Emotional Dynamics of Student Projects (pp. 47-51)

M. J. Platts
Every student tackling a real problem on location in a company they don’t know faces a series of crises. After the initial fact finding, a blank fog descends in which the jumbled mass of technical and human issues seems incomprehensible and the problem insoluble. In fact, the mind is sifting very sensitively but careful support is needed to help the student keep panic at bay long enough to learn by experience this is so. At a certain point, glimmers of understanding begin to take shape in the fog. Supportive dialogue helps this recognition process. The truth may be uncomfortable and support to develop the courage to say it and guidance to find the diplomacy of how to say it fruitfully for all the team in the company, are essential. The quality of human tutorial support for the student through these stages crucially affects the student’s professional competence later. The paper presents visual models of this sequence, the style of support necessary at different stages and possible patterns of emotional resistance, all of which help both students and staff recognise and gain confidence in the pattern of the process.