Saturday, April 30, 2011

From the editors desk: Wamba on Critical Pedagogy

As I consider the papers of 9 (1), issues of inter-subjectivity leap to mind. By inter-subjectivity I mean the ways in which we as researchers interact, later I will use the word “commune,” with research subjects. Conventional research training prompts us to treat research subjects as passive, albeit, respected objects of data collection. Action research acknowledges the subjectivity of the research subjects, which in interaction with ourselves, becomes inter-subjective inquiry.  Our engagement as persons first and foremost allows for knol3edge to be shared that otherwise might have gotten lost.

Consider: Nathalis Guy Wamba’s “Research as critical pedagogy. Developing an alternative epistemology of practice: Teachers' action research as critical pedagogy” which really speaks to the educator in all of us. The author works from the premise that when we step into the classroom, we meet graduate students who have been disciplined by thousands upon thousands of hours in which they practiced the discipline of passively receiving whatever the teacher wished to bestow. That passive reception might have sometimes looked like resistance but it never looked like active co-creation of knowledge. Engaging our students as active partners is therefore difficult, but necessary. I am inspired to copy and paste a paragraph below from the ARJ Manifesto signed by dozens of leading action researchers around the planet. Profesor Wamba’s work exemplifies how to engage stakeholders traditionally excluded from being part of the research process. Interestingly we find them under our noses, in our very classrooms. Thus in a very different way this paper picks up the theme of the ( (1) issue to address how we might better commune with (rather than work on/give to) “othered” subjects.
At this time we are called to engage with unprecedented challenges that are inter-related and compounding; challenges such as poverty and injustice, climate change, globalization, the regulation of science and technology, the information and communication technology revolution, inequalities and fundamentalisms of all types. Conventional science and its conduct are part of these problems. Action researchers, therefore, are concerned with the conduct and application of research. We acknowledge the complexity of social phenomena and the non linearity of cause and effect and see that the best response to such complexity is to abandon the notion of understanding as a product of the enterprise of a lone researcher, and to engage local stakeholders, particularly those traditionally excluded from being part of the research process, in problem definition, research processes, interpretation of results, design for action, and evaluation of outcomes. In this way, we step beyond what has been labeled ‘applied research,’ into the democratization of research processes and program design, implementation strategies, and evaluation.

 From the ARJ Manifesto,

Read for yourself:

Hilary Bradbury-Huang, Ph.D.
Editor, ARJ
Oregon Health Sciences University

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