On Reading and Writing and Reflecting #MyResearch

Morrison Lake Island – Anna Bartosik

I tried something new this time. I didn’t have an overall plan for this post. I have been writing a paper and compiling a bibliography at the same time, for different purposes. I left a draft open in a tab on my laptop and dropped into it whenever I felt an urge to add something to this post. It mimics my calendar notebook additions that Latour suggests but they are expanded thoughts. Over more than two weeks, I have jotted down random thoughts and details. I edited this post once, after I decided I was done adding to it. This is the reason why it ends suddenly and why it’s not a good piece of writing.

I’ll be returning to reflection, as well as talking about data visualisation and ethics in a future post.

Reflecting

May 30th: My reading in the past few days has circled around reflective practice. I have been reading Farrell and Finlay, with some exploring of Schön. It isn’t all connected with language learning and teaching, however. Experiential learning in healthcare education is a powerful direction that curricula are taking. An experience has value associated with it, even though it is not graded. In fact, this connection to my job is distracting, because I want to incorporate a woven element of reflection into the teacher education program at work – it is just as important deciding what to leave out as it is what to include. How often reflection “should” take place, when (during or after a class/assignment, or independent of those?), and simply “how” might it be done.

June 11th: Reflecting in my notebook is helping me make connections between landscapes of practice and identity, and where social media and posthumanism can play in the sandbox together.

June 19th: I’m returning back to reflection and Finlay – I realize I need to do some more reading about reflection for my literature review. What I’ve read so far isn’t enough.

Writing

June 10th update: Having abandoned writing my paper for a week, I dreaded returning to it. I know I had cut and pasted various paragraphs together – it induces cringing when I glance over the Word document. I have a difficult time getting past the beginning, and each time I return to the document to write, I feel like a leashed dog putting on the brakes during a walk, despite my looming deadline. Choppy best describes the writing – I don’t hear my voice anywhere in it. I want to inject myself into the words, but can’t find a place to squeeze myself in at first. I start writing again by reading – reading some narratives and I think how I want to inject myself back into my paper before the window seals and my words become the musings of a stranger. More and more I am putting more of myself into my writing, while at the same time being selective about what I include for public consumption. My private thoughts remain in my notebooks, but they will have to be revealed eventually. I am trying to identify the boundaries of my narrative here, on my blog, because there are elements I want to share, and elements I do not want to share yet. My notebook doesn’t have those parameters, but I’m not sure that everything will be framed. I said that I would write here on my blog with minimal editing, and I am, in order to capture my thinking as best I can. But the decisions I’m making about what to tell and what not to share paint a particular landscape. This will be important as well when it comes to stating my positionality and telling my own narrative. This also plays a role in constructing an identity. Writing, identity, and framing – I see them working in tandem. Today, framing my post seemed to be the most important thing to do, even though I thought I would be focused on writing.

June 11th update: I don’t not like my paper as much as I did at the beginning of the week. Some additional reading and handwritten notes on reflection and landscapes of practice have helped me frame my paper better, especially the introduction.

June 13th update: Yecid was right. I need to add all my calendar notations into a digital form, such as a spreadsheet. The calendar notebook is not enough. It will be tedious work, but he showed me what he is doing with NVivo. I never considered doing a literature review in NVivo, which some people use, and I didn’t realize the different features NVivo has for coding. I’ve started some basic coding of my calendar notebook, and I was familiar with coding audio files in NVivo, but Yecid showed me how to code documents, parts of images, and how Excel spreadsheets and .txt files can be uploaded for analysis. Mendeley and Zotero are also available for use within NVivo. The visual representation of how the data can be shared is amazing as well. Looking at the different possibilities, I now have an idea of how I can track all types of engagement, ones that an analytic software would not be able to detect from data. More to come on that at some point.

June 15th upadate: Landscapes of practice – deleted from paper. Digital footprint – deleted from paper.

I think I’ll just use my tweet in lieu of more words:

June 15th tweet

June 16th update: connectivism – deleted from paper. Narrative inquiry – deleted from paper. Paper submitted for review.

Reading – I didn’t expect to end up here

June 7th: My supervisor and I had a productive meeting last week. I presented my proposal for an independent reading and research course, so that I keep myself on track with commitments to deadlines. This blog will become a part of the course – I will continue to reflect on what I’m reading on a weekly basis to propel my literature review forward.

I was not, however, expecting to include this as part of my reading list:

Introduction à la pensée complexe, de Edgar Morin

My supervisor had made suggestions to my growing bibliography, and pushed this book into my hands. Over the past two years, my exposure to French has certainly grown – I’ve moderated some French webinars, and there have been a number of plurilingual presentations at OISE, and I’ve hosted two of them where I was the only anglophone in the room. However, I am feeling some trepidation about academic reading in another language. She has also reminded me that I am fluent in Polish, and that I should also look for published scholarly work in that language as well. Again, some complex feelings to unpack, in addition to ideas.

If anyone has additional suggestions for me to read about professional development and social media in these two languages, then please reach out to me in the comments section or via Twitter @ambartosik.

References

Farrell, T. S. (2018). Research on Reflective Practice in TESOL: An Appraisal. Routledge.

Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL paper52, 1-27.

Morin, E. (1990). Introduction à la pensée complexe. Paris: ESF Editeur.

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