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Journal of Learning and Teaching


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Issue 2 1

Journal of Learning and Teaching

Journal of Learning and Teaching Issue 2



Poetry and Sustainability: A Case Study Dr Hugh Dunkerley


Developing a Work-Based Leadership Programme in the UK Social Care Sector Dr Janet McCray and Dr Adam Palmer 8 Thinking, Fixing, Delivering: Planning and Evaluating Student-led Creative Projects Roy Hanney 20 Capturing Impact – Should we do it Better? An Analysis of Data Gathered from Two Groups of Students taking an MA(Ed) Module on Strategic Leadership, Operational Management Chris Luck 29

How to Guides 46 Embedding Windows Media Player into a PowerPoint Presentation Dr Andy Clegg


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Poetry and Sustainability: A Case Study Dr Hugh Dunkerley, Senior Lecturer in English Introduction Consideration of environmental issues in education is usually seen as the prerogative of science and environmental studies courses. However, to make this assumption is to view environmental issues as a subset of science. It is to assume that other areas of human understanding have little or nothing to say about one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. The concept of Education for Sustainable Development, or ESD, challenges these assumptions. It is based on the belief that human society is dependent on the natural environment and that a lack of understanding of this dependence is one of the main causes of environmental crisis. The environmental crisis is in fact cultural as much as it is ecological. However, ESD is not about trying to make everyone into a paid-up green party member. Instead it is about encouraging students to question the assumptions that underpin the current social and political discourses on which our society is based. In this sense it obviously has much in common with what many of us already do in HE. What ESD adds to the mix is that fact that social, economic, cultural and religious systems are all embedded in the larger systems that support life. Nor does ESD lay out any programme for what sustainable development might look like. As Arran Stibbe points out in a recent article on English and ESD in the English Subject Centre Newsletter: ‘discussions of what, exactly, ‘sustainability’ is, are often marred by one sentence definitions which cannot possibly encompass the range of social, economic and environmental concerns that the world is currently facing...Indeed, Education for Sustainability necessarily involves students in clarifying the concept for themselves in light of their evolving understanding of the interconnection of systems, their ongoing clarification of values and the emerging scientific evidence’1. ESD can and should include the questioning of environmental discourses along with discourses of, for example, progress, scientific rationalism and consumer capitalism. ESD has been creeping up the educational agenda for a while. In 2005 the UN declared 2005-2014 the ‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’. Both HEFCE and the Learning and Skills Council have sustainability strategies. HEFCE states that ‘our vision is that, within the next ten years, the higher education sector in England will be recognised as a major contributor to society’s efforts to achieve sustainability’2.

Stibbe, A. (2008), Reading and Writing Society: The Role of English Subjects in Education for Sustainability’, English Subject Newsletter, Issue 14. 2HEFCE (2005), Sustainable Development in Higher Education, hefce/2005/05_01/. 1


Journal of Learning and Teaching

So what has poetry got to do with any of this? As Auden famously stated, ‘poetry makes nothing happen.’ Of all the arts poetry is often seen as the least politically or socially relevant. When I first designed my level 3 module Reinventing Nature: Contemporary Poetry and the Environment, I had hardly heard of ESD. In part, my interest stemmed from my own poetry, which is often about the more-than-human world. In addition to this, I had worked in conservation in my mid-twenties, an experience which made me acutely aware of environmental issues. I was also becoming more and more interested in ecocriticism. This is a relatively new area of English studies. Originally it was mainly concerned with writing that directly addressed nature, but more recently it has become wider ranging as well as more theorised. Links have also been made with Film and Media Studies. Aims The aim of the module is to develop in students an awareness of the ways in which texts construct and deconstruct various attitudes to nature with particular reference to poetry and its ability to take us beyond instrumental and anthropocentric assumptions. The title ‘Reinventing Nature’ stems from the fact that ideas about nature are reinvented all the time and that poets are also reinventers of these ideas themselves. Wordsworth, for example, changed our view of the Lake District forever. In exploring the variety of ways in which a number of contemporary poets engage with nature as a subject, students have to engage with and critique different social constructions of nature that are current at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Rationale While English Studies has, over the last thirty years, engaged with issues of race, class and gender, until recently it has had little to say about environmental crisis. However, an increasing number of writers are dealing with the environment in their work. Living as we do in an age of unprecedented environmental change, it seems vital that we engage our students with writing which deals with issues such as pollution, global warming and population growth. A critical understanding of the ways such issues are negotiated in literature can help provide students with the tools necessary to understand the increasingly ‘heated’ debates surrounding, for example, global warming. Ultimately, students will carry such ideas with them when they graduate and will be able to engage more effectively in debates about what a socially and environmentally sustainable society might look like. The module also aims to make interdisciplinary connections, particularly with science. Our education system’s tendency towards specialisation means that most English undergraduates have only a limited understanding of scientific concepts such as evolution and climate change. Students are required to engage with a variety of scientific ideas through the poetry studied.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Implementation The module is divided into a number of different areas of context, such as Ecology, Language and Nature, and Environmentalism. Each area is introduced with a lecture or discussion in which important issues are raised. Subsequently, the work of one or two poets is examined in the light of these issues. Students are expected to familiarise themselves not only with the work of the poets for each area, but also with critical and theoretical extracts relating to the subject, and also with wider reading. For example, recommended reading for the Poetry and Ecology session might include extracts from a work of popular science. In addition to this students are also expected to give detailed close readings of poems and to be able to articulate the different ways in which poems create their meanings. Rather than outline each area of context in brief snapshot, I will describe one in detail to give a taste of what actually happens in the module. In weeks four and five the focus is on Language and Nature. The students will be familiar with various structuralist and poststructuralist theories of language as they will have encountered these in their Level One Literary Theory modules. In fact, the issue will have been raised in the first session of this module, as I begin the module by asking students to define the world ‘nature’, which always leads to a very interesting discussion as the students find themselves struggling in a sea of different definitions. So when we come on to a discussion of Language and Nature, students already have some familiarity with such concepts. I begin the first session of this particular area of context by looking at a poem entitled ‘Description’ by the American poet Mark Doty. This is a self-reflexive poem about the act of description, and it raises a number of interesting issues, which I then go on to use as the basis for an examination of the ways in which language, as a human construct, is normally human-centred and carries with it a huge ideological freight. In talking or writing about nature, we, as language using animals, are always subject to the limitations and inherent biases of language itself. I then ask the students, in small groups, to look at a number of other poems by Doty and think about the ways in which the descriptive act itself is treated in the work. This raises a number of important points regarding the ways in which poetry can go beyond our every day uses of language to interrogate instrumental and anthropocentric assumptions about nature. The next week we move on to look at the work of the Australian poet Les Murray. Murray’s sequence ‘Translations From the Natural World’ is a series of poems written in the voices of different aspects of the natural world. So there is a poem in the voice of DNA, another spoken by a strangler fig and one featuring the viewpoint of a dung beetle. These are quite dense and sometimes syntactically complex poems. In discussing them the students are brought up against work that defies many of their assumptions about what a good poem is. And yet, the value of this work is in the way in which Murray tries to undo our habitual ways of seeing the world by bending and reshaping the language. So, in a poem called ‘Shoal’, Murray attempts to replicate something of the group consciousness of a shoal of fish by getting rid of any notion of the kind of individual perception that language is normally built on. ‘I’ becomes a plural


Journal of Learning and Teaching

and without the rest of the shoal, a fish is ‘no I’, it is nothing. At the conclusion of the session, we return to the notion of language and nature again. By now students have hopefully grasped the idea that language is a human sign system which, in its everyday or common sense mode, is often poorly equipped to deal with the more-than-human world. In order to deal with this wider reality, poets have to re-make the language, ask it to do things it hasn’t necessarily evolved to do. But this issue isn’t just confined to poetry of course. All human attempts to capture the world in language are subject to the same difficulties, whether the discourse is scientific, political or literary. Sustainability Focus I hope therefore that I have demonstrated how a session on poetry and nature can raise important issues that resonate with the wider concerns of ESD. Throughout the module other issues are also discussed. The role of ecology in underpinning various poets’ works requires a discussion of ecology itself and its implications for our understanding of our place in a dynamic and highly complex biosphere. We also consider social and political reactions to environmental crisis. One area of context is Ecofeminism, which combines the insights of feminism with those of an ecological worldview. In another session we discuss the role of environmental politics in the work of two American poets. This involves an exploration of what are termed Deep and Shallow Ecologies. The module also includes a field trip to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve on the South Downs. Kingley Vale is often viewed as pristine piece of untouched nature and is home to the largest yew wood in Europe. However, it has in fact been the site of human habitation since the Bronze Age and its ecology is the result of hundreds of years of human management. The aim of the field trip is to engage students directly with a real place, to take them beyond words on a page, but also to encourage them to question commonly held assumptions about what is natural and what is cultural. Evaluation In evaluating the module using the standard English evaluation form, students normally rate their experience of the module highly. However, recently I have designed and used an ESD evaluation in addition to the usual process. I wanted to find out if and how students had changed their opinions about environmental issues by doing the module. In order to get some sense of how students perceived environmental issues before embarking on the module, I began the questionnaire by asking students if they had had any experience of environmental issues at school and whether they thought this had affected their attitudes in any way. This interested me in particular because I worked as a schools officer with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers in the nineteen eighties. At that time the environment was high on the agenda in primary schools. The answers to these questions suggested that about half of the students had had some teaching about environmental issues at school. Bearing in mind that a few of the students were quite mature, I was surprised


Journal of Learning and Teaching

that more of the younger ones didn’t have some experience of the issues. Of those that did, most said it had made them more aware of their own impact on the planet. Asked about the impact of the current module, most students said that it had made them more aware of the issues. However, when asked whether their behaviour might change because of what they had learnt, the answers were more mixed. A number had clearly taken the module because they were already interested in environmental issues. Their answers tended to suggest they would carry on as before. A number did say they would consider issues such as driving and flying less and recycling more. However, a number gave answers that suggested that they saw the whole issue as so vast and removed from their own lives that any action would be futile. This last response raises an important issue for ESD. How do we raise students’ awareness of environmental issues without making the whole issue seem so overwhelming that personal action seems pointless? In fact I am careful in the module not to present environmental issues as intractable, but this is a perception that many may already bring to the course. However, I do think it is vital that education gives students some sense of agency. At the moment I haven’t worked out how this belief might inform the module more fully. My own experience of the module over the six years it has been running is that I need to say less and less. I used to begin each area of context with a fortyminute lecture. However, I lecture less and less, preferring to use the poems as a focus and to draw responses from the students, which will then inform what I say. Partly, this is confidence in the material, but I also think that the lectures ended up setting too much of an agenda. Often, what the students would find in the poems was what I wanted them to find, not what they might find if left more to their own devices. The latter state of affairs of course makes for much more interesting teaching. Bibliography Doty, M. (1995), Atlantis, Harper Collins, London. Garrard, G. (2004), Ecocriticism, Routledge, London. HEFCE (2005), Sustainable Development in Higher Education, HEFCE, Bristol (available at Murray, L. (1993), Translations from the Natural World, Carcanet, Manchester. Roberts, C. and Roberts, R. (2007), Greener by Degrees: Exploring Sustainability through Higher Education Curricula, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire. Stibbe, A. (2008), Reading and Writing Society: The Role of English Subjects in Education for Sustainability, English Subject Newsletter, Issue 14, April.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Developing a Work-Based Leadership Programme in the UK Social Care Sector Dr Janet McCray, Subject Leader for Social and Health Care Dr Adam Palmer, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management Introduction Current UK government policy endorses the role of the third sector as an increasingly vital partner in the multi-professional landscape of health and social care which has seen major transformation in recent decades, (DoH, 2004,DoH, 2008). The term third sector describes the range of organisations, independent from government, which occupy the space between the State and the private sector (DoH, 2006).The care home element of the third sector, along with the independent or private sector has always had a significant role to play in the provision of residential support, although the nature and model of care provided has changed with the growth of care in the community (Scragg, 2008, p.193) . Parts of these sectors will face further transformation if there is an increase in the individualised budget and direct payment funding streams endorsed in Our Health Our Care Our Say (DoH, 2006). Many third and private sector enterprises, running as small businesses are reliant on a combination of commissioned and self funded residential placements for service users. Any alteration in local authority commissioning strategies, linked to level of service user participation, (Politt, 2003) could impact on the capacity of some care homes to remain viable in the market, and will be dependent on their owners’ and managers’ ability to re-engineer their model of service. The challenges faced by these managers are set within a delivery context that is beset with tensions including efficiency versus openness to public scrutiny (Rainey and Han Chung, 2007), financial accounting and outcomes in performance evaluation (Hood,1991), and shifting human resource issues around recruitment and retention, including workplace conditions, rewards and benefits for employees (Ingraham, 2007). In England the registration of a care home service requires the manager to hold a Registered Managers award (RMA) as set out in the Care Standards Act, 2000. (DOH, 2000). This vocational award based on an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification model) has been the current industry standard, Soon to be replaced by a Leadership and Management for Care Services NVQ .The key organisation responsible for leading strategic development of the social care sector is Skills For Care who are part of the Skills for Care & Development Sector Skills Council ( They are charged with, “a mission to improve the confidence of employers in the competence of their workforce, the confidence of employees in their knowledge and skills and the confidence of the users in the quality of service provided”. In relation to leadership and management, the Skills for Care Leadership and Management


Journal of Learning and Teaching

strategy (2004) recognises the need for leaders to have competence in a number of key areas (Skills for Care and Skills for Business, 2006) to enable this progress in changing service delivery to continue. One response from Skills for Care has been to commission ‘local level education and developmental activity for the workforce representing local need’ (http://www.skillsforcare. As the South of England has a significant number of social care services and businesses one significant local need was to enable managers to build on and gain new skills, identified through a consultation process to highlight the leadership development competences required. This paper presents the early findings of a commissioned leadership and management project set within an action research framework and in response to the changing demands on the sector. The project aims and objectives are: • To assess the likely strategic and local implications of the personalised care agenda on the third sector residential services in South East England • Capture individual and organisational leadership and management requirements, to provide third sector business models for personalised social care • The design, delivery, review and evaluation of a programme of leadership development based on action learning Research Design In this case study action research is used as a way of gathering the data from participants in the development programme. As Gray (2004), quoting Dickens (1999), asserts ‘there is still no definitive approach to action research and no unified theory’, however it is considered that this study is an effective application of well established approaches. Action Research leads to outputs that are of genuine concern to the members of an organisation (Eden and Huxman, 1996). The participants and researchers all wished to design a programme that would enhance their capacity to lead and manage in a period of change in the sector. It is also the case that the outcomes from this work will have implications for organisations other than the South of England care sector (Eden and Huxman ibid). According to Agyris, Pulman and Smith (1985) Action Research involves examining real problems in organisations and seeking out solutions to them. The participants in this work are researchers and university teaching practitioners seeking how best to meet the development needs of the care sector. Practising mangers are also engaged in helping to identify the issues they wish to address. Carr and Kemmis (1986, p. 192) cited in Paisey and Paisey (2003) suggest that action research is a ‘deliberate approach for emancipating practitioners from the often unseen constraints of assumptions, habit, precedent, coercion and ideology’.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Another rationale for an action research approach to the project is its continuous and cyclical nature, in that it potentially has no definitive end point. The project utilises an approach similar to Kemmis and Wilkinson’s cycle (1998, p. 21). University staff are collaborators with care sector leaders through facilitation of focus groups and interviews where participants contribute to the design of a leadership programme. The care sector leaders are working with the university to evaluate the programme, reflect on the process of implementation, planning future deliveries and repeating the cycle. Key to this are the need for an understanding of the political and ideological context and its impact on the care sector explored through collaborative working strategies with leaders (Somekh, 2006) as they set their agenda for leading change. McCray (2007, p.132) defines Collaborative Working as ‘a respect for other professionals and service users and their skills and from this starting point, an agreed sharing of authority, responsibility and resources for specific outcomes or actions, gained through cooperation and consensus’. The delivery of the development programme derived from the research is being evaluated and adjusted as further insights are gained by all participants. University staff will acquire new data from the delivery phase and sector managers will share, reflect, develop and change practice within their own organisations. In this way all participants are acting in ways that parallel another aspect of action research, practitioner-based research. As McNiff (2006, p.6) explains: ‘Action research is a term which refers to a practical way of looking at your own work to check that it is as you would like it to be. Because action research is done by you, the practitioner, it is often referred to as practitioner based research; and because it involves you thinking about and reflecting on your work, it can also be called a form of self-reflective practice’. Research Method Having accepted the suitability of action research as an overarching framework, the first stage was to undertake four semi – structured interviews with the strategic care sector leaders. Interview questions were developed linked to the key project aims . These were piloted initially with a strategic leader in a different geographical area. Following interviews, the second stage was the facilitation of three focus groups with managers in the sector around the following discussion prompts gained from the interview data: development needs, current challenges, possible educational delivery models and evaluation tools.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Sample In the study there were 36 participants, four strategic leaders who engaged in semi structured interviews, and 32 managers who participated in three geographically determined focus groups. Sampling was purposive in that the four strategic leaders were selected by their role in the sector, and their knowledge of it. Focus group members were self selecting and accessed through briefing sessions to existing managers’ networks in the two counties. Ethical Issues All participants in the interviews and focus groups agreed that information derived could be used to inform the design of the programme and publication of related research output. Data Analysis Data from the interviews is analysed under two headings: first, an overview of the sector that identifies any similarities or distinctive features of respondents’ views and second, an identification of key leadership and management competences required. For the second part of the analysis data was mapped to the Skills for Care Leadership and Management Standards A-F (SFC, 2004). Data from both activities was reviewed and evaluated. Data from the interviews was validated by the respondents through the acceptance of a formal report of the findings. The focus group and interview data is presented as selected “narrative” that reflects key themes using the words of the participants rather than codified data. This is considered to make more sense of the leadership issues involved than segmenting responses through coding. The use of interviews and focus groups helped to further validate data through triangulation. This highlighted areas of shared experience from leaders and managers and provided evidence of consensus of what was required from educational activity. Findings Interviews with Strategic Leaders Strategic leaders in the sector noted a range of responses to the challenges faced by national personalised care agenda. One leader noted: ‘Interest and engagement varies among employers – with some burying their heads, and others taking it as an opportunity to diversify and develop their service’ and ‘there is little evidence of strategic thinking from owners in some areas with Learning Disability Services having pockets of innovation and entrepreneurship’


Journal of Learning and Teaching

One leader reflected ‘how do you market oneself and ones’ business and respond to the White Paper – the personalisation and individualisation agendas – particularly workforce, structural and budgeting requirements. Also, collaborative working, particularly with the NHS which is a new area for many people. As markets diversify further all of these issues will continue to be a challenge’ There was consensus across all strategic leaders that leadership knowledge and skills are critical as distinct from management roles – particularly in relation to managing change in response to the new business environment. Transformational leadership skills based on emotional intelligence, communication, assertiveness and entrepreneurial thinking were key. Further leadership skills identified included entrepreneurial skills linked to business skills and business re-engineering, business analysis, requirements, management of stakeholders marketing skills, to include the strategic selling and capturing emerging new markets, current commissioning agencies and financial accounting. With reference to the model of delivery leaders felt that a mixture of activity was needed, including ‘chalk & talk’, networks and forums, action learning sets, coaching and mentorship schemes. Foundation Degree type and stand alone modules. Routes that could lead to accreditation of activity into existing award frameworks were seen as positive additions. Focus Groups A total of 32 people attended three focus groups all facilitated by the same university staff. Participants were supported to explore the following themes from the leaders’ interviews. Development needs, current challenges, possible educational delivery models and evaluation tools. A key area of development was that of leadership. Current industry standards require managers (DoH, 2004) to hold a Registered Managers award which received a mixed response from the group members. Overall it was felt that it was a useful on the job preparation, but it was not appropriate for exploring and responding to many current challenges and development needs. One manager summarised this: ‘NVQs are proving what you can do, but are not about learning. “They just give you the tool but then you have to go on and do it’. Reflecting on practice was seen as valuable and essential if you want to create change and it was noted that: ‘A range of other skills and self knowledge are required’ A number of people agreed that “every day I like to reflect’


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Key development needs were identified, including: ‘You need to know how you change the culture particularly important given the amount of changes that are going on in the sector, and how you motivate staff to take on different roles’ Whilst another manager observed that: ‘Teams are very set in their ways and difficult to get them to change’ Other areas of development need were: ‘greater in depth understanding of budgets and how they work’. This was seen as particularly important for small independent businesses. One manager of a small home reflected: ‘big companies have infrastructure (i.e. accountants, legal experts). Independent owners would not have this resource so more knowledge of running and changing business is required’. A number of focus group participants had been asked to develop business plans without having been trained. Whilst risk management of business plans was viewed as vital along with marketing and publicity skills, tendering and writing of policy documents. Key challenges for the sector included a need for better qualified managers: ‘they are trying to identify social care career pathways, but the challenge is to ensure that people are paid enough. Need to build a career structure that is worthwhile, and this does require appropriate reward structure…this is the challenge. Big organisations in the sector tend to win here because of their resources’. Whilst some managers felt that changes created by the personalised care agenda would not impact others saw them selves differently ‘as new social entrepreneurs’. From the data evidence there were a number of common threads of shared development need and awareness that a range of educational activity and evaluation would be needed to support managers, many of whom expressed a feeling of isolation in their role. One manager noted that ‘practice is important and opportunity to explore approaches with others is good’. Whilst another participant said: ‘learning sets worked well for me on my degree and it is good to work through an issue specific to your role’. However a range of educational models was seen as essential with one view being: ‘workshops would be better if you were taught something’ and another noting that ‘it would be good if you could have others that you could be taught with and bounce ideas off’. Participants valued the support in learning they would acquire from regular contact with groups of professional colleagues within the sector, summarised


Journal of Learning and Teaching

by one manager: ‘Element of flexibility would be useful and different types of programmes some with content and others where we bring our issues along’. Action within Action A full draft programme of activity was designed in response to the participants’ reflections and was presented for feedback from the strategic leaders in the study. There was a consensus on content and delivery models. This was seen as a key element of the action learning cycle as support of those with influence was a critical element of the change process (Wisker, 2008). The nature of the project’s aims and the role of the participants in undertaking the programme means that a further cycle of actions has commenced now that the resulting first modules of learning are being delivered. Action learning sets are being used in the programme to present issues in implementing a leadership intervention, hear the reflections of colleagues and plan future action. As the sector managers undertake the programme within the workplace and in collaboration with other sector colleagues they engage in situated learning. They are learning in the workplace about the workplace (Collins and Duguid 1989 in Cohen et al, 2000). Lave and Wenger (1991) identify the importance of ‘situations’ in learning. The sector managers are part of a community of practice and within it they are able to develop themselves as leaders in a particular context by taking action to improve practice. Other influences in the approach adopted are the related literature on the reflective practitioner (Schon, 1987) and tacit learning (Eraut, 2004). The above is in contrast to previous models of development that have typically offered a day or half a day attendance at a session with no requirement or provision for participant action outside the event itself. Further, the Registered Manager Award, held by many of the participants, has established an approach that is essentially about providing evidence of what a manager ‘has done’ rather than demonstrating a capacity for learning and managing change. Hence the emphasis on individual action as a fundamental basis for developing leadership capacity has manifested itself as a key factor in changing conceptions of learning and management. Some participants were surprised and ambivalent about committing themselves to a leadership intervention in the workplace that would be written up for assessment. Demonstrating action learning principles and practice within the contact sessions, as recommended by McGill and Beaty (1992), emerged as an important activity in surfacing different expectations of the development programme. Having the opportunity to share issues amongst managers with the facilitation of university staff meant that practical action learning projects could be framed. This is important as for some the notion of experimenting with different approaches to management was difficult to engender. For example, an individual wanted to describe how they had successfully (their perception) built their work team. Another submitted a draft assignment that described principles of effective leadership. However the majority of managers engaged with the course materials to change their thinking about leadership issues.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

These in themselves are illustrative of the challenges in the sector. Some examples are given below. A has a problem with 70% of new staff in her team; this is a common problem in the sector with low paid unskilled labour and high turnover. A is investigating how teambuilding and leadership techniques can help manage this challenge. J has recently been appointed to a management post where three care home companies have been merged under a new managing director. J is interested in introducing a coaching or mentoring scheme to support staff through the period of change. B is evaluating the use of the Johari Window, a personal awareness raising tool, to tackle boundary and staff communication issues. P is investigating how elements of 360 degree appraisal can be adapted to improve the effectiveness of the mandatory staff supervision meetings. M wants to redesign staff selection systems in the light of high staff turnover problems. Discussion Reflecting on the leadership project and this study so far, one of the main findings is a consensus from all participants on the need for further leadership development for a changing sector. What is not so easy for constituents to determine is the likely capacity and scope for re-engineering of third sector services as a potential tension exists. For even as participants in the project are shaping their development needs through action learning activity, from another perspective they, like other players in the social care sector are faced with currently unanswered questions around the likely size, nature and share of the market the personalised care business is likely to impact. For whilst in policy terms the government encourages social entrepreneurship in the provision of health and social care in its new commissioning framework for health and well being (DOH, 2007)(McCray, 2009), as yet the reality through informed long term commissioning strategies remains piecemeal in the social care sector. Inadequate information on which to map likely demand to delivery remains problematic for the social care sector. Nevertheless in all social enterprises, leaders and managers are required to demonstrate innovative behaviours (Borins, 2002) with attention being paid to the external environment and the needs of stakeholders (Denis, Langley and Roukema 2007 cited in McCray and Ward, 2008). Next Steps As the programme is still underway further data will be generated from the participants’ work submitted or presented for assessment. Individual participants choose individual investigations and activities to build their capability. The types of intervention they choose and their responses to activities they engage in will provide further insights into care sector challenges, issues and possible responses to them that can be disseminated widely. The design and focus of the project therefore lends itself well to other well established but


Journal of Learning and Teaching

relevant related aspects of Action or Practitioner Research. Conclusion This action learning project brings together the strategic agenda, organisational issues and the voices of those employed as managers within the social care sector and their university partner. The first stage of a process of transformation created through action learning and the views of the change agents that are participants has captured a demand for a different leadership style, knowledge and skill which will require alternative educational delivery models and responses both nationally and locally. The ethos of the RMA is still central to the sectors requirements and with a new curriculum at its core this should further support good foundation management preparation. Beyond this industry benchmark, a different vision has been created by many of the study's participants and new leadership programmes may be required to meet the care sectors strategic goals around new and personalised services. The implementation of the programme is at an early stage and it is envisaged that further data will emerge from the work of the participants and their evaluation of the learning achieved. References Ackoff, R.L. (1974), Redesigning the Future: A Systems Approach to Societal Problems, Wiley, New York. Argyris C., Putnam R., and Smith M. (1985), Action Science: Concepts, Methods and Skills for Research and Intervention, Josey Bass, California. Berg, B.L. (2004), Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, Pearson, Boston, MA. Borins, S. (2002), Leadership and Innovation in the public sector, Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, 23 (8), pp. 467-476 Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986), Becoming Critical. Education, Knowledge and Action Research, Falmer, Lewes. Cohen L. and Manion L. (1990), Research Methods in Education, Third Edition, Routledge, London. Cohen L., Manion L. and Morrison K.R.B. (2000), Research Methods in Education, Fifth Edition, Routledge, London. Collins J, S. and Duguid, P. (1989), Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning, Educational Researcher, 32, pp. 32-34. Costley, C. and Gibbs, P. (2006), Researching Others: Care as an Ethic for Practitioner Researchers, Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 31, No.1, pp. 8998.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Department of Health (2000), The Care Standards Act, The Stationary Office, London. Department of Health (2004), Making Partnerships Work for Patients, Carers and Service Users - A Strategic Agreement Between the Department of Health, the NHS and the Voluntary and Community Sector, The Stationary Office, London. Department of Health (2006), Our Health, Our Care, Our Say: A New Direction for Community Services, The Stationary Office, London. Department of Health (2007), Commissioning Framework for Health and Wellbeing, The Stationary Office, London. Denis, J.L., Langley, A. and Rouleau,L. (2007), Rethinking Leadership in Public Sector Organisations, in E. Ferlie, L.E. Lynn, and C. Politt, The Oxford Handbook of Public Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Dickens, L. (1999), Action Research: Rethinking Lewin, Management Learning, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 127-140. Department of Health (2008), High Quality Care For All. NHS Next Stage Review Final Report, The Stationary Office, Norwich. Ebbutt, D. (1985), Educational Action Research: Some Genuine Concerns and Specific Quibbles, in R.G. Burgess (Ed.), Issues in Educational Research: Qualitative Methods, Falmer, Lewes, pp. 52-74. Eden, C. and Huxham, C. (1996), Action Research for Management Research, British Journal of Management, 7(1), pp. 75-86. Eraut, M. (2004), Informal Learning in the Workplace, Studies in Continuing Education, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 247-273. Gray, D. (2004), Doing Research in the Real World, Sage, London. Handy, C. (1991), The Age of Unreason, Second Edition, Arrow Business Books, London. Hood, C. (1991), Public Management for All Seasons? Public Administration, 69, pp. 3-19. Hopkins, D. (1985), A Teachers Guide to Classroom Research, Open University Press, Philadelphia. Ingraham. P.W. (2004), Striving for Balance: Reforms in Human Resource Management in Public and Private Management Compared, in Ferlie, E., Lynn, F.E. and Politt, C. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Public Management, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


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Kemmis, S. and Mctaggart, R. (Eds) (1992), The Action Research Planner, Third Edition, Deakin University Press, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Kemmis, S. and Wilkinson, M. (1998), Participatory Action Research and the Study of Practice, in Atweh, B., Kemmis, S. and Weeks, P. (Eds.), Action Research in Practice: Partnerships for Social Justice in Education, London and New York: Routledge. Knowles, M. (1990), The Adult Learner. A Neglected Species, Fourth Edition, Gulf Publishing, Houston. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991), Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation, University of Cambridge Press, Cambridge. Lewin, K. (1948), Resolving Social Conflicts, Harper, New York. McCray, J. and Ward, C. (2008), Social Enterprise A New Challenge for Nursing Practice and Collaborative Partnerships, International Journal of Nursing Studies, citation ref: McCray, J. (2009), Nursing and Multi-professional Practice, Sage, London. McCray, J. (2007), Reflective Practice for Collaborative Working, in Scragg,T. and Knott,C., Reflective Practice in Social Work, Learning Matters, Exeter. McGill, I. and Beaty, L. (1992), Action Learning: A Practitioner's Guide, Prentice Hall, London. McNiff, J. (2002), Action Research for Professional Development - Concise Advice for New Action Researchers,, accessed 13th July 2008. Mezirow, J. (1978), Perspective transformation, Adult Education, 28 (2), pp. 100 – 110. Mezirow, J. (1991), Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning, JosseyBass, San Francisco, CA. Paisey, C. and Paisey, N. J. (2003), Developing Research Awareness in Students: An Action Research Project Explored, Accounting Education: An International Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 1-20. Politt, C. (2003), The Essential Public Manager, Open University Press, Maidenhead. Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (Eds) (2000), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, Sage Publications, London. Robson, C. (2002), Real World Research, Blackwell, Oxford.


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Rowe, A. (2006), Press Release - Skills for Care, Nov 6th, Ref 28/06. Schmuck, R.A, and Perry, E. (2006), Practical Action Research for Change Second Edition, Sage, Thousand Oaks CA USA. Schon, D. (1987), Educating the Reflective Practitioner, Josey Bass San Francisco. Scragg, T. (2008), Nursing, Multi-professional Practice and the Third sector, in McCray, J. (Ed.), Nursing and Multi-professional Practice, Sage, London. Skills For Care (2004), Leadership and Management Strategy, http://www. Skills For Care and Skills For Business (2006), What Leaders and Managers in Social Care Do, Somekh, B. (2006), Action Research: A Methodology for Change and Development,Oxford University Press, Oxford. Whitehead, J. and McNiff, J (2006), Action Research Living Theory, Sage, London. Bryant, I. Johnston, R. Usher, R. (1997), Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge, Routledge, London. Winter, R. (1987), Action Research and the Nature of Social Enquiry, Gower, Aldershot. Wisker, G. (2008), The Postgraduate Research Handbook, Macmillan, Basingstoke. Zuber-Skeritt, O. (1996), Emancipatory Action Research for Organisational Change and Management Development, in Zuber-Skerritt, O. (Ed.), New Directions in Action Research, Falmer, London, pp. 83-105.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Thinking, Fixing, Delivering: Planning and Evaluating Student-led Creative Projects Roy Hanney, Senior Lecturer, Media Studies Introduction Running small projects in large organisations offers a range of challenges to the project manager and working within a Higher Education Institution1 (HEI) to deliver small-scale projects brings to bear its own set of difficulties. For most practice base creative media courses the ability of students to undertake projects while working in a group is a fundamental element of course delivery and often a determinant of assessment. Typically students are inexperienced project workers and lack the skills in group working, creative problem solving and process management to effectively deliver a small scale project. While HEIs support traditional student endeavours through study skills workshops and tutorials there is often little support for the kind of skills development needed to support the delivery of projects. In fact it may be the case that often staff do not have the prerequisite body of knowledge to manage the delivery of student-led projects despite the widespread acceptance of project management methodologies within the academy and creative industries. This paper will explore the nature of a 'project', evaluate appropriate structural considerations for project delivery and make recommendations on the appropriate level of documentation for small-scale student-led projects using PRINCE22 as a basis for discussion. The proposals offered in this paper are intended to be generic offering an outline for a process model for a ‘live project’ which might involve students working, as a project team, to deliver a ‘real business outcome’ to an external business client on a small-scale project, and be characterised by factors such as short duration; low person hours; small team size; along with the need to balance the time committed to creative critical endeavour and the time committed to managing the project. For the course team, and the external client, the ability of the students to deliver as creative practitioners to “time, cost and quality” (Watson 2002:65) is often an assessment requirement even though students often struggle with time management, communication and effective team work. Adopting a small-scale project management methodology encourages students to reflect on the process of their practice developing key skills along the way. It also allows for the possibility of a 'lean' or 'lightweight' document trail providing a benchmark for evaluating the students progress through a module.


HEIs are characterised by their complex ‘silo’ structures which can complicate the effective delivery of projects with in an institution. 2 PRINCE2: Projects In a Controlled Environment, a government standard for the management, control and organisation of projects.


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With this in mind some key assumptions have been made. For example timescale and scheduling is limited to the academic time frame and timetabling considerations. In addition assessment requirements may also put a specified limit on stage and completion delivery dates. The subject of costs is not developed since it is assumed that aside from the payment of expenses or a minimum wage little if any money will change hands during the project. Students also expect the availability of a certain level of recourses and since this may vary from institution to institution and from sector to sector there has been not detailed discussion of how this might be managed on a 'Live Project'. Finally the issue of quality is discussed at length in relation to the process of managing creativity and innovation however the potential for utilising quality criteria as a key assessment tool has been left for a future discussion paper. Quality, Creativity, Innovation and Implementation Quality management systems, methodologies and approaches clearly have an important role to play in a range of project management contexts. Anyone, however, with even a passing familiarity with higher education or any of the large scale institutions, within which many of us work, will recognise the ‘quality management syndrome’, where the process of of documenting and auditing becomes the main activity, while we slowly sink beneath a rising tide of quality documents. It can sometimes feel as though an entire forest has been decimated in order to manage a simple activity. It is also easy to forget that quality is an elusive concept that philosophers have argued over for many years. Reducing the concept of quality to a simple set of didactic processes relieves us of the essential indefinable essence which the word connotes. Sower and Fair's (2005) argument that quality cannot be reduced to a simple set of user friendly definitions, is very persuasive, especially in relation to the management of creative projects such as audiovisual production or the provision of creative services where the quality of the project deliverables is often difficult to define or evaluate and may defy simple categorisation. We know quality when we see it, but find it hard to say what 'it' is in advance. The quality of a good film, for example, is not something tangible that can be qualified purely in terms of set criteria. Notions such as cinematic, dramatic, and televisual quality all carry with them a sense of ‘innate excellence’ which is difficult to define in any concrete way. A well known filmmaker, Louis Buñuel is said to have commented that the difficulty with filmmaking is that while one film might be produced on a large budget, with all the best people available it will never the less flop. Another produced on a shoe string, crewed by the least capable people will become a major success. Following Plato’s transcendent approach to notions of quality, Sower & Fair (2005: 12) suggest that concepts such as insight, intuition and creativity should be included in any definition of quality: ‘far from being an impractical approach to defining quality and of interest only to philosophers, the transcendent approach is the most practical approach when breakthroughs in quality are important’.


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Their investigation suggests that the standard quality tools commonly utilised by project managers, while useful for ensuring ‘continuous quality improvements for existing products, processes and services and to provide for improvement in product and service design within the existing paradigm (Sower & Fair 2005:14), fall short of offering the iterative flexibility which enables creativity and innovation to be a fundamental element of a process-led approach to student projects. The nature of critical and creative enquiry which tutors seek to embed within practical projects often requires an open outcome and may even allow for the possibility of failure at some level. Within the context of a media course it is perhaps the 'reflection on action' by the students which produces the iterative development of experiential skills and knowledge, and this needs to be recognised in the design of 'appropriate' or 'optimum' project management methodologies. Creativity is a balance of 'imagination and analysis' (Plsek 2005:35) and is something that can be encouraged, directed and enabled given the right circumstances. Having an idea is however only part of the process: Creativity needs to be implemented, applied, or put into practice. We are told that 'innovation equals creativity plus implementation' (Stamm 2003:1), where implementation is a process of ideas selection, development and commercialisation. We are told that teams working within organisations which have appropriate structures, processes and procedures to enable the effective delivery of a project also require an approach that fosters creativity and innovation (Stamm 2003). West (2002) agrees with Stamm (2003) proposing that innovation should be seen as a 'two stage essentially non-linear process encompassing both creativity and innovation implementation' (West 2002:357) and goes on to describe the three dominant factors that promote creativity and innovation implementation within a project team: • The importance of the group task as a focusing factor • That there is diversity of knowledge and skill within group members • Team integration and the ability to capitalize on shared knowledge skills and resources aided, where applicable, by a project review process These mantras are familiar to anyone with a scant knowledge of project management, and of the importance of well-functioning teams to the effective delivery of a project. However West goes on to add another factor to this mix arguing that 'external demands' (West 2002:365), while promoting implementation, in fact stifle creativity. Based on research into healthcare workers he tells us that in integrated team environments where there was a high workload these teams often innovated effectively. Developing his argument, he suggests that teams are motivated by strong external demands such as the threat of uncertainty or the application of time constraints: ‘what is suggested therefore is that external demands will inhibit creativity which occurs in the earlier stages of the innovation process, but they will facilitate innovation (via innovation implementation) at later stages.


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Creativity requires an undemanding environment, while implementation requires precisely the opposite’ (West 2002:366). The creative process or that element of the process that is expected to produce creative ideas needs to be facilitated and supported, nurtured if you like, without the constraints of external demands: ‘the group should be given time during the early stages of the innovation process, in an unpressurised environment, to generate creative ideas for new and improved products or ways of working. This may mean taking time away from the usual workplace and working in (ideally) a pleasant and relaxing environment. The services of a skilled facilitator, knowledgeable about research evidence on group creative processes (as opposed to popular belief and consultancy mythology), can help groups to maximise their creative output’ (West 2002:379). Thus we can see a requirement for a two phase solution for the implementation of creative projects. The first phase being one of problem definition, analysis, and critical thinking in an environment that is free from external demands (including perhaps timescales); followed by a second action or implementation phase where the prime activity is one of creative practice or the application of skills and knowledge to implement the creative idea. Commenting on West’s sequencing of creativity and innovation implementation Paulus (2002) suggests that in fact there is a need for the creative impetus to be: ‘fairly recursive, with a continual cycle of generation and implementation. Often it may be problems in the implementation stage that provide the stimulus for the generation of some new or better solutions’ (Paulus 2002:395). West himself suggests that in fact the process is 'essentially non-linear' (Paulus 2002:357), supporting the need for flexibility in the monitoring and management of projects. Specifically risk management requires the team to have a level of autonomy, which is perhaps difficult to achieve in 'overly managed’ project teams. Sometimes successful innovation even requires risk taking, as observed in Sower and Fair (2005). Central to this is the sense that reflexivity, which Paulus describes in terms of 'reflectiveness and adaptiveness' (Paulus 2002:397) must be an important factor in any project management approach that hopes to engender innovation. Lean, Lightweight and Small-scale Project Management Methodologies A review of the existing literature on managing small projects reveals that in fact little has been specifically written on the subject. This finding is largely supported by Watson (1997) who claims that writing on the subject of project management 'largely ignores the overwhelming majority of people who manage small projects' (Watson 1997:22). This is despite the fact that small projects are often the 'mainstay of development work' (Marsh 2002:14) in any business large or small. While PRINCE2 is an effective tool for the management of large


Journal of Learning and Teaching

scale and complex projects, in a situation where the project is likely to last for a few months and perhaps includes a small project team of one or two people the use of this methodology can become problematic. Early attempts to address this issue such as the CC&TA pamphlet (CC&TA 1990) utilising the original PRINCE methodology in a stripped-down form offered nothing more that simple guidelines, later developed by Bradley (1990) through a specific methodology for small projects which he names SPOCE3. This approach offers a useful evaluation of how a project might be integrated into an existing organisational structure, but feels overly prescriptive: It offers a fundamentally didactic model that perhaps does not provide the kind of flexibility required of a universal tool for managing small student-led creative projects. In an attempt to move away from the over-complexity of government standards Watson (2002) identifies a series of strategic factors4 which he simplifies into a conceptual rather than a purely procedural set of tools (Watson 2002:20). He suggests that this taxonomy can provide a basis for investigating the project through a series of questions, which will promote a strategic analysis. Watson refers to this as ‘chunking’ (2002:25) or breaking the project components into manageable elements. This process leads towards the writing of a definitive 'fixing' document or 'project initiation document' (PID) using standard headings to structure the enquiry. This methodology is fundamentally more flexible than Bradley’s approach, since it relies not on a didactic procedural application of tools which the student project team may have no experience of, but offers instead a conceptual framework that promotes an investigation or process of critical engagement with the project. Though initial attempts by the author to use the headings proposed by Watson foundered as the students still found the terminology overly complex and difficult to understand. In particular they struggled with ideas such as 'scope', 'quality' or 'acceptance criteria' and this led to the production of project plans which had been written to meet the requirements of assessment, but which little practical use value to students. Given that the aim is to embed project management methods into the process of a module rather than proactively teach project management as a subject discipline the amount of time spent by students working on these project plans also became an issue and a distraction from the actual task in hand. Developing Watson's model Bentley (2005) retains the flexibility of a conceptual framework while still utilising key elements of the PRINCE2 methodology. Bentley’s approach constitutes:


‘Small Projects in a Controlled Environment’. The practical approach you will adopt to tackle the project or ‘what you will do’: Project Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Roles and Responsibilities, Deliverables or Outputs, External Dependencies, Assumptions, Phases or Tasks 4


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A broad, structured approach to scaling down PRINCE2, based on key project characteristics. It begins by considering the minimum control elements necessary, and from that basis, builds in other control features of PRINCE2 as and when certain conditions prevail in a project (Bentley 2005:11). For Bentley ‘control’ of a project is about planning, monitoring and communicating in order to deliver a project in terms of time, cost and quality. Bentley (2005) in fact offers two solutions for the practical management of small-scale projects. The first being what he calls a ‘work package’ that would be appropriate for what we might term a micro-project; the second covering more developed projects that might include one or more distinctive stages. His methodology concurs with that outlined in earlier statements on lean project management, which suggest that 'projects plans require only enough detail to reflect the level of control required and as appropriate to duration and complexity' (CC&TA 1990:9). Bentley recommends that planning is structured around a ‘Work Breakdown Schedule’ (CC&TA 1990:9, Bentley 2005, Watson 2002, Bradley 1990) utilising the general headings:  • What is to be produced • When is it to be produced • By whom will it be produced • How is quality to be specified and measured • A statement on technical resources • Stage Descriptions (minimum of 2) • Creative and planning phase – leading to PID • Action or implementation phase – subdivided as appropriate These headings are underpinned by the simplified conceptual building blocks he adapts directly from PRINCE25 which provide students with a sense of the life cycle of a project and encourage them to make links between the process and documentation. In practice Bentley,s (2005) framework is still overly technical in its use of discipline specific jargon. Evaluating the student experience of this approach has, over a period of time led to a 'smoothing' out of unnecessarily complex jargon and a pairing back of document headings to arrive at a simple template for documenting a student-led project. This approach retains the essential conceptual characteristics of PRINCE2 and thus embeds this foundational knowledge at a meta level within the creative process without overburdening the students and misdirecting their endeavour. In his recent publication, Bentley (2006) which outlines his methodology in detail and provides an excellent text book for supporting the use of simple project management tools by students.


PRINCE2 conceptual building blocks: setting up the project; initiating the project; authorising the project; giving ad hoc advice; confirming project closure.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Using Risk to Promote Critical Enquiry Although it is agreed that a Project Plan is an essential ingredient for any project, Watson suggests that many 'low risk' (2002:87), low budget, short timescale projects may not require the use of other common project management process tools such as change or exception plans, quality plans or stage review documentation. In fact the experience of the author suggests that these processes are too complex for students to engage with on short time-scale creative projects. However there are always risks, changes and exceptional circumstances in any project no matter how small and a lean quality plan could, it is argued, include at the very minimum a ‘risk assessment’ and a 'review process' which seeks to capture: ‘moments in time when predefined aspects of a project will be reviewed against quality criteria’ (Watson 2002:89). For those of us approaching a project with extensive iterative experience of creative practice the category of 'risk' offer us a way of exploring our ideas and developing effective management or delivery strategies. Where as students, who lack the experience of running projects come to the process not knowing what questions to ask and struggle to interrogate the project process. Using the kind of simple risk management tool Watson (2002:65) recommends6 offers an opportunity for structuring student engagement with the process of critical enquiry that can be deepened with each iteration of a project experience. Students can also be encouraged to review previous risk assessments and up date them in the light of new opportunities. This process would encourage team members to think critically about a project and identify factors that may not be immediately apparent to them. Bentley (2005) recommends that each subdivision of a project has its own 'Stage Plan' with a procedure for agreeing completion of each stage. Commonly each stage would be reviewed by the project team supported by the client and tutor. Evaluation criteria can be agreed in advance and ideally negotiated between client and students. The student groups are then expected to satisfy these 'quality' criteria before the the production can move forward to the next stage and students can be encouraged to include 'milestones', 'checkpoints', or 'stage reviews' in their project plans. The risk assessment process should also be continual and integrated into the monitoring and evaluation of the project. Students might be asked to present risk assessments for feedback and could be encouraged to use the risk assessment as a staring point for their own personal reflection. Review 6

Utilising commonly used headings such as risk; probability; severity; priority; controls; and Actions


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and monitoring can also be integrated into the module process through direct interactions with a client at the initial project briefing; through the process of pitching and approving the project; through regular tutorials; final presentation and the acceptance or declination by the client of the final artifact. This 'reflexive' approach encourages students to deepen their familiarity with the process of creative practice and through it they begin to recognise the value of monitoring and evaluating a project. Conclusion This paper conceptualises small-scale project management as a process tool that encourages students to evaluate their project management skills through critical reflection and offers a structure for the delivery of practice-based media production activities which engage students as critical and creative practitioners. The paper proposes a template for a simple set of tools which are the optimum required for the management of a small-scale project. This would include: - A two stage approach to structuring a student-led project which includes: • Critical, Creative, Innovation Phase • Process Driven Implementation Phase - A Project Initiation Document that fixes the project at the conclusion of the innovation phase including a: • Project Definition • Project Proposal • Project Plan - A smoothing out or translation of complex technical jargon into student friendly terminology. - A recognition that the process of reviewing and monitoring the project through use of structured tutorials which reference the project documentation, is essential to the success of student-led projects. - The use of an 'Opportunity & Risk' assessment tool to promote critical enquiry into the project process A final issue of some importance is the need for underpinning support from the host institution. The guidelines for applying PRINCE2 to small projects (CC&TA 1990) recommend that the institution within which the project is running should as an absolute minimum, provide a ‘Project Support Office’ to assist with the project's planning; to monitor progress on the part of the project board; to provide a quality assurance role; and provide an experienced but independent sounding board or mentoring role. This support role would enable the umbrella institution to ensure that the project properly represents


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the host institution's business and organisational objectives and could provide professional advice and support for inexperienced project teams. In cases where appropriate organisational support is in place, the adoption of a smallscale project management methodology such as the one proposed above will go someway towards enabling projects to run effectively and to deliver their outputs in terms of time, cost and quality. References Bentley, C. (2005), Managing Small Projects with PRINCE2, AMP Publishing, High Wycombe. Bentley, C. (2006), PRINCE2 Revealed, Butterworth-Heineman, London. Bradley, K. (1994), Managing Small Projects in a PRINCE Environment, NCC Blackwell, Oxford. CC&TA (1990), Prince in Small Non-IT Projects, Stationery Office Books, London. Marsh, D. (2002), Smaller Projects, Project Manager Today, Vol.14, pp. 1417. Paulus, P.B. (2002), Different Ponds for Different Fish: A Contrasting Perspective on Team Innovation, Applied Psychology, Vol. 51, Issue 3, p. 355. Plsek, P.E. (2005) Working Paper: Models for the Creative Process Directed Creativity,, accessed 20th November. Sower, V.E. & Fair, F.K. (2005), There is More to Quality than Continuous Improvement: Listening to Plato, QMJ, Vol. 2, No. 1. Watson, M. (1997), I don’t Mange Projects, Project Manager Today, Vol. 9, pp. 22-25. West, M. (2002), Sparkling Fountains or Stagnant Ponds: An Integrative Model of Creativity and Innovation Implementation in Work Groups, Applied Psychology, Vol. 51, Issue 3, p. 355. Von Stamm, B. (2003), Managing Innovation, Design and Creativity, Wiley, Chichester.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Capturing Impact – Should we do it … better? An Analysis of Data Gathered from Two Groups of Students taking an MA(Ed) Module on Strategic Leadership, Operational Management. Chris Luck, Co-ordinator MA(Ed) Introduction ‘We were doing our SEF*, looking at leadership and management, and I was able to point to approaches, success points and things that are not so good around the school. I used a lot of the thinking that we’ve done on the module, and got a lot of brownie points from my headteacher, who thought it was brilliant’ (*Self-Evaluation Form (SEF), required annually of schools, and used as part of the evidence base for Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspections.) This quote is taken from a chance conversation with a student, a senior member of staff in a middle school on the MA(Ed) Leadership and Management pathway at the University of Chichester in July 2006. Such a positive comment is gratifying, but its fortuitousness represents the difficulty of capturing impact, which may often be reported fleetingly or casually, and in ad hoc fashion. Formal, written evaluation requirements may go some way to capturing elusive evidence of impact, but they at best give only a partial picture. Moreover, how do we know that students’ alleged new thinking and approaches to practice, together with a professed sense of greater confidence, endure and become embedded? Might they not merely represent ephemeral, shallow learning or reflect a passing mood in the afterglow of an enjoyable module, both of which may help with writing an assignment, but which are then discarded or dissipate, and do not lead to the profound knowledge and improved practice that we hope our courses achieve? The questions of ‘time’ and ‘timing’ are also fundamental to this conundrum. The ‘quick fix’ evaluation sheets that we use may meet some institutional annual monitoring requirements and provide us with some feedback, but how are the educational professionals on our Masters programmes performing and thinking six months, one year and one or more (promoted?) jobs down the line? And how much is down to us and the influence of our courses? Indeed as Precey reminds us, simplistic interpretation of impact is a problem, since ‘we never really know what might have happened had particular policies not been implemented’ (2005, p.4) or in our context: students not attended our courses. Should we therefore even try to ascertain this, and if so how? And how do we ourselves find the time to do so? As a sector within a profession striving to assess the impact of what we do, in order to justify our existence, keep


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our jobs, prevent the Training and Development Agency for Schools’ (TDA) clawback of funding (see p.15), and maybe, just maybe, also gain some sense of intrinsic satisfaction along the way, are we in fact faced with a hopeless task that is best left alone, or at least left to those resourced to assess the educational health of the nation – Ofsted et al? ‘Her Majesty’s inspectors inspected 26 courses, offered by 15 providers who had been graded highly for impact in the previous inspection. … They also followed up 65 teachers who had completed the courses in the previous three years by visiting them in their schools to explore the extent to which the training had led to school improvement’ (Ofsted, 2004, para 4, p.5). Aren’t the facts that we continue to recruit newcomers (currently approximately 300 annually at the University of Chichester), with completion rates high, testimony enough to our effectiveness? As the above quoted Ofsted report states of other higher education providers: ‘[they] claimed that their courses gave good value for money, based on indicators such as recruitment, attendance and completion rates, all of which were high or very high in the majority of courses’ (ibid, para 37, p.15). Can we believe what our students often by chance tell us, or write in their evaluations or in their assignments? Will for example the 34 students (6% of our MA(Ed) numbers) who recently took our modules, not for accreditation purposes, but presumably for other motives such as professional development and/or learning for its own sake, will they in fact give us a more genuine view of our courses, since they haven’t got the possibly guarded viewpoint that MA(Ed) progression students may hold: ‘He’s assessing my assignment – I’d better flatter him!’, even though anonymity is meant to forestall this? In order to explore these and other questions on impact, concerning a large part time MA(Ed) programme at a British university, the article that follows examines students’ thinking prior to and at the end of a module, and where possible links the two, before examining views gleaned from the students’ assignments, a third dimension that may be neglected by tutors and students as a further means of assessing impact. Context In total, 23 part time students followed the same leadership and management module taught at two different venues in the summer of 2006. They represent a wide mix of state (19/83%) together with some independent sector employees (4/17%), at many different levels within UK phases of education: three were headteachers (13%), one a senior manager (4%), 15 (65%) middle managers or TLR postholders, and 4 (17%) who saw themselves mainly as class teachers.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

In phase terms there was one first school teacher (4%), 6 primary or prep school teachers (26%), one middle school teacher (4%), 12 secondary, including a senior independent school teacher (52%), two from post 16 education (9% one 6th form, one FE lecturer) and one from a special school (4%). An unusual statistic emerged during the module, namely 9 (39%) gained promotions in their workplace or in a new school or college. Of these 7 had done previous Masters management modules and two were on their first one. The fact that the module ran in the summer term had a bearing on these statistics, since the most frenzied period for staff recruitment and promotion in schools in the UK traditionally takes place in April/May. However, it is something that we as tutors may lose sight of, in terms of those who participate in Masters modules; indeed a main motivation for doing our courses may be to help students’ career paths, especially those on leadership and management modules (13 or 57% gave this as a reason for doing this module), and as a number of past students have verbally and variously alleged - taking a masters module does sharpen thinking, assists with applications and interviews, demonstrates commitment to personal professional development and carries kudos! As Hustler et al also report: ‘positive feelings about CPD … were quite often associated with a reasonably clear sense of career progression possibilities’ (p.2, 2003) and Ofsted also indicates awareness: ‘three providers gathered evidence on the promotions achieved by past course members as an indirect indicator of the effectiveness of the courses (2004, para 24, p.12). But how do we ascertain the different motivations students have for doing our courses? At Chichester, mindful of the limited time at our disposal (up to 30 hours usually over ten consecutive weeks), we use a simple A4 ‘Needs Assessment and Impact’ sheet (see Figure 1 below), and where possible, the initial thoughts of the 23 students who began this part of their MA(Ed) programme, have been matched in this article with their post module, evaluative comments. Permission to do this was obtained from all students following completion of their end of module, summative evaluation sheets to identify who had written what, in order to compare their initial thinking with that post module. Requesting this permission was deliberately delayed by the tutor until evaluations had been completed in the final session, to reduce possible distortions, which may have ensued, had students felt their evaluations were not to be anonymous.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Figure 1: Needs Assessment and Impact Sheet ASSESSING NEEDS and IMPACT Date ……………… Module: SLOM/RAP/MaLT/MaPP


The MA(Ed) Leadership and Management modules are designed and continually updated with school/college improvement in mind - through:

 extending participants’ reflective practice;  deepening their knowledge, understanding and skills;  developing their strategic approaches to a wide variety of issues;  assisting them to feel better informed. In order to meet your individual needs as far as possible, please answer as many of the questions below as you wish. Your tutor will request a hard copy of this sheet in session one. 1)

What are your reasons for undertaking this module?


What particular CPD needs or targets do you have related to the module?


What positive changes to your work in school/college do you hope to achieve through attending the module, with particular reference to a)

leadership & management practice

b) standards of pupils’ work


What criteria will you use to judge the module’s impact on your answer(s) to question 3?


How will you disseminate any useful outcomes to colleagues?



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Analysis Question 3 in Figure 1 asks: What positive changes to your work in school/college do you hope to achieve through attending the module, with particular reference to a) leadership and management practice and b) standard of pupils’ work? Answers to 3(a) elicited comment from all students, and in 14 instances (61%) direct links were apparent between students’ thinking as they began the module, with views expressed in their evaluations of it. A middle manager for example who had hoped to understand how her roles fitted with the whole school, ‘bigger’ picture, commented in her evaluation on the understanding she felt she had acquired on being a better leader in different situations and also of strategic leadership. A second middle manager, who had also hoped for a better understanding of leadership approaches and strategic thinking, felt enabled to make reflections on her own leadership styles, comparing them with theories studied, and on how her future conduct may be shaped, e.g. in her leadership of meetings. Two more middle managers, who had initially signalled the wish to be more efficient or effective in their leadership and management, following the module spoke of the acquisition of greater insight or extended skills in both, though they did not develop this with specific details. Regarding the positive changes she hoped to make through attending the module, a senior manager, who had initially included both effective team leadership and the development of whole school ‘high, motivational strategies’, reflected in her evaluation on her future implementation of a variety of management styles and the use of different leadership approaches. If nothing else, this and the preceding answers above illustrate the value of some changes we made to our evaluation questions: since 2004/5 we have included both past and future tenses in our question to students: How do you think this module has or will influence your own practice?, rather than the more constraining question that used to be asked: How has this module influenced your practice? What we don’t do for reasons of resourcing however, as commented on earlier, is follow through on this at a later date, although we are considering doing so by means of an additional staff appointment, in order to research claims like those above. When this occurs, then we might pursue mid to longer term assessment of impact, with a rigour hopefully akin to that achieved by Ofsted in 2004: ‘in the schools, inspectors held discussions with the participants [of HEI courses], their senior managers, colleagues and pupils. Lessons were also observed. School development and improvement plans, schemes of work, performance data, and performance management information were scrutinised ‘(Ofsted, 2004, para 4, p.5).


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Ten students (43%) commented specifically on the acquisition of greater reflexivity or insight into leadership and management, e.g. ‘has helped me to underpin the theories and understand clearly the roles of leaders within education’, and three (13%) who had initially mentioned their wish to become more confident in leading and managing ‘became’ four (17%), who subsequently spoke in their evaluations of growing confidence: e.g. ‘I would now have the confidence to act on some of my intuitive feelings’. The student, who made the last comment, had signalled in her initial thinking that she would judge the module’s impact on her sense of confidence, self motivation, reflection on current stance, and ‘to see what changes I impose’. She would indeed be a useful person for a follow up study, particularly as she gained a promotion during the module, which will bring greater responsibilities in leading and managing. A point that needs noting here is that while students had copies of their initial Needs and Impact Assessment sheets, which were revisited with their tutor in an individual tutorial (in week 6 or 7 of the ten week module), they did not consult these sheets when writing their evaluations. While their evaluation sheet does contain the module’s objectives, which they were aware of prior to attending (see figure 2), I believe this bringing together of their initial hopes and thoughts with their final ones, would assist the process of evaluating impact. However, it could also be argued that where this piece of research demonstrates a match between their beginning and end of module thinking, it signals even more strongly how consistent their needs and views are and how, at least to some degree, their ‘owners’ feel they have been met, and may therefore result in a more genuinely evaluative picture.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Figure 2: Summative Evaluation Form MA(Ed) MODULE EVALUATION In order to evaluate the effectiveness of MA(Ed) Modules it would be helpful if you could complete this Module Evaluation sheet. MODULE TITLE: Strategic Leadership, Operational Management

DATE: Summer 2006

Module Objectives: By the end of this module participants should attain general learning outcomes of the leadership and management pathway and be able to • understand the main theoretical perspectives underpinning relevant management models; • identify the strategic roles played by leaders in educational organisations; • analyse and evaluate the leadership styles and management processes taking place in their own institution; • familiarise themselves with and appraise relevant research literature and other source materials; • examine and (possibly) challenge their own values and principles and/or those manifested in their workplace; • work towards a personal synthesis of good practice in strategic leadership and operational management. To what extent were these objectives met?

Very Well


Not very well

Specific objectives which were not met: CONTENT: Considering the module’s objectives: Was the level of topic treatment: About right

Too advanced

Too elementary

Was the subject material:

Relevant in part only

Not relevant at all

Very relevant

METHOD: Was the module length:

About right

Too long

Too short

Was the pace of the module:

About right

Too fast

Too slow

What were the strengths of the module? How do you think this module has or will influence your own practice: a) with pupils; b) with colleagues; c) personally? How do you think the module could be improved? Please make any further comment which you think might be appropriate.



Journal of Learning and Teaching

Leadership implies followership and an aspect of particular interest was students’ views on this. While much of what they wrote was self-oriented, an objective of the module (Figure 2, no.3) was to encourage them to reflect on how perceptions may coalesce or differ on leadership styles and management approaches adopted by colleagues and employed by themselves in their own contexts. Not only do our evaluation questions now include a reference to past and future practice as mentioned earlier (see pp. 9-10), they also now encourage differentiated responses, in line with Ofsted’s recommendations: ‘even though end-of-course evaluations are undertaken for the large majority of courses, these are used largely to evaluate the course content and delivery, rather than to assess its effect on participants and their schools’ (2004, para 22, p.11). Hence we have included: How do you think the module has or will influence your own practice: a) with pupils b) with colleagues c) personally? and I was interested in seeing how students attempted to answer each of these categories and to note references to ‘others’ in their answers. The number of students consciously including references to ‘followership’ in their initial thinking was 13 (57%), though answers were generally bland, such as: ‘empower others’; ‘improve team management’; ‘working with others … i.e. what to do to (sic) different management styles’. However, all responded to this category in their evaluations and perhaps unsurprisingly the three headteachers did the most soul searching: ‘reflect on [others’] perceptions of how the school is managed and led’ ‘reflect on the impact of my role in L+M (leading and managing) and the role of the staff as L+M (leaders and managers). Are our principles/values shining through? Seeing the vision in the actions’; ‘expect more resonant performance from myself and SMT (senior management team)’. However, there were also some specific resolutions declared by students at different levels in the profession: ‘encourage self-evaluation when in team and wider school situations’; ‘an awareness of different styles and maybe the thinking behind some of their actions’; ‘an insight into my leadership style and ways I can improve leading meetings, communicating etc to get the best working environment’; ‘has helped me to be more motivating’. Part of the impact equation relates also to what form and degree of dissemination the students intend to undertake. This is asked overtly as the final question in the initial Needs and Impact Assessment form: How will you disseminate any useful outcomes to colleagues?, but is also implicit in the evaluation sheet with the ‘influence’ question concerning colleagues quoted above. All answered this question, with 9 (31%) giving generalised information: e.g. general discussion, conversation, sharing resources, ideas, while others (14/61%) were more specific in method and/or venue: e.g. ‘modelling own practice, coaching’; coaching was only included by two others, a little surprising, given its current emphasis in CPD (e.g. Merlevede and Bridoux, 2003; Earley and Bubb, 2004). Meetings occurred in 11 (48%) answers with specific audiences included in


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8 of these, such as team, department, line management, middle managers, year, school priority groups. Sharing of specific resources was included by 5 (22%), e.g. ‘relevant, interesting literature, findings’, ‘popping useful articles in pigeonholes’. An independent school teacher also commented on the ‘curiosity value’ of the module among his colleagues, saying he continually reported opinions of what was done week by week. This is firstly a salutary reminder that word of mouth is an important means of publicising and recruiting to our courses; impact findings can also provide a powerful message on our website and other publicity. As mentioned elsewhere (p.10), it would be useful to follow up these claims with individual students and their colleagues at a later date in their respective workplaces. Secondly it indicates a gap in the approach to our provision, namely a lack of linking with participants’ schools, of considering their improvement plans and the priorities identified by other stakeholders, such as LAs. As Durrant states on the question of impact: ‘we might seek exploratory and formative dialogue and critique around impact issues, starting at the planning stage of school change, as opposed to restricting discussions of impact to summative evaluation of a process of directed change. Structured dialogue engages people with notions of impact throughout the change process. (2006, p.5). In their report on 26 HEI providers in 2004, Ofsted found that: ‘all providers sought to involve stakeholders, such as the participants’ colleagues or headteacher or an LEA adviser, in supporting their studies and in enabling them to bring about change in their school’ (2004, para 4, p.6). In our defence it can be argued that our modules normally recruit individuals from a wide range of schools and other educational contexts, and that we are not resourced to link with stakeholders in each institution, but I feel more could usefully be done in terms of communication with students’ bases. After all we publicise our courses in each, or at least attempt to, and in some modules we have a number of students from the same institution, e.g. in the two groups involved in this particular analysis, 4 of the participants worked at the same West Sussex school, and 3 in a Southampton school. Thus contact between the tutor and these two schools may have given us useful information on respective whole school needs, plans and priorities for 30% of the module’s membership. However, allied to this are issues both of equity of opportunity and privacy; if we establish links with one or two schools, then consistency of linking with each participant’s establishment should be the aim, but we also need to consider intrusiveness. Virtually all our students are self financing and usually self electing, in terms of participation on the programme, so what right does their workplace have and indeed ourselves to expect the forging of such links? Another part of this equation however, is TDA funding, which helps our courses to continue and to expand. Were we not to achieve success in the triennial bidding rounds, then our CPD department would face closure, so


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perhaps the posturing in the previous sentence is a luxury that both Chichester tutors and students cannot afford (see also pp.4 & 24). The TDA Postgraduate and Professional Development (PPD) Impact and Evaluation Report, March 2007 comments generally on ‘the difficulty of establishing causal links’ of direct impact on pupils’ performance (p.1), which reinforces a supposition that I have long held concerning the particular difficulty of linking leadership and management modules, such as the one discussed here, with impact on standards of pupils’ learning. Our initial Needs and Impact Assessment sheet (Figure 1) asks students to comment on what positive changes to their work they hope the module will help them achieve in this prime area of institutional performance. 8 (35%) failed to comment; of the 15 (65%) who did, usually vague attempts were made to link greater awareness of leadership styles or better strategic awareness to the raising of standards, e.g. ‘a well led team produces greater results’; though some were quite specific in their hopes: e.g. ‘increase percentage levels for grades 4/5 in maths across the school in line with county expectations’, which she returned to in her evaluation answer, where the specificity had then been replaced by: ‘will help me more with staff and line manage teams at the moment which in turn will help pupils’. Another very specific criterion for judging the module’s success, signalled initially by a secondary middle manager was: ‘increase A-Cs within department and more lesson observations of good+’. She subsequently changed her tone considerably in her evaluation, with her brief reply ‘not sure’ in answer to the question – how do you think this module has or will influence your own practice with pupils? Does this indicate complete failure on the module’s part to satisfy initial hopes or had this student (and others) approached the module with unrealistic expectations? Indeed the majority (18/78%) failed to register an answer to this evaluation question, with 4 confessing to having no or little idea on the issue. Should we therefore omit such questions? In terms of what criteria students would use in coming to a judgement of the module’s impact regarding pupils’ standards and their learning, little meaningful comment was elicited in the evaluation process. Vague aspiration was included by 4 (17%), e.g. ‘helped with direction of learning’, ‘helped me think about my management of classes’, ‘think about my leadership style within the classroom’. So again should we conclude that the module failed the students in this respect, or as suggested above, perhaps the question itself is invalid? The fact is however, that it has long been asked of us as tutors and programme leaders through the second of two key principles established by the TTA, namely that their funding should support training that has a demonstrable effect on raising standards (Ofsted, 2004, para 1, p.4), and it has more recently been replicated by the TDA in its Criteria for the Assessment of Provision Seeking Funding through the PPD programme (2005-08).


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Our students, or at least these students, have little idea how to answer it, but at least they are not alone in their uncertainty: ‘several [HEI] providers raised serious doubts about the feasibility of linking improvements in pupils’ attainment to a teacher’s participation in a course and of separating such effects from other school improvement initiatives’ (Ofsted, 2004, para 24, p.12). Gronn had signalled this view in 2003, emphasising that it is usually impossible to isolate the effects of one intervention from others when many changes are occurring simultaneously, and each is progressed through the interlinking activity of many different protagonists (cited in Durrant, 2006, p.2). Comments by Cliff Jones, former chair of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Committee of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), on Higher Education Institutions’ (HEI) interventions in teachers’ work, have particular resonance for me concerning leadership and management modules, namely ‘there are many intangibles that it is both hard to measure in Masters work, and to find functional answers for’. However, Clarke & Newman (1997) remind us of the ‘managerial state’ that our nation has become in its demands for ‘relatively quick measurable results to show improvement’ (cited in Precey, 2006, p.3), and Durrant underlines the ‘culture of performativity’ that we are all part of (2006, p.3). How positive leadership and management outside, and even inside the classroom (Wiliam & Bartholomew, 2004) enhance student performance is a conundrum that the profession continues to grapple with, and is unlikely to be solved to anyone’s satisfaction; but we will continue to ask the question, just in case one or more of our students out there has the answer, and we might then find a way to measure what we value, instead of accelerating the treadmill of valuing what we can measure. I suspect however that the holy grail of measuring leadership and management impact on institutions’ staff and pupils, following Masters modules’ participation by some of the inmates, will continue to elude us: ‘if school improvement is about attitude and behaviour shifts then the process through which, for example, the professional development of school leaders affects other leaders within their schools and then teachers and in turn their students, is highly complex’ (Byrne, 2000, cited in Precey, 2005, p.5). A Third Dimension – The Assignment? ‘reflection is a vital and often omitted part of learning and improvement’ (Kolb, 1984, cited in Precey, 2005, p.16). While as a tutor and programme leader, I feel that a module’s objectives will only be fully met by students’ meeting both the specific and general assessment criteria accompanying the assignment tasks, I rarely emphasise this to students and feel that I should in fact exhort all my charges to go for accreditation for the


Journal of Learning and Teaching

reason attributed to Kolb above, as well as indeed for the more prosaic reason of the completion rates we each strive to reach. (‘Completion’ itself remains to be defined at least in my institution, with uncertainty as to whether it means full or partial attendance [e.g. minimum 70%], with or without accreditation, or the gaining of an award.) Hence it came as no surprise to me that only two students (9%) on the module in question considered the assignment to be integral to their learning process and thus to judging the module’s impact, since for many it will be seen only retrospectively as part of the learning process, when they have had to delve into their own experience, evaluating and reflecting on it, and articulating it in light of the theoretical expositions to which they have been exposed over a ten week period. It was thus interesting that the author* of the single evaluation completed post assignment (see below), waxed lyrically on the benefits both the assignment and indeed the whole MA(Ed) experience had brought her: ‘writing the assignment was an opportunity to reflect on my school, my values as an educator, and why I am (still) in this profession! … I particularly enjoyed writing the assignment, and found time for it (despite the pressures of being a single parent in the summer holidays) because it meant so much to me. I would encourage others who, like me, have very little free time, to take up the opportunity to do this MA course, because the rewards in terms of personal fulfilment are great (*This student had missed the module’s final session and sent her evaluation with her assignment, some five weeks after the end of the module)’ As others have said, it is only by doing that we learn best. The sometimes arduous and painful process of articulating and contextualising difficult, new concepts is integral to the internalisation process and creation of knowledge. We can all sit, listen and debate, but it is the doing that matters. For this and other management modules the assessment criteria require the demonstration of a blend of theoretical understanding and practical, contextualised application through: 1. understanding of the main theoretical perspectives underpinning relevant leadership and management models; 2. ability to analyse and evaluate the leadership styles and management processes occurring within a student’s own organisation(s); 3. critical appreciation of current debates, theories and research relating to aspects of leadership and management, such as theories of motivation and leadership for improvement. This module, unlike others in the programme’s leadership and management pathway, did not include the explicit assessment criterion of ‘demonstrating awareness of own leadership and management effectiveness within the context of participants’ own workplace(s)’, since a prime purpose of the module was to encourage ‘big picture’, institutional thinking (criterion 2), and to discourage a narrowing of focus by concentrating solely or largely on the student’s own performance, despite Ofsted’s reminder that ‘teachers’ classrooms and their


Journal of Learning and Teaching

pupils provide the context for assignments’ (2004, para 8, p.7), a statement which I would argue is not always the case in a leadership and management context. However, quite rightly and inevitably, students will consider their own effectiveness, as both their initial and evaluative comments demonstrated here. Yet none of their evaluative comments referred to the assignment – why should they? The students had not done it, and since it was the summer term, they had five weeks left to do it. The receipt of the single, late evaluation is indeed opportune in possibly rethinking our practice. Should we therefore ask students for evaluations of the module with their submitted assignments, rather than at the final taught session; or indeed should their evaluations be part of the process of assessing their learning, partly to ensure we receive them, as well as possibly to enhance the gravitas and quality of their evaluations of the module, concerning its impact on their learning and their practice? Indeed a salutary lesson may obtain here for our evaluation system through the chance, late receipt of this post assignment evaluation, since, compared with others, a fuller response from the student had been engendered. However, if we were to change to post assignment evaluations, the cynic in me suspects that evaluation returns may indeed be fewerr, and none would of course be received from those not completing the assignment. However, let us not rule this out as a way forward. As stated above (p.18) only two other comments included a reference to the assignments; both occurred in the initial Needs and Impact Assessment sheets in answer to question 4; in one case the student merely included the word ‘assignment’, while the other was more expansive in her comments, focussing her criteria for judging the module’s impact solely on the assignment: ‘my ability to reflect on leadership priorities and actions in relation to the theories when carrying out assignment’. This leads me to the concluding part of my research: an exploration of impact issues contained within students’ assignments for this module. Of the 23 students who took the module, six (26%) did not in fact do the assignment, two for serious personal reasons, the others for an earlier failed assignment in a previous module, which had to be successfully completed before embarking on this one. (This earlier failure had been unknown by these students for some weeks, owing to the national ‘action short of a strike’ that was undertaken by academic staff between March and June 2006.) Of the 17 (74%) however, who did pursue accreditation following the module, many reflected on their greater awareness and appreciation of different leadership and management approaches occurring in their present or previous work contexts, attributing their enhanced knowledge both to undertaking Masters work per se, or to the particular module in question.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

‘[My] understanding has been shaped by my experiences as both a teacher and Headteacher, and by research into this degree’. The same student in his evaluation sheet had previously specified the importance of the children in his school, declaring: This unit has helped me to understand that I must communicate the school’s vision more clearly, consistently, consciously to the children. Other assignments contained the following: ‘the two theories [I] studied have given a valuable insight into practices at large in my places of work, enabling me to become a more reflective practitioner’. ‘reflecting upon my experiences under two different models of management, I have been able to understand the factors influencing the management of the two schools, as well as developing a preference for the style and type of school and leader I work in and for’. ‘the significance of having knowledge of theoretical perspectives relating to management and leadership within education should be viewed as advantageous. …In developing an understanding of the underpinning theories there is the potential to enhance how each situation is addressed’. ‘during my pre-assignment learning I have become more than aware that the normative and descriptive nature of these models of management has a unique and valuable part to play in the day to day running of our schools’. ‘following the completion of this assignment, the SMT have agreed to meet with me, to discuss my findings and also see where the findings could possibly help with the School’s development and improvement’. ‘finally, this study of leadership and vision has reminded me of the danger of complacency and the importance of continuing personal and professional development for even the most experienced leaders’. These remarks are indeed encouraging and perhaps more so than the more generalised tenor of the evaluative comments written as the module closed. Presumably they would also gladden the heart of the TDA as testimony to practitioners’ beliefs in the value of Postgraduate Professional Development, but whether as a result of their MA(Ed) studies, the individuals writing them have subsequently been instrumental in impacting on practice in their respective schools, regrettably remains a matter of speculation. Coincidentally at the time of doing this research, I was also working with another MA(Ed) student, a deputy head in a large secondary school, who was engaged in a comparison of her experience of National Professional Qualification for


Journal of Learning and Teaching

Headship training (NPQH) with that of undertaking an MA(Ed) in Leadership and Management. While her focus was wide ranging in her critique of both courses, she praised the former’s ‘Face to Face’ training days thus: ‘[The NPQH days] were run by an inspirational and charismatic trainer who modelled effective training practice and used a variety of effective strategies to encourage networking amongst the attendees. … However, despite the high quality delivery, and the engaging learning activities, these five days training on leadership and management seemed to offer only a superficial introduction to these key areas compared to my subsequent experience of the Chichester MA. Moreover, the networking with colleagues, whilst valuable, was sporadic. It did not provide the regular, weekly learning conversations afforded by the weekly training sessions run by my MA course’. In this student’s view at least, a Masters course took her beyond a qualification that has now become compulsory for aspiring Headteachers, yet nationally only 6% of the entire teaching profession enrol on education Masters programmes. Our government has hardly valued Postgraduate Professional Development accreditation for the nation’s education professionals in any overt way, and M-level work is considered the exception rather than the norm for teachers in the UK, a situation which does not obtain in a number of other countries. Perhaps the newly acquired 60 credit Masters status of Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses (PGCE), an award for UK Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is set to gain widespread recognition from 2008, may go some way towards realising a greater proportion of the UK teaching profession enrolling on full Masters awards. However, one cannot help but feel concern, that moving directly from or soon after initial teacher training, to working towards a full Masters degree, while coping with the rigours of a first teaching post, may prove too daunting for many, and result in the subsequent abandonment of postgraduate study in education or even the profession. A Masters in Education degree can surely have greater impact on development, when professionals have gained some experience in teaching, are better able to assess their individual needs and professional interests, and make considered choices concerning their subsequent, respective career paths in education. Conclusion Many others have written on the highly problematic nature of the concept of ‘impact’, some viewing it as: ‘a destructive process … that involves one body seeking to make a quick, significant, and measurable difference to another, [implying] that the body seeking the change is external to that which it changes, … and that, for the changing body, it is done to you’ (Precey, 2006, p.4). Thus in essence we all don the dual mantle of ‘doers’ and ‘done to’.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

While Durrant nevertheless gives us the salutary reminder that: ‘There is no escape from the concept of impact in education. … the actual effects of policies, programmes and initiatives must be examined against the intended effects,to determine whether an intervention has been successful’ (2006, p.2). Precey (2006, p.4) comforts us that perennial government attempts via their initiatives and inspectoral bodies to identify clear causes and predictable effects are ‘unlikely to succeed’. However, he warns that following in the wake of these attempts are deleterious effects, which are far from comfortable: ‘unintended consequences for example a teacher recruitment crisis, the burn-out of target driven students who succeed, and a sense of failure among some students who are not part of the publicly defined success cohort’ (ibid). Does Wrigley perhaps shed some light in this gloom, by refocusing us on the purposes of education, when he indicates ‘a new direction for improvement … [the] need to engage in an active search for new models of democratic learning, not sit blindfolded on the conveyor belt of ‘effective’ schooling’?’ (2003, p.43, cited in Durrant, 2006, pp.4-5). Couldn’t such a ‘new direction for improvement’ embrace a new direction for investigating impact, one that may resonate with what seems in hindsight a recurring, trenchant cry heard in conversations with my own Masters students and seen in their Needs Assessment sheets: ‘I’m doing this for me!’; in other words, an element of Ranson’s ‘pedagogy of voice’ (2000): personal, nongovernmental, non-institutional, driven by their own agendas, which in HEIs we ignore at our peril. However, analysing change in the practice of others will always be difficult, and if we attempt to do this, then at least a degree of humility is required, since others’ ‘newly acquired effectiveness’ may not necessarily be down to us, despite what they profess in their evaluations of our courses, or maybe even in their assignments. References Byrne, D. (2000), The Politics of Complexity’, Soundings, Issue 14, Spring. Durrant, J. (2006), Planning, Tracking and Evaluating Impact: Towards an Integrated Approach, paper presented at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Florida, USDA, January. Earley, P. and Bubb, S. (2004), Leading and Managing Continuing Professional Development, Paul Chapman, London.


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Gronn, P. (2003), The New Work of Educational Leaders: Changing Leadership Practice in an Era of School Reform, Sage, London. Hustler, D., McNamara, O., Jarvis, J., Londra, M., Campbell, A. and Howson, J. (2003), Teachers’ Perceptions of Continuing Professional Development, DfES Research Report 429, DfES, London. Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development (Englewood Cliffs NJ, Prentice-Hall) Merlevede, P. and Bridoux, D. (2003), Mastering Mentoring and Coaching with Emotional Intelligence, Crown House, Camarthen. Ofsted, (2004) Making a difference: The Impact of Award-Bearing In-service Training on School Improvement, (HMI 1765), OFSTED, London. Precey, R. (2006), Evaluating Impact and Informing Practice: Developing and Applying an Impact Framework, paper presented at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Florida, USDA, January. Ranson, S. (2000), Recognising the pedagogy of voice in a learning community, Educational Management and Administration, 28(3), pp. 263-279 Training and Development Agency for Schools (2007), PPD Impact Evaluation Report, TDA, London. William, D. and Bartholomew, H. (2004), It’s not which school but which set that you’re in that matters: the influence of ability grouping practices on student progress in mathematics, British Educational Research Journal, 30 (2), pp. 279-293. Wrigley, T. (2003), Schools of Hope: A New Agenda for School Improvement, Trentham Books, London.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

How to Guides: Embedding Windows Media Player into a PowerPoint Presentation Dr Andy Clegg, Principal Lecturer for Learning and Teaching A simple guide on how to embed Windows Media Player into a PowerPoint presentation to give greater control over showing video content.

• Open a new PowerPoint presentation and generate a blank screen • In PowerPoint we need to have the Developer Options shown in the main ribbon • Click the Office Button and then click PowerPoint Options. • Select show Developer Tab in the main ribbon • Click OK

• The Developer Tab now appears in the main ribbon. Click this tab. • Click the More Controls button


Journal of Learning and Teaching

• The More Controls dialog box opens • Scroll down and select Windows Media Player • Click OK

• A cursor appears on the screen • Draw a rectangle. This will give the size and position of the video that you want to embed and the Windows Media Interface will appear.

• Select the Windows Media Player Interface and press the right mouse button and click Properties • The Properties dialog box appear • In the URL box you have to enter the path name of the video that you want to enter.


Journal of Learning and Teaching

• In this example the pathway is: C:\Users\Andy\Desktop\WP FILM 2009.wmv • Your information can be found via the Properties box of the video file that you want to embed • You may need to reset the pathway if you are working at home and then running the PowerPoint off a University PC • A simple rule would be to run the video from your H: drive so it is accessible from any PC • Run your presentation and your video clip will run in Windows Media Player. This gives you more control than just inserting a video clip which will launch when clicked.


Journal of Learning and Teaching


Journal of Learning and Teaching No. 2