Action research transcends constraints of poverty in elementary, high school and post-graduate settings
All the best, Moira
The most significant aspect of what I want to say concerns the length of the paper. Although I began with misgivings about the simple word-count, I realised that it was a more substantial issue than this and the distinction gets to the heart of something that could be transformative.
Each part of the paper as it stands, with a section written by each one of you is compelling. I never felt that the length per se was a problem in terms of meanings and significance. (I do think there are problems publishing something over 27,000 words when the journal rubric states that between 6,000 and 12,000 words are the expected length. However, I think this is an editorial point and I don't want to get bogged down in it.)
I would like to make a suggestion for your consideration. I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to have this text constituting the whole of one issue of EJOLTS. Not in its present form, but as six papers - the introduction by all of you, the four individual parts (which I know are not separate, but they are singly authored) and then the conclusion as the final paper of the issue. This would allow for some expansion on the explanation of some terms, which you currently use - see script for details - which might make comprehension for the reader a little easier in places.
I recognise the danger of fragmentation in the dissemination of ideas and values, but I think that if this text were to constitute a whole issue of EJOLTS, this in itself would lend it even greater gravitas. It would also, significantly, underline the idea of transcending the expected, 'normalised' processes of the presentation of ideas, something I believe EJOLTS was formulated for, in fact. I think it would revolutionalise and augment the significance of this very important text. It would also constitute a really intricate sense of holding together the one and the many, which is the art of the dialectician, something that all of you clearly take very seriously.
In its present format I don't think it does itself justice. I think, however, the issues I raise are editorial rather than reviewer-based. I believe this needs to be looked at by the editorial board with the above taken into consideration.
This paper MATTERS. I want to see it published, but I do not feel I can simply say, publish or don't publish. In its present format I have real misgivings because of what I am saying above. With editorial approval, I think this paper could present itself in an even more cogent and brilliant form and I want to see it published.
Please do respond to this in any way you see fit. I welcome corresponding with you individually or as a group.
All the best, Moira
Thank you for your detailed, thoughtful and creative feedback!
You have suggested a very creative solution for dealing with the length of the paper. I am excited about the possibilities of both further collaboration on this project and also the opportunity to present knowledge alternatively. You have given us much to think about and that is always a good thing.
My creative juices are flowing over as a result of your feedback; however, this is simply a quick thank you until I can connect with Jackie, Jack and Cathy and we can discuss our next steps.
I will email you with more detail later.
Love & Joy,
One of the things I didn't make enough mention of in my review was the enthusiasm with which I read the text, which increased as I read it for a second and then for a third time. I know that this paper matters. I also know that EJOLTS and its development matter. I think the two - i.e. your and your colleagues' paper - and the future of publication in EJOLTS go hand in hand and can interact in a creative way that makes both winners.
All the best. Moira
I have not currently the time, alas, to read the paper but as one of the journal's peer reviewers and a member of the Development Board, I would warmly support what Moira suggests. She is obviously very impressed by the work, and the resolution seems a great way both to value the contributions of each/all, and to provide what should be a thoroughly stimulating edition of EJOLTS. The final decision, obviously, will be up to the editors, but I just wanted to indicate my support for what Moira has said and to applaud the openness of Liz's response.
All the best, Moira
I would like to offer a small critique of the paper and of the living theories approach, if I may. Although I'm going to start with a gripe, I hope you can see it as I do, which is to say an irritation that has potential to be fruitful, if it is worked through.
So to the gripe...
I looked forward to reading "Action research transcends constraints of poverty in elementary, high school and post-graduate settings". I really wanted to know how action research transcends constraints of poverty. It wasn't until I got about half way through that I realised that I wasn't going to find out. The article refers to moral poverty, aesthetic poverty, intellectual poverty, impoverished learning etc. - none of which are defined, explained or evidenced - but there's no reference to poverty as such. (I suppose I could have avoided disappointment by reading the abstract more carefully!)
I've had quite a privileged life really, and haven't experienced a lot of poverty but, as I understand it, poverty is hunger. It's a dull ache that doesnt' go away. It's lethargy. It's continual anxiety, every time you wake up. Fear of the bailiff. OK, so it's a shame that print journals don't contain video; it might be better if they did, but it feels it feels uncomfortable to equate this with poverty. And, whilst I'm in griping mode, exactly who is it that stands accused of 'moral poverty' and on what grounds?
At some point in my reading, I decided that you were probably including the theme of poverty because this was the conference theme. I know that's judgemental and possibly most unfair, but that's how you came across to me. I felt somehow cheated, as though you shouldn't have done this. As if the local vicar (who should know better) had made off with some church funds.
So - and this is where we segue into something that could actually be helpful - why the 'cheated' feeling?
I think it's because, unlike other types of research, the central claim to a Living educational theory is that you are living life more according to your values. Not knowing more, or being a better teacher but living a better life. This is a tough claim to make because it's hard to substantiate and I'm not sure that the fact that your friends agree with you counts as sufficient evidence.
Now, I have actually met and worked with some teachers who just are wonderful human beings (in my view). But I've also worked with brilliant teachers, whose lives are a mess, full of failure and broken relationships. Which makes me wonder if the theory might benefit from being perhaps a little more modest? Is it sufficient to claim that your teaching (rather than your life) is more often, and more fully, congruent with your values?
Also, I wonder if the ontological position of values is sufficiently thought through? I have recently acquired a grand-daughter who has ontological features - eyes, mouth, nose etc. but it would be hard to argue that she has ontological values. No doubt she'll acquire some but I wonder what the process is, for this acquisition. Fortunately, her experience of 'love' is likely to be warmth, cuddles and having her needs met but, for some children, 'love' is sex and abuse and a lot of lesser, but still painful, experiences. (This might why two of the sections in the article define 'love'.) This makes me ponder the status of the word 'love' as descriptive of a value that we can all recognise.
So these are my thoughts on your article. Cutting it into separate articles seems like a good idea and I'm sure it's worth publishing.
Thank you - I'm aware that my tone is more critical than helpful but I hope that, beneath the niggles there are ideas that you can work with. I hope you enjoy the process of re-working the material.
Best wishes, Tim.
p.1 (Jackie) “Working with these three much respected colleagues in creating this paper, I have endeavoured to analyze past learnings and current efforts in encouraging and supporting students and colleagues in comprehending the nature of our influence in improving the social order over time.” This isn’t a paper anymore, but a whole issue of EJOLTS.
p. 2. (Cathy) “It is an honour to work with Jackie , Liz and now Jack in continuing my quest to address issues of moral poverty.” Was this phrased to fit in with the old purpose for the conference, rather than the culture of inquiry, which is what this reworking is about?
p. 2. (Jack) “producing valid explanations of educational influence that can transcend issues of poverty in forms of representation for educational researchers.” See points above.
p. 2. “influences in learning in terms of values, skills and understandings that we believe carries hope for the future of humanity and own future”, should read: that carryhope…
p. 3 “Living standard of judgement”. I think this is the first time of mentioning, so it needs a reference to Laidlaw, 1996 in the text and in the references: Laidlaw, M. (1996). How can I create my own living educational theory as I account for my own educational development? (Doctoral dissertation, University of Bath, 1996). Retrieved from http://www.actionresearch.net/moira.shtml.
p. 8 “While self-study research has been conducted individually, this paper has been accomplished as partners in a culture of inquiry. We have used the available technologies: Skype conference calls, call recording, Youtube, email, and Google Drive to create the paper.” I am not sure that the use of the word ‘paper’ is helpful for this particular set of interrelated inquiries. I think a term needs to be agreed on that distinguishes this from the usual set of papers in a journal. These are more related than that.
p. 8. “an individual, claiming originality and exercising judgment, responsibly with universal intent.” This is a quotation and needs both quotation marks and a reference (Polanyi, 1958, ‘Personal Knowledge’).
p. 9. “…over the last 9 (nine) months… 4 (four).” Why the numerical and bracketed number? Strictly speaking, numbers up to and including 10 are written as words, afterwards as numbers, apart from in dates. But one or the other looks better.
p. 12. “enquiry learning”. The other authors are spelling it ‘inquiry’, i.e. the American/Canadian way. Would it be an idea to do the same?
p. 13. “first local curriculum” – the ‘u’ needs to be blackened.
p. 13. “‘How do I improve my practice? Creating a new discipline of educational enquiry. (http://www.actionresearch.net/living/jack.shtml )” You need to lose a space before the closing bracket, and the full-stop for the sentence needs to be after the bracket, not after ‘enquiry’ – and note spelling of enquiry.
p. 13. You write: “and we are not expecting you to look at this video of Jackie, Liz and Jack in a conversation about our inquiry and presentation for AERA…” So why are you putting it there, then? I think you need to rephrase the above.
p. 15 “Paper Three need consistent languagebelow.” Sort this out.
p. 17. ‘which is ‘hierarchical recognition is subordinated’.” I think that’s supposed to be ‘his’, or rather his [sic].
p. 17. You write: The gift was Jack Whitehead: Validations. You need to have some indication that it’s a name of a book. I first thought that the gift was simply, Jack Whitehead!!!
p. 20. Catherine Forester - an Ed.D. students
p. 23. at the learnt heart ?
There are two p. 23.s.
Jackie’s p. 23. “Working in collaboration with my three much-loved colleagues in this issue in a space where energy-flowing values have created a synergetic resonance, has inspired my life and work.” The sense here would be clearer if there were a comma after ‘issue’.
p. 25. The quotation from Moffatt doesn’t look like a quotation.
p. 27. Does SWAT need explaining?
p. 35. ‘You know I’m here because of what Jackie taught me, not only about myself but about what I do.’ However, the quotation goes further, i.e. past the quotation marks.
pp. 35/6Major repetition. Needs editing.
p. 41. ‘ontology-loved’. This needs to be a dash, not a hyphen.
p. 44. ‘The hope and wisdom in Whitehead’s Living Educational Theory.’ I would like to use this as the title of my final review for this paper and for my foreword to the EJOLTS issue, but in a slightly moderated form: ‘The Hope and Wisdom in Living Educational Theories.’
p. 45. ‘I found a way to meaningfully join in the larger song.’ That really resonates with me, and my foreword will draw on this.
p. 47. ‘…the importance of making the relationally dynamics componentof a loving culture of inquiry explicit…’ This reads very awkwardly indeed. I had to read it several times to derive much meaning in fact. Dropping the ‘s’ on dynamics would help a lot.
p. 57. ‘Benefitted’ should read ‘benefited’.
p. 75. ‘…that we pause on and experience the greatest feeling of empathetic resonance are one’s where we share an expression of ‘being loved into learning’. Straightforward plural. No need for apostrophe.
There is throughout the writing the use of the idea of democracy, which isn’t, however, defined as such, or attention drawn to it at key ‘democractic’ moments, i.e. as it is lived and experienced. It doesn’t bother me particularly because I’ve worked with Jack for years and have developed an understanding of the way in which he uses it linguistically and in practice, but what about other readers who are new in coming to this journal, or to the ideas in this issue? Just a thought.
Order of papers:
I am interested in why the papers are organised in the way they are. I don’t have a problem with it – and should have raised it earlier if I had – but there may be a rationale that is worth outlining briefly.
I hope that all the above comments are constructive. I have really enjoyed reading and commenting on your work. It has been a privilege.
Best wishes, Moira
Thank you for asking me to review this resubmission. As I told Marie, I’ve been able to read and comment on the first three articles only. I’m pleased that you shifted the focus away from ‘poverty’ and onto the meanings of a ‘culture of inquiry’ although there are still references to poverty that grate with me. The clarification of ‘ontological values’ helps although this might be work in progress, because the question of how educational values are acquired and revised through a lifetime is something that could yield important work. As you’ll see below, I still have a problem with the notion that multimedia is necessarily better than print but maybe this is also work in progress.
I have some points to make and some questions, below. None of these imply that the papers shouldn’t be published – on the contrary, my interest in making them is so that the issue is as strong as possible.
This paper sets the scene for the whole issue; I think it helps. However, I wonder if you could explain exactly what video adds to text. You say, “The constraints of poverty that we reference in our articles are traditional academic forms of print-based texts which neglect the embodied expression of moral and aesthetic values.” but personally, I think this is problematic becuase I don’t really believe that print-based texts neglect the embodied expression of moral and aesthetic values. I find the embodied expression of moral and aesthetic values in The Grapes of Wrath, Hard Times, Tom Jones, The Kite Runner and lots of other texts. In these texts and in many more, the writers’ values are embodied in their characters, their narratives, their own commentary and simply the quality of their writing. I’m sure there are multimedia ‘texts’ which do this too, but I will not easily be persuaded that they are better in this respect than books, just because you get to see images. (Having said which, I think there are some aspects of human experience which are more easily and effectively grasped through the moving image; I’m just not yet convinced by your arguments.)
The section ‘Responding to a Reviewer’ is nice – clear and concise. However, I remain unhappy about most of your references to transcending constraints of poverty. If you really want to discuss moral or aesthetic poverty, I think you should be clear about what you mean and provide at least some evidence to indicate where you are overcoming them. (I suppose I don’t buy the argument that all other research, published in journals, is morally or aesthetically empty.) The section on methods is very informative and appropriately detailed, in my view. However, and I know that reviewers often make this point – the section on data analysis is not as strong as other sections. Surely identifying themes is only part of the analysis?
I think this is an important paper because it provides the fullest explanation of the theory that underlies the others. In fact, now that the papers are split, I wonder if it might be helpful to flag this up – something like ‘new readers, start here’. It would still be improved by some revisions in my view.
The paper gives a clear exposition of living educational theory including,
- · disillusionment with academic writing, in favour of writing in which participants can recognise themselves, coupled with a move away from traditional educational research and the ‘disciplines’ approach
- · ‘I’ as a living contradiction
- · living educational theory to understand praxis, starting with questions of the type, ‘How do I improve what I am doing?’ and generating explanations that individual practitioners produce to explain their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations
- · empathic resonance with visual data to communicate life-affirming energy
- · Collaboration as method and methodology, with the importance of building trust and respect through dialogue
- · Living legacy
I understand it (I think!) and I like what I understand.
I have questions about ‘I’ as a living contradiction: is this essential for the process of developing a living educational theory? how common is the experience, as described? Would a person expect to experience it several times during the course of a career? Are there further examples from your own career, Jack?
The use of video is generally helpful and I certainly notice the three collaborators resonating with each other on the first video. The clip from the Mandela Day lecture is not so helpful: for the specified 9 minutes, we see Jack drinking water and attending to discussions that we can hear but not follow because no words are distinguishable. I think there might be a better moment to present from this lecture, if you want to use it.
At around about this point, I think the paper as a whole loses focus; I’m not really convinced that the material about Nelson Mandela adds to the discussion and the ending, referring to ‘learnt heart’ needs cleaning up.
A few small matters:
15 need consistent language
19 an intention relationship
19 self and other – do you mean others?
It seems to me that this paper adds important insights about the conditions for establishing a culture of enquiry. These include,
- · valuing embodied knowledge
- · the purpose of expressing life-affirming energy: inviting people to join in and pool their own
- · the importance of allowing yourself to be and feel vulnerable
- · the importance of modeling this
- · comfort as a pre-requisite
A couple of questions: You say that Jack was relentless in his pressure and support but you tend to ignore the value of pressure in your own account, and focus very much on support and, indeed, comfort. Is this what you want? If so, I’d ask why.
In this paper, I see no distinction between living values at work and in life, more generally (one of the points I made in my first review). I still feel uneasy about this – it’s ok to take this stance as a retired person but I wonder if it’s true at all stages of life.
Two small matters:
24 I don’t really understand ‘spray and pray’, more explanation might help
35-36 there is a lot of repetition from ‘and in fact’ to ‘become their own teachers’. Is this a mistake?
Finally – and I haven’t read the final three papers – I wonder if there’s actually too much repetition of the core messages. Might it be worth going through, quite ruthlessly, and eliminating all unnecessary repetition?
I recommend publication of these articles and I hope many people read them.
Dear all, and especially the authors
I have finished reviewing this paper. I didn't get to read the original in its entirety owing to the length, but I think this iteration is definitely publishable with very minor alterations, mainly grammatical/punctuation, and a couple of niggles about APA referencing. I recognise my knowledge of APA may be becoming out of date but I was taught to put (Bourdieu, 1977, p. 66) and a fullstop outside the ref if it was concluding the sentence. There is a variety of different usages through the paper.
The main issue - and this picks up a point raised by Tim initially - is that I think you need to rub readers' noses at the outset in the fact that you are not addressing socio-economic notions of poverty. It's probably crystal-clear to you; you've been working on it for ages. To be fair, you do indicate in the abstract that you're looking at other versions, but the best explanation of what you do deem to be poverty, occurs in the final wrap-up paper. I wonder if it might be included earlier? Just a thought.
There is the usual plethora of track changes. Because I downloaded the paper only as a pdf file, you'll have to click on all the wee speech bubbles to read the comments I think. And it's possible that it won't accompany this comment, owing to the size of the file. I couldn't get it to forward from my varsity account to home for that reason, and had to download again direct from ejolts.net once I was home. If that happens, I'll need to seek advice on how to compress the file in order to forward it. Apologies in advance if this happens.
I think it's a wonderful work and look forward to seeing it finally published in EJOLTS - hopefully in time for me to refer to its work on values, in something I'm working on myself at present!
Pete's review completes our reviewer's responses. Here is what we think are the final contents of the 6 articles for the December 13 issue. If and when we receive the editorial boards confirmation that they are recommending publication, I'll complete the references, proof reading and placing the papers and contents with Moira's foreword into the EJOLTS template and circulate to the editorial board for their final approval.
Hello everyone. I offer here the first draft of my Foreword for this Special Issue. I hope you enjoy it. Do make comments as you see fit. Thanks.
Best wishes, Moira
(Edited by Jacqueline Delong - original submission Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 1:53 PM)
Hi, Moira. I love your foreward-excellent. Thanks so much for your inspiration-the articles are much improved from your, Tim's, Pete's, JeKan's and Pip's responses.
I added a few references-Cathy's, Liz's and my theses. They were a challenge to format-maybe someone can fix the spacing.
This is a wonderful, succinct, and informative piece of writing--thank you. I believe you have captured the main ideas of the individual papers and enhanced the understanding of the significance of how they work together as well. More importantly, though, you have recognized and very eloquently articulated the beauty and transformative potential of the process--well done indeed.
Thank you so much for your contribution to the greater good from your creative insights to your helpful suggestions and finally, this forward--the icing on the cake.
There are three minor errors (beginning, middle and end) that I tried to correct but my "track changes" wasn't working so I did not make the changes. I will try again tomorrow when I have more time. I am off to do final preparations for our first day of introducing self-study, action research to Bluewater District School Board, with Cathy and Jackie.
The posting of your forward couldn't come at a better time. We will be thinking you you and all the other living theorists as we spread the word tomorrow. Thanks for the validation and inspiration and thank you for joining in our song of hope.
Love & Joy,
Well done, Moira! I love the way that you validate the individual voices but recognise their contribution to the 'choral item' that this issue represents. I also really like the metaphors, both choral and of the mobius, that seem to be so symbolic of the alternative presentations that EJOLTS encourages.