Seminar about professional learning with Karen Jensen

Today we had one of the most interesting seminars in Gothenburg University with professor Karen Jensen. She talked about professional learning, introduced the projects that she and Oslo University have been involved in and the general discussion took place.

Here I write down some interesting thoughts that were risen in seminar.

What is profession? – Does it include the ethical parts, by following the written and nonwritten rules and therefore become the professional of the specific area?

Standards need to be set to the professions. But who sets?

Coordination between subsystems of the organisation should exist. When all the doctors will move, then the collaboration between the nurses and doctors, will be low.

Where is the collective memory stored? Not just in university or not just in workplace, as both of those organisations shape small part of our lifelong learning nowadays.

There is so much knowledge in the world, that there is noone, who knows everything in his or her research field.

People do not trust the institutions (for example hospitals), but they do trust the persons (doctors), as the professions in those institutions. Paradox. System is based on a BELIEF that this doctor is same good as any other doctor. Personality does not matter, but profession (he is a doctor), matters. When I turn to doctor and he says, I know better than you, what disease you have, I BELIEVE him. And trust him. On the other hand, I will be sent to the operation, I don’t know, who personally operates me and I have to trust the institution (hospital) that everything goes right. It is a trust system, doctor never tells me hmm, I’ve never heard of such disease or I do not know how to treat you.

Society is changing quickly, everything is complicated, multi-culturality takes place etc, people have to be self-monitoring and -reflective in order to fit into the changing world.

We put the knowledge into some form and get back tool environment, object, text – it is mediation. When I learn something, I have to publish it. I take it in and give it back. But what about professional communities? They learn together, but how to give it back and by what means?

boundary object:

– there is one object that is differently interpreted and provides holding ground for communities, translations, standardisation of meaning;

– stable enough to enable coordination across communities of practice

– used in direct, cross-boundary interactions between multiple actors

technical objects:

– ready-to-hand, complete and unproblematic instruments

– static, fixed and stable tools

– concrete instruments are used by the expert subjects-functional role

epistemic objects:

characterised by lack and incompleteness; continuously evolving; laterally branch out.

– dynamic to enable knowledge work over time

– particular instantiations are used by the expert subject – have a binding role

Note. If you read articles, make small dramas of what one is saying and other certainly disagrees.

Interview is data? Or informed analysis?

Rather informed analysis, because: I ask teacher to analyse something. She does it, analysis herself, her work, reflects etc. It is not data, but analysis. Teacher gives her analysed reflection to me and I will analyse it for my self again.

Their project studied teachers from the professional learning aspects and:

– they have strong challenge to learn

– limited provision of profession-specific resources

– a break down in learning dynamics

– collegial advice are given precedence

Challenges to teachers’ profession are:

– priority given to personal knowledge and the sharing of experiences within local workplace

– the horisontal discourse takes precedence

Professional language of teachers, is low. Professional language involves the discourse of discipline, discourse of curriculum, discourse of assessment (tests etc).

These are the most important points from the seminar.


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