Thesis

20 Chapter 1 PILOT STUDY MCD sessions at DCIA before starting the main study Before presenting the research design of the main study of this thesis, we first present the pilot study we performed with MCD at DCIA. We will elaborate briefly about the lessons learned from that pilot, since it helped us decide on what conditions and design to aim for in the main study of this thesis. Prior to the research from this thesis, a series of MCD sessions was implemented at one DCIA location. The aim was that all staff participated in at least 3 MCD sessions within several months. DCIA and we, as researchers, explored staff experiences with MCD. We wished to learn more about how to implement MCD at DCIA, before actually starting the main study in other DCIA locations. Between March and July of 2017, evaluative data via nine interviews with prison staff, one focus group session with seven MCD facilitators, and four observations of MCD sessions were collected. The data from this pilot was presented in my Dutch master’s thesis (Schaap, 2019). The pilot showed, besides positive evaluations, some resistance of staff to MCD. Four types of reasons for resistance were distinguished: 1) concerns about broader organizational changes that influenced the general learning attitude of staff, 2) a wish for more focus on actions in practice than on reflection, 3) a lack of familiarity with ethics and moral dilemmas, and 4) the experienced vulnerability hindered the cultivation of an open and dialogical attitude during MCD (Schaap, 2019). Such resistance can hinder participation in reflection because learning is ‘not possible without the recognition of disruptive aspects that are present’ (Bosch, 2009, p. 478). Lessons learned from this pilot – about the implementation of MCD in the context of DCIA – were taken into account when MCD was initiated at the locations that are part of the main study as described in this thesis. During the pilot, the intention was to begin with discussing personal moral dilemmas. This start caused unease among participants partly due to a lack of basic knowledge of ethics and moral dilemmas, for example, they did not recognize which situations include moral components and which do not. Therefore, some participants did not understand when a facilitator addressed a case as unsuitable for MCD, for example, when it addressed a practical instead of a moral dilemma. We learned that to create a good start of the learning process during an MCD series, at new locations in our research we needed to start with an introductory meeting. In this meeting, participants and facilitators were introduced to each other. Furthermore,

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