Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pre-Storyboard: My Dissertation as a Movie

We are engaging in reflection exercises designed to tap into our makawalu (eight eyes) – those multiple perspectives necessary to see beyond seeing. One of the techniques is to see our dissertation as a movie. The prompts are below:

Imagine if you were making a movie around you dissertation:
What is your story?

I cannot tell my story until I figure out my genre. I cannot figure out my genre until I know my audience. I am caught up in a If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” book. If I want my research to influence educational leaders, then it needs to be a sepia foreign film After all, documentaries are so accusatory (Bowling for Columbine, Waiting for Superman) – No leader wants to be preached at, yelled at, ridiculed, exposed. If it’s a foreign film (and our education-ese really is a foreign language) then the movie gives some highbrow artistic as well as intellectual Zen-saturated clout to the dissertation.

If on the other hand, I need to make it for the teachers, then I really need to do a comedy of errors. Nothing as crass as The Hangover, but nothing as existential as Waiting for Godot (although that movie just cracks me up).

We’re moving on in class, I need to come back to this.

Sketch a few ideas
What is the backstory?
What are the key developments?
How will thinking in terms of a movie help your dissertation?

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Memo: Use of Research

construction site

How will my research be used?

The research will be used to determine if this professional development can actually create professional learning for teachers. The difference is that professional learning is showcased as evidenced in the planning and implementation phase of teaching. So if this research shows that teachers make a change in the way they teach, then the research can be used as a framework for professional learning across the state.
By whom will it be used?

If my hypothesis is correct, that this is a way to create transformative learning, then I need to get this dissertation into the hands of the department of education, the headmasters, the vice president of campus education, and especially those people that can be the place-based facilitators and coaches.
Am I  going to design ‘use’ into my study?

Use is the evidence. Without that, itʻs just talk and hoop jumping.

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Reflecting on Relationships

Maxwell, Qualitative Research Design: an Interactive Approach

My task – write a memo reflecting on my relationships by looking at the following questions:

What kinds of relationships have you established, or do you plan to establish in your study or setting? How do you think you will be seen by the people you interact with in your research? What explicit agreements do you plan to negotiate with participants? What ethical issues or problems do these considerations raise? How do you plan to deal with them?

The benefit of this Ed.D program is that it allows me to look at a problem of practice within my own school setting and it allows me to actually get permission from my principal and headmasters to do this work. The tricky part of this journey, however, is in the relationships. I am an insider researcher, a former colleague of many of these teachers and a large part of this small school for over 10 years. Because of that, I have a personal as well as professional relationship with almost all of the participants in my course. I have been team leader for one of them, I have taught another teacher in many writing project institutes and she was actually my one and only student teacher. I have been camping with some of them, I know who their spouses are, I know who their kids are and I have been the teacher for some of their children. For the experts that I am bringing in, I also have similar relationships with these cultural experts. I think that on an island, that’s just how it works. I have been in education on my island for over 20 years. I have been coaching teachers for 12 years. There are not many people that I have not worked with at some level. So what kind of relationship will be different in this journey from the one(s) that have already been established – I will be their cheerleader and their advocate – the advantage being that they will always have someone who is invested in them.

What explicit agreements do I plan to negotiate? I am not the expert, I am just the person bringing the resources to them. They as veteran teachers will get whatever they need to get from this. Sounds new age or hippie, but that’s what I believe.

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