Dear Lesley and Liz,
Thank you Lesley for your detailed, meticulous and thought-provoking response to my draft. I have been working on it for the last week and feel I have addressed many (hopefully all) of the issues that you have raised.
Apologies, but I had submitted the draft of this paper (as appears above dated 18 March) before receiving your comments. I have now embedded my response to your reviewing comments into my newer version of the paper. However, Marie has advised that we should await commentary from all reviewers before submitting our reviewed versions, so I will hold on to my draft for now.
Liz, thank you for adding to Lesley's comments too.
You both asked about the difference between Living Theory and living theory. Quoting from the draft text of the Editorial Foreword of this forthcoming special edition of EJOLTs might bring a little clarity: ‘Living Educational Theory is the paradigm and living-educational-theory constitutes the individualised descriptions and explanations of the processes individuals engage in in order to improve their practice. Their papers are a contribution to Living Educational Theory’ (Laidlaw & Mellett, in process). Also, the term 'Living Educational Theory' is sometimes shortened to 'Living Theory' (Whitehead, 2018). I hope this helps.
Lesley, you say I have used the term ‘EJOLTs as an experience or an environment which might enhance learning and stimulate people, including myself, to be active agents in our own learning’ 7 times throughout the paper. You are right and I am delighted. I have now increased that to 8 :) The purpose of it is to indicate that on seven different occasions I have sought 'hard' evidence, and found it, to show that I am meeting the standards of judgement that I have established for myself and which show specifically that I am living in the direction of the values I hold. I believe that this is a form of rigour that few, if any, other forms of practitioner research embrace. It is a part of the rigour of Living Theory research that is important to me and it demonstrates its highly rigorous and robust nature. I think it is crucial to state these standards overtly and to show how one can provide evidence that we are meeting these standards them publicly. I am convinced that equating values with standards of judgement that have to be substantiated with evidence is important. It is a process that elevates the research from what might have been a self-serving navel gazing fairytale into a robust piece of research. I have changed the wording in places so as to not sound so repetitious - but I fervently hope the meaning of the words are still there for each of the eight occasions in which I believe I demonstrate the veracity and rigour of my work.
I will address your claim that my paper reads like a victory narrative to the best of my ability. I will work on it. I don't think my intention is ever to present a polished, smooth, fake narrative. My claim in this paper is very hesitant, questioning and incomplete... in fact my way of being is very hesitant, questioning and incomplete!
You also requested more clarity around my values of social justice and you were right. I believe I have articulated them with more clarity in this newer version of the paper.
So many thanks to you both! You have been helpful, supportive and encouraging and I believe my paper will be a stronger, more worthwhile paper as a result.
I'm looking forward to sharing the next draft with you very soon.