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by the trainers sharing their work but, in my view, more so by the work in progress off ered by a trainee who was nearing conclusion, by his at endance and the sharing of his journey. He had successfully completed his clinical training and was fi nalising his research activity.

• Active experimentation was partly at ended to by one of the homework tasks and concrete experience – for this module, this would be of actually doing the research task, though perhaps more of a sense on what is systemic needed to be promoted. T ere were comments and questions

about how research enquiry and student’s experiences may parallel experiences of people experiencing a family therapy intervention. My own sense is, unless parallel processes are routinely highlighted throughout through punctuations in the training material being off ered, the learning to be gained by such a lens could be lost to the trainee’s need to learn, and to demonstrate that learning. I believe such punctuations to be essential, not least to further refl exivity, refl ections on use-of- self and therefore on the experience(s) of others. I knew use-of-self would be specifi cally addressed because the next module in the timetable would specifi cally address this aspect. On the fi rst day in particular, there were

several invited challenges to the helpfulness of the reading material, feedback about which was also sought by the trainers via evaluation questionnaires. In fact, the module was punctuated throughout by evaluation enquiries: isomorphic to what was being taught, i.e. the value of feedback, of refl ecting on data sought. From a trainer’s perspective, I felt more could have been made of adult learning styles – both in accepting the challenge from those for whom the reading was experienced as less helpful and also in using feedback about its value from those for whom particular papers had been especially helpful. T is was done on day three. T en, to consider what it was about a paper that deemed it more helpful than not. T en, an overview could have been off ered to us all. As a trainee/student, I was struck by

how tiring the training encounter can be and wondered if the didactic nature of the module exacerbated this. My fellow participants said that the

research & refl exivity module was diff erent Context February 2012

Brief refl ection on accuracy Fish

always accurately know where to move and when, and likewise birds have an accurate built-in time sense and orientation.

Humanity, however, lacking such instincts resorts to scientifi c research. Its nature is illustrated by the following occurrence.

A certain soldier had to fi re a cannon at six o’clock sharp every evening. Being a soldier he did so. When his accuracy was investigated he explained:

I go by the absolutely accurate chronometer in the window of the clockmaker down in the city. Every day at seventeen forty-fi ve I set my watch by it and climb the hill where my cannon stands ready. At seventeen fi fty-nine precisely I step up to the cannon and at eighteen hours sharp I fi re.

And it was clear that this method of fi ring was absolutely accurate. All that was left was to check that chronometer. So the clockmaker down in the city was questioned about his instrument’s accuracy.

Oh, said the clockmaker, this is one of the most accurate instruments ever. Just imagine, for many years now a cannon has been fi red at six o’clock sharp. And every day I look at this chronometer and always it shows exactly six.

Chronometers tick and cannon boom. By Miroslav Holub (1923-1998)

Holub, M. (2006) Poems Before & After: Collected English Translations trans. Ewald Osers, Ian & Jarmila Milner et al. Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books.

from others. It seemed the absence of seeing direct clinical applicability and clinically based role-plays, etc., was foremost in refl ections on why ‘r and r’ was so tiring – I’m struck that ‘r and r’ can also refer to ‘rest and recuperation’, so the irony seems especially mischievous! I was also struck with what the tea breaks and lunch period provided for, other than refreshments, with talk about how people’s placements were going, celebrations of one another’s recent life events and enquiries about each other’s home lives, all contributing to a sense of the ‘life of the group’ involving so much more than merely being a learning group. Day three provided for my refl ections on

gendered pairs as training pairs, on what impact where the trainers sit may or may not have. I’m informed by what my co- trainer on the foundation year, Bill Ness, and I refer to as a ‘gendered pair’; we have,

over the years, speculated about what a male/female partnership off ers, compared with same sex co-training pairs (the sexual orientation not necessarily disclosed in either context). A question regarding directive or laissez-faire style(s) was also an issue I noticed myself noticing – and the value of both in relation to what needed to happen was underlined. One purely practical note I was struck by:

if teaching on split-days modular training, there is a need for the trainers clearly to communicate what is required next time rather than this be leſt to participants knowing and prompted to refer to the handbook or the orientation guidance, etc. T e group dynamic, oſt en partly hidden from the trainers, when people return having done diff erent degrees of preparation, was a real eye opener to me. I still, despite years of experience, assume that everyone will know what is required,


“Walk a mile….. and/or sit awhile”, with both/and in mind

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