Gumede & Mellett: Forming a ‘We’ through a good-quality conversation Published June 19
Hello Jerome and Peter,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this paper and need to let it sit with me for a few days before I read it again and provide more feedback.
I have highlighted a few sections in your paper (see attached) that I think need more detail, re-wording, and/or clarification. I also highlighted a few minor errors.
I think what is unique and significant is that you made the collaboration process more explicit--this is very valuable and you provide a living example of I/We. I especially appreciated when you added excerpts from your dialogue to support your claims. As I was reading the dialogue, I felt invited into the process and was able to formulate my own ideas about the exchange. There was also an energy in the dialogue that enhances your paper. Perhaps more excerpts would improve the paper and capture more of the essence of your process (this way you are showing the reader not just telling the reader).
I wonder if your wise decision to narrow your focus should be revisited? Could you or should you do even more focusing/narrowing of your topic? Are you still trying to do too much? Should this maybe become a three-part paper (one a month)?
Again, I look forward to another read and will provide more feedback then. I just thought I'd share my first impression.
Love, hope, and joy,
Many thanks for your swift response Liz. Like you, I need to 'sit with it for a few days' before responding. Also, the conversation will be between the reviewers and two authors - Jerome and I will need to 'compare notes' before responding, even though we might feel that we have sufficient experience of each other from developing this paper to be able to speak for each other. I shall contact him now for his thoughts and then engage in some 'respectful editing' to start to address the points that you have raised.
We have been labouring under a huge restriction - the word count - so adding a large chunk of new material will require the removal of a corresponding chunk. As you say, there is sufficient subject-matter here for a whole series of papers. The material we generated that is not part of this paper did, however, contribute greatly to the process through which we formed our 'We'. It is necessary in this paper to give glimpses of these areas but there is not the space to set forth all that we covered. In the end, is there sufficient here for a reader to believe the claim in the title?
More later - Pete
I have just started to read your paper and I am very excited at the prospect. I've only read the summary and you have me hooked already! I will have a careful read and have something to share by next Tuesday. (Just so that you know I am responding).
Loving kindness Jase
Hi Jerome and Peter
This is both a fascinating and important paper for several reasons and I would recommend it for publication without the need for any further work or clarification. You have successfully managed to co-create a joint paper that embodies and exemplifies what it is that you are claiming, which is delightful.
I have decided to include my own sense-making highlights, notes (as comments and questions) and evidence of my engagement with your shared knowledge creation; as well as some of the ways by which this touches my own assumptions and bias (Gadamer).
Two will suffice. Firstly, I wondered if you felt that anything was potentially 'lost' in your successful intention to find and locate common ground (quite quickly)? I ask this as a genuine question because I am more familiar with a dialogical practice that tracks and maintains 'difference' within the right environment (akin to respect and your third-way) as a prior movement to co-creation. It sees difference as necessary conversational and emotional energy in these terms.
Finally, I sent my eldest son to one of the remaining Grammar schools in England to help ensure that he could get into a Russell group University. I believed that this UK Government policy was excellent because he could access an excellent standard of education irrespective of his background and simply on merit/ability. So your joint knowledge creation has been a challenge for me on a personal level. So thanks!
Loving kindness Jason.
This sounds like a fab plan to me.
Thank you for your patience in waiting for a response to the comments received from you earlier. Your two separate but joint authors have been engaged in many to-and-fro emails since you wrote. We hope that we have addressed the core arguments that you have put forward, even where we have not specifically addressed each and every single comment received.
Our approach to your feedback has been to restructure the paper with a very firm eye on the title, removing a fair amount of material extraneous to the core argument. We have then integrated responses to your individual comments that were not covered by the restructuring.
This is not the end of the process, where we, the authors expect you to rubber-stamp this revised version: there may be old problem-areas that remain and new ones that you feel need attention. Please 'start from scratch' and judge where our descriptions and explanation tell a convincing story - and where they do not.
We await your comments with interest . . .
Jerome and Pete
P.S. Only one attachment is allowed per posting here, so the two appendixes will each follow separately.
Appendix 1 attached.
Dear Jerome and Pete
Thanks for your latest paper and the time and effort to rework it. I enjoyed re-reading it and on this refreshed reading found it delightful in that through your co-writing process you were able to locate and establish common co-inquiry, points of similar narrative history, and in this process of looking back the emergence of shared embodied values. It is a fascinating thing that your co-inquiry grounded in your values enabled a change in your being(s); this shared sense of a shift from two separate 'I's to a 'We'.
For me this gives hope for the future of humanity. As you might be aware within the UK we are focussed on difference- political values- around Brexit. Your learning will be important for the healing of deep rifts. I have a sense that I'll be drawing on your insights in the near future as a fractured Nation looks to locate, find and indeed express and embody our National common values once again.
For these reasons (and that you've met the publishing criteria as far as I can tell) I would recommend your paper for publication.
Loving kindness Jase
Hi Jerome and Pete,
The new introduction hooked me immediately--well done! I know the revisions were a lot of work but I think you have generated a very valuable piece of writing that will continue to contribute to the flourishing of humanity for years to come, perhaps even generations.
You have achieved your objectives and more. There is a perfect balance of everything (excerpts from emails, literature support, examples from lived experiences, open questions, facts, policy...).
I was so engaged with every line, I did not stop to comment but feel like I became a part of the unfolding of the journey. I felt honoured and valued and invited into your process. This is remarkable.
You have made a significant contribution to Living Theory Research and I highly recommend this paper for publication.
There is one small editing requirement on page 16 just before section 7: "And, finally, you may feel wish..."
It was a true honour to be a part of your process. Thank you for the opportunity.
Love, hope, and joy,
PS Just curious, why didn't you try to have a video (Skype or another platform) conversation with each other? Should you ever want to carry on the conversation, I would be thrilled to take part in a group video discussion. Perhaps that could be the beginning of the data for answering the question of how you influenced social formations.
Many thanks for these comments Liz. Your P.S. also requires some thought. . . . and apologies to Jason for not acknowledging - my time management skills are fading with advancing time. I am away for a week and shall reply at length on my return.
Dear Jerome and Pete,
I am so enjoying the process of sharing in a small way, the journey as you craft your paper.
There is so much more clarity and engagement for me as a reader with the paper as it is now. I quite appreciate a lot of work has gone into the re-write. Whilst I can see all of the beauty of the paper, I have added some comments for you to consider. I say consider because this paper has to convey a meaning that is true to the foundations you see.
There are for me a couple of key comment, one around the 'constellation of methodologies' that Jack talks about and the second around engagement with literature on I and the movement to we.
My comments are given with a real sense of commitment and joy I have found through your work. I just think this really good paper could be great!
With best wishes,
Firstly can I say how much I enjoyed emerging myself in your paper and writing. Your focus on 'I' and 'we' is of personal interest to my research, I particularly like your title and it drew me in, wanting to find out more. I can really glimpse the huge task of forming the paper with two distinct voices and a life time of experiences to share and draw on.
I have added some tracked comments as I read the paper, just an easy way for me to feel as though I was starting a conversation with you both. Below are just a few general reflections:
1. Your paper covers some very big questions in education and I wonder if narrowing the focus a little more would enable you to explore some of these issues (from both perspectives) in more depth.
2. I was intrigued at the beginning where you introduce It I We. I am not sure what 'It' is. You explore 'we' in great depth, but do not explore the 'I' within the 'we', and what this means.
3. At points I felt the number of long quotes, one after the other often with only a very brief explanation or link, meant that i lost the thread of the point you were making.
4. At times you use terms and refer to papers that the reader may not be familiar with. In places a little more detail would help.
5. For a lot of the paper I was wondering what the values were that you shared and the shred influences and experiences that formulated them. I am really interested how these values influenced the creation of this paper and the future.
I hope my comments are useful to you and look forward to more conversations soon.
I had only 20 minutes this morning to look over your review before Jack and Marie arrived here for our usual Thursday morning coffee and chat. Needless to say, we talked about the reviewers' comments and what course of action Jerome and I might take to address them.
Speaking for myself, I think that your comments go to the heart of the ambiguities in the current draft and shine a light on the places where direction is obscure and the developmental thread loses its logical progression. Written from the point of view of a fresh pair of eyes, your comments confirm and give voice to the sense of disquiet about certain sections felt by us authors who have been on the inside of their writing for months and who have offered up their MS as being 'good enough for now'. The EJOLTs review process is such an important and integral part of the gestation and production of an LT paper.
I recorded this morning's conversation about the reviews received and shall transcribe the significant portions that suggest possible courses of action. I shall send this summary to Jerome over the weekend, together with some observations and questions about the current text. We shall then frame a response and amend the text and offer it back into the Review Space, together with a commentary on our reasoning. One significant conclusion from this morning's conversation was that the process of this review and the further 'We's that start to form through it , should become part of the paper (at least as an appendix).
Dear Pete and Jerome,
I am pleased you found my comments and thoughts helpful. From my perspective I am really excited by your paper and really looking forward to a 'good conversation' with you about it. My own research is so closely aligned to your own, as well as Marie and Jack's on i~we~i.
You inspired me to look at my own musings on 'i and we' almost as a written 'good conversation' to you after engaging with your paper. My tracked comments offered on your paper are my thinking and 'chat' with you through my reflections.
I just wondered whether you could develop further the point you make on page 8 regarding Jousse' work, where you talk about 'He then advocates for
an interface between orality and literacy' and the connections made between author and reader. For me this connects nicely with the quote you use on page 4 about the we- as in the connection between author and reader. Your idea of 'we' and 'good conversations' would link all of this together nicely if you offered space, perhaps in the Living Theory Wiki, where readers could engage with some of the questions you pose just before the conclusion.
I would certainly be excited by this possibility as in my research, it would extend the idea I and we to i~we~us, my focus.
You have brightened my day, thank you,