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‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?

 
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‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 19 July 2014, 11:05 PM
 

Friends and colleagues,

Please find my article for your consideration and comment.

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Thursday, 24 July 2014, 1:04 AM
 

Hi, Brian. First, I commend your commitment to your students, to building a Christian ethics course that is practice-based and to your intentions to improve your teaching. Your narrative writing would be more engaging if you revealed more of yourself and your experiences and included some visual data. The case-study/critical incidents approach appears to have enhanced the enjoyment and deepened the learning of your students.

What appears to me to be missing is engagement with Living Theory which is a pre-requisite of publication in this journal. If you go to the home page of the journal you will see some descriptions of this theory and practice. I am unclear from the writing the nature of the difference between ethics and Christian ethics. I find that some of the data that provide evidence to support claims to know are missing or lack depth. Formatting errors can be edited. There are some repetitions that can be removed that could shorten the length of the article.

You will find that I have attached your paper with edits and comments. I cannot recommend publication of the work as it stands.

I am willing to assist in working with you to revise it. I hope that you accept my suggestions in the spirit that they are given - loving kindness.

Love, Jackie

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 28 July 2014, 2:31 PM
 

Dear Jackie,

Many thanks taking time to review, correct and comment on my paper and for your questions. I had anticipated that there would be areas for clarification and revision before publication

Before I start work on revising I would be most grateful if you could help me with a few things so I can focus my efforts with greater efficiency.

1. Engagement with Living Theory: Before writing my paper I had read very widely in Jack Whitehead and Jean McNiff's work and, indeed, read papers from the journal. My understanding of Living Theory is I examine and critique the fundamental values that had guided my own formation and learning (educational influences on me), review the manner in which I draw them together in my thinking and then explore and evidence the way that these values have guided the way I have contributed to the learning of others (my educational influence). I attempted to set out my living theory in the sections on Ontology and Epistemology and in the story of the development of my practice. Have I misunderstood this? Can you help me to a clearer understanding so that I can address your concern more adequately. Please, I am genuinely puzzled by this because I thought that I had gone to considerable lengths to present my living theory.

2. 'Ethics' and 'Christian Ethics': I do not believe that there is any 'ethics' that does not belong to a particular community. This is one of the main lessons that MacIntyre teaches us. All ethical systems are rooted the life and tradition of a particular community. And so there are Christian Ethics, Buddhist Ethics, Hindu Ethics, Taoist Ethics, etc. Moreover, within each of these major traditions there will be various sub-traditions based around living communities. The claim to universality of one moral tradition during the Enlightenment period was one of the oppressive dimensions of modernism which sought to impose a morality from above. Personally, I believe that ethical traditions tend to meet at the point of lived experience in terms of  what works for happiness. But all start from different places and even with different understandings of what counts for 'happiness'! In strict terms there is no such thing as 'ethics' only the ethics of a particular tradition. We are all situated. One of the problems of the enlightenment was to deny the situated nature of ethics.

3. Audio-Visuals. Alas, not all bandwidth is equal and uploading some materials is difficult. Moreover, I take the anonymity of my participants very seriously and posting images of my students, I feel, would compromise this.

4. My last question is more a technical point. I cite a lot of material from student papers. Given my previous comment I cannot use student names or reference numbers should it be 'Student 1 paper, p.2?

With love, Brian

 

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 28 July 2014, 10:32 PM
 

Hi Jackie,

I have begun process of correcting the paper but I suspect that the corrections I have made you will feel are insufficient. 

It would help me to move forward if you could provide me with some very specific feedback on the following items.

1. Living Theory: I feel that I have presented my living theory in terms of educational influences on me and my influence on others in my sections on ontology and epistemology and in my practice. I have I attempted to follow the framework set out by Whitehead and McNiff  (2006) very closely. Please let me know how this is inadequate.

2. Evidence of Educational Influence: Please could you elaborate on your comment that my evidence 'may not be sufficient'. I thought that I had made a strong and accumulative case of my influence through presentation and commentary both from examples of student work and from the high statistics, and I felt, strong participant statements, from my questionnaire. If anything I felt that my claims were on the modest side!

Please bear with me as I make these points as I felt that I had written a strong piece - which impression was confirmed by highly qualified and experienced colleagues to whom I had circulated it. If I did not feel that I had written a strong piece I would not have ventured to submit it. Please help me to understand your perspective on this matter more clearly.

With love, Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 10 January 2015, 3:38 PM
 

Hi Jackie,

Happy New Year! I would still be most grateful for your suggestions concerning how to move forward. Perhaps one way to do this would be to imagine that I am one of your colleagues whom you are support on their Living Theory Project What advice would you give?

Warm regards

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Tuesday, 29 July 2014, 8:38 PM
 

Friends,

Please excuse my initial reactions. It now seems to be that I am at the beginning of a journey, rather than the end and I am curious to see what I can learn.

Love, Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Monday, 11 August 2014, 5:43 PM
 

Dear Brian - I've enjoyed your exploration of the implications of asking, researching and answering your question: 

How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?

I do hope that you will continue to work on this submission to EJOLTS.  

Whilst I'm not one of your reviewers I'm an interested reader and passionate living-theorist.

What you might focus on is the idea of your living-educational-theory as your explanation of your educational influence in your own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations that influence your practice and your writings.

In your Abstract you say:

I conclude by considering how my educational influence has been demonstrated and can be improved through this approach to learning.

Your living-educational-theory will move beyond demonstrating your educational influence in an explanation your educational influence.  I hope that I'm being clear about this point, because it is a necessary condition of a living-educational-theory.

I do urge you to work on your paper so that you can explain your educational influence in terms of your

Christian values. You might find that the meanings of these values are clarified in the course of their emergence in your practice.

I hope that you find these responses helpful and encouraging in working on your submission.

Love Jack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Wednesday, 13 August 2014, 9:53 PM
 

Dear Jack, Many thanks indeed for your encouraging remarks. I have greatly enjoyed reading your work and the work of the doctoral students you have supervised. I'm greatly impressed with the learning and engagement that I read. Your approach to action research is something that I would like to embrace in my own practice and encourage and support others in similar journeys of discovery through engagement. This article is my first exploration into an articulation of my living theory and I am keen to bring it to a point where it is acceptable for publication

Reflecting on your remarks it seems to me that I may have conflated the influences that have formed my thinking and practice into my ontology - I summarised my current stage of thinking and practice with giving enough attention to the journey.

I often find it helpful to have examples to help me refine my conceptualisation. I wonder, could you recommend a text that provides a particularly good example of 'living-educational-theory as an explanation of  educational influence...' 

This would be very helpful to me as I working on revising my paper.

With much appreciation and love,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Friday, 5 September 2014, 3:09 PM
 

Dear Brian - I'm similar to yourself:

"I often find it helpful to have examples to help me refine my conceptualisation. I wonder, could you recommend a text that provides a particularly good example of 'living-educational-theory as an explanation of  educational influence...' "

You can access one of my published papers which includes an explanation of my educational influence in the learning of Kevin Eames, whilst supervising his doctoral research programme:

Educative Relations in a New Era

Paper published in Pedagogy, Culture & Society, Vol. 7, No.1, pp. 73-90, 1999.

at - http://www.actionresearch.net/writings/CS4.htm

I'm hoping that you find this helpful.

There are some more papers in EJOLTS that you might also find helpful:

Joy Mounter  http://ejolts.net/node/224-
 

A living theory of care-giving (pp. 40-56)

Sonia Hutchison - http://ejolts.net/node/203

The enhancement of creativity in Technical Education (pp. 57-85)

Sanja Vidović & Verica Kuharić Bučević - http://ejolts.net/node/204

 

Love Jack.

 

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 8 September 2014, 10:58 PM
 

Jack,

Many thanks for these recommendations which I will follow up with great interest.

Love,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Wednesday, 3 September 2014, 10:38 PM
 

Friends, 

Thank you for your encouragement. I do intend to continue working on this piece to bring it to a stage where it is acceptable for publication - perhaps going into another AR cycle. At the moment I'm busy with another writing project, administrative matters for the beginning of the academic session and with preparations for a brief sabbatical of three months in the UK when I hope to do something more. In the meantime, I would be very grateful if the second reviewer, Stephen Bigger, could add some comments and if Jackie could suggest a good example of living theory that I could take as a model.

In friendship,

Brian

 

 

 

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Friday, 5 September 2014, 1:02 PM
 

My first general comment is that the section giving a CV should be shortened. There is an undercurrent explaining what personal growth took place, which should be retained and strengthened.

Ontology.

I approach this section as an atheist, so I hope the author forgives my somewhat different approach, which I hope nevertheless is helpful.

One of the major problems with Moltmann is the tendency to describe non-Christian religions through Christian eyes, to find as it were the hidden Christ. This seems to me an imperialist project, and does not always do justice to the original religious tradition. Reference is also made to Ninian Smart, whose phenomenology emphasis encouraged bracketing out of bias so a religion could be presented on its own terms, without a reinterpretation via Christianity or other western supremist idiologies. However, Smart used Husserl’s model of “transcendental” phenomenology which took it as read that there is transcendent  truth out there to be found, as indeed do you. I am pleased however that you are developing a personal discovery approach to truth which allows the word/concept of ‘truth’ to be problematised. The anthropologist Victor Turner encouraged his students to re-enact rituals from the tribes studied to encourage them to see issues from the local point of view. One example was a cannibal feast, which illustrate that there is a chasm to be crossed in the students’ minds.

The notion of Christian ethics needs to be viewed as part of the broader field of ethics. Christianity does not have a monopoly of ethical insights, and can and does exist without 'walking any ethical talk'. Your PhD studies will help with this and presumably have some ontological significance for you. Ethics in Christian traditions presumably highlight love, but many non-Christians fully understand the importance of love for one’s fellows and implement this in their daily lives. Equally many Christians do not. So avoid generalisations.

Your use of Jesus as a sacrificing role model encouraging empowerment in others seems a useful way forward. You will presume that the Jesus story is factual, I assume it is fiction, but the idea of role model works from either direction.

 Epistemology.

A bit more thought is needed on the nature of moral knowledge. That moral knowledge is developed and perpetuated by a community (itself a bit of a loaded term) has no implications that the moral stance is wholesome. The Nazis developed a moral tradition in the 1930s. You need to have some way of distinguishing between wholesome and unwholesome morality. The notion of ‘resister’ (Zimbardo) resisting community and peer pressure might be a useful start.

 General.

Helping students to work out for themselves what is wholesome and unwholesome is clearly a key decision. Other tools will also be helpful, such as the various agendas akin to Critical Studies – social justice, anti-racism and non-othering, anti-sexism, equity, respect and so on.

 Critical incidents are part of a different tradition in health care and industry so some justification for their use more generally ought to be made. The use of critical incidents introduces a judgemental aspect (adultery, pre-marital paternity) whereas you need to have a more developmental discussion of the difference between wholesome and unwholesome. Although critical incidents could be approached from this direction, you may also need a greater variety of approaches to help you.

 Stephen Bigger.

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Friday, 5 September 2014, 7:42 PM
 

From Stephen Bigger, Sorry I had techno probs this morning. The formal part came out before the informal bit. This is to say:

Hi Brian, Thanks for the hard work you have put into this and well done for undertaking so much CPD over the past decade, including a PhD.  You will find some of my work on African contexts in Journal for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa, an article on Bushman heritage, and another on marriage. I am writing another at the moment on the African fieldwork of Victor Turner. In the past, I taught on a Master of Theology course for Christian ministers in Oxford, and supervised a PhD there on Christian Mission. My main topic was plurality - being a Christian minister on a plural world - which seems to me close to your interests. You will see that I locate myself in this discussion as an atheist, but please do not take this to mean that I have no interest in spirituality. I edited a book long ago on the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Curriculum subtitles Teaching Values. So I look forward to our collaboration. With best wishes,  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 8 September 2014, 11:35 PM
 

Dear Stephen,

Many thanks indeed for taking the time to review my article and for your weighty comments that I will need to take time to digest and consider. When I was looking for potential reviews I felt that you would be able provide a sympathetic critique which has proved to be the case. Just a couple of odd thoughts. I wonder how Moltmann would react to the charge of imperialism. He does critique religious ideas from a Christian, particularly trinitarian perspective but I've not noticed any search for a 'hidden Christ' in non-Christian religions, except, perhaps in Judaism. Even so in his Eschatology he does insist that all of reality will be 'reconciled in Christ' so his vision is not pluralistic - unlike Smart's 'federalism'. I think also that we construct meaning from the visions of the world that make most sense to us. I don't believe that we construct reality - that is there as the final check. That is to say that 'unwholesome' traditions ultimately became self-destructive - often with terrible effects. It is important to be able to sense these before the effects take hold. In the example that you give Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church come to mind. In the case of some of my students there were aspects of resistance build around the vision of Christ's love (which I will treat as history for the sake of argument ;-) ). However, I'm also mindful that you can only expect people to go so far - sympathy often has to precede acceptance and issues have to be addressed in a way that build progress rather than evokes rejection. In the later case little is gained.

I used the ontology and epistemology sections to articulate my formative influences. Do I need to add a further section in the conclusion in which I critique these?

Any way - many thanks for the contribution and I will chew on these issues.  

With many thanks,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Wednesday, 10 September 2014, 4:00 PM
 

The problem of moving jobs and retiring is the jettisoning of books. I had The Hidden Christ of Hinduism on my shelves for many years, but of course by Panikkar and not as I misremembered by Moltmann. However, in worrying about this in my reply, I reckoned that the general point of cultural imperialism still had some weight and thank you for your reasoned reply about it. Thank you also for you not taking umbrage at my very different position to yours, which I hope stimulates critical thought whatever the final outcome. Dialogue becomes difficult when a point of view becomes fixed and considered superior. The vicars on my MTheol course struggled with it but ultimately found it helpful.

There are other vignettes that might help discussion. Witchcraft, demon possession (even the murder of children deemed possessed). God and ancestor worship - where God, Adam,...Abraham etc becomes an ancestral lineage. Africa translations for God and the Devil - how appropriate? and what baggage do they bring? Lots to consider.

Yes, critique your ontology/epistemology somewhere.

Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 12:43 PM
 

Further thoughts. It is important for readers and writers to be clear about their intellectual location and positioning. There is always a danger that a reader expects the writing to do something that the writer does not intend, that is that the two inhabit different world views. WHat might seem 'obvious' to one seems problematic to the other. So locating ourselves in our work is important, if misreadings are to be prevented. This is what I tried to do in my post. In the best cases, both sides can learn from each other, but in the worst cases a bad-tempered slagging match might result. You might profit from reading into the works of Paul Ricoeur, who was optimistic about the positive benefits of dialogue and addressed many theological questions. However, as we now know in Syria, dialogue is not always possible, for which see his little book 'Evil: A Challenge to Philosophy and Theology'. 

Aggressive atheism today has media spotlight and mocks theism. This is not my position and I find I can have meaningful discussions with believers of all faiths and enjoy reading scriptures (of course as examples of human literature).

The intellectual/academic paradigm is to be critical; unpacking what critical means for your work with your students is a vital starting point. Ethics invited discussion of social critique, and you could start with New Testament visions of equality (male/female, slave/free) and apply this to modern situations. Your students can be encouraged to build ethics up from fundamental (not fundamentalist!) principles such as love, equity, justice, respect, consideration, empathy. Strategies such as reflection, dialogue, discussion and problem solving are relevant. Try also metaphorical cost-benefit analysis - who bears the cost of decisions? who benefits?

Relevant to all this is the distinction between religious studies/study of religion, and theology. The former makes no assumption about 'truth', so regarding religious expression as a form of human endeavour. The latter has traditionally presumed the truth of the theological tradition, sometimes naively, sometimes with more depth,a discussion between insiders which is difficult for outsiders to penetrate. McCutcheon (2001) expressed the contrast as 'critics not caretakers'. Beginning a critical process in your students will be their first stage in deeping their understanding, moving them gradually away from naivity.  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 10 January 2015, 1:54 PM
 

Dear Stephen,

First of all may I wish you the very best for the New Year. I've only checked back on this recently as I've been working on another writing project and I didn't get a notification when you posted. 

Thank you again for your stimulating thoughts. I understand moral discourse and moral thinking from the perspective of MacIntyre's virtue model in which moral judgement and discourse are defined by a living tradition or 'extended argument' within a community. In the light of this moral debate, at the primary level has to take place within the the community of discourse around its own priorities and narratives. I believe that there is, or could be, or should be, a secondary level of debate that could take place between representatives of different positions. But this would need to be more of a dialogue based upon mutual understanding of each other's traditions that would focus around the coherence of different priorities and the most appropriate moral actions to realise them. I am find MacIntyre's critique of Kant very persuasive and that assertions of universal morality are indeed forms of cultural imperialism. For this reason to some extent I share Hauerwas' 'Anabaptist' position that Christian Ethics are particular to the Christian community and cannot be forced upon communities and individuals who don't identify with the Christian tradition. They can, however, be the basis for public dialogue about what constitutes the good life for human beings and the appropriate strategies for realising them (and here I possibility part company from Hauerwas). In the light of this in the context of my teaching I do work as a 'caretaker' of the tradition in that I see my role has helping my students to deepen their understanding of the moral dimensions of their own Christian faith. This also relates to my understanding of the role of an educator which is to enable my students to develop their own moral engagement through using resources from the Christian moral tradition to reflect on critical incidents drawn from their own experience. Did I move them from a position of simple dogmaticism towards more compassionate and 'helping' stances? I think so. Is there further for them to go - I know so! But they did make a beginning. If you look at the samples I present I feel that they actually do start from the perspective you suggest in terms of New Testament ideas of love. In the coming Semester I will be teaching business ethics as well as general Christian Ethics which means that I will need to broaden my scope even more. 

I do also attempt to get my students to dialogue with local moral traditions, but again, more needs to be done in this direction.

Warm regards,

Brian


  

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Sunday, 1 February 2015, 10:43 AM
 

Happy New Year to you also Brian. I have just had an email to say your reply is awaiting reply. I had checked the site over Christmas, though not since. Your response makes a lot of sense. I also prefer dialogue to dogma, so long as dialogue is not dogma in disguise, so ends with a shouting match rather than a mature discussion. We differ I guess in that I make no presumption that the Bible contains any ethical wisdom. In may do so, but each example has to be carefully argued. I have lived through an inquisition or two when someone believed that he/she knew the truth. The human condition rather is to live with ambiguity.

When you have a refined text, let me know - do nudge me on s.bigger@worc.ac.uk so I see it quickly.

Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 14 September 2015, 4:47 PM
 

Dear Jackie and Stephen,

After a considerable delay and a good deal of encouragement form Jack I submit a highly revised article. The article now focuses on my use of a Critical Incident Assignment as a means for extending my educational influence through experiential learning. At the heart of my changes is my discovery that my research parallels that of William T Branch (1998, 2005). Branch found that the use of a Critical Incident Assignment with his medical students acted as catalyst for critical reflection upon their basic moral assumptions (Mezirow) which led them to develop a caring orientation in their ethics (Gilligan). This discovery enabled me to revisit my data to find evidence of similar transformative learning with my students. I have also included some video clips from interviews that I conducted with four of my participants. I believe that these show some (limited) evidence that my students are beginning to form their own ethical Living Theories as a result of my influence through the CIA.

The concept of the 'ethics of care' resonates very strongly with my faith perspective as a Christian as it seems to agree with (my understanding of) the moral teaching of Jesus. It seems to me that researching the ethics of care further would be way to deepen my own Living Theory and provide insights and approaches to better extend my educational influence.

Anyway - I do look forward to benefiting from your responses. 

All best,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Friday, 18 September 2015, 12:42 PM
 

Dear Brian - Reading Stephen's and Jackie's responses to your drafts and your re-drafts reinforces my belief in the mutual educational value of the EJOLTS reviewing process. The correspondence gives me hope that we will sustain our conversations and correspondences as all our enquiries evolve and I am looking forward to sharing ideas as you continue to research the ethics of care in the evolution of your own living-theory.

What I'm hoping that you will do is to submit your final draft for publication in EJOLTS after you have just attended to the points raised this week by Jackie in the space for the open reviewing process. I know the last proof-reading isn't easy, especially if you are on your own doing this, so just say if you need me to give your paper a last proof-reading.

When this is done, I'll be very happy to recommend publication in EJOLTS, whilst recognising that this decision is one for the Editorial Board as a whole.

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 19 September 2015, 2:21 PM
 

Dear Jack,

Many thanks, again, for your words of encouragement! The last few days have been busy with preparations for our new academic year so I've not been able to return to my text again. I'm also hoping for some more input from Stephen. However, I will be able to give some time to this next week as I've said in my response to Jackie. 

Jack, I continue to be inspired by your generosity! I was thinking about which of my colleagues I could approach to do the proof reading. I will still see if I can do this, but I would also be very grateful if you could take a further look at the final draft.

With highest affection,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Thursday, 8 October 2015, 3:09 PM
 

Hi, Brian. I commend you for your tenacity and desire to contribute a Living-Theory article to EJOLTS. This article is considerably improved with each iteration. I hesitate to ask for more revisions but I feel that my suggestions might make for an improved rendition.

I suggest the following for your consideration:

Pages 4-10 I think that the sections on Critical Incident Technique (CIT) can be shortened.

Page 13. It might be a consideration that you state that the three samples may not be representative of the student body involved and/or that “these participants” be used instead of “all participants”. “All participants" may lead the reader to think that the number is large whereas I think that it is a small sample. In the same vein on Page 16, I’d suggest that you need to give the number of questionnaires of which you received 40% and on Page 18, again, you might write in the number of participants answering the questionnaires. Throughout this section, it needs to be clear that the number of questionnaires and responses is small.

I commend you for your use of photo, video and including the voices of the students-it lends life, vitality and support for your claims to know to the writing. It would strengthen the connection between the assignment and the video if we could actually hear the words of the student. For example in the first video, P talks about improving his practice but we don’t hear the connection to the Critical Incident Assignment. The same is true of the rest partially because it is difficult to hear the speaker, especially E. Perhaps the script of the some of the dialogue would make that possible.

The following are editing errors:

Page 2 Second sentence, “I” is missing

Page 26 Para 1, than should replace that before “I had hoped”. Para 3 a comma after ‘Assignment’ would make for a full sentence.

 Page 28, Para 2, when it had ‘hit’

In conclusion, I feel that the article can be tightened and that it is very much improved.


Love, Jackie

 

 


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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Wednesday, 16 September 2015, 5:21 PM
 

Hi, Brian. You are to be commended on this new and improved version of your article. It now reflects your influence on yourself, others and social formations, explains your learning in improving your practice and reflects your processes of attempting to live according to your values and to recognize your living contradictions.

I have a few suggestions for improvement. Some visual data such as photos or videos would lend more life to the narratives. I might suggest a couple of paragraphs at the end that share 'what I have learned in the process of teaching this course and in writing this paper' as well as recognition of the assistance that you have received from Jack. A full edit is needed as there are missing references such as living contradiction (Whitehead, 1989) on page 3; conversions should be conversations on page 6; there are missing words or wrong tenses and the urls need to be checked as Tomkins, in the references, does not come up for me. 

Again, well done. Please accept my suggestions in the spirit of loving kindness.

Love, Jackie


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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 19 September 2015, 2:23 PM
 

Dear Jackie,

Many thanks for your encouraging remarks and helpful recommendations! I'm particularly grateful for drawing my attention to typographical errors that need to be corrected which means that I will need to do a very careful slow reading and edit before asking someone else to review it! I'm very happy to add a narrative that relate's Jack's mentoring. 

I have added a little audio-visual material at the end of the article with interviews and a group picture of one of the cohorts involved in this research. As my students conducted their research under the usual academic conditions of anonymity and I used their work on the same basis they did not produce any audio-visual material and ethically I don't feel I can use images that connect them with the examples presented. I have also found that the use of people's images is sensitive in Ghanaian culture so that photographs can only be taken and used with appropriate permissions. But let me see if there is something else that I might add.

Anyway the finishing post is now in sight! So Jackie I'm very grateful indeed for your encouragement and advice! I hope to have a 'clean' version by the end of next week.

Affectionately,

Brian.


Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Sunday, 20 September 2015, 2:14 PM
 

Dear Brian, I've enjoyed very much reading your latest draft. I find inspiring the focus on values and your Table 2 in which you have elicited your students' values. I think that your paper is clear and coherent with a disciplined use of data as evidence in justifying the claims that you make. I have highlighted a few places where you could emphasise that you are generating and sharing your own living-educational-theory. I've also marked a couple of minor typographical suggestions for consistency between Capitals such as Critical Incident Technique and critical incident technique - I've marked these in the text.

I've also suggested that you included a paragraph from your main text into your Abstract because you do offer an evidence-based explanation of your educational influence as a distinct contribution to Living Theory research.

Without pre-empting my colleagues' judgements on the Editorial Board I do think that, with the amendments I've suggested (see what you think), is ready to submit for review to EJOLTS, within the EJOLTS template.

Love Jack.

Picture of Stephen Bigger
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Sunday, 20 September 2015, 9:51 AM
 

See file below, in two parts. I can see great progress as compared to the first submission I saw.  Part 1, I view the article as nearly ready, with notes to eliminate the 'almost'.  In Part 2 I offer a critical discussion (critical in an academic sense) in which I offer a different perspective on the central issues of the paper. This may or may not encourage you to reconsider certain points.

I hope this is helpful. It is intended to be a positive interchange of ideas,  Stephen Bigger

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 21 September 2015, 1:41 PM
 

Dear Stephen,

Many thanks for your suggestions to improve the paper which I will work on. I could possibly drop one or two of the case studies and I'll look at my presentation of data - perhaps moving the bulk of the tables into appendices.

It seems that we do have some profound areas of disagreement, especially on the matter of the sources of ethical values but, with your permission, I'll come back to you on those after I've edited the paper for publication. However, I'll look at adding some notes on the matters you raise.

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Sigrid Gjøtterud - Monday, 28 September 2015, 1:48 PM
 

Dear Brian Jennings,

I have truly appreciated reading your paper, and some of the comments previously given. I am sorry I am late in responding to the paper (I did warn Marie that I would not be able to respond until today so I hope you knew that). From my practice in Tanzanian education contexts, I appreciate the change you have made in your teaching practice moving towards more involving learning processes.

I agree with the comments from Stephen Biggs about the length of the paper and the suggestions for shortening it a bit. I appreciate that you acknowledge the origins of the CIT, yet I find that your study is far from this origin and wonder if it would be possible even to shorten this theoretical frame somewhat.

I come from a Christian tradition myself (in Norway). I find that I am very much in line with the thinking presented by Stephen Biggs in his second half of the comments. It would be an interesting discussion to follow!

I have two main comments; the first is already given by others and concerns some language matters – although most of the text is very readable, there is a need for editing. Especially, I would recommend that you critically read the students’ texts. I do not know if they were originally written in English or if you have translated them. Anyhow, some particularly are in need of editing. And, the reference list is not coherent.

The second comment is a point for you to consider including in your discussion. I think you have shown well how this assignment and your teaching encourages the students critically to analyze the chosen incidents, and how this influences their competency. Certainly, this is important. Yet, I would have liked one more question for the students: Rather than recommending better moral practice for others I would think it would be important for your students to gain competency so that they could promote others’ critical thinking. Is it not? As church leaders, it would be important that they feel confident to help others reflect critically and make their own judgment, find their own standpoint? Is this a point for further developing the course, or is it already there?

Finally, I wonder if your work has influenced your colleagues, your college, in any ways. That might be a point for a future article J

I shall look forward to the last edition.


All the best Sigrid

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 28 September 2015, 11:20 PM
 

Hi Sigrid,

Many thanks for your interest and your comments. I note your comments on the CIT I wandered if I might edit them, and other issues with the text seemed more pressing. This method has evolved and I felt that it was helpful to locate my practice within its wider usage. 

I would also be grateful if you could explain a little more about my reference list not being 'coherent'. Everything cited is referenced and all items referenced are cites. All the items are also pertinent in that they either support or illustrate points I make in the text. I'm puzzled by this and would be grateful if you could explain further.

All of my students write in English as a second language. In line with what I feel to be good practice in qualitative research I present my participants words in their 'own' voices as far as possible. If I were to edit them for my expression and phraseology I feel that they would loose much in their authenticity. 

(As a point of information my institution marks by criteria and poor English would have been reflected in the students' final grade, but this was not pertinent for this research.)

Concerning the points that Stephen raises, and with which you have some sympathy.

I have been spending some time thinking about how to respond to Stephen (and now to yourself).

In discussions of this kind I feel it is very important to establish a platform of understanding before offering any critique, especially if you which your critique to act as a catalyst for change rather that set piece debates.

For this reason I need to explain my approach to the use of the Scriptures. In the Evangelical communities of faith to which I and my students belong the Bible is a key aspect of our identity. The text is both a factor in forming our identity and our point of reference in developing our patterns of moral behaviour. The Bible is one of the source of the community's live and it is constantly reinterpreted to enable to the community of faith to continue its life and journey in new and change situations. What I find exciting is that this process of reinterpretation is actually taking place in my class room and in the student's own assignments. In MacIntyre's words we are doing tradition constituted inquiry!

I find MacIntyre's tradition based model essential here as I have found that is model allows African moral traditions to be presented in their full integrity and also gives a profound understanding of how such traditions develop and how their participants act within them. In particular MacIntyre shows how ethics is a communal rather than a merely individual discourse. This is especially important for understanding African (communal) moral traditions. (Please refer to Jennings, 2010 for more details)

In the light of this I have some suggestions and observations for Stephen and yourself. I feel that trying to understand why and how Christian communities use the Bible as the source of their ethics is much more constructive than a bald assertion that 'you can't use the Bible as a source for ethics'! Well we do you know! To ask us not to use the Bible in this way is to ask us to deny a key part of our Christian identity. It also suggests that you want us to end our moral discourse and begin another one. What discourse do you want us to move to? Why should we do that when the moral conversations we are having relate to our living traditions and identity - including our ongoing interpretations (an re-interpretations) of the Scriptures to meet new situations.

The other thing to note in relation to this is that in African cultures a person's moral behaviour, especially in matters of sexual relationships, is the concern of the whole community. In African thought while the individual has a discrete identity that identity cannot be separated from communal influences and relationships. In African cultural terms relationships between couples is very much a legitimate concern of other community members and not the 'private property' of particular individuals. Healing is to be found in the embrace of the community rather than in lonely isolation.

Now my observations! If the Bible is not to be the source of ethics, then what is? I am curious here to know and to understand your moral traditions. I am particularly interested in understanding how you came to regard the Bible as problematic for ethical discourse. Would it be possible to address these concerns with better hermeneutical practices?

One of the things I have had to struggle with as a cross-cultural educator is cultivating an attitude of curiosity rather than judgement which can then able me to come alongside my students to suggest different options and approaches. I find this approach much more fruitful than confrontational judgement and a superior 'expert' stance. On rare occasions there are horrors that have to be confronted. But these are rare. To take a confrontational expert stance, I have found, only leads to angry debates in which people simply harden their stance. A more dialogical approach build on mutual understanding actually builds authority and influence and can persuade your dialogue partners to change. Can we try this? :-) 


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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 28 September 2015, 11:43 PM
 

Dear Friends,

I have attempted to revise my article in the light of Jacquie and Stephen's comments. I have shortened the paper by dropping two of the case studies and replacing tables with charts which I hope make things both clearer and more concise. As suggested I have given a narrative of Jack's support as part of the conclusion of the paper. I have also added some explanatory footnotes to address some of the concerns that Stephen, and now Sigrid have raised. Hopefully the revised version will also address most of Sigrid's other concerns.

I am most grateful to Jack for completing the proofing of the paper for me, and for the encouragement and mentorship that he has given me on the way.

Friends, I think this is ready but do let me know if there is anything else to do! Thank you for all  your help.

All best,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Thursday, 8 October 2015, 6:02 PM
 

Dear Brian, I have read your renditions with interest and feel that the present version is greatly improved from the first. I think at 12,000 words+ it is very long and although this is not the same problem as in a print copy, you do need to make it briefer. Jackie has made some suggestions. Personally I thought part 1, the first 6,400 words on the title issue is tighter and better answers the question posed, especially after your response to my last comments. It is the second part I have trouble with, the student feedback. I understand why you want their feedback, and it is important to hear the student voice, but it does not contribute that much to the topic under discussion, the critical incidents. Jackie makes a similar point about the videos. By the time I had waded through the charts I had lost sight of the main points you are trying to make. So my suggestion is to focus on the first part and cut most of the second part. This might mean restoring some of the missing case studies since your sample of six is pretty small anyway. I am hoping for a much tighter and briefer paper of about 8000 words which is only on your topic, critical inciidents, and not on everything else. The reader needs to be persuaded that this might be a good method to follow. Look very hard at the wordiness of your writing and get more promptly to the point. Throw out anything that distracts. Hope it doesnt sound too tough, but remember that DHLawrence had to cut The Rainbow by a third, and TS Eliot The Four Quartets. Tighter is better. And lively is good.   Best wishes with it,  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Friday, 9 October 2015, 5:20 PM
 

Dear Jackie and Stephen,

Many thanks for bearing with me and continuing to patiently review my material. Thanks also for giving me a further opportunity to improve my article. This is rather like a prolonged writing workshop!

Let me outline the steps you are recommending that I take so that I can have clear view of the way ahead.

1. Summarise pages 4-10 where I discuss the Critical Assignment Technique (this parallels Sigrid's suggestion)

2. Cut and consolidate the sections on student feedback.

3. Consider re-introducing cut samples of student work.

4. Review (and script) videos - making link with the Critical Incident Assignment more explicit. (By 'scripting' do you mean turning on the relevant feature in YouTube?)

As the Semester has now restarted my writing opportunities are more limited and so I need to come up with a strategy to work in smaller steps. May I suggest the following: 

  1. Step 1: Edit the critical incident section summarising the development of the technique but stressing its use in ethics and ethics education.
  2. Step 2: Pare back discussion of feedback to the minimum but highlight content of Table 2 that Jack felt demonstrates influence. I think that this step will be the most demanding.
  3. Step 3:Review the examples of student work, restoring omitted material.
  4. Step 4: Enhance audio material. Part of this is technical as I was able to enhance the volume on my machine but this seems to have been lost on YouTube - need to discover how to adjust this. I can also add further sections of the interviews that refer directly to the CITs.
How does this plan seem to you both? Would you be willing to consider material as I submit it in stages or do you prefer to work on an entire document?

Interestingly before turning to reply to your posts I was preparing for the next delivery of this course and I am wondering whether to include the new cohort in the research to gather some more samples and interviews. All of my previous cohorts were very small - less than ten students. This class will be a combined third and fourth year group and may be a little larger. I might gather materials to enhance Steps 3 and 4. 

With much appreciation,

Brian


Picture of Jacqueline Delong
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Sunday, 11 October 2015, 4:23 PM
 

Hi, Brian. I like your plan and I commend you for your tenacity. My meaning of scripting the audio is just writing down what the student has said-it may not need to include the entire clip but just the times (and indicate the time where it occurs in the video) when they make the connection to the critical incident assignment. 

I feel that you have left out one of my concerns - that the size of the sample be made clear. I don't feel that adding the work of the new cohort of students is required but that is your decision. 

I would be willing to see the amendments as they are written.


Love, Jackie

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 4:50 PM
 

Hi Brian, Its hard to please two or three masters. I wouldn't involve the next cohort since you could be close to finishing without. It sounds to me looking at all the comments that you have to be tighter and more focused on the question, making each item clear and relevant. There is no conflict between Jack and my comments - we both say use student feedback, - but be focused on the question. I said don't lose the general in all those mass of charts, not all of which are relevant. Hope all this helps - yes, happy to receive things gradually so long as you make clear which bit we should be looking at.  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 14 October 2015, 11:28 AM
 

Dear Brian (Jackie and Stephen), Good to see that you are so close to having your paper published in EJOLTS with ideas and understandings that I'm looking forward to seeing influencing others. I'm also looking forward to a sustained and sustaining conversation as your enquiries and practice move into the future.

Picture of Brian Jennings
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Thursday, 15 October 2015, 5:19 PM
 

Dear Jackie, Stephen and Jack,

Many thanks for your support and encouragement. I attach the latest revisions in which I attempt to summarise section on the Critical Incident Technique. I have highlighted this section in grey. I had  begun to work on revising the student feedback section but the more I review this, the less happy I am with it because of the small sample size in relation to the claims I make. My instinct now is to restore the samples of student work I removed and see if my claims can be supported on the basis of these samples alone with some reference to feedback I believe that the eight points I make at the end of the samples expresses the core of my educational influence.

Do let me know if my summary is adequate.

All best,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Sunday, 25 October 2015, 12:27 PM
 

Hi, Brian. I commend you for your persistence. I believe that this section of the article is much improved.

As to the section on student samples, I think that your sample is small and so be it. My only caution is that you state up front and clearly throughout that you recognize that your claims are based on a small sample and that the reader needs to be fully aware of that. Further, in your next steps, you will continue to look for data to support or deny your claims in this article. Does that make sense?

Let me know how I may be of further assistance. 


Love, Jackie


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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Sunday, 25 October 2015, 3:59 PM
 

Hi Brian, The highlighted bit reads OK. Before that there is potential for trimming - real life is repeated several times in a short space, once is fine. The actual assignments wording from the handbook is redundant I think, you have explained it previously.

I think, as I said before, that the feedback section is a problem overall. With a small sample, all the details of the questions and charts of responses are not a good use of space available. All you need I think is a section on the lines: 'Areas of concern emerging from student feedback', and give us a critical discussion of those issues. These will link in with your account in 13th Oct version of the experiential roots of ethics (love, caring, respect etc) and give an indication of the extent to which students internalised real life ethical solutions. This will help to give the whole a conceptual unity rather than being, as now, a 'this is how I did it' piece.

I hope this helps, with best wishes,  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Friday, 13 November 2015, 6:01 PM
 

Dear Jackie and Stephen,

Many thanks for your patience. In the current version I have restored two of the critical incident accounts that I cut and I have collapsed the relevant aspects of the student feedback into the sections on 'further reflections on student work' and 'on extending my influence'. Most of of my findings were based on observations on student work. The survey merely confirmed what I had already established from samples. Let me know if this works. As before, I've highlighted changes in grey. My next step is to review the video interviews.

Very best,

Brian

Picture of Jacqueline Delong
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jacqueline Delong - Saturday, 21 November 2015, 4:54 PM
 

Hi, Brian. I admire your persistence. I think that the two incidents are sufficient to make the point and there could be some trimming to make them more concise. The same can be said for the the student feedback and survey. You should note that there are now some areas for checking for editing errors.

I am looking forward to seeing the edited versions of the videos. Where they are difficult to understand, I think a script of the conversation would make them come alive. You might also consider cropping them to the most important parts of the conversation.

Let me know how I can help.


Love, Jackie

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Tuesday, 24 November 2015, 5:31 PM
 

I have been through it, Brian and attached detailed comments. I am wondering here how to sum it up. First to commend you that this is a topic close to your heart. Second, you show that working from real experiences can enhance learning. However, I am concerned that 4/5 choose unplanned pregnancy as a great offence against church order and holiness. The moral turpitude to me seems to be the abuse of power by the authorities. In Biblical theological terms, God gives or withholds new life as He sees fit. This seems to be an unhealthy obsession. Not your fault, but I wonder if in future courses little fictional case studies of matters such as abuse of power, financial ethics, the ethics of poverty etc etc might broaden their horizons before they choose their topic. This need not upset your current timescale, just broaden your comments about next steps. There is more to morality and ethics than sex. Judgements about sex are a symptom of other moral maladies. 

Hope this helps,  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 30 November 2015, 8:04 PM
 

Dear Jackie and Stephen,

Many thanks for your comments which I will do my best to address.

I will revert to the three examples that I had in the last version and make further editorial adjustments. I think my basic technical challenge is how to enhance the video materials. 

Stephen, I am still reflecting on your concerns and comments. I would offer the following observations. Firstly, my primary concern was for students begin make moral judgements based on the 'weightier' matters of the law rather than mere legalism I do feel that there is evidence of this. If I had attempted to impose what might students would have considered a too 'liberal' view of ethics they would have remained entrenched in their simplistic legalistic moral paradigms. The result would have been conflict rather than learning and change. Secondly, this is a strongly communal culture which means that all actions are evaluated in the light of family and communal relationships and consequences. The concerns of one are the concerns of all. Ethics within African contexts operates within a communal rather than individualist framework. An individualistic framework would be strongly contested!  May I suggest you look at the work of the Roman Catholic Congolese scholar Benezet Bujo which is excellent on this point. Thirdly, it is an important point of practice to me to work with the incidents that the students present rather than impose my European priorities. These were issues that were important to them I was attempting to adopt more of a 'Socratic' role to help them gain a wider moral vision. If it's any consolation the current cohort have selected a broader range of issues: Corruption, leadership, church finance, loyalty in the workplace, and yes there are also of sexual ethics: contraception, forgiveness of pre-marital sexual conduct, and providing a place of refuge for an abused young woman.

I will see how I can engage with the points that you raise.

All best,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Pip Bruce Ferguson - Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 12:45 PM
 

Dear all and especially Brian

I am coming to this as a 'late-appointed reviewer' and it has taken me some time reading through the feedback and responses before addressing the final iteration Brian posted in November. I can see it has been a robust but healthy discussion and I commend all concerned for their desire for improvement and clarity.

As is my usual practice, I attach a track-changed version (including a good number of editing issues, to help Jack and Marie when this gets published). I am also not used to references that contain authors' first names and in two cases have highlighted references where 'and' is inserted between THREE lots of authors. Several references are not cited in the text.

But okay, the substantive stuff. I have less concern than other reviewers about the 'Christian' nature of the ethics. Brian, you make clear early on that the ethics you are discussing are embedded in a Christian context, and hence may not be equally applicable to other, or no, religious contexts. You also seem to be striving to help them broaden their understanding of ethics beyond 'rules' to see the wider 'mercy over justice' aspect of Christian ethics, as Christ demonstrated. But what I DO have an issue with is one of your case studies where it seems to me that your overall analysis begs a few questions. This is in the case of 'Mabel's pregnancy' where your respondent overtly states that she is supposed to be promoting the availability of abortion services in a Health situation, despite having very strongly expressed views on the wrongness of abortion. This aspect of her ethical exploration is overlooked in your later analysis. Talk about her being a living contradiction - this is a classic case, but she resolves it by finding a way for the woman to have the baby, not by making it clear whether or not she has let her Health 'employer' (I know it's a limited part of what she does as a police officer) know she has such a strong conflict of interest. You call her a person of 'integrity' and that she has engaged in 'transformative learning' but for me, this aspect of her practice is potentially (she doesn't give indepth information) unethical. You may be able to explain this.

Secondly, Jackie and Stephen have alerted you to the small size of your sample, and you have made this clear in the current iteration. However I had issues about your choice of five from a possible ten responses, and whether there is bias inherent in what you are claiming? Did you just pick the ones that back your contention that you've had a positive influence on their development? What did the responses say that you have chosen NOT to include? At very least, you should indicate why you chose some and not others, and a potential bias. Sorry Brian, this sounds a bit confrontational - but it's the sort of question I would ask of any of my research students. Much can be covered with a few explanatory sentences!

Thirdly, I was searching in the middle part of the text, where you're presenting the case studies and videos, for evidence that YOU as well as THEY were growing and changing. You'll see my plaintive queries about this in the track changes - but then, right at the end, there it was! Great stuff - and I've suggested that you alert the reader at the start that this is what you'll be doing. Otherwise it reads in that section a bit as though 'they all changed and improved' and you, the author of the paper, are 'left out'. But you covered that in the end bit.

I agree with Jackie's last comment, that you see about including some transcript material from the videos (putting subtitles in would be well outside my technical skills, but I could see that a spot of transcribing might help!) Also, as Jackie suggests, perhaps truncate some of it...you make claims at the end of the videos that may well be correct, but the respondents have accents that my ear is not good at picking up, and so it's hard to determine if your claims are correct.

Brian, thanks for letting me chip in at the final stage. Despite the issues I have raised above, these are pretty easily addressed I think, without much extra work.

Warm regards

Pip



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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 3:22 PM
 

Dear Pip,

Many thanks for taking the time to review the latest version of my paper and for your comments and encouragement. I'm rather embarrassed about the references as I pick up my students on just these issues! The samples were chosen on the basis of permission (not all who returned questionnaires also gave permission for their work to be used for research purposes) and on engagement with issues in their experience. I will review this in the light of your comments. 

I will look more closely at 'Mabel's pregnancy' and weigh you comments as it is such a contested area. There are also issues here in the manner in which policy on a sensitive matter may have been introduced 'from the top' and enforced through the command structure without much discussion. I may discuss this again with my participant.

Jackie felt that two or three examples would suffice.  What is your feeling on this?

I won't have a chance to look seriously at this again until the Christmas break so I'll come back with more detail them.

All best,

Brian

Picture of Pip Bruce Ferguson
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Pip Bruce Ferguson - Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 1:57 PM
 

Hi again Brian

Good question - in October Jackie said, "As to the section on student samples, I think that your sample is small and so be it." 

I don't think the paper is too long with the number of case studies you have included, and my inclination would be to leave them in. The reason for this, as I indicated in critiquing the Mabel one, is that you make claims about educational influence based on these, and I think you need a sufficiently diverse number of cases to enable readers to see if your claims are valid.

Thank you, too, for explaining why some had not been 'selected'. You may have stated the permission bit and I overlooked it, in which case apologies; however it may need reinforcing if so, as it raises questions in the reader if overlooked.

I don't know that you need to discuss further with your respondent. I think one makes judgements about growth in ethics, on the basis of what is submitted. The police officer had obviously reflected on the quandary in which she found herself. She just hadn't (in this excerpt) gone further and scrutinised her own behaviour in holding to a personal position at variance with what an organisation wanted her to promote, and the ethical implications of THAT bit. Perhaps a way around it would merely be to point this out as a possible area for future research, rather than bother her again. She may well have made her position plain to the organisation alongside finding the 'creative alternative' she specifies. To me, lacking any other information, I'd add it as a 'codicil' to your claim that all had achieved 'transformational learning' and behaved with integrity. She may well have done so. But you can't tell for sure.

Hope this helps - and that you have a happy and relaxing Christmas.

Warm regards

Pip

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Saturday, 2 April 2016, 10:05 PM
 
Dear Pip and Stephen, Thank you both for your continuing support. Since the new year I have been inundated with work commitments that have prevented me from working on the article. In order to transcribe the interviews I need several days to transcribe and analyse. Would the paper work without the interviews. If so then I can probably get something ready for the May deadline. All best, Brian
Picture of Pip Bruce Ferguson
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Pip Bruce Ferguson - Saturday, 9 April 2016, 8:51 PM
 

Dear Brian, 

I have just gone back and looked at this again, and I could suggest a possible way forward, if Stephen thinks this might be workable.

Given the accent issues which seem to have created difficulties for at least Jackie and me, perhaps you could move the video interviews to an appendix, indicating that despite this accent issue you believe they add weight to your claims about not only developing your own living educational theory, but are helping your students to do likewise. Then folk who may have keener ears than I, and who can discern the truth of that claim, could watch and listen, and thus enrich their understanding of the claim, without the communication problem hindering those of us who struggled with it.

You do also, I think, need to carefully consider some of the other suggestions that reviewers have advanced to strengthen the paper (but not, as I suggested in an earlier post, go back and approach your students again - just explain that in some cases such as Mabel's, you have insufficient information to comment substantively on whether she perceived other ways of resolving the ethical dilemma she found herself in). 

Does that sound a workable way forward? Stephen, would you agree with this suggestion?

Warm regards

Pip

Picture of Stephen Bigger
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Sunday, 17 April 2016, 11:50 AM
 

Dear Brian and Pip, In this comment I am trying to get back to bare bones. Living Theory is as much (or more) about what and how you the author have developed deep learning based on a set of action cycles. This may have taken place in community (i.e. with your students) if the main issues are fully discussed with them through a community of equals (i.e. by stepping out of the teacher/assessor power status). Your paper needs to demonstrate that you have done this, and to me it has not yet done so clearly.

Other points. I don't think your ethical incidents are really ethical incidents. They are doctrinal incidents which are weighted towards sexuality. Doctrine and ethics do not necessarily go hand in hand. Also the term 'critical incident' is ambiguous. In medicine, a situation is critical if life is accidentally threatened necessitating a change of practice. It is the medical practitioner who is scrutinized. In your 'theological incidents', the practice of the theological managers (pastors etc) should be under scrutiny, not their targets. Critical theory is a formal method of applying such scrutiny to those holding power. I can see how such a scrutiny can feed off an understanding of ethics, and how your work with students could develop your and their ethical awareness (using the term ethics precisely and not conflating it with doctrine). This all said, I don't think your journey is yet over. On another matter, the video interviews probably do not add to this agenda I have articulated.

Picture of Brian Jennings
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Thursday, 21 April 2016, 9:09 PM
 

Dear Stephen, 

Stephen while you presented me with just a skeleton it was one of the heaviest collection of bones that I have encountered! Rather than post my detailed response I include it as a separate document. Stephen, may I plead with you to consider my responses (attached below) and this draft of the paper (above) with an 'ethics of care' and measured consideration before you reach your final conclusion. 

All best,

Brian

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Monday, 25 April 2016, 11:52 AM
 

Dear Brian,

My role as reviewer is to deal with your text and not your PhD. It is a blind review in the sense I try not to be influenced by other reviewers. There is a review panel which will come to a majority verdict. For this journal the review is not behind closed doors but in the form of more open non-anonymous discussion. That means I have read the various drafts of your article five or so times.   You make various responses, I will try to deal with them. My point on ethical incidents really being doctrinal incidents is that your extensive literature survey is of theologians whose main purpose is to expound and explicate doctrine. This is in no way an open-ended ethical discourse. Doctrine presents a line to be toed, which ends up with guidance for acceptable behaviour (expressed in doctrinal terms). So to me what you call ethical incidents are really doctrinal or theological incidents. Doctrinal discussions of behaviour inform morality but not ethics - morality implies commonly accepted modes of behaviour, even if in ethical terms the morality is horrendous. IS/ISIS/Daessh has for example set an abominable religious morality. Christian morality over the ages is more doctrinaire than ethical. Recent debates about homosexuality and abortion are cases in point. Ethics presumes a non-doctrinaire examination of issues to do with human behaviour and relationships on their own grounds. Of course there are philosophical and ideological paradigms at work, but at its simplest these relationships are characterised by respect for others. I would expect an ethical analysis to deal with human rights, ecology, racism and anti-racism, gender issues, disability rights and I dare-say we could extend that list. That was the living theory I hoped you might embrace.

Since all that is wrapped into critical theory (which has nothing to do with modernity or post-modernity, even if some post-moderns have embraced it), and hence my comments on that. A reviewer does not write the article for you of course, and if you choose to ignore points raised you need to justify yourself. The review team, not just me, makes the final decision.

I hope we remain friends. I am just doing my (unpaid!) job.  Stephen

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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 25 April 2016, 5:19 PM
 
Stephen, Many thanks for your response which is, as ever, thought provoking!  

  1. A technical point. My review on the critical incident approach cites management, medical educators, and educational theorists. I do not cite any theologians in this section. 
  2. The essence of my living theory is that through an engagement with the moral context of my students I have created a dialogue in which I have moved away from imposing my (colonial) moral agenda to an appreciation of the moral traditions in the context. The value of the critical incident theory is that it creates a reflective space for students to reflect on their moral traditions rather than react dogmatically to the incidents they encounter. This exercise has led them to move away from harsh judgements in the direction of compassion and this I think is important. 
  3. Your position seems to be that no religious, and so no theological ethics is possible as religion and ethics are to be kept distinct. In fact ethics should critique religion? If you mean the latter we are not far apart, but my criterion for morality is a religious figure and there we do, I think, disagree.
I trust we remain friends, and I'll stand you a pint when we meet.
Picture of Pip Bruce Ferguson
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Pip Bruce Ferguson - Wednesday, 27 April 2016, 1:07 PM
 


Dear Brian

I have read the latest iteration with great interest, and also the robust and healthy discussion between you and Stephen. I have no concerns about the way you are using Critical Incident technique as I've been exposed to that form of usage as a counsellor. We were encouraged to bring a specific situation that perplexed or puzzled us to supervision, and to discuss how we handled (and might better have handled) that situation, with a skilled supervisor. I think that is what you are advocating in your practice.

 

I think you have clearly demonstrated how you're developing your living-educational-theory work. You are honest about your previous didactic approach to teaching, and your emerging awareness that in a Ghanaian context you need to consider a more fluid approach that allows for the development of Christian ethical practice within a Ghanaian society. You claim to have influenced the development of your students in this regard, moving from a fairly hard-line 'justice and purity' take on the issues of morality that they selected, and more towards ones of inclusion and restoration. I think you provide evidence of this. I have done considerable work myself in the cross-cultural field; hence I particularly appreciate the footnote where you indicate that your work has been used by a Ghanaian scholar. This counts for a lot in indigenous contexts.

 

You justify the ethics usage and literature you include in the paper, and I think your interpretation is fair enough. I think you clearly show that both you and your students are growing each other's understandings of Christian ethics in an African context, and I find the final version of your paper publishable. It's definitely of scholarly quality and you have worked very hard, I believe, to respond fairly to reviewer feedback. You follow the usual 'what is my concern? what did I do about it?' and evaluate the work, indicating a clear intention to continue transforming practice.

 

The final decision on reviewer recommendations is obviously up to the Editorial Board, but I would recommend publication.

Warm regards

Pip

 



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Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Friday, 29 April 2016, 4:57 PM
 

Dear Pip,

Many thanks for your affirming comments. I find the Living Theory approach to AR an inspiring approach for professional development that I would like to offer to my students and colleagues for their development. In order to do this I needed to make this journey myself. Your remarks indicate that I've made some progress in this goal, thanks you all of my reviewers, but I'm all aware that its a continuing journey and I need to identify and engage with new concerns.

With good wishes,

Brian

Picture of Stephen Bigger
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Thursday, 5 May 2016, 9:56 AM
 

Hi Brian, I respond in reverse order. 3. Ethics should critique religion. Glad we are close on that one. I see morality as a creation of culture and doctrine, and as distinct from ethics. Ethics is reasoned, morality is an expression of guiding texts and doctrines. In an ideal world  morality would be ethical, but alas our world is not ideal. 2. I fully agree in this postcolonial ambition. If the students are beginning to move their thinking from doctrine to ethics, that is a big plus. Finally 1, I agree that your critical incidents discussion was non-theological. The point I was making is that medical critical incidents (or aeronautical and other contexts where it is used) analyse whole processes including guidance, training, assumptions, attitudes, power relationships to reach a decision about how best to make sure the crisis is avoided. This could strengthen the way you set critical incidents up with the students next time.

I think what you have to do is relax with all of these points, internalise what is useful, and then write your final draft. Best not to be too hurried about this.   Stephen 

Picture of Brian Jennings
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Thursday, 21 April 2016, 9:07 PM
 

Dear Pip,

Many thanks for your encouragement. I have made changes following your commendations. I have also attempted to address some of Stephen's concerns in the text. I will respond to him separately below. The changes are in red.

I trust, that one way or another, we are coming to a conclusion!

All best,

Brian

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Monday, 2 May 2016, 9:52 AM
 

Dear Brian (and all),  I have enjoyed very much reading your latest draft and do think that it meets the EJOLTS criteria for publication. You have produced an evidence based answer to your question,  'How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?' in creating your living-educational-theory. I particularly like the way you have engaged with the ideas of others and integrated insights into your own enquiry. I also learnt much about how to show sensitivity to cultural difference in avoiding colonial impositions. Whilst the evolution of your writings was not part of my response to my recommendation to publish, I do want to say how impressed I have been with your openness to the reviewer's responses and the dialogical quality of your responses. I know that these are consistent with your values and additional evidence that you continue to live your values as fully as possible. It may not be possible in this paper to add at the end an extract from your dialogues with Pip and Stephen, but these could serve to show the educational value of the EJOLTS open reviewing process.

Love Jack.

 


Picture of Brian Jennings
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Monday, 2 May 2016, 2:28 PM
 

Dear Jack (and all),

Many thanks indeed for your comments. There is no doubt that the (extensive) review process has also been an important, sometimes very hard, learning process. Reviewer questions and comments have spurred me to reflect on and reframe my interpretation of both my own practice and the learning of my students. In my case the review process itself promoted sometimes quite challenging 'deep learning'! The final paper, I believe has much greater rigour and richness than the first. This is due to the hard work and patience of all my reviewers.

Do enjoy the 'Workers' Holiday!

With friendship and affection,

Brian

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 4:03 PM
 

Dear Brian, I have been very impressed with the educational dialogues in the review process. I'm wondering if you could just add a note at the end of your paper with a reference to the review process that includes your following response to Stephen, in your paper 'Putting Flesh on the Bones: A response to Stephen Bigger'.  Your response helped me to clarify my own understanding of a relationship between Critical Theory and Living Theory research.

Stephen - Critical theory is a formal method of applying such scrutiny to those holding power. I can see how such a scrutiny can feed off an understanding of ethics, and how your work with students could develop your and their ethical awareness (using the term ethics precisely and not conflating it with doctrine). This all said, I don't think your journey is yet over.

Brian - Critical Theory does not form part of my methodology and it is different from critical reflection. My issue with this approach is that is just is what it is: critical and theory. Its great contribution is that it does analyze how concepts and social roles reflect patterns of oppressive power sadly, it does not seem to have creative power to develop concepts and roles that do empower people. Critical theory forms part of a long and distinguished skeptical tradition in European thought that is suspicious of any claim to truth. This is great for demolition but awful for construction! Once the ground is cleared everyone is afraid to put anything (or even to stand!) for fear of being accused of some form of oppression! Critical theory remains at the theoretical level and does not support the development of new practice.

Moreover, Critical Theory generally critiques context from the outside – often from a privileged position of ‘neutrality’. If used this approach I would be acting in contradiction with my concern to journey into the context and dialogue with those inside the cultural context. Use of critical theory in my context would only serve to alienate those I wish to dialogue with and create the impression that I was seeking to critique contextual practice by a methodology generated by the European tradition. In doing this I would then be open to the (justified) charge that I’m using critical theory as a means of power myself.

Far better approaches are Appreciative Inquiry that seek to build on ‘what is best’ in the context and Ghaye’s model of reflective practice that incorporates a great deal of appreciative thought as well as promoting critical reflection. Interestingly when I adopt these, and similar, approaches participants object that I’m not giving sufficient weight to Divine Wrath!

I also have an interesting Critical Incident with Critical Theory. I once had a change of supervisors that took me out of the School of Mission where I had registered. One wanted me to abandon Virtue Ethics completely and rather use Critical Theory as my methodology. I could see no way to engage with my context using this approach – especially as post-modern approaches make little sense in contexts that have not passed through ‘modernity’ – something the late Kwame Bediako considered be a uniquely European phenomenon! I was ready to throw in the towel but friends encouraged me to make a petition directly to the Head of the Theology Department on the basis of work that had already been approved by supervisors from within the department. This proved to be excellent advice as I was assigned to two outstanding supervisors Sigvard von Sicard and Jabal Buaben who supported me in the successful completion of my PhD, which to the publication of my book Leading Virtue under the sponsorship of Professor Werner Ustorf, who was one of my Examiners, and then to Elorm-Donkor’s excellent research. Adopting critical theory would have in no way contributed to the construction of such an affirmative narrative. Nor, would the current paper exist. Critical theory did not, could not build this practice.

Stephen, may I humbly suggest that you consider constructive and practical alternatives to critical theory! Perhaps when I visit the UK next and we are no longer reviewer and reviewee we can discuss this over some jars in a nice pub somewhere – mine will be a pint of Old English Cider! ;-)


Love Jack.

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Jack Whitehead - Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 4:03 PM
 

Dear Brian, I have been very impressed with the educational dialogues in the review process. I'm wondering if you could just add a note at the end of your paper with a reference to the review process that includes your following response to Stephen, in your paper 'Putting Flesh on the Bones: A response to Stephen Bigger'.  Your response helped me to clarify my own understanding of a relationship between Critical Theory and Living Theory research.

Stephen - Critical theory is a formal method of applying such scrutiny to those holding power. I can see how such a scrutiny can feed off an understanding of ethics, and how your work with students could develop your and their ethical awareness (using the term ethics precisely and not conflating it with doctrine). This all said, I don't think your journey is yet over.

Brian - Critical Theory does not form part of my methodology and it is different from critical reflection. My issue with this approach is that is just is what it is: critical and theory. Its great contribution is that it does analyze how concepts and social roles reflect patterns of oppressive power sadly, it does not seem to have creative power to develop concepts and roles that do empower people. Critical theory forms part of a long and distinguished skeptical tradition in European thought that is suspicious of any claim to truth. This is great for demolition but awful for construction! Once the ground is cleared everyone is afraid to put anything (or even to stand!) for fear of being accused of some form of oppression! Critical theory remains at the theoretical level and does not support the development of new practice.

Moreover, Critical Theory generally critiques context from the outside – often from a privileged position of ‘neutrality’. If used this approach I would be acting in contradiction with my concern to journey into the context and dialogue with those inside the cultural context. Use of critical theory in my context would only serve to alienate those I wish to dialogue with and create the impression that I was seeking to critique contextual practice by a methodology generated by the European tradition. In doing this I would then be open to the (justified) charge that I’m using critical theory as a means of power myself.

Far better approaches are Appreciative Inquiry that seek to build on ‘what is best’ in the context and Ghaye’s model of reflective practice that incorporates a great deal of appreciative thought as well as promoting critical reflection. Interestingly when I adopt these, and similar, approaches participants object that I’m not giving sufficient weight to Divine Wrath!

I also have an interesting Critical Incident with Critical Theory. I once had a change of supervisors that took me out of the School of Mission where I had registered. One wanted me to abandon Virtue Ethics completely and rather use Critical Theory as my methodology. I could see no way to engage with my context using this approach – especially as post-modern approaches make little sense in contexts that have not passed through ‘modernity’ – something the late Kwame Bediako considered be a uniquely European phenomenon! I was ready to throw in the towel but friends encouraged me to make a petition directly to the Head of the Theology Department on the basis of work that had already been approved by supervisors from within the department. This proved to be excellent advice as I was assigned to two outstanding supervisors Sigvard von Sicard and Jabal Buaben who supported me in the successful completion of my PhD, which to the publication of my book Leading Virtue under the sponsorship of Professor Werner Ustorf, who was one of my Examiners, and then to Elorm-Donkor’s excellent research. Adopting critical theory would have in no way contributed to the construction of such an affirmative narrative. Nor, would the current paper exist. Critical theory did not, could not build this practice.

Stephen, may I humbly suggest that you consider constructive and practical alternatives to critical theory! Perhaps when I visit the UK next and we are no longer reviewer and reviewee we can discuss this over some jars in a nice pub somewhere – mine will be a pint of Old English Cider! ;-)


Love Jack.

Picture of Stephen Bigger
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Stephen Bigger - Thursday, 5 May 2016, 9:32 AM
 

It is useful to gather together various comments into this blog. There are two more of relevance.

Brian: 

Dear Stephen and Marie,

I do agree that that the EJOLTS review process is educational. This has certainly been my experience, especially as a result of Stephen's 'fearless speech'! We had a fairly passionate exchange about issues that we both care about deeply. Some of our statements are rather 'raw' and, at least for my part, I would rather refine some of my comments for publication which would then change their character. After considering this, and noting Stephen's comments, I do feel that our dialogue belongs to a particular context and draws its richness from that context.
I am also limited by time constrainsts with a busy time before I travel that limits the amount of rewriting I can do. What I think might be most appropriate is either to leave the text as it is or to add footnotes to indicate where I am responding to my reviewers.
And Stephen thank you for all your comments that have provoked me to reevaluate and rethink!

Appreciatively,
Brian

Stephen: Dear Brian, When interviewing people for PhD I always said, I hope you have a good reason for wanting to do it, because it is a long and painful process. The same goes for writing articles. I have on occasions been very irritated by the games reviewers play, one even demanding I cite three of his papers. I have been led to rethink on other occasions, far beyond what reviewers asked for. I hope that theEJOLTS process stimulated thought and reflection, the aim being that the paper is as good as it can be. I think I am just wanting to say that taking the time is well worth it. Gestation time, they call it.Time after which the final text will reveal itself. If 'before I travel' is getting in the way, leave it till afterwards. Sleep on it. Think on it in the plane. Chat to friends about it. Even Harry Potter was rejected 52 times. Good luck,  Stephen.

Picture of Pip Bruce Ferguson
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Pip Bruce Ferguson - Thursday, 5 May 2016, 6:30 PM
 

Dear all

In my previous post I explained my understanding of critical incidents and it seems to me, reading the dialogue to date, that this is no longer an issue.

I think Stephen's and Jack's suggestions re incorporation of some reflections on the process are sound; in my own paper published last June I incorporated some reviewer feedback that I felt had grown my understanding.

Other than that, I have no new comments to make. I look forward to your final submission Brian.

Warm regards

Pip

Picture of Brian Jennings
Re: ‘Ethical Incidents’: How Have I Extended My Educational Influence Through the Introduction of a ‘Critical Incident’ Assignment in My Introductory Christian Ethics Course?
by Brian Jennings - Tuesday, 17 May 2016, 11:32 PM
 

Dear Stephen, Pip, and Jack.

Please find the version for publication attached. Many thanks to everyone for all your help and encouragement.

All best,

Brian.