Friday, May 22, 2009

(17) From 2004 - on researching

This entry was written on 30 Aug 2004. I am gradually rationalising my previous attempts at blogging into just one place. It is relevant now because Bridget Somekh has asked me to write about teaching quant research to practicing teachers.

This was the only entry in a blog called "Researching"

"The meaning of life"

No, actually, I am not so deeply concerned about the meaning of life, today.

Rather I want to wonder a bit about what it means to try to make sense of the way in which we (people at large, but particularly teachers and educators and learners and all those who think about how knowledge is constructed ... do I mean philosophers, perhaps) think about and understand knowledge and learning.

I want to do this because I want to think afresh about the ways in which these ideas might help us all (all that big list from the last paragraph) to think about the place of research within education.

I teach research methods (quantitative stuff - an overhang from a past life) and I use other, more reflective tools in my own thinking - it is this tension that I want to play with. It may seem odd - but it is not really a tension for me.

(16) An image into the Blog???

Exhibit 1.6.1 Hofstadter and Escher: in support of multiple worlds and tangled hierarchies - (Hofstadter, 1980: 690)

Hmmm - I have tried three ways to get the tangled hierarchies image into this blog. I could do it by photographing it but there must be a better way.

I did not find a way to save a graphic from Word so that it could be upload as an image.

I tried to use "Publish this file to the web" and it came up with MSN as a place where it could be published but publication failed.

I need to talk with Gordon or Derek or the help desk - but this is not a high priority.

(15) Sandretto on poststructual insights

Susan Sandretto's (2009) article in "Studying Teacher Education" (S-STEP publication) was a delight to read - it sits nicely at the point where I would like to open up discussions within my collective networks, but which is beyond my skill and knowledge to write. Susan calls on authors most of whom I have read at some point and who have shaped my thinking.

Her thesis is that humanism is a default position that cannot be purged* from discourse and that post-structuralism provides a lens* which enables simple humanistic thinking about experience to be interrogated (troubled).

This is the argument I used in my thesis around the lazy 8 illustration of deconstruction.

* Susan did not use these terms.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

(14) Blog vs wiki - wondering

I know they have different functions - and I can see how this blogging helps my thinking - it is a web-log after all - and it allows me to record things for future reference and to think things out online.

But it is cumbersome to go back and find stuff that I want for easy reference - unless I can recall that I posted material already (which I can't) - maybe if I used tags more effectively it might do the trick.

The wiki seems to allow for easier reference and hyperlinking and the development of a knowledge structure.

Perhaps one tool is synchronous (blogging - sequential) and the other more ephemeral (non-sequential but expressing current knowledges and perceptions - non-permanent but existing as a knowledge source).

(13) Learning through conversation - NZJES article

The context is a TLRI partnership between Avonside Girls' High School and the University of Canterbury.

Even as you write you are changing the title - Lindsey's paper highlighted leadership for learning - this one has another focus - it points to the realisation that learning does occur through conversation, and that wallpapering over the cracks inhibits conversation - those are two key findings from this project

Such partnerships can be problematic but in this case the consequences of working through the differences have led to learning on both individual and collective levels.

The research associates (RAs, Lindsey and I) used complexity thinking and insights from post-structural and sociocultural theory to guide our work - but this background theory was not relevant to teachers.

The paper is being written in a way that documents insights about the project at the end of the project - while it describes what happened, much of the learning has evolved from insights of some of the participants and has been shared with everyone - but the findings, the learning, the wisdom that accrues in this article are retrospective reflections on the process and our speculation (Somekh) about the importance of the findings.

Do I need to justify that - or simply explain it - it is a part of complexity thinking that we report on emerging ideas - Is this linked to speculation? (Somehk) on the importance of this as part of the article.

What is not written is that we, also, were part of the investigation - we were not clear about what we would find - we were stepping into uncharted waters.

A teacher said at the end of the project - "if you had told us that at the start we would have understood."

This statement summarises the emergence of knowledge within this project. How would it be if you used it to structure the whole thing?

A teacher said: "what we didn't understand was that we learn through conversation"

This could be a heading for the section on practice-based methodology.

I think that writing has clarified for me that the focus of this article is on bringing out the point that complexity thinking has enabled us to assemble some traces of the collective learning that is emerging within the thinking of the participants and the collective knowledge of the communities affected. These traces are evidenced by shared agreements around the writing in this document. The participants have learnt individually (in the usual sense of the word) and also collectively (in that our understandings are part of dynamic, changing educational structures and networks).

stop - you are ranting.

(12) On writing for NZJES

I am struggling with writing, but more optimistic than ever before.

The context: We are right at the end of the RULT project and I have care of the article for NZJES. We are using an innovative approach to writing where ideas have been assembled by Elizabeth, based on writing from the project, including an early draft from Lindsey and me, conversations with two of the staff, and a couple of planning sessions where the shape of the article was mapped out.

In the last 10 days the draft article has been out for consultation and I have just incorporate suggestions into the main article. It is now 8500 words and needs to be 5000. So ... major cutting is needed.

And the cutting, therefore needs to be on a conceptual level. I need to rethink the article so that I can ensure that what is retained is the central message of the article and to realise that other important material will need to be cut.

So, shall try talking to you, my blog, about all this - what goes and what stays, and what important stuff might be lost in the process - (but really, what is important in all of this? - don't fuss too much - just write a good article that tells exactly one story and not too much else.) Mmmm - so the blog can talk back to me ... in italics - that's nice!

(11) A TLRI application

Last week I posted away and application for TLRI funding to weave together pairs of people who can lead and support a network of practice-based researchers into exploring an issue of shared interest.

A first example could be linking the Practitioner Specialist group around their interests in investigating the relationships and learning among associate teachers, student teachers and college lecturers. Sue McBain and I are applying for Ako funding for this one.

A second example could related to issues concerned with diversity and the pedagogies of teaching in inclusive ways and how lectures enable people to grapple with issues which are seen as racist. We could apply for ASTE funding for this one.

This is an exciting possible development and I want to rave about it (and how it was developed through partnerships) ... but not tonight.

(10) On praxis

I am utterly stalled by the multitude of ideas I want to talk about here, and by the urgency of the writing to finish off the Avonside project. But at least I have called here again ... and will be back shortly.