Within the theme of OSL, there is a focus on enactive modes of learning in professional practice, the efficacy of which has been thoroughly researched. The use of enactment, in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students at Warwick, is interdisciplinary and cross-faculty. Medicine, Social Health, Law, Business, Education, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies share a commitment to blur the traditional distinctions between academic study and vocational preparation. The common link is a teaching dimension allowing students to develop professional and vocational competence in “life-like“ circumstances requiring the real-time management of clients and problems. The classroom becomes a laboratory for students to explore and experience the real world pressures and creative flexibility required in modern professional settings. This addresses a real need for students to graduate from university with these kinds of ‘soft’ skills.
Experience has shown that external practitioners and companies supplying training services are expensive and make it difficult to maintain a consistency of approach and commitment to OSL. An element of the project, therefore, is the development of an ensemble within the University to offer a range of OSL projects, to academic departments and other bodies e.g. the Learning and Development Centre and the Graduate School. Drawing on the experience and skills of students and others who have benefited from OSL and offering them professional development opportunities, the ensemble will consist of Warwick students, staff and alumni, replenished each year with first year students, under the direction of a researcher/theatre practitioner. The project thus ensures a sustainable flow of suitably qualified individuals to support the enactive learning model.
The OSL model draws on prior studies of creative organisations like the Royal Shakespeare Company which identify four key qualities found in creative practitioners and workers which are core objectives for OSL in the ability
• to formulate new problems, rather than depending on others to define them.
• to transfer what one learns across different contexts.
• to recognise that learning is an incremental process involving making mistakes and learning from failure.
• to focus one’s attention in pursuit of a goal.
For more information about the ensemble, please email Jonathan.Heron@warwick.ac.uk