discipline standards, and consensus of what best practice is, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately and effectively benchmark amongst the discipline and its practitioners. Further, if the contemporary DIY music production practice is lacking in organisational characteristics of a mature industry such as robust management processes and procedures, sophisticated vision and strategic planning, then the contemporary DIY music production practitioner is less likely able to measure quality standards should they exist, nor consciously position their practice within the field in order to optimise the chance of success (Robbins et al 2009, 708-710, 716-717).
Note [1]: The manufacturer’s user manual described ‘effective practice’ for the user to operate that unit safely, following a technically correct process
Note [2]: Sound reinforcement is a term used to describe the live audio industry function which still remains today
Note [3]: Pensado’s Place (2015) is operated by Dave Pansado who has had a recognized audio industry career
Note [4] :The notion of effective practice originated in business and post-War Japan, centred on notions of effectiveness (“doing the right thing”), efficiency (the effort exerted in “doing the right thing”), and productivity (the relationship between input and output) (Montana and Charnov 2000, 12; Robbins et al 2009, 313; Griffin 1996).
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Research Practitioner Part 2.
References
AES. 2015. “Audio Engineering Society (AES) History.” Accessed  May 3,2015
Audio Technology Magazine. 2015 http://www.audiotechnology.com.au Accessed August 15, 2015
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Computer Music. 2015. http://www.musicradar.com/computermusic Accessed August 15, 2015
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98.
Davis, Gary and Ralph Jones. 1990. Yamaha-The Sound Reinforcement Handbook. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Gibson, Bill. 2006. The s.m.a.r.t. guide to becoming a successful producer/engineer Boston: Thompson Course Technology.
Grammy Awards. 2015. “The 2015 Grammy Awards.” Accessed May 20, 2015. https://www.grammy.com/nominees.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hracs, Brian J. 2012. “A creative industry in transition: the rise of digitally driven independent music production.” Growth and Change 43 (3): 442-461.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
JMC Academy. 2015 http://www.jmcacademy.edu.au/?gclid=CN636-HnmcsCFQGbvAod7GoMDQ  Accessed August 15, 2015
McWilliam, Erica. 2008. The creative workforce: how to launch young people into high-flying futures. Sydney: UNSW press.
Montana, Patrick J and Bruce H Charnov. 2000. Management. 3rd ed. Vol. 333, Business Review Books. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
MusicTech. 2015. http://www.musictech.net Accessed August 15, 2015
Recording Producers and Engineers Wing, The. 2008. “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production.” Accessed May 27, 2015. https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/DAWGuidelineLong.
Robbins, Stephen, Rolf Bergman, ID Stagg and Mary Coulter. 2009. Management 5. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
SAE. 2015. “SAE Institute.” https://sae.edu.au/ Accessed August 15, 2015
Sound on Sound. 2015 http://www.soundonsound.com Accessed August 15, 2015
Target image courtesy of: http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/target-skills-53658831 Accessed 15th August, 2015
TEAC. 1979. “TEAC Tascam series: model 144 Portastudio manual”, edited by TEAC Inc. www.tascam.com: TEAC Inc.
Wire. 2015. http://www.thewire.co.uk Accessed August 15, 2015
– ©David L Page 16/08/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Educational Philosophy Part 3c

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning? (contd)

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: it is my desired goal to develop a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment. Trust and respect are core to this process.
As mentioned in the previous Layer, prior to the learning practice session I need to be in a position to pre-assess the learning group. In instances where I do not have the required background information – which I admit to being the majority of cases – I would need to structure my initial class room activities to include activities which enable me to educe the range of background information and understanding I consider relevant and useful. To facilitate the needed getting to know my learners phase, I find being open with my learners along similar levels of information and behaviour that I expect of them. I consciously invest time in the initial stages of the learning experience with a new group of learners to develop an appropriate learning session culture, which includes confirming the agreed learning outcomes. This step is necessary to ensure the learner’s expectation and the learner facilitator’s expectations are aligned; and if not, to take the opportunity to discuss and address any misaligned of expectations at the earliest opportunity. The ultimate goal of a learning experience is to optimise the effective student learning experience of the particular learners. In clarifying both the learner’s and my learning facilitation expectations, I am in my experience removing possible issues or objections that may arise later. Even if issues or objections regarding levels of expectations do arise later in the learning experience, at least there has been prior dialogue – a conscious reference point from the outset – to return to and continue discussion. This process is all part of developing trust and respect for a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment.
Learner assessment – during session delivery
Throughout the learning experience I will be informally assessing the progress of the learner group, and as much as humanly possible, the progress – in real time assessment –  of each of the individual learners. My goal at any point in time thought the learning experience is to confirm all of the learners are engaged and are being presented with a learning experience that is compatible with their personality type, their thinking approach, their intelligences, and their learning styles (Light et al 2009, 77). I need to confirm the learner’s understanding independently throughout the learning experience by a range of means. Two such means are via questioning techniques; and observing students in action. Concept checking questioning techniques (CCQ) and instruction checking questions (ICQ) enable me to effectively and efficiently achieve this, ensuring that I systematically include all participants within the particular learning experience – as appropriate (Fisher and Frey 2007; Angelo and Cross 1993). Observing of students carrying out a task can also confirm to you as the learning environment facilitator that your instructions were clear. But such observation allows you to also confirm the student’s approach to a particular function; the degree of competence that may or may not have with that particular function; any gaps in knowledge they may or may not have; and the opportunity for you as their learning facilitator to further assist them in order to optimise their effective learning experience. This later observation in the environment of audio training used to be conducted in workplace training contexts (the apprenticeship model), but in the contemporary environment, much of this type of training is now conducted in formal education programs (Billett 2001): formal education programs such as SAE Institute’s Creative Media degree, Bachelor of Audio Production program (SAE Institute, 2015).
As a learning experience facilitator, my desired goal is to develop a collaborative, collegial, safe learning environment. Trust and respect are core to this process. As part of this process, my aim is to reveal my self as candidly as is appropriate – socially and culturally. In my experience, the more I know my self as a practitioner, the more congruent I can be with others – including my students; and the more potential I have to be able to optimise the effective student learning experience of those particular learners.

Layer 10: Evaluation of the learning practice

The evaluation of the learning practice session is what I consider to be one of the most important stages of the education & learning process. The purpose of this stage is to have the learners evaluate the learning session in terms of the content and/or processes.
I have observed many novice education and learning practitioners in many different scenarios overlook this stage, unaware of the importance of this stage. I have laid this evaluation section out in the following five (5) parts.

Layer 10a: Evaluation of the learning practice Pt1

This process commences at the conclusion of the central learning practice session. Often, I will have a break at the end of the central learning practice session, before I commence the evaluation stage.
In preparing for this stage prior to the commencement of the learning session, I need to consider how I am planning to have the learning session evaluated in terms of the content and/or processes. I consider how I will effectively and efficiently draw the education & learning practice session to a logical conclusion so that the learners can effectively and efficiently evaluate what they have learnt.
The evaluation process can be either a formal or informal process. However for best practice, I would advocate to include both a formal or informal process in the evaluation stage.
  • An example of an informal process could include a cohort-wide round table debrief of “what I learnt today?” I have be known in this stage to make notes down as they share; or if i feel this to be intrusive, then I may make mental notes that I will jot down immediately after the learning session has ended.
  • An example of a formal process could include a pre-arranged summative evaluation tool such as a feedback form that the learners respond to questions regarding the various aspects of the learning session.  The primary benefit of this confidential response of each individual if that one may elicit some responses that a informal round table debrief may not.
Once I have completed this evaluation process, I end the learning session officially – restating any expected action or practice required prior to a further learning session. I then dismiss the learners.

Layer 10b: Evaluation of the learning practice Pt2

Once the learning session has concluded, I then need to consider the evaluations.  For the formal process, this will include considering the quantifiable or qualitative responses in order to draw conclusions of the learner’s evaluation of the learning session.
For the informal process, this may include revisiting some jotted down points during the actually learning session round table debrief; or if considered an intrusive process, actually noting down learners’ comments that were made during that session.
This evaluation process could also include a third party observer who may have been sitting in on the learning session. Such a third party observer’s observations and input could be very beneficial in the event that there is a difference of opinion as to the usefulness of the learning sessions content and/or processes, between some of the learners; or some of the learns and you as the facilitator of the learning session.
Irrespective of what tool or party provided the evaluation of the learning session, my aim is to gather data regarding the following questions:
Did the learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
How do I know they did?
How did I know they didn’t?
Anecdotally what was the feedback?
In terms of summative feedback, what was the evaluations?
Were there any observers in attendance in the learning session?
Intuitively, how did the learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
Did some learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session, but others not?
Why do I think this did/did not occur?
Did the learners realise the learning session objectives?
Why/why not?
How do I know this?
Did the learners feel they realised the learning session objectives?
Why/why not?
How do I know this?
Once I have completed the data gathering stage, I need to take time to reflect on the evaluation of the learning session.

Layer 10c: Reflective practice following the learning practice Pt3

There are benefits of reflecting on a learning practice session once it has concluded. The degree to which one can reflect is dependent upon one’s knowledge of the content or the different learning theories and approaches. You can only reflect on what you know. It is very difficult if not impossible to reflect on an aspect of your practice that you are not yet aware of. Whilst i feel this is obvious – common sense – I think the point is lost of some education administrators.
My practice covers the three disciplines of creative (music) practice, education and learning practice, and my most recent engagement, research practice. In Layer 5 I noted that my approach to all of these forms of practice, I “make time to reflect every day at some time upon some aspect of my diverse practice, referenced against other practitioners, whether peers or those who I value their cultural production. My focus is to gain clarity, greater understanding, increased insight, considering possible alternative workflows I could have pursued, and decide what form of practice I will pursue the next opportunity a similar circumstance arises” (Page 2004). I also noted my daily practice is to engage in both reflective practice and reflexive practice.
        Reflective Practice – introduction
Many novice practitioners may consider casual options of reflection; such as on the way home on the bus or in the car whilst listening to music, as being sufficient to develop their practice. Haseman differentiates casual reflections and conscious planned reflective practice as the difference between navel-gazing and what he terms forensic reflective practice (2015). The goal of reflective practice should be to turn experience into learning (Boud et al 2013). Therefore a deliberate activity to consider a past practice event, and then analyse it critically, appears to be the minimal criterion that defines robust reflective practice. A practitioner should consciously make time and space at a specific part of the day when where they can engage undisturbed in reflective practice; considering what they did, or didn’t do in that lesson; or what you did or didn’t do in terms of the agreed aims and objectives contained within your learning experience plan.
Specifically, education and learning practice needs to be considered in terms of the respective andragogies or pedagogies of the learning group.  In order to avoid the ill-disciplined habit of informal reflection, it should be the aim of the practitioner to have clear and transparent processes so that they can be examined closely as to their value, limitations and assumptions (McKee, 2003). The result could be a practitioner’s reflective practice toolbox, offering a range of strategies for: reflection-in-action (Schön 1983), reflection-on-action (Schön 1983) and reflection-for-action (Pascal & Thompson 2012): demonstrated by real world examples across any of the common aspects of teaching, such as: curriculum design; learning experience planning; delivery; and post-delivery evaluation.
Figure II – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)
There are a number of possibilities of focus to reflect on following the learning practice. One can reflect on the experience of the learner; your experience as the practitioner; or your experience as a participant observer (Griffiths 2010). Brookfield’s theoretical framework for reflective practice is provided to examine these pedagogical practices through four different lenses – through our own eyes; through your student’s eyes; through our fellow professionals’ eyes; and through established theoretical views (Brookfield, 1995). This reflective practice process should at best inform and and enrich ones’ education and learning practice, allowing the discovery of innovative or creative practices, while also acknowledging contemporary literature on the subject.
Roth’s model could also be used for unpacking the reflective process, encouraging greater depth of analysis and further investigation as required (Roth, 1989). Together, these conceptual frameworks provide several perspectives and facilitate ways in which to think critically about teaching, and uncover effective practice. This framework could provide a platform for revealing a desired result of reflective andragogical or pedagogical practices in line with industry standards.
  • Questioning what, why, and how one does things and asking what, why, and how others do things 
  • Seeking alternatives 
  • Keeping an open mind 
  • Comparing and contrasting 
  • Seeking the framework, theoretical basis, and/or underlying rationale 
  • Viewing from various perspectives 
  • Asking “what if…?” 
  • Asking for others’ ideas and viewpoints 
  • Using prescriptive models only when adapted to the situation 
  • Considering consequences 
  • Hypothesising 
  • Synthesising and testing 
  • Seeking, identifying, and resolving problems
 Reflective Practice – specific to an education & learning practice session plan
The process I follow at the end of a education & learning practice session includes the following areas, with accompanying questions:
REFLECTION ON LEARNER’S LEARNING PT1
I do this process in two stages. The first stage is on-site, immediate post-practice. The benefit of this process is that the practice events are still fresh in my mind. I can scribe the physical, visual, auditory or emotional events of the day with a high degree of detailed recollection due to the currency of the events that have just been experienced or observed. In many ways, it is very much an stream of consciousness process – scribing without considering too much or judging my responses.  In terms of a detail of recollection I find this on-site, immediate post-practice reflective practice session is very beneficial as an initial data collection exercise. This process commits to my sub-conscious content for consideration, and until the point that I make time to return to the second stage of the deliberate reflective process, my mind will be turning over that data, and distilling the less significant events from the more prominent and significant events.
The range of questions I ask of myself to scribe my immediate first responses are:
  • Did the learner realise the aims and objectives of the learning session?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • Anecdotally what was the feedback?
  • Intuitively what was the feedback?
  • Did some learners realise the aims and objectives of the learning session, but others not?
  • Why do I think this did/did not occur?
  • Did the learners realise the learning session objectives?
  • Why/why not?
  • How do I know this?
  • Did the learners feel they realised the learning session objectives?
  • Why/why not?
  • How do I know this?
REFLECTION ON LEARNER’S LEARNING PT2
The second stage is away from site, and after some time has lapsed post-practice. I find it is crucial to conduct this second stage reflective practice in a different site to that of the practice session, as it allows a separation of any possible automated response that may be activated by the actual practice site that I am reflecting about. Additionally, the amount of time expired between the actual practice session and this reflective practice session may vary in each circumstance: I have found over doing this process over many decades that it has to be an appropriate amount of time to allow my mind to turn over that data, and distil out the less significant events from the more prominent and significant events. Sometimes this takes a few days, and at others times, it has taken several weeks. I am experienced enough in this process now to trust my inner time clock to know which particular practice session I will choose to reflect upon in any of the regular scheduled evening reflective practice sessions I hold.
As inferred, the benefit of this process is that the practice events become distilled in my mind, with the more prominent or significant events rising to prominence in my mind. This stage of reflective practice also allows for any emotion around that particular practice session to recede to a level where perhaps a greater degree of perspective can be applied to the event. With distance and time away from the practice, I find I scribe the prominent or significant physical, visual, auditory or emotional events of the last practice session with a greater degree of critical thinking due to the distance – time and place – from the events that had previously been experienced or observed. I generally do this process once I have concluded my responsibilities of the day – when the house is quiet, when my mind is free of other responsibilities. I may or may not have a hot beverage, and I sometimes conduct this exercise against a backdrop of soothing music which I find allows my mind to delve into depths of thought and analysis. In contrast to the stage of on-site, immediate post-practice stream of consciousness process gathering of recollection data, I scribe very consciously, analysing what and how I respond. I certainly consider why I have acted in practice – and also responded – in the ways I do, dissecting each and every prominent or significant event within my practice session. It is a rigorous process that I find is both mentally exhausting, but also satisfying due to the crystallisation of thoughts and ideas that I find usually occurs.
In this Part 2 stage, the range of questions I ask of myself to scribe my second round of very considered responses are very similar – if not the same – set of questions as outlined above. However, I definitely drill down within each question to a far greater level of depth, looking for insightful distinctions about my practice. The question words of what, how and why are instrumental in this process. In doing this second round of reflective practice, I find is that I am far more detailed in the scribing process, critically analysing to a depth that is absent from my on-site, immediate post-practice initial data collection reflection process. It is within this reflective practice session that I crystallise my thoughts and understandings, and gain fresh levels of clarity about my practice.
REFLECTION ON FACILITATOR’S PRACTICE DELIVERY
Given the above reflection on student learning, I ask myself the following questions:
  • Were the learning session outcomes realised?
  • How satisfied am I with the learning outcomes?
  • If not completely satisfied: why/why not?
  • Do I consider any changes need to be made in the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the learning sessions?
  • How was the timing or the flow of the education & learning practice session? 
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • Had I planned for this event/factor to happen?
  • Was it conceivable that it could occur?
  • What was the percentage of time between facilitator-talk (Ft) and learner-talk (Lt)?
  • Was this as planned and described in the education & learning practice session plan?
  • Why?
  • Why not?
  • How useful was the education & learning practice session plan?
  • What was?
  • What wasn’t?
  • How closely did I stick to the education & learning practice session plan?
  • What happened that forced the change?
  • Why hadn’t I planned for this change to happen?
  • Was it conceivable that it could occur/arise?
In terms of the education & learning approach:
  • How effective was the particular pedagogical/andragogical approach?
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • In terms of the methods/tasks/processes:
  • How effective was the particular methods/tasks/processes implemented?
  • What worked?
  • What and why?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What and why?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of teaching practice I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session?
  • How could I further develop Ir learning session plan to accommodate unexpected events when they arise?
  • If I were working within a team, are there any issues related to the teaching team that I need to follow up on?
REFLECTION ON THE LEARNING SESSION’S ASSESSMENT STRATEGY
  • Did the learner meet the assessment requirements of the learning session?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • What assessment strategy did I use?
  • How effective was tthat approach in Ir opinion?
  • What worked?
  • How do I know it worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • How do I know it didn’t work?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of assessment planning I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session requirement realisation?
REFLECTION ON THE LEARNING SESSION’S CONTENT
  • Did the learners absorb the required learning session content?
  • How do I know they did?
  • How did I know they didn’t?
  • Based on the pedadgogical/andragogical approach:
  • How effective was tthat approach in Ir opinion for this particular content?
  • What worked?
  • How do I know it worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • How do I know it didn’t work?
  • What changes will I make for the next education & learning session of the similar aims and objectives? 
  • Are their any techniques or skills in terms of content I need to develop to better faclitate the education & learning session?
  • Are there any content questions I need to follow up with the learners? 
REFLECTION ON THE LEARNING SESSION’S LOGISTICS
  • Were there any factors outside of the educational and learning facilitator’s control that impacted the session in any way?
  • Negative? 
  • What?
  • Positive?
  • What?
REFLECTION ON TECHNOLOGY USED
  • What technology or tools will I need to have prepared prior to class (physical, IT)?
  • What digital tools and/or resources will I use in this education & learning practice session?
  • Will I need any technical support? If so state when, where and when.
  • Do I need to contact IT support prior to my education & learning practice session?
  • Do I need to schedule time to load computer programs or learning technologies prior to class? 
REFLECTION ON RESOURCES USED
  • What resources or materials will I need to have prepared prior to class (human, physical)?
  • What tools and/or resources will I use in this education & learning practice session? 
  • If so what, where and when. 
REFLECTION OF SELF
  • What did I learn or observe about Ir self during this education & learning practice session now that I have considered all aspects of the practice session in detail?
REFLECTION FOLLOWING ENGAGEMENT WITH CRITICAL FRIEND
  • Do I still hold the same opinions regarding the education & learning practice session now that I have discussed the practice session with my critical friend?
REFLECTION OF SELF
  • What did I learn or observe about my self during this education & learning practice session now that I have discussed the practice session with my critical friend?
REFLECTION FOLLOWING ENGAGEMENT WITH LITERATURE
  • Do I still hold the same opinions regarding the education & learning practice session now that I have engaged education & learning literature in terms of my specfiic education & learning practice session?
REFLECTION OF SELF
  • What did I learn or observe about my self during this education & learning practice session now that I have engaged education & learning literature in terms of my specific education & learning practice session?

Layer 10d: Reflexive practice following the learning practice Pt4

Returning to Brookfield’s approach as outlined above, once a practitioner has engaged in reflective practice, irrespective of whether that evaluative data has been internally generated, from the learner group within or post the central or evaluatiion session, observed and feedback from either a supervised observer, a peer observer, a critical friend, derived from reading literature, or from engaging in either informal or formal forms of professional development programs; unless something is decided upon to be trailed into one’s practice, in order to develop that practice, then I would question the usefulness or the validity of that reflective practice. As introduced in my Music Practitioner – Part 3 blog, Haseman outlines that for practice to be forensic reflective practice, the reflective practice must progress to and include the extra step of developing one’s practice to include aspects that have been reflected on, and decided that are in need of improvement. Aspects that are thought will enrich ones’ education and learning practice, and developing one’s experience in different learning theories and approaches.

forensic-reflective-practice_haseman

Figure III – Forensic reflective practice chart (Haseman 2015)
Therefore I would ask my self the following questions to complete this process of reflective practice, preparing for reflexive practice – actually applying development and change to my practice.
REFLECTION FOR PRACTICE/DEVELOPMENT FOR FUTURE EDUCATION & LEARNING PRACTICE SESSION DIRECTIONS
  • What are there areas of my education & learning practice that I need to develop prior to my next education & learning practice session? 
    List these areas in detail:
  • Of these, what will I select to focus on?
  • What do I need training and development in, in order to realise these developments in practice?
  • How will I know when I have successfully achieved this desired development?

onion-layers

Layer 11a: Reflective professional practice in contemporary higher education

Finally, I want to conclude with Light et al’s proposition of three (3) paradigms of academic development of educators and learning practitioners in a contemporary Higher Education environment (Light et al 2009, 12). Light et al describes a practitioner in terms of: their relative lack of engagement in their education and learning practice on a professional level; their relative lack of reflection and level of engagement with the context of the education and learning field and discipline; and finally, their engagement as a professional practitioner who also considers wider social and cultural issues and realities. As you read these, I request that you consider which one best describes your approach or situation to your learning experience practice:
  1. ad hoc paradigm: “is located primarily within the individual teacher, and essentially asserts that a good teacher is born, not made”. “Teaching is something one picks up and grasps informally and individually. It is non-reflective in the broader sense. The teacher is left to her own devices and draws upon past experience of being taught, trial and error, help from sympathetic colleagues when available, and her own natural affinities for teaching”(Light et al 2009, 12). Note: the self is at the centre of this paradigm;
  2. skills paradigm: “the development of teaching is an add-on process and rests in the accumulation and reproduction of performance and communication skills, competencies and tips. These skills are generic and provided by trainers and consultants who often have no formal experience of the discipline in which the trainers are working or even of higher education training”(Light et al 2009, 12). Note: both the self and the institution are at the centre of this paradigm;
  3. professional paradigm: “the location of the professional paradigm goes beyond the practitioner’s self and institution to embrace wider issues raised by society”: “professional status derives from the value that society places on higher education, the inclusion of specialised knowledge and the reliance on higher-order abilities critically to acquire, apply, reflect on and elaborate that knowledge. As such, it is essentially a reflective paradigm” (Light et al 2009, 13). Note: the self, the institution and society are at the centre of this paradigm.
    Which one best describes your approach or situation to your learning experience practice?
    Given this, in what ways can you develop as a professional practitioner?

Layer 11b: Reflective professional practice values statements

As developed across the 11 Layers of my approach to education and learning, I believe a contemporary practitioner needs to develop an understanding of their self – as a person, and as a practitioner. I believe the more self knowing a practitioner has of who they are in terms of their personality; their various thinking, learning orientations and intelligences; their values, beliefs and biases, the more congruent a practitioner can be with others. Ultimately, the more potential the practitioner is able to assist their learners in the learning experience – to develop their content, information knowledge base and skills level – the more opportunity the practitioner can guide the learner to maximise their development, their personal empowerment, in order for those learners to ultimately realise their full life potential. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
The following statements are what I consider to be central to my reflective professional practice; values that I apply across all forms of my practice, whether it be education and learning, music practice, research practice, or life practice.

Know one self, develop mastery of one self

Take a proactive approach with your education and learning, investing in developing and advancing your content, information knowledge base and skill level 

A professional practitioner: 10,000 hours of practice, reflect, develop, practice, reflect, develop, practice, reflect, develop,practice, reflect, develop, practice..

As a reflective professional practitioner, embrace the wider social and cultural context rather than just the institution’s desired outcomes

References
Anderson, C, Carolyn Carattini, Heather Clarke, Gail Hewton, David Page 2015 QUT KKP623 Reflective Practice in Action Group Presentation submission Accessed October 24, 2015.
Angelo, Thomas A and K Patricia Cross. 1993. “Classroom assessment techniques: A handbookfor college teachers.” San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Billett, Stephen. 2001. Learning in the workplace: strategies for effective practice. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Boud, David, Rosemary Keogh and David Walker. 2013. Reflection: turning experience into learning. New York: Routledge.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Esposito, Emily 2015 The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals  Accessed 20th November 2015
Fisher, Douglas and Nancy Frey. 2007. Checking for understanding: formative assessment techniques for your classroom. New York: ASCD.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. “Research and the self.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. “Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change.” Accessed May 24, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
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Pascal, J., & Thompson, N. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 13(2), 311. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795
Roth, Robert. 1989. “Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic“. Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35
SAE Institute, 2015 SAE Institute Accessed 28th March 2015
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
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Merriam, Sharan B. 2001. “Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory.” New directions for adult and continuing education 2001 (89): 3-14.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 20th July 2015
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart Accessed 28th March 2015
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 355 + xvii pages.
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
– ©David L Page 21/07/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Educational Philosophy Part 3b

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning?

Layer 8: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: as I have indicated in my first blog, I have laid this section out in the following nine (9) parts.

Layer 8a: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 1

In preparing for an education & learning practice session, I develop a plan. In doing so, I commence five (5) tasks.
My first task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop a succinct phrase of the title of the session:
  • The title of the session: What is the discipline topic of this education and learning practice session?
My second task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop a succinct sentence stating the rationale of the session:
  • The rationale of the session:  What is the purpose of this education & learning practice session? What do I hope to achieve by the end of the education & learning session?
     TIP: Use future tense active words – such as will increase, will gain, will encounter – in developing the rationale of the session. These are to guide your development of practice during the preparation development stage of the session plan.
Examples of Rationale statements: 
1. This education & learning practice session will increase understanding  …..
2. Learners will gain a perspective on……….
3. Learners will encounter these concepts………..
          My third task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the aims of the session:
  • The aims of the session need to be holistic: What is the end goal of your education & learning practice session? What do you plan to do and achieve with the learners by the end of the education & learning practice session? It is very important when developing your aims to remain focussed on the primary aim of the education & learning practice session: to ensure the learners realise the agreed learning outcomes of this session. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan: be specific; include measurable statements; ensure the final aim/goal is achievable; and relevant to the learner and the agreed session learning outcomes; and bound in time (Esposito 2015).
    TIP: Use active verbs words –such as practice, trial, discuss, search , research, gather, analyse, articulate, propose, develop, design, record, mix, produce or present – in developing your objectives to guide the learners during the education & learning practice session. The primary objective  of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per the agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Aim statements: 
1. To offer experiential insights into ………
2. To expose the learners to the ……….
3. To have the learners engage in a………..
My fourth task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the objectives of the session:
  •  The objectives of the session need to be more specific than the aims, but still succinct sentences of intent: What are your smaller steps that will help you achieve the main aim of the session? These smaller steps should lead the learners to realise the agreed learning outcomes of this education & learning practice session. Each objective may have a number of learning outcomes. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan (Esposito 2015).
TIP: Use active verbs words –such as practice, trial, discuss, search , research, gather, analyse, articulate, propose, develop, design, record, mix, produce or present – in developing your objectives to guide the learners during the education & learning practice session. The primary objective  of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per the agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Objective statements: 
1. The learners identify ……….
2. The learners analyse  …………
3. The learners develop………..
4. The learners produce………..
5. The learners present ……..
My fifth task in developing an education & learning practice session plan is to develop the learning outcomes of the session:
  •  The learning outcomes of the session need to be more specific than the aims and objectives, but still succinct sentences of outcome: What are the learning outcomes for each specified objective of the session? These statements state the agreed learning outcomes of this education & learning practice session for both the learning facilitator and the learners. Each objective may have a number of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes must differentiate from each other in terms of an outcome, but may also overlap. In order to assist in this process, it is suggested to use a goal-orientated guide such as SMART in developing your session plan (Esposito 2015).
TIP: Use active verbs words – such as apply, identify, evaluate, formulate, implement, construct, critically analyse, articulate, communicate, develop, work with, create, maintain, plan, employ, demonstrate, develop, design, record, mix, research, propose and publish – in developing your learning outcomes to inform the learners’ from commencement of the education & learning practice session. The primary objective of the education & learning practice session is to ensure the learners are engaged in learning as per these agreed learning outcomes of this session.
Examples of Learning Outcome statements: 
1. The learners apply knowledge of ………
2. The learners evaluate the impact of ……..
3. The learners formulate and implement …….
4. The learners evaluate and maintain………
5. The learners plan…….
6. The learners employ (specific) concepts ……..
7. The learners demonstrate………..
8. The learners employ (specific) skills ………

Layer 8b: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 2

My primary goal for the learning practice session is to align the learning objectives, the learning activities, and the learning assessment tasks (Light et al 2009, 82). The goal in developing a learning practice plan is to focus, with the goal of optimising the effective student learning experience of the particular learners during a learning practice session. For me to develop learning practice plans for a specific environment and learning group, I must understand the parameters of both of these variables as a starting point.
  •         What will the learning environment be?
  •         And perhaps most importantly, who are my learners?
Learning Space
How I conduct myself in the learning environment will in many ways be dictated by the actual space. Questions regarding the learning space to be considered prior to developing a learning practice plan include:
  • Is the learning space part of an organisation with other inhabitants?
  • Is there natural light?
  • Is it ventilated suitably, or air-conditioned or heated in certain climates?
  • Is it free from disturbance from other activities in the shared building?
  • How large or small is the space?
  • Is it an open space?
  • Is it a space with other resources such as tables, chairs, computers within it?
  • Is there a degree of portability or movability with those resourses, or are they fixed?
  • Is the space naturally conducive to active learning, or passive lecturing?
  • Is there an appropriate space for the learning facilitator to manage the learning experience?
Knowing the space allows me to consider what learning activities may be appropriate. Or may prompt me to source alternative learning space options. For example, I may be able to use alternative space within the same building, outside, or even at the local studio or park. Once I have confirmed the learning space options available to me, I am then free to consider the learners.

Layer 8c: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 3

The Learners/Learner pre-assessment/pre-delivery session
The word assessment is an interesting term in education and learning. Mention of the word quite often leads people to recall past experiences of being formally assessed in schools, quite often tarred with negative memories or emotions. In extreme cases I have observed people experience a complete shut down of their senses due to the extremity of their previous formal assessment experiences.
The other use of the term in education and learning is that of informal assessment of a learner: an assessment of the learner from your professional practice perspective – a needs analysis as such of who the learner is. An informal assessment of what the learner needs to ensure they are developing their content, information knowledge base and skills level, in order to maximise their development, their personal empowerment, in order for them to ultimately realise their full life potential.
Step 1: In the development of initial drafts of a generic learning practice plan, I specify the learning aims and objectives. These aims and objectives need succinctly describe the education and learning practitioner’s educational approach, the outcomes of the session, and holistically establish the expected interaction between the learner and the practitioner, predict the likely learning activities, and infer the likely learning assessment tasks. The learning aims and objectives should be the mission statement for the particular learning practice session. It is essential therefore, that the aims and objectives remain the highest priority, as these become the ground that the learning practitioner can bring the learners back to during moments of uncertainty. With so many variables which can potentially change during a learning practice session, it is imperative that the learning practitioner does not waiver from, or neglect the aims and objectives of the learning session.
Step 2: Prior to the learning practice session I want to be in a position to pre-assess the learning group. The extent of the information I ideally need to know prior to developing my learning practice plans is about the background of each of the learners. Having taught across many nations and cultures, the following represents a typical list of information I would be seeking prior to a learning experience session:
  • Nationality – what is there nationality, and can any introductory stereo types be gleaned from this about this learner?
  • Culture – what is their culture, their values and beliefs? Are there any learners from a particular culture that may require consideration in the planning of this particular education & learning session?
  • Native Language – what is the 1st language of this nationality, and can any introductory assumptions be made about this learner?
  • Age – what is their approximate age, their life experience, and their generation?
  • Life experience – based on their age, can we make any assumptions about this learner?
  • Gender – what is their gender and can any national, cultural or age assumptions be made about this learner?
  • Education – where are they educated? and to what level of reading, writing and mathematics?
  • Work Experience – are they currently skilled in terms of an industry role/occupation, and if so, what type of skill is it (white collar, blue collar, other)?
  • Previous experiences in learning – what have their previous learning experiences been? And are these predominantly positive or negative experiences?
  • Learner personality. To what degree will the learners be able to engage in any and all types of planned learning tasks, without concern for their lack of engagement due to fears or discomfort with risk-taking, being shy, or introverted?
  • Learner aptitude – what are the learner’s aptitude to learning? To what degree have the learners previously demonstrated that they are able to learn in a learning session situation similar to what they are about to engage in?
  • Learner strategies – are the learner’s likely to have developed strategies to apply in this learning session situation to successfully realise the learning outcomes?
  • Learning styles – what range of learning styles are they likely to have; both in terms of VAKD modalities, and also according to Gardner’s multiple intelligences? How differentiated will the learners’ styles be within this group?
  • Learners motivation for engaging in this learning experience. What is their motivation for learning in this instance of learning?
  • Content experience – What experience do they have in the planned education and learning context? What do they already know of the planned content? What have they studied or learnt before? How will the planned content of this education and learning session potentially build upon their existing knowledge? To what degree can this learner already demonstrate understanding of content knowledge, or competency of the applied content?
  • Declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions. Do any of the learners have any declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment that need to be planned for? Do any of learner’s suffer from hearing or sight issues? Anxiety issues that could be prevent them from undertaking a particular type of task? Are there likely to be environmental concerns such as access? How will you plan to support learners with declared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions?
  • Undeclared or unaware disabilities that could affect the learners’ ability to successfully realise the planned sessions’ learning outcomes? How will you plan to support learners whose undeclared learning, medical, mental health, intellectual or physical impairment conditions may arise during your education & learning session?
Some important clarifying questions for this final point could be: Is there a required prerequisite to this learning session content?; and if so, what level has the learner likely to have achieved in that content – theoretically and practically? Has the learner also likely to have since that pre-requisite learning event, been able to gain experience applying it in a real world context? In terms of the cohort of learners for this learning experience: can it be assumed that all of the learners will be on the same level of this assumed pre-requisite content? If not, I would need to plan for a mixed-levels education and learning session, being prepared for disparate levels across the cohort, and have pre-thought of a range of multi-level tasks with varying degrees of expectations of activities and tasks, to accommodate the potential range of learner levels, depending on the learners actual level – theoretical or practical – at this time.

Layer 8d: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 4

 If the information highlighted in any of these points is not accessible prior to developing my learning practice plans, then I need to develop what I classify as a generic education & learning practice session plan – an education & learning practice plan which allows me to ascertain such information from within the classroom environment when I first meet with the learners, and then as I grow to know over the ensuing sessions that follow.
Step 3: In the development of initial drafts of a generic education & learning practice plan, I take into consideration the learning session aims and objectives, and plan for a number of education & learning experience scenarios. In order to address the likely event of having a greatly differentiated learner group – a learner group with a wide range of learner types with various thinking orientations or intelligence – I am likely to be in a position where I need to make assumptions, and plan for a range of different scenarios.
Stages of Practice
In every education & learning practice session, there are specific stages of practice. The stages of practice aid the flow of the practice session overall, by dividing the education & learning practice session into logical divisions of introduction, development, conclusion, and closure.
However, these stages of the practice session are dependent upon the approach – theory and method – of the education & learning practice. Therefore I need to answer the following question:
  • What is the approach that I will adopt for the education & learning practice that will inform my practice?
I consider a range of learning theories and methods that could be appropriate for this particular education & learning session. As an integral part of this process, I consider the basis of the learning outcomes. Are the required learning outcomes – in nature – technical? functional? interactive? or situational? I make a decision as to what approach I will adopt for this particular education & learning practice, and am now in the position to plan the stages of practice in greater detail. The four (4) stages are:
  • Stage 1: the introduction stage to the learners and the learning session  – sets out how I am planning to situate this particular  learning session for this particular group of learners?; how I am planning to illuminate to this particular group of learners, the planned learning outcomes of this session?
  • Stage 2: the central stage of the learning session (also referred to as the core stage of learning session) – describes how the purpose of the learning session – content and/or process – will be delivered across a series of tasks and activities. Describes how the learning session is going to be developed so that the desired content and/or process will align with the pre-agreed learning practice aims and objectives;
  • Stage 3: the evaluation stage – describes how I am planning to have the learning session evaluated in terms of the content and/or processes. How will I draw the education & learning practice session to a logical conclusion so that the learners can effectively and efficiently evaluate what they have learnt?  What evaluation tools will I use – informal and/or formal?
  • Stage 4: the closure stage – describes how the session will be closed.
Sub-stages of Practice
Stage 2 the main stage then needs to be further detailed into a number of discrete education & learning sub-stages. Depending upon the chosen theory or approach, the sub-stages of the Stage 2 learning practice can include:
    • Stage 2a: establishing the context for the learning content and/or process in a situational example;
    • Stage 2b; presentation/instruction stage, teaching of new content and/or process;
    • Stage 2c: a heavily guided scaffolded learning practice stage;
    • Stage 2d: a moderately guided scaffolded learning practice stage
    • Stage 2e: a lightly guided scaffolded learning practice stage, and ;
    • Stage 2f: a performance practice stage.
    • Stage 2g: a debriefing stage, reflecting on, and evaluating the experience of the practice stage
    For greater description of these sub-stages, I refer you to my blog.

Layer 8e: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 5

Step 4: The next step in developing the draft education & learning practice plan is to consider what learning activities and tasks I intend to draw upon to support the learning objectives.These education & learning activities and tasks need to be congruent with the learners background and their expectations, as discussed above. These activities can be intellectual, physical or multi-modal activities. Each of these stages of education & learning practice should allow the education & learning facilitator to facilitate activities and tasks that engage and mobilise the learners, providing effective and efficient opportunities for the learner.
All activities need to be carefully planned and described in detail, predicted times for each activity to be allocated, and clear instructions for those activities and tasks written. These activities and tasks may encompass one or more of the communication modalities: speaking and listening; writing and reading. For example, an education & learning activity and task could be:
  • a lecture,
  • a workshop  – the workshop is likely to include (in no particular order):
    • an individual work component;
    • a pairwork component;
    • a group work component – perhaps small group, or perhaps whole group.
  • or an external task-based project.
The learning session facilitator needs to consider the core learner modalities engaged in during a learning task. Is it predominantly verbal, visual (image, graphic or data-based such as text), or kinaesthetic? Will the planned task fully engage a differentiated learner group? If not, how can the task to be modified?
The learning session facilitator needs to consider the planned interaction that may occur during these activities and tasks, between the facilitator and learner. Facilitator talk is not problematic, providing the time spent is actually realising a very specific objective of the education and learning session.
I consider the likely flow of communication will be at each and every stage of the education & learning practice session. Ultimately: how much time will the facilitator be talking (Ft); and how much time will the learner be engaged in either speaking and listening, or writing and reading (Lt). On every education and learning plan, I provide a narrow column down the right-hand side, where I note the focus of the learning task – either Ft or Lt – and how much time it involves. I am then in a position to add these figures up, informing me of how much facilitator talk (Ft) time there is planned; and how much learner talk (Lt) time there is planned. This is a very quick way to ascertain the probable balance of the proposed education and learning session, with the opportunity for change prior to the session if a likely imbalance is predicted.
Lastly, I need to consider what activity is planned to occur during this time.
  •  What will learner be doing? 
I need to detail how the learners are expected to work during each specified task.
Similarly, I also need to detail what I as the facilitator will be doing
  • What will I do during this time?
    • classroom management?
    • managing education & learning practice session flow?
    • learning checks?
    • how will my voice likely be? animated? calm?
    • my positioning to the learners?
    • my engagement with the learners?
    • to what degree or distance will I be facilitating the process?
FINAL NOTE: Session activities and tasks need to be aligned with the chosen education and learning theory or approach, and ultimately the aims and the objectives of the particular practice session.

Layer 8f: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 6

Step 5: The next step in developing the draft learning practice plan is to consider what learning assessment tasks are going to be introduced throughout the learning practice, in order to evaluate the learners’ learning. These can be either:
  • Informal ‘on the fly’ formative assessment tasks by the learning practitioner;
  • More structured formative assessment tasks, or possibly even;
  • Formal summative assessment tasks as required for a formal accredited course.
The challenge of formatively assessing the learners can be outlined by the following questions:
  • How will I monitor learner progress and needs across the education and learning practice session?
  • How will I record the data or evidence of learner’s realised learning?
  • At any point in time, how will I best assess the learners are learning?
  • What prompting questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What clarifying questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What probing questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • What concept checking questions could I use to assist the formative assessment process?
  • Essentially, how will I identify if the learners have actually learnt the objective of the task?
 Irrespective of the type of learning session, it is usual for the first type of learning assessment to make up the majority of in-class assessment. It is not unusual for a proactive education and learning practitioner to be assessing the learners – individually, in small groups, in larger groups, or as a whole group – constantly throughout the learning session. Such attention to the learners at any point in time is I believe a significant aspect of the role of a contemporary education and learning practitioner. With large classes, such attention can become quite consuming; and therefore a more structured assessment task may be considered timely to relieve the education and learning practitioner for a period of time, effectively affording them a break from their practice oversight. Such a more structured assessment task can also afford the learner an alternative modality of engagement to the activities they have been engaged in. These learning assessments can be intellectual, physical or multi-modal activities. Irrespective, all learning assessment activities need to be carefully planned, times to be allocated carefully considered, and clear instructions planned. Lastly, it needs to be noted that these learning assessment activities need to be congruent with the proceeding activities, as well as the learners background and their expectations, as discussed above.

Layer 8g: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 7

Step 6: As indicated earlier, with my primary goal for the education & learning practice session to align the learning objectives, learning activities and tasks, and the learning assessment tasks, as I develop the draft learning practice plan, I take the predicted learner experience into consideration. I need to consider how the members of this particular learning experience are likely to approach the pending learning session. Entwistle and Ramsden outline a deep and a surface level of approach “used by students in a wide variety of tasks in different disciplines and departments” (1983, 136).
Deep levels of approach are listed as:
  • Personal experience – “integrating the task with one self”
  • Relationships – “integrating the parts into a whole”, and
  • Meaning – “integrating the whole with its purpose”.
Surface levels of approach are listed as:
  • Unrelatedness – “defining the task as separate or its parts as discrete
  • Memorisation – “defining the task as a memory task”, and
  • Unreflectiveness – “defining the task in an external way” (Entwistle and Ramsden 1983, 137)
Depending on the agreed outcome of this particular education & learning experience, the learners need to be prepared for the style of learning experience they are about to engage in. If the content is required for a competency assessment at a vocational level, one may find a surface level expectation is inherent within the learner. This may be appropriate to the way you as the learning facilitator may intend to engage in, and deliver the content. However, if a surface level expectation is inherent within the learner, and the agreed outcome of this particular learning experience is that of an undergraduate degree module, perhaps the expectation of the education & learning facilitator and the learner will be misaligned – at odds with each other. This misalignment of learning expectations could be problematic within the learning experience, causing a range of possible outcomes such as: learner resistance; learner unwillingness to be involved, engage, or share in the learning experience; further learner attitudinal issues such as becoming introverted, or in contrast, being disruptive or aggressive; or either learner of learner facilitator frustration. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the learner expectation and the learner facilitator expectations are aligned; and if not, addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Layer 8h: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 8

Step 7: The last step in developing the draft education & learning practice session plan is to consider what resources, tools and technology I may need to organise in order to support the specified learning objectives, learning activities & tasks, and the assessment tasks of that practice session.
Some focus questions could include:
  • What needs to be considered and completed before the education & learning practice session commences?
  • What materials and resources will I need to have prepared prior to class (human, physical, IT)?
  • What digital tools and/or resources will I want to use in this practice session?
  • Will I need any technical support? If so state what, where and when.
  • Do I need to contact IT support prior to my education & learning practice session?
  • Do I need to schedule time to load computer programs or learning technologies prior to class? 

Layer 8i: My approach in preparing for a learning practice session Pt 9

The final stage in this process – once the education & learning practice session plan has been developed – is to consider the various forms such a plan may be required to be presented in. Whilst I have outlined each of these forms via a specific applied example of education & learning practice in another blog series series (Page 1990), an overview of these are:
  1. Synopsis Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this summary paragraph will be used by the marketing department to actually advertise the education & learning practice session – to attract learners of the potential fit of this program for their specific needs
  2. Summary Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this brief summary document may include only a section of either the aims, objectives or learning outcomes; and probably the task headings of what is to be on the agenda of the education & learning practice session. It could be used to present to the learners at the start of the session to outline the skeletal program of the education & learning session. Good practice would be also to use at the close of the session to recap what has been covered over the course of the learning session;
  3. The Interpretive Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this document would include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, and the learning outcomes, but may or may not include an education & learning approach to be taken. This level of documentation could be used by facilitators who are going to deliver the program that can be afforded some individual freedom of the approach and the tasks;
  4. Prescriptive Education & Learning Practice Session plan: this document would include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, the learning outcomes, and the intended education & learning approach indicating the pedagogy or andragogy. This document can be used for facilitators who are required to deliver a course in a specific way. A tertiary level course with multiple tutorial groups could require this level of documentation. In this scenario there are likely multiple instructors across multiple classes of learners who the administrators believe would benefit from sharing a similar experience;
  5. Prescriptive Plus Education & Learning Practice Session plan: similar to the above, this document would also include the rationale, the aims, the objectives, the learning outcomes, and the intended education & learning approach indicating the pedagogy or andragogy. Perhaps a formal industry accreditation course with ongoing multiple tutorial groups could require this level of documentation. The facilitators are delivering a course with important outcomes, demanding a duplicatable session so that irrespective of which session a learner attends, the learners will share a similar learning experience to that of another person in another session;
  6. Full/Detailed Education & Learning Session Plan. This is the master, fully-scoped document that I as the practice session developer developed as part of my preparatory practice, detailing every aspect of the education & learning practice session, including the learner group, and contingency strategies to address possible changes in circumstances during the actual practice sessions; or
  7. Instructional Education & Learning Session Plan. This is another version of the full/detailed Education & Learning Session Plan, that may include specific criteria terminology outside of what one may expect in a usual Education & Learning Session Plan. The Instructional Education & Learning Session Plan may be provided to a practitioner-in-training in an organisation which requires specifically worded criteria to be met in order for that practitioner-in-training to meet minimum performance standards. Whilst the criteria terminology may be different to usual education & learning practice session, it certainly should only differ to a usual Education & Learning Session Plan in the way the essential elements are divided or described. It should in short, contain all of the usual Education & Learning Session Plan elements (Page 1990).
            This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3c .
References
Entwistle, Noel and Paul Ramsden. 1983. Understanding Student Learning. New York: Routledge Revivals.
Esposito, Emily 2015 The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals  Accessed 20th November 2015
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2 Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2015b. Educational Philosophy Part 3a Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2015c. Educational Philosophy Part 3c Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 15th June 2015
Page, David L. 1990. E+L Session Plans Part 1 Accessed 15th June 2015
Bibliography
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Armstrong, Thomas. 1999. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume Books.
Ashwin, Paul. 2006. Changing higher education: the development of learning and teaching. New York: Routledge.
Bradbury, Helen, Nick Frost, Sue Kilminster and Miriam Zukus. 2010. Beyond reflective practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. New York: Routledge.
Billett, Stephen. 2001. Learning in the workplace: strategies for effective practice. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Boud, David, Rosemary Keogh and David Walker. 2013. Reflection: turning experience into learning. New York: Routledge.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2006. The skillful teacher: on technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. 2 ed. San Francisco: The Jossey Bass.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2002. “Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom.” New Directions for Community Colleges 2002 (118): 31-38.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Brookfield, Stephen. 1986. Understanding and facilitating adult learning: A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Chopra, Deepak. 1996. The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfilment of your dreams. New York: Random House.
Covey, Stephen R. 2013. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1991. Principle centered leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1989. The 7 habits of highly effective people. Melbourne: The Business Library.
Dyer, Wayne W. 1992. Real magic: creating miracles in everyday life. Sydney: Harper Collins.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Fisher, Douglas and Nancy Frey. 2007. Checking for understanding: formative assessment techniques for your classroom. New York: ASCD.
Gardner, Howard and Thomas Hatch. 1989. “Multiple Intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences.” Educational researcher 18 (8): 4-10.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences image courtesy of:  Gardners’ MI   Accessed 28th March 2015
Gawith, Gwen. 1991. Power learning: a student’s guide to success. Melbourne: Longman Chesire.
Gerber, Michael E. 2005. E Myth Mastery. New York: Harper Audio.
Gerber, Michael E. 1999. The e-myth manager: why management doesn’t work – and what to do about it. New York: Harper Business.
Gerber, Michael E. 1988. The E Myth. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. “Research and the self.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. “Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change.” Accessed May 24, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
Kemp, Anthony E. 1996. The musical temperament. New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowles, Malcolm S, Elwood F Holton III and Richard A Swanson. 2012. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 7 ed. New York: Routledge.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage
Merriam, Sharan B. 2001. “Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory.” New directions for adult and continuing education 2001 (89): 3-14.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L .2015d. Music Practitioner Part 3 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Pascal, J., & Thompson, N. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 13(2), 311. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart Accessed 28th March 2015
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Roth, Robert. 1989. “Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic“. Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
SAE Institute, 2015 SAE Institute Accessed 28th March 2015
Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 355 + xvii pages.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
– ©David L Page 17/06/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Reflective Practice – Part 5

In addition to formal industry training, imitation and scaffolded experience, a third essential aspect of training and developing ones’ creative practice, is reflection (Burgess 2013, 35; Schön 1983, 3; McKee 2003; Roth 1989). Lawrence-Wilkes & Chapman (2015) encourage practitioners irrespective of their level within an industry or field: “Reflective practice provides an opportunity to enhance professional performance and self-development by enabling insight and assisting learning for new understanding, knowledge and action”.  Certain scholars believe reflective practice is so essential, one will experience a “crisis of confidence in professional knowledge” if it is lacking from ones’ practice routine (Schön 1983, 3). 

What is reflective practice?

The Art of self-reflection
Reflection allows for the consideration of your practice – “to understand, question, and investigate” – to appraise if one’s current processes are the most appropriate, or best practice (Brookfield 2002, 32). Reflective practice is learnt, a skill that develops with practice; and in my life experience, a skill you will draw on throughout your life, irrespective of your profession or role, or role in either family or society, to examine your practice – your strategic positioning or workflow. Schön believes reflective practitioner advocates are developing an “epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners do bring to situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness and value conflict” (Ferry and Ross-Gordon 1998,99), for the benefit of all practitioners across all industries and fields.
Some academics have referred to reflective practice as ” ‘bending back’ upon oneself” (Archer in Ryan 2014, 80) in order to critically reflect on ones’ practice. Effectively looking over one’s shoulders back at their practice that they are either in the process of, have just completed, or completed some time previously in preparation for more practice. These steps are referred to as reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action and reflection-for-action (Schon 1983; Pascal and Thompson 2012). As Haseman (2015) acknowledges, such investigation is not referring to the casual capturing of aspects of ones’ practice, but the conscious deliberate disciplined act of probing ones’ practice. In contrast to Archer’s approach, Griffiths (2013) takes a more introspective approach with her focus on the self as a necessary part of effective reflective practice. It must be noted though, irrespective of their approaches, both Ryan and Griffiths agree that once critical reflective practice has taken place, then a practitioner needs to integrate the positive learnings into their practice from this point forth. Known as reflexive practice, this is a crucial step effectively completing the reflection process of: consideration of one’s practice, evaluating and analysing one’s options, choices, decisions, workflows, and results, concluding with the development of one’s practice with what one has learnt as a result of the reflection process.
Therefore in summary: Haseman’s (2015) model, referred to as Forensic Reflective Practice, requires the following criteria:
  • Reflexive practice rather than only reflective practice
  • Inclusion of the field, the site and autobiography of the practitioner, and
  • Tools for probing practice, rather than casual capturing of phenomena

forensic-reflective-practice_haseman

Figure I – Forensic reflective practice chart (Haseman 2015)

Strategies to practice reflection?

Tools for probing practice can take many forms, and again their is much opinion regarding what form and medium these tools take. Gibbs’ model relies on questions that the practitioner can ask of themselves within a conscious reflective practice cycle, such as:
  • Description: what happened?
  • Feelings: what were you thinking and feeling?
  • Evaluations: what was good and bad about the experience?
  • Analysis: what sense can you make of the situation?
  • Conclusion: what else could be done?
  • Generalizable rule: If it arose again, what would you do?
  • Description: etc, etc
Reflective Practice Cycle_Gibbs.1988
Figure II – Reflective Cycle (Gibbs in Knowles et al 2006)
Roth’s (1989) model for unpacking the reflective process is somewhat similar, though encouraging greater depth and further investigation as required. Together, these conceptual frameworks provide several perspectives and facilitate ways in which to think critically about practice, and uncover what is, exactly, effective practice. They provide a platform for revealing the efficacy of reflective pedagogical practices in light of industry guidelines.
  • Questioning what, why, and how one does things and asking what, why, and how others do things
  • Seeking alternatives
  • Keeping an open mind
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Seeking the framework, theoretical basis, and/or underlying rationale
  • Viewing from various perspectives
  • Asking “what if…?”
  • Asking for others’ ideas and viewpoints
  • Using prescriptive models only when adapted to the situation
  • Considering consequences
  • Hypothesising
  • Synthesising and testing
  • Seeking, identifying, and resolving problems
As practitioners often use reflective practices informally {see above point re casual capturing of aspects of ones’ practice}, it is the aim of experienced reflective practitioners to ensure the reflective practice processes are clear and transparent so they can be examined closely for their value, limitations and assumptions of the practitioner (McKee, 2003).

Advice for novice reflective practitioners

Reflective practice is a raw and in-depth account of one’s practice. It is meant to be reflective and introspective. It is not meant to be a sales pitch to another person, irrespective of whether that person is in a position of authority (for example a HE Lecturer for an assessment task) or not.
For those practitioners who are engaging in reflective practice for the first time, I provide the following considerations. In my experience a range of potential challenges may be encountered in reflective practice, where one is both the researcher and the subject of the study [“research as subject” (Griffiths 2011,184)]. Given this practice, it is critical that one demonstrates academic virtue, rigour and transparency of researcher as subject to avoid bias. As a researcher, I subscribe to Griffith’s view that irrespective of what research methodologies one utilises – quantitative, qualitative ethnographic or auto-ethnographic – the researcher must illuminate their “relationships, circumstances, perspectives and reactions”, making these clear to the reader (Griffiths 2011, 184). One way of addressing the separation of the self, is to ensure there are a diverse range of reflective devices and mediums in order to capture the data, so that these multiple-methods can then be used to distill the true data about my self and processes, in order to crystalize the outcomes and conclusions. It is a goal of mine in my research studies to showcase the benefits and merits of such a qualitative study, particularly within a creative arts field, and therefore to have demonstrated academic virtue (Bridges 2003 in Griffiths, 2011, 183), be considered to have rigour, and guarded against bias, is a primary goal of mine for this KK59 Doctorate of Creative Industries research study.

Methods I employ in reflective practice

I regularly and deliberately take the time to reflect on what I am doing in my practice: reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action and reflection-for-action (Schon 1983; Pascal and Thompson 2012). This reflection could occur on-site of my practice, or off-site. Not only do I observe my practice, but by networking, collaborating, researching and pursuing the education of myself,  I get to observe my peers’ practices. This may be done by direct observation of peers or mentors, via resources such as texts and videos, or via attending courses.

reflection-in-on-for-action

Figure III – Reflective Practices Summary (Anderson et al 2015)
I am looking for innovative structures, techniques or equipment that other practitioners may be employing in their creative, pre-production, production, or post-production stage processes, in order to realise unique musical or sonic qualities or textures. I closely observe their practice, evaluating and analysing their options, choices, decisions, workflows and results. Reflexively, I then consider any disparities, innovations and possible developments that I may choose to integrate and develop my practice with what I have learnt as a result of the reflection process.
It is imperative that one has systematic methods and mediums decided upon prior to embracing reflective practice. The multiple-mediums and methods I use to record, describe or reflect on my experiences or observations during, immediately after, or some time after, are:
  • Pro Tools DAW software
  • Apple Macintosh iMac 27”, and Apple Macintosh MacBookPro 17”
  • iPhone for notes, impromptu recordings, messages
  • Zoom H6 recording device
  • Use a Microsoft Office programs such as excel and word to produce Content chart and Headings to enter structural notes – main topic headings, and sub-headings – and then develop as ideas and thoughts comes across ones mind whilst reading or typing;
  • Use of electronic folders on my computer HD with each folder representing a heading, and/or sub-heading etc. Folders can then also contain related word docs, pdfs, graphics, charts, etc;
  • Using pen and paper to create mindmaps while conceptualising, reading, summarising at certain times of the day;
  • Using iThought (mind map app) to create mindmaps while conceptualising, reading, summarising whilst using a computer;
  • Using iNotes (notepad on Mac) to jot down points as I am reading electronic journals or texts;
  • Directly copying a significant quote with full reference into word doc (with full reference imported into Endnote), so as to return to it later;
  • Highlighting significant passages or references, or writing into the sides of paper texts or journals, and then transferring these into word document to keep a more developed log or commence to develop a draft of an essay;
  • Use pieces of paper or iPhone to record ideas or thought comes across ones mind whilst reading, typing, driving, walking, having a coffee, chatting with peers, critical friend.
  • Creating charts to chart my progress – physical and electronic;
  • Prose and song lyrics;
  • Musical compositions;
  • Doodles, graphics or images;
  • Recording video and audio messages and notes;
  • Blogs, or web-based curation;
  • Network of critical friends, as external eyes and ears for both personal, creative, affective and effective development.
References
Anderson, C, Carolyn Carattini, Heather Clarke, Gail Hewton, David Page 2015 QUT KKP623 Reflective Practice in Action Group Presentation submission Accessed October 24, 2015.
Brookfield, Stephen. 1986. Understanding and facilitating adult learning: a comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 2013. The art of music production: the theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ferry, Natalie M. and Jovita M. Ross-Gordon. 1998. An inquiry into Schön’s epistemology of practice: exploring links between experience and reflective practice. In Adult Education Quarterly 48 (2): 98-112. doi: 10.1177/074171369804800205.
Gibbs’ Reflective cycle image courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/543739354987865666  Accessed 5th June, 2015
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. Research and the self. In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change. Accessed 7th July, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
Knowles, Zoë, Gareth Tyler, David Gilbourne and Martin Eubank. 2006. Reflecting on reflection: exploring the practice of sports coaching graduates. Reflective Practice 7 (2): 163-179.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L and A Chapman. 2015. Reflective practice. Accessed 2nd June, 2015. http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage.
Pascal, J and N Thompson. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. In Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives 13(2) 311-325. Accessed June 12, 2015. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795.
Roth, Robert A. 1989. Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic. In Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
All other images and charts courtesy of: DLP Accessed 7th June, 2015
Self reflection image courtesy of: Self Reflection for Personal Growth  Accessed 5th June, 2015
– ©David L Page 08/06/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Educational Philosophy Part 3a

On track to develop mastery of one self, what is your approach to education and learning?

Layer 7: My approach to educational practice

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series: as I have indicated in prior blogs “I have been fortunate in my educational practice career to have taught across different eras, across a diverse number of fields and disciplines, across different environments and situations, for different desired outcomes, and to vastly different sets of learners. I therefore, have had the privilege to develop a diverse range of educational practice, across many different learning theories” (Page 2004). Millwood’s (2013) project Holistic Approach to Technology Enhanced Learning  (HoTEL) visually highlights the many different approaches an educator or facilitator may approach a specific learning environment and group of learners. All are potentially useful depending upon the context, the desired outcomes, and the learners. As I stated previously, it “would be foolish, and I believe the voice of inexperience for anyone to suggest one discipline and learning paradigm as being superior to another. They are different, and have developed as a result of different needs in different situations with different practitioners for different learners” (Page 2004). Though with time and conscious development, I have developed my personal philosophical approach to not only life, but also to my educational practice.  Fundamentally,
“my educational practice, how I engage within the site, and with my learners, and in fact how I approach all aspects of my life – my practice, and my self – is within a Learning Organisation paradigm” (Page 2004).
Pedagogy vs Andragogy
A Learning Organisation paradigm fits appropriately along side of the andragogical movement of adult educational practice (Knowles et al 2012). The andragogical movement differentiates itself from a pedagogical perspective of practice primarily around the age and dependence of the learner. Pedagogy, based on the greek word for child assumes the learner is a dependent, reliant upon the educator in the learning environment. In contrast, the andragogical movement defined as “the art and science of helping adults learn”, assumes the learner is self-directed, and responsible for their own learning (Knowles in Merriam 2001, 5).

andragoigy-vs-pedagogy

Figure I – Pedagogy vs Andragogy Chart (2015)
There is some debate as to the validity of the andragogical approach being used in the same breath as a pedagogical method. However, my view is both approaches have their place in contemporary adult and education and learning practice. Whilst fundamentally I am predisposed to a andragogical approach to my education and learning practice, it does not exclude instances where I consider a pedagogical approach may be more appropriate in order to optimise the effective student learning experience of a particular learner or learners at that time (Boud in Ashwin 2006,19). I rely on sound sustainable and replicatable methodological approaches within my education and learning practice. As mentioned, I am in a position to draw on developed content, information knowledge and skill gained across a wide range of experience in different learning theories and approaches. I have yet to experience one theory or approach that is optimal in every contemporary adult education and learning practice context.
Multiple-facetted approach
I also rely on my life experience to assist in the learning process as I see appropriate.  I regularly draw on a broad range of roles and faces to assist me in my educational practice. Assuming that within a learning practice session of say twenty-four (24) learners, there is expected to be a wide range of backgrounds, personalities, thinking and learning orientations. I as the learning facilitator approach the learning experience knowing I need to be flexible and adaptable to cater to, or relate to, the individual learner. Some of the roles or faces I see my self as having include that of: an educator, a teacher, a facilitator, an authority, a coach, a motivator, a guide, a mentor, a consultant, a manager, a delegator, a performer, an adviser, a supervisor, a curator, a learner, a peer, a team member, an empathiser, a friend, a parent, a disciplinarian, a court jester, a cajoler, a philosophiser, an administrator, a carer, or a (small c) counsellor, to name a few (Light et all, 2009, 122). I find having such a multiple facetted role and face approach in the practice of education and learning is particularly necessary when approaching students who have varying degrees of learner experience and development. For instance, as Knowles et al summary of four (4) stages in Adult Learner Learning Autonomy highlights, for each stage of a student’s development, the learner facilitator will require a different role or face.
  • Stage 1 learner development: student dependence, in which the teacher may need to be one of an authoritative figure or a coach;
  • Stage 2 learner development: student interested, in which the teacher may need to be one of a motivator or guide;
  • Stage 3 learner development: student involved, in which the teacher may need to be one of a facilitator;
  • Stage 4 learner development: student self-directed, in which the teacher may need to be one of a consultant or delegator (Knowles et al 2012, 185).
Further to this, I have regularly found that even within the one learner, they may be at different stages of their learner development depending upon what the task at hand is. For example, if a learner is expected to engage in four (4) tasks during a 180 minutes learning session – for example researching, analysing, discussing and writing – a learner may have differing levels of aptitude, competence and development across these four (4) functions. Therefore, as a professional learning practitioner, I am likely to draw on a range of my multiple facetted practice roles and faces within the learning environment context in order to optimise my interaction with the learners.
My sole purpose of engaging in these multiple practice faces is to assist the learner in gaining an understanding or insight of their learning challenge at that particular point in time. My goal is always first and foremost to assist the learner, and optimise the effective student learning experience at that moment in time. I would also like to state: I would be incongruent if I was to claim that I always get the correct balance when approaching a particular learner or group of learners. I don’t. However, as a practitioner and social being I need to take ownership of what choices and decisions I have made at any point in time, and at a later time, make the time to reflect on my decisions, actions and  outcomes that presented themselves within the learning environment I was responsible for.
Replication and Duplication of Practitioner Practice
Some observers could consider such a multi facetted practice approach as being problematic in terms of institutional management, given that such an individual practitioner approach may not be a replicatable or duplicatable methodological approach across faculty.  As most are aware, the landscape of higher education has rapidly changed over the past decade, and is continuing to evolve. Business measures of success have increasing become measures of higher education institutions – economic effectiveness and efficiency.  Accepted business processes are being developed in order to attempt to control the three (3) pillars of higher education activity: teaching, research, administration & service (Light et al 2009, 3-8).  I believe the parameters surrounding these three pillars can be and should be defined to benchmarked best practice in order to maintain levels of service delivery to all learners irrespective of the institution they attend. But I do not agree that learning practitioners could ever, or should ever have their unique practitioner approaches restricted – as long as these practices are aligned with optimising the effective student learning experience of those particular learners. I rely on sound sustainable and replicatable methodological approaches within my educational practice. However, as developed across the preceding Layers, my view is that each practitioner is a unique self, with potentially differing culture, education, age (generational experience), work experience, previous experiences in learning, learning styles, motivation to learn, and prior experience in the pending agreed learning experience discipline or subject area. Each practitioner should also have a uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. Each practitioner will therefore bring to a learning experience a unique approach to practice, in order to optimise the effective student learning experience of those particular learners. I consider the uniqueness of the professional practitioner to being a valid and exciting aspect of the contemporary education and learning field.
Practitioner Congruence
It is important to note: in order for me to practice to a level of personal integrity – being professionally congruent with my practice – irrespective of who my learners are. I must ensure that my educational philosophy is aligned to the executive leadership of the education institution where I am conducting my practice. As a professional education and learning practitioner, I accept one of my core values is to assist people with their learning. Having experienced issues with learning at certain stages of my development, I consider my self to have an empathy and a holistic care for people, wanting to assist them in any way that they need, to ensure they are developing their content, information knowledge base and skills level, maximising their development, their personal empowerment, in order for them to ultimately realise their full life potential.
It would be problematic for me to engage in educational practice within an organisation or institution where their educational philosophy was not aligned to my philosophy and approach. In approaching an educational or learning program, I either commence by creating a curriculum from this philosophical stance. However, if I am in a learning institution where I have not been part of the curriculum development process, I need to ascertain and absorb the specifics of the content; determine how best this content can be delivered to address the learning outcomes in way that is aligned to my philosophy; develop a teaching program across the full duration of the course; and then at that point I can begin to draft the individual learning experience plans.
       Professional Practice
As mentioned in Layer 2 of my previous blog, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers (Ericsson et al 1993). I value and believe in the merit of developing of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art – for that practitioner developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express one self through uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
            This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3b.
References
Ashwin, Paul. 2006. Changing higher education: the development of learning and teaching. New York: Routledge.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Knowles, Malcolm S, Elwood F Holton III and Richard A Swanson. 2012. The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. 7 ed. New York: Routledge.
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Merriam, Sharan B. 2001. “Andragogy and self‐directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory.” New directions for adult and continuing education 2001 (89): 3-14.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 2 Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2015b. Educational Philosophy Part 3b Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 28th March 2015
Pedagogy versus Andragogy chart courtesy of: Pedagogy vs Andragogy chart Accessed 28th March 2015
Bibliography
Anderson, C, Carolyn Carattini, Heather Clarke, Gail Hewton, David Page 2015 QUT KKP623 Reflective Practice in Action Group Presentation submission Accessed October 24, 2015.
Angelo, Thomas A and K Patricia Cross. 1993. “Classroom assessment techniques: A handbookfor college teachers.” San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Armstrong, Thomas. 1999. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume Books.
Bradbury, Helen, Nick Frost, Sue Kilminster and Miriam Zukus. 2010. Beyond reflective practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. New York: Routledge.
Billett, Stephen. 2001. Learning in the workplace: strategies for effective practice. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Boud, David, Rosemary Keogh and David Walker. 2013. Reflection: turning experience into learning. New York: Routledge.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2006. The skillful teacher: on technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. 2 ed. San Francisco: The Jossey Bass.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2002. “Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom.” New Directions for Community Colleges 2002 (118): 31-38.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass
Brookfield, Stephen. 1986. Understanding and facilitating adult learning: A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Chopra, Deepak. 1996. The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfilment of your dreams. New York: Random House.
Covey, Stephen R. 2013. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1991. Principle centered leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1989. The 7 habits of highly effective people. Melbourne: The Business Library.
Dyer, Wayne W. 1992. Real magic: creating miracles in everyday life. Sydney: Harper Collins.
Entwistle, Noel and Paul Ramsden. 1983. Understanding Student Learning. New York: Routledge Revivals.
Esposito, Emily 2015 The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals  Accessed 20th November 2015
Fisher, Douglas and Nancy Frey. 2007. Checking for understanding: formative assessment techniques for your classroom. New York: ASCD.
Gardner, Howard and Thomas Hatch. 1989. “Multiple Intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences.” Educational researcher 18 (8): 4-10.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences image courtesy of:  Gardners’ MI   Accessed 28th March 2015
Gawith, Gwen. 1991. Power learning: a student’s guide to success. Melbourne: Longman Chesire.
Gerber, Michael E. 2005. E Myth Mastery. New York: Harper Audio.
Gerber, Michael E. 1999. The e-myth manager: why management doesn’t work – and what to do about it. New York: Harper Business.
Gerber, Michael E. 1988. The E Myth. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. “Research and the self.” In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Haseman, B 2015. “Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change.” Accessed May 24, 2015. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_118711_1&content_id=_5744651_1.
 Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage
Page, David L. 2015c. Music Practitioner Part 3 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Pascal, J., & Thompson, N. 2012. Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 13(2), 311. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Roth, Robert. 1989. “Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic“. Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
SAE Institute, 2015 SAE Institute Accessed 28th March 2015
Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 355 + xvii pages.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
– ©David L Page 25/05/2015
– updated ©David L Page 20/11/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Educational Philosophy Part 2

Know one self, develop mastery of one self

vision-blue-print-image
Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series; I am a practitioner across multiple disciplines. My formal post-compulsory education qualifications include engineering, business, governance, teaching, education and sound production. I have held coal face type positions, project management and consultancy positions, numerous senior and executive management positions including leading a corporation in a managing director role, and have acted on several boards in governance roles. I have undertaken many more lessor accredited and non-accredited training programs across these disciplines and many industries. There are too many to list in name and content focus. I have been very fortunate to live in an era, a country and be of a gender and class where my access to knowledge is virtually boundless. What I have discovered over time, core to the range of roles I have engaged in professionally, irrespective of the discipline or industry, is knowing one self. Underlying what many are referring to as soft skills [see blog] , or as Light et al refers to as “Transferable skills – which include communication, teamwork, leadership, ethics, problem-solvingand information technology, etc – support the economic requirement of flexibility and adaptability which graduates expect to use in their future employment and careers, as well as in their life practices and activities”(Light at al 2009, 11). Skills which will enable people to manage themselves within society, and conduct themselves competently and professionally within industry.
As introduced in my blog Music Practitioner – Part 5 blog, “Ryan considers it essential for a creative arts practitioner to look deeper into self (Ryan 2014,77). Having been involved in multiple practice across disciplines, I would suggest that Ryan’s view equally applies to all practice. From the mid 1990’s there was a leadership movement present in most industrialised societies. Referred to by some as the new age management movement, industry or discipline leaders such as Tom Peters (Peters and Austin 1985), Michael Gerber (1988), Stephen Covey (1992), Anthony Robbins (1991), Deepak Chopra (1996) and Wayne Dyer (1992) presented seminars across the globe to concert halls of leaders, managers, entrepreneurs and  practitioners across a broad range of industries. The seminal message was very simple: for success you need to develop yourself as a practitioner. In order to do this, irrespective of your role or function, you will need to continue to develop your self until you have a degree of mastery of your self. Recent observations show an increased number of higher education learning support resources – what once had the singular focus of ontological, epistemological and methodological content – now reference learners and their self, their social and cultural considerations, their emotions, their learning styles and intelligences (Marshall and Rowland 2013, 2-16).
Core to my beliefs, a practitioner must get to know one self on many levels. For one to be able to interact and engage with others at an effective level, one must first understand oneself. I believe we as humans have multiple layers or facets which makes each of us truly unique. I personally like the analogy of an onion, peeling back each layer one by one as we progress through life, revealing another layer of our complex selves. For me, to consider my self as a learner practitioner, I must also include into my consideration, my self.  This should not perhaps be surprising given my higher degree research study is that of an auto-ethnographical study of my practice: an emergent research study that will no doubt have me revealing multiple layers of distinctions and understandings about my self, as I progress along my path – revealing my information of my practice, and my self.

onion-layers

Layer 1: My Background

I am a white male of european descent, born and raised in Australia by post-war baby boomers. I was raised and schooled christian, but have since spent time in both Japanese and Indian cultures for extended periods of time.  I share a culture with my life partner of Indian cultural background. As a result, we consciously developed a fusion of values and beliefs that were minutely agreeable over several decades to form our own unique culture. We have now been married for twenty-five years.
I was Australian public school educated. I was an above average student – working hard to achieve this – but several events inside and outside of my schooling discouraged my continuing engagement. I had found music, and by mid-high school I had lost interest and I left to pursue an alternative option – a trade. I recall the school counsellor advised my parents that the trade I was leaving to pursue was unlikely to keep me engaged for long; but my parents left the decision to me. Within two years I found the trade role was straight forward – just not interesting. By the third year, I found I spent most time at work in the medium sized business office serving customers, managing their expectations and developing the centre’s poor systems. By the fourth year, I was researching returning to school in order to enable me to enrol in a business degree.
Due to my school grades, my aptitude test, and my work experience, I was accepted into tertiary education. None of my family (immediate or extended) had pursued tertiary studies previously (I recall at the time only 11% of Australians went on to higher education). Having departed high school prior to Year 12 and having missed many of the formative subjects that the tertiary course content developed on from. I struggled through engaging in the course content to varying levels. I however chose to spend much of my time socialising and exploring the limits of being young and free in Australia and overseas. My love for and interest in music developed exponentially at this time, and I returned to a single-minded focus of music practice.
I left for overseas immediately after completing my final year, to which would become a significant period in my life. I got a role consulting with Japanese industrial organisations regarding their training and development. I was trained in educational practice and also delivered training across many industries.  I also formed an originals band with both locals and Internationals; played local venues, community events and festivals; writing, co-managing, and co-producing. I experimented with engineering on both analogue consoles and experimented within the developing digital technologies.
Upon returning back to Australia, I formalised my teaching experience, and gained diverse experience across a range of post-compulsory educational institutions –  including tertiary – experimenting, designing curriculum and programs, and teaching across a broad range of educational approaches (Milwood 2013). Additionally, I continued to develop and practice music – from writing to performing.
After several overseas ventures consulting with International organisations,  I formalised my education experience with a Masters degree. During this time, I was recruited by several educational institutions to assist them with leadership, curriculum design, developing systems, financial management, human resources management, strategic marketing, business development and governance. I continued with my music practice, outsourcing to many bands playing local venues and community events. I also engaged in community music programs as a mentor and coach.
During this time I took a leave of absence and studied at California’s Music Institute (MI) at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT).  I also ventured into the virtual world of music production (Pro Tools and Logic Pro) and explored the world of virtual instruments in contrast to the acoustic or electric instruments I had experience with until then.
 After a three year professional stint overseas, I returned to Australia and formalised my engineering and production experience in a course at SAE. One year later, I was invited to teach as a sessional Lecturer, which over time progressed into my current role as a Senior Lecturer. I am now formalising my broad Creative Practice in a professional doctoral program at Queensland University of Technology. What I am finding though, is that I am actually formalising all of my practice to date, across all disciplines and industries, with one of the two agreed outcomes being two original cultural productions (EPs) of my music and audio practice.

onion-layers

Layer 2: My generation

The types of information I ideally need to know prior to entering a education and training role, is to know myself.
I was born into Generation X (Gen X) – which has been referred to as the lost generation. As one of the smallest generational cohorts in terms of births, as a Gen Xer I found my parent’s baby-boomer generation to be quite overwhelming in terms of their large personalities and regular group get togethers. They were vocal, opinionated and highly engaged in living life to the fullest. As I was growing up, I recall I  struggled to find my voice at various times, often feeling relatively invisible. My dad worked in a senior Corporate role which occupied his days, including often his evenings and the weekends. He was well intentioned by volunteering to manage our local rugby teams, but the reality was that he was often unavailable due to work commitments. I would say therefore, that my father was relatively disengaged from me and my brother and sister’s lives. When I was almost seventeen years of age, my parents accepted an international position and moved overseas. This situation forced me to become independent virtually overnight. My parents were a very loving and compatible couple towards each other, and travelled extensively as part of their Corporate lives, inviting me over the Australian summer season. I have definitely absorbed these influences as my life with my partner has demonstrated, along my global travels.  I am also confident that my experiences of feeling invisible and voiceless at times allowed me to feel comfortable in engaging in other cultures of Japan and India.
Technology has played a major role in my life, having lives across many forms of developing media: from black and white television, to colour, to digital; computers from large room punch card devices, to personal computers, to portable laptop devices; landline to portable to mobile telecommunications devices; studios from large format studios to project studios to portable studios; analogue, digital and now digital virtual technologies in the music and audio field; This rapid change has aided me to being quite flexible and adaptable. One aspect that I have never felt a desire to embrace is gaming – digital or virtual. I was always too busy being physical or embracing physical instruments.
 As a result, I believe I possess the typical Gen X characteristics of: self-reliance;  seek a balanced life across work, family and interests; am relatively comfortable with technology; and comfortable working in non-traditional structures (environments,reporting lines, time of day, etc). The one train I do not share with fellow Gen Xers is my lack of adoption to DIY culture. I embraced punk is spirit, but not in activity.
“Whilst I am a very self-reliant practitioner, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers” (Ericsson et al 1993 in Page 2004)
I guess it is the phenomenologist within me, perhaps tied with my libran value of the aesthetic.
“In both myself and others, I value and believe in the merit of the the development of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art – for that practitioner developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express one self through the development of a uniquely personalised quality end product. I accept at last that this is integral to how I conduct my self in my practice and life” (Page 2004).

onion-layers

Layer 3: My paradigm

As I outlined in my  Research Practitioner – Part 2  blog, my ontology is one of phenomenology. Specifically, I view the world through an experiential phenomenological lens. Experiential Phenomenology professional practitioners tend to be less interested in the philosophy of phenomenological method than its practice and application:
“In existential phenomenology the focus is on individual’s experiences of being-in-the-world” (Grace and Ajjawi 2010, 198).

onion-layers

Layer 4: My epistemology

My epistemology is empirical, relying on my senses of observation and experimentation.  It therefore should not be surprising that the methodology using a mixed-method qualitative methodology, including that of: practice-led research, evocative auto-ethnography, reflective practice, and reflexive practice, over the two projects. Reflecting on my life across numerous disciplines, I recognise I am the archetype who has to experience activities in life, rather than just theorising about it at arm’s length. Irrespective of my creative, sporting, or professional endeavours of education and management, I learnt early that I need to experience something to understand it.

onion-layers

Layer 5: My approach to all forms of practice

As introduced in my blog Educational Philosophy Part 1“My life philosophy is one of constant and never-ending improvement. It has been consciously so for over the past decade. Irrespective of what field or discipline I am operating within, I practice every day, in some way towards. As mentioned in Layer 2 above, my over riding philosophical stance embraces the 10,000 hours trades philosophy of skilled craftworkers (Ericsson et al 1993). I value the development of a skill, a trade, a craft, or art, developing specialist knowledge and tools over many thousand’s of hours of practice, to ultimately express my self through a uniquely personalised and developed content, information knowledge base and skill level. I consider this approach integral to becoming a professional practitioner.
As part of this practice, I also make time to reflect every day at some time upon some aspect of my diverse practice, referenced against other practitioners, whether peers or those who I value their cultural production. My focus is to gain clarity, greater understanding, increased insight, considering possible alternative workflows I could have pursued, and decide what form of practice I will pursue the next opportunity a similar circumstance arises” (Page 2004). 
I note that the life-long learning philosophy I have outlined aligns to what Billet and Newton refer to as a learning practice (Bradbury et al 2010, 52); and the daily practice I describe is both reflective practice (Schön 1983) and reflexive practice (West in Bradbury et al 2010, 66).

onion-layers

Layer 6: My learning styles

In terms of a personality type, I demonstrate characteristics of Littauer’s hippocratic approach as a sanguine (expressive), choleric (driving). I also have relative high levels of melancholic (analytic). Irrespective of the personality type I have taken over the years, I consistently test to these types. Having been immersed within Japanese culture for many decades, it not surprising that my blood type [Funukawa blood types]also matches constantly with the range of my personality type tests (Littauer 1986, 235).
As a left-handed person, I draw predominantly on the right-hemisphere of my brain. “The right-hemisphere appears to be responsible for certain spatial skills and musical abilities and to process information simultaneously and holistically”. That is not to say that I do not have access to the left-hemisphere of my brain, attributes which are usually noted as “analytic processes, especially the production and understanding of language, and it appears input in a sequential order” (Springer and Deutsch 1993, 5).  I am a swimmer and previously a jogger, so both sides of my body, including the hemispheres within my brain have since a very young age got equal attention in their development. In terms of my music practice, I developed a degree of ambidextrousness playing a two handed instrument over about four decades. However in order to develop my music practice to another level, about a decade ago I decided to develop a fingerpicking style of playing (in contrast to straight single note or rhythm playing) using both a plectrum and my lower three (3) fingers. Whilst this style is now very natural, it took considerable time reprogramming my quite limited rhythmical left arm (strumming arm). As a result, I now find I have similar levels of dexterity, accuracy, strength, rhythm and feel from the fingers between both my right and left hands now.
In learning educational kinesiology (EK) such balance is not always the norm. It is not uncommon for people in their day to day activities, to develop one side of their body, and therefore one side of their brain in greater proportion to the other side. Through EK I learnt exercises to do when I feel that I have lost a degree of balance due to my everyday activities. These exercises allow me to “integrate both halves of the brain”again –  and sometimes apply to my students as I feel it is appropriate and required –  “to make learning both easier and more enjoyable” (Parker and Stuart 1986, 16). I consciously continue to exercise and develop my right side of my body, and therefore my left hemisphere of the brain,  in order to maintain a more of a balanced life, and be flexible to switch my orientations when the situation requires it of me.
I am naturally a visual, kinaesthetic, auditory thinker. The core language characteristic is: “Speaks from personal experience a circling way” (Markova 1992, 65). This is perhaps not surprising to my peers and students who may have experienced this within the class room environment. It is also possibly goes a long way to explaining my affinity to circular curriculum (see below Layer 7 for more on this). But to suggest that I am only this would be incorrect. As per my natural hemisphere orientation, I have consciously developed myself in this regard to be comfortable across multiple thinking orientations such as. In any ways, my doctoral research study is an opportunity to demonstrate a range of thinking orientations.
According to Gardner’s multiple intelligences “each human being is capable of seven relatively independent forms of information processing with individuals differing from one another in the specific profile of intelligences that they exhibit”(Gardner and Hatch 1989, 4). 
gardners-8-multiple-intelligences-chart
Figure I – Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences chart (2015)
The intelligences that I exhibit are in no particular order or priority, and I have found to depend upon the environment and context at a particular point in time. They are: visual/spacial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic and musical/rhythmic intelligences. Depending upon the situation, I have also learnt to develop over time both my verbal/linguistic and my logical/mathematical intelligences.
In terms of learning types I demonstrate an affinity to Gawith’s multi-sense learning – physical and emotive learning (1991, 2-6); and that a baker in terms of learning type. That is, I “like to see the whole cake in the mind’s eye first. Bakers feel most comfortable when they can conceive of each part or ingredient in terms of what it contributes to the whole. Bakers tend to be visual, inventive, holistic, intuitive learners. They are driven as much by what feels right as what the book says is right” (1991, 9). But as previously mentioned, I have consciously developed myself learning types
As mentioned in Layer 5, I value and believe in a committed approach to becoming a professional practitioner. I am motivated to learn to constantly improve.  It is now firmly integral within my core being. I have tried and have found to be unable to extinguish my desire to learning. I also attribute this desire to learn as an underlying reason why I have been able to overcome some of the learning challenges I experienced in my undergraduate degree, following being somewhat unprepared as an early school leaver.
This blog series is planned to continue with Educational Philosophy Part 3a.
References
Bradbury, Helen, Nick Frost, Sue Kilminster and Miriam Zukus. 2010. Beyond reflective practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. New York: Routledge.
Chopra, Deepak. 1996. The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfilment of your dreams. New York: Random House.
Covey, Stephen R. 1991. Principle centered leadership. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Dyer, Wayne W. 1992. Real magic: creating miracles in everyday life. Sydney: Harper Collins.
Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T. and Tesch-Römer, C., 1993. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological review100(3), p.363.
Gardner, Howard and Thomas Hatch. 1989. “Multiple Intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences.” Educational researcher 18 (8): 4-10.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences image courtesy of:  Gardners’ MI   Accessed 28th March 2015
Gawith, Gwen. 1991. Power learning: a student’s guide to success. Melbourne: Longman Chesire.
Gerber, Michael E. 1988. The E Myth. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena. Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Light, Greg, Susanna Calkins and Roy Cox. 2009. Learning and teaching in higher education: the reflective professional. London: Sage.
Littauer, Florence. 1986. Your personality tree. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Markova, Dawna and Anne R Powell. 1996. How your child is smart: a life-changing approach to learning. Los Angeles: Conari Press.
Marshall, Lorraine and Frances Rowland. 2013. A guide to learning independently. 3 ed. New York: Open University Press.
Millwood, Richard. 2013. Learning Theory v6_Millwood.D2.2.1.20130430  Accessed 28th March 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Educational Philosophy Part 3a Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2015b. Research Practitioner Part 2 Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2014. Soft Skills Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2010 Music Practitioner Part 5  Accessed 28th March 2015
Page, David L. 2004. Educational Philosophy Part 1 Accessed 28th March 2015
Parker, A and J Cutler-Stuart. 1986. Switch on your brain: a guide to better reading, concentration and coordination. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger.
Peters, Thomas J and Nancy Austin. 1985. A passion for excellence. The leadership difference. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Robbins, Tony. 1991. Awaken the giant within: how to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Springer, Sally P and Georg Deutsch. 1993. Left brain, right brain. 4 ed. New York: WH Freeman & Company.
Vision blueprint image courtesy of:  Vision Blueprint   Accessed 28th March 2015

 

Bibliography
Armstrong, Thomas. 1999. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York: Plume Books.
Covey, Stephen R. 2013. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, Stephen R. 1989. The 7 habits of highly effective people. Melbourne: The Business Library.
Gerber, Michael E. 2005. E Myth Mastery. New York: Harper Audio.
Gerber, Michael E. 1999. The e-myth manager: why management doesn’t work – and what to do about it. New York: Harper Business.
Lawrence-Wilkes, L. & Chapman, A. 2015. Reflective Practice. Accessed March 28th, 2015 http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
Peters, Thomas J. 2003. Re-imagine! London: Dorling Kindersley.
Peters, Thomas J, Robert H Waterman and Ian Jones. 1982. In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Pieper, Martha Heineman and William Joseph Pieper. 1999. Smart love: the compassionate alternative to discipline that will make you a better parent and your child a better person. Boston: Harvard Common Press
Sperry, Roger W. 1975. Left-brain, right-brain. Saturday Review 2 (23): 30-32.
– ©David L Page 30/03/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Post-Production Instrumental Editing and Processing Options

This blog continues a series of blogs on Mixing (Page 2014).
MIDAS Console_looking left
(MIDAS 2014)
As a mix engineer I guess you will receive a tracking session at some point in  which you will appraise the instrumental elements of the session as being in need of some work: perhaps some subtle work, or perhaps some extensive work. Options are available to do this by the spadeful with the very large range of accessible resources available to the practitioner.
However, what you need to do as the mix engineer at that point in time, is to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production instrumental editing or processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect for this production project?  In this example I will focus on one of the essential instruments in contemporary music – the central element of the rhythm section – the drums. However, most of the options I cover below can be applied to other instrumental elements of a session, al be it with different sonic hardware and/or virtual applications.

Sound Repair, Reinforcement, Supplementation, Replacement

Sound repair, sound reinforcement, sound supplementation and sound replacement are terms that I have found aspiring audiophiles use interchangeably. However, they are different, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. I will introduce the essential differences between each, and outline a particular production scenario where each may be employed.
1. The entry level of post-production drum processing is known as repair. The term sound repair is usually restricted to minor editing using either manual or DAW-based editing functions. In Pro Tools, minor editing to drum tracks can be done using a combination of Beat Detective, Elastic Audio or manual editing using the standard editing tools provided, your eye and most importantly, your ear. Elastic Pitch can also be used for minor editing of melodic or harmonic instruments when they are found to be slightly out of tune to the other instrumentation in the session.  Whilst the term editing is primarily associated with cutting and moving audio files regarding timing issues, I include applying audio processing under the category of repair. This can include manipulating the sonic qualities of the audio file in terms of spectral (equalisation, filters), dynamic (compression, limiters, gates and expanders) and time-domain (reverberation, echo, delay, flanging, chorus, etc) qualities via audio processing.
2. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound reinforcement. This solution uses various methods to ‘reinforce the original sound – usually a tone underneath the original signal to reinforce the lack of tone within the original signal. This production solution became very popular in the 1980’s with disco music, which led into the early stages of EDM. In the 1990’s digital reinforcement was used via devices such as a dbx 120A sub-harmonic synthesiser to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies of the production.

DBX_120A_Subharmonic Synth

  • In the current era, external devices are still used such as the dbx 510 sub-harmonic synthesiser as a means to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies (as shown below on right-hand side of 500 series rack). This option can be used for both corrective or creative purposes.

AE Project Studio Rig.20160601

(AE Project Studio 2015)
  • These days this style of processing – sound reinforcement – is usual in many forms of music to use virtual reinforcement devices, such as layering an in-the-box oscillator under the original signal to reinforce the original tone.
    3. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound supplementation. Products such as Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog and Steven Slate’s Trigger were developed to allow the engineer/producer to add sonic texture to the original recording to supplement it/boost it in terms of sonic qualities that were considered to be deficient. These qualities could include timbre, frequency or dynamic envelope. This situation could be due to one of several reasons: due to an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: due to poor microphone placement; poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern a suitable type; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is usually used as a corrective measure, but not always, just to bring the original tone home somewhat more. It would be quite unusual in this era for most productions to have some form of sound supplementation incorporated.

Wavemachine Labs Drumagog 5

Steven Slate Trigger 2.jpg
4. The final level of post-production drum processing is known as sound replacement. Sound replacement involves – as it sounds – the replacement of the original sound source for an alternative sound source. There are so many options available in this era in terms of post-production drum processing options. Drum replacement options such as: Steven Slate’s SSD, Toontrack’s EZ Drummer, AIR Technology’s Strike, and Native Instruments many and varied drum instruments could be useful and suitable for your particular project solution. All of these listed virtual instruments use a sample system to replace the original track’s audio file. The underlying reason to replace the original audio track could be due to: an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: a poor microphone placement; a poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; a poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  an imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern choice for the desired effect; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is primarily used as a corrective measure. it is essentially radical surgery, used in an emergency salvation when all has gone wrong, and no options exist, including time to re-record it in the instance of an urgent project. or used to create ‘demos’ prior to actual tracking. alternatively, with time on your side as a producer, you may choose for the best option: to re-record the original sound source. Whilst this is the most obvious option, there may be external factors that prevent this obvious choice from being a valid option.

Steven Slate SSD5

Toontrack EZ Drummer

AIR Instrument Strike
I expect as a mix engineer you will receive a tracking session at some point in your careers in which you will appraise the drum elements as being in need of some work – perhaps some very subtle repair work, some subtle reinforcement, or perhaps the session will be in need of some extensive work. With the options available in this era, you will need to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production drum processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect? You will have different options avaialble, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at the different stages of production. Whether sound reinforcement, sound supplementation or sound replacement – each level of post-production drum processing offers different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. It is up to you as the mix engineer or produce to understand the different stages of production, the needs of the particular mixing session, and employ the most appropriate level of post-production drum processing in which to realise the desired effect.
References
AE Project Studio 2015’s Rack image courtesy of: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/543739354993444064 Accessed 10th December, 2015
AIR Instrument’s Strike image courtesy of: http://www.airmusictech.com/product/strike-2  Accessed 21st January, 2015
DBX’s 120A image courtesy of: http://dbxpro.com/en/products/120a  Accessed 21st January, 2015
MIDAS 2014 console image courtesy of AE Project Studio. Accessed 29th June, 2014
Page, David L. 2014.  Mixing part 7  Accessed 22nd January, 2015
Pro Tools 12: http://www.avid.com/pro-tools  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s SSD image courtesy of: http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/products/platinum/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s Trigger image courtesy of:  http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/trigger-platinum.php  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Toontrack’s EZ Drummer image courtesy of:  https://www.toontrack.com/product/ezdrummer-2/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog image courtesy of:  http://www.drumagog.com  Accessed 21st January, 2015
– ©David L Page 22/01/2015
– updated ©David L Page 10/12/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Knowledge base & skillset required for Creative Artists today

The practical knowledge base and skillset required of Creative Artists entering a professional industry today is very broad. A budding Creative Artist needs to develop a very broad practical knowledge base and skillset across their chosen discipline or industry, including a number of creative processes, a working knowledge of a range of technical equipment (hardware and software), and what we refer to as the soft skills, life skills for effective interaction and engagement; in order to operate successfully within and around an industry-based environment. In my experience, the combination of these 3 elements are minimal requirements for developing a successful professional career as a Creative Artist.
Michael Carini - Acrylic on Canvas
Expressive Processes: There is an expectation for the Creative Artist to be proficient in a range of expressive and creative processes used within an industry-based environment. These processes are usually quantifiable in terms of outcomes achieved, and more than likely creative or expressive activities. For example in audio or music, this could include the creative processes of songwriting, composing, arranging, production (recording, for example) or post-production (mixing, for example).
Rode Competition prize
Equipment: There is also an expectation to understand and to be able to proficiently operate a range of technical equipment that would typically be found in an industry-based environment. This is likely to include both hardware and software, utilising a range of varied operating systems used by the significant manufacturers within the specific area of the industry. Whilst this range of equipment may take years to master, a proficient level is required for a Creative Artist to succeed in a professional position.
However, in addition to the required technical knowledge and skills noted above, there are a range of other knowledge and skills deemed necessary for a Creative Artist to succeed in a professional position.
Soft Skills
Life skills: Often referred to as the soft skills  [see pinterest.com/dpgold], the Creative Artist must also become adept in life skills, the skills for effective interaction and engagement: communication, engaging, discussion, expression, reflecting, developing their self image and voice, changing & developing their views and perceptions, goal setting, time management, negotiation, and conflict resolution, to name a few.  Whilst it is extremely important to have the industry knowledge and skills (possibly developing oneself to be considered an industry-based subject matter expert [SME]), many now consider the soft skills to be the higher priority of the required skills for success within an industry.  Leading global Creative Media Institute “SAE Institute” integrates the development of the Creative Artist’s soft skills in the many Creative Media projects students are required to undertake throughout their courses.  SAE’s stated Learning Outcomes across all course units include: “developing a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, good communication skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills, becoming an effective team player, developing self-confidence, accepting and learning from criticism, flexibility and adaptability and working well under pressure” (SAE 2014, p13). The ethos being: for any Creative Artist to work professionally, they are going to need to work with others – artists, artist aanagement or clients – on projects, to a project brief, within some form of project completion date or deadline. At some point within the project, there will more than likely be a need for discussion between the project members or the project leader and the client, and this could include negotiation of the project direction or possible content for inclusion or exclusion, or the project completion date. In this circumstance, the Creative Artist’s ability to interact effectively and efficiently during this process will more than likely govern the on-going status of the project, the satisfaction the clients has with the project progression and/or outcome, and perhaps most importantly, the potential for future ongoing projects between the various parties, or positive referrals.
Of course, whilst the level of creativity and effectiveness of the required creative process or technique may also be of significant importance, without the Creative Artist possessing the ability to interact with the client and work effectively and efficiently within the project’s parameters, then the project may not proceed; irrespective of how exemplary the Art is. In fact, I have observed on numerous occasions, a less than exemplary Artist being provided ongoing projects over another exemplary Artist, purely due to the superior ability of the former Artist to more effectively and efficiently interact and engage. In a professional industry today, the ideology of ‘my art is enough’ no longer holds true.
Therefore, in order to operate successfully within and around an industry-based environment, a budding Creative Artist needs to develop a very broad practical knowledge base and skillset across their chosen discipline or industry, including a number of creative processes, a working knowledge of a range of technical equipment (hardware and software), and perhaps most importantly, what we refer to as the ‘soft’ skills, life skills for effective interaction and engagement. In my experience, the 3rd element of soft skills in particular is essential in order for a Creative Artist to develop a successful professional career.
References
Painting image courtesy of: Michael Carini – Acrylic on Canvas (78” x 120”)” Alexander Salazar Fine Art   Accessed 24th November, 2014 
Film Equipment image courtesy of: Filmbrute  Accessed 24th November, 2014 
SAE Institute Bachelor of Audio Unit Guide (2014), ‘AUD111 Introduction to Audio Engineering Unit Guide_140922’  Accessed 23rd November, 2014 
Soft skills image courtesy of: Baker Anderson  Accessed 24th November, 2014 
– ©David L Page 25/11/2014
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.