Published papers

Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.

 
Picture of Jack Whitehead
Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Saturday, 2 August 2008, 6:26 PM
 
Here is my submission for consideration for the first issue of EJOLTS. I'm hoping that you will feel moved to respond with comments and suggestions for the future development of my/our educational enquiries.

 Reverend Je Kan Adler Collins
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Je Kan Adler-Collins - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 6:05 AM
 

Dear Friends,

Attached is the review of Jack's paper

Je kan

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 9:01 AM
 
Dear Je Kan - a brief note to say many thanks for your review of my paper. I've just had a quick browse through it and appreciate the quality and thoughtfulness of your response. I'm already seeing ways in which I can improve the paper, especially by balancing the anger in the video-clip with a video that shows how the anger has been rechannelled into a life-affirming energy in my educational relationships. I'm going to read most carefully your review and respond in a re-drafted paper over the next few weeks and just wanted to say how affirming it is to receive a review of such care and scholarship.

Love Jack.
Branko Bognar
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Branko Bognar - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 11:22 AM
 
Dear friends,

I am glad that our review process functions well. Je Kan, I like the form in which you sent your review. Maybe we could offer them to other reviewers with some changes I've made. What do you think?
 Reverend Je Kan Adler Collins
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Je Kan Adler-Collins - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 12:13 PM
 

Ok, that is fine by me . any thing that helps you.

I thought you were on holiday?? smile

Picture of Moira Laidlaw
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Moira Laidlaw - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 4:38 PM
 
 JeKan, you've gone to such trouble to submit your review. You've clearly prepared your review in terms of attention to detail, insights about meanings and purposes and clear guidelines as to what you want Jack to do, and so on and for you, the form clearly works and is a vehicle for your creativity. I think if I had such a dedicated response to my work, I'd be really chuffed (pleased). So your review stands on its own merits as all reviews should, and isn't what this posting is about. 
 
In terms of appearance I prefer the way you've set it out, Branko, and the slight amendments you've made. I think such a form could be a very useful vehicle for future submissions. And testing out the weblinks and ensuring that everything is as it should be is rigorous and a very helpful idea, which will in its turn help us improve the quality of what we are doing. However - yeah, I know JeKan, you were just waiting for a 'yes but' response from me!!!
 
Personally I don't like filling in forms, because they always, without exception, render me less creative, because they smack of formulae. They always feel like a strait-jacket to me. That may be a personal peculiarity shades of the dreaded tax-forms coming to get me!  which I need to overcome - and if that's the general opinion, then I'll work on it. I accept, however, that the above comments are purely about personal preference and therefore not particularly valid.
 
But I do think there is a good working reason why such forms are not always helpful to dialogue, and I think it is dialogue that we are aiming for in order to change things. First, the review doesn't appear directly on the page, but has to be accessed. This means a reader has to open and access documents, and if wanting to follow through an argument, it becomes harder and harder. By the time the second review is there, it will be more difficult. Do you see what i mean. The earliest reviews enabled us simply to scroll down the page and access the ideas of others and respond to them - as in a dialogue. Some of the joy for me of reviewing and being reviewed is that it becomes an open dialogue, such as has developed over Branko's paper for this first issue. I am not sure that such forms would give us the flexibility we need. On the other hand I am not saying that they would necessarily stymie other people's ability to dialogue. I suppose both the instigator (JeKan) and recipient (Jack) need to say something about this most particularly. I do think this is something we all need to discuss.
 
... I think it was MacIntyre who said that the university should be about constrained disagreement. I've always liked that.
 
Many thanks.
 
What do the rest of you feel about it?

Love from,
 
Moira 
Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 20 August 2008, 5:24 PM
 
I do see what Moira means. I would also preferred the review to be posted, rather than as a file that has to be accessed so that we can more easily follow the to and fro of the review process. I'm also aware that forms can be constraining when we want to promote dialogue, but at the same time I think we need to provide some of the guidelines that the form contains and I think we should go ahead and try it.

Love Jack.
Picture of Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes - Sunday, 24 August 2008, 6:34 PM
 
Dear Jack

My approach to reading your paper has been formed by the very question you lay at the centre of your own work - “how do I improve what I am doing?” It’s from this place that I have looked inquiringly at your claims to influence others, and tentatively ask how they in turn may influence you. Such co-generation of knowledge would seem to represent the reciprocal quality of our learning together, and I therefore offer this assumption of reciprocity as an essential quality of my review and meet your question with my own: “does my knowing live as I read your paper?”

As I follow the fluidity of the themes and seek to make the connections that will mark their influence on my own knowing I tease out nuances that mark a change in your writing that I have not previously noted. I have an image of ripples stretching in increasing circles as you move from your own learning, to the learning of others and then outwards to the learning that may be taking place in the social formations in which we each live and work. Not new words – but somehow written here with new and expanded meaning. But, how do I know that, and to whose meaning do I refer?

To answer that I first want to re-visit the aspiration you express for the influence your paper may have; you express it on p.18 as: “the hope that you will find something of value for yourself that resonates with your own life-affirming energy, values and understandings”. I take this as an invitation to engage with your writing with the qualities of “generative dialogue”, referred to in my own writing as “a voice that engages in creative formation” and one that “will both articulate and generate new, shared knowledge” (Scholes-Rhodes 2002).

So, as I read it today then I must filter it from the space which I inhabit today. And this is where the resonance is strongest. You talk of “the narrative wreckage that breaks into a smooth story of self in the creation of a living educational theory” (p.17) and I smile with recognition. This is where the influence is strongest – where by inference you invite me to reflect on the passages of my own ongoing story and I am drawn into a reflection on my own life-affirming energy and values as I develop my work as a coach in an organisational context that has both challenged and nurtured my development for over twenty five years.

And the other ripples I refer to? Then here I try to understand what it is you describe as “a capacity to express and develop a relationally dynamic awareness of a space and boundaries with life-affirming energy and values” (p.12). I instinctively recognise the connecting of your deeply held concepts with an emerging expression of â€inclusionality’ but have difficulty interpreting the linkage between And I wonder if I have really understood. I have re-read the passages several times, holding my questions gently to avoid assuming false learning. And still I have to ask this question as a reviewer: how might I experience this differently so that my learning is enhanced?

Jack, I read your writing with deep connectivity and an aspiration to learn, and in most parts am rewarded fully. Yet, I still query if I have fully understood your intent, or even fully appreciated the power of your message. So, I am bound to ask: how can you influence my learning more fully, and in doing so increase your own? Is there a way you could, in response to your own request on p.6, strengthen the comprehensibility of the explanation? And finally, would you consider such a modification an extension of our mutual knowing?
Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Tuesday, 26 August 2008, 11:17 AM
 
Hi Jacqui - I've just enjoyed your review of my paper and I'll now work on seeing if I can enhance the quality of my communication of the ideas in relation to your questions. I do appreciate the way you have asked the questions and they carry the pleasure of the feeling of extending our mutual knowing. I hope to have my redraft ready by this Sunday.

Love Jack.
Picture of Jane Spiro
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jane Spiro - Sunday, 31 August 2008, 3:56 PM
 

Hello Jack, JeKan, Jacqui and colleagues,

I have joined the review cycle fairly late at the end of this summer, but hope it is not too late to make a contribution - apologies Jack, as I know you are rewriting probably at this moment. My review seems to mirror JeKan and Jacqui's, but I hope offers you some further deep attention. 

Jack Whitehead’s Paper  Using a Living Theory Methodology in Improving Practice and Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories

 

Review from Jane Spiro:  August 31st 2008

 

Accept with modifications

 

General thoughts

 

I think this is an important â€keynote’ paper that provides a conceptual framework for the whole journal. A central idea you are exploring is the distinction between education theory, and educational/living theory that places the educator at the centre of the learning and research process: I would love this message to speak, not only to those already converted to it and familiar with its language and ideology, but to those who have not met the concept before, or who are fearful of making the jump.  The affirmation of this approach as an inspiration, as enhancing practice, is what I think this paper is doing, and could do even more strongly.  I think I would like this affirmation – the life-affirming energy - to occupy the space currently occupied in the article by a description of institutional opposition.  I am mindful, for example, of colleagues who have said: “I am excited by the idea of researching my own practice, but do not wish to come into head-on collision with the establishment in doing this!”.  The fact that the establishment is threatened by this approach seems to me to be a separate issue: Before confronting this issue, I would like as a reader (and imagining myself new to the concept) – to be really clear why this approach is so important, so liberating, so transformatory, and how it has really worked in your practice.  For example, I see your account at the end, of the supervisory relationship, as an amazing example of your practice in theory, and your theory in practice: your generosity, your capacity to learn from others in a mutual learning cycle that enhances a whole community’s practice (not just you: not just they – but us).    How have you transformed the â€traditional’ supervisor: student relationship – by what process of change and decision-making, and why exactly is this so frightening to the institution?  How is this new dynamic different to the one you first experienced as a science teacher in secondary school?  The journey you describe, from science teacher to doctorate supervisor, is implied, but there seems to be a huge undescribed leap from the former to the latter. I as reader would have been fascinated to see some more of the stages of transformation on the way.  For me, WHAT the institution is really objecting to is so much more important here than the fact of their objection.  The other point of this, is that I as the living theory reader, would like to see and be reassured that your passion for this comes from the fact that it is meaningful and congruent with your beliefs: the fact that it subverts other paradigms is something you have explained really clearly in the first half. The consequences of this, of course, are political – but the flow of your argument leads towards its meaning for the practitioner in practice (ie rather than practioner in combat). 

 

To summarise what I think this means in terms of possible and suggested changes:

1)      I would like some of the language to be clearer, sometimes leaner.  Often this is about paring down some of the terminology or a tendency to repeat the same terms in one sentence.  I think the language can travel further without repetition. I have made some specific suggestions below.

2)      I would like as reader to see more of the grounded examples of your own practice and the evolution of your own living theory from science teacher to Lecturer in Education and supervisor â€extraordinaire’.

3)      I would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain – rather than the pain itself.  Why is your position so threatening to the institution?  Your first section unfolds the disciplines v. educational approach, but an explicit link here with your transition from one to the other versus institutional entrenchment – would join up the sections a bit more clearly.

4)      You mention the balancing of the local and the general all through, (and I thank you so much for mentioning my work in relation to this): Specifically I think what emerges is the extraordinary nature of the â€mutual learning’ relationships you have with student-colleagues.   You describe this quite briefly at the end, but I think this really is the heart of how you embody your living theory.  I’d love to see a section preceding reference to your student/colleague relationships- where you explore your own role in building these relationships. 

 

Style/editing points:

p. 2 The damage inflicted on --- : first sentence in the final paragraph.  I’d suggest a slightly leaner version of this sentence:

The damage inflicted on the teaching profession by the disciplines approach to education theory, is evidenced (or another verb?) by the fact that Paul Hirst, one of its main proponents  acknowledged it to be a mistake  in 1983.

 

p. 3 Third paragraph beginning â€the hegemony’ – there seem to be too many main verbs?

 

p. 4 last sentence of penultimate paragraph, beginning â€Because of such pressure’:  should the last part come forward like this?:

Because of such pressures I want to integrate the influences of historical and cultural contexts within which my research programme evolved into my explanations of educational influence. 

(Is this what you mean?)

 

p.7 I was a bit confused about chronology at the top of p.5 in that you mention a first introduction to Ubuntu in 2008, but an earlier ref. from Eden in 2007 – a small point, but perhaps the 2008 could be linked to Murray’s writing more obviously (rather than the year you first met Ubuntu, which is now suggested). 

 

p. 9 You mention a distinction between educational and social relationships. I felt as reader that I wanted a brief account of what your own meaning is of an â€educational relationship’ as distinct from social. I began formulating my own versions of what you might have meant, testing against your writing.

 

pp. 15/16: the chronology is a bit unclear here.  I’d like the dates to be chronological to help with the story, so information emerges step by step.  It could be that you will change this anyway with the changes to this section.  (In particular the paragraph at the top of p. 17 doesn’t read as a clear sequence). 

 

p. 18  I was surprised by the word â€restricted’ in the penultimate paragraph (frst line).  I’d like to see a more generative word!  - such as : derived from, generated from, inspired by ---

 

A general stylistic thought:  I wonder a lot about the length and extent of quotation. You use very long quotation and quite a number of them – eg. Habermas p. 7 – and sometimes I’d like more perhaps of your own navigation through the quotation. 

 

Typos:

I think there are some missing words and letters in the Ryle quotation on p. 5. (eg. An interior acknowledgements).

 

I am wondering why most of the long quotations are in italics, but some are not (eg. Habermas section on p. 7). 

 

p. 11 Your reference Whitehead (1985) isn’t in the biblio?

 

p. 14 There’s a word missing in the second paragraph after â€academic’ ----

p. 16 an unnecessary â€of’ has strayed in between well – have in the 5th paragraph

 

Sometimes you write life affirming, and sometimes life-affirming. (p. 13 second para.)  I find myself distracted from the flow, thinking about the significance of the difference, or whether a difference was intended – but I think just a typo!. 

 

Thoughts about the reviewing process

Just to say it is a privilege to be part of this mutual learning cycle which I see emerging as part of the review process.  I apologise for joining the cycle of response to Jack late in the process, but hope these thoughts are nevertheless a contribution.  I am a reviewer on another journal in which:  papers are sent anonymously, reviews are written in isolation so one reviewer does not have contact with another.; reviewers never enter into direct dialogue with authors – everything is mediated by the editor; a template of criteria is used. 

 

I see this cycle of learning as an amazing opportunity for writers and readers to work together to generate the strongest, clearest way of communicating their meanings.  Here I am enjoying the sense of shared responsibility to support Jack in making his paper speak to as many readers as possible.  I think it involves much humility and generosity on the part of the writer (Jack!), real loving attention on the part of readers, and I feel privileged to participate in this. 

.

 

 

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Monday, 1 September 2008, 8:11 AM
 
Hi Jane - very pleased to read your review and most appreciative of the time and care you've given to responding. It's going to be a great help in improving the paper and I hope to have the resubmission ready by the end of next week at the latest. Love Jack.
Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 10 September 2008, 4:42 PM
 
Dear Jacqui, Jane and Je Kan,
I’m most grateful for your reviews of my paper and I’ve now resubmitted my modified paper for any further suggestions that you think are necessary. The resubmitted paper should be attached to this note. I know this is asking a lot but if there is anything else you think is necessary to change before acceptance if you could let me know by the weekend I could do the necessary changes so that we can meet the end of September deadline for the publication of the first issue.

Jacqui – I’ve found it most helpful to focus on three of your points:

1) And still I have to ask this question as a reviewer: how might I experience this differently so that my learning is enhanced?

i) The major change where I’ve tried to take into account experiencing my meanings differently so that the reader’s learning is enhanced is in the section v) on using multi-media representations to clarify and share meanings of the flows of energy in embodied values and their expressions in explanations of educational influence in learning.

Jane and Je Kan – You both advised a major rewrite of this section and I think you were right to do so. In my original submission I’d failed in my intention to create an appropriate balance between highlighting my core beliefs as they emerge through pain and communicating the pain itself. I’m hoping that the re-written section v) now fulfills what you would like to see Jane:

“I would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain – rather than the pain itself. “

Je Kan – you felt strongly that the emotions aroused by this section would get in the way of the meanings I wanted to communicate. I’m hoping that the re-written section now communicates an appropriate relationship between the difficult experiences and the creative and life-affirming responses.

2) I take this as an invitation to engage with your writing with the qualities of “generative dialogue”, referred to in my own writing as “a voice that engages in creative formation” and one that “will both articulate and generate new, shared knowledge” (Scholes-Rhodes 2002).

Jacqui – this is how I felt as I read your review. You moved me to include Joan Walton’s standard of judgment from her doctorate that has just gone through - â€spiritual resilience gained through connection with a loving dynamic energy’ together with your point about exquisite connectivity.

3) So, I am bound to ask: how can you influence my learning more fully, and in doing so increase your own? Is there a way you could, in response to your own request on p.6, strengthen the comprehensibility of the explanation? And finally, would you consider such a modification an extension of our mutual knowing?

Jacqui - I’ve worked on the comprehensibility of the explanation with a focus on the clarity of differences between propositional, dialectical and inclusional thinking. I’m hoping that my points about the significance of multi-media narratives being able to communicate the meanings of relationally dynamic nature of living standards of judgment is an extension of our mutual knowing.

Jane - I’m most grateful for all the Style/Editing points and have acted on each one.

1) I would like some of the language to be clearer, sometimes leaner. Often this is about paring down some of the terminology or a tendency to repeat the same terms in one sentence. I think the language can travel further without repetition. I have made some specific suggestions below.

I like your suggestions and have acted on all of them.

2) I would like as reader to see more of the grounded examples of your own practice and the evolution of your own living theory from science teacher to Lecturer in Education and supervisor â€extraordinaire’.

I like your points about the importance of a narrative that shows the evolution of my own living educational theory from science teacher to lecturer to research supervisor. This feels more appropriate for a book on the evolution of a living educational theory and I’ll work on this.

3) I would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain – rather than the pain itself.

I’ve made major modifications to section v) to see if I have responded appropriately to this point.

Your first section unfolds the disciplines v. educational approach, but an explicit link here with your transition from one to the other versus institutional entrenchment – would join up the sections a bit more clearly.

I’ve tried to do this in the lead up to section v)

4) You mention the balancing of the local and the general all through, (and I thank you so much for mentioning my work in relation to this): Specifically I think what emerges is the extraordinary nature of the â€mutual learning’ relationships you have with student-colleagues. You describe this quite briefly at the end, but I think this really is the heart of how you embody your living theory. I’d love to see a section preceding reference to your student/colleague relationships- where you explore your own role in building these relationships.

I’ve now drawn attention to this on page 15.

Je Kan – Many thanks for your comments where you give me the line numbers that need attention. I think I’ve addressed each of these as you suggest.

I’m also agreeing wholeheartedly with your criticisms of the dominance of the rage and anger – these mistakenly did dominate the first submission. I thought I’d managed to show that the flow of life-affirming energy and value of educational knowledge creation in the March 2008 keynote had rechanneled the rage and anger into my creative work as a knowledge-creator but I was mistaken in thinking that I’d done it. I’m hoping that my completely re-written section v) now accomplishes an appropriate balance. I’ve also removed the sections you felt were inflammatory. I’ve referenced the photograph of Jean with her doctoral students at graduation to a live url, rather than keep the poor quality one in.

Love Jack.
Picture of Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes - Sunday, 14 September 2008, 11:23 PM
 
Dear Jack,

I found myself moved by the changes you have made to the document - evidence, I think, of our collective educational influence and a felt response to the impact of the positive energy and clarity that has emerged. I sense a movement in the explanation, and begin to appreciate the meaning that is now given voice from a place that feels balanced.

Just a couple of edits which I'm sure you've already picked up - p.13 where you talk of a loving (and?) productive life, and on p.18 third line`where 'from' is repeated.

Thank you for sharing this Jack, and I am happy to recommend we Accept for publication.

Jacqui
Picture of Jane Spiro
Re: Using A Living Theory Methodology In Improving Practice And Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories.
by Jane Spiro - Thursday, 25 September 2008, 9:44 PM
 

Dear Jack

I read your revised paper with real delight at the new information I now see there about your progression from science teacher to doctor-educator. Your account of your early positivist position, and your acknowledgement of this still as offering a worthwhile perspective alongside others, makes this now an exciting story of synthesis and growth - in fact, of 'inclusionality'. Your position is explained and rationalised with both passion and balance - I have noted too, how the quotations have been absorbed into your own voice, so it is you that emerges rather than the voices of those who influenced you (although they do too, of course).
I was also delighted to see the way the pain of the University of Bath rejection had now been reframed to emerge as a clear account of your beliefs in practice. This now flows seamlessly into an account of the community you have built, and also of the force of love and life-affirming energy which informs your work, including your fight for its recognition.
This all reads to me now as coherent, convincing to the newcomer as well as the insider, inspirational and grounded. All the areas that detracted from this have vanished, and it was a joy to move through the journey you set up.


Small editing points:

  • there is a missing half sentence at the start of the Hurst quotation at the top of p.4 which I think might help the sense. The quotation seemed not quite complete.
  • a stray 'to' at the end of the first Allender and Allender quotation on p.4 second para.
  • on p. 6 - you use the verb 'distinguishes' which suggests a contrasts - Polanyi distinguishes personal knowledge from ---? So I wonder if there is a missing half, or perhaps another verb there?
  • p. 10 last line of penultimate para. - relationally should be relational?
  • p. 14 third line from end of top para. - clarify should be clarity?


I think this is an important paper to launch EJOLTS and make its ethical, philosophical and ideological position clear. It presents a position that will inspire readers to share - I like in particular your call to action in the final paragraph, encouraging your readers to be the next writers, as you encourage your students to be the next teachers. So yes, in all ways yes!


With love and thanks for this amazing learning process,


Jane