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ReLearn
Blogging my retirement learning research; click the Posts button above to have a look, or the My Old Web Site link below for WordPress posts
Blogging my retirement learning research; click the Posts button above to have a look, or the My Old Web Site link below for WordPress posts
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To finally simplify my modest online publishing requirements, I'm going to use my G+ URL https://plus.google.com/+JohnGrayOnline/posts for ReLearn posts in future. If you're interested in my Lincoln-based research work on  retirement learning please follow it there.
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Although I've not been blogging .. my interest in, and commitment to, the ReLearn work continues. During the summer my proposals to the University of Lincoln for the project were approved and I've been engaged in literature review since then. Today I'm reading Wenger (see my post March 2012) yet again, with its layers of relevance for my work - and doing that prompted this brief post.
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Following up on a chapter by Frank Glendenning in Nussbaum, J. F. and Coupland, J. (Eds) (2004), Handbook Of Communication And Aging Research (2nd ed.). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum I discovered what could be a valuable network for my research ....
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And today, reflecting the substantial role the voluntary sector probably needs to play in 'Self care', I'm attending an event coordinated by Newark & Sherwood CVS: "Self Care Is Your Business".

During a late-February study school at Lincoln a session with my supervisor broadly confirmed the single-village focus I've proposed for my MPhil/PhD research fieldwork.

I'm expecting that the emergence of Self Care, promoted locally by PRISM as part of the local health & social care infrastructure, will be an important element in the environment I'll be studying.
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I was fortunate to be able to participate yesterday in a session on 'Self-Care' here in Newark to which I'd been invited as a member of the NHS Stakeholder Reference Group. As a lay-person patient there I was in a minority, with most participants being NHS employees, directly involved in the planning and delivery of the new PRISM programme being introduced across Newark & Sherwood. PRISM looks like a timely initiative that could help create the medical, social & community support infrastructure fundamental to the successful "ageing in place" needs of our growing Third Age population.
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Right at the end of an enjoyably stimulating course for new(ish) graduate students in the Graduate School at Lincoln University we were asked to provide some thoughts on "the spirit of research": my offering was  ...

"For me the “spirit of research” is best understood as that balance of directed purpose and random curiosity that we depend on to motivate our research work. For each of us that balance is personal and dynamic, with purpose and curiosity making different contributions as time moves along.

At this week’s graduate student school, one often got glimpses of each of them in student researchers’ reactions to the event activities and their declaration, sometimes passionate, of values, attitudes and interests that drive them. By coincidence, the first day of the school was also my 65th birthday, and the symbolism of passing that marker (and so becoming, officially, an Old Age Pensioner) had a greater influence on my week at the school than I might have anticipated.

As we embarked on that first gruelling academic speed-dating exercise to get to know one another a little, I found the 65th birthday symbol prompting reflection on the nature of my own ‘purpose’ as represented in my choice of research topic. My topic, understanding how we ‘learn to become’ different people (and in my research that means ‘older people’) as our lives progress, has a strong ‘know yourself’ purpose. As we progressed around the circle, Chloe’s reminiscence therapy work, Patricia’s food hygiene science-policy amalgam, Will’s energising community agenda and the wider implications of James’ work on fatigue were the ones that sparked my curiosity most immediately.

Over the week, two contradictory strands of reflection emerged. The first, usually triggered by listening to some interaction between a tutor and a student from a tradition I’m unfamiliar with, left me (still) wondering whether I really can ever see the world from their point of view. The second strand was triggered by experiences shared by science and management members of the group, reminding me of aspects of my past: I found myself realising just how many worldview transformations my curiosity for new things has already led me through on my journey from undergraduate Earth Science training, through several decades of teaching and educational management, to self-declaring (for the first time ever) as a “social scientist” on one of the occasions during the week we were pressed to categorise ourselves in one way or other.

Occasional disappointments (and, on one occasion, concerned shock) popped up throughout the week, but that’s in the nature of such an event. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and all the many opportunities to talk with and learn from others – we were well supported by tutors enthusiastic for our success, and the facilities of the Graduate School were ideal for the purpose. Thanks to everyone who participated, and best wishes for a purposeful and curiosity-satisfying future!"
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As part of my early work I've just come across this highly relevant PhD thesis by Dave Hanley: so relevant I'm already assessing where my own "new knowledge" will need to come from .....
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I've spent the first few weeks of the academic year starting to bring together material for a literature review to reflect the area outlined in my Research Outline Thoughts ... the approach still needs approval of course.
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Returned to formal MPhil/PhD work at Lincoln this weekend, and enjoying participation in the doctorate study school on the Brayford Pool campus. The university seems to have thrived over recent years - and it's reassuring to recognise how much more at home I feel here than I ever did at the IoE.

Not surprising really, remembering those early meetings of the Friends of Lincoln University we had at the college in Newark (mid 1990s?), contributing our support to the efforts being made to create the university in Lincoln - a university to support all ages & needs in our area. And not surprising either because of all the other family & professional memories I have of the place.

My ReLearn project topic is taking shape. I thought I'd left IT behind completely, but exploratory interviews earlier this year reminded me how IT has become a significant component in the lives of many people my age. So, it looks like IT will still be part of my research agenda - albeit in that wider context presented by the challenges I've been alerted to by involvement in the local NHS Stakeholder Reference Group during my "lost year".
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