Could do better? Exploring the potential of the patchwork text as a liberating assessment process for health and social care leadership education

JONES-DEVITT, Stella and STEELE, Ann-Marie (2014). Could do better? Exploring the potential of the patchwork text as a liberating assessment process for health and social care leadership education. Health and Social Care Education, 3 (1), 10-15.

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This paper presents a critical account of some of the tensions inherent in designing appropriate assessment activities for health and social care students within a challenging wider context. Within the confines of two of the most increasingly scrutinised sectors – health and social care and higher education – this piece explores how employers' needs of reducing the amount of time employees spend on ‘off-site’ development might have to be counterbalanced with learner expectations of enhanced contact time and meaningful engagement. A case study example is presented in which an undergraduate leadership programme – aimed primarily at health and social care professionals with supervisory and/or managerial experience – turns these tensions into something more positive by using a ‘meta’ patchwork text approach to leadership development. The authors will argue that the patchwork text (as introduced by Scoggins & Winter 1999) – in which small episodes of learning are placed into a wider context by learners ‘stitching’ together a justified meaning, or narrative, of their theory and practice – can provide a tool for wider critical thinking and leadership development and provide an effective alternative to replace the standard undergraduate dissertation; seen by some employers as obsolete and ineffectual for wider organisational application. As Healey et al. (2013) note, there is an increasingly large number of students with complex combinations of widening diversity and motivations who study the professional disciplines of business, nursing, and education, in which traditional dissertations do not necessarily provide for all students' and employers' requirements. The patchwork text mode of assessment sets out to address this inadequacy by arguing that the text ‘stitching’ process neither privileges retrospective synthesis – illustrated commonly by the summative essay – nor does it privilege a wholly reflective component – characterised by learning logs, journal entries and reflective diaries; instead, it draws upon synthesis and reflection to develop both learner autonomy and more effective application to practice. Keywords: patchwork text, constructive alignment, co-creation/engagement, critical thinking, leadership development

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Institute of Education
Identification Number:
Page Range: 10-15
Depositing User: Stella Jones-Devitt
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 08:24
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:15

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