I carried out my 5th interview with an ex-media student (known as EXBM), recruited last week (15.04.16) and transcribed it yesterday. I invited her to my house – it was good to catch up. Listening back to the audio, there is definitely something therapeutic about hearing what other people recall and how their education has impacted on their employability footprint. It doesn’t feel awkward in the least but offers the opportunity to attribute meaning to their perceptions of their experiences now that time has elapsed. An image of the self emerges through the language and utterances of others. We don’t do that much in education, although I highly recommend it. Once the certificate has been awarded and the statistic logged we can too easily forget that a part of our shadow remains in the lives of others.
EXBM’s narrative focussed on her own understanding of transferable skills and how they have become apparent in the workplace. She also talked about that idea of mistakes and learning by getting things wrong. She suggested that during the intended scenarios (to mark the end of the data collection phase) that I create ‘scenarios with variables,’ make an unanticipated change to see how the participants react – something I need to think about more in terms of how to incorporate and plan this. I am really enjoying the research dimension that testimonies from the past (EXBM completed the BTEC in Media in 2005!) are informing my current research strategies as they emerge. Sartre would be proud. It really feels like a co-production or co-constructed piece of research in this respect. For the first time I feel like a researcher, even my voice sounded more confident and in control. Each time I press record, although never perfect I am saying ‘erm,’ ‘okay’ and ‘great’ less each time.
It has made me think about my own students and see that they might look back in years to come and see what I was trying to do, not sure they can see this now. They are too distracted by living their lives – as I should accept and respect.
Before the end of the data collection phase (late May) I plan to make an audio selection or collection of my recorded ex-student testimonies and play it back to my current students/ participants to gage their reactions (if any). I think it will be good for them, after all I might be wanting a Doctorate but this isn’t all about me. I’m not convinced they understand this fully yet but having spoken to past students, I think they might at some point down the line.