Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One post, many thoughts

Today is the first day that I've been able to make time to update this blog ... so much seems to have happened. I just hope I can recapture the essence of some of the events, and my reflections on them, since last I blogged.

I've been involved in both annual moitoring discourse and self assessment validation meetings, all of which provide huge scope for reflective practice ... and yet again and again the 'so what' factor keeps coming through. The 'so what' factor' is, for me, an indication that the impact of an action or consideration had not been sufficiently clearly expressed.... and it occurs to me that when I come back to use my reflective blogs to write up a report on the kiwi activity that I need to be aware that not all my postings have had a 'so what factor'. I wonder why that might be ... is it because when writing for oneself you just record the feeling - or have I gone further than that? I don't know ... I haven't yet looked back - and deliberately so. In our report we are asked to reference relevant literature and I guess I will be looking at the 'so what factor' there too. And then of course I have to think of another mini-project. Wooooo, urgh!

Three of us have been working hard, with the help of other colleagues, to resolve a data anomaly that was of the appropriate potential severity to cause sleepless nights for at least two of us. The work started in a co-operative fashion, through data cleansing and updating and causal and comparative analyses ... and the situation seemed to improve. It was only, however, through collaboration that we solved the problem; we constructed sufficient knowledge to understand more clearly the underpinning issue, were able to benefit from the co-operative work and collaboratively find a solution to the problem. (And I slept on Friday night). I dont feel we have sufficiently problematized Action Research to be following that pattern in the kiwi to date; maybe this is because our initial knowledge base did not have sufficient grounding to anable more than co-operatiion in the first instance. This is where longevity of the activity will help - and I'm so pleased that we are to be allowed to continue our work on this area. As we start to consider personal/professional applications of Action Research we will be better able to problematize the construct and thus collaborate more effectively on 'solving the problem'.

Yesterday I ran two identical staff development sessions which at one point asked participants to consider 'risky' activity i.e development outside their comfort zone and with a knowledge that their own skills would be challenged. In both groups, despite their very different approaches to the activity, the notion of Action Research as a potential change agent came through. This is really exciting for me as we have hitherto supported only individual research projects. Encouraging innovation through participative and iterative research activity will be very exciting. I will need to be more aware of the critiques if we are to monitor progress in these areas. Wooo!

There's other stuff too ... but I can't write about it here. I'm not sure as yet how it has benefited me (from a reflective point of view). I do, however, have a very difficult meeting tomorrow morning with some of the two-legged sources of the problem. I am not sure how this will work as in theory we should be both co-operating and collaborating and yet the former has broken down completely. This leads me to consider the role of trust (as well as symmetries) in collaboration. Justin (I think) has mentioned this before and certainly our group has discussed getting to know peers and develping trust as being an important aspect of collaborative activity - but is it a pre-condition? Does co-operation allow a test of trust before collaboration? Hmmm - food for thought ...


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