Creating My Own Living-Theory: An Autoethnographic-soulful Inquiry
I am uploading my article for open reviewing process. Would you please let me know if haven't rightly uploaded. As you know I was facing some problems while uploading the file. However, with you instruction and guidelines I finally uploaded it today. once again thank you so much!
Dear Sadruddin. Thank you for posting your paper. I am delighted to be acting as one of your reviewers. I hope to be able to post a response tomorrow. I am very much looking forward to doing so.
All the best, Moira
it is my pleasure to hear from you please.
with best regards
Hello, Sadruddin. It has been a real pleasure reading through your draft paper and commenting on it. I am enthralled by the detail you've offered of a comprehensive journey towards a more inclusive form of understanding about what you're doing as an educator. You show, very clearly, how you have gone from stage to stage in your gaining of new insights and what this means for your approach to your work.
Please do look at the annotations on the script itself, which deal with the following key areas, 1) The nature of a Living Theory account, 2) The nature of a single or joint authorship and 3) presentational features. I want to go into more detail about the first two of these below.
What is a living theory account?
It is clear that your paper deals with the stages of learning you have gone through. What I don't find convincing, however, from the point of view of a Living Theory account, is that you don't offer any other voices at all, not even anything you did or wrote from the times you are writing about. These notes may not exist, of course, in which case an explanation of the failure to provide primary as opposed to secondary evidence, needs to be made.
A Living Theory, as you clearly state at the beginning of your account, looks at one's own learning and the learning of others, as well as being set in a particular social context. You look very openly at your own learning, at least descriptively, but you don't offer the voices of any one else involved in that process. In other words, you don't show the effects on others of what you say you have learnt. Because learning is neither a linear, nor one-dimensional process, what can be produced to offer some sort of corroboration that it's happened, requires a Living Theorist to be creative in methods of data collection and analysis. In other words, ways need to be found to make any evidence of learning and influence more visible. I feel you don't do this. For example, you don't offer students' insights about the processes they were going through in terms of your claims to have learnt and improved something. Your verifications are presented entirely through the more traditional forms of evidence, i.e. theories by people about learning and influence, and not YOUR world or the world of your students.
One of the problems you may be facing is in terms of not having particular kinds of data - which of course cannot be produced after the event. You do claim that this is your own journey, and as such that is valid. If the kinds of data I am alluding to above do not exist, what is important is for your paper to reflect how far and in what ways a Living Theory account requires particular kinds of evidence, and what, then, perhaps, you are learning from this process of accounting - as you claim - for your growth in learning. Certainly this reviewing process itself might offer you a way in to seeing your paper as an account of how you are now accounting for your own learning. However, I do not want to presume and dictate what YOUR paper needs to be about. That's entirely your responsibility and right to determine. However, at this stage, I am saying that I cannot - yet - recommend your paper for publication without this important issue being dealt with.
2) The issue of joint authorship is just as important as the previous section's comments, but easier - I would suggest - to solve. I can find no indication that this is actually a joint paper at all. It seems to me to be entirely your own writing and responses to your own learning. That your supervisor and others have helped you, is of course clear. However, this doesn't confer joint-authorship. An acknowledgement of what Luitel has done to assist you would, as far as I understand it, be all that is required. If, however, you are saying that this is a joint paper, then a huge amount of work would need to be done. Indeed, you would have to resubmit it as a new paper, because it would transform all claims to knowledge and living theorising that exist at the moment. Luitel's voice is not in this present account as an individual rather than a theorist.
3) There are some typographical errors and formatting issues that need to be worked on.
I would like to conclude by saying that I have genuinely enjoyed reading this paper, because of its clarity around your own personal journey. If you can include details highlighted in 1) and 2) above, I would then be happy to recommend it for publication. I realise that this will require some judicious pruning in places, if you are going to interpolate the issues of appropriate triangulation, so that you don't exceed the word-limit.
I do hope you are not in any disappointed in my review. I hope, however, that as you are clearly someone who cares about the quality of his own learning, you will take the opportunity to see if my comments above are valid and how you might, then, make any amendments. Although I feel strongly about the issues of the nature of a Living Theory approach and the confusion I have about the paper's apparent joint-authorship, I am more than happy to enter into correspondence with you on this page about both these issues. Indeed, I think it's important that we do so, so that I can also be sure I am not missing something.
Wishing you all the best, Moira
Thanks indeed for your comments. I/we will get back to you soon by addressing the points you raised and resolving some of the confusions that you are talking about in your feedback. However, i enjoyed your critical comments that sound interesting.
with best regards
Once again thanks for your comments!
In this part of my reply I would like to focus on the first point that you have raised. However, all of these comments were really very engaging and thought provoking to make better sense of our learning and learning of others. Moira, I do agree with your views…‘learning is neither a linear, nor one-dimensional process’ it is rather a complex and multidimensional one in many ways. However, as you know this is an autoethnographic account of being and becoming a living theorist, my emphasis has been more on self to highlight, and yet the influence of my learning has been on sociocultural (colleagues) and socio-pedagogical others (student teachers).
Perhaps, you are right to say that other voices are not visible in this account (in this paper), however, these voices, in the thesis, do exist here and there that explain the influence of my learning on others. For example (see Chapter 5B at page 275) with one of my colleagues, Mr Tanqeed, there was a discussion going on a cup of tea… ‘In the meantime, few of our student teachers came to join us at the same table where we were. Mr Tanqeed … asked the students about their views regarding the changes in TLPs with use of CTs and their impact especially on the term papers which were going on at that time. One of the students said, ‘we are feeling some changes… but sir, why you don’t introduce some learning for fun communities in this university, and abolish this midterm and end semester exam head ach?’
Without waiting for our response to his questions, and addressing me, he continued, ‘You know sir, how much we enjoyed the learning when we were working on our previous activity of co-teaching for the non-graded purpose. And I am sure that every student throughout the life will not forget the way we learnt.’ I liked her appreciation. I asked, ‘did you really enjoy the activity? … ‘Yes, we really enjoyed … I asked, “what is your view regarding such learning for fun communities? Does it work well?’
One of my student teachers who was curiously hearing us from the left corner came near to us and said, ‘Well, let me share an idea first… sir there may be many ways, for example, is it not possible to give some unique tasks like developing/shooting a drama on a theme (that may cover the course topics) and perform that using different characters (students as stage actors, performers and teachers), and then use this performance for grading purpose based on every performer’ level of work at the end (Ali, 2015).’ He further explained, ‘In this way we will learn but with fun by performing and enjoying. I guess, such kind of activities can help us to create a community that is learning for fun’, he suggested…” (pp. 275-276). I guess, it would provide an evidence of the influence of my learning on others. However, it needs to add somewhere in this paper to make sense of this evidence if you think it make a sense.
Hi, Sadruddin. Thank you for your engaging response to my first idea about your draft paper. I would like to respond in particular to this point: "Perhaps, you are right to say that other voices are not visible in this account (in this paper)".
I don't see any significant substantiation of the claims you make about the quality of your own learning, which could be mediated through the voices and opinions of others. Like Sigrid in her response to your paper, I believe some examples from your data archive would show what you say is also what happened. That this evidence exists I don't doubt, but its presence in another document isn't helpful here. There needs to be substantiation of the claims you're making in this article, because this paper is all the reader sees. The text has to be able to inform a readership sufficiently from within itself, rather than relying for evidence on an external source, which might not be available to a reader. Such an evidential basis for your claims would then reveal a deeper understanding of the nature and quality of your own living-theory, as well as convincing a reader of the validity of your claims to have learnt something of educational value.
In the light of that, I wonder if you could look again through your data-archive (or Ph.D. text) for examples that perhaps can reflect how other people's responses seem to be showing you what you value in terms of what you are doing with them as an educator.
I am being tentative here in terms of what evidence might show an EJOLTS reader, and I think you need to be as well. Examples may indicate that something means a particular thing, but there can be multiple reasons for why people say and do things. You agreed above with the idea that, ‘learning is neither a linear, nor one-dimensional process', therefore commenting on it is likely to be complex and sometimes contradictory. Thus, in order to make the claims as robust as possible, I think it would help to have several examples (sometimes more than one) at key points in the paper where you make a claim to know something, so that the reader could then begin to see a pattern that affirmed - or indeed refuted - the claims you're making. At the end of the paper I think it's important for a reader to be able to agree that there is a likelihood that the learning that you are claiming is being felt to a degree (at least) by others within whom the author is in an educative relationship.
If you have any queries about my response, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me, Sadruddin. I have learned that dialogue is likely to be more educational and stimulate deeper learning in oneself and others than a response to mandates (Laidlaw, 1994; 2015).
Laidlaw, M. (2015). How I am trying to lead the best possible life: towards a more helpful framing of my practice. Educational Journal of Living Theories 8(2), 32-75. Retrieved October 11, 2016 from http://ejolts.net/node/261
Laidlaw, M. (1994). The democratising potential of dialogical focus in an action research enquiry’. Educational Action Research, 2(3), 223-242.
Best wishes, Moira
Hi Sadruddin. Thank you for posting the next draft of your paper. I enjoyed reading it very much and feel that you have done much to answer the queries I had about the previous iteration. I particularly like the way you have dealt with the issues of providing the text with the voices of others. This reads now as a Living Theory text. #
There are, however, some outstanding issues, which would need to be resolved before I could recommend the paper without reservations.
1) The issue of authorship is decisive for me. If you could present the paper as a single authorship, then I could relate to it more clearly. At the moment this matter is confusing for me.
2) There are still some problems at times with expression, i.e. missing out definite and indefinite articles - see script for details. Some of the errors were pointed out last time and not amended this time. That needs careful editing before it can be recommended for publication.
3) The formatting style for EJOLTS is not always adhered to. This includes fonts (throughout), spacing of lines, positioning of quotations, acknowledgements pf sources (in Person communications, for example), headings, titles for tables, pictures, etc.. Again, these need to be presented accurately.
If all these issues are dealt with, then I would be happy to recommend this paper for publication in EJOLTS.
I attach the paper here with annotations.
All the best, Moira
Thank you so much for your appreciation for my learning and your input in terms of corrections and the comments for improving the paper. I do agree with the outstanding issues you have raised which will be address in the next draft. However, I really enjoyed the way you have guided me through your corrections and comments.
with best regards
Glad you are finding the process helpful. It's certainly very interesting reading through your paper and the comments that come from it. Good luck with the final version.
Best wishes, Moira
I am one of your reviewers and I am looking forward to reading your draft paper in the next few days. I am intrigued by your use of the word "soulful" in your title.
I hope you would enable me with your constructive feedback at the paper submitted.
with best regards Sadruddin
I really enjoyed reading your paper. Here is my feedback on the first draft:
I appreciate the narrative of your journey from acceptance of an informative model of education to a transformative model in Pakistan. I find your auto biographical critical reflection on your acceptance of an informing role (P14) very interesting but somewhat repetitive of what was said on pages 3-5. Similarly, your account of how you then adopted a reformist view on page 16 repeats much of what is said in your reflections on this view on page 6. The same goes for your account of the transformative approach. Perhaps, you could consider combining these sections to avoid repetition.
On page 5 you write, " I came to realize that there exists a living contradiction (Whitehead & Huxtable, 2016)". In a living theory approach this realisation is a key part in our journey. Although you state your values as ‘intention of doing good for others, humility for humanity, care of self and others with ecological consciousness, love and peace’, you don't fully explain how these values contradict the way you were operating in your various roles. For example, how was your value of ecological consciousness contradicting your actions at the time?
I am intrigued to know more about your values, where they have come from, how they have developed and in your section on transformative approaches how you are now living out those values as a transformative learner. I think a greater focus on your values and how they have underpinned your transformation as a learner would strengthen the account.
In my view two other additions would strengthen the paper. Firstly, evidence of your influence on the learning of others. As you rightly say, this is a key aspect of living educational theory, so it would strengthen your account if you could show evidence that others have been influenced by your change in approach as a leader/teacher/supervisor. Secondly, you credit Bal Chandra Luitel as co-author of the paper. In that case they need to make a contribution to the narrative that gives their perspective on this journey.
I hope this review helps Sadruddin. I look forward to discussing these points further with you and to seeing further drafts.
I am also on your review team, and I have now read your interesting draft. I love the way you bring poetics into the writing. You are experimenting with the academic writing style. Thank you for that!
You write about your journey as a PhD-student, changing your view on education/ teacher education from reproducing a practice you were brought up in, to seeing the need for reforms and change into a more student centered, transformative teaching practice. This is interesting and your project seems very important. But as Moira has pointed out, there is no evidence to the change and your influence in other’s learning.
Your study states that you have moved from an informing view – disseminating knowledge – into a transformative view. Yet, you state that the purpose of this paper is to INFORM self and others. This sounds a bit paradoxical to me. Maybe you could look again at the purpose of the paper? This might also give some implications for how you write about the process? I wonder if you could consider choosing parts of your journey and explore it more in depth, rather than try to cover all the aspects? This may not be what you want to do, but there are a number of places where I have noted ‘how’, and ‘like what’ where there are no explanations. For instance, in page 12 you state that “… the inter-subjective, intra-subjective interior perspectives and theoretical perspectives together, enabled me to envision multiple possibilities in teacher education in the context of Paktistan.” It would be helpful with some concrete examples of what it was that inspired new ideas, and what new ideas. So I see a need to go in depth, at least with some exemplary aspects.
At the end of your paper, you show us you are envisioning a new teacher education in Paktistan. As much as I like your suggestions, I wonder how you have envisioned this taking place. Surely this need to be carried out in collaboration with colleagues and authorities?
I wish you would simplify your language a bit, as it is sometimes hard for me fully to comprehend the text. English is not my first language, and the terminology from your field is complex. For instance I have problems following this from page 2: “Born and nurtured in a princely state with very limited view of education, experiencing such resource constraint educational institutions and societies, and playing such roles of polyvocal characters of the lifeworlds (Luitel, 2009; Pithouse-Morgan & Samaras, 2015), in one way or another, made me realize the joys and cries of ‘complex undetached-fluid-self and beyond’ (Qutoshi, 2015, p.3).”
There are further a number of places where you put a slash between words, and brackets, in a way I don’t understand, one example from page 2 is: …. should keep in your mind is that developing awareness with semi(non)/fictive storying and writing critical reflections about past and present praxis….
A number of the references in the text are not in the reference list.
I look forward to reading a new draft, and discussing with you along with the rest of the review team!
All the best
Thank you very much for your appreciation and suggestions in your feedback as my 3rd reviewer!
I will address the issues of evidences of my learning and learning of others (which Moira and Mark have also mentioned) in addition to other issues that you have raised by looking at my first draft. I hope you will see improvements in the light of your feedback/s in my revised draft soon after i update my first draft.
Sigrid, I will also try my best to make simple statements as you have identified. However, in the context of our world a princely state (a state governed by the king of Hunza- a unique place on earth, my birth place, who was all in all within his state of Hunza now a simple district- an administrative unit only) means a state within a State (Pakistan).
Similarly, in using semi(non)/fictive i tried to use dialectical logic. i mean to say my stories are semi fictive, non fictive and fictive. Like wise, ‘complex undetached-fluid-self and beyond’ (Qutoshi, 2015, p.3)" means self is not something what is simply looking from outward (as a person) and is what it seems an individual only rather it is the self (with multiple identities from within interior and exterior) and it is part of sociocultual others. it is a complex set of multiple selves that is composed of and/or a mixture of (and influenced from sociocultural others) other people to whom i am living...
with best regards
the explanaitons you give here are wonderful, and it may be possible to write it in the paper. That would be very helpful for me at least. I am very much looking forward to your next draft.
All the best,
Hi Moira, Mark and Sigrid,
Once again many thanks for such a discourse/engagement that enabled me to work on it for some improvement.
Today i came with the second draft of the paper (attached). I hope you would feel better version of the first one. I tried to address the issues you have raised in your respective feedback/s. However, there would be many things that i could not address for one or the other reasons (i.e., the issue of co-authorship that still this time me and my co-author could not get chance to discuss at this matter...). I hope you would look at it (for rest of the issues) and share your views to make better sense of my journey.
with best regards and
Thanks for uploading the second draft of your paper which I feel is a considerable improvement on the first. By including the voices of some of your students and student teachers you provide evidence for the culturally disempowering nature of teacher education in Pakistan and their preference for a more transformative educational paradigm. Pp4-5.
However, whilst there is plenty of evidence of how your actions and reflections have made a difference to yourself and of your own key learning points, I still feel that there is a need for some more evidence from your students and student teachers. When you come to engage with a reformist and then transformative approach Pp14 - 16 the account would be strengthened by evidence of how your actions influenced others. For example on page 15, you say: "This approach to different ways of knowing, to some extent, created an environment to encourage student teachers to think about nonconventional ways to research paradigms other than post/positivism" and "I came to know that using a collaborative technique to engage stakeholders in Whole School Improvement Plan helped me to receive their support by involving them in matters of school improvement" (Page 15). I want to know on what basis you can make these claims. What evidence do you have that your student teachers thought about nonconventional research paradigms? How did you come to know that using a collaborative approach helped you receive stakeholders support? I would like you to share more of your evidence with the readers of the article.
I also agree with Moira on her insistence on resolving the co-authorship issue and on the need for grammatical and formatting improvements.
I do hope that you can make these changes as I have enjoyed reading the article and I think that it brings a fresh perspective on education in a Pakistani context.
Thanks for your feedback that really helped me to add more evidences, I revisited the areas where i could add more voices to support my claims. Mark, you have rightly identified as 'This approach to different ways of knowing, to
some extent, created an environment to encourage student teachers to think
about nonconventional ways to research paradigms other than post/positivism'. There are many evidences which i have added here and there in my narratives such as one of our colleagues Ms Butterfly was
reflecting upon her own learning through using a mixed method approach to
research.... To her, using such a nonconventional approach to research in the context
of TU was something interesting that opened new ways to research/knowing for her.
Likewise, 'I came to know that using a collaborative technique to engage stakeholders
in Whole School Improvement Plan helped me to receive their support by
involving them in matters of school improvement.' For
example, in one of my narratives I talked about how I involved parent’ representatives to work with other parents to help the
children who were habitual late comers and remained absent from school frequently.
Similarly, I motivated school managing committee to involve community leaders
for playing their key role in generating resources for the school. However, it is not possible to come with all those evidences in detail which i have presented in my thesis for this paper...
I hope this can address your views.
with best regards
Thanks for addressing the issues that I raised in my review. I understand that you cannot include lengthy accounts of evidence to support your claims in the paper but I do think that the reader needs to know on what basis you are making such claims, so your inclusion of evidence is very helpful. I understand the article is nearing completion and I am pleased that you have persisted with it and I look forward to reading the final version.
Thanks for your email. Yes i realized that some evidences became very lengthy especially the letter genre that i reduced as i could do it without losing its essence. I am working on all the issues you including Sigrid and Moira have raised.
I hope this makes sense of how a writer/living theorist can improve his/her account. I really appreciate and acknowledge your (reviewers) efforts and contributions in enabling me to improve my learning through such kind of engagements.
with best regards
I have enjoyed reading your new and much improved draft! It is moving to read about the deep changes in yourself and the way you conduct your various roles in teacher-education. I agree with Mark that the paper needs another round of proofreading editing. I also believe that the paper would become even better had you removed some more repetitions.
I love the letter you have included. To me, that letter shows a very open colleague relationship. However, as it is a long peace of raw-data it would be indented (is that how you say that in English? J). I wonder too if you really need the whole letter to make your point.
I will repeat a point I also raised last time. As much as I appreciate your vision for a changed teacher education, I really do not think it is possible to make such changes on your own. Could you possible include a short reflection on how such change will also need to be a collaborative act?
When it comes to the question of co-authorship, I think it is possible to write in the beginning that the I in the article is you - the first author, and then explain the nature of the contribution of the second author. I suppose he has influenced your learning and hence is part of your very interesting journey. I realize that the opinions on this matter differs, but this is my opinion.
Wishing you good luck with finalizing your paper!
All the best
Thanks for your views. Here i would like to respond at your opinion regarding influence of learning from my mentor in my transformative journey.
Sigrid, as I have adopted a confessional approach to writing stories of my lived experiences along with a perspectival mode of writing throughout our paper. Perhaps, this approach encouraged me to acknowledge my past and present and the role of ‘Others’ who play a vital role in making sense of such kind of transformative journey. In this journey I began with a very traditional to reformative and then to a transformative phase and I acknowledged the influence of my mentor how I envision such a transformative teacher education for my country.
I do agree with your view ‘I really do not think it is possible to make such changes on your own. Could you possible include a short reflection on how such change will also need to be a collaborative act? When it comes to the question of co-authorship’ that the coauthor of this journey has a profound influence on me as his doctoral student. Thus the contribution of his learning has been part and parcel of my learning as an influence. I must confess that whatever I am today as a transformative teacher educator is because of the influence of my supervisor and coauthor of this paper. So, ‘We’ became ‘I’ here and I cannot ignore this tremendous influence of ‘I’ as ‘We’. I guess, this makes a sense in such kind of living theory account/s according to Jack Whithead’ view.
I hope this makes a sense.