This week I attended the first 2011 HEA Wales Researcher-Teacher Nexus Action Set. I joined this group the middle of last year, and as Trinity Saint David instigated the development of an undergraduate research journal (pilot for this year). The groups’ membership is across Wales from north to south and as the name suggests, the group and the work behind the group relates to the promotion and strengthen of linking of research and teaching primarily at undergraduate level (not totally, but primarily) and the importance of these links for both students and staff. Simon Haslett chairs this group and today gave a presentation about why is the link important for staff and students. Raising questions about these links; tangibility, and how to achieve these connections.
I enjoy the energy within this group, the honesty of discussion and the opportunity to reflect on what HE is and in turn why I choose to work within this industry. Professionally I am in the business of learning and teaching and supporting this from the centre. The development of students as researchers (and the tangible outcome of the research journal) is part of this. For me, what HE stands for, and the opportunity to attend university is unique and a privilege. We may have 40% of young people in the UK in HE but think globally and it does not take long to realise that most people don’t actually complete school let alone attend university. University offers people a chance to learn about the world from a different angle. We learn how to question, think latterly and not accept what is presented at face value. Research is part of this, no matter how small, through research we open doors and learn to be critical, by being critical and asking why we expand our minds and improve society.
In relation to my own study, the linking of research and practice is what I am struggling with for my EdD. The links are important, links to practice and research, refection on practice and research in my own area. There are aspirations, small and large. First aspirations for writing (which as we all know difficult), short-term just to complete essays and pass! Long term for publishing and then completion of a theses (thankfully this is a while off). It is about the journey and the struggles to get there. A journey that never ends, learning is continual and it may be a cliché but it is true the more one knows the less one knows. The starting gate for all this is when we arrive (by whatever means and way) as undergraduates at the university door.
Reflection on life is important and the Researcher-Teacher Action Set meeting reminded me why I do the job I do and why I chose to continue on my own personal learning journey.
In addition to all this is the new theory of connectivity I am thinking about – but that is for another post!