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Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity

Picture of Julian Manuel
Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity
by Julian Manuel - Tuesday, 3 April 2018, 8:56 PM

Hello! I hope you find my paper an interesting read. I welcome any comments or criticisms you can offer me that will help me improve my work.

Picture of Moira Laidlaw
Re: Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity
by Moira Laidlaw - Friday, 6 April 2018, 6:05 AM

Hello, Julian.

Hello, Julian. I am delighted to be one of your reviewers for your paper. This is particularly the case, as half of my own career in education has been with students (albeit in schools) as we worked together to find ways of improving the quality of education together. I am now working with the Open University in Distance Learning modules for the M.Sc. in develop management. I am also trying to reduce the gap between my espoused living values and those I actually bring into the educational processes (Living Contradiction), so I read your paper with real interest and pleasure.

I think it has the makings of a fine article for EJOLTS. However, there are a few things that would need to happen before I could recommend it for publication. I make these comments in the hope that they are constructive, rather than critical. This paper is potentially - in my opinion - very powerful, but I don't think the power of it is coming through sufficiently as it stands at the moment.

I am aware that this isn't my paper! The suggestions below are mine, and may not suit you. However, because there is some slippage between what you say you're doing in the paper and what is coming across (see script for details) the suggestions below may help in solving those problems. My suggestions are to do with the clarity of what you're presenting to us as readers. I want to know more about the development of these living values. At the moment I leave the paper without that sense of cohesion.

1) I think you need to let the reader know what you are meaning by your living values of respect, integrity and creativity at the outset. See notes on the text about that.

2) I think there are too many examples given (and all written in bulky, long paragraphs as well which are difficult to read). I wonder if you might write the paper in a different way. If you explained at the beginning what you are meaning by each of the three values you're bringing to the paper, then you might write a practical example for each one, in which you illustrate for the reader the living value in process over time. Thus you would end up with three examples rather than eight, and have the space to explain their significance to the developing of your values in more detail. I believe this would add cogency and comprehensibility for the reader. As they stand at the moment the examples seem to be implicit about the values rather than explicit, and the number of them is daunting. You need to prune them so that their communicability is enhanced.

3) Linked to the above is the brevity of the conclusion, which, to my mind, doesn't  draw the threads together sufficiently. If you want to explain your living values and offer examples, then a conclusion would perhaps be better served by a statement about where you are now as a result of your research, and where you want to go from here.

You will see from the script that I have annotated it a lot. I hope the suggestions are useful.

I realise I am suggesting a lot of work for this paper, but that's genuinely because I think it could be much more powerful than it currently is. I have loved reading it, but I felt throughout, I needed greater clarity. I also believe the work you've done on the paper so far shows that it deserves that greater clarity as well.

I hope you find the comments here and on the script useful, Julian. I would be very interested in hearing from you about anything I've written about it.

All the best,


Picture of Julian Manuel
Re: Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity
by Julian Manuel - Monday, 9 April 2018, 7:30 PM

Moira, thank you very much for taking the time to review my paper. I have spent days trying to find a way to contact you - seems this is the only way! I am presently rewriting, mindful of your comments and acting upon your sage advice. Very best wishes, J.

Picture of Caitriona McDonagh
Re: Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity
by Caitriona McDonagh - Friday, 6 April 2018, 10:06 PM

Dear Julian,

            I am delighted that you have offered your story of “Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity in a post-compulsory educational setting” for publication. In Ireland, I have worked as a teacher alongside colleagues in a role similar to yours. Your paper made me realise that I have rarely questioned how my living values were evident to such colleagues. I also loved how you have thought so thoroughly about the implications of the politics of teaching.

            Your abstract grabbed me immediately. I have made a structural comment on it (see attached) which I think may indicate how you might begin to enhance this paper for publication. Your readers would benefit if the finished paper could walk them through your process of how you developed your living theory, which you should explicitly state in your abstract. Readers need to understand your value-based explanation of your educational influence in your own learning, the learning of others and the learning of the social formations in your work. I sense that you are well aware of these ideas and your challenge is to clarify this in your writing.

            In the abstract you have stated your question, a description of your context and why your question is important. You name your values. You say that, you will describe your actions and reflections on your actions. All good so far. Your paper has a style that draws your reader in. It is comprehensible to anyone interested in extending their knowledge. We now need to let your writing show the transformational possibilities of Living Theory research

            In your paper I would like to read more about your claim i.e what you learned. I also need to read how you arrived at a living theory. For this, your readers needs clear signposts such as where is (or what is) the data that demonstrates your claim. To move from a claim to a living theory will require writing about how you validated your findings (or claim) against the living standards of judgement which you have mentioned as “social criteria of comprehensibility, truthfulness, sincerity and appropriateness, in accordance with Habermas (1987)”.

            There is one other area that I would like you to consider for your next draft. As I read your paper I am confused as to why you expect other colleagues (policy makers) to demonstrate your values in their actions towards you. Your paper is about “how can I improve my practice?”, “how I worked to negate the contradictions I recognised in every-day practice”. This will go beyond demonstrating “how my values are, on occasion, challenged, contradicted, or acknowledged and respected”. In your abstract you talk of validity and ethics, I wold like to read more about these in your paper. I am attaching a copy of your paper with some comments which I hope will be of use.

I love your ideas and the story of your research. I really experienced the frustrations you felt as you wrote about your challenging situations. My comments are mainly about you might convey your living theory to a wider international audience.  Please get back to me if you need further clarification.

            Thanks again for this paper. I have been both laughing and in tears as I read it. I am really looking forward to your next draft.

Best wishes


Picture of Julian Manuel
Re: Applying my living values of respect, integrity and creativity
by Julian Manuel - Monday, 9 April 2018, 7:33 PM

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my paper, and for your comments. Apologies for the lateness - I have been trying to find a way to contact you. Seems this is the only way available. Best wishes, J.