• An accelerated practitioner research approach (APRA) for leaders and managers

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2012-01-31)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/from the outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice to enable professionals to design rigorous practitioner research. An action research approach approach, drawing on appreciative inquiry and grounded theory, involved peer questioning, validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. Within the ‘situated’ model, the professional starts/focuses on problems or areas for development in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’) and adopts a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical lens. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We also expect greater strategic impact when the designs area implemented.
    • An accelerated practitioner research approach for professionals: A study

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2011-11)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice with professionals across professions and disciplines, to enable them to design rigorous practitioner research. Data is drawn from one of the largest centres for negotiated work based learning. Procedure and/or instruments : This study draws on practice and data from the University of Chester’s Centre for Work Related studies, one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning, globally. Academics at the Centre worked with practitioners who were studying the ‘Research Methods for Work Based Learning’ module as part of their work based learning undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The module delivery team developed facilitative approaches and tools through multiple action research cycles over the last two years. Each cycle involved a grounded, appreciative inquiry approach by the delivery team (four academics), and the wider Centre for critical peer questioning of evidence and logic, peer validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. The latest version is openly shared and critiqued. What are the findings and interpretations? : Critical reflections amongst the delivery team highlighted the initial challenges above. As a result, a new approach was defined based on a ‘situated knowledge’ model, whereby the professional focuses on problems and developmental areas in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’). With such a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical underpinning, a new ‘core process’ and key questions was developed. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We are also expecting greater strategic impact when the professionals implement these designs.
    • Americanisation of Southern African political campaigns

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (North American Business Press, 2014)
      This paper seeks to examine extent and rationale of Malawian and South African campaigns incorporating America –style practices and becoming Americanised. Specifically the paper explores existence of evidence supporting the notion of Americanisation in both Malawian and South African politics. Using a mixed methods approach, semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and content analysis were conducted. Results show evidence of Americanisation and increased use of marketing and campaign professionals in both Malawi and South Africa, due to democratisation, development of the media and changes in the social-economic factors. Practical implications of these findings and ideas for further research are presented.
    • The Americanisation of Southern African Political Campaigns: A comparative study from Malawi and South Africa

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (North American Business Press, 2014-10-13)
      This paper seeks to examine extent and rationale of Malawian and South African campaigns incorporating America –style practices and becoming Americanised. Specifically the paper explores existence of evidence supporting the notion of Americanisation in both Malawian and South African politics. Using a mixed methods approach, semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and content analysis were conducted. Results show evidence of Americanisation and increased use of marketing and campaign professionals in both Malawi and South Africa, due to democratisation, development of the media and changes in the social-economic factors. Practical implications of these findings and ideas for further research are presented.
    • Applied Fantasy and Well-Being

      Mackenzie, Anna; Wall, Tony; Poole, Simon; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-forth)
      Applied Fantasy is a new, innovative approach to well-being that demonstrates the significant potential within fantasy literature and media to provide effective and sustainable coping strategies for positive mental health. Emerging at the intersection of fantasy literature and media, mental health and well-being, and fan studies, the benefits from Applied Fantasy are twofold. First, the concept of an individual being part of a wider fandom is a positive step toward (a) combating isolation and (b) subverting the stigma surrounding mental health and, second, the contents of the fantasy works themselves provide solid examples and guidance on how to manage mental health concerns while not overtly discussing coping strategies for mental health.
    • Approaches to supervising work based learning students’ workplace research

      Talbot, Jon; Lilley, Andy; University of Chester (Emerald, 2014)
      The paper describes a small research exercise designed to identify the practices of Work Based Learning tutors facilitating student research projects.
    • Art-Based teaching on sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
      The connections between art, art making, education, and responsibility in relation to the wider natural and social world have been given increasing attention over the last thirty years. For example, there have been a variety of journal special issues dedicated to art, education, and: ecology (Krug, 1997), social justice and social change (Bolin, 1999), community and responsibility (Carpenter, 2004), ecology and responsibility (Stout 2007), health and wellbeing (Haywood Rolling 2017), and human rights (Kraehe 2017). Such a rise has been linked to trends in the human search for meaning and significance amongst (and resistance against) globalisation, domination of market forces, and an increasingly complex and chaotic environment (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009)...
    • Arts based approaches for sustainability

      Wall, Tony; Österlind, Eva; Fries, Julia; University of Chester; Stockholm University (Springer, 2018)
      The arts encompass a broad and diverse landscape of interrelated creative practices and professions, including performance arts (including music, dance, drama, and theatre), literary arts (including literature, story, and poetry), and the visual arts (including painting, design, film) (see UNESCO, 2006). They have been explicitly linked to sustainable development in higher education at a global level through UNESCO’s Road Map for Arts Education (UNESCO, 2006) and The Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education (UNESCO, 2010). Specifically, the arts have been deployed to promote human rights, enhancing education, promoting cultural diversity, enhancing well-being and, most broadly, “to resolving the social and cultural challenges facing today’s world” (UNESCO, 2010: 8)...
    • Author Response: Provocative Education: From Buddhism for Busy People® to Dismal Land ®

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2016-03-11)
      When we engage with Žižekian thought, we might conceptualise contemporary education as part of wider machinery to perpetuate and deepen the grasp capitalism has in a globalising world (also see Furedi, 2006, 2010). We might see how ideas, knowledge, and ‘everything else’ (c.f. Hawking, 2001, 2007) can and is packaged up into forms that are easily consumed by audiences buying the educational objects. Such processes of commodification actively render objects to the audience for sale, and appear across all spheres of human activity; this is why we must remember that according to some philosophical stances, the signified has a slippery relationship with the signifier (c.f. Lacau and Mouffee, 1985). Three examples help animate this phenomenon and some of the different consequences of it. The first example illustrates how commodification can apply to areas of life that we might think of as difficult to capture spiritually or experientially: now, for time-poor people who want to quickly reap the existential benefits of Buddhism, there is a wide range of easily accessible texts at affordable prices to choose from. Titles include “Buddhism for Busy People”, “Buddhism Plain and Simple”, “The Little Book of Buddhism”, “Buddhism Made Simple”, “Buddhism: for Beginners!”, “Buddhism for Dummies”, “Sit Like A Buddha”, “Hurry Up and Meditate”, “Enlightenment to Go”, and “The Dalai Lama's Cat”. In and through such texts, commodified versions of Buddhism appear, much the same way as Buddha-like statues appear in NASA photos of Mars (Feltman, 2015).
    • Beyond introspective reflective learning: Externalised reflection on a UK university’s Doctor of Professional Studies programme

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (University of Middlesex, 2012)
      The paper discusses the nature of reflective learning at doctoral level and argues that insufficient attention is paid to levelness in formal reflective learning for academic credit. It also discusses the problems associated with self reflection as introspection and argues that at doctoral level reflective learning should be external to the individual and directed at facilitating emergent practice change.
    • Branding of Southern African politics: The Case of the Democratic Progressive Party of Malawi and the African National Congress of South Africa

      Harris, Phil; Perrin, David; Simenti-Phiri, Easton D.; University of Chester (Global Business and Technology Association, 2015)
      A paper which examines the professionalisation of political campaigns in Southern Africa, using comparative methodology to examine the cases of Malawi and South Africa, selecting prominent political organisations in each.
    • Business schools as educational provocateurs of productivity via interrelated landscapes of practice

      Wall, Tony; Jarvis, Madeleine; University of Chester; University of Chester (Chartered Association for Business Schools, 2015-12-01)
      In an ever-changing and global marketplace, it could be argued that the role of business schools is no longer to train graduates for specific roles. Whilst this concept that we are educating ‘for jobs that don’t yet exist’ has become more widely accepted, educational practices in business schools are arguably still contained by traditional Western practices of individualistic student instruction. Indeed, even the relevance of academic theory to practice has sparked heated debate in business schools for some time and has led to calls for a different attitude of engagement with theory (Ramsey, 2011, 2014). Some have pushed the debate from relevance to relevating as a process of challenge, change and impact (Paton, Chia and Burt, 2014). But even this is insufficient to spark forms of business and management education which provoke new ways of thinking and acting in practice which are infused with social connectedness and are beyond single discipline thinking. Notions of ‘autonomous learning’ and working ‘critically’ may be viewed as a positive development from pedagogy to andragogy in UK tertiary education. However, these can still be interpreted in deeply individualistic ways which are oppositional to notions of learning rooted in and oriented towards larger social groupings (Goodall, 2014, Yunkaporta and Kirby, 2011). Simply ‘training’ individuals in specific management activities is likely to be insufficient in unlocking transformative (and productive) community action. A new educational ontology of being is needed.
    • Can universities deliver regeration skills? Reflections on the experience with the University of Chester's 'regeneration for practitioners' using a work based learning framework

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2008-05-29)
      This conference paper discusses the development of a regeneration programme at the University of Chester.
    • A case study in the development of Work Based Learning and the possibility of transfer to continental European universities: The WBIS program at the University of Chester, England

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (SUNY Empire State College, 2014)
      The paper describes the principal features of the WBIS programme for an international audience.
    • The challenges of managing degree apprentices in the workplace: a manager’s perspective

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; Perrin, David; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-11)
      This paper explores the issues and challenges facing employers as they manage degree apprentices in the workplace. It examines the relationship between managers and apprentices undertaking a work-based degree. This research is of particular relevance at this time because of the UK government’s initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to three million new starts by 2020 inevitably bringing a range of pressures to bear on employers (BIS, 2015). The purpose is to share early experiences of employer management of degree apprenticeships, and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and HEI practice. This paper combines desk research with qualitative data drawn from interviews with a range of cross-sector organisations to investigate the employer’s experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships. The data is explored inductively using thematic analysis in order to surface dominant patterns and considers the implications of findings upon current and emerging HEI and employer practice and research. There were a number of key themes which emerged from the data collected. These included the need for effective, employer-led recruitment processes, careful management of expectations, sound HEI retention strategies, employer involvement and board level motivators to ensure organisational benefits are derived from effectively situated workplace learning and a focus upon effective, empowering mentoring and support strategies. As degree apprenticeship standards and programmes are currently at the early stages of implementation, and opportunities, funding and resourcing are rapidly changing in the context of government policy, so too will employer appetite and strategies for supporting degree apprentices, along with apprentice behaviour. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this paper may emerge in the near future. There are a number of practical implications supporting managerial development and support of degree apprentices in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, mentor training and networks. This paper is one of the first published accounts of the employers’ perspective of managing a Degree Apprenticeship within the new policy context in the UK. As a result the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by managers working with degree apprentices in the twenty first century business environment.
    • Changing power relations in work based learning: Collaborative and contested relations between tutors, learners and employers

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2011)
      This book chapter discusses some of the implications for the role of university tutors and the centrality of educational objectives in circumstances where there is a 'cultural shift' towards meeting the needs of learners and employers. The work based and integrative studies (WBIS) programme at the University of Chester is used as a case study to examine the changing power relations between university tutors, learners, employers and the university, compared to relations on traditional programmes.
    • The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship: Trials and Tribulations

      Rowe, Lisa; Perrin, David; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2016-12)
      Purpose: In 2014, the UK government introduced a new form of apprenticeship, the Degree Apprenticeship, which extends across all undergraduate degree and Master’s degree levels, maps to professional standards, and which is now embedded within governmental levies of large businesses. The purpose of this paper is to share early experiences of developing these Degree Apprenticeships, and consider the processes deployed to achieve it. Design/methodology/approach: This paper combines desk research with reflections on the experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships within Higher Education Institutes (HEI) and considers the implications of this upon current and emerging HEI practice and research. Findings: There were a number of key resources which facilitated the approval of the Degree Apprenticeship, and these included a pre-existing, flexible work based learning framework, the associated mechanisms of accreditation, existing professional networks, and a professionally oriented interface between the university, employer and professional body. Research limitations/implications: As the context is currently at the early stages of implementation, and the policy context is rapidly changing in the context of Brexit, so too will the related scholarship. This means factors others than those highlighted within this paper may emerge over the coming year or two. Practical implications: There are a number of practical implications for the development of Degree Apprenticeships from this research that are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, and networks. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first published accounts of the development of a Degree Apprenticeship within the context of the new policy context in the UK.
    • Co-delivery of higher level learning and role perceptions: A practitioner research study

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (2011-11-06)
      Models of higher education which support personal and organisational transformation have emerged in various forms over time. One of these forms has been the negotiated, work-based learning framework which allow learners to integrate interdisciplinary study into their work activity. Such frameworks remain as innovative approaches for learning, and are more widely recognised than ever before. So much so, more and more learning and development departments of public, private and voluntary sector organisations are seeking recognition of their in-house training courses – so trainees can be awarded university credits or awards upon successful completion of a training experience. Although this may be seen as an innovative form of widening access and diversity in universities, it is also a strategic recognition that higher level learning is facilitated out of the classroom, in the workplace, in an applied setting (professional knowledge, ‘mode 2’ learning). In designing and delivering this provision, staff from the organisation offering the training (called Associate Tutors) and the university (called Associate Tutor Advisor) work together in a close relationship to ensure adherence to quality assurance standards, requirements and processes. Even though this is a growing area within higher education, this relationship is un-researched, and this paper raises important questions. Overall, this paper investigates how staff from organisations providing such training perceive their role: Do they see themselves as trainers? Do they see themselves as academics of the University? A hybrid? Or both? This paper draws data from innovative practice through a qualitative action based research methodology. It is argued that Associate Tutors can primarily see themselves as delivering a commercial training service with a brand-value, which is focused on a ‘mode 1’ transmission of knowledge – whereas the teaching, learning and assessment activities associated with being an academic in higher education is a secondary consideration. The implications and challenges of these perceptions are shared, discussed and critiqued in order to further develop innovative practice in facilitating partnerships for mode 2 knowledge creation, outside of universities.
    • Coaching and ethics in practice: dilemmas, navigations, and the (in)spoken

      Wall, Tony; Hawley, Rachel; Iordanou, Ioanna; Csigás, Zoltan; Cumberland, Nigel; Lerotic-Pavlik, Nathalie; Vreede, Alex; University of Chester; European Mentoring and Coaching Council (2018-05-23)
      This Research Policy & Practice Provocations Report is the third issue in a series which aims to influence how we think about and how we conduct coaching and mentoring research. Developing our ethical compass is challenging but rewarding process as part of the professional development of coaching and mentoring practice. This report brings you an opportunity to refresh your thinking regarding ethics and ethical issues, and prompts us to consider expert perspectives towards illustrative challenges. Ethics and ethical practice are often seen as crucially important, both professionally and morally (Wall, Iordanou, Hawley and Csigas, 2016), and indeed has been found to be an area which is especially important to the high impact world of the coach and mentor (Wall, Jamieson, Csigás, and Kiss, 2017). In the last Provocations Report, for example, we highlighted an important question that needed to be addressed: “What might be the ethical tensions in evaluating coaching?”.
    • A Collaborative Haiku Experiment: An Invitation to Cultivate a Spirit of Connection for Wellbeing

      Wall, Tony; Hopkins, Sandra; Smith, Aimee; University of Chester; University of Chester; Independent (Lapidus: The Writing for Wellbeing Organisation, 2016-08-01)
      We have adopted the teikei approach of haiku (定型, or fixed form) which employs the 5-7-5 pattern (the symmetrical 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables pattern). Three people with an interest in writing, haiku, and wellbeing got together to explore the world of haiku via provocation through the medium of Stumbled Upon (www.stumbleupon.com) to explore what perspectives on the virtual and real world we might create...