– Transcending colonising influences across cultural boundaries: A continuing journey of lifelong learning. - final submission accepted for publication December 2014
An attractive title and a good read. It's mostly all there - but when asked to employ the critical faculty at this draft stage, I always look at any academic paper in terms of its descriptions and its explanations and the relation between the two. In the case of this paper, my overall thought is that re-emphasis is required to strengthen the explanations that accompany the descriptions. The following notes are offered as possible places to start. I have attached a pdf version that is better formatted for reference.
Best wishes - Pete
Transcending Colonising Influences Across Cultural Boundaries: a continuing journey of lifelong learning.
N.B. An abstract is required.
With an eye on the title, my highlighter pen landed on the following, where:
1. The introduction states:
"... I am aware of the importance of focusing and sustaining educational conversations on transcending colonising influences across cultural boundaries, for improving professional practice and generating educational knowledge." (p1)
2. A practical context is given:
"... I embrace and research my understandings of the issues of managerial approaches to strategic planning in nurse education in Oman." (p.2)
"I contend that the stories of Omani nursing offers insights ..." (p.8)
3. A practical approach is stated:
"... A Western approach of combining two different qualitative methodological approaches, living theory action research (Whitehead 1989) and heuristics (Moustakas 1990), is used in this paper as a methodological framework within which I draw insights from action reflection cycles." (p.10)
Thus, I am prepared for "educational conversations" (1. above), situated in "nurse education in Oman" (2. above) from which the author is able to "draw insights from action reflection cycles" (3. above).
My interest from the point of view of living theory is attracted to the idea of insights being drawn from educational conversations within action reflection cycles (to paraphrase - I hope not to misrepresent - the above).
The section 'Living contradictions and my move to the Sultanate of Oman' includes the statement:
"... I claim that it [this paper] is a living account of love at work (Lohr, 2006), grounded in the passion of my compassion to teach and to serve in the fullest sense of service: to serve humanity with humble mindfulness. I claim this from the power and authority of my own being as I reflect on what I did, what I experienced, and the events that impacted on my research and my praxis. The findings from my classrooms in many different countries and my students' voices reached out to inform my learning and praxis." (p.18)
I do not hear student voices, other than via the references. Are these claims (p.18) satisfactorily validated through:
"... the power and authority of my own being as I reflect on what I did, what I experienced, and the events that impacted on my research and my praxis"?
Living theory may start with telling a story from the heart but its component descriptions and explanations have to be rigorously validated through appropriate clearly explicated standards of judgment that are acceptable to both author and readers. The title is Transcending Colonising Influences Across Cultural Boundaries: the Conclusion states:
"... Oman has developed a unique way of holding both strands, the old and the new, in an amazing web of co-existence ..."
In the journey between the two, I often find myself having to take the author's word for it.
Many thanks for all your insightful comments that will strengthen the account and bring the reader closer to the actual dynamics of the paper. From our conversations; I am wondering if the focus in sign posting the paper should be around the way we engage with multimedia papers? The media is not clearly articulated to the readers as being a foundational level of evidence. One that needs to be engaged with by the reader. I am hesitant to be proscriptive about what the reader shall see, which is why I used the metaphor of the window. I am conscious that I live a very different life to many people and that some of my thinking and values are not a good fit for many. I am hoping that people can engage with the visual story through their own filters without my telling them. Hope that makes sense?
I will flag up in the abstract that there is a need to engage with the visuals.. but I am not comfortable with this being too over emphasised. The spoken word is never the received word, as I ground my words in the values actions and emotions of my context in its living. I do take the position that I am what I am through the power and authority of my own being. It is a fundamental belief to be. I do not seek the approval of any one to be me; I have had a lifetime of people telling me who and what I should me. So I claim myself , offering values with transparency and love, but will not be changing them any time quickly as it cost to much to deconstruct the junk around what I was told I am, to what I know I am. I truly know that I do not know. This frees me from trying to be anything else other than myself.
This is the transparency of the account , it can be believed or disbelieved by the reader as is their right. The trust ability of the account lies in the relationship the narrative forms with the reader. The rigour of the account lies in the evidence of scholarship in Schon sense of a new form of scholarship.
The attraction I have always had to living education theory is through its generation in lived praxis is that the text, when authentic, is not a clear signed posted way of being, as all well know. It is chaotic.
I do not want the reader to enter the text thinking that they know me, or where I am going, rather I wish them to explore the process that allowed me to share my journey as a construction of a fluid sense of self and that I dedicate this self to the service of others, where ever it takes me. If this has not been able to conveyed in the media, then to my thinking, I have not achieved what I planned.
Is the reader safe within my text, yes I think so.. I have made every effort not to ambush them.
Is the reader comfortable, properly not? Should I make the reader comfortable? Definitely not.
What will the reader take away form my text? I have no idea. This is the paradox of trying to explore how to read living action research accounts as visual and textual narratives. But it is fun...smile.
Dear Je Kan
I have just read Jacqui's latest post in this thread and also re-read the other posts in the sequence. What strikes me overall is the inescapable difference of perspective between being inside the life of the author who creates an account of aspects of that life, and being on the outside as an 'engaged other'. As one of the latter in the case of your draft paper, and as a 'reviewer' in the context of EJOLTS, I must say that I concur at this stage broadly with the analysis offered by Jacqui - and I do agree that, in the name of accessibilty for the broad range of EJOLTS readers, there are more subject-areas here than sit happily together in a single paper.
Thus, my thought is that the way forward would be to distil from the current 10,000+ words a narrative that concentrates on the first part of your title "Transcending Colonising Influences Across Cultural Boundaries" - and tightens the focus down from the second part of the title "A continuing journey of lifelong learning" (my emphasis) that tries to condense an entire life into those words and so threatens to burst open the structure as a result. If that distillation can be achieved for the December issue, there will remain a large amount of material for one or more subsequent papers.
Third iteration posted on behalf of Je Kan
Dear Je Kan
In the spirit of supporting you in producing a paper that does justice to the depth of your insights, and the experiences you
are drawing from, I want to ensure that we both maintain the qualities of our mutual learning and ensure we support you in achieving an appropriate deadline. The new form of this paper
has deeper clarity, I am drawn into the inquiries of your first person research
and I find the language much more accessible. I sense you have done a
tremendous amount of work in revising this
paper and I must commend you for that. As a narrative of learning it is
immensely rich; and this is how you share your intent for writing the paper,
the concept of 'living narrative' occurring throughout. If I therefore 'assume'
the parameters by which I should evaluate as being those of a learning narrative then
I am happy to endorse your sharing it with the wider EJOLTS community.
However, I know I must also view it through an 'academic lens' and
recognise the value of Peter's comments when he probes for greater explanation
of meaning and methodological rigour. And so I find myself in the same
'living contradiction' or place of tension that I believe you yourself do - sharing
a journey that continues to unfold and re-form while also grounding the certainties and uncertainties
of 'knowing' in well-framed explanations.
I look forward to your responses to Peter's feedback, and know that you will share with us even more richness through this paper.
With best wishes
posted on behalf of Je Kan
Je Kan, I am now able to engage with the full flow of this text, and although still finding the central piece both complex and dense, I am able to say that I find this paper both engaging and challenging - engaging through the formation of a living narrative, and challenging as I constantly re-read to fully appreciate the methodological explanations. There are typos etc which will need to be addressed before publication (listed I hope helpfully in the attached document). Jacqui
Posted on behalf of Je Kan
.... the final copy of my paper responding to the valid and indent reviewers comments. I have learned a lot from process and thank all for the teacher
Dear Je Kan
There is so much embedded in your writing - I felt increasingly drawn in as I reached the narrative about your move to Oman and wondered at that point: am I reading two very different papers? Peter has expressed much of what I would have said about the content. So may I instead offer some comment on the text's presentation and form?
I would appreciate a structure that enable me to navigate alongside you, including an abstract to echo Peter. I have a sense that you have a deep narrative to share but I cannot always access it and am left wondering 'what is the role of the reader here?' I am so struck by two metaphors you use: the panes of glass and the 'whole kaleidoscope of myself' being caused to reshuffle. What if you were to use them much more, develop them to help us move with you - to accompany you as you explore the boundaries of your knowing, and move through the cycles of 'this is what I know, what I question, what is emerging...'
I am instinctively drawn to the concept of a 'living narrative', and do understand its inherent complexities - so well framed by the bracketing in the later pages - but for the first few pages I find myself wading blindly in the complexity itself! So, how might you help us both appreciate the un-knowing and help shine a light where we might follow you?
And I am curious: how is 'needing to write academically' potentially constraining what you write? How might the 'living' qualities of your form actually release more of your knowing? And how might this form actually help the reader share with you the 'fluid dynamics of perception'?
I look forward to your response.
Dear Jacqueline, It is a pleasure to hear from you after so long. I hope that this response finds you well and rested. I have responded to Peter and accept fully that there was no abstract. I will work on that asap.
I enjoyed that point that you felt that there were two papers , there are not! However, t there are interwove thread of the interconnectedness of narrative strands, woven together they form a dynamic web of wholeness. Shifting in its complexity, framing and re framing the boundaries and the fluid dynamic of my conscious understandings, hopes, loves and fears. The multimedia links were designed to provide another level of framing for the author to explore. . I see my life as lived in many different dimensions at the same time. I also am deeply conscious of my context in which I write I am required to write for an official, academic level of hierarchy, I am ground and have to operate within the cultural and legal boundaries of my contract. In many senses I am a bought product that has to produce an outcome on one level and this in many ways silence the voice that is bounded by lived experience. I came to Oman to be involved with exciting task of working with the development of a new Ministry of Health programme. Something that gives me the chances to use the academic training I was given in Bath in Teaching and research. However, I still need to understand the culture and the needs. I am deeply conscious of the possibility that I can colonise the students and it keeps me awake some times as I have to deal with many different educational models of a mix of sometimes conflicting values. I want to be true to my values of service but at the same time I cannot stop people from have the right to fall down . It is part of grounding and evolving them through your own values in experience. Tell students that this course of action is not always easy. Students may not realise they are taking life changing decisions as their choice do and will have consequences. Offering advice and having enough courage to hold a loving space that does not judge is the supreme challenge. What is not said can be as or more important as what is. Palmer's, the courage to teach, springs to mind.
Your question about what is the role of the reader is most interesting and links into my response to Peter. Are the roles of the reader and reviewer different? How should we inform the reader of how to read or engage with a multimedia account? I do not see the reader of having any role nor is the text written with reader roles in mind. Telling the story is the job of the story teller. I wish to share a story but have no expectations that story will be understood in its telling. I will need to meditate on your question more. This is why, as the years have moved on I have stopped writing as much as I used to. I asked myself; What is the point? Why do I write? Will it make me a better person.. Yes, if grounded in my reflections and actions where I recorded my changing and modifications my actions. Do I need to publish?? Huuuum , not so sure.
In respect to your last point. I hope I have answered that as much as I can in a public domain..smile.
Thanks for a truly thought provoking review. Looking forward to your reply.
Dear Je Kan
I have found your response to my comments deeply moving. Each time I re-read your writing I am struck by what is written between the lines. I have such a sense of your lifetime's learning journey, and the tensions you wrestle with now - and even wonder whether the timing is right for a revision of this paper?
I appreciate how you've worked on the opening, and feel that you've responded to the challenges I offered. And I'm interested that you say there is only one document here - and have to ask myself if I've been drawn too tightly into the complexity of your work.
I believe there are probably four very distinct streams of inquiry (this is simply my own interpretation of course), each of which could potentially be developed with the rigour of action research cycles that would not only engage us as readers but also evidence the voice of others who have both co-created the new knowing and helped in its evaluation. The four inquiry streams appear to be:
- how can I explore my own transforming values as they evolve and re-shape the way I live my life? (bracketing appears to be one way of including this voice)
- how do I embody these shifting values in my combined practice of practitioner/educator as they emerge from my multi-cultural experiences? (and enable others to join in the journey)
- how can I contribute to the development of a holistic model of care that integrates art, science, craft? (and draw on our collective awareness of the complexity of practitioner, researcher and patient values)
- how do the dynamics of global citizenship shape and impact my/your/our learning and practice? (and this includes the constraints on voice, action etc.)
You may disagree - but as I pick them out I am convinced that each is present as a living piece of action research in your work, yet I'm still not sure that I hear the clarity I need in the writing: the arcs of inquiry, the 'other' voices included in your research, the new 'knowing' (however fragile) emerging at each stage. I agree that it is complex - it's multi-level as well as being multi-cultural - and I have confidence that it's a complexity that you understand and navigate daily. I want to read about it, I want to hear your insights, and I want to work with the challenges it can offer me.
So, at this stage I would like to suggest that you stand back from the text, take time to re-connect with your purpose in writing, and then re-engage through the critical lens of practitioner and researcher as you help us make sense alongside you.
I hope this is helpful as I feel there is something so important sitting behind this paper.
With best wishes, Jacqui
Hi Je Kan - looking forward to seeing your paper revised with the reviewers responses in mind here as soon as you can, If you have a problem uploading send it to me and I will put it here - Marie
I have carried out a surface reading that did not attempt to analyse content in depth. Rather, I looked for the points at which my reading faltered due to my failure to grasp the meaning of a term, as follows:
"... I show that the complexities require an openness of praxis through the dissolving of boundaries on nursing scholarship and practice across borders." (p.1 Abstract) Not sure about meaning here.
"... at the same time I had an understanding of the fluid dynamics of space and non-space that presented an opportunity to embrace inclusional thinking (Rayner, 2003)" (p.3 Framing the Article) Need further explanation of "... fluid dynamics of space and non-space" than a simple reference to an entire paper.
"... My research includes an exploration of the implications of developing an Ubuntu way of seeing from South Africa (Charles, 2007) in health education (Wolvaardt, 2013)." (pp.2-3) This integration of "Ubuntu" in "health education" needs explication to clarifying these terms and the relationship between them in this context.
"...living-theory-methodologies" (p.4) I need more than a reference to understand the meaning of this term with respect to the preceding "living-educational-theories".
"... video clips intended to provide another layer of understanding outside that of textual representation." (p.4) The three links are not video clips in the usual sense of the term - they are visual presentations constructed by the author. As such, I am not convinced of the claim that follows: "...These video-clips constitute my fullest recorded expression of my inclusional pedagogy of the unique (Adler-Collins, 2013) to date." I can expand my thinking here if required.
"...It is not written in stone but is in fact an interphase of fluid dynamic boundaries of consciousness. (Adler-Collins, 2007)." (p.5) This term has not been used before - I need clarification beyond a reference to an entire paper.
Page 7 Methodologies and methods - what is an "energy-flowing" standard of judgement and "... energy-flowing values"?
"... I took Lewin's theory of tension (1946) and modified it..." (p.21) I need to have details of this theory to understand the text that follows.
P.S. Right at the start - "... Working and researching in the UK, Japan, Thailand, China and Oman,
I am aware of the importance of focusing and sustaining educational
conversations on transcending colonising influences across cultural
boundaries for improving professional practice and generating
educational knowledge." (p.2 Introduction) Very clear opening statement
of intent that powerfully engages my attention.