Open reviewing process
Learning who I am: The exploration of my guiding values through a Living Theory methodology - published June 19
Hello all, I am happy to submit this piece for review. As it states in my abstract, this manuscript follows my journey of self-discovery as I uncover and validate my core value of authentic connection with students through the lens of living-theory. I have thoroughly enjoyed working through this process and as I am new to the field, I look forward to receiving feedback from my review team. Thank you in advance for your time and thoughtful dedication to the development of my work.
(Edited by Marie Huxtable - original submission Tuesday, 26 February 2019, 12:36 AM)
Hi Michelle. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your paper. I must say first how much I enjoyed it. I could identify with so much of what you wrote about the processes and learning with your students. There were quite a few points where I just said 'YES!' aloud during the reading. I felt a genuine connection with your ideas, struggles and clarity. I think what you're writing about really matters and is highly educational. And I love the videos. They are clearly relating to the values you're writing about.
I've gone through the paper twice. First reading for the overall scope and meanings, and then more painstakingly - and some might say in a more pernickety manner!
To summarise, before I am happy to recommend it for publication, there are a few things I'd like to suggest in terms of strengthening the paper as your living-theory. In no particular order:
1) I felt the paper needed to start with a greater sense of contextualisation for the reader. I felt a little lost in the opening pages, because you only offered me later details that would have helped at the beginning. I think there is a bit of a juble of paragraphs at the beginning. The way you've started the paper is more like a prologue than the first part of the main text. It's important, what you're writing at the beginning, but I'm not sure it's as powerful for the reader as it could be.
2) You make a few claims without evidence. See script for details. This links with the lack at times of engagement with the ideas of others and the brevity of the References list at the end. I've made several suggestions. Of course, you can take my particular suggestions with a pinch of salt, but I think the point stands about the need for a greater contextualisation through the ideas of others.
3) The abstract is very short indeed, and not, to my mind, sufficient for the reader to extract the main ideas from. Its brevity isn't simply a matter of word-count either, it's borne out by the fact that you don't go into any detail about some issues, for example, power - something that ties to 1) above. Power, as far as I understand it from your paper, emerges as a significant dimension of your discussions around the issues you are presenting. I also think Power needs to be a keyword after the abstract.
4) There are some issues of formal presentation that need addressing. I've noted them in the Comments on the attached.
I hope you find these comments constructive, Michelle. Don't hesitate to ask any questions (on this thread) about anything I haven't been clear about. I am attaching a paper I am recommending with these comments and the annotated paper as well, but in a connected thread as it won't allow me to upload two files to one posting.
All the best,
Yamamoto's article promised above!
Thank you so much Moira for your thoughtful suggestions, I look forward to working on revisions. Do you mind reattaching the document with your comments? When I download it, nothing appears on the document. Thank you!
I have read your paper and really enjoyed it. It is clear and comprehensible to the reader. It flows along smoothly and there is a sense of unity and wholeness from beginning to end.
I like the focus on your values, not just as ideals held in abstraction, but as lived out in your practice and permeating all areas of your work. You mention the feeling of vulnerability when you first opened up your practice to scrutiny. This is a common experience for many action researchers when they begin to reflect critically on their practice.
You have provided evidence of the connections that you have forged with your students, and of your efforts to create spaces where students felt able to take risks and ask questions. You have shown how you demonstrated a sense of caring for your students and how you developed authentic relationships with them.
What I felt was missing from the paper was a sense of context, which Moira referred to also. I did not have a clear picture of when, where or how the action took place. It would be good, therefore, if you could situate your research in space and time.
You mentioned hierarchical issues that I feel could have been developed further and perhaps could include a discussion of hegemonic structures in educational contexts. Also, in the mention of knowledge, the relationship between power and knowledge could be explored.
There were very few references throughout the paper. Those used were mainly on living theory research, which is fine, but it would have been good to have a few others in the interest of balance. For example, if you decided to discuss hegemony, power and knowledge, you could reference these concepts.
I hope you find these comments helpful, Michelle, and I look forward to your next draft.
Bernie, thank you so much for your kind words and suggestions. It is wonderful to hear that my values are being authentically and accurately transmitted in my work. I also appreciate how your feedback works together with Moira's, I can see how building up those pieces of the paper will strengthen the end product and create deeper dimension. I look forward to posting a new draft in the upcoming days. Thank you again!
Hi Michelle. Sorry about that. I don't know what happened there. See new dated annotated paper above. Do let me know if anything is amiss with this one!
All the best,
Hi Michelle, Thank you for submitting your paper which I enjoyed. I too would emphasise a bit more work on your context; and I have things to say below on your rather sketchy literature base.
This is an interesting piece about a personal journey from teacher as instructor to teacher as co-learner. It drawers on a teaching career which has promoted deep learning by discussion, dialogue and relationship. For this I commend it. There is an interesting line “experience the sense of wholeness and peace that comes with aligning your practice to your living-educational theory”. Cognitive dissonance is anything but wholeness and peace, being a living contradiction, someone who acts out values they do not hold.
A word often used is ‘authentic’. It seems to me that this needs unpacking. Its use is intended to be wholesome, but an unwholesome character can live out their unpleasant values authentically to them. It seems to me that wholesome attitudes and values promote justice, fairness, respect and dialogue, and this ought to be part of the diagnostic discussion. ‘Authentic’ as ‘true to one’s values’ makes no comment on whether those values are helpful or harmful.
You make a good stab at describing life reflection as a journey, with a beginning, middle and a future. Your ideal teacher offers you an excellent model of love, care, encouragement and relationship. You are lucky. I have reflected on my own primary, secondary and professional learning and have no such wholesome role models. There might be a tendency to feel one has to live up to the unwholesome role models, often over authoritarian, that governed one’s early life experience.
I value the emphasis on validation, since it is important that an autobiographical record is not wholly subjective. Listening to a range of voices (dialogue) is an important aspect which keeps one’s feet on firm ground. Grounding philosophy on Nel Noddings and bell hooks seemed to me a good approach, but there are several substantial works by Noddings that would have been useful to explore beyond the brief summary article cited. Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks equally deserved a deeper treatment.You could have drawn on many other authors and it may be helpful to explain why you settled on this brief list you have used
I hope that you have time to address some of these points before publication. Stephen
Dr Stephen Bigger
Stephen, thank you so much for your review, I appreciate the time you dedicated to reading my work. I have already begun to build out a more significant section of literature and I look forward to sharing a revision along with some of my responses to the feedback in the next week. Thank you again, this has prompted some great reflection and thinking about how to further the development of this piece.
Hello Moira, Stephen, and Bernie -
Thank you again for your thoughtful (and timely!) reviews of my manuscript, I truly appreciate your feedback and have had a wonderful week thinking and writing. I am attaching the latest revision of my piece and hope that the responses below highlight where I have expanded my writing as well as where I may still have questions. You'll see some of the following in this revision:
- Expanded abstract to capture the process I engaged in, I was unsure about including theory and in-text citations in the abstract as well. I certainly can and think it may provide some additional context, but would like to know your thoughts about this.
- Reorganized and expanded introduction - Thank you Moira for the advice and rearranging paragraphs, great suggestion! I have added more context here as well to provide the reader with more information about who I am as well as what led to this point.
- Significantly expanded theory section - Thank you all for your thoughts on this section, it was important for me to go back to the original writing and really think about those connections after spending so much time outlining my own living-educational-theory.
- Through my writing, I felt a deeper connection to the ideas of caring, connection (outlining what I mean by authentic), and dialogue. I felt the power issues come up when I discussed my own position within academia so I tried to highlight them more in that area using Rochelle Brock's work as opposed to within the teacher-student paradigm. I felt that was more true to who I was and I hope that it reads that way.
- I did not choose to extensively discuss the role of technology and I hope by expanding the introductory contextual pieces that describe my background in the field it helps the reader to understand that this is, and has been, an integral part of my practice. I provided additional references as well for my work in this area.
- I have added some overview sentences about my validation process to give the reader a sense of what I did and why.
Thank you all for the great suggestions about additional readings, I enjoyed reading some new pieces! I look forward to your feedback.
Dear Michelle. It's a real delight to read your second submission. I like the way you have expanded the Abstract and reorganised the contextualisation. For me it makes the whole paper more accessible. I see you have not added 'Power' to the keywords after the Abtract, but that is no longer a problem for me, as I find the whole paper more coherent now.
I think you are very nearly there now, Michelle, as far as I am concerned. There are, however, a few places that you need to attend to in terms of the presentation in places, but nothing major at all. I have signaled where these are in the attached.
A lovely piece of writing, Michelle. Very close now!
With warmest regards,
Having read the second iteration of your paper, I am impressed by the changes you have made. It reads like a scholarly piece of writing now, and you have managed to make changes without losing the lovely narrative framework for describing your personal experience.
I can now contextualise your research and have a sense of how you and your students collaborate and connect with one another in your action research project. You have incorporated more theoretical themes into your paper and this is reflected in the expanded references.
There are just a few minor editing bits that I have marked on the attached paper, Michelle, and then I would be happy to recommend publication.
Thank you so much Moira! I also felt that after the rewrite there were others keywords to add that captured some themes better than power, I am glad you see that as well. I will work on some of those edits and post a revision shortly, thank you again!
Hi Moira, I am attaching the latest revision, thank you so much for your support on this journey!
Dear Michelle. Thank you for attending to the points I raised in my last posting. I really love your paper and feel it is a significant contribution to Living Theory, as well as a very compelling account of your own educational development and that of the people you are working with.
I recommend this paper for publication in EJOLTS.
Warm regards, Moira
I have read your update with enjoyment. It is clear that you and your students have benefited from your period of reflection. As you say, you are in early stages of a lifetime study. Your emphasis on acting on values will help you here.I queried in my last comments your use of the word authentic but you haven’t rethought in any depth . I know everyone uses the word but it is so woolly. A certain narcissist not far from you thinks he is authentic; the Brexit brigade here think they are authentic. Progressives and fascists each claim to be authentic. Not many of us think we are inauthentic. To be honest I could only read your script by mentally crossing out or replacing the word authentic or authenticity – then the sentence usually made perfect sense. Details are outlined in the attached. Apart from this issue of wording, I am happy with your line of argument, and with your enthusiasm for the study
Thank you Stephen, I appreciate your feedback and did some thinking around the term authentic before this rewrite. I use the word authentic to capture my intention for connection with students and agree with some of your attached comments that the word genuine would also accomplish the same goal in places. I do feel, for me, that there is a difference between connection and authentic/genuine connection but would never want to turn a reader away from engaging with my living-educational-theory based on word choice. My goal is to capture what connection looks like when the approach is respectful and unassuming. I am able to move forward with a word like genuine in its place, but is this necessary? Thank you so much for your guidance, I truly appreciate it.
I find the word authentic means different things to different people. People do use it, as in authentic leadership but it is so woolly and there are usually better ways of expressing the point. (I do know what you mean, but we have a duty to be critically sharp. Freire used it to contrast with traditional transmissional attitudes in the 1960s. You use it to underline respectful learning relationship and my suggestion was you use labels that say what you mean. I went through every mention of authentic in your text and offered suggestions about how clear speaking would help your argument. 'Genuine' was one, 'respectful learning relationships' another. 'Deeply felt', 'compassionate', 'with empathy' to echo some of the other comments you make. I know we get wedded to words that we think express what we mean, especially when others are using them. But we have to resist intellectual laziness and think through issues critically. Another PhD grad and I went through this in critiquing (and rejecting) the term 'authentic leadership' for reasons I have highlighted here. In my attachment I make detailed suggestions which replace the term 'authentic' and my suggestion is just replace the word - but it is your paper. Hope this helps, Stephen
Thank you Stephen, this definitely helps and I appreciate the effort you have gone through to suggest word choice changes. I will go back through my paper and examine each one for changes or clarity. Will post a new version in the next day or so. Again, I appreciate the time you have taken with my work.
Have read it through again and am very pleased with the end results. By not using a formulaic term, you have been able to add nuance to your writing. One little thing, on page 16 after personal communication, the word authenticity could be replaced with 'my deeply held values'. Well done. Stephen
Stephen, I am attaching the latest revision. Thank you for your support through this process, initially I had a difficult time giving up the word "authentic" but I appreciate your mentoring and I agree it reads perfectly fine without it. Thank you again!
I think your paper reads really well now. I enjoyed it the first time I read it and was impressed with the connections and relationships you had forged with your students. The changes you have made since have ensured that it is a really good description and explanation of your living research. I have no hesitation in recommending it for publication.
Thank you so much Bernie, it was a pleasure to work with you!