15 SES 02, Partnership with Working Life I
Parallel Paper Session
This paper investigates a distinctive approach to medical education, exploring pedagogy, materiality and partnership in the context of medical students learning to conduct a pelvic examination. Based on detailed observation and practitioner reflection, we provide a theoretical account of pedagogy as it develops through relationships between a clinical educator, students and professional patient. Professional patients represent relatively longstanding pedagogic partnership between higher education, health and the public community. The university and health services work with women in the community who volunteer to become involved in medical education and training, specifically relating to pelvic examination. Professional patients receive training in order to help develop their knowledge of their anatomy and the pelvic examination process, so that they can join clinical educators in a pedagogic role: they are not merely subjects of a pelvic examination (Siwe 2007).
The practice of involving professional patients is becoming more widespread, yet there is little literature exploring how it works or empirically investigating the opportunities for innovative and critical pedagogy that this approach may afford. We cast a different theoretical lens on this specific form of professional education in order to better understand the functioning and potential of these partnerships. Our theoretical framework fits within a wider European turn towards practice and specifically socio-material accounts of practice in educational research (Landri 2012; Reckwitz 2002). Fenwick et al’s (2011) work uses Actor Network Theory, while others have foregrounded practice and materiality within the context of organisational learning (Gherardi 2008; Gherardi & Nicolini 2002; Nicolini 2009).
In our context we sought to explore pedagogic practices as social, material and embodied, and drew on the work of Schatzki (1996, 2010). He defines practice as ‘embodied, materially mediated arrays of human activity centrally organised around shared practical understandings’ (2001, p12). Developing this frame, Green wrote that professional practice ‘consists of speech (what people say) plus the activity of the body, or bodies, in interaction (what people do, more often than not together) — a play of voices and bodies. In this view, practice is inherently dialogical, an orchestrated interplay, and indeed a matter of co-production’ (2009, p45). So we understand pedagogical partnerships in terms of how doings, sayings, bodies and material objects inter-relate. Schatzki (2010) theorises practical activity as ‘bundled with’ material arrangements, identifying a series of concepts for unpicking complex relationships between people, practices and things. We asked:
1. How are pedagogic practices produced by embodied doings and sayings of students, the clinical educator and professional patient as they relate to each other?
2. How are these doings and sayings ‘bundled’ with material objects?
3. How can partnership and pedagogy be understood differently through these theoretical ideas?
We contribute to understanding of pedagogic partnerships by adopting a micro-scale approach, moving down from questions about relationships between organisations to focus in detail on what happens during a single pedagogic encounter. This enables us to attend to the specificities of bodies and things in the context of partnerships in health education.
Fenwick, T., Edwards, R., & Sawchuk, P. (2011). Emerging approaches to educational research: tracing the sociomaterial. London: Routledge. Gherardi, S. (2008). Situated knowledge and situated action: what do practice-based studies promise? In D. Barry & H. Hansen (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of new approaches in management and organization (pp. 516-525). London: Sage. Gherardi, S., & Nicolini, D. (2002). Learning in a constellation of interconnected practices: canon or dissonance? Journal of Management Studies, 39(4), 419-436. Green, B. (2009). Introduction: understanding and researching professional practice. In B. Green (Ed.), Understanding and researching professional practice (pp. 1-18). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Landri, P. (2012). A re-turn to practice: practice-based studies of education. In P. Hager, A. Lee & A. Reich (Eds.), Practice, learning and change: practice-theory perspectives on professional learning. Dordrecht: Springer. Nicolini, D. (2009). Zooming in and out: studying practices by switching lenses and trailing connections. Organization Studies, 30, 1391-1418. Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a theory of social practices: a development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243-263. Schatzki, T. R. (1996). Social practices: a Wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schatzki, T. R. (2001). Introduction: practice theory. In T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 1-14). London: Routledge. Schatzki, T. R. (2010). The timespace of human activity: on performance, society, and history as indeterminate teleological events. Lanham, MD: Lexington. Siwe, K. (2007). Learning the pelvic examination. Published PhD thesis, University of Linköping, Linköping.
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