Published papers

Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice

 
Picture of Alex Sinclair
Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 29 June 2009, 11:04 AM
 

I am looking forward to engaging with others about my work.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Margaret Farren
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Margaret Farren - Tuesday, 30 June 2009, 10:44 PM
 

Hi Alex,

Thanks for submitting your paper and setting up the Moodle forum for the review process. I am in Kenya this week and will respond to you paper next week.  Look forward to reading it.

Best Regards,

Margaret

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Jack Whitehead - Saturday, 11 July 2009, 6:23 PM
 
Dear Alex - I've just enjoyed reading your paper and watching the 9:54 minute video extract of the peer validation group with critical friends. I've included my comments in the text of the paper. There's a minor omission of an important reference to the QAA. Another small point is that you could embed an image from your YouTube clip into the text.

What I'm hoping that you will do is to give some attention to strengthening the use of evidence in justifying your assertions/explanations. I liked very much the point you make about knowledge-transfer and knowledge-creation in the last minute of the video-clip. You say that this awareness only became explicit as you were developing your presentation for the validation group. I think that this was a most aspect of your professional learning and could be highlighted in the text.

As a focus of your paper is on the development of independent learning through a virtual learning environment it would be possible to include images from the VLE together with some evidence of the independent learning of your students. Again you mention this evidence in the video as you justify your claim that your students have engaged in some independent learning.

I think you are showing how the embodied knowledge of an educator can be made public. The use of visual narrative is becoming increasingly significant in educational research and I think you will find useful the latest issue (107) of Research Intelligence with a brief paper by Marie Huxtable on 'How do we contribute to an educational knowledge base? A response to Whitehead and a challenge to BERJ' . Research Intelligence is a publication of the British Educational Research Journal.

I'm hoping that you will work on a further draft in this review process so that your paper can be published in EJOLTS.

Warm regards,

Jack.
Margaret Farren
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Margaret Farren - Wednesday, 15 July 2009, 5:22 PM
 

Dear Alex,

The paper is well written. The focus of the research is on how you can encourage independent enquiry amongst your students through the use of a virtual learning environment (VLE). 

In the Summary section you say, I have developed from a commitment to propositional knowledge (p. 1). It would help if you provided the reader with an example lesson or activity to show how you worked as a secondary school science teacher i.e. what you mean when you say that you have developed from a commitment to propositional knowledge.

You refer to the GCSE as a conveyor-belt system (p. 4) - is there any reference within the GCSE syllabus about the need to foster independent learning?  Why are you so committed to the idea of independent learning?  Why do you think this can be promoted through the use of a virtual learning environment?  It would help if you placed your research in the context of current literature on independent learning and the use of a virtual learning environment with student teachers.

On p. 5 you refer to a 'community of practice'. Is your idea of a community of practice similar to Etienne Wenger's concept of a community of practice?

On p. 8 you refer to the 10-week course. You will need to help the reader by providing them with some background context.  Who were the students?  How many students were on the course?  What year group?

On page 9 you refer to the following data: log book, postings, discussion forums, e-mails, student course evaluation sheets, and previous modules for the Masters study programme. You have included some of this data in Appendix 1 and 2; however, it is still in the form of data.

As EJOLTS is an international journal it is important to explain terms e.g. GCSE, BA ITE.

Overall

The focus of your research is on how you can encourage independent enquiry through the use of a virtual learning environment.  You will now need to return to the data and integrate it in a meaningful way in order to provide evidence of independent learning through the use of a virtual learning environment. I hope that you can take time to work on a further draft of this paper.

Best Regards,

Margaret

 

 

 

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 27 July 2009, 7:45 PM
 

Dear Margaret,

Thank you for your recent comments regarding my submission to EJOLTS. I have attached a revised version of my paper which have, hopefully, addressed the points that you have made.

In response to your comments I have;

a) provided a context for the way in which I feel I used to teach.

b) While there has almost always been reference to independent learning within the National Curriculum, it is the fact that classes are driven by exams that this is often not seen. I hope that I have already articulated why I am so committed toindependent learning on p6 and throughout the rest of the article with regards to my values.  I have integrated further,current research regarding VLEs and how they can encourage independent learning and communities of knowledge throughout the text and not just in one specific area.

c) Yes, it is about Wegner's community of practice that  I refer to, although I have modified this somewhat to include Lave and Wegner's ideas about community of knowledge (and referenced it)

d) p8 states the context of the research with regards participants

e) I have used my data to create further evidence and have included this in the significance of my findings, along with further evidence of my own learning in relation to work with critical friends.

f) I have explained all national terms.

I have also taken on board the comments from my other reviewer and have made adustments in line with these - I have posted responses to these separately

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Friday, 31 July 2009, 6:04 PM
 

Dear Margaret and Jack,

I am really sorry, but would ask that you ignore my last posting and treat the attached as my final submission of my paper.

I have been trying to get to grips further with your ideas that I have not demonstrated evidence of my students' independent learning. Following discussions with critical friends I feel that I probably have but did not highlight specifically what I was looking for. I hope I have stengthed this area by articulating this prior to introducing the main findings. I have also developed the reasons for my interest in this area and why I believe the skills of independent learning for lifelong learning are imperative.

On top of this I have tidied up the URLs, links to video clips, and figures in-line with the submission guidelines.

I apologise if this extra posting causes any confusion or extra work and look forward to hearing  from you soon.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 27 July 2009, 8:01 PM
 

Dear Jack,

Thank you for making comments on my paper. I attach a copy of my latest submission and hope that I have been able to make some of the changes that you suggest. This submission also incoroporates changes following suggestions made by Margaret Farren (responses to her comments have been made on a separate posting). 

I have;

a) sorted out the missing reference and embedded a screen shot of the YouTube video

b) I hope that the evidence has been strengthened by my pointing to specific times within the video and then explaining these ideas further. Thank you for that suggestion - it makes a lot of sense. 

c) I have not been able to include images from the VLE. I build each VLE specific to the group I am teaching and when they graduate the module is, unfortunately, deleted.

d) I hope that I have strengthened the evidence of working with critical friends and how this has influenced my learning and in turn how I have made this learning explicit

e) I believe I have developed the section; 'potential significance of my findings', with further detail of what my data has shown me.

Your thoughts are welcomed,

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Friday, 31 July 2009, 6:02 PM
 

Dear Jack and Margaret,

I am really sorry, but would ask that you ignore my last posting and treat the attached as my final submission of my paper.

I have been trying to get to grips further with your ideas that I have not demonstrated evidence of my students' independent learning. Following discussions with critical friends I feel that I probably have but did not highlight specifically what I was looking for. I hope I have stengthed this area by articulating this prior to introducing the main findings. I have also developed the reasons for my interest in this area and why I believe the skills of independent learning for lifelong learning are imperative.

On top of this I have tidied up the URLs, links to video clips, and figures in-line with the submission guidelines.

I apologise if this extra posting causes any confusion or extra work and look forward to hearing  from you soon.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Jack Whitehead - Friday, 7 August 2009, 4:33 PM
 
Hi Alex - I've enjoyed reading your redrafted paper and because of its potential significance as a contribution to a new epistemology I'm hoping that you will be prepared to consider the following point about the inclusion of evidence of your student's independent learning within an explanation of your educational influence in your student's learning.

As far as I understand any epistemology of educational knowledge we must be able to share an understanding of the standards of judgment that can be used to evaluate the validity of the claims to knowledge.

If you go to http://www.actionresearch.net/bera09/mhberadr040809.pdf

you should be able to download Marie Huxtable's draft contribution
to the BERA keynote symposium on the 3rd September on Explication a new epistemology for educational knowledge with educational responsibility. In the section on:

"An explanation of my educational influence in my own learning the learning of others and the learning of the social formations within the complex ecology I live and work in." Marie presents evidence in her explanation of her educational influence with the kind of disciplined attention to data, that I've got in mind when I'm looking for evidence of our student's independent learning within an explanation of your influence.

I'd very much like to see your paper published in EJOLTS and all it needs for me to recommend it for publication is the inclusion of evidence of your influence within an explanation that enables a reader to comprehend the significance of your epistemology.

There are six recent contributions to the BERA newsletter Research Intelligence on epistemology that you might find useful in highlighting the significance of your paper:

Adler-Collins, J.P. (2008) Creating New Forms Of Living Educational Theories Through Collaborative Educational Research From Eastern And Western Contexts: A response to Jack Whitehead. Research Intelligence 104, 17-18.

Bruce-Ferguson, P. (2008) Increasing Inclusion in Educational Research: Reflections from New Zealand. Research Intelligence, 102, 24-25

Huxtable, M. (2009) How do we contribute to an educational knowledge base? A response to Whitehead and a challenge to BERJ. Research Intelligence, 107, 25-26.

Laidlaw, M. (2008) Increasing Inclusion in Educational Research: A Response to Pip Bruce-Ferguson and Jack Whitehead. Research Intelligence, 104, 16-17.

Whitehead, J. (2008) Increasing Inclusion In Educational Research: A Response To Pip Bruce Ferguson. Research Intelligence, 103, 16-17.

Whitehead, J. (2008) An Epistemological Transformation in what counts as Educational Knowledge: Responses to Laidlaw and Adler-Collins. Research Intelligence, 105, 28-29.

You can access these from the publications section of the BERA website at:

http://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/category/publications/ri/

I know how frustrating it can be to respond to a reviewer who asks for some additional work. I'm just hoping that you find my responses helpful in strengthening the contribution of your paper to this vital field of enquiry.

Warm regards,
Jack.
Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 10 August 2009, 3:50 PM
 

Hi Jack,

Yes, you are right it does get frustrating when a reviewer asks for additional work! However, both yours and Magaret's questions and comments have in-turn pushed me into gaining a better understanding of my work - so my thanks.

I attach the most recent (and hopefully final!) version of my work and hope that you feel that you can now recommed it for publication.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

 

Margaret Farren
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Margaret Farren - Tuesday, 18 August 2009, 1:58 PM
 
Hi Alex,

I have read through your revised paper and the additional teaching material and references are helpful. In my initial review I suggested that you return to the data and integrate it in a meaningful way into the article. In the article you say that you kept a log book to generate evidence in relation to developments in you own learning – it would be useful to integrate further extracts from the log book in order to show the developments in your own learning. In the section ‘How did I generate evidence from the data’ you say, “So that I could generate evidence from this data I looked for evidence where I believed the VLE had encouraged independent learning. In particular I looked for areas where I felt students had been self-motivated, planned their own learning and had show the abilities to be reflective and self-evaluate.” You will need to provide evidence to show how your use of the VLE developed these skills of independent learning and how this relates to your claims to knowledge as outlined in the Abstract - My original claim to knowledge is that I have come to understand how a VLE can help students develop the skills of independent enquiry and how discussion forums play an important part in this.

I hope these comments are helpful.

Best Regards,
Margaret


Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 24 August 2009, 12:53 PM
 

Hi Margaret,

Thanks once again for having a look at my work.

With regards to "providing evidence to show how your use of the VLE developed these skills of independent learning," I feel I have hit an impassse. I have been through the main findings section and noted where I feel I have provided evidence for this.

As stated in the article, I was looking for areas where students were self-motivated, planning their own learning, reflective and self-evaluative;

p15 Para 1- comments on how 2/3s of the students thought the VLe had encouraged them to work independently

p15 para 2 - points out that some of the students were evaluating the sessions but did not contribute to the online discussions (lurkers)

p15 para 3 - students comment how they have used the VLE to plan their own learning outside of session times

p16 para 1 - pointing out how a student has used the discussion forum to evaluate their own learning

p16 para 2 - evidence of an increase in dialogue and self-motivation to contribute when discussing the students' work

p16 para 2 - examples of how students have reflected on their own learning through using the discussion forum - eg waddling in puddles like ducks

p18 para 14 - quote taken from discussion forum showing how the student has evaluated their own learning.

Would it be possible to tell me if these don't fit the criteria of evidence, are there not enough examples?

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Jack Whitehead - Friday, 28 August 2009, 5:03 PM
 
Dear Alex - I would like very much to see your paper published in EJOLTS because of the importance of the focus of your enquiry. The only point that I think needs addressing in the paper before I could recommend it for publication is the evidence in your claims about your influence with a VLE in students' learning:

"My research has been to do with how I encourage independent enquiry amongst my students with a particular focus on how I can develop this through a virtual learning environment (VLE). My original claim to knowledge is that I have come to understand how a VLE can help students develop the skills of independent enquiry and how discussion forums play an important part in this."

I'm wondering if you could help me to check that I haven't missed something in my reading of your paper about the evidence that you are presenting about your understanding of how a VLE can influence students in developing the skills of independent enquiry with the help of discussion forums.

What I was looking for in your paper was data on student independent enquiry that showed that they had learnt something and that this learning could be shown to have been influenced by a VLE with discussion forums.

I make a distinction between students' perceptions of what they have learnt or their feelings about what they have learnt and evidence of what they have learnt and and an evidence-based explanation about why they have learnt it.

What I might have missed is the evidence that shows that a student has learnt a skill of independent enquiry with a valid explanation to show that a VLE with a discussion forum has influenced the learning of this skill. Do please point me to the evidence in your paper, if you feel that I have failed to see it.

Warm regards,
Jack.


Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Friday, 18 September 2009, 2:51 PM
 

Dear all,

Here is the latest version of my account. I hope that I have explicated the evidence in more detail. I deliberately do not do this in the heading 'how did I generate evidence from the data', but leave the explanations until 'main findings'.

Please also note that I have come to realise that my claim to knowledge is how I have provided a context and opportunity for the students to explore the skills of independent enquiry. I think this is different to stating  that I have explicitly helped develop these skills, which I feel was not the aim of the work . I hope this makes sense and puts a different point of focus to the work.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Jack Whitehead - Thursday, 22 October 2009, 3:50 PM
 
Dear Alex,

I have read your redraft of the 17th September 09 in relation to your point that:

“I have come to realise that my claim to knowledge is how I have provided a context and opportunity for the students to explore the skills of independent enquiry. I think this is different to stating that I have explicitly helped develop these skills, which I feel was not the aim of the work . I hope this makes sense and puts a different point of focus to the work.”
This does put a different point of focus to the work. So much so that the title of “working towards an epistemology of symbiotic practice” doesn’t seem to represent this new focus. As you say your focus is on your claim to know how you have provided a context and opportunity for the students to explore the skills of independent enquiry. I’d definitely change your title to reflect this claim.

For the paper to focus on an epistemology of symbiotic practice I think you would need to make explicit your understanding of an epistemology – mine would include making explicit the logic(s), standards of judgment and units of appraisal of a claim to knowledge. You would need to make explicit your meanings of symbiotic practice and then to show how the paper was making a contribution to an epistemology of symbiotic practice.

My strong feeling is that your paper is an exploration of:
“How do I provide a context and opportunity for the students to explore the skills of independent enquiry to generate my own living educational theory?”

Love Jack.
Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Wednesday, 28 October 2009, 9:11 PM
 

Dear Jack,

Thank you once again for reviewing my paper.

To save putting you through reading my paper umpteen times again (and me having to continually re-write) I plan to make one last submission before withdrawing the paper. For this reason I hope you do not mind me asking a few questions to ensure that my interpretations of your comments are correct and that the rest of the paper is suitable.

1. If I was to use the title you suggested;  “How do I provide a context and opportunity for the students to explore the skills of independent enquiry to generate my own living educational theory?” are you happy that I have explicated the evidence in enough detail to answer this question? 

2. From what you have read would you say, while not developing an epistemology of symbiotic practice, that my practice is symbiotic in nature ie I am making my learning explicit alongside those of my students, and that I have explained this in enough detail (mainly in the paragraph on p2 underneath the picture)? Or would you suggest that this is something that I should omit?

3. What are the time scales for the next edition of E-jolts?

4. And the all-encompassing question; is there anything else you feel needs further clarification?

Thank you in advance,

Warm Regards,

ALEX

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Wednesday, 25 November 2009, 7:26 PM
 

Hi Guys,

Here is the latest version. I have renamed the paper and changed the focus to 'developing a symbiotic practice' rather than to 'developing an epistemology of symbiotic practice'

Kind Regards,  ALEX

Picture of Jack Whitehead
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Jack Whitehead - Sunday, 13 December 2009, 11:31 PM
 

Dear Alex – I’ve enjoyed reading your redrafted paper and would like to recommend it for publication.

I’ve just two points I’d like to raise with you.

The first point is related to the paragraph below:

So that I could generate evidence from this data, not only did I look for evidence where I believed the VLE had encouraged independent learning, but I also drew on my values of mutual respect and equality to provide my living standards of judgement. In this way I looked for examples within the data that showed that I have acted in a way that manifests these values. I believe that if I can demonstrate that these values are being realised it will provide evidence that I have created a supportive online environment where students can learn from and not just retrieve information, and thereby improve the quality of my teaching and their learning. I have also looked for areas where students felt that I have inspired or motivated them.

I don’t think that this does justice to the balance in your data analysis that follows this paragraph. I see you being open to data that shows that you are not living your values as fully as you want to. I liked the honesty in your acknowledgement of embarrassment in seeing some of the responses (I know this feeling well!). I wondered is a slight amendment to the above paragraph might communicate to your reader that you didn’t just look for evidence that confirmed your views, but that you were open to evidence that showed that there were still improvements to be made?

So that I could generate evidence from this data, not only did I look for evidence where I believed the VLE had encouraged independent learning, but I also drew on my values of mutual respect and equality to provide my living standards of judgement. In this way I looked for examples within the data that showed that I have acted in a way that manifests these values. I believe that if I can demonstrate that these values are being realised it will provide evidence that I have created a supportive online environment where students can learn from and not just retrieve information, and thereby improve the quality of my teaching and their learning. I have also looked for areas where students felt that I have inspired or motivated them. I want to emphasise that I looked for data that were showing that I was living my values and data that shows I still had some way to go in living my values as fully as I wanted.

The second point is just to do with the urls in your Delong and Hartog references. I’ve amended the references with 5th December 2009 links that open the theses. The older urls no longer connect to the doctoral theses.

Delong, J. (2002)How can I improve my practice as a superintendent of schools and create my own living educational theory?’ PhD University of Bath, 2002. Retrieved 5th December 2009 from http://www.actionresearch.net/delong.shtml.

Hartog, M. (2004) ‘A self study of a higher education tutor: How can I improve my practice?’ PhD University of Bath, 2004. Retrieved 5th December 2009 from http://www.actionresearch.net/hartog.shtml.

Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Monday, 14 December 2009, 6:20 PM
 
Hi Jack,
 
Many thanks, that's great news!
 
I hope that you would be happy for me to replace the following;
 
I want to emphasise that I looked for data that were showing that I was living my values and data that shows I still had some way to go in living my values as fully as I wanted.
 
for;
 
"In addition to this, I would like to emphasise that I also looked for data that highlights that I am still working towards realising my values."
I believe that this reflects the title of the work.
Kind Regards,
ALEX
Picture of Alex Sinclair
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Alex Sinclair - Tuesday, 15 December 2009, 1:44 PM
 

Hi,

Please find attached my paper in Ejolts format. I am having some issue around indenting the 2nd line of each reference and also wondered if the appendices are in the correct format.

Kind Regards,

ALEX

Margaret Farren
Re: Working Towards an Epistemology of Symbiotic Practice
by Margaret Farren - Tuesday, 15 December 2009, 4:03 PM
 

Hi Alex,

I have read through your revised paper 'Working towards a Symbiotic Practice' and recommend it for publication in the next issue of EJOLTS. 

I am glad you found the open review process helped to strengthen your paper. Good luck with your developing use of the VLE.

We can sort out the formatting and Appendices before the final publication.  

Best Regards,

Margaret