TAKEN-FOR-GRANTED ASSUMPTIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM IN IAG PRACTICE Liz Bradley The research question.... ‘The role of reflection in Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) work, with particular reference to becoming aware of taken-for-granted assumptions’ • Researcher and early encounter with Jane • Researcher and Jane (coresearcher) Precycle Cycle one iterative cycles Cycle two • NCGS, case study ‘Becky’ Cycle three • NAEGA, case study ‘Diane and Carol’ Reflection • • • What is it? How do you use it? Do you keep a journal? What are the barriers? Reflection and Self - reflection Focuses on a problem ‘Purposeful act of thinking’ (Loughran, 1996) ‘untangle a problem, or to make more sense of a puzzling situation; reflection involves working toward a better understanding of the problem and ways of solving it’ (Loughran, 1996, p.14). ‘We reflect on something in order to consider it in more detail’ (Moon, p. 4) Focuses on the ‘self’ ‘Active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it and further conclusion to which it tends’ (Dewey, 1944, p. 9) Process of creating and clarifying the meaning of experience (present or past) in terms of self (self in relation to self and self in relation to the world)’ (Boyd & Fales, 1983, p. 101). Reflection Difficult to ascertain, a skill, limited by the individuals own self-knowledge, Does not achieve what it advocates… Reflection as a word, a term and an approach, appears to become itself ‘taken for granted’ Categorization Categorization is the process in which ideas and objects are recognised, differentiated and understood. Categorization is fundamental in language, prediction, inference, decision making and in all kinds of interaction with the environment. Social categorization ‘the human mind must think with the aid of categories.... Once formed, categories are the bases for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process’ (Allport’s (1954/1979) p. 20). Inability or capacity to reflect Personal Knowledge Professional practitioners already possess personal knowledge Experiences can be used by ‘wise professionals’ to make ‘good judgements’, but they also form impressions which can ‘contribute to their professional knowledge’ (ibid, p. 106). Needs to be critically examined and controlled Undeveloped or unquestioned personal knowledge likely to ‘distort, the development of further knowledge’ (Moon, 2004 p. 83). The ‘self’, and the role of taken-for-granted assumptions, need careful attention and consideration. Tools and/ or processes The Listening Guide: A Voice-Centred Relational Method (Gilligan et al, 2003) A method of Psychological analysis that draws on the voice Origins in Gilligan's (1982) work on identity and moral development Qualitative analysis is designed to open up the ‘inner world of another person’ (Gilligan et al, 2003:157). It is used by many researchers as a form of analysis applicable to a range of phenomena. Consists of a number of what are termed ‘listenings’. Each listening is ‘designed to bring the researcher into relationship with a person’s distinct and multilayered voice by tuning in or listening to distinct aspects of a person’s expression of her or his experience’ (p. 159). Unexpected Results - the ‘I Poem’ Co-researchers said ‘remind me to do this with some of my own writing’; further saying ‘this is very good. I like it’. ‘this is really awful’. The ‘I poem’ appeared to act as a trigger for Jane. Much more than an analytical approach-The ‘I Poem’powerful tool-cut across the text and unearth Cycle two and three ‘Made me realise the importance of understanding listening’ ‘Very interesting results of ‘I poem’ ‘illuminating’ ‘spontaneous’ ‘fast’ ‘the ‘I’ poem-made me think’ Good reflective exercise’ ‘I would like to use this again a tool to self reflect on language use i.e. positive/negative’ ‘Can provide analytical approach to reflection-highlight emotions and attitudes’ ‘is a useful tool for them to actually use, they have an actual tool to use and not just sort of writing things down on paper’ Method Steps: The ‘I Poem’, the listening focuses on the ‘I’ within the text Highlight each ‘I’ and a number of accompanying words within the text Transcribe the ‘I statements’ to make what resembles a poem Constructing the ‘I Poem’ Firstly, I was surprised at my clients’ mantle of ‘whiteness’ at our first interview and at my reaction to it. She, on reflection, had assumed a dress code that she felt would be more useful to her when encountering someone in a formal role – so she had effected a change from her norm. Perhaps more importantly, I realised that I had a sense of relief when she wore her “white mantle”. It was easier for me to deal with someone who seemed to share a western approach to things. Also, I had looked at her age and was aghast that she was so young to have so many children. It didn’t meet my values. This wasn’t necessarily related to her ethnicity, but it did relate to how I viewed young women, of any culture, who seemed to do nothing more than be baby machines. What challenged me most with this woman was that I found that my underlying assumptions were that if she was a baby machine, why would she want to have a paid job? Could she do one? She was clearly intelligent, I had academic evidence, but I struggled to understand why she was pursuing a career that might be difficult to enter and did not fit into the roles I assumed she might be seeking. ‘I Poem’ I was surprised I realised that I had a sense of relief I had looked at her I viewed young women I found that my underlying assumptions I had academic evidence, I struggled to understand I assumed she might be seeking ‘I Poem’ ...........as an aid to reflection The ‘I Poem’ Provides a tool or approach that enables users to return to their reflective writing and begin to identify taken-for-granted assumptions and blind spots which can then be subjected to a more critical examination. A Tool for professional and personal Systematic Self-oriented Self challenging tool Key findings.... felt safe quick to implement A tool that enabled practitioners to: Identify hidden aspects of the self (journals) Assist in the identification of self statements ‘innocent’ and ‘irrelevant’ - emotions and negative language. Key findings Reflection and Self-reflection Inability or lack of capacity to reflect Tools and/or processes Time Fear Professional stance Professional stance Professional codes of practice and ethical standards precluded practitioners from being judgemental Prevented practitioners from digging deep within themselves in order to unearth their own assumptions, values and beliefs References Banaji, M. R., Lemm, K. M. and Carpenter, S. J. (2001). The social unconscious, in Tesser, A. and Schwartz, N. (Eds.), Blackwell Handbook of social psychology: Intraindividual process (pp. 138-158). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Gilligan, C., Spencer, R., Weinberg, M, K., and Bertsch, T. (2003). On the Listening Guide: A Voice- Centred Relational Method, in Camic, P.M., Rhodes, J.E. and Yardley, L. (ed.s) Qualitative Research in Psychology, Washington: APA. Mauthner, N.S. & Doucet, A. (1998) ‘Reflections on a Voice-centred Relational Method: Analysing Maternal and Domestic Voices’, in Ribbens J. and. Edwards R (ed.) Feminist Dilemmas in Qualitative Research: Public Knowledge and Private Lives. London: Sage. Moustakas, C. (1990) Heuristic Research: Design, Methodology, and Applications. London: Sage. Thorne, S. (2000) ‘Data analysis in qualitative research’, Evidence Based Nursing, 3(3), pp. 68-70.