Living educational theory

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Living educational theory (LET) is a research method in educational research.

Overview[edit]

Living educational theory is best described in E-Jolts the Journal of Living Educational theory.[1] Jack Whitehead's 1985 paper presents his notion of a living form of educational theory and in his 1989 paper he coined the term 'Living Educational Theory' to denote a distinct form of theorising and research whereby an individual produces an 'explanation of their educational influence in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations'. The idea of action research as a living practice entered the mainstream of action research from the book, "Action Research as a Living Practice" by Terrance Carson and Dennis Sumara in 1997. Carson and Sumara transformed the concept of traditional action research with the idea that, ..." participation in action research practices are particular ways of living and understanding that require more of the researcher than the "application" of research methods. Rather, action research is a lived practice that requires that the researcher not only investigate the subject at hand but, as well, provide some account of the way in which the investigation both shapes and is shaped by the investigator (Carson & Sumara 1997, p. xii). This requires what Martin Buber called an "I-Thou" approach toward other and this approach applied to action research as well. To make Buber's language more modern and accessible, LET translated Buber's "I-Thou" approach toward another human being to an "I/you/we" approach to action research. Director of the Philosophy for Children Project at Notre Dame de Namur University William Barry proposes LET focuses on the connections between the researcher and the other person or subject where the lives of action researchers are inextricable linked in a profound manner with the individuals and communities involved in the subject of study.

A major difference of William Barry's version of living educational theory, which was the focus of his Ph.D. thesis at Nottingham Trent University, UK, is the essential question behind the living educational theory approach to action research (2012b). The question is not "How can I generate a living legacy for myself through an I-It theory approach toward knowledge and other forms of life?" Rather the essential question is, "How does one conduct a life that includes the practice of educational action research?"(Carson & Sumara 1997, p. xvii) According to Barry the theory/practice problem disappears when honesty about one's biases regarding spiritual, existential, and emotional intelligence are made clear in the action research process. Jack Whitehead addresses these issues in his latest book 'Living theory research As A way of life'[2] for an extensive overview of the academic provenance of his work in the support and supervision of over 59 Doctoral PhDs it is possible to see the number of Living Educational Theory based research inquiries have been validated by the academy.[3] This is a substantial and sustained body of scholarly work.

The phraseology "educational theory" originated with the work of Jack Whitehead.[2] A Living Educational Theory (Living Theory) approach focuses attention on the experiences and implications of living values that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity. These values are the life-affirming and life-enhancing values that give meaning and purpose to the researcher's life.They are clarified as they emerge in the course of researching questions such as, 'How am I improving what I am doing?' They form the explanatory principles and standards by which improvements in both practice and knowledge-creation are judged. The approach stresses the importance of extending the influence of these ontological and relational values and understandings in explanations of educational influence. In a Living Educational Theory approach to research and a human existence, individuals hold their lives to account by producing accounts of their living-educational theories; that is 'explanations of their educational influences in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations, in enquiries of the kind, 'How am I improving what I am doing?' (Whitehead, 1989). a former lecturer at the University of Bath, worked with Jean McNiff.[4] McNiff published Whitehead's work.[5]

Whitehead's view of action research promotes that living educational theory (he uses living theory and living educational theory interchangeably) should be aimed at the bringing of energy-flowing values as explanatory principles and standards of judgments into the Academy for the legitimation of living educational theories (Whitehead 2008) In 2013, Whitehead and McNiff separated as collaborators as Whitehead believed that media accounts of action research could provide clues to virtues which held the future of humanity though energy flowing examples of collaboration. A current key text on the subject is 'Living Theory Research As A Way Of Life' Jack Whitehead 2018 ISBN 978-1-78545-275-8.

Definition[edit]

A Living Educational Theory (Living Theory) approach focuses attention on the experiences and implications of living values that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity. These values are the life-affirming and life-enhancing values that give meaning and purpose to the researcher's life. They are clarified as they emerge in the course of researching questions such as, 'How am I improving what I am doing?' They form the explanatory principles and standards by which improvements in both practice and knowledge-creation are judged.

The approach stresses the importance of extending the influence of these ontological and relational values and understandings in explanations of educational influence. In a Living Educational Theory approach to research and a human existence, individuals hold their lives to account by producing accounts of their living-educational theories; that is 'explanations of their educational influences in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations, in enquiries of the kind, 'How am I improving what I am doing?(Whitehead, 1989).

A Living Theory researcher can use methods and draw insights from a range of other methodologies and theories, such as Action Research, Narrative Enquiry, Self-Study, Participatory Research, Autoethnography, Ethnography, Grounded Theory, Critical Theory and Case Study, as well as various quantitative methods. Researchers new to Living Theory research might visit an introduction and read the Advanced Bluffer's Guide.[6]

The idea of action research as a living practice entered the mainstream of action research from the book, "Action Research as a Living Practice" by Terrance Carson and Dennis Sumara in 1997. The term "educational theory" originated with the work of Jack Whitehead, a former lecturer at the University of Bath, who worked closely with Jean McNiff. Whitehead's main emphasis for conducting research is to enable the individual to create their own unique individual 'Living Educational Theory' where research outcomes can be captured on video for as validation. Whitehead's view of action research promotes that living educational theory (he uses living theory and living educational theory interchangeably) aimed at the bringing of energy-flowing values as explanatory principles and standards of judgments into the Academy for the legitimation of living educational theories (Whitehead 2008). In the eyes of Whitehead, radical constructivism is at the core of living educational theory research.

William Barry was asked by the BERA sponsored authors to reflect on the nature of living educational theory (LET) because there existed no clear definition of LET in the literature. Barry was asked because he had successfully used LET in an innovative fashion, and was the first to clearly define LET as based in critical theory (Wink 2011) which embraced transpersonal psychology through his earned 2012 PhD thesis at Nottingham Trent University Nottingham, UK. He proposed LET as a way of challenging the oppressive use of power using critical theory (Gorlewski, Gorlewski & Portfilio 2012) in a need fulfilling way (Glasser 1998). Barry proposed the following definition and approach to action research he calls living educational theory and his approach has been used as an action research method in undergraduate and graduate courses and research at Notre Dame de Namur University in Silicon Valley, California as well as by other researchers around the world.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ see https://ejolts.net/node/220
  2. ^ a b "Action Research @ actionresearch.net". www.actionresearch.net.
  3. ^ "Living Theory Theses & Dissertation". www.actionresearch.net.
  4. ^ http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/11596/documents/jeanstory.pdf
  5. ^ an example being https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/action-research/book227549 2006. Please also see other work by Dr Jean McNiff at http://www.actionresearch.net/writings/mcniff.html
  6. ^ An example of a 'Living Educational Theory' PhD can be found at http://www.actionresearch.net/living/naidoo.shtml where the question is Marian Naidoo's Ph.D. (2005) I am because we are (A never ending story). The emergence of a living theory of inclusional and responsive practice. University of Bath. A further example may be http://www.actionresearch.net/living/jack.shtml Vol. 1 of Jack Whitehead's Ph.D. (1999) How do I improve my practice? Creating a discipline of education through educational enquiry. University of Bath.

External links[edit]