Links to reference material

Adult learning

Rogers, Alan. Teaching Adults, 3rd Ed. 2002 Open University Press

Autonomy and motivation

Simply asking students alone to take more time or responsibility for their learning leads to confusion and stress

http://m.ltr.sagepub.com/content/6/3/245.abstract

Brockett, R. G. and Hiemstra, R. (1991) ‘A conceptual framework for understanding self-direction in adult learning’ in Self-Direction in Adult Learning: Perspectives on Theory, Research, and Practice, London and New York: Routledge. Reproduced in the informal education archives: http://www.infed.org/archives/e-texts/hiemstra_self_direction.htm

Improving psychological relationships to provide essential support

http://www.apa.org/education/k12/relationships.aspx
Improving students’ relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for students’ academic and social development. Solely improving students’ relationships with their teachers will not produce gains in achievement (see “High quality academic instruction”). However, those students who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflictual relationships. If a student feels a personal connection to a teacher, experiences frequent communication with a teacher, and receives more guidance and praise than criticism from the teacher, then the student is likely to become more trustful of that teacher, show more engagement in the academic content presented, display better classroom behavior, and achieve at higher levels academically. Positive teacher-student relationships draw students into the process of learning and promote their desire to learn (given that the content material of the class is engaging and age appropriate).” (Sara Rimm-Kaufman, PhD, UVA)

One to one pedagogy

That education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle almost generally violated in practice as conceded in theory. (Dewey, 1916/2007, p. 49)”

http://m.ijm.sagepub.com/content/31/2/148.abstract?sid=431d442d-558c-49c4-9a15-10a0f16ffc2d

Research and research education in music performance and pedagogy

http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/book/978-94-007-7434-6

Introduction to research methods in education

Punch, Keith, Introduction to research methods in education, 2nd Ed. 2014, SAGE.

Managerial ideology

An actor manages: actor training and managerial ideology Broderick D.V. Chow Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, pages 131- 143 Published online: 08 Aug 2014 DOI: 10.1080/19443927.2014.908141

“In this article I will argue that the business of acting and its creative craft are two sides of the same coin. Psychologically based actor training stems from an ideology of individual self-management – mental, physical, and emotional – that accompanies the emergent practice of management in the twentieth century. By reading the theories and techniques of Stanislavskian and post-Stanislavskian actor training against changes in the organisation of work in North America and Europe in the twentieth century, I outline a citational network between discourses of acting and business management.”

One to one pedagogy

That education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle almost generally violated in practice as conceded in theory. (Dewey, 1916/2007, p. 49)”

http://m.ijm.sagepub.com/content/31/2/148.abstract?sid=431d442d-558c-49c4-9a15-10a0f16ffc2d

Reasons for installing autonomous practice in actors

 McRobbie, A., 2002. Clubs to Companies: Notes on the Decline of Political Culture in Speeded Up Creative Worlds. Cultural Studies, 16 (4), 516–531.

“In this creative economy, older features of working life such as the career pathway, the ladder of promotion, the ‘narrative sociality’ of a life spent in a stratified but secure workplace have been rapidly swept away to be replaced by ‘network sociality’ (Wittel, 2002). Work has been re-invented to satisfy the needs and demands of a generation who,‘disembedded’ from traditional attachments to family, kinship, community or region, now find that work must become a fulfilling mark of self. In this context, more and more young people opt for the insecurity of careers in media, culture or art in the hope of success. In fields like film-making or fashion design there is a euphoric sense among practitioners of by-passing tradition, pre-empting conscription into the dullness of 9–5 and evading the constraints of institutional processes.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Biggs, J and Tang C. (2007) (3rd Edition) Teaching for Quality Learning at University; Open University Press; UK, McGraw-Hill Education

Race, P (2007) (3rd Edition), The Lecturers Toolkit, A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching; UK, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group

P, Race (2005) Making Learning Happen, A guide for Past-Compulsory Education; Sage Publications Ltd

Cowan, J (2006) (2nd Edition), On Becoming an Innovative University Teacher, Reflection in Action; Open University Press; UK, McGraw-Hill Education

Sadler, D R (1989), Formative Assessment Revisiting the Territory, Assessment in Education Vol. 5

Rogers, C R (1983), The Politics of Education – in freedom to learn for the 80’s. Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company

Forsyth, I; Joliffe, A; Stevens, D; (1995) Evaluating a Course, Kogan Page Publishing

Woolhouse, M; Jones, T; Rees, M; (2001) teaching the Post 16 learner, Northcote House Publishers Ltd

Bell, J;(1987), Doing Your research Project, Open University Press

Butcher, C; davies, C; Highton, M; (2006)Designing Learning from module outline to effective teaching; Routledge

Bloxham, S; Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education(2007), Open University Press

Online Resources

The Validity of Formative Assessments; Terry Crooks, Educational Research Unit, University of Otago, New Zealand

An Interview with Vygotsky: http://usapetal.net/misc/RGPortfolio/AIL601-Interviews/vygotsky.htm

How to Integrate learner motivation planning into lesson planning: The ARCS Model approach, John Keller, Florida State University

Rust, C. Developing a variety of assessment methods, Oxford Centre for Staff and learning Development, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Nicol, D J. Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice, University of Strathclyde.

Race, P. Designing Assessment to Enhance Student Learning, University of Leeds

Other resources

http://www.infed.org/archives/e-texts/hiemstra_self_direction.htm

http://thelearnersway.net/ideas/2015/2/8/the-questions-that-matter-most

RSAMD Academic Framework

BA Musical Theatre Handbook

QAA Code of Practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in Higher Education, Assessment

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UKPSF and Ethical Approval form for project

UKPSF

 

The Conservatoire Ethics Committee considered my application for ethical approval at its meeting on 7 January, and were content to grant approval, subject to the following condition:

1) That I provide a copy of the application that does not indicate that the research includes participants who are children or vulnerable adults (undergraduate students are not normally considered to belong to this group).
Please find the attached edited Ethical Approval Form for student questionnaire on Autonomy (PGCERT)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zvs28kcb5sc04za/Ethical%20Approval%20Application%20Form%20September%202015%20%281%29.pdf?dl=0

Autonomy survey responses

https://www.surveymonkey.com/analyze/0eKgnmMgDuGJzjAKfGaAoJu0LCNpcnLA4erIg_2Brr8bg_3D

 

These are the student responses to the following questions indicated in bold.

Could you describe what is meant by autonomous practice, autonomy or being more autonomous?

“The teacher can only guide you along your progress while singing. They can’t go in your throat and move you vocal folds the way the need to be for the piece you are singing. It is related to singing lessons, because as a singer, a large amount of your singing education must be self lead. No one can do it for you.”

“Autonomy and being autonomous; showing that you run things yourself, practices I’ll need as an actor, finding my own way of doing things, making things happen”

“The ability to educate oneself”

“self lead/ self solving”

“Having the ability to make decisions and the freedom to act in accordance with one’s professional knowledge base.”

“Taking charge of your own learning through research and practice”

“self lead learning: I.E more responsibility lies with the learner to find out what he/she wants to get out of the given lesson time which ideally results in more individual and goal oriented learning”

“Having the freedom to act independently”

“Autonomy is being able to teach others using examples from one’s personal experiences. Also, having the ability to adapt to different students by approaching a concept in different ways. A lot of knowledge and flexibility is required to try many different ways of teaching before it makes sense to that person. Lastly, a good communicative relationship between teacher and student so that the development and understanding is honest and clear.”

“I think autonomy means when you decide things for yourself, like when you want to learn something or what you want you learn. It is when you are able to decide for yourself”

How does being autonomous relate to singing lessons?

“Making it work for me, taking control of what I do, making it my own.”

“It allows you to skip the first few steps of learning by doing it in your own time so you can be taken further into your learning by your teacher”

“The teacher can only guide you along your progress while singing. They can’t go in your throat and move you vocal folds the way the need to be for the piece you are singing. It is related to singing lessons, because as a singer, a large amount of your singing education must be self lead. No one can do it for you”

“Attending each singing lessons with a clear intention of what it is I aim to achieve on that given day or currently working on over a period of time.”

“Taking what’s been talked about in lessons and applying it in your own time or where relevant (e.g. performance class, choir etc.)”

“more work for the individual student to find out and explore what he / she wants to get out of their lessons”

“Every student is going to have different relationships with different singing teachers, which is something extremely special. However every student is going to click better with certain teachers then others and the beauty of autonomous practice is in the relationships that can be built. Singing lessons are very personal, and developing a trustworthy, open relationship between teacher and student helps the growth tremendously. As opposed to working from a textbook, an autonomous teacher is able to share their experiences.”

“Using the techniques provided by Gordon, and applying them independently; learning to use techniques using informed information.”

“Maybe making more decisions about what I want to learn, like what songs, and what styles and even being allowed to decide what sounds I want to study”

Have you been aware of being given more opportunity to display autonomy with regards your progress in singing?

“Yes. Or trying to. Me I mean. Gor makes it clear I’m in charge but sometimes I don’t always want to or know how to be”

“Yes I’m encouraged to find material and work it technically myself so I can work more creatively in my lessons”

“Yes. I feel like I am allowed to bring in what I want, and always asked what I would like to get from it. Sometimes I don’t know what I want, but that’s when the teacher steps in.”

“From day one it was made clear that I would be guided through my lessons but it was key that I communicated what it was I wanted to learn. This approach has certainly encouraged me to take more responsibility for my practice and development and discovery of my learning”

“Autonomy has become a vital part of singing and learning about singing. It’s not as if I have the opportunity to display it as such, but it is a necessity to progress in singing”

“ABSOLUTELY! I love that tutorials are a conversation, an exchange of ideas and opinions.”

“Yes, I have been aware of this greater opportunity for independent learning in Gordon’s singing lessons.”

“I think we’ve always been given the chance to make decisions for ourselves, RCS is kind of like that all the time.”

If your singing lessons could be different, what would change? Would the change require much? Who would it require it of?

“If I knew more I would lead more. Maybe I should be learning more outside of lessons.”

“I would like if my teacher was less worried about upsetting me”

“I would like more technical exercises. No the change would be little, and I’m sure if I asked I would get it.”

“There is nothing I would want to change about my lessons, if feel supported, encouraged and learn a great deal each week”

“introduction to different styles of singing to build up an understanding for possibilities where one might go to later make an informed choice as to where the autonomous learning should go”

“The only thing I would change about singin lessons is my preperation. Due to the tutorial being so open to discussion I want to come to class with more opinions, questions and ideas. I’m enthused by the fact that the lesson is somewhat in my hands as to how much I get from it. This kind of way of teaching and learning are the fundamentals of the entire course and especially for Artists In Development. Building skills to help us drive ourselves forward in the future and always have an active mind about our process. Reflecting and asking questions, challenges the artist and helps them build a truly deep understanding”

“I would not change my singing lessons – I feel that the way they are currently being run are of great benefit to me. I only wish there would be more time!”

“I want them to be longer. Given more time in singing lessons would mean that we could cover more stuff in depth, but it would probably mean missing out on something else on the course. ”

If you could choose, what would your singing lessons consist of?

More opportunities for me to decide what, when and how to learn what I want.
0.00%
0
More opportunity to simply be told what, why and how to learn new skills.
0.00%
0
More of the way they are now.
100.00%
8

 

Please tick any of the following and feel free to write in the box below. Think about how your singing lessons are organised, run and structured.

  • Answered: 8
  • Skipped: 2
I don’t learn enough.
12.50%
1
I decide the content, the focus and the reason for what is covered in my singing lesson.
75.00%
6
My teacher decides what is covered.
0.00%
0
My teacher and I decide on what to cover
75.00%
6
My teacher controls the pace of learning.
12.50%
1
I control the pace of learning. I know what I want.
62.50%
5
I give my teacher the responsibility to decide when something has been learned enough.
25.00%
2
I am in control of my learning.
75.00%
6
My teacher is in control of my learning.
0.00%
0
My teacher and I decide together what will be learned.
62.50%
5
I don’t understand what is being learned.
0.00%
0
When I don’t understand what is being learned or why I feel able to ask.
87.50%
7
I don’t feel that I know enough to decide on what should be learned
25.00%
2
Total Respondents: 8

Current assumptions on autonomy

“it is a misconception to assume that learners necessarily enter a learning experience with a high level of self-direction already intact. Self-direction is not a panacea for all problems associated with adult learning. Nor is it always necessary for one to be highly self-directed in order to be a successful learner.”

http://www.infed.org/archives/e-texts/hiemstra_self_direction.htm

The results of the summative survey posed questions on what autonomy meant and whether learners were aware of a change in teaching style over the course of the last year.

 

Answers inc

“Autonomy is being able to teach others using examples from one’s personal experiences. Also, having the ability to adapt to different students by approaching a concept in different ways. A lot of knowledge and flexibility is required to try many different ways of teaching before it makes sense to that person. Lastly, a good communicative relationship between teacher and student so that the development and understanding is honest and clear.”

“The teacher can only guide you along your progress while singing. They can’t go in your throat and move you vocal folds the way the need to be for the piece you are singing. It is related to singing lessons, because as a singer, a large amount of your singing education must be self lead. No one can do it for you.”

“Autonomy and being autonomous; showing that you run things yourself, practices I’ll need as an actor, finding my own way of doing things, making things happen”

“The ability to educate oneself”

“self lead/ self solving”

“Having the ability to make decisions and the freedom to act in accordance with one’s professional knowledge base.”

“Taking charge of your own learning through research and practice”

“self lead learning: I.E more responsibility lies with the learner to find out what he/she wants to get out of the given lesson time which ideally results in more individual and goal oriented learning”

“Having the freedom to act independently”

“Autonomy is being able to teach others using examples from one’s personal experiences. Also, having the ability to adapt to different students by approaching a concept in different ways. A lot of knowledge and flexibility is required to try many different ways of teaching before it makes sense to that person. Lastly, a good communicative relationship between teacher and student so that the development and understanding is honest and clear.”

“I think autonomy means when you decide things for yourself, like when you want to learn something or what you want you learn. It is when you are able to decide for yourself”

“Providing examples using ones own experience and having the knowledge to approach a problem using different techniques

Journal Summary

Throughout this year of collecting information and collating my thoughts on what autonomy we ask of our learners I think the greatest realisation has been how much actual self-led educational responsibility an arts learning environment offers. Both Staff and Learner are allowed time, space and opportunity to make countless decisions weekly. In making those decisions we are expected to appraise what is being asked of us, focus on what we think we need to do to meet those expectations and prioritise accordingly.

As a Lecturer I am given free reign to decide how to deliver modular content. This freedom brings challenges when considering how to approach delivery with many differently prepared learners and can result in greatly varying levels of success. Quantifying these results has made me consider just how flexible, open-minded and willing one must be to really benefit from tertiary arts education and for myself experiencing autonomy has seemed to be the key to harnessing the benefits of a Conservatoire level training.

Learners have similar challenges when trying to process what is required of them. In my journal I write

“If I am a student I have chosen to set aside time for learning. If, as that student, I am not learning, or not learning what I feel is enough, do I feel that I
* have a good idea of how I am progressing and what I need to do to?
* know exactly what I need to do to achieve my goals?
* have specific goals?
* know generally what I should concentrate on but don’t know how to do it?
If I could ask any tutor, lecturer or member of staff for specific individual tailored advice, just to me, would I ask?
Part of my research this year leads me to question whether learners function under the belief that confusion or a lack of understanding is their fault, and not something that they should either admit to or seek a solution to.”

What I think I now also believe is that part of not knowing how to proceed and proceeding anyway is a display of budding autonomy. Of course having clearer objectives, plans and guidelines gives an educational journey more efficiency but I observe that I have enquired very little into what was being asked of me over the course of this period of study, and I think it possible that I equate this to being more autonomous.

I observe

“For right or wrong I don’t ask for help, if I don’t understand something I don’t ask for clarification, if I think I am veering off-course, I continue on with it. Perhaps I simply don’t believe in asking for another person’s time and effort. Maybe this is stubborn on my part. I think that I enjoy finding out whatever I will find out because of whatever path I choose, and perhaps I believe that eventually if more specific knowledge is needed then it will be discovered.”

 

Rather a random method of improving learning, I now realise, but the reason behind my discussing this reflection is this; if as an adult who considers himself reflective and educated I still cannot grasp that some of the tools that would have helped me in my studies were neglected and some never even found, how much more should be required or expected of our learners? Can we not allow them to find their own path? Is there room for us to allow them to pick and choose what in the curriculum interests them? Can we then use the paradigm shift to justify allowing them to simply learn things that they WANT to learn and are responsive to or should we continue to insist that they need to meet curricular requirements?

Improving a learner’s confidence by allowing them to focus on topics they are drawn to and distance themselves from topics that will bring confusion or slower apparent progress might be the way to allow true autonomy to flourish and benefit our learners but it would require enormous flexibility and even greater resources in an educational establishment. We would be required to prove that instead of sticking to what we as lecturers know a student will need we would be willing to admit that perhaps we have no real tangible evidence of how to future-proof their career. This might allow us to let go of our need to control what they learn (by only offering them our selective curriculum) and give us chance to prove that we have faith in the validity of Conservatoire education by giving them the option to pick and choose.

In a later journal entry I write

“My concern is over how we help support learners fulfil their hopes of preparing for their workplace.
If artistic industries offer school leavers the chance to help define themselves then we have a responsibility to support current graduates eager to transcend the drudgery of low paid, temporary work with little or no recognition of the self or creative input. We should resist the cynical believe that modern performing arts training has simply shoehorned itself into degree-level structures just to continue being commercially lucrative. As lecturers we can influence learners’ ability to respond to whatever worklife awaits them if we allow them to experience confidence in their own ability to lead, direct and control their decision making.”

I’m not even sure that I fully believe that the arts, conservatoire level education or a career based on either is the way for anyone other than me to define themselves and find employment or expression that helps them make sense of the world around them and the issues the modern world confronts us all with. What I am more certain of from this research, my journal entries and my change in practice is that doubt and lack of clarity is as much a part of self-education as it was when I was a student. I feel more certainty that allowing confusion to be embraced and harnessed is the way to future-proof (if that is even possible) our learners.