Published papers

A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts

 
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A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Sunday, 24 April 2016, 3:54 PM
 


This is my reflective journey in education field. It shares a story about my conflicts between my values v/s education system. How I recognized that problem and deal with it in creative ways is the discussion point.

Picture of Jacqueline Delong
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Jacqueline Delong - Thursday, 28 April 2016, 10:18 PM
 

Hi, Neema. I thoroughly enjoyed your article. Your research is engaging and communicates your journey very clearly. Those are lucky children to have a teacher-researcher (now Principal) like you! It is very important that your knowledge be shared with others. Thanks for sharing.

The suggestions I am making are intended to strengthen the work and I hope that you understand that:

p. 15. date of email is missing; something is missing in the brackets

p. 19. urls are not live but work if I cut and paste them. They need some kind of explanation as I can't understand the language (I wish I did). I would also suggest that there be still images for each video.

p. 23. same problem with urls

p. 26 date of email

p. 27 check that page numbers are still accurate after edit; I think that a sentence to explain your purpose for the following reflections would help the reader

p. 28 please write SSA in full. I know the definitions are at the end but they need to be in the article

p. 29 we need the date of the email and to whom it is written

p. 29, 30, 31 could the photos be inserted into the reflections on the particular camps or else given some captions?

p. 36-37 I'm not sure about this but I think that the appendices could be included in the article.

references-please check for accurate and consistent format

I have made an edit of the paper as attached which I suggest we work from as I have made some minor changes in typos, spacing, missing articles. I hope that is OK with you. Do not hesitate to contact me if I can help in the next revision.

Love, Jackie

Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Sunday, 1 May 2016, 5:58 PM
 

sorry for late reply, here in India we have summer vacation from 30th April and exam results day so I was extremely busy in that admin work.


first of all thank you very much for appreciation. 

I will correct and fill all missing part. thank you for spacing corrections.I will try to write some explanations or give subtitles to URL-videos

will come back to you soon with all changes. would love to have your help.thank you for offer.

with lots of love and happiness.

Neema 

Picture of Brian Williamson
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Brian Williamson - Saturday, 7 May 2016, 8:54 PM
 

Hi Neema,

Thank you for the opportunity to review your very honest and inspiring journey in learning. I see clearly how the children, your email reflections, discovering the Living Educational Theory approach, and meeting Swaroop has given you energy to use to help others and to learn yourself.

I think there is a great sense of moving forwards in your paper!

My notes on your text:

1.       The patch working crafts your account and seems to be a key and effective feature of your methodology and this could perhaps be mentioned in the abstract.

2.       Your use of language is inventive and free, for example, the phrase ‘value tension’ (page 6).

3.       There is evidence that you are critically engaging with the thinking of others.

4.       I sense that your values have evolved, but also that some, for example, equality will always be there for you. My question is; can you say which values have altered as you moved forwards through your journey in learning, and can you say which ones you think will never alter?

5.       Watching the videos made your classes very real for me; but the links to the videos are given in two blocks of three and seem almost separated from the analysis. Your reflection focuses on the emails, but perhaps more use could be made of the videos if you embedded reference to them in the text. Are there particular videoed events or interactions that you could refer to in your narrative? How would this record of practice compare with your values at that time?

6.       Page 1 first sentence of paragraph 4, could this become ‘I have illustrated my journey using my e-mail correspondences with a friend, and with Swaroop Rawal [who I call my guru], enhanced by photographic and video material’?

7.       Could appendices 1 and 2 be included in the text to keep up a smooth flow for the reader? The reason I ask is that neither are large blocks of text.

8.       I have found small proof-reading issues that could easily be addressed in a later iteration of the paper. For example, Copyright statement, 216 should read 2016; Page 1 line 10: should ‘mentors’ read ‘mentor’;

Brian

 



Picture of Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes - Friday, 29 April 2016, 2:38 PM
 

Hi Neema

I appreciate the opportunity to review your paper, and have found your journey through the years engaging and strongly grounded in your personal values. Using a narrative form in this way enables me to walk alongside you as you extract your developing meaning from your experiences, and I encourage you to consider how over the next phase of your life you might continue to re-write the narrative in ways that are similarly reflective and insightful. Reinekke Lengelle (2014), talks of writing a first story, and then a second, encouraging us to work with and through our experiences, noticing how our ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ shifts as we develop our selves through these narratives.

As a way of framing a few questions that I hope will enable you to explore a little further, I’d like to share this quote from the work of David Whyte (2001: Crossing the Unknown Sea), an author who has applied the use of narrative to transformation programmes in large corporate environments in Europe and the US:    

 

“...energy in our work is not granted freely to human beings but must be adventured and discovered, cultivated and earned. It is the result of application, dedication, an indispensable sense of humour, and above all a never-ending courageous conversation with ourselves, those with whom we work, and those whom we serve.”

  

And so my questions are these:

·         When you describe yourself as a change maker and rebel, what is the source of your confidence and energy that you are ‘right’?

·         How will you engage others in challenging this system that you believe is ‘wrong’ and ensure that you are in fact influencing the ‘bigger system’ for good?

·         I hear the voices of the children you teach, and your own of course, very clearly in your paper, but I wonder if there is also a way you might give me a sense of how the voice of the ‘system’ sounds when it’s challenged?

·         Maybe you have hopes for these children, that they will have sufficient resilience and confidence to express their own voices in rebellion at some point; is that also part of the ‘unending story’?   

 

These may not be questions you have considered yet, and so not appropriate to include them in this paper, but as that is a decision in itself, I would like to hear a little about how you might be making that decision.

I hope i have explained my responses in a helpful way, and look forward to the dialogue.  

With best wishes

Jacqui


Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Sunday, 1 May 2016, 5:51 PM
 

sorry for late reply, here in India we have summer vacation from 30th April and exam results day so I was extremely busy in that admin work. 

:) thank you very much

Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes 

I really loved your questions.

I will come back to you soon with answers because they are really very helpful and will decide my next turn in journey.

with love and many thanks 


lots of happiness to you 

Neema 

Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Tuesday, 10 May 2016, 5:41 PM
 

 Hello Jacky,

Thanks for your comments I have carried out the changes in the paper.

Hello Jacqui

Thanks for your questions; they made me introspect and gain clarity. I have answered yours and Brian’s questions tighter as some are quite similar.

Hello Brian,

 It is great to have you as my third reviewer. I am glad you liked my paper. I have worked on your suggestion please have look and suggest if anything left to make my paper more perfect .

 

Jacqui : When you describe yourself as a change maker and rebel, what is the source of your confidence and energy that you are ‘right’?

Neema: Jacqui it is very difficult to say exactly what’ is the source of my confidence’. I now after years of introspection, reflections and discussions with likeminded people like for example Swaroop, feel many of the values that I believe in were implicit within me.  I grew up in Gujarat the state of Gandhiji’s birth. In Gujarat we are brought up with stories from his life and his work. Values like honesty, truth love for all people were ingrained in me.

This brings me to Brian’s 4th question

 B: I sense that your values have evolved, but also that some, for example, equality will always be there for you. My question is; can you say which values have altered as you moved forwards through your journey in learning, and can you say which ones you think will never alter?

Neema: Yes many of my values have evolved, grown and enhanced over the time. Like for example the value of democracy and democratic principles. I believe it is easy to say we believe in democracy but when we have to follow it in real lived situations it is difficult, especially in our diverse country. Because I believed in democracy and saw the principles being violated..and I also saw myself in contradiction …following which I saw Swaroop really carrying her values of democracy forward in difficult circumstances …that my values became strong. I did not learn the value from her, I learnt it from stories of Gandhiji. But Gandhiji is a person from History and that to a Great soul…it may have been possible for him, however when I saw an ‘ordinary’ teacher like Swaroop following her values I realized it is possible for me too.

My mother too is a great source of inspiration. We have a humble background and our finical situation is not too great, but I have seen my mother share and gift to people more needy than us. Every year on her birthday she distributes sweetmeats in my school.

Concerning alteration of values… for example when I started working with this community thought that I am helping them, I am suffering or sacrifice my dreams just to help them. I thought I could make their life better by changing their values, but  the more I spent valuable time with them I realize-who am I to help them? How can I help them? I can just teach them skills to see their values. I can only help empower them to follow their chosen values .I had a sense of superiority but that has changed now we are learning together from each other at the same time without hierarchy.

So it may not be alteration but it could be refining my understanding of the value of equality…

Values like love I was too scared to follow, I thought people would laugh at me but when I saw Swaroop hugging and loving my students I realized what I believed in was true.

Value of equality, trust, love, humanity and truth will never alter, they becomes stronger and stronger day by day

J:  How will you engage others in challenging this system that you believe is ‘wrong’ and ensure that you are in fact influencing the ‘bigger system’ for good?

N:I have already taken huge steps in trying to challenging the system I believe I can only do it by carrying out good teaching learning practices in-field. One example is the 2 ½ lakh teacher training carried out with SSA. I will continue to share my innovative practices with new teachers. Moreover as I am now the Principal of a school I can influence my staff. These are the first few steps I have taken.

See pages-25 to 30  Excerpt from email communication from me to Swaroop, 23.3.2015 cc. To a friend

J:  I hear the voices of the children you teach, and your own of course, very clearly in your paper, but I wonder if there is also a way you might give me a sense of how the voice of the ‘system’ sounds when it’s challenged?

N: This question brings smile on my face because when one teacher starts rebelling in one small village school, the System doesn’t botherit ignores her. Well  I don’t fight - I work silently and firmly. Its call “satyagrah” The term "satyagraha" was coined and developed by Mahatma Gandhi “Satyagraha”  loosely translated as "insistence on truth"- satya (truth); agraha (insistence) It is a particular philosophy and practice within the broader overall category generally known as nonviolent resistance . What was unique in Gandhji’s method was his uncompromising commitment to  nonviolence of any kind

 So, instead of wasting my energy in opposing them and proving them wrong I worked hard and I proved myself right with proper results. When, I come up with solid result, empowered and knowledgable children they have to accept it.  They (read SSA) allowed us by  giving us a chance to train 2.5 lakh teachers. J

I face some problems with my colleague from my school and cluster. When I travelled to learn DIE and LSTD they kept taunting me saying that this is waste of time. It won’t work or bring change. DIE and LSTD are totally foreign method, villagers won’t learn from it and like it. In short they tried to demoralize me. Pull me down; make fun of drama and my practice. From system few people suggest me don’t stick at one method or person. Once a parent came to inquire why the class was outside all the time or doing drama or playing games? But when I explained the whole idea and showed the results, he was happy and proud that his kid was in safe, knowledgeable hands.

J: Maybe you have hopes for these children, that they will have sufficient resilience and confidence to express their own voices in rebellion at some point; is that also part of the ‘unending story’?   

N: I would say my only aim for education and for my work is - A child should be a good human being, who creates a harmonious world around him/her. He/She should be capable and confident enough to stand for truth and justice even if he is alone. I don’t want them to be rebellion unnecessarily. I just want them to be a better Indians and give them enough capacity to live their life happily with dignity.

B: 1.       The patch working crafts your account and seems to be a key and effective feature of your methodology and this could perhaps be mentioned in the abstract.

N: Added in the 1st para.

A living theory methodology for improving practice and generating knowledge asks questions of the kind ‘How do I improve what I am doing?’  This paper is a patchwork text; it explains how I enhanced my practice and gained clarity in my practice drawing on the Living Educational Theory approach. It concerns a personal journey I took and is the explanation of the educational influences on my learning and teaching: how I recognised my values and the inconsistencies between my values and my practice. It shows how I negated the contradictions and started living and practising my values in real life.

 

B: 5.  Watching the videos made your classes very real for me; but the links to the videos are given in two blocks of three and seem almost separated from the analysis. Your reflection focuses on the emails, but perhaps more use could be made of the videos if you embedded reference to them in the text. Are there particular videoed events or interactions that you could refer to in your narrative? How would this record of practice compare with your values at that time?

N:  These videos are to give a glimpse of my class room practice to reader. In first set I had just started practicing DIE and LSTD. In second set I wish to show how my students and I improved our learning together and creatively with the tool of DiE. The videos are just a data I had to share. I have explained some ideas of teaching through drama experiences in writing so this videos are here just as an example.

6.   Page 1 first sentence of paragraph 4, could this become ‘I have illustrated my journey using my e-mail correspondences with a friend, and with Swaroop Rawal [who I call my guru], enhanced by photographic and video material’?

N: Yes thank you very much J change is accepted and corrections done in paper

7.   Could appendices 1 and 2 be included in the text to keep up a smooth flow for the reader? The reason I ask is that neither are large blocks of text.

N: They were a part of the text however during the review process I was suggested that I should   put them in the appendix…so I won’t mind to putting them back into the text.

8. I have found small proof-reading issues that could easily be addressed in a later iteration of the paper. For example, Copyright statement, 216 should read 2016; Page 1 line 10: should ‘mentors’ read ‘mentor’;

N: Changed

 

I hope I have answered the questions to your satisfaction.

Thank you with love and respect

Neema


Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Wednesday, 18 May 2016, 2:15 PM
 

Dear Jacqui, Jacky and Brian,

In my previous reply I tried to answer all your questions; however, I guess I did not communicate the reply effectively. I hope in this reply I am clearer. Most of the questions asked by you are already in the paper so I am pointing them to you and have highlighted them for your convenience. The answers that were not already there I have incorporated into the paper and these are written in red so you can find them easily.

Jacqui wrote-These may not be questions you have considered yet, and so not appropriate to include them in this paper, but as that is a decision in itself, I would like to hear a little about how you might be making that decision.

There are answers to a questions or two which I believe are not …I would not say they are inappropriate ….but they are not suitable for this article. I say this because I believe there is just so much I can write in one article without taking the focus away. For example details about fighting the system would be another paper altogether, or lengthy details about my students’ voices would take away the focus from my journey. On page 2 I say … ‘In this paper I illustrate how I fell in love with my work and how the hate I experienced for my profession transformed into passion.’ This clearly explains the content and focus of the paper.

 That is the reason I have mentioned and talked about the problems in the educational system in India and my students but not in complete details.

So I will start with Jacqui’s questions:

When you describe yourself as a change maker and rebel, what is the source of your confidence and energy that you are ‘right’?

On page 2 I have written…people around me thought I am crazy to follow and contended I should not pursue a strange path. They suggested I should tag along the milieu around me and continue working in an environment in which I was trapped. I merely ignored them and followed my intuition and now I am here. 

When I started off I followed my intuition I was not sure about being right or wrong, however, when I met Swaroop she exposed me to a lot of thinkers and I began to realize the values that were ingrained in me are right. Swaroop also explained the living educational theory, and I began to check my values, what they meant to me and whether I was true to them or not.

See page 25 onwards

However, I have re-written it on pg 6 to make myself my beginning clearer.

How will you engage others in challenging this system that you believe is ‘wrong’ and ensure that you are in fact influencing the ‘bigger system’ for good?

Read pg 9 towards the end

For example all these are ways I challenged the system:

My classroom will be my experimental laboratory.

My classroom will be my educational world; no matter what transpires in the outside world.

In my class I will fight the failings I have noticed in system and in the teachers

I will give full freedom to the class, to speak, to express, to play, to questioning, to think.

I will try to bridge a gap between me and my students in the sense of social and class structure so that I can get the sense where they come from   

I will not complain about the system; if there is something wrong I will ignore it.

I will not be influenced or disturbed by irresponsible teachers. I will not let them demoralise me. I will not say a word but I will try to influence other teachers by my actions.

see page 20:When I say that  ‘I experience a concern when my values are negated in practice’....it is not only about my teaching style but about the style ingrained into us by the system. 

And on pg 12 ...

Anyways I have stopped taking my lunch with them during class hours. Though I am alone I take a break at the designated time only. They tried to convince me, but I was firm and so after 15 days they have started imitating me. That is because they noticed the change in my students. If the news spreads in village, they may get into trouble. I feel like a huge success.

I believe “by being the change I wished to see ..” I changed the teachers’ behaviours and that was a subtle way of challenging people.

Also on pg 11-12 when I say ....

When I was teaching them Science I realised that they knew more about plants than I did as they live close to nature. So I used their elementary knowledge of plants and introduce them to the scientific names and species, started explaining the medicinal values, where and when to grow each plant. I enlightened them about the proper scientific uses of the plants and taught them how plants breathe, how they make food and the role of sun, soil and water in the plant’s life cycle.

I was challenging the system which encourages rote-learning.

See page 12: Excerpt from email communication to friend 7.7.2006

I also believe I was bringing change in the system by co-creating better Science text books. On page 14

See pg 28-32 (highlighted)

I hear the voices of the children you teach, and your own of course, very clearly in your paper, but I wonder if there is also a way you might give me a sense of how the voice of the ‘system’ sounds when it’s challenged?

I have written a bit like on Pg 12….. Now the rest of teachers are worried and feel I will never be able to complete my syllabus.

However, I have not written how the system sounds when it is challenged seeing that if I incorporated all the views and opinions the length of the article would be unmanageable. 

However, I believe the system did begin to have faith in a new style of teaching when we were assigned to carry out the massive 2.5 lakh teachers’ training in 2015 in drama in education-DIE and life skills education through drama-LSTD see pg 28.  Please bear in mind SSA is the system and so is GCERT.


Maybe you have hopes for these children, that they will have sufficient resilience and confidence to express their own voices in rebellion at some point; is that also part of the ‘unending story’?   

Yes, I do agree all my hopes for my children are important but I believe I am communicating my journey, my change and my transformation. I have written about what I wish for the children in various parts in the paper, like when I write about the injustice done to the children, when I talk about oppressing the oppressed, when I rebel against rote- learning and so on.

 Jacky:

p. 15. date of email is missing; something is missing in the brackets

added 

p. 19. urls are not live but work if I cut and paste them. They need some kind of explanation as I can't understand the language (I wish I did). I would also suggest that there be still images for each video.

done

p. 23. same problem with urls

done

p. 26 date of email

done

p. 27 check that page numbers are still accurate after edit; I think that a sentence to explain your purpose for the following reflections would help the reader

done…will do final check when the article is accepted.

p. 28 please write SSA in full. I know the definitions are at the end but they need to be in the article

done

p. 29 we need the date of the email and to whom it is written

done

p. 29, 30, 31 could the photos be inserted into the reflections on the particular camps or else given some captions?

done

p. 36-37 I'm not sure about this but I think that the appendices could be included in the article.

Added 


Brian:

The patch working crafts your account and seems to be a key and effective feature of your methodology and this could perhaps be mentioned in the abstract.

This paper is a patchwork text; it explains how I enhanced my practice and gained clarity in my practice drawing on the Living Educational Theory approach

2.   Your use of language is inventive and free, for example, the phrase ‘value tension’ (page 6).

3.   There is evidence that you are critically engaging with the thinking of others.

4.   I sense that your values have evolved, but also that some, for example, equality will always be there for you. My question is; can you say which values have altered as you moved forwards through your journey in learning, and can you say which ones you think will never alter?

See page 25---till end

Also see answer to Jacqui’s questions 1 and 2


Watching the videos made your classes very real for me; but the links to the videos are given in two blocks of three and seem almost separated from the analysis. Your reflection focuses on the emails, but perhaps more use could be made of the videos if you embedded reference to them in the text. Are there particular videoed events or interactions that you could refer to in your narrative? How would this record of practice compare with your values at that time?

These videos are to give a glimpse of my class room practice to reader. In first set I had just started practicing DIE and LSTD. In second set I wish to show how my students and I improved our learning together and creatively with the tool of DiE. The videos are just a data I had to share. I have explained some ideas of teaching through drama experiences in writing so these videos are here just as visual aid.

Page 1 first sentence of paragraph 4, could this become ‘I have illustrated my journey using my e-mail correspondences with a friend, and with Swaroop Rawal [who I call my guru], enhanced by photographic and video material’?

No, Brian I would rather keep the original as I have began the Introduction 

This paper illustrates the journey…..

And para 3 ends

.....To illustrate my journey in learning and transformation I have used email correspondences to my friend and mentor and replies from them, photographs, a story and videos and, most importantly, my reflections on the emails.    

Could appendices 1 and 2 be included in the text to keep up a smooth flow for the reader? The reason I ask is that neither are large blocks of text.

included

8.       I have found small proof-reading issues that could easily be addressed in a later iteration of the paper. For example, Copyright statement, 216 should read 2016; Page 1 line 10: should ‘mentors’ read ‘mentor’;

Corrected.


Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Wednesday, 18 May 2016, 2:08 PM
 

Dear Jacky, Jacqui and Brian,


I am posting 2 attachments:

1. is the corrected article and 

2. is the reply to all your questions. I am sending it as an attachment as it is lengthy.

 

with love,

Neema


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Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Wednesday, 18 May 2016, 2:19 PM
 

I have Internet problems here.  So I post the corrected paper again.  In any case u can't find it in last post. 

Sorry for inconvenience. 

Love

Neema 

Picture of Jacqueline Delong
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Jacqueline Delong - Wednesday, 18 May 2016, 10:28 PM
 

Hi, Neema. I am so sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. I do so admire your commitment to address the concerns of the reviewers. I feel so fortunate to have read and enjoyed your work and to have seen it strengthen. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.


Love, Jackie

Picture of Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Jacqueline Scholes-Rhodes - Thursday, 19 May 2016, 3:07 PM
 

Dear Neema

You have shown us how much you are driven by the integrity of your values, and your willingness to continuously learn through every dialogue. I have appreciated your detailed responses to my own questions and respect the grace with which you have carefully addressed each of them. I am now very pleased to recommend your paper for publication. Your work now is to pay attention to your health! Best wishes, Jacqui   

Picture of Brian Williamson
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Brian Williamson - Friday, 20 May 2016, 12:16 PM
 

Dear Neema

You have answered well all the points I raised, so I am very pleased to recommend your paper for publication.

Thank you for the great clarification and detailed response you have given. I have enjoyed your paper very much!

All my best wishes

Love

Brian


Picture of Neema Parekh
Re: A Journey in learning-My reflective accounts
by Neema Parekh - Saturday, 21 May 2016, 10:02 AM
 

Hello,

Dear Jacqui, Jacky and Brian,

Of course Moira,Pip,Marie and Swaroop 

Its a great news that you all like my paper and satisfied with my answers.

Thank you very much for sharing your experienced views and questioning my work that helped me to strengthen my paper and make it more beautiful.Happily Thanks Jacqui - specially your Idea to keep picture with video links made my article more attractive.

I am sorry for taking long time for correction and late reply due to my health but now this happy news will  heal me speedy :)

Special hearty thanks to Moira,Marie and Swaroop for their patience and lovely support.  You people have dealt with my account's technical problems, Standard English language problem and health issues very calmly.

This was my extra ordinary experience in my learning journey. I realized how difficult it is to describe your learning journey, value conflicts and exact feelings in few words. It gave me a new glittered  spectacle to see my journey.

sorry  for all inconvenience and delay work. 

Feeling gratitude for all inspirations and lovely support

Love 

Neema