Close encounters with research participants and collaborators invariably involve more than formal meetings. We argue in this paper that for Living Educational Theory research to be enacted, vulnerability needs to be experienced, encountered and reflected upon as part of the research process. Our insights in this paper emerged from our work on equity and inclusion in higher education, and on the impacts of ‘aspiration-raising’ initiatives that have been promoted by universities and governments. In the midst of this work, it became apparent that our inquiry into the experiences of these students touched our own lives. It drew attention to points of vulnerability in ourselves as well as our participants. Together, we came to recognise the importance of the ‘living ‘I’ (Whitehead, 1989; McNiff & Whitehead, 2002) in our research because ‘I’ am a part of each of the stories told by our participants. ‘I’ am a part of the research and ‘I’ am part of the learning. ‘I’ am therefore enmeshed in ‘my’ relationship to the experiences of each of our participants. As researchers, each of us is also an ‘I’ who is culturally constructed, shaped by lived experience, and entangled in the contextually based stories and experiences of each other. Central to this was our desire to gain perspective on our embodied ontological values and commitments to living epistemological standards of critical judgment (Whitehead, 2005). Further, we sought to communicate this through explanations that account for transformations in our learning, the learning of others and the ‘education of social formations (Whitehead, 2005). Our involvement, in effect our learning in this process, encouraged us to map the learning inter-relationships and transformations we encountered.
We welcome your feedback on our paper.
David Wright, Susanne Gannon, Mohamed Moustakim and Dorian Stoilescu
(Edited by Marie Huxtable - original submission Wednesday, 22 November 2017, 11:24 PM)