What is Oxford's 'good enough' philosophy?

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What is Oxford's 'good enough' philosophy?

Post by Studentin11 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:31 pm

It gets mentioned a few times in the alt guide.

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Re: What is Oxford's 'good enough' philosophy?

Post by workingmama » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:43 am

Winnicott? (Didn't go to Oxford)
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Re: What is Oxford's 'good enough' philosophy?

Post by Spatch » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:55 pm

The Oxford "good enough" model was an approach to training advocated by Sue Llewllyn, Helen Beinart and Paul Kennedy who were directors of the course up until a few years ago.

Workingmama is right, that it draws from DW Winnicot and the concept of the "good enough" mother, who is responsive and nurturing to her child, but also allowing them to be independent without veering towards overbearing or neglectful, or burningthe mother out trying to be perfect. Applied to training the idea had been to encourage the trainee to attain a good enough standard in their clinical, academic and research work, without falling into unhelpful patterns of perfectionism, competitiveness and neglecting self care that can be a risk in training cohorts. It was a mental shift from the pre-training drive to excel in order to get onto a course, and recognise that on training it was very much a learning experience where one could make mistakes and focus on growth rather than getting it right all the time.

Note that "good enough" wasn't an excuse for mediocrity or not trying. There was an implicit understanding that training was difficult and the bars were already set quite high just to make it through the core competencies. It was a move away from getting marks, grades and doing exams and other comparative yet arbitrary markers and instead focussing on whether a trainee could do the job (and be good enough) or not.

I was not an Oxford trainee, but I think there is quite a lot to commend the idea, and having experiences across several institutions I am aware it is not a universal ethos for all courses. It's definitely something I raise in supervision with my own trainees or with teams. That said, I am aware Sue, Helen and Paul aren't there any more, so current Oxford trainees may be better placed to comment if the model is still applied.
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