Securing the oral tradition: reflective positioning and professional conversations in midwifery education

Phillips, Diane J., and Hayes, Barbara A. (2008) Securing the oral tradition: reflective positioning and professional conversations in midwifery education. Collegian, 15 (3). pp. 109-114.

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We postulate that positioning is a powerful tool in guiding and transforming student professional learning and practice development. In our experiences with students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Midwifery, we determined that positioning elaborates individual scholarship and identity formation of the learner midwife in practice settings. Positioning Theory, developed by Harré and other authorities, is a psycho-sociological ‘ontology’ or concept of how individuals metaphorically position or locate themselves, and others, within institutions and societies. Three key components of positioning theory include ‘position’, ‘speech act’ and ‘storylines’, developing from the everyday social interactions of professional conversations. Reflective positioning can be applied as an analytical tool for the moment-to-moment exchanges inherent in practice related conversations, occurring between midwives and midwifery students. These moment-to-moment interactions of professional conversations can be used by students to complete or fill their learning gaps. Positioning therefore, provides a novel, contemporary theoretical framework to ‘unpack’ or understand the complexity of midwifery practice and yet is complementary with reflective practice. Excerpts are used to demonstrate reflective positioning applications by students. Midwives are encouraged by health services and by the University to provide student support through a ‘preceptorship’ program to supervise, work with and assess students for competence in midwifery practices. We claim that reflective positioning by students within professional conversations with their preceptor/midwives, are the construction sites for learning and where identity formation of each student as a future midwife is both shaped and transformed. Both academics and managers of health services need to embrace the value of workplace conversations, the sites of rich oral traditions of nursing and midwifery. Thus, in seeking claim to our rich oral traditions, all students will benefit from engagement in reflective positioning to promote their professional learning and practice development.

Item ID: 6103
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1322-7696
Keywords: reflective positioning; professional conversations; midwifery
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2010 01:20
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 1
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