Regarding, other topics of today's Skype discussion my main concern regarding EJOLTs is that it could become too narrow in the sense of standardisation or finding a “right” way for publishing a paper in our journal. When I joined the team ten years ago I was keen to participate in creating the journal opened to different approaches that could contribute “improving something important in our lives” (Bognar & Zovko, 2008). I hope that following story could illustrate what I mean:
WE ARE THREE, YOU ARE THREE When his ship stopped at a remote island for a day, the bishop determined to use the time as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. In pidgin English they explained to him that centuries before they had been Christianised by missionaries. “We, Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to themselves. The bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. The bishop was shocked. How could these men claim to be Christian when they did not know something as elementary as the Lord’s Prayer? “What do you say, then, when you pray?” “We lift eyes in heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’” The bishop was appalled at the primitive, the downright heretical, nature of the prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them to say the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor learners, but they gave it all they had and before the bishop sailed away next day he had the satisfaction of hearing them go through the formula without a fault. Months later the bishop’s ship happened to pass by those islands and the bishop, as he paced the deck saying his evening prayers, recalled with pleasure the fact that on that distant island were three men who were now able to pray correctly, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in thought he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light in the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the water towards the boat. The captain stopped the boat and all the sailors leaned over the rails to see the amazing sight. When they were within speaking distance, the bishop recognized his three friends, the fishermen. “Bishop,” they exclaimed, “We so glad met you. We hear your boat go past and come hurry-hurry meet you.” “What is it you want?” asked the bishop in awe. “Bishop,” they said, “We so, so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come... then we forget. Please tell us whole prayer again.” The bishop felt humbled. “Go back to your homes, my good men, ‘he said,’ and each time you pray, say, “We are three, you are three, have mercy on us!” (Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird)
I like this story since it shows that the meaning is not only in using right words since practitioners may use different ways to explain their valuable practices. That is, they could use different theories (that depends of their cultural backgrounds and education) in creating something valuable together.
In addition, I consider that for creativity is much more important to be surrounded with people who come from different professional backgrounds then with likeminded persons. I could corroborate this attitude with Jonson’s (2010, p. 47) idea about creating good ideas and Dunbar’s study about importance of group diversity for creativity. Jonson posed the question how to push our brains to create good ideas (watch the video "Where good ideas come from", Johnson, 2010). His answer was: “To make your mind more innovative, you have to place it inside environments that share that same network signature: networks of ideas or people that mimic the neural networks of a mind exploring the boundaries of the adjacent possible” (Jonson, 2010, p. 47). Therefore, when we like to devise something new, it is not enough to sit and think in isolation about the problem, it is important to make connections with people who may have different professional backgrounds, but they have to be willing to collaborate. Actually, Dunbar’s study showed that the diversity of the group is very important for creativity:
We have found that when the members of a group all have the same background, such as all having done graduate work on a particular organism, then the group performs no better than the individual. This can be seen in the analogies that the group makes. Groups from the same background will draw their analogies from that background. Groups with a varied background, but with common goals, will produce many different types of analogies and these analogies can be used to solve the problem that the lab is working on. (Dunbar, 1999) Therefore, opening EJOLTs and related virtual spaces to people from different backgrounds could contribute to shared aim - creating a better world for all peoples. I consider that the spirit of inclusionality and freedom was the decisive spark that contributed launching end development of EJOLTs ten years ago:
We welcome submissions from practitioners who are undertaking to understand and explain their educational influences in their own learning, the learning of others, and in their own contexts. We are keen to publish accounts in which practitioners show how they are living their values in their working lives. Indeed one of the reasons for our existence is to give the space, freedom and encouragement to speak to people who may not have been able to, or have wanted to, or felt the relevance of writing and representing - their vast and important ideas and knowledge before. Although we prefer practitioners' accounts, we are open to different forms of expression from contributors who stand firmly in their lives for the life-affirming values that help others and make the world a better place for all peoples. (EJOLTs team, 2008) I am wondering how to make EJOLTs and related spaces more inclusive for practitioners who come from a different cultural/theoretical backgrounds and “who stand firmly in their lives for the life-affirming values that help others and make the world a better place for all peoples.”
Response from Jackie: When you wrote that you wanted EJOLTs to be a place where practitioner-researchers from different backgrounds who use different words and theories in their work, It gave me pause to reflect on whether we have done that in the articles that we have published. When I am looking back over past issues, I will look to see if I think we have or not. On first blush, I would say that we have published articles from practitioners who are from a variety of groups, professions, countries, backgrounds, and experiences. On the other side, I think that we have been firm in ensuring that writers meet the submission guidelines. Do you think that they are too prescriptive?
I am certainly in agreement with : "Therefore, opening EJOLTs and related virtual spaces to people from different backgrounds could contribute to shared aim - creating a better world for all peoples. I consider that the spirit of inclusionality and freedom was the decisive spark that contributed launching end development of EJOLTs ten years ago:..."
Response from Jack - 15/10/18 - As I browse through all of the past issues of EJOLTs I am struck by the contributions from practitioners who come from different cultural and theoretical backgrounds, but I'm wondering if you have suggestions Branko on how we might make EJOLTS more inclusive?
Response from Marie 21/10/18 - I am also wondering Branko whether about what your thoughts about, 'I am wondering how to make EJOLTs and related spaces more inclusive for practitioners who come from a different cultural/theoretical backgrounds and “who stand firmly in their lives for the life-affirming values that help others and make the world a better place for all peoples.' I am excited by the possibility of us being able to include academic posters which meet our publishing criteria. Swaroop is working on hers and I hope it might exemplify and encourage others, who find the vehicle of a 'paper' does not enable them to communicate effectively their account of how they are trying to stand firmly in their practice and lives 'for the life-affirming values that help others and make the world a better place for all peoples'. I am also hoping that by including academic posters as well as papers, which meet our publishing criteria, we can help show that other forms of communication are of high academic and scholarly and make work more accessible. What do you think?