The peculiar experience of being a complete novice A reflection on supervising systemic practitioner researchers

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Alfredo Gaitan

Abstract

The experience of being a novice sailor has put me in a peculiar, but privileged position to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of an adult learner who is also a competent professional. I initially used first-person writing in order to express and explore my experience of a week of sailing in the Norfolk Broads.  I tried to capture, among many things, my fear of falling in the water, of failing and of embarrassment. I described how I overcame my fear as I enjoyed small success at simple tasks. I then reflected on what I could learn about these experiences in nine themes, drawing on ideas by Maslow (1968/1972) on growth and safety, but also by Rogers (1951) on significant learning, and the all-important role of support and skilful guidance, with doctoral students and supervisors in mind. I drew on Shotter’s (1993, 2013) notions of ‘joint action’ and ‘third agency’ in order to explore the student-supervisor relationship and the construction of knowledge that takes place during a doctorate. This author’s ideas seemed particularly well-suited to the description of learning and supervising, as involving a way of being in which we are mostly responding to the requirements of concrete circumstances in a fluid process. I tried to infer what the appropriate skills and pedagogical strategies needed on the part of the supervisor may be. However, it is possible that the readers discover more possibilities hidden in the metaphor of learning to sail as they apply it to their own experience of learning in the doctoral programme.    


 


Abstract (Spanish)


La experiencia de ser un marino novato me ha puesto en una posición peculiar pero, a la vez privilegiada, que me permite obtener una comprensión profunda de la experiencia de un aprendiz adulto que es también un professional compentente. Inicialmente, usé un escrito en primera persona para expresar y explorar my experiencia de una semana navegando en velero en los Norfolk Broads. Intenté captar, entre otras cosas, mi miedo de caer al agua, de fracasar y de hacer el ridículo. Describí cómo me sobrepuse at miedo a medida que disfrutaba  pequeños éxitos en tareas sencillas. Luego reflexioné sobre lo que podía aprender de esas experiencias en nueve temas, basado en ideas de Maslow (1968/1972) sobre el crecimento y la seguridad, pero también de Rogers (1951) sobre el aprendizaje significativo y el paper fundamental del apoyo y la orientación, con los alumnos de doctorado y sus supervisors en mente. Hice uso de las nociones de ‘accion conjunta’ y ‘tercera agencia’ de Shotter (1993, 2013). Las ideas de este autor resultaron particularmente apropiadas para describir el aprendizaje y la supervisión, en tanto que involucran una forma de ser en la que, por sobre todo, respondemos a los requerimentos de las circunstancias concretas en un proceso fluido. Intenté inferir cuáles serían las habilidades y estrategias pedagógicas necesarias para un supervisor. Sin embargo, es bien possible que el lector descubra más posibilidades ocultas en la metáfora de aprender a navegar, a medida que la aplican a su propia experiencia de aprendizaje en el programa de doctorado.


 

Article Details

How to Cite
GAITAN, Alfredo. The peculiar experience of being a complete novice. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 45-56, oct. 2017. ISSN 2516-0052. Available at: <http://murmurations.cloud/ojs/index.php/murmurations/article/view/9>. Date accessed: 20 nov. 2017.
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