Students, it’s nearly your call: on our way towards a living visual taxonomy of learning support interactions
I am really pleased that the Editorial Board has accepted my paper for review.
Please see below a version which includes images.
Thanks and best wishes
As required by the review process, I have spent the past few days reading your latest draft against the EJOLTS assessment criteria and also against my own evolving understanding of quality in Living Theory accounts. I hope that the comments in the attached table can act as a starting point for a conversation that will address the 'living' and 'writerly' aspects that I feel need to be strengthened.
This paper is important - as someone who had a 'scientific/positivist-flavoured' education (Chemistry), I can see the appeal of bringing structural insights to interactions that form the focus of your question "How do I improve this process of education here?" However, it is quite possible that, from your perspective, I have 'missed the point' - in that case, I am sure that we can still have a useful conversation that will be educational for both of us and will contribute to a strengthening of your paper.
- Peter http://ejolts.net/node/207
Thank you for your comments and for giving your time to read my draft. I am looking forward to the further developments ahead.
My maths ‘scientific/positivist-flavoured' values from the past have inevitably been copied into my present. I am bothered by my awareness that good axiomatic Mathematics (and Chemistry, if you agree?) is curious, has suffered ‘the loss of certainty' (Morris Kline) and is vulnerable, just like a quality living account. The sciences seem to present themselves as readerly disciplines when they are writerly.
Question: Your abstract (para. 2) states that: "A living theory based on my values and beliefs is created to explore the narrative in my educational life around heuristic." To what extent does this statement express the perspective of living-theory described as "... the unique embodied and ostensive expressions of meaning in explanations of an individual’s educational influence in learning" (http://ejolts.net/node/2200)?
My statement has been influenced by the disciplines approach. It could easily read: ‘a theoretical model based on axioms is created to interpret data’. ‘Your reframing “an exploration of the narrative in my educational life around heuristic generates a living-theory as a values-based explanation for my educational influences". brings the generation of the LET closer to my practice. Thank you.
Question: To what extent does this statement express the perspective of living-theory as described above? i.e. what's the difference and is it significant?
Yes, the second statement is more in-line with the Living Educational Theory and this difference is significant.
Question: Where on this Readerly-Writerly spectrum would you place your account? Is this location its optimal position or could it with advantage be moved?
My account is readerly and writerly. It is readerly when it presents a faits accomplis, a summation of living experiences, for example, the nine contextual regions (image 2). It is writerly when it asks the reader questions, for example, ‘but does this inner/outer matter to learning?’ (Page 8) and ‘and how risky was the intervention?’ (Page 10). This is dialectical engagement, but I think it would be desirable if it went further.
The purpose of this paper was to provide a framework that could be used to structure further useful engagement, but I don’t think this is reason enough not to aim to involve the reader more now. For example, how personal are my experiences of levels of heuristic? Some individuals may have experienced other levels. There are alternative geography’s the reader may wish to consider. Perhaps the reader could ask whether a visual taxonomy is suitable – could it be auditory, for example?
I understand that a living-theory researcher can incorporate insights from the literature into his or her own evolving understanding, but not reduced to just an analysis of those texts, so I am guilty. Correction of this would require me to revisit each case and to include a narrative.
I’m not clear about the relevance of your remark on the term 'living-theory' being more an adjective than a substantive noun.
I understand that the next draft should critically incorporate findings from the literature further into the account.
With best wishes
I have now read – and re-read – your paper several times. There are several reasons for this: first, I wanted to ensure that I had listened to your own voice before paying attention to my own; second I needed to be sure that I had fully understood a text that was not always clear to me, particularly in your use of language and cross-referencing; and third I wanted to find a way to share my questions in a way that would be both engaging and catalytic. As a Living Theory researcher, and a one-to-one development practitioner, I offer a review that aims to evidence my own values of co-creation and mutual learning, and I invite you to engage with the feedback with that in mind.
Thank you for bringing in your two different perspectives. My reply has taken a few days to settle down in my mind, but I feel that the below now makes enough sense to share. I will try to consider your main question:-
‘What has been, what is, and what will continue to be, the ‘student’s’ role in your learning, and how do you work with the power dynamic implicit in the learning relationship?’
here before responding in detail to each criteria point below.
The ‘student’s’ role in my learning is primed by my value elegance, in particular the aesthetic appeal of symmetry. This has contributed to my management, and rationalization, of any power dynamic implicit in the learning relationship. I believe that this elegance is important because it establishes an ethos of equal opportunity ‘for all’ to learn (humanitarianism). The symmetry of the conceptual framework shown in image 2 reminds me of these ‘ground rules’ on which the ‘student’s role in my learning is based. Anyone can feel that is remote. Students teach me through their responses.
I prefer student and tutor to have the same type of chair, have equal permissions to use the pen, calculator, speak, express feelings etc., and then like to work with the power dynamic in the learning relationship on a praxis by praxis, real time basis. So, I believe that power dynamic in the learning relationship is explicitly, and not implicitly, represented by praxes.
Since Pip lead me forwards to express my values more overtly, it has become my opinion that they are not disembodied from my practice, but firmly embedded in it. I think I must have been born with some of these values while others (for example, growth) seem to have developed from my early adolescence. I now understand more clearly that it was my value integrity that stopped me progressing my application to become a government statistician; and it was my value comfort that leads me now to prefer some toy praxes over others.
The mathematician in me dictates that once I have worked to establish my values (my axioms) there needs to be a period of settled certainty to allow me to build a theory, citing values and living experiences to support as needed.
Question: Do you have evidence you might include that could strengthen the ‘living’ nature?
Are the discussions on praxes using the framework, the conversation with the physical chemistry student and the reflection on my toy roadway ‘living’ in nature? I would like to invite readers to feed my work into theirs, and have a paper in draft with the working title ‘Negative feedback? I need to understand, not feel threatened! : putting my living educational theory to work.’ Could the ‘living’ nature be strengthened in subsequent works that attempt to apply the taxonomy?
Question: As you apply your taxonomy how do you both observe and reflect on what you – and the ‘other’ (ie the student) – continue to learn?
I observe by visually mapping theses, praxes and anti-theses onto the framework; and then reflect by asking what happened, or could have happened; and what sense I can make out of it. This process can be solitary or social, meaning that one or more students, service users or clients could join in or lead. I would call myself a ‘student’ here as well.
Question: is there a way you might show how these are integrated into a whole practice, in a way that evidences their development rather than simply their presentation? For me to engage totally I need to experience the relational nature of your work, to share those aspects of transformation that are both personal and collective, and potentially unique to your practice.
And, do you have a notion of co-creation?
I think concepts like, levels of knowhow, building up and knocking down are shown to be part of my whole practice; because I can cross reference them to direct observations and experiences. Is that what you mean?
There is room to substitute relational for hypothetical in, for example my answer to my own questions, for example, ‘further, if the student had stayed what could then have been achieved?’ (page 10).
Co-creation, in the strict sense, would mean that the framework resulted from a focus group discussion, which it did not. However, the work has been co-created with many students over many years, in the loose sense; because it has been these experiences that have lead me forwards to ask questions like ‘what is happening here?’
I have a strong notion of co-creation of concepts during lessons, especially with young children. Often is is sole creation by the children.
By ‘transcripts of utterances’, I mean a written record of what someone has spoken. I would take ‘andragogic’ to be the adult version of pedagogic.
Question: At what point does the ‘other’ also ask the question ‘How do I improve my (learning) practice?
This is symmetrical. My answer is that the ‘other’ asks the question ‘how do I improve my (learning) practice?’ following my praxis, just as I ask my question in response to their praxis.
Repeatedly asking this question is many formative opportunities for us both. A ‘summative’ opportunity could be brought about by opening a discussion on patterns and trends, and asking questions like ‘why does our work always follow ’into my unknown/ into your unknown’ 3rd Cycle, image 9?’
The title of my paper is ‘Students it’s nearly your call …’ an invitation to the ‘other’ to ask their own questions about their learning.
Comment: The paper would benefit from a final summary that explains how all aspects of your LET are integrated and evidenced.
Yes, I agree as the LET is only partially cross referenced to living standards of judgement.
I understand that the next draft should critically incorporate findings from the literature further into the account.
Thank you Jacqui for the comments here. I will pay attention to this when preparing the next draft.
Thanks and best wishes
I am sorry for this late response. I do not have a lot to add to what is already said, but yet I add a couple of comments. I am looking forward to reading your reviewed paper.
All the best
Thank you for your comments. Please, no problem about the delay. Thank you for making me aware of the work of Buber and challenging my thoughts. I will now try to answer each point in respect of each of the criterion.
I describe my values as axiomatic (my way of telling you that I intend to build on them) and consider them with a ‘settled certainty’ [Jacqui’s comment] which I believe is necessary before it would be possible to experience any living contradictions at all; there would be no surprises!
My values elegance and integrity would give me the energy to build up my LET, derived from a sequence of living contradictions.
You are right, the output from the student is the input to my response, and my output is the input to their response, so it is a cycle. I think you are saying that my scientific rationalism is over shadowing the valuable encounter between the I and You, Buber (1937) during the more readerly sections of my work. I am not sure, but when two individuals ‘happen’ to each other, ‘What Is Man?’, pp. 202-205), the ‘essential remainder which is common to them, but which reaches out beyond the special sphere’ may be the essence of some of my values, comfort, elegance etc. Do you think this is possible?
In the next iteration of the paper I will attempt to clarify and emphasise more examples of practice where my values are visible.
FIA has influenced my practice by making me aware of the relevance of elegant patterns of interactions created during the classroom teaching and tuition processes.
I agree that outer motivation could lead to inner motivation, over time, but my point would be that at any given point in time a students may be located at only one position on this continuum with respect to a given task.
The three levels of know how are discussed in the section ‘Levels of Know-how in myself’ on page 12 -13.
I am using the word ‘toy’ to mean made-up. Toy praxes are used to explore real student utterances like ‘shouldn’t the + be a -?’
Thank you for pointing these out, and I will do my best to make this good in the next iteration.
All very best wishes
Dear Peter, Jacqui and Sigrid,
Here is the next iteration of my paper. Most changes made are highlighted.
I look forward to further exploration with you, others, now.
Thank you, and all LOVE AND best wishes
In responding to your changes I want to express my appreciation of the way in which I now feel your text is 'living' - the curiosity and humour you claim are now present and the dialogic nature of your responses to my own challenges persuade me that this is an inclusive process of learning. However, I just want to share with you one question that still comes to mind when I read your text - could you 'polish' it a little more and so strengthen its ability to communicate?
All the best
Thank you for your support and for helping to make this version more of a 'living' text. I will pay attention to tying to strengthen its ability to communicate now - and I think this is a particular problem when describing images 3, 4 and 5?
All very best
First of all, apologies for being a bit 'out of the loop' at the moment due to having been away all last week and about to be away all next week. I have read the text with care and diligence but this written response is a bit 'off the top of my head' due to my being at home for just a couple of days before going away again. I thought it best to say something (in terms of 'Go' or 'No-go') now rather than in ten days' time.
First of all i must say that I found your latest text far more 'believable' as a personal account than the previous iteration, which I found contrived and with too much emphasis on quasi-theoretical abstractions. Also, I was drawn into the text as I read, rather than plodding on driven by a sense of duty as I did with the previous. For me, you put your finger on the relation of your writing (style, content and motivation) to your audience when you say (page 22):
"...Is setting out to establish a taxonomy, reminiscent of the hegemony of the disciplines approach of education ... perhaps something which a living theorist should not do? Somehow I feel myself drawn into this convention, perhaps due to my own schooling and maths – science background. Perhaps I am seeking reassurance that the Living Theory approach I have adopted is ‘fit for purpose’, a respected methodology? Perhaps I am thinking; my paper must be good if it produces graphs, models and tables that look like they have been taken from a scientific journal? Will this knowledge here ever be’ legitimated by universities’ ... and does that matter? ... Surely it is the validity of the knowledge proposed, ... that is important here, not the means by which it came about?"
The voice responding to these questions that I now hear is far more authentic, even if it may not be the most polished (as noted by Jacqui) at this stage. Certainly, there are jumps in the development that sometimes leave me casting about in the text looking for the bits that I feel are missing - but a staged copy edit with you firmly in the loop should address concerns about producing a final text that presents your ideas within a developmental and logical text that is free from any lacunas and ambiguity.
So - in short - I think that we now have an l-t text that is a positive contribution to LT. Moreover, its voice, perspective and subject-matter are distinctive. For me, the interesting bit is that you remain a mathematician and a scientist while striving to offer a living-theory account of your practice. All the main content is there but more work is required (but not the type of work that was needed to get the MS to its current state). I have reached the view that we should now proceed to the next stage.
Thank you for the positive feedback on my paper and for your speedy reply. It is good to know that you think it is more authentic now, and hopefully sitting further towards writerly on the writerly - readerly spectrum.
It is very useful to know that a reader other than myself finds inconsistencies in the text. The next job has to be to identify these discontinuities and to try to smooth them away. (I think I know where just some of them are!) Hopefully this can be attempted through a staged copy edit, as you say.
Very pleased to have been able to make a small contribution to LT in this way.
Again I am the last person to respond to your paper. I returned from Tanzania yesterday, after two weeks with little spare time - sorry for that. I very much appreciate your revised article, although I still struggle to understand it fully. Yet, I truly love the "menu" which concludes your ideas. When I read that, I know I know:-) Still, as I said, I do struggle to understand the full meaning of for example the knocking down process. I guess polishing the text a bit as suggested by the others might help. If it does not, I will just have to try harder:-) I like very much the way you have dealt with the former comments! I indicated that the technical terms you were using could overshadow the meaning of your practice, and I still find some traces of this in page 3 where you refer to Bloom. I believe that tutoring involves other essential qualities than the cognitive ones mentioned. Taking "an opportunity to delicately expose the student to snippets of mild age-appropriate torment and frustration; to help them grow" (p. 3), requires a connection with the other which enables you to evaluate what is appropriate exposure for this particular students' growth. I would think there is an emotional ability to connect and to be empathetic at play - is there not? And are you really gambling? To me, it sounds like you provide resistance which you truly believe will bring about change. You CARE. I think your language sometimes still conceals the value of respect underlying your stated values. Thank you for an interesting article; I recommend it published after some polishing. Good luck, Brian!
All the best,
Thank you for your message on return from Tanzania. I am very pleased that you appreciate my revised article, and will now try to address the struggles, and to make you feel I know I know :-) throughout.
I am very grateful for this chance to improve the work, and will hope to post the next iteration shortly for comments from all.
Your question ‘are you really gambling?’ has made me think. It seems like a gamble because I don’t know (only hope for) the outcome; but I will think more. When I reread I will think about respect.
Thank you Sigrid, and all best wishes
Dear Sigrid, Jacqui and Peter,
Please find a copy edited iteration that I hope improves the ability to communicate ideas. I have highlighted the changes for easy reference, and look forward to further comments to improve.
Thank you and all best wishes
I really appreciate how you have worked on your very interesting paper! ( In page 29 the word heuitic appears, i suppose this is a misspelling). I hope your menu will be a living menu many can use to improve their practice.
You have done a great job on including our statements to discuss your own statements in your paper.
Wishing you all the best,
Thank you for your encouragement and advice! This is the first paper I have written, so your support has been particularly valuable.
During the last few days I have still been working on the paper (!), checking references and trying to make the communication clearer. For example, the description of building up and knocking down (at the top of page 13). Also, I have found the misspelling on page 29.
I have been thinking about the title and feel ‘A five-cycle living visual taxonomy of learning interactions’ would be more direct and informative.
I have uploaded this new version now for you, Jacqui and Peter to see.
All very best wishes
Please find attached the 5th iteration. I think this is better. Any feedback very welcome.
All best wishes
Wow, Brian! I can't believe how much work you have done on this paper since our first 'introduction' in the community forum. It is obvious that you have learned heaps from your reviewers, and I love the way you have (a) incorporated responses to their advice, and (b) expanded the more 'structured, diagrammatic' aspects of your paper. I think it is much easier to follow now. I particularly like your use of subheadings in the form of questions, quotations etc. that I personally found engaging and stimulating. The range of possibilities for future development that you indicate at the end of the paper is impressive also.
Obviously, I am not making decisions about publication at this point (just popped in to see how you were getting on!) but congratulations on having the humility to stick with several iterations and I wish you all the best.
Thanks Pip, I have learnt heaps from the reviewers and heaps from you as well! Iteration number 6 is attached. It has a reworded abstract, missing page number's on references found etc.
Please find attached my 7th iteration.
this time, I have not read your paper as thoroughly as before, but I find it very interesting and worthy of publishing! I have only one minor point to make, to your abstract. Towards the end, you say " were then suggested" - it was your suggestion, was it not? (Passive). Last week when I was in a guiding session with a student teacher, I found myself thinking that we were knocking down and build up :-) Student was very pleased and expressed what he now knew! An analytical tool. I don't know if we could have used it to choose a strategy, but it helped to make conscious what had been going on. Thank you :-)
All the best,
thank you very much indeed for believing my paper is worthy of publishing! I am also excited by your observations on knocking down and building up.
Thank you Sigrid. I have written the third paragraph of the abstract in the first person, as below.
'I then considered the application of my LET to other domains, for example, confidence; and to power dynamics, autism support, student engagement, external influences, understanding negative feedback, and remoteness in heuristics. '
All the best,
1. Abstract (as the Introduction) should be in the present tense.
2. Avoid contractions - I am not I'm
3. Unqualified numbers in the running text: one to nine spelt out; 10 onwards as numerals.
4. et al. italicised
According to Dreyfus and Dreyfus (see attached summary diagram), the expert engages in holistic and intuitive judgements. The competent performer is analytical and rational. Describing competence is fairly straightforward in terms of behavioural outcomes and is the current fetish of managerialism. I imagine that you work as an expert in your role as tutor. Carrying out a similar analysis to describe the behaviour of an expert is much more problematic. To my mind, you have developed here a system that attempts to describe expert behaviour as you develops the processes that generate your living educational theory. I cannot claim to fully comprehend the implications of your more complex representational diagrams but I think this work pushes boundaries. For me, the perspective you have adopted is implicit where you say (page 2 ) "… LET is a vehicle for becoming more involved in the world around me." You did not say "… LET is a vehicle for becoming more involved with the world around me." I think you have managed to be on the inside and the outside at once.
With final tidying of grammar and punctuation and some clarifications as pointed out by others, I think that your paper is ready for publication.
Thank you. I have addressed the small points, although there are still mixed tenses in the introduction.
I was very interested to read your on-the-inside-and-the-outside observation! You have made me think more about the process- and that is good. (please see highlighted text).
Perhaps 'expert' is a limiting concept - something that no one can reach? Being called an expert makes me feel exposed- as someone who always knows, when they definitely don't. I think what you said could lead to further study on the quality of teaching and learning, and perhaps to more trusting managers! (please see highlighted text).
I am really pleased that you believe my paper is almost ready for publication - a first for me, that has been made possible by the EJOLTs environment. Thank you.
I appreciate the way in which you have continued to develop your paper as each of us has expressed our reactions and questions. I realise now, as I read your latest iteration, that my questions about power and the role of the learner in the tutorial relationship are strongly formed by the perspective of my own coaching practice - fundamentally defined by the principles of unconditional regard for the 'client' and my 'alongside' role. Peter has now helped me understand that your perspective is formed from an 'expert' viewpoint, and reminds me that I should be wary of reading your paper without acknowledging this difference. And, of course, I must also acknowledge that my assumptions about a 'student' being a 'client' in the learning system are mine alone - they are not yours! Hence, when you responded to my question about power in the relationship I initially felt unheard, but now must assume that it simply did not have relevance to your LET as you do not share my perspective of the student being a 'client' in the system.
So, reviewing your paper with the EJOLTS criteria in mind I agree that, with some final proof-reading, it should be accepted for publication.
All the best
Thank you. I think you raise a very interesting question about how LETs relate. You say ‘I initially felt unheard, but now must assume that it simply did not have relevance to your LET as you do not share my perspective of the student being a ‘client’ in the system.’ Perhaps comparing and contrasting LETs in this way is just as important, to the process of knowledge seeking, as us growing our own? (please see addition to text highlighted)
Our LETs may be more similar than you think. I could have used your term ‘alongside role’ myself when describing my own practice, but I am wondering ‘does this term have the same meaning in our respective heads?’ I feel titles such as ‘client’, ‘customer’ etc. are behaviour types and attitudes which may be discovered as the one-to-one dynamic unfolds:-
‘I believe, you do, I learn, or;
you believe, I do, you learn.’
perhaps this is one way that our LETs differ, I’m not sure.
I am very pleased that you are agreeing my paper is almost ready for publication. It has all been a great experience, and one that I will never forget. Thank you Jacqui.
(Edited by Marie Huxtable - original submission Friday, 27 November 2015, 7:19 AM)