Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Action Research, Living Theories and Jack Whitehead

Action Research: What is a Living Educational Theory Approach to Action Research and a Human Existence?

In a living educational theory approach to action research, individuals hold their lives to account by producing explanations of their educational influences in their own learning in enquiries of the kind, 'How am I improving what I am doing?' They do this in contexts where they are seeking to live the values they use to give life meaning and purpose as fully as they can. The living educational theories of professional educators and other practitioner-researchers usually explain their educational influences in the learning of their students and can also explain their educational influences in the learning of social formations. See www.actionresearch.net/writings/livtheory.html.

For tutors and action researchers on masters degree programmes interested in classroom research and action reflection see Action planning in improving practice and in generating educational knowledge See also the Master's Writings.

For beginning action researchers interested in action methods see Jean McNiff's Action research for professional development: Concise advice for new action researchers a celebration of 21 years of collaboration with Jack Whitehead. For practitioners interested in continuing professional development Programmes (CPD) see Living Values, Improving Practice Co-operatively: An Action Research Project

For supervisors and action researchers on doctoral programmes interested in research methodologies see Doctoral Writings and the doctoral and masters supervisions and references at http://www.actionresearch.net/arsup.shtml.  For other Action Research see these writings

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Testimonial from one of our student educators....


I wish to thank you heartily for teaching us useful technologies which are of great use to us in the education sector. On Thursday 04th March I had a presentation with an audit from France i.c.w use of Sankore at school. I created my learning site using Kompozer and hosted it on Apache.

That was too good. He thought that I was on the internet when infact it was my computer which was acting like a server. I also used the History and Geography CD which the VCILT developped and it's one of my best CD and which I use the most with my students. My presentation was mind-blowing and I got very good notes and sincerely I believe that some credits go to you as well.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you ALL THE VERY BEST IN YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVOURS.


Best Regards


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Research and Development (R&D) v/s Research and Publications (R&P)

The University of Mauritius has a rigorous system of peer-review when it comes to assessing applications from academic staff for promotion purposes. The promotion criteria are divided into three distinct categories namely teaching, research and service. Most staff is promoted to higher grades based on their research marks. A quantitative marking system allocates marks for publications and the conduct of funded research projects. Every year academic staffs of the university are promoted from lecturer to senior lecturer to associate professor until they reach the grade of professor. This gives an indication that the performance of the university in terms of research is a healthy one. On the other hand when we look at the recent quality audit report we find that one of the faculties has had more than a hundred research publications over one or two years. However, the report including the recent visitor’s report highlight the main weakness of the university to be research. Some have phrased it as meaningful research. Others have highlighted the need for research in areas of national interests etc.

Where is the problem then?

We are very often confronted with the term R&D when the theme of research is brought up either in the industrial sector or in academia.  Research is basically a process of ‘free’ inquiry into areas or elements about which we want to find logical answers to the questions that we have. We might want to explain why something is the way it is, or what is the best solution to a specific problem that we encounter, or how can we keep on improving on things that are already working well. Research is a process that takes time. As the name implies, research is about search and search again and may be search until you find the answer or you give up. Hence the term, re-search. It is a process that involves a methodical and or methodological approach to inquiry and there is an outcome at the end. Whether it is about collecting data and making sense out of them or pushing your brains to its limits to reflect and try to explain things, research is about looking in some depth at elements of interest or concern to the researcher or the research community. 

In developed countries it is widely said and proven that research has been the driving force behind innovation that leads to the socio-economic developments of the countries through industrialisation, the design and development of new products and services to the global markets. This is how the term research and development has been coined, I believe. Research leads to the exploration of new ideas, which in turn are developed into products and services that can be commercially exploited or that can lead to significant improvement to the community (common good). Naturally speaking, research and development activities often span over years, even decades and in some cases more than that.

In contrast to the above, our promotion system looks at the number of research publications of academics hence I have coined the term research and publications. When people engage in a rat race of research and publications we often end up with little or no applications of the research. Researchers are driven by the mindset where after a paper is successfully published in a peer-reviewed journal, then they move on to undertake the next ‘research’ with a publishability prospect. The other route many will take to distort the value of research is to fit themselves into all possible situations where their name could figure out on a published work to earn some marks. Hence we find ourselves being a bit the jacks of all trades under the umbrella of ‘multidisciplinary research’.

Publications is a means to disseminate the research findings and to provide others with a benchmark or reference point on what is already available and what can be done. In the earlier days we had no choice than to have recourse to paper-based publishers and publishing and dissemination of one’s work was a tedious task. Only a ‘select’ category of persons could have access to those facilities. Nowadays with Web 2.0 where anyone can have his or her own site or blog dissemination of one’s work is much easier than before. Publications through publishers is not the only way to demonstrate scholarship as digital scholarship is gaining ground extra fast as advocated by Prof Martin Weller of the Open University of UK.....