Monthly Archives: July 2016

Which hat?

Which hat ?


Teaching ?                            Mentoring ?                                 Coaching ?


I love working in education, it s real privilege,  but working with learners can be challenging sometimes !  I know I am not the only one.  When I talk to tutors who have a personal tutoring role or who are supporting learners in practice (often terms mentors or supervisors) I know they have similar concerns and issues that I do from time to time.  So, how can we adapt out approach maybe ?  So, if I am primarily concerned with developing this learner in front of me to become autonomous and to have confidence in their skills/abilities, which hat do I wear ?

If you’ve been to one of my sessions or conference presentations you will know that I like to use the metaphor of hats – literally (I have no shame really, I will wear them as I talk !).

In a nutshell:

  • if my aim is to pass on knowledge then I need to be wearing my tutor hat (the mortar board in this metaphor)
  • if my aim is to develop someone’s experience or exposure (to develop a depth of understanding and skill in practice very often) then I need to be wearing my mentoring hat
  • if I know this person has the knowledge and they have had the relevant experience then I probably need to think about my coaching hat.

But remember this is a continuum – I can move back to ‘tutor’ hat if I or the learner, identifies a knowledge gap for example.

Next blog I’ll start to explore some ideas for how ….



Hot topic right now and (luckily?) the focus of my MA Ed thesis !

  • People generally enter a healthcare profession because they want to care/ want to make a difference
  • This requires emotional labour
  • These experience of caring can be rewarding/flourishing
  • Can also sometimes cause ‘self’ to suffer
  • Students in particular are often ill prepared for this emotional and cognitive labour of caring
  • McAllister (2009)

So, what is resilience ? Interestingly there is no clear definition; this in it’s self raises allsorts of issues because how can we ‘research’ it if the definition is unclear ?

The classic definition of resilience revolves around ‘bouncing’ or ‘recovering’ after an event or stressor.

An ability to bounce back from adversity/set backs


But, is this the case ?  In my research I asked 44 students (who had no prior teaching to influence their perception) what their definition of personal resilience was.  The results are fascinating:

categories of resilience


Does it matter if we don’t have a clear definition?

Does the language someone is using matter to their perception of personal resilience?

Does the language someone is using matter when it comes to how they may develop or protect their resilience ? Do different things work/not work ?