Impostorship and a Loss of Innocence
This paper is intended to be a reflection of my learning experiences so far, and there is no question that there has been considerable - what I can now refer to as acquisition of information. However, perhaps because it was something new, perhaps because it makes you ask why, the experience and the introduction of reflection' and critical reflection' has stood out above everything else. This has not been an entirely positive experience, to the contrary the overall feeling I have, to use the words of Brookfield (1994) is one of increased uncertainty and a loss of innocence.
I was one of three new members to join an already established ALS group, who had been together for a year. Thompson (2004) believes, that as members of a group become familiar with each other and trusting relationships are built, new group members can present particular challenges of reliability and trust. Whilst I can relate this to my own work practices; I have worked for BT for around four years now and there is definitely the BT think', the BT way of doing things and when new employee's have joined it has taken effort, time and understanding from both sides as values and beliefs have inevitably been different. However, was there this underlying foundation of trust in the original group? For all intents and purposes the original group, on the surface appeared to have common goals and understanding and it was impressed on us (in my opinion) that they had been a very close group, even socialising outside of the ALS sessions and I guess I took for granted that this was the case. It was explained me and the other new members that their ALS group had been known as the lovey dovey' group by the larger learning organisation. For me this was a title that many in the group wanted to keep and hindered the formation of the new' group. The new members were reminded on several occasions how successful' the group had been the previous year, with many of them appearing closed to new ideas; conflict was avoided where possible as if to keep the pretence that everything could remain the same.
Myself and Pam were both direct entrants onto the second year of the DMS and therefore had not experienced the first year residential the silent residential' and so, as if it were a right to passage, we were required to attend this stage in our induction' with the first year DMS group (the third new member of the ALS, Marc had completed the first year a few years ago but had decided to take a break before continuing with his study). A right to passage' was certainly how this residential was portrayed to be by my ALS group, at least from where I was sitting. It felt as though several members tried to play on any apprehensions I may have had in an attempt to build these up, but why? This was a power they had, the power of knowledge and experience. In actual fact my greatest concern was taking the right clothes perhaps this says more about me. . . on a positive note, at least I discovered that I am not easily intimidated by school yard Chinese whispers, however it does perhaps highlight certain areas of insecurity of which I am fully aware but am reasonably comfortable with.
Reflection and critical reflection in particular with its questioning of contextual taken-for-granteds the social, cultural and political - was not something I had experienced, or knowingly experienced before. In starting the course, although I must admit I did not really look into the course in depth and was far more interested on making sure that it would only take me two years to complete, I thought that it would be like any other university course that I had been through and that, on some level, it would give me the answer' to management and organisational life. I didn't consider myself as naive enough to think that everything in life was black and white, good and bad. Of course I was aware that there are...