University of Bedfordshire (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 7412-7423
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Personal Development Planning (PDP) is defined as ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development’. Personal development is a part of everyone’s experience as we all grow physically, psychologically, intellectually and socially. However, developmental processes are highly influenced by sociocultural factors and deeply embedded in the human psyche. Therefore, the way of thinking about personal development will vary distinctively across representatives of different cultures. These different attitudes find their reflections in the structure of various aspects of social life, in which education has always played an important role. When globalisation and multiculturalism are heavily affecting educational systems, it is important to think of a culturally appropriate pedagogy, one that takes into account society’s cultural diversity and helps students adapt to foreign systems but, at the same time, does not undermine their cultural backgrounds. The idea of valuing individual students’ experiences and backgrounds, including different cultural perspectives and promoting cultural appreciation is emerging from the literature of the subject (for example: Hellmundt, 2003, Schwartz et al, 2003, Burnapp, 2006, Alfred,et al, 2002, Carroll, J. et al, Jankowska 2007). Furthermore, the idea of culturally appropriate pedagogy reflects an ever increasing need for preparation for employment in a global market and raises issues about western ideas of reflection in multinational societies.
PDP, as such, is an intangible and broad concept and any investigation into its nature requires well thought through research practices. One of the tools I have adopted in my research is concept mapping. The concept mapping technique is not only a valid research tool which helps reveal the participants’ knowledge of a particular topic but can also be a powerful teaching tool for making the process of acquiring the knowledge explicit. Novak (1996, 1998) believes that the visual representation of the knowledge in the form of a concept map promotes the interaction of new material with existing cognitive structures and in that way contributes to meaningful learning.
In order to assure that meaningful learning can be adopted by the learner the following conditions need to be met:
1. The learner’s relevant prior knowledge - the learner must know some information that relates to the new information to be learned in some non-trivial way.
2. Meaningful material - the knowledge to be learned must be relevant to other knowledge and must contain significant concepts and propositions.
3. The learner’s motivation to learn meaningfully - the learner must consciously and deliberately choose to relate new knowledge to knowledge s/he already knows in some nontrivial way (Novak, 1998, p.19).
This research explores the use of concept mapping tool in a much 'softer' area than the 'hard' science (where the concept maps had been used extensively) and provides an insight into opportunities and challenges both for a researcher and student participants. It also explores some of the cultural aspects of the study (cultural variations in the visual and conceptual representation of DP) and the usability of the tool in an intercultural environment (benefits for diverse student population).
concept mapping, personal development (pd), pdp, culture.