Thursday, March 26, 2009

Course requirement- Sams story

This is a story of a girl named Sam who has wanted to be an Occupational Therapist. When Sam enquired about the course she found out the following information:

-Course is in Dunedin or Auckland
-Generally five hours of lectures per day
-Fieldwork Component which means she would have to travel to a destination around New Zealand
-95% of lectures are face to face with the majority being delivered by powerpoint.

Sam suffers from mild dyspraxia this affects how she learns. She can sometimes have difficulty following verbal instructions and planning tasks. Sam can get easily distracted in a classroom environment. Sam had extra tuition at school to enable her to pass her subjects. She is now 21 years of age and has a two year old son living in Balclutha. Sam has been out of the paid workforce as she is at home with her child.

The main issues Sam faces as to why she has not pursued her Occuaptional Therapy Course is the following:

-Geography- The course is in Dunedin however Sam does not want to shift as she has family support in Balclutha
-Face to Face lecturing style is a concern for Sam as she struggled with this style of teaching at High School
-Finances- Sam is concerned at the costs of travelling if she decided to try and commute
-Fatigue- Sam easily tires trying to concentrate in a classroom set up and she finds that mornings are the best time for her energy levels.
-Childcare- Sams has some supports in Balclutha including childcare but the hours do not correspond realistically with the course.

Sam has discussed these issues with her family and with the Occuaptional Therapy Department but at this stage how the courses are run cannot meet Sams requirements.


  1. Good one! and quick off the mark too! It will be interesting to read the stories that others write. Hopefully we'll have a wide range of scenarios to consider by the time we next meet. Its worth keeping an eye on the comments added to the "Join" page so you can access other participant's blogs. There are still a few to add their blogs, so Bron and I will chase them up before we ask everyone to move onto the next topic. Its great to see you taking the lead, as it gives us something to point to as an example. Thanks.

  2. Hi Michelle

    This course seems to be only suited to those without family commitments, or those living in the immediate vicinity of the city. I could have done a course like this when I was younger, but now that I have children, there's no way I could manage fieldwork in another part of the country. It makes the situation appear quite discriminating against Sam and others like her (of which I'm sure there are many!). When I was 22 I was told not to bother applying by two MBA programmes because I was too young. I was shocked to discover at that time, it was legal to age discriminate in education (but not in the workplace). Are other forms of discrimination allowed in education, such as family status?


  3. Hi Michelle,
    great synario, challenging student to teach!

  4. Hi Michelle,
    I really like your blog - great colours and it is easy to read and navigate. I like your story - you describe some real barriers to entry into education. I think, here in Australia, that we have similar barriers too.
    kind regards

  5. This woman is a real challenge to a course like yours because you have strict time frames, structures and professional responsibilities - a challenge for individualized learning. I wonder if one answer is to make theory courses available to her online so she can work her way through them as and when she can. And to organise local support - maybe in a community learning centre or private tutor?

  6. some questions Michelle
    does Sam have a computer and can she use it? what sort of technologies does she have or does she have access to local facilities, e.g. a library with Internet facilities which she could easily get to and use for study purposes?

    It would also be an option for her to study part-time and this is usually available in a degree programme.

    I really like it when students challenge the traditional 9-5, Monday to Friday system. It helps keep my educational design ideas sharp. It will be very interesting for to explore some possible ways to provide resources for Sam. Once you establish her access to technology, you will be better able to make decisions about how the material, principles and concepts she needs to learn can be conveyed. Certainly email communication or phone contact on a regular basis will help support her learning. People who have never liked lecture-style learning, also need guidance in how to go about self-directed learning.
    Lots of thinking here. Where to next for Sam? And for you as the teacher about to plan some flexible learning opportunities.