Saturday, July 31, 2010

Introducing ARJ 8 (3). Hilary Bradbury-Huang.

Given that we have a new blog and a new issue (http://arj.sagepub.com), I will offer my editorial over the next few weeks as a conversation starter intended to invite you to the main event, i.e., the papers themselves in issue 8 (3). From there I invite your comments back to us, i.e., the community of action researchers - here on the blog. In other words we are seeking to get a little more interactive! Send posts to me directly at hilary@bradbury-huang.net. And yes we are working on linking to the issue more directly of course too!
In all the papers of issue 8 (3), I see the importance of creating mechanisms that encourage reflection both on our own practice and for our co-researchers. Self reflective practices are equally if differently relevant for work with boys in Australia (Weaver-Hightower), immigrants in Norway (Ataov, Brogger & Hildrum), and organization development experts (Huzzard, Ahlberg and Ekman). Feedback mechanisms that help develop self insight are not really the exotic extras that conventional social science would have us believe. They are crucial if we are to become aware of how our espoused values translate to actual impact with or upon others. What is shocking however is how often the very self reflective practices we espouse as central are simply abandoned given the press of action -- this is the finding of Volk's study.
I write this with a bit of a smile, because while it may be a burden to us all, it is probably also true that action researchers are called to be better human beings than the average. I don’t mean this in an obnoxious, self aggrandizing sense. I mean we need to be role models for being learning oriented, both with self and with others. At the same time we need also to plan for “evidence based” follow up studies and actually learn how our way of working is better, or not, than others. It may require years of work to see how an intervention pays dividends and how it compares with conventional intervention. Clearly issues of sustained funding are key - also a topic for future blogging among the global community!
Having just touched on a few of the upcoming articles in 8 (3) above, I will introduce each in more detail over the next few weeks in this 'voice of the editor' blogspot.  All the articles are at http://arj.sagepub.com/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Following up on the quarterly meeting of the board. Hilary Bradbury-Huang

The arrival bell sounded for each as we clambered onto the teleconference for our quarterly board meeting on July 21st (unfortunately, Lai fong Chiu couldn't make it). Ernie Stringer had literally just arrived back to his home in Australia from Poland--via Palau, via Perth. The final leg of his journey included a two day drive to his house in the outback. Wow, just hearing of Ernie's journey exhausted me - and I had just gotten up in LA. It also oddly comforted me. All of a sudden getting ready for my family’s move up the coast to Portland is no big deal! I have taken a new position as Professor of Management at Oregon's Health Sciences University. It portends much focus on issues of organizational change (that's my thing, I mean, content expertise). I also look forward to more engagement with the action researchers who go by the name of community based participatory researchers for health (CBPR).

Davydd Greenwood was just closing up his house (in La Mancha, Spain). Being an anthropologist by training, his house is also a budding museum on the Spanish Civil War and was near the site of much anarchist activity. Davydd, who sits on the ARJ subcommittee for special issues underlined the importance of detailed conversation with special guest editors to convey our overall kind of collegial orientation at the journal. Our intent with the journal is to always make sure that quality is maintained in all articles. Meghna Guhathakurta had recently survived mudslides while visiting communities of Burmese immigrants on the border with Bangladesh. Her work with them, in its proposal stages, will provide for community nurtured schooling for the children. Fingers crossed for the funding. Marianne Kristiansen came in on her cell phone from Jutland on the Northsea. She reported on a new special issue on power that she’ll lead with colleagues around the world, including the marvelous María Teresa Castillo Burguete from Cinvestav in Mexico. We are hopeful that our contacts in Asia and Africa can be put to good use here too, given our commitment to global perspectives in special issues. Patch (Patricia Gaya Wicks) signed off early as she is playing a role at her university in the research assessment exercises that increasingly dominate the attention of British researchers these days. And I use the term dominate advisedly. Mary Brydon Miller was sitting proud and rightly so, given all the work on the Special issue (action research and the arts) that is nearing its end. And of course her colleagues at UCinn are the folks behind this blog. Victor Friedman is completing his sabbatical (not that we noticed his absence at ARJ as he continued with board meetings and extensive reviewing throughout!). On the call, Victor took the time to lead us in our own reflection on practice. We focused most of our time on a conversation about working with reviewers and how to deal with the variation in quality among reviews. Formal minutes are also available. Our next board meeting is September 22 (and in fact I cannot make it). I will therefore ask that someone draft the agenda and act as chair.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dissent - Valerie Louis


Lately I have been thinking  about dissent.  I learned about dissent as a concept from my work with A Small Group, a civic engagement group, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The group practices a six conversation model.  The first is an invitation, the second is the possibility conversation, the third is the ownership conversation, and the fourth is dissent.  ASG says "If we cannot say "no" then our "yes" has no meaning" (A Small Group Website).  Dissent is seen as a way to clarify roles, build the possibilities and has the potential to lead to commitment and ownership.  I have been thinking about dissent because I recently said "no" to something most people would probably say "yes" to.  I have often found myself in situations where the group is saying yes and I am saying "wait a minute."  Often I have provided a viewpoint that has not been examined.  Other times, I have expressed dissent for personal reasons after much reflection.  It is not easy to voice dissent - though at ASG I have found it easier because it is accepted.  As action researchers, how do we experience dissent?  What happens when participants express dissent, either with ideas or with taking part in components or the whole of the research?  Do we welcome it and see it as part of the democratic process or do we express (again) why this research is important.  I know it is hard as a researcher to accept non-participation from participants. Maybe we can think of a way to lead participants that do dissent through a reflection that provides them an opportunity to express why they are dissenting - in a way that still allows for the dissent.  

Productive dissent is not outright/closed down negativity. And if it is, can we also welcome that? Dissent can lead to clarification of ideas, for group and individuals. It can lead to amazing possibilities and creation/change that is beyond what we can imagine.  After dissent, I can tell you what I can do and what I do commit to (the fifth conversation).  The sixth conversation is the gifts conversation - what others have given you through the process and dialogue.  Can we open ourselves up to see dissent as a gift instead of a problem? 

Citations:




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Centering on our Values and Strengthening the Core posted by Mary Brydon-Miller

I often use the metaphor of dance or yoga when I introduce the idea of using self-reflection in order to examine how our values inform our practice as action researchers. Both dance and yoga emphasize the importance of centering--drawing attention to the core muscles that support the body and finding a position of balance.  They also stress strengthening these core muscles in order to provide this balance and to allow the practitioner to move with grace, fluidity, and balance. When the core muscles are strong the body is able to respond to forces that would pull it out of balance and we are able to use our bodies in creative and unexpected ways. Just watch the dancers in Pilobolus if you want to see a remarkable example of the miraculous ways humans can use balance and strength to work together to create amazing art.



Or take a yoga class and feel how your body responds as you move through the poses in the Sun Salutation.


Just as strengthening the physical core allows us to move gracefully and prevents us from falling despite unexpected obstacles in our path, so strengthening our ethical core can provide us with stability and balance when our work as action researchers leads us into unpredictable dilemmas or conflicts—and as we all know expecting the unexpected is something every action researcher must learn to deal with.

So how do we go about building a strong ethical core? I encourage my students to start by articulating the values and principles that have the greatest meaning to them and by critically examining how they embody these values in their practice as action researchers.  If you value social justice, how does your practice reflect this principle? If you see yourself as a caring person and this aspect of your self-image is important to you, how do you embody caring in your interactions with others?

This past year the students in my action research course engaged in a first-person action research project focused on how their own value systems inform their practice. I’ve invited some of them to share their projects and what they learned through the first-person action research project in next week’s post.


The images included in this post were found through Creative Commons

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How much can action research “teach” ESL/EFL teaching? by Juanjuan Zhao

I’ve been following Larry Ferlazzo’s blog for a while. He is a prolifc blogger and an outstanding educator in teaching English as second/foreign language. He has his second book,English Language Learners:Teaching Strategies That Work published by Linworth Publishing in April, 2010. In the introduction, he explains parts of the “Organizing Cycle”:


Building Strong Relationship with Students

Accessing Prior Knowledge through Stories

Identifying and Mentoring Students’ Leadership Potential

Learning by Doing

Reflection

Do you think this cycle resembles something in action research? The first step makes me feel like the teacher is treating his or her students as community members if this is part of community-based participatory research. When I go on reading,I find that the first step is not only for relationship building, actually to help students reflect themselves and identify problems and frutrations they experiencence in learning a second language when the teachers have a closer relationship with their students. The exchange of stories and classroom conversations “involve an exchange of information, not an interview or a one-way presentation, and can result in the creation of a community of learners”(Ferlazzo).The role of teacher in this cycle resembles with that in action research.” Everyone in the class, including the official educator, can be a learner and a teacher”(Ferlazzo). Then there is the learning by doing which empwers students to learn and practice actively.It is the step to sovel problems by taking actions.“Helping students discover knowledge on their own through those experiences instead of telling them information creates even richer language (and life) learning opportunities”(Ferlazzo).

So these 5 steps looks like a perfect reflective process of progressive problem solving.

When The New York Times invited him as a guest speaker for his experience in working and helping immigrants to US whose first language is not English, he explains more about the power of personal stories to English language learners which can be found at http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/english-language-learners-and-the-power-of-personal-stories/ Again he talks about his five step teaching methodology to help ELLs master both content and language using “high-order” thinking skills .

I start wondering where his ideas and strategies from. When I searched for his background, I found that he spent the first twenty years of his career as a community organizer in California, often working with foreign-born populations.when he became a high school teacher six years ago, he realized that many of the strategies he used as an orgnizer translated easily into the classroom.

I belive that action research or community-based participatory research can bring many beneficial ideas to lagnuage teaching, specifically teaching a second or foreign language.My experience of taking a second language acquisition and teaching class makes me feel that there is not much action-oriented aspect from language learners as a collaborative group. Many educators are adopting educational action research process to their classrooms, but still many stick to the traditional language teaching method.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

-William Butler Yeats

Foreign or second language teacher should not just ‘fill up the pail’ by craming language information to students with the notion that English language learner are deficits. As Ferlazzo put it, they are great assets.



Ferlazzo, L. (2010, July 13). Book Reminders. Retrieved from http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/07/13/book-reminders/

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Psalm for the People of the Earth - Alan Wight

Praise the Gods and the Universes,
            Technological curiosity of radio signals 100,000,000 light years away,
Praise the stars and sun so near,
            Praise the galaxies and in-between interstellar spaces,
                        Praise the atoms, atums, and adams,
Praise it all with voices and violins,
                        With flutes, bongo beat-drums, and aboriginal didgeridoos,
Praise it with jazz, blues, symphonic orchestras, and hymnal moves,
           
Agape, Eros, and Amorous inclinations...
Astound us into thanks, prayer, homage, and humble movements.

Help us see, help us believe, help us weave healing ribbons of hope.
Wrap us in love so tight it hurts,
            Fill us with piety, and experiences of poverty so potent,
                        So purposeful and pointed that we give ourselves away.....

Help us listen to others to help them help themselves.
Help us tread lightly and think forward 7 generations to world to be.



Ernesto Cardenal’s Palsm 150: The Universe is his Sanctuary, have inspired these words.   May these thoughts echo my AR comrades’ call for our professional actions be in the service of others.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

DRAFT AGENDA: ARJ Associate Editors Board Meeting July 21. From Editor in Chief, Hilary.

This weeks blog shares the draft agenda for next week's ARJ Assoc. Ed Board meeting.
Thought on "future items" or additional new agenda items are welcome!


AGENDA
A. Check in (i.e., all are invited to share "where we each are" - geographically, professionally, emotionally...and anything else we want to share, especially as it related to ARJ).

a. Introduction of Cher Henricks, West Georgia.



B. Agenda Items for discussion and/or action



a. Review minutes from last call and whatever follow ups as needed

b. Update from the EIC desk

c. Social connectivity efforts (Facebook/blog): Mary, Meghna, Hilary

d. IRB and AR

e. Special Issues:

i. On working with Guest Editors for Special Issues: Davydd Greenwood

ii. Mary Brydon Miller on Action Research and the Arts.

iii. Marianne Kristiansen on Power

iv. Lai Fong Chui on Healthcare

v. Patricia Gaya Wicks on Dissertations as AR Contributions

f. Continuous Quality Improvement: Victor Friedman (30 mins)



D. Future Agenda Items/requests.

E. Check out on next steps

F. Adjourn



Call in: 1-219-509-8222 : 265513#. 6.30 AM PT.

From the desk of ARJ Editor in Chief, Hilary Bradbury-Huang.

We are experiencing an upsurge of submissions/offerings to the journal right now. I guess it may be related to the end of the academic year which allows people a chance to turn back to their writing.

And with regard to the board's work: we are preparing for our quarterly board meeting. We, i.e., the members of the associate editors board,  meet by teleconference on the third Thursday of the quarter (July, October, January, April). Each of us calls in from a different time zone around the world. Because there is no perfect time, I (in LA) get up too early and Ernie (in Queensland, Oz) gets to bed too late – and other board members suffer more or less between those poles. The perseverance award however goes to Meghna who suffers electricity blackouts in Bangladesh to meet with us. No shortage of effort here!


We have been meeting quarterly for a year and a half now. At the outset of each meeting we use the old Kurt Lewin practice of “checking in” – which means that each person shares how they’re doing and what they are up to vis a vis action research. It is, I’m sure, the favorite part of each meeting.

Our business agenda is sent out in advance with back up (homework) material as needed. We define “business” as whatever is important for the journal. Being still in our youthful stage (or maybe since the inclusion of ARJ in the Science Citation Index we would rightly refer to the journal as “adolescent”?) we place a lot on emphasis on strategies for growing the reach & inclusion of the journal. For example we've been discussing "Special Issues" on particular topics and how to include more guest editors in this work. More recently we have begun to devote time and attention to continuous improvement of our own board work too.

Transparency is important in everything we do. If any reader/friend of the journal wishes to be present at a quarterly board meeting, please drop the Editor in Chief a line (hilary@bradbury-huang.net). You could either be an auditor on the call itself, or request a copy of the audio recording of the meeting, available within 24 hrs after each meeting. Reasonably detailed written minutes are also made after each meeting and are kept in the ARJ archive.
More on our work in another blog!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Critical Reflection and the World Congress - Mary Brydon-Miller

“Being value neutral is not a pretense action researchers uphold!” In her recent note from the field “What is good action research?” Hilary Bradbury Huang, the Editor-in-Chief of ARJ, makes clear why it is so important that action resesarchers spend time reflecting on their own values and the principles that guide our shared practice. In “Why Action Research?” Davydd Greenwood, Patricia Maguire and I queried all of the members of the Editorial Board of Action Research asking them what had drawn them to become involved in doing action research. Based on the responses we received, we summed up our shared value system by suggesting that as action researchers “we commit ourselves to a form of research which challenges unjust and undemocratic economic, social, and political systems and practices.” (Brydon-Miller, Greenwood, & Maguire, 2003, p. 11). We went on to offer specific principles of practice: “a respect for people and for the knowledge and experience they bring to the research process, a belief in the ability of democratic processes to achieve positive social change, and a commitment to action” (p. 15). This “moral obligation to react against inequality and injustice and to endeavor to contribute to change through our research work” (Härnsten & Holmstrand, 2008, 171), should be reflected at each stage of the research process, from the initial definition of a research question or issue through the development of strategies to implement the recommendations of the research to bring about positivechange and to disseminate the findings so that others might learn from our example. At this year’s World Congress of Action Research, my colleagues David Coghlan, Rosalie Holian, Patricia Maguire, Randy Stoecker and I will be considering how we might develop a system for conducting critical reflection on the values that inform our practice as action researchers at each stage of the research process. Over the next few weeks leading up to the World Congress I will be exploring what kinds of ethical issues we might identify at each stage of the AR process and I would welcome your comments, experiences, and insights into the process.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Kids’ Curiosity by Vicki Stieha

I’ve been on vacation, tucked away in a little corner of the lake region in South Dakota where my husband’s family has a couple lake cabins where we all converge and reconnect each summer.  One of my children, Ethan, is here along with his cousins, Adam and Gavin.  Last night they were lighting sparklers around the fire pit as we adults looked on.  I listened with fascination to their active experimentation with the sparklers.  Part of their conversation went something like this:

Ethan: What happens if you light it from the bottom end?
Adam: it burns up.
Ethan: What if you light it from the middle?
Adam: It goes both ways
[The boys try lighting it from the middle and watch what happens]
Adam: It breaks in the middle [laughing as he watches the curled end fall to the ground].

The boys, both 15, were deeply engaged in this brief scientific inquiry. They were posing questions, devising ways to examine their questions, and acting on them. They were finding answers to their questions through their direct interaction with the “thing” itself. They were active learners and they didn’t need me or any other “teacher” to help them define what they should look for in their exploration.  My role was only to give them access—to the sparklers and to the fire pit in this case.

I was thinking about this scene as I was running this morning.  It seemed to me another example of the ways that being both an insider and an outsider to their action helped me to draw more meaning from it.  Obviously my “insider” status as mother and aunt gave me access to the boys’ conversation.  My “outsider” status (my educational researcher-self) was drawing meaning beyond the experience itself. It reminds me of John Dewey’s still clarion calls for education in which children encounter learning by interacting with the objects of their fascination.  It reminds me that learners themselves have “burning” (ok, pun intended) questions that they will explore if they are given an opportunity to do so.  Luckily for me, they were also willing to let me share this scenario with you. 

I would love to hear about the questions that other teachers have as they sit back and watch the wondering of others? What ideas do their questions generate for you? 


Friday, July 9, 2010

Feminism and Action Research - Valerie Louis

Before I was an action researcher, I was a feminist researcher/scholar.  I had done feminist qualitative research, taking into account whose voice was being heard, the power dynamics within the research process, and the gendered lens which I explored my topic.  As an action researcher I learned a lot from feminist theory and methodology. I have used my feminist lens as a foundation for my AR.  As a feminist thinker, I am not just concerned with gender but the intersectionality of oppressions and identity.  The hierarchy of oppressions just didn't make sense in the theoretical world - though I embrace understanding that many in the world do see their identities and oppressions as hierarchical, or one piece that plays out more overtly in society than another.

When I began my education as an action researcher, my classes studied much of the critical theories I read as a feminist scholar.  With this re-reading, I realized I had found another one of my educational homes.  But what drives my action research is my feminist identity, my awareness of the social injustice in the world.  Action research provided a place for the theory and the action that fell in love with as a women's studies student.  I found AR to provide more of a blueprint and a theory for my feminist methodology.  Much has been written about feminism and AR (see Brydon-Miller, Maguire & McIntyre and Frisby, Macguire & Reid in bibliography below).  I think it is important to explore how we came to AR.  For me, I know that it is continually important for me to honor the feminist researcher/scholar within me and that it is foundational to all of the work that I do, even when at times it is not the most prominent label I use in the discussion (and that is not because I am afraid of the f-word :-)

Brydon-Miller, M., Maguire, P., & McIntyre, A. (2004). Traveling companions: Feminism, teaching, and action research. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers

Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment: Routledge.

Frisby, W., Maguire, P., & Reid, C. (2009). The `f' word has everything to do with it. Action Research, 7, 13-29.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Making Change Personal – Deb Dole


Engaging communities really begins with engaging individuals. I have written recently about voice, building capacity, representing communities, and engaging communities. My own dissertation work with adolescent mothers opened my eyes to a new way of engaging people in discussion through photography. I am not an artist. I am not a professional photographer. I AM visually stimulated. I AM a visual learner – figuratively and literally. I think in terms of analogy – usually a visual analogy. When I "see" it in my mind, it then becomes a reality. The possibilities are endless. What does this have to do with making change personal? The process of self-reflection forces one to "see" in context.

 This photograph meant one thing to the teen mom who took it – it captured her sense of being trapped in a corner. It came to symbolize something different for me – there is always a way out. The differing perspectives seemed to reflect where we each were in our experience. I was "out", she was still trapped.
As I reflected on the differing perspectives I began to recognize the importance of seeing. A group of teen mothers were given cameras and answered their own group generated questions through photography, group discussion, journaling and collage building. During that process my role as researcher quickly evolved into facilitator, and learner. It was through their eyes that I began to see myself differently. It was a change that altered the way I practice, the way I communicate, the way I engage.  For that I am grateful.









Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aristotle, Phronesis, Research Ethics and AR posted by Mary Brydon-Miller

“Ethical reasoning requires a different form of intellectual engagement than that of scientific analysis.” (McKee & Porter, 2008. 724)  Ethical reasoning, these authors suggest, requires instead “what Aristotle calls phronesis, or the art of practical judgment.”  My own introduction to this concept and its relationship to the theory and practice of action research comes from the work of my friend and colleague Olav Eikeland.  Olav has written extensively on the ways in which Aristotelian concepts can provide a lens through which to better understand the practice of action research and, in particular, assist us in deepening our examination of the ethical implications of our work (Eikeland, 2006, 2008a; 2008b).  Porter and McKee go on to observe that “the methods that many science researchers use to conduct their studies are not well suited to addressing the ethical questions related to and raised by those studies” (p. 725), and yet it is the biomedical model on which our basic models for evaluating research ethics are based and it is the certainty and the clear-cut answers that human subjects review processes seek to impose.  Action research, in contrast, embraces uncertainty and accepts the notion that there may not be clear cut answers to our questions, and that it is by testing our understandings of the world through dialogue with others and through experience in action that we reach greater clarity of understanding.  Action research at its best encourages us in the development of practical wisdom and provides opportunities to share this wisdom with others, and in doing so has the potential to make an important contribution to our understanding of research ethics in general. 

Eikeland, O. (2006) Phronesis, Aristotle, and action research.  International Journal of Action Research, 2(1) 5-53.

Eikeland, O. (2008a).  Aristotle, validity, and action research.  In B. Boog, J. Preece, M. Slagter, and J. Zeelen 9Eds.), Towards quality improvement of action research:  Developing ethics and standards (pp. 29-44).  Rotterdam:  Sense Publishers.

Eikeland, O. (2008b).  The ways of Aristotle: Aristotelian Phronesis, Aristotelian Philosophy of Dialogue, and Action Research

McKee, H. & Porter, J. L (2008).  The ethics of digital writing research:  A rhetorical approach.  College Composition and Communication. 59 (4), 711-749).










Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Action Research and vulnerable populations

This week I have asked action researcher, Dr. Christy Borders, to introduce an action research study she and Dr. Suzanne Ehrlich are working on together. Dr. Borders is an Assistant Professor in Special Education (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) at Illinois State University. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post a comment here. If you have ideas for other postings on education an action research, please email me at dusty.embury@eku.edu.
                                                                                                                 

Action research can be such an outstanding method for looking into topics with a respectful eye.  Take for instance, “vulnerable” populations.  As populations grow more and more vulnerable, the use of action research makes sense in so many ways.  It offers those who have not previously been given a voice to address their own needs and concerns.  There have been several projects that address the needs of vulnerable populations in the last several years.  I am working with Dr. Ehrlich to give deaf students a chance to express their perspective on the educational services they receive and how they work (or don’t work) together.  There are many different individuals who work with this particular population of students and while the “professionals” may think that we are meeting the students’ needs in the best possible way, who would better inform that than the students themselves?  One catch…one of the primary deficits for children who are deaf or hard of hearing is language.  Therefore, we must provide them a voice in a non-linguistic mode – action research allows us a wonderful tool in Photo Voice.  The students can take pictures to allow their opinions to be “heard”.  As we are still in the planning stages of this study (working across several state lines), we look forward to what this tool can do for this population of students.  More updates to come as the study unfolds itself in its beautiful cycle!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Listening, Facilitating, and Conversing with Freire in mind - Alan Wight

As a newcomer to the study of education, I have only recently been introduced to P. Freire (1970). I love his ideas, suggested methods, and hope in education as a vehicle for positive-equitable social change.  I have decided to work Freire’s dialogical approach into a course I am teaching call Spaceship Earth: Theory and Practice.  One important aspect of this seminar is student’s ability to read, write, and discuss their thoughts on the topics at hand.  This past week I steered the conversation away from our “scheduled” course material and asked the students to talk about what was important to them, what was on their mind at that moment---even if it was “unrelated” to the material.  Our conversation eventually landed on other classes and the methods used by those teacher / educators who facilitate them.  After class, I could not help but think about the relationship between method, process, and outcome.  If students were to design a class, what would they focus on?  Like the peasants in Freire’s books, how would students “name the world” if they were given a chance.  I am not sure if a school is answer or the right place to help “the majority” people in our society.  Ivan Illich (1970) and David Orr (1992) discuss how schools basically teach us how to consume.  They argue that those individuals with higher educational qualification, degrees upon degrees, and fancy certificates end up being the people most responsible for harming the planet –jet setting for conferences, creating crazy devices (like atomic and hydrogen weapons), and using an unfair share of our resources.  As someone who is in training, within the academy, what can I do?  If I follow Freire’s advice, I should just let the students choose the topics to be discussed….


Notes:
Freire, Paulo (1970), Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Illich, Ivan (1970), Deschooling Society.
Orr, David (1992),  Earth in Mind.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

ARJ Editor in Chief, Hilary Bradbury Huang, reporting, ahem, finally, for blog duty ...

Is it time?...yes it is!...it's time to pop my head up and grant public expression to the awe and gratitude I feel for what the team at the Action Research Center at UCinn have launched with this ARJ Journal blog. When the board members of ARJ first talked about a blog we had no idea what could happen. Some actively pooh-poohed the idea (can you imagine—OK, true confession: I agreed with the concern about “who has the time?” In fact I still haven’t brushed my hair today – gets so messy after a shower. Still and all though – “social media” is something we have to get into…we'll make the time).
Taking action, Mary Brydon Miller gathered students and colleagues and breathed life into this blog! My awe is simply to see human creativity in action - from nothing to something because of human attention. It's an awareness of everyday creative awesomeness (the best kind!) that motivates my "thank you Mary and Team Cinn" (why should Las Vegas be the only one with the risqué reputation. Go team "sin/Cinn"!).
OK, so here is the, ahem, plan to bring more of the ARJ editorial-board voice to the blog. Starting out slowly (right now, actually), yours truly (Editor in Chief, Hilary reporting, finally, for blogduty here) will post a Saturday blog related to the issues that the board members are playing with. This will include our obsession with quality and its many manifestations; our desire to see new special issues come to fruition & presaging the special issues already in the works; reflecting on our own reflexivity as a board who consciously develops as a community of inquiry; o and there are actual journal articles and responses to those. worth mentioning..you get the picture...). Even more slowly but surely the advisory board (all 60 international members who give their name as the foundation to our work) will also become involved. In fact I also have an image of a webpage linked to the blog with all our photos along with short updates from everyone so we each can see what we are all working on in our own action research--in Australia, Bangladesh, India, China, Denmark, Sin/CinnCity, Bristol, Portland ... Our many related blog posts will then naturally connect to the other days postings…so we may even outgrow our Saturday niche.
But today we start here and now. Drum roll please - welcome to the editorial voice of ARJ!

To be continued... next Saturday!