A Text-Oriented Study of Placement Practices
1. Rethinking Learning 13
13 1 Rethinking Learning A vignette after dinner Eight of us gathered around the table: we inquired about the recipes for vari- ous dishes, shared the experience of juggling among work, family and study, recalling the ‘daunting’ yet fruitful experience of having the PhD confirmation panel, teased about a ‘reminder’ t-shirt printed with the name of a street in Ja- pan (the one who wore it lived there and it was bought by his wife!)… After all, I learn. (July 2005) The vignette above highlights some of the main events at a dinner party organised and attended by a group of graduate students pursuing a PhD degree in Applied Linguistics at the same university in the United Kingdom. At the end of the vignette the dinner guest claimed that he had learnt something from the party, yet the episode depicted stark contrasts with a traditional learning scene. Broadly speaking, there are five learning events involved in the vignette, namely, learn- ing the recipes for dishes, learning time management, learning about a critical moment and stage in the PhD study, learning about a street located in Japan and learning that a classmate has a ‘thoughtful’ wife. If we compare these learning events with those that we have in schools (particularly in the old days), several distinct differences can be identified. Firstly, the setting within which learning takes place is different. Learning in schools is always institutionalised and takes place in a formal setting: desks and chairs are lined up neatly; a...
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