A select few of us met today to discuss Adeela Shafi and Jo Rose‘s paper in progress entitled: Restrictions into opportunities: How boundaries in the life course can shape educational pathways.
The paper raises a number of interesting issues related to mature students attending university and the relationship between the ‘restrictions’ they have experienced in their learning trajectories, experiences and histories. Adeela and Jo want to make the point that in later life these restrictions can be ‘re-seen’ and become opportunities instead.
We spent an hour talking through the paper together, identifying the key arguments and how they might best be presented, our different (interdisciplinary) take on the issues and literature and discussing the strengths of the paper as well as how it might be improved. We were also able to share our own experiences of writing, techniques to improve academic writing and the sometimes stressful process of reviewing.
At the end of the session we talked briefly about our perspective on the usefulness of this kind of session. Everybody present felt that although initially nerve wracking (for the authors putting their work ‘out there’) we had all gained something from the process of discussion. It was felt that it was important that the space we created was non confrontational and that the encounter built a collegial space that enabled deeper reflection, interdisciplinary sharing and critical engagement with the ideas in the paper.