As we enter our 10th Anniversary of publication, we are engaged in researching various questions related to our experiences in the EJOLTS family and in the process of publishing an electronic journal of Living Theories: EJOLTs.
As my contribution to the 10th Anniversary edition, I intend to examine my influence on EJOLTs both as an individual contributor and as a member of the Editorial and Development Boards. On the other side, I also wish to study the influence of EJOLTs on my learning and research.
I am finding that my post-doctoral work has been as transformatory in my life, if not more so, than my Living Theory doctoral research itself which I completed at the University of Bath in 2002.
I have tried to finish a book about my life and learning, my living legacy (Forrester, 2015), many times and am hoping that the research and thinking required for the 10th Anniversary project may assist me to move ahead with this work.
Addition Jan 21, 2018
As a result of the EJOLTs meeting this morning at (groan) 8:00 am, I am thinking about how we as Living Theorists present the visual data that we collect to provide evidence to support claims to know. It was triggered by the reviewers of our Self-Study chapter for S-STEP who asked that we remove the urls to our work, data bases and videos from the text. To my mind that seemed to remove some of the proximity of the visual data because I could envisage it in my mind. I came to understand in the EJOLTs meeting and subsequent Post-doc meeting that for readers, these urls are disruptive to the text.
At some point in the past, we had some dialogue to the effect that visuals speak for themselves and do not require explanation; I did not agree with that and felt that explanation was necessary for the reader to understand the meaning of the video. I now see that the urls have meaning to me because I know their content and am comfortable following them to their source to enliven the text for me. This appears not to be the case for readers, especially those who are new to this kind of writing as expressed by Judy McBride. So now I agree witht he reviewers and feel that more work is needed to connect the visual data to the text and the reader.
Addition April 15, 2018
This morning at our Postdoc group meeting on Skype, we moved ahead with our planning for the World Congress in Norfolk, Vermont June 17-20, 2018 and particularly, the workshop that Jack and I will present on-site and Marie will join on Skype. Our 90 min. workshop, 'Where do we go from here in contributing to ‘The Action Learning and Action Research Legacy for Transforming Social Change?’ will focus on the work of living theorists around the world and our legacy for 'Transforming Social Change'. After a short presentation in which we introduce the idea that individuals can generate their living-educational-theories as explanations of their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations that influence their practice and understandings. We will access the web-based resources at http://www.actionresearch.net to demonstrate the academic legitimacy of living-theories in Universities around the world.
We will focus on Living Theory doctorates to show how a multi-media narrative can carry the meanings of embodied values. The next step is that Marie will draft a letter to the communities in European Countries, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Australia, Canada, Mongolia and the Republic of Ireland that have agreed to participate virtually at the conference asking them to update their e-posters and to start to construct the nature of their participation using the theme of 'transforming social change' is each context. They might wish to clarify with the help of digital visual data embodied expressions of their ontological and relational values and productive activities that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity within community relationships.
From the early days (1996) to the completion of my PhD research (2002) where I posed the question, [HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY PRACTICE AS A SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS AND CREATE MY OWN LIVING EDUCATIONAL THEORY?]http://www.actionresearch.net/living/delong.shtml I experienced the transformatory nature of Living Theory research. The abstract outlined the nature of the research:
"One of the basic tenets of my philosophy is that the development of a culture for improving learning rests upon supporting the knowledge-creating capacity in each individual in the system. Thus, I start with my own. This thesis sets out a claim to know my own learning in my educational inquiry, 'How can I improve my practice as a superintendent of schools?'
Out of this philosophy emerges my belief that the professional development of each teacher rests in their own knowledge-creating capacities as they examine their own practice in helping their students to improve their learning. In creating my own educational theory and supporting teachers in creating theirs, we engage with and use insights from the theories of others in the process of improving student learning.
The originality of the contribution of this thesis to the academic and professional knowledge-base of education is in the systematic way I transform my embodied educational values into educational standards of practice and judgement in the creation of my living educational theory. In the thesis I demonstrate how these values and standards can be used critically both to test the validity of my knowledge-claims and to be a powerful motivator in my living educational inquiry.
The values and standards are defined in terms of valuing the other in my professional practice, building a culture of inquiry, reflection and scholarship and creating knowledge."
At the same time that I was conducting my own study, I was encouraging and supporting others to do the same as both informal, not for credit, professional development and as degree-granting investigations. I believe that I was 'transforming social change' In my role as superintendent and as university professor by living my values loving kindness, loved into learning and democracy. By living those values as standards of practice and by sharing my vulnerabilities publicly, others were encouraged to see their values as the means to change their teaching and learning contexts (Delong, 2013). As a system leader, I was able to make policy changes that supported teachers to take control of their own learning and transform the nature of teaching and learning as students became co-learners.
(Jackie - link to our co-operative enquiry - from Jack 9th May 2019http://ejolts-wiki.mattrink.co.uk/index.php/Jack)
Wiki, July 29, 2018
I am reflecting on my questions related to the 10th Anniversary of EJOLTs: How has EJOLTs influenced me and How have I influenced EJOLTs? When I reflect on my first opportunity to review an article for EJOLTs, I was uncertain about my capacity to support a writer with only written communication as my experience had been in being present with a researcher and encouraging and supporting them through dialogue primarily. I looked to other, more experienced editors on the review team and read their reviews to see if my own review aligned with theirs. I found that their reviews influenced my own so I stopped this practice and wrote my own review so that it was original and based on my knowledge, values and experience.
Because I did not read others’ reviews, I was often unaware that I was the odd person out with 2 other reviews having taken the opposite position (Jason, Jennings, Skype transcript). Knowing that we are all “fallible knowers” (Thayer-Bacon, 2003) that made me reflect on whether my response to the article was based on data that provided evidence to support my knowing. I believe that I have improved my capacities to provide feedback to writers and have provided clear and specific ways that a paper can be strengthened over several iterations.
Having been a member of the original team that created EJOLTs, I feel a strong commitment to the validity of the articles in the journal and that all articles (not just the ones that I review as the board must support publication even after the reviewers of the article have supported it) be clearly and evidently Living Theory articles and demonstrate the tenets of the theory. I believe that the review process that we have constructed with three independent reviewer who do not consult each other is a valid and effective process. I can remember one occasion where there was a pressure by some board members to fast-track an article through the review process because it was very good. My response was, “Every article must go through the same process and can be strengthened through it”. In the reviewing process, I believe that I have influenced the reviewing process through my reviews as exemplars, in my contributions to the Guidelines for Submission on the EJOLTS Board and in the strengthening pf articles that get published.
Being a reviewer, has taught me to be patient, encouraging and supportive yet critical in a specific and kind way so that the writer (hopefully) will accept the critique without taking it personally and will continue to work on the article and not give up. It’s a fine line.
It is an amazing opportunity to learn from others from all over the globe who come from a similar values-base. As examples, I have been amazed by the experiences of others such as: Nina in India as she learned to take her negative experiences as a beginning teacher and make them positive and educative; Swaroop who took on an amazing task of teaching teachers in poor rural areas of India the Life Skills program that she designed so that the children, especially girls, would build their self-esteem and other life-coping skills Making the ‘impossible’ possible: using a Living Theory methodology to improve my practice Volume 10(1): 72-109; Roland, Robyn,
As a writer of EJOLTs articles, I have benefited from the reviews to strengthen my articles – need examples. Some of the examples can come from my articles and from the articles of others.