Category Archives: Ontology Posts

Ontology Page


In reading Dall’Alba and Barnacle (2007), I recognise the importance of added layers of meaning to what I have been doing so far. In particular how ‘ways of being’ builds on concepts of habitus (and particularly field habitus that chimes with ‘situating and localising knowledge within specific manifestations of practice’) and the suggestion that there is something more intrinsic than skills development. As I write this I am completing a Self Evaluation Document as part of Periodic Academic Review, which of course has a major focus on the acquisition of skills and the measuring of success through recruitment, retention and achievement. At the same time I am updating course blogs on activities last week that offered students the chance to meet alumni who had embarked on their advertising careers and who’s very attitude showed how in as little as six months they were becoming advertising creatives and planners and had moved on from the student habitus. The industry was letting them learn what couldn’t be taught. Through this lens I see planned Taster Day activities as an opportunity for applicants, in a temporary and limited way to learn a little of what it is to be a student, to sample the particular student habitus.

“An ontological shift means engaging with being-in-the-world differently. As dedicated learning environments, higher education institutions are ideally situated to do this. Not only can they provide a forum for challenging taken-for-granted assumptions, but also promote ways of being that integrate knowing, acting and being. Indeed, educational institutions cannot help but promote ways of being.” Dall’Alba and Barnacle (2007)

Dall’Alba, G. and Barnacle, R. (2007) An ontological turn for higher education. Studies in Higher Education 32 (6), December, pp679-691.

Reflective Practice

I realise from my responses to an exercise developed by Jenny Moon that I could identify changes in structure as providing a framework to facilitate reflective writing. Often I prefer some scaffolding or template to enable quick verbal sketches (or straw man) which I then develop over time – so everything being ‘blocked in’ prior to working up is something I bring from my visual background and I have no qualms about drafts being re-worked beyond recognition. Perhaps this also relates to my needing a sense of control (particularly when encountering something unfamiliar). This probably partly explains my choice of a blog to develop my thesis as the structural scaffolding provides a greater sense of organisation than the emergent content deserves.

In terms of reflective practice and reflexivity, for me, reflexive practice is developed as connections and themes are allied to reflection on feelings and emotions to develop a deeper response to a situation.