In terms of appearanceÂ I prefer the way you've set it out, Branko, and the slight amendments you've made. I thinkÂ such aÂ formÂ could be a veryÂ useful vehicle for future submissions. And testing out the weblinks and ensuring that everything is as it should be is rigorous and a very helpful idea, which will in its turn help us improve the quality of what we are doing. However - yeah, I know JeKan, you were just waiting for a 'yes but' response from me!!!
Personally I don't like filling in forms, because they always, without exception, render me less creative, because they smack of formulae. They always feel like a strait-jacket to me. That may be a personal peculiarity shades of the dreaded tax-forms coming to get me!Â Â which I needÂ to overcome - and if that's the general opinion, then I'll work on it.Â I accept, however, that the above comments are purely about personal preference and therefore not particularly valid.
But I doÂ thinkÂ there is a good working reason why such forms are not always helpful to dialogue, and I think it is dialogue that we are aiming for in order to change things. First, the review doesn't appear directly on the page, but has to be accessed. This means a reader has to open and accessÂ documents, and if wanting to follow through an argument, it becomes harder and harder. By the time the second review is there, it will be more difficult. Do you see what i mean. The earliest reviews enabled us simply to scroll down the page and access the ideas of others and respond to them - as in a dialogue. Some of the joy for me of reviewing and being reviewed is that it becomes an openÂ dialogue, such as has developed over Branko's paper for this first issue.Â I am not sure that such forms would give us the flexibility we need. On the other hand I am not saying that they would necessarily stymie other people's ability to dialogue. I suppose both the instigator (JeKan) and recipient (Jack) need to say something about this most particularly. I do think this is something we allÂ need to discuss.
... I think it was MacIntyre who said that the university should be about constrained disagreement. I've always liked that.
What do the rest of you feel about it?
My approach to reading your paper has been formed by the very question you lay at the centre of your own work - â€śhow do I improve what I am doing?â€ť Itâ€™s from this place that I have looked inquiringly at your claims to influence others, and tentatively ask how they in turn may influence you. Such co-generation of knowledge would seem to represent the reciprocal quality of our learning together, and I therefore offer this assumption of reciprocity as an essential quality of my review and meet your question with my own: â€śdoes my knowing live as I read your paper?â€ť
As I follow the fluidity of the themes and seek to make the connections that will mark their influence on my own knowing I tease out nuances that mark a change in your writing that I have not previously noted. I have an image of ripples stretching in increasing circles as you move from your own learning, to the learning of others and then outwards to the learning that may be taking place in the social formations in which we each live and work. Not new words â€“ but somehow written here with new and expanded meaning. But, how do I know that, and to whose meaning do I refer?
To answer that I first want to re-visit the aspiration you express for the influence your paper may have; you express it on p.18 as: â€śthe hope that you will find something of value for yourself that resonates with your own life-affirming energy, values and understandingsâ€ť. I take this as an invitation to engage with your writing with the qualities of â€śgenerative dialogueâ€ť, referred to in my own writing as â€śa voice that engages in creative formationâ€ť and one that â€świll both articulate and generate new, shared knowledgeâ€ť (Scholes-Rhodes 2002).
So, as I read it today then I must filter it from the space which I inhabit today. And this is where the resonance is strongest. You talk of â€śthe narrative wreckage that breaks into a smooth story of self in the creation of a living educational theoryâ€ť (p.17) and I smile with recognition. This is where the influence is strongest â€“ where by inference you invite me to reflect on the passages of my own ongoing story and I am drawn into a reflection on my own life-affirming energy and values as I develop my work as a coach in an organisational context that has both challenged and nurtured my development for over twenty five years.
And the other ripples I refer to? Then here I try to understand what it is you describe as â€śa capacity to express and develop a relationally dynamic awareness of a space and boundaries with life-affirming energy and valuesâ€ť (p.12). I instinctively recognise the connecting of your deeply held concepts with an emerging expression of â€inclusionalityâ€™ but have difficulty interpreting the linkage between And I wonder if I have really understood. I have re-read the passages several times, holding my questions gently to avoid assuming false learning. And still I have to ask this question as a reviewer: how might I experience this differently so that my learning is enhanced?
Jack, I read your writing with deep connectivity and an aspiration to learn, and in most parts am rewarded fully. Yet, I still query if I have fully understood your intent, or even fully appreciated the power of your message. So, I am bound to ask: how can you influence my learning more fully, and in doing so increase your own? Is there a way you could, in response to your own request on p.6, strengthen the comprehensibility of the explanation? And finally, would you consider such a modification an extension of our mutual knowing?
Hello Jack, JeKan, Jacqui and colleagues,
I have joined the review cycle fairly late at the end of this summer, but hope it is not too late to make a contribution - apologies Jack, as I know you are rewriting probably at this moment. My review seems to mirror JeKan and Jacqui's, but I hope offers you some further deep attention.Â
Jack Whiteheadâ€™s PaperÂ Using a Living Theory Methodology in Improving Practice and Generating Educational Knowledge in Living Theories
Review from Jane Spiro:Â August 31st 2008
Accept with modifications
I think this is an important â€keynoteâ€™ paper that provides a conceptual framework for the whole journal. A central idea you are exploring is the distinction between education theory, and educational/living theory that places the educator at the centre of the learning and research process: I would love this message to speak, not only to those already converted to it and familiar with its language and ideology, but to those who have not met the concept before, or who are fearful of making the jump.Â The affirmation of this approach as an inspiration, as enhancing practice, is what I think this paper is doing, and could do even more strongly.Â I think I would like this affirmation â€“ the life-affirming energy - to occupy the space currently occupied in the article by a description of institutional opposition.Â I am mindful, for example, of colleagues who have said: â€śI am excited by the idea of researching my own practice, but do not wish to come into head-on collision with the establishment in doing this!â€ť.Â The fact that the establishment is threatened by this approach seems to me to be a separate issue: Before confronting this issue, I would like as a reader (and imagining myself new to the concept) â€“ to be really clear why this approach is so important, so liberating, so transformatory, and how it has really worked in your practice.Â For example, I see your account at the end, of the supervisory relationship, as an amazing example of your practice in theory, and your theory in practice: your generosity, your capacity to learn from others in a mutual learning cycle that enhances a whole communityâ€™s practice (not just you: not just they â€“ but us).Â Â Â How have you transformed the â€traditionalâ€™ supervisor: student relationship â€“ by what process of change and decision-making, and why exactly is this so frightening to the institution?Â How is this new dynamic different to the one you first experienced as a science teacher in secondary school?Â The journey you describe, from science teacher to doctorate supervisor, is implied, but there seems to be a huge undescribed leap from the former to the latter. I as reader would have been fascinated to see some more of the stages of transformation on the way.Â For me, WHAT the institution is really objecting to is so much more important here than the fact of their objection.Â The other point of this, is that I as the living theory reader, would like to see and be reassured that your passion for this comes from the fact that it is meaningful and congruent with your beliefs: the fact that it subverts other paradigms is something you have explained really clearly in the first half. The consequences of this, of course, are political â€“ but the flow of your argument leads towards its meaning for the practitioner in practice (ie rather than practioner in combat).Â
To summarise what I think this means in terms of possible and suggested changes:
1)Â Â Â Â Â I would like some of the language to be clearer, sometimes leaner.Â Often this is about paring down some of the terminology or a tendency to repeat the same terms in one sentence.Â I think the language can travel further without repetition. I have made some specific suggestions below.
2)Â Â Â Â Â I would like as reader to see more of the grounded examples of your own practice and the evolution of your own living theory from science teacher to Lecturer in Education and supervisor â€extraordinaireâ€™.
3)Â Â Â Â Â I would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain â€“ rather than the pain itself.Â Why is your position so threatening to the institution?Â Your first section unfolds the disciplines v. educational approach, but an explicit link here with your transition from one to the other versus institutional entrenchment â€“ would join up the sections a bit more clearly.
4)Â Â Â Â Â You mention the balancing of the local and the general all through, (and I thank you so much for mentioning my work in relation to this): Specifically I think what emerges is the extraordinary nature of the â€mutual learningâ€™ relationships you have with student-colleagues.Â Â You describe this quite briefly at the end, but I think this really is the heart of how you embody your living theory.Â Iâ€™d love to see a section preceding reference to your student/colleague relationships- where you explore your own role in building these relationships.Â
p. 2 The damage inflicted on --- : first sentence in the final paragraph.Â Iâ€™d suggest a slightly leaner version of this sentence:
The damage inflicted on the teaching profession by the disciplines approach to education theory, is evidenced (or another verb?) by the fact that Paul Hirst, one of its main proponentsÂ acknowledged it to be a mistakeÂ in 1983.
p. 3 Third paragraph beginning â€the hegemonyâ€™ â€“ there seem to be too many main verbs?
p. 4 last sentence of penultimate paragraph, beginning â€Because of such pressureâ€™:Â should the last part come forward like this?:
Because of such pressures I want to integrate the influences of historical and cultural contexts within which my research programme evolved into my explanations of educational influence.Â
(Is this what you mean?)
p.7 I was a bit confused about chronology at the top of p.5 in that you mention a first introduction to Ubuntu in 2008, but an earlier ref. from Eden in 2007 â€“ a small point, but perhaps the 2008 could be linked to Murrayâ€™s writing more obviously (rather than the year you first met Ubuntu, which is now suggested).Â
p. 9 You mention a distinction between educational and social relationships. I felt as reader that I wanted a brief account of what your own meaning is of an â€educational relationshipâ€™ as distinct from social. I began formulating my own versions of what you might have meant, testing against your writing.
pp. 15/16: the chronology is a bit unclear here.Â Iâ€™d like the dates to be chronological to help with the story, so information emerges step by step.Â It could be that you will change this anyway with the changes to this section.Â (In particular the paragraph at the top of p. 17 doesnâ€™t read as a clear sequence).Â
p. 18Â I was surprised by the word â€restrictedâ€™ in the penultimate paragraph (frst line).Â Iâ€™d like to see a more generative word!Â - such as : derived from, generated from, inspired by ---
A general stylistic thought:Â I wonder a lot about the length and extent of quotation. You use very long quotation and quite a number of them â€“ eg. Habermas p. 7 â€“ and sometimes Iâ€™d like more perhaps of your own navigation through the quotation.Â
I think there are some missing words and letters in the Ryle quotation on p. 5. (eg. An interior acknowledgements).
I am wondering why most of the long quotations are in italics, but some are not (eg. Habermas section on p. 7).Â
p. 11 Your reference Whitehead (1985) isnâ€™t in the biblio?
p. 14 Thereâ€™s a word missing in the second paragraph after â€academicâ€™ ----
p. 16 an unnecessary â€ofâ€™ has strayed in between well â€“ have in the 5th paragraph
Sometimes you write life affirming, and sometimes life-affirming. (p. 13 second para.) Â I find myself distracted from the flow, thinking about the significance of the difference, or whether a difference was intended â€“ but I think just a typo!.Â
Thoughts about the reviewing process
Just to say it is a privilege to be part of this mutual learning cycle which I see emerging as part of the review process.Â I apologise for joining the cycle of response to Jack late in the process, but hope these thoughts are nevertheless a contribution.Â I am a reviewer on another journal in which:Â papers are sent anonymously, reviews are written in isolation so one reviewer does not have contact with another.; reviewers never enter into direct dialogue with authors â€“ everything is mediated by the editor; a template of criteria is used.Â
I see this cycle of learning as an amazing opportunity for writers and readers to work together to generate the strongest, clearest way of communicating their meanings.Â Here I am enjoying the sense of shared responsibility to support Jack in making his paper speak to as many readers as possible.Â I think it involves much humility and generosity on the part of the writer (Jack!), real loving attention on the part of readers, and I feel privileged to participate in this.Â
Iâ€™m most grateful for your reviews of my paper and Iâ€™ve now resubmitted my modified paper for any further suggestions that you think are necessary. The resubmitted paper should be attached to this note. I know this is asking a lot but if there is anything else you think is necessary to change before acceptance if you could let me know by the weekend I could do the necessary changes so that we can meet the end of September deadline for the publication of the first issue.
Jacqui â€“ Iâ€™ve found it most helpful to focus on three of your points:
1) And still I have to ask this question as a reviewer: how might I experience this differently so that my learning is enhanced?
i) The major change where Iâ€™ve tried to take into account experiencing my meanings differently so that the readerâ€™s learning is enhanced is in the section v) on using multi-media representations to clarify and share meanings of the flows of energy in embodied values and their expressions in explanations of educational influence in learning.
Jane and Je Kan â€“ You both advised a major rewrite of this section and I think you were right to do so. In my original submission Iâ€™d failed in my intention to create an appropriate balance between highlighting my core beliefs as they emerge through pain and communicating the pain itself. Iâ€™m hoping that the re-written section v) now fulfills what you would like to see Jane:
â€śI would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain â€“ rather than the pain itself. â€ś
Je Kan â€“ you felt strongly that the emotions aroused by this section would get in the way of the meanings I wanted to communicate. Iâ€™m hoping that the re-written section now communicates an appropriate relationship between the difficult experiences and the creative and life-affirming responses.
2) I take this as an invitation to engage with your writing with the qualities of â€śgenerative dialogueâ€ť, referred to in my own writing as â€śa voice that engages in creative formationâ€ť and one that â€świll both articulate and generate new, shared knowledgeâ€ť (Scholes-Rhodes 2002).
Jacqui â€“ this is how I felt as I read your review. You moved me to include Joan Waltonâ€™s standard of judgment from her doctorate that has just gone through - â€spiritual resilience gained through connection with a loving dynamic energyâ€™ together with your point about exquisite connectivity.
3) So, I am bound to ask: how can you influence my learning more fully, and in doing so increase your own? Is there a way you could, in response to your own request on p.6, strengthen the comprehensibility of the explanation? And finally, would you consider such a modification an extension of our mutual knowing?
Jacqui - Iâ€™ve worked on the comprehensibility of the explanation with a focus on the clarity of differences between propositional, dialectical and inclusional thinking. Iâ€™m hoping that my points about the significance of multi-media narratives being able to communicate the meanings of relationally dynamic nature of living standards of judgment is an extension of our mutual knowing.
Jane - Iâ€™m most grateful for all the Style/Editing points and have acted on each one.
1) I would like some of the language to be clearer, sometimes leaner. Often this is about paring down some of the terminology or a tendency to repeat the same terms in one sentence. I think the language can travel further without repetition. I have made some specific suggestions below.
I like your suggestions and have acted on all of them.
2) I would like as reader to see more of the grounded examples of your own practice and the evolution of your own living theory from science teacher to Lecturer in Education and supervisor â€extraordinaireâ€™.
I like your points about the importance of a narrative that shows the evolution of my own living educational theory from science teacher to lecturer to research supervisor. This feels more appropriate for a book on the evolution of a living educational theory and Iâ€™ll work on this.
3) I would like much of the institutional crisis to be reframed as a briefer account highlighting your core beliefs as they emerge through pain â€“ rather than the pain itself.
Iâ€™ve made major modifications to section v) to see if I have responded appropriately to this point.
Your first section unfolds the disciplines v. educational approach, but an explicit link here with your transition from one to the other versus institutional entrenchment â€“ would join up the sections a bit more clearly.
Iâ€™ve tried to do this in the lead up to section v)
4) You mention the balancing of the local and the general all through, (and I thank you so much for mentioning my work in relation to this): Specifically I think what emerges is the extraordinary nature of the â€mutual learningâ€™ relationships you have with student-colleagues. You describe this quite briefly at the end, but I think this really is the heart of how you embody your living theory. Iâ€™d love to see a section preceding reference to your student/colleague relationships- where you explore your own role in building these relationships.
Iâ€™ve now drawn attention to this on page 15.
Je Kan â€“ Many thanks for your comments where you give me the line numbers that need attention. I think Iâ€™ve addressed each of these as you suggest.
Iâ€™m also agreeing wholeheartedly with your criticisms of the dominance of the rage and anger â€“ these mistakenly did dominate the first submission. I thought Iâ€™d managed to show that the flow of life-affirming energy and value of educational knowledge creation in the March 2008 keynote had rechanneled the rage and anger into my creative work as a knowledge-creator but I was mistaken in thinking that Iâ€™d done it. Iâ€™m hoping that my completely re-written section v) now accomplishes an appropriate balance. Iâ€™ve also removed the sections you felt were inflammatory. Iâ€™ve referenced the photograph of Jean with her doctoral students at graduation to a live url, rather than keep the poor quality one in.
I found myself moved by the changes you have made to the document - evidence, I think, of our collective educational influence and a felt response to the impact of the positive energy and clarity that has emerged. I sense a movement in the explanation, and begin to appreciate the meaning that is now given voice from a place that feels balanced.
Just a couple of edits which I'm sure you've already picked up - p.13 where you talk of a loving (and?) productive life, and on p.18 third line`where 'from' is repeated.
Thank you for sharing this Jack, and I am happy to recommend we Accept for publication.
I read your revised paper with real delight at the new information I now see there about your progression from science teacher to doctor-educator. Your account of your early positivist position, and your acknowledgement of this still as offering a worthwhile perspective alongside others, makes this now an exciting story of synthesis and growth - in fact, of 'inclusionality'. Your position is explained and rationalised with both passion and balance - I have noted too, how the quotations have been absorbed into your own voice, so it is you that emerges rather than the voices of those who influenced you (although they do too, of course).
I was also delighted to see the way the pain of the University of Bath rejection had now been reframed to emerge as a clear account of your beliefs in practice. This now flows seamlessly into an account of the community you have built, and also of the force of love and life-affirming energy which informs your work, including your fight for its recognition.
This all reads to me now as coherent, convincing to the newcomer as well as the insider, inspirational and grounded. All the areas that detracted from this have vanished, and it was a joy to move through the journey you set up.
Small editing points:
- there is a missing half sentence at the start of the Hurst quotation at the top of p.4 which I think might help the sense. The quotation seemed not quite complete.
- a stray 'to' at the end of the first Allender and Allender quotation on p.4 second para.
- on p. 6 - you use the verb 'distinguishes' which suggests a contrasts - Polanyi distinguishes personal knowledge from ---? So I wonder if there is a missing half, or perhaps another verb there?
- p. 10 last line of penultimate para. - relationally should be relational?
- p. 14 third line from end of top para. - clarify should be clarity?
I think this is an important paper to launch EJOLTS and make its ethical, philosophical and ideological position clear. It presents a position that will inspire readers to share - I like in particular your call to action in the final paragraph, encouraging your readers to be the next writers, as you encourage your students to be the next teachers. So yes, in all ways yes!
With love and thanks for this amazing learning process,