How can explanations of educational influences in learning flow with life-affirming energy and values of humanity in relationships of affirmation and contexts of a lack of recognition?

 

Jack Whitehead, Department of Education, University of Bath

 

DRAFT 22 September 2006.

 

My reason for focusing on educational influences is that I identity education with the lives of individuals as we learn to live loving and productive lives. I identify education with the evolution of social formations as we learn to enhance the flow of life-affirming energy, values, skills and understandings that carry hope for the future of humanity.

 

My focus on explanation is because I believe that the better our explanations are, for enhancing our educational influences from what we do, the more likely it is that we will be able to work together to create a world of educational quality.

 

My reason for focusing on our educational influences in learning is to emphasise the importance of accepting responsibility for learning to live as fully as we can the values we use to distinguish our learning as educational in a way that carries hope for the future of humanity.

 

Loving what I do in education flows with energy that is life-affirming. To experience this energy flowing through me I think you will need to see me in action. If you have access to the appropriate technology you can see me flowing with this energy in a workshop on action research at the University of the Free State where I am explaining the significance of Ubuntu as a way of being and explaining the importance of showing the meanings of values through their expression in multi-media narratives. 

 

The video-clip is 17.8 Mb and 3mins 29 seconds. It plays in Quicktime from:

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/jwubuntucd.mov

 

In focusing on the significance of life-affirming energy in explanations of educational influence I am agreeing with Vasilyuk's (1991, p.66) that the generation of energy scarcely figures at all in descriptions of experiencing processes, yet it deserves to be seen as having great theoretical significance. I also agree with Vasilyuk that value consciousness is capable of integrating life relations firmly into a single whole of individual life and that the value principle is the supreme principle of the complex-and-easy lived world (p. 118).

 

Because of the centrality of values in my explanations of educational influence I want to take care at this point to communicate what I mean by a value and the motivating role that a value plays as an explanatory principle. For clarification I draw again on the ideas of Vasilyuk.

 

In my first systematic analysis of values in education, with philosophers of education at the Institute of Education of the University of London on an Academic Diploma course between 1968-70, I learnt to talk about values. Following the work of Richard Peters (1966) I learnt to talk with some clarity about the values of freedom, justice, respect, consideration of interests and worthwhile activities and the procedural principle of democracy. I learnt to connect such values with motives to explain actions in my talk and written texts. However, as Vasilyuk points out, experience shows that even when such consciousness of motives is present, the fact that a person clearly recognises the superior value of one motive to another does not mean that it will be preferred in reality and that the individual will carry out the activity to realise that motive (119). Vasilyuk asks,  How are we to explain this absurd (from the rational point of view) discrepancy, this lack of direct dependence of choice upon evaluation?  He answers that in the first place, by the fact that values in themselves have no stimulating energy and force, and therefore are incapable of directly compelling motives and behaviour to obey them.

 

Because I use values as explanatory principles in action I want to be clear that the values I have in mind, and expressed in practice through the embodied knowledges of practitioners, have the motivating force of directly influencing actions. In my understanding of values they are both meaning-formative and operative in reality, in Vasilyuk's sense of these terms.

 

Vasilyuk does acknowledge that values can be both meaning-formative and operative in reality through the power of a value to produce emotions. Hence value, for Vasilyuk, in terms of his psychological theory of activity, is in the same category as motive.

 

So values do not, on the one hand possess stimulating power, and therefore cannot be held to be motives, but on the other hand, they have to be recognised as motives since they do possess emotionality. The explanation is that the activity theory distinguishes different kinds of motives. It is possible to suppose that in the course of personality development values undergo a definite evolution, changing not only in content but in motivational status as well, in the place they occupy and the role they play in the structure of life-activity. In the earliest stages values exist only in the form of the emotional consequences when behaviour has offended against them, or conversely, has asserted them (first stirrings of guilt or of pride). The values take on the form of 'acknowledged' motives, then that of meaning-formative motives, and finally that of motives both meaning-formative and operative in reality. At each stage the value is enriched with a new motivational quality, without losing those previously present. (p.119)

 

When I use values as explanatory principles of educational influence I want to stress that I am using them as both meaning-formative and operative in reality. I agree with Vasilyuk that  a value as a content of consciousness does not initially possess any energy. However, his crucial point is that as the inner development of the personality proceeds, the value can borrow energy from motives operative in reality. The value develops from a content of consciousness into a content of life, and itself acquires the force of a real motive.

 

This transformation of a value into a real, perceptible motivational force is accompanied by an energy metamorphosis which Vasilyuk says he finds it hard to explain. He says that having become a real motive, a value suddenly proves to possess a mighty charge of energy, a potential, which cannot be accounted for by all the borrowings it may have made in the course of its evolution. In a crucial move that brings in socio-cultural influences in energising values Vasilyuk offers an explanation for this flow of energy. He says that when a value become truly part of life it is 'switched in' to the energies of the supra-individual entity to which that values links the individual. This energy enables value to light up the whole life of a human being from within, filling it with simplicity and true freedom freedom from hesitation and fear, freedom to fulfil creative capabilities. (121).  I associate this energy, with the words of Paul Tillich (1962, p. 68), but without his theistic connections when he writes about the state of being grasped by the power of being itself. I also associate this energy with Bataille's (1987, p. 11) expression of assenting to life up to the point of death.

 

In my explanations of educational influence I use Vasilyuk's idea of creative experiencing to clarify what I mean when I say that I cannot claim to have educated anyone other than myself, but that I can claim to have been an educational influence in the learning of others and in the learning of social formations. I stress the importance of influence because no matter what I do with whatever intentions, for me to understand my influence as educational, what I do must have been mediated through the creative experiencing of the other in their educational influence in their own learning.

 

When I use insights from others in explaining educational influences in learning I do like to make sure that I acknowledge the source of the ideas and the relationship between the originator's meanings and the meanings I generate from my creative engagement with the original meanings. In using Vasilyuk's ideas of hedonistic, realistic, value and creative experiencing I want to share his meanings before I use them in my explanations of educational influence.

 

"Creative Experiencing

The critical situation specific to the internally complex and externally difficult lived world is crisis. A crisis is a turning point in the individual's life road. The life road itself, so far as it is completed and seen in retrospect, is the history of the individual's life, and so far as it is as yet uncompleted and seen in phenomenological prospect, it is the intent of life, for which value provides inner unity and conceptual integrity. Intent as related to value is perceived, or rather felt, as vocation, and as related to the temporal and spatial conditions of existence, as the life-work. This work of life is translated into material terms as actual projects, plans, tasks and goals, achievement or which means giving embodiment to the life intent. When certain (p. 139) events make realisation of the life intent subjectively impossible, a crisis situation occurs.

 

The outcome of experiencing a crisis can take two forms. One is restoration of the life disrupted by the crisis, its rebirth; the other is its transformation into a life essentially different. But in either case it is something life bringing one's life to birth afresh, of building up a self, constructing a new self, i.e., creation, for what is creation but 'bringing into existence' or building up?

 

In the first sub-type of creative experiencing, then, the result is restoration of life, but this does not mean life returning to its previous state. It means that what is preserved is only the most essential part of the life that was, its idea in terms of value, like a regiment shattered in battle living on in the stand saved from the field.

 

The experiencing of events, even of those which have struck very heavy and irreversible blows at the whole 'body' of life, so long as they have not injured life's central, ideal values can develop along one of the two following lines. The first involves the internal conquest of existing psychology identifications between the life intent and the particular forms of realising it which have now become impossible. In this process the life intent becomes as it were 'less bodily', takes on a more generalised and at the same time more essential form, more closely approach an ideal life value. The second line of progress in experiencing, in some ways opposite to the foregoing, lies in seeking out, among the life possibilities still open, other potential embodiments of the life intent; the search is to some degree made easier by the life intent itself becoming more generalised. If the search produces forms for realisation of intent which receive positive sanction from the still-operative idea of value, a new life intent is formed. Thereafter there is a gradual coming-together of the intent with appropriate sensory-practical forms, or it might be better to say that the intent 'takes root' and starts to grow in the material soil of life.

 

All such experiencing, where the thrust is towards producing a new life intent, still does not destroy the old life intent (now impossible). Here the new does not oust the old but continues its work; the old content of life is preserved by the power of creative experiencing, and not as a dead, inert something past but as the living history of the personality, still continuing in the new content. (page 140)

 

The second sub-type of creative experiencing occurs when the life intent proves to have been founded on false values, and is discredited along with those values, by what their actual realisation has produced. Here the task of creative experiencing is, first, to discover a new value system, able to provide a foundation for a new, meaningful life intent ( in this part of it, creative experiencing coincides with value experiencing); second, to absorb the new system and apply it to the individual self in such a way that it can impart meaning to the past life-history and form an ideal notion of the self within the system; and third, to eradicate, in real practice in the sphere of the senses, all traces of the spiritual organism's infection by the now fading false values (and their corresponding motives, attitudes, wishes, etc.), at the same time affirming, again in terms of real practice and sensory embodiment, the ideal to which the self has won through.

 

The third sub-type of creative experiencing is connected with the highest stages of personality development in terms of value. A life crisis is precipitated by the destruction, or threatened destruction, of the value entity to which the individual seems himself as belonging. The person sees this whole under attack and being destroyed by the forces of a hostile reality. Since we are here speaking of a person who is a fully competent inhabitant of the complex-and-difficult lived world, it is clear that he does not simply see this destruction but cannot fail to see it, being incapable of hedonistically ignoring reality. But on the other hand, it is equally impossible for such a person to relinquish the value entity in question, to betray it, to abandon one's convictions. A rational assessment of the situation would admit it to be fundamentally insoluble.

 

So what is the 'strategy' of creative experiencing? Like value experiencing, it first of all brings up the question of whether reality is to be trusted should reason be allowed to stand as the source of the sole, genuine truth about reality, should the given factual reality of the moment be accepted as the fully valid expression of reality as a whole? For value experiencing it was a sufficient accomplishment of its task to enable the individual to stand by his value system to disallow the claims of reason and to recognise in ideal terms that value reality was the higher reality. From creative experiencing something more is required, for its task is to enable the individual to act on the basis of his value system, to actualise and affirm it, to act upon it under conditions which practically, materially operate against it.

 

Such action is psychologically possible only when a special inner state has been attained. We refer to the state of readiness to sacrifice any motive, of which we spoke already when discussing value experiencing. But whereas under the conditions of the 'easy' lived world such a mobilisation of inner resources was achieved by increased introversion, here, in the situation where there is direct collision with external difficulties and dangers, we find a movement taking the reverse direction in a certain sense, a movement not into the self but away from the self, a person concentrating all his spiritual and physical forces not upon achievement of personal happiness, welfare of security, but upon service to a higher value. The highest point of this movement is a state of unconditional readiness for self-sacrifice, or rather a state of utter self-denial, completely freed from all egoistic fixation. This state breaks through the 'impossibility' situation from within, for such a state give meaning to 'irrational actions', which are in fact the only actions that can have meaning in such a situation; selfless action becomes a psychological possibility. (page 142)

 

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"The most essential differences between the various types of experiencing come out in the relationship the experiencing bears to the existential event that created the critical situation, i.e., to reality, and to the life need affected by that event.

 

Hedonistic experiencing ignores reality, distorts and denies it, creating an illusion of the need being actually satisfied, and more generally, of the damaged content of life being still intact.

 

Realistic experiencing eventually accepts reality as it is, making the dynamics and the content of the individual's needs accommodate themselves to real conditions. The former life content, now impossible, is cast aside by realistic experiencing; here the individual has a past but has no history.

 

Value experiencing recognises the reality which contradicts or threatens the individual's values, but does not accept it; it rejects the claims of immediate reality to define directly and unconditionally the inner content of life, and it attempts to disarm reality by means of ideal, semantic procedures, employed to deprive the existential event of its self-identity to make it into an object for interpretation and assessment. The event that has occurred is an irreversible reality beyond human power to alter, but by value experiencing it is translated into another plane of being, transformed into a fact of consciousness, and as such transfigured in the light of the value system already evolved or in the process of being evolved. A word spoken and an act done cannot be recalled or altered, but if their wrongfulness is recognised and admission of fault and repentance follow, then they are both accepted as a reality of one's life and at the same time rejected in terms of value. Thus value experiencing can perform a sublation (in the sense of Hegel's Aufhebung implying the negative-conservation dialectic) of the life-content which has become impossible. Being completed aesthetically or ethically (or following the line of other values) on the imaginary-symbolic plane it becomes transformed into a moment of personal history.

 

If hedonistic experiencing rejects reality, realistic experiencing accepts it unconditionally, and value experiencing transforms it ideally, creative experiencing generates (creates) a new life reality. An event that has taken place, say, an offence committed by the individual, is only ideally transformed or transmogrified by value experiencing through repentance, but creative experiencing recreates the individual's relation to it through atonement. It is this sensory-practical, bodily aspect which distinguishes creative from value experiencing; creative experiencing is distinguished from realistic experiencing by its value aspect.

 

Life's unrealisable past content is not simply ideally 'removed' by creative experiencing. Depending on the value judgments made by a person with respect to a violated life relation, creative experiencing strives either towards (a) rebirth of the particular life relation, even though using different material or in a changed form (if it is fully approved); or (b) its regeneration into something else ( if it is partially condemned and partially approved); or (c) conception of a new life relation in its place (if it is completely condemned). But in any case creative experiencing preserves the impossible life relation in the history of the individual's life, whereby it is not preserved unchanged  as an inert museum exhibit, but as a new, healthy and fruit-bearing tree borne from the seed of an old one." (pages 142-143).

 

I will now apply Vasilyuk's ideas in answering the question:

 

How do my explanations of educational influences in learning flow with life-affirming energy and values of humanity?

 

In answering this question I have three educational relationships in mind: those in which I am educating myself in my own learning, those in which I am influencing the education of others and those in which I am influencing the education of social formations. Hence I will focus on:

 

i) Explanations of my educational influences in my own learning.

ii) Explanations of my educational influence in the learning of others.

iii) Explanations of my educational influences in the learning of social formations.

 

i) Explanations of educational influences in my own learning.

 

All my explanations of educational influences in learning include a flow of life affirming energy. They include values that I experience as carrying hope for the future of humanity. They include experiences of living contradictions in holding together the affirmation of these values together with my recognition of their denial in practice. These experiences of contradiction simulate my creativity in imagining possibilities for living my values more fully in my practice. When conditions permit, my energising values move me to act in the direction of a chosen possibility. As I act I gather data to enable me to make a judgment on the effectiveness of my actions in terms of my values, skills and understandings. I evaluate the influence of my actions in these terms and modify my concerns, ideas and actions in the light of my evaluations. I produce an explanation for my learning that I submit for social validation to my peers and respond to their creative and critical feedback.

 

I have seen two transformations in the nature of the explanations for my learning over the past 30 years. They involve three epistemologies.  I value epistemology because it is the study of the logics, units of appraisal and the standards of judgment that are used to judging the validity of our claims to knowledge. The first transformation was a move from propositional into dialectical explanations. The second was a move from dialectical into inclusional explanations.

 

Evidence of the first transformation is in the movement between two reports I produced in 1976 while working with 6 teachers in a project to improve learning for 11-14 year olds in mixed ability science groups. I produced the reports to explain what we had done and learnt (Whitehead, 1976). In the first report I used three conceptual frameworks to explain the process of innovation, to explain changes in the teaching and learning process and to explain the process of evaluation used in the project. On checking the validity of my explanation with the teachers I was surprised by their response that they could not see themselves in the explanation!

 

They asked me to return to the data of the video-tapes I had made, the audio tapes of our conversations, the evidence from pupils' books and their responses to lessons. They asked me construct an explanation in which they could see themselves, their pupils and their learning. I quickly accepted the validity of their response. I could see that I had imposed pre-existing conceptual frameworks on narratives of their lives and learning in a way that denied their lived experience and learning. The report I then constructed with the help of Paul Hunt, one of the teachers, was accepted by the group as a valid explanation of what we had done and learnt. It had a very different logical form, unit of appraisal and standards of judgment to the original report.  I characterise this transformation in my explanation and the extension of my understandings of the nature of knowledge in terms of propositional and dialectical logics. I am using logic in Marcuse's (1964, p. 105) sense that it is the mode of thought appropriate for comprehending the real as rational.

 

The first epistemology was grounded in the propositional logic of Aristotle with his Law of Contradiction. This claims that two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true simultaneously. His Law of Excluded Middle claims that everything is either A of Not-A. This logic characterises the propositional theories that dominate what counts as legitimate knowledge in the Academy. All my academic life I have drawn insights that I value from the grand narratives of propositional theories. Theories of the kind offered by Erich Fromm throughout his productive life. I continue to draw valued insights from such propositional theories and have acknowledged the influence of theorists such as Polanyi (1958) and Habermas (1976, 1987) amongst many others. 

From recognizing the validity of the teacher's rejection of my first explanation of our learning that was constituted by frameworks drawn from such propositional theories I constructed an explanation in the second report through the exercise of my intuitive responses to the data and my understandings of the teachers I had worked with.  Through my readings about dialectics I could appreciate that I had produced a dialectical explanation for our learning with its own epistemology.

This second epistemology was grounded in the Marxist dialectic as set out by Ilyenkov (1977) in his inspirational work on dialectical logic. Contradiction is the nucleus of dialectics and change is explained in terms of the Law of Identity of Opposites and the Law of the Negation of the Negation. In asking, researching and answering questions of the kind, 'How do I improve my practice?' I could see and feel myself, with the help of video-tapes of my practice, existing as a living contradiction as I held together my values together with their negation in my practice. I have explicated my dialectical epistemology in a creation of a discipline of educational enquiry in my doctoral thesis (Whitehead, 1999). While I understand the arguments that have raged over 2,500 years between propositional and dialectical logicians about the validity of their logics, I have used insights from both kinds of theory in my educational influences in my own learning. I understand Popper's (1963) rejection of dialectical theorizing on the grounds that it is entirely useless as theory because it contains contradictions. Using two Aristotelean Laws of Logic Popper demonstrates that any theory that includes contradictions between statements is entirely useless.  Using two laws of inference he demonstrates that any theory, that accepts that two mutually exclusive statements as being true simultaneously, can be used to show that any statement and its opposite can both be true.  I also understand and accept Marcuse's (1964) point that the nucleus of dialectics is contradiction and that propositional theories mask the dialectical nature of reality.

The second transformation in my understandings of epistemology occurred in 2002 in a conversation with Alan Rayner on his ideas of inclusionality. In the following video-clip Rayner repeats the demonstration that helped me to experience and understand inclusionality as a relationally dynamic awareness of space and boundaries that are connective, reflexive and co-creative.

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/rayner1sor.mov

The transformation in my understandings focused on the standards of judgment I use in validating my claims to knowledge. With my propositional epistemology I clarify the meanings of the value-words I use in relation to other words in a form of conceptual analysis. With my dialectical epistemology I clarify the meanings of my value-words in the course of the expression and emergence of the meanings of my values through what I do as I explore the implications of existing as a living contradiction. In my educational practices of inclusionality I affirm a flow of life-affirming energy and values of humanity that are expressed in a receptively responsive, relationally dynamic of a love of learning and a love of knowledge-creation.

The explanatory principles I use in my inclusional explanations of educational influence in learning are values that flow with this life-affirming energy. The explanations include insights drawn from my understandings of sociocultural, sociohistorical, psychological and other forms of propositional theory. They also include insights drawn from the narratives of the lives of others. For example Marian Naidoo (2005) in her emergent living theory of inclusional and responsive practice has influenced my understandings of the importance of responsive standards of judgment in the expression of a passion for compassion. Eleanor Lohr (2006) has influenced my commitment to include love as a living standard of judgment in my explanations of educational influence in the work I do in education. Bernie Sullivan (2006) in her living theory of a practice of social justice, has reinforced my commitment to exploring the implications of living a value of social justice.

So, my explanations of educational influences in my own learning have included explanations in terms of these transformations in my epistemologies and in my understandings of the values I use to give life meaning and purpose. The extension and transformation of my understandings of the nature of explanations and of the explanatory power of values in my own learning, is reflected in the explanations I give for my educational influences in the learning of others.

ii) Explanations of educational influences in the learning of others.

 

As a human being I enjoy the daily flow of life-affirming energy that contributes to the motivating feeling that life is worthwhile. I enjoy the feeling of anticipation that the day holds opportunities to do something worth-while. I like to look back with some satisfaction on past achievements, acknowledge mistakes and recognise what I have learnt in responding to these errors. As I write I am smiling at the recollection of one of my research students who is a Buddhist saying, 'Jack, we Buddhists don't make mistakes, we just recognise opportunities for learning!'. In my own case I often recognise my mistakes with a rueful smile and value my understanding that I have used these mistakes as opportunities for learning. 

 

As an educator and educational researcher with a vocation in education I focus my energy, values and activities on enhancing the quality of my educational influences in the learning of others and on the generation, testing and dissemination of living educational theories that carry hope for the future of humanity.

 

For the purpose of explaining my educational influences in the learning of others I want to focus on some 20 doctoral theses flowing through web-space that I have either singly or jointly supervised to successful completion, including my own, between 1995-2006.  As this is the primary data source I use to understand and explain my educational influence in the learning of others, I ask you to browse through the list of individuals and the titles of the doctorates. If you have the time and inclination, do please access the Abstracts by clicking on the live urls if you are viewing this in your browser, before moving into some of the contents.

 

Eames, K. (1995) How do I, as a teacher and educational action-researcher, describe and explain the nature of my professional knowledge? Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/kevin.shtml

 

Evans, M. (1995) An action research enquiry into reflection in action as part of my role as a deputy headteacher. Ph.D. Thesis, Kingston University. Jointly supervised with Pamela Lomas. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/moyra.shtml

 

Laidlaw, M. (1996) How can I create my own living educational theory as I offer you an account of my educational development? Ph.D. thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/moira2.shmtl

 

 D'Arcy, P. (1998) The Whole Story..... Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/pat.shtml

 

 Loftus, J. (1999) An action enquiry into the marketing of an established first school in its transition to full primary status. Ph.D. thesis, Kingston University. Jointly supervised with Pamela Lomax. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/loftus.shmtl

 

Whitehead, J. (1999) How do I improve my practice?  Creating a discipline of education through educational enquiry. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/jack.shtml

 

Cunningham, B. (1999) How do I come to know my spirituality as I create my own living educational theory? Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/ben.shtml

 

Finnegan, (2000) How do I create my own educational theory in my educative relations as an action researcher and as a teacher? Ph.D. submission, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/fin.shtml

 

Austin, T. (2001) Treasures in the Snow: What do I know and how do I know it through my educational inquiry into my practice of community? Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/austin.shtml

 

Mead, G. (2001) Unlatching the Gate: Realising the Scholarship of my Living Inquiry. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/mead.shtml

 

Bosher, M. (2001) How can I as an educator and Professional Development Manager working with teachers, support and enhance the learning and achievement of pupils in a whole school improvement process? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/bosher.shtml

 

Delong, J. (2002) How Can I Improve My Practice As A Superintendent of Schools and Create My Own Living Educational Theory? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/delong.shtml

 

Scholes-Rhodes, J. (2002) From the Inside Out: Learning to presence my aesthetic and spiritual being through the emergent form of a creative art of inquiry. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/rhodes.shtml

 

Roberts, P. (2003) Emerging Selves in Practice: How do I and others create my practice and how does my practice shape me and influence others? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 August 2004 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/roberts.shtml

 

Punia, R. (2004) My CV is My Curriculum: The Making of an International Educator with Spiritual Values. Ed.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 August 2004 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/punia.shtml

 

Hartog, M. (2004) A Self Study Of A Higher Education Tutor: How Can I Improve My Practice? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 19 August 2004 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/hartog.shtml

 

Church, M. (2004) Creating an uncompromised place to belong: Why do I find myself in networks? PH.D. University of Bath.  Retrieved 24 May 2005 from  http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/church.shtml

 

Naidoo, M. (2005) I am Because We Are. (My never-ending story) The emergence of a living theory of inclusional and responsive practice. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 2 April 2006 from

http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/naidoo.shtml

 

Farren, M. (2005) How can I create a pedagogy of the unique through a web of betweenness? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 2 April 2006 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/farren.shtml

 

Lohr, E. (2006) Love at Work: What is my lived experience of love and how might I become an instrument of love's purpose. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 26 May 2006 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/living.shtml

 

Each doctoral thesis has been recognized by at least one external and one internal examiner as sufficient evidence of the originality of mind and critical judgment of the researcher, together with the extent and merit of the work itself, to be awarded a doctoral degree. The recommendations of the examiners have all been accepted by the University Senates and the degrees have been awarded. 

 

In my claims to have had some educational influence in the learning of these researchers and in what they have produced I want you to be clear that I am not claiming to have educated them. I do accept a responsibility for my educational influences in my own learning in my claims to have educated myself. However, for me to recognize my influence as educational in their learning I must recognize that what I do has been mediated through the creative experiencing of the learner in constructing their own educational influences in their own learning.

 

In other words I see educational influences as being expressed in intentional rather than causal relationships. In recognizing an educational influence I need to appreciate the existence of the responsibility of the learner in exercising their creative experiencing in mediating whatever is done by others, in the educational influence in their own learning.

 

After I have explained what I think I do in my supervision of doctoral research programmes I will make an evidence-based claim to explain my educational influences in the learning of others.

 

What do I do in my educational relationships?

 

There are five expressions of energy,  value,  faith/belief , enquiry and sharing understandings that characterize for me, what I do in my educational relationships. I think you can see these expressions in the two video clips  from supervision sessions with Jacqueline Delong.

 

 

 

 

First there is the expression of pleasure in being with the other in a flow of life-affirming energy. This is often expressed, at some point, in a spontaneous eruption of laughter in the humour of a shared experience.

 

I think you will experience this flow of energy as you watch the clip at:

 

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/ajwjdwis.mov

 

Second, there is the expression of recognition of the value of the embodied knowledge of the other. I am expressing this recognition through the video-clip.

 

Third, there is my faith/belief that making this knowledge public in the form of their living educational theory is part of living a purposeful and productive life. This faith/belief is expressed in my passion for contributing to an educational relationship through which the other's embodied knowledge is made public  in a way that can be used by others in the generation of their own living educational theories. All my supervisions are moved by the desire to bring into the public domain the living theories of practitioners that can receive university accreditation for the quality of their contribution to educational knowledge.

 

Fourth,  there is a commitment to enquiry in making public the living standards of judgment and understandings used by the other in living a productive life. This belief in the desirability of living a productive life includes a faith in the creative and critical capacities of the other to  generate and share their living educational theory. 

 

Fifth, this commitment to enquiry includes sharing my own understandings of the ideas of others as I see connections between these ideas and the enquiries of the researcher. This commitment can be experienced in the following clip:

 

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/ajdjwsystem.mov

 

In this clip I am working with Jacqueline Delong on making public,  as a living standard of judgment in her thesis, her system's influence.  Jacqueline's originality of mind and critical judgment in her thesis (see http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/delong.shtml ) is focused on her explanation of the forming and sustaining of a culture of inquiry within the Grand Erie District School Board in Ontario.  In the process of the enquiry we both recognized the importance of addressing the issue of 'system's influence'. This was partly because of the desire not to be open to the criticism that the generation of living educational theories was restricted to an inner process of learning and had no systemic influence in the learning of social formations.

 

In fulfilling my commitment to enquiry I also share the understandings that have emerged from my creative experiencing, using Vasilyuk's insights:

 

If hedonistic experiencing rejects reality, realistic experiencing accepts it unconditionally, and value experiencing transforms it ideally, creative experiencing generates (creates) a new life reality. An event that has taken place, say, an offence committed by the individual, is only ideally transformed or transmogrified by value experiencing through repentance, but creative experiencing recreates the individual's relation to it through atonement. It is this sensory-practical, bodily aspect which distinguishes creative from value experiencing; creative experiencing is distinguished from realistic experiencing by its value aspect. ((Vasilyuk,  p. 142).

 

This sharing of accounts that distinguish my creative from my value experiencing is taking place through the flow of my writings from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/writing.shtml .  These include the accounts of my creative experiencing in response to attempts to terminate my employment in 1976, to forbid me from questioning the judgments of examiners of my doctoral submissions in 1980 and 1982 under any circumstances,  pressure on my academic freedom in 1991, and refusal to recognize in 2006 that I have made a sufficient contribution to the advancement of knowledge to be promoted from a Lecturer to a Readership after 33 years of productive life in the University of Bath. I do not usually make a point of directing those I work with to these writings. The writings exist as cultural artefacts flowing through web-space and those I work with access and read them and they become part of our shared understandings. Adding my writings to the flow of communications through web-space is part of what I do. Their influence in the learning of others is connected to their own creative experiencing of my undersanding. I look for evidence of this influence in constructing evidence-based explanations.

 

Can I produce an evidence-based explanation of my educational influence in the learning of others?

 

Having characterized what I do in my educational relationships in terms of expressions of energy,  value,  faith/belief , enquiry and understanding can I produce an evidence-based explanation of my educational influence in the learning of others?

I think what I have said about my educational influence in the learning of others, bears repeating. I see educational influence in terms of intentional relationships that must be mediated by the creative response of others to what I do, in their learning, for me to recognize the learning as educational.

To establish an evidence-based explanation of educational influence in learning I shall share the evidence of learning from others that I think shows originality, significance and rigour and then use this to construct an evidence-based explanation of my educational influence in this learning.

 

Evidence of learning that shows originality, significance and rigour

 

Original, significance and rigour are criteria used to judge the quality of research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in the UK. I am interested in establishing where the flow of the above doctoral theses, flowing through web-space, relates to the RAE as a peer review exercise to evaluate the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2008 RAE will selectively allocate money to institutions of higher education on the following criteria:

 

4* Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance but

which nontheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.

2* Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and

rigour.

1*  Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and

rigour.

 

Each doctoral thesis has been examined by examiners with at least national, if not international reputations for their research. Each thesis has had to satisfy such examiners in terms of its originality, significance and rigour. Hence, I take it that each thesis is of a quality that has been recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour. But what of the combined knowledge-base of living educational theories flowing through web-space? How can this be related to the above standards of quality through peer review? I am not intending to answer this question here because the answer to a large extent rests on your judgement as peer reviewers.

 

Each doctoral thesis has taken a minimum of 5 years to successfully complete. The theses are presented as narratives of the researchers' learning as they research the implications of working to improve their practice. In the process of producing their thesis each individual has included their own 'I' as a living contradiction in their enquiry. They have clarified the meanings of the values they use to give meaning and purpose to their lives in the course of their emergence in practice. Through this process of clarification of meaning, the experience of ontological values is included in the formation of the living epistemological standards of judgement that are used to evaluate practice and the validity of explanations of learning. Issues of rigour are addressed with the help of Winter's (1989) six principles of dialectical critque, reflexive critique, risk, plural structure, multiple resource and theory practice transformation. Validity is strengthened through the use of validation groups that include questions drawn from Habermas' (1976, pp2-3) four criteria of social validity of comprehensibility, truth of propositional content, rightness in relation to a recognised normative background and authenticity. For Habermas, as in the living theory accounts, authenticity is established through interaction over time.

 

For the above reasons I think that I can establish that the evidence of learning in the theses shows originality significance and rigour. But can I explain my educational influence through this evidence?

 

Explaining my educational influence through the evidence of learning that shows originality, significance and rigour.

 

I explain my educational influence in terms of what I do and in terms of the mediation of the creativity of the other in including ideas from our conversations and my writings within their living theories.  I have explained what I do in terms of expressions of energy,  value,  faith/belief , enquiry and sharing understandings.  I am explaining my educational influence in the learning of others both in terms of what I do and the evidence of the learning of the other that shows originality, significance and rigour.  Having originated the idea of living educational theory and contributed to the legitimation of living theories in the Academy,  I think that I am well placed to judge the significance of contributions to this knowledge-base.  The growth of my educational knowledge is influenced by and reflected in my supervision of doctoral research programmes. So, in explaining my educational influences in the learning of others, I can show the evidence of how the transformations and extensions in my own understandings have contributed to the evolving understandings in the research programmes I have supervised.  This can be seen most markedly over the past four years in the evolution of my understanding of inclusionality and the way in which I have explicitly encouraged the inclusion and development of this idea into the research programmes.  This can be seen in the Abstracts of the following theses:

 

Naidoo, M. (2005) I am Because We Are. (My never-ending story) The emergence of a living theory of inclusional and responsive practice. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 2 April 2006 from

http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/naidoo.shtml

 

Farren, M. (2005) How can I create a pedagogy of the unique through a web of betweenness? Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 2 April 2006 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/farren.shtml

 

Lohr, E. (2006) Love at Work: What is my lived experience of love and how might I become an instrument of love's purpose. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 26 May 2006 from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/living.shtml

 

In my evidence-based claim to be explaining my educational influence in the learning of others I want to be very clear that the originality of each researcher has moved beyond any contribution of my ideas to their thesis. My explanation of influence requires the originality in the voice of the researcher and the acknowledgement that my ideas have helped in the formation of the thesis for me to recognise my influence in their learning as educational.

 

Having explained what I do in my educational relationships and provided an evidence-based claim to have explained my educational influence in the learning of others I now want to turn to explanations of educational influences in the learning of social formations. This is because of the significant influence played by sociohistorical factors and sociocultural artefacts in the evolution of our social capital and in the conditions of possibility within which we live and work. In explaining my educational influence in the learning of social formations I shall again draw on Vasilyuk's understanding of creative experiencing.

 

iii) Explanations of educational influences in the learning of social formations.

 

In the evolution of my explanations of educational influences in the learning of social formations I draw insights from propositional theories, dialectical understandings and educational practices of inclusionality.

 

In responding to the call for proposals for consideration for presentation at the 2007 American Educational Research Association Annual Conference in Chicago I identified with the theme of 'The World of Educational Quality'.  The Abstract of my proposal states:

 

Creating a World of Educational Quality through Living Educational Theories

 

Abstract

 

The originality of this research lies in the validation and legitimation of new living standards of judgement in the generation and testing of living educational theories of self-study researchers. The new standards of judgement are based on a relationally dynamic awareness of space and boundaries that is connective, reflexive and co-creative. The process of validation include digital multi-media explanations of educational influences in learning by self-study researchers. The processes of legitimation include the living standards of judgement in the cultural artefacts of some 20 living theory doctorates flowing through web-space. The significance of engaging with colonising power relations with a decolonising response is addressed. (Whitehead, 2006)

 

In seeking to contribute to the creation of a world of educational quality through living educational theories I use particular ideas from social theorists including Bourdieu (1990), Bernstein (2000), Sen (1999), Habermas (1987) and Said (1993).  Here are the ideas.

 

From Bourdieu I take the idea of the importance of analysing social formations in a way that recognises the reproductive power of the habitus in sustaining existing social formations in a way that has nothing to do with rules and with conscious compliance with rules. I bear in mind the paradox that social science makes greatest use of the language of rules precisely in the cases where it is most totally inadequate:

 

"The objective adjustment between dispositions and structures ensures a conformity to objective demands and urgencies which has nothing to do with rules and conscious compliance with rules, and gives an appearance of finality which in no way implies conscious positing of the ends objectively attained. Thus, paradoxically, social science makes greatest use of the language of rules precisely in the cases where it is most totally inadequate, that is, in analysing social formations in which, because of the constancy of the objective conditions over time, rules have a particularly small part to play in the determination of practices, which is largely entrusted to the automatisms of the habitus."    (Bourdieu, p. 145, 1990)

 

In exploring the educational influence of living educational theories in the learning of social formations I am focusing on the evolution of a conscious understanding of the living standards of practice and judgement that carry hope for the future of humanity in the learning of social formations. Here is an example of what I mean by an educational influence in the learning of a social formation. 

 

In 1980 the Regulations of the University of Bath did not permit candidates for research degrees to question the judgements of examiners under any circumstances, once the examiners had been appointed. By 1991 the Regulations had changed to allow questions to be raised on the grounds of bias, prejudice and inadequate assessment. I take it that it is self evident, to those who value academic freedom and justice, that this change in the rules governing a social formation is evidence of an educational influence in the learning of the social formation.

 

In the ideas of Habermas, in his monumental work on communicative action, I find support for my focus on learning:

 

"..... I have attempted to free historical materialism from its philosophical ballast. Two abstractions are required for this: I) abstracting the development of the cognitive structures from the historical dynamic of events, and ii) abstracting the evolution of society from the historical concretion of forms of life. Both help in getting beyond the confusion of basic categories to which the philosophy of history owes its existence.

 

A theory developed in this way can no longer start by examining concrete ideals immanent in traditional forms of life. It must orient itself to the range of learning processes that is opened up at a given time by a historically attained level of learning. It must refrain from critically evaluating and normatively ordering totalities, forms of life and cultures, and life-contexts and epochs as a whole. And yet it can take up some of the intentions for which the interdisciplinary research program of earlier critical theory remains instructive.

 

Coming at the end of a complicated study of the main features of a theory of communicative action, this suggestion cannot count even as a "promissory note." It is less a promise than a conjecture." (Habermas, 1987, p. 383)

 

In my desire to contribute to the creation of a world of educational quality I do focus on learning. However, my primary interest is on educational influences in learning because I believe that it is important to face the challenge of accepting responsibility for ensuring the learning is educational. We can learn to do many things that are not educational and that do not carry hope for the future of humanity.

 

My interest, in exploring the educational influence of living educational theories in the learning of social formations, includes Vasilyuk's ideas on the connection between energy, values and motive, in the explanations that constitute the living theories.

 

My awareness that wherever individuals are researching their own practices they are influenced by economic, sociohistorical and sociocultural pressures, is influenced by the ideas of Sen (1998) and Said (1993).

 

 

From Sen I learnt to distinguish between a 'human capital' orientation and a 'human capability' orientation in my explanations of social transformations and to see that his economic theory of human capability included the narrower view of the human capital approach:

 

"....what, we may ask, is the connection between "human capital" orientation and the emphasis on "human capability" with which this study has been much concerned? Both seem to place humanity at the center of attention, but do they have differences as well as some congruence? At the risk of some oversimplification, it can be said that the litera­ture on human capital tends to concentrate on the agency of human beings in augmenting production possibilities. The perspective of human capability focuses, on the other hand, on the abilitythe sub­stantive freedomof people to lead the lives they have reason to value and to enhance the real choices they have. The two perspectives cannot but be related, since both are concerned with the role of human beings, and in particular with the actual abilities that they achieve and acquire. But the yardstick of assessment concentrates on different achievements.

 

Given her personal characteristics, social background, economic circumstances and so on, a person has the ability to do (or be) certain things that she has reason to value. The reason for valuation can be direct (the functioning involved may directly enrich her life, such as being wellnourished or being healthy), or indirect (the functioning involved may contribute to further production, or command a price in the market). The human capital perspective canin principlebe defined very broadly to cover both types of valuation, but it is typi­cally definedby conventionprimarily in terms of indirect value: human qualities that can be employed as "capital" in production (in the way physical capital is). In this sense, the narrower view of the human capital approach fits into the more inclusive perspective of human capability, which can cover both direct and indirect conse­quences of human abilities." (Sen, 1998, p.293)

 

From the ideas of Bernstein, I could see the value of stating a commitment to two conditions for an effective democracy and being willing to account for my own social practices in relation to these two conditions:

 

First of all, there are the conditions for an effective democracy. I am not going to derive these from high-order principles, I am just going to announce them. They first condition is that people must feel that they have a stake in society. Stake may be a bad metaphor, because by stake I mean that not only are people concerned to receive something but that they are also concerned to give something. This notion of stake has two aspects to it, the receiving and the giving. People must feel that they have a stake in both senses of the term.

 

Second, people must have confidence that the political arrangements they create will realise this stake, or give grounds if they do not. In a sense it does not matter too much if this stake is not realised, or only partly realised, providing there are good grounds for it not being realised or only partly realised. (Bernstein, 2000, p. xx)

 

From Bernstein's ideas I could also see the significance of using the concept of pedagogy in relation to symbolic control and identity.

 

Pedagogy is a sustained process whereby somebody(s) acquires new forms or develops existing forms of conduct, knowledge, practice and criteria from somebody(s) or something deemed to be an appropriate provider and evaluator - appropriate either from the point of view of the acquirer or by some other body(s) or both (p.78).

 

I have seen the idea of pedagogy being used more often in the educational literature over the past ten years. When I use it I am using it in Bernstein's sense. Yet, I am not prepared to relinquish the use of the term educational or to see it reduced to pedagogy. This is because Bernstein was a social theorist contributing to sociological explanations. I am retaining my use of educational, as it is distinguished in the creation and testing of living educational theories. Such theories, in the lives of individuals, cannot be validly reduced, in my view, to any propositional explanation or linguistic concept.

 

From Said I learnt the significance of including culture within explanations of educational influence:

 

As I use the word, 'culture' means two things in particular. First of all it means all those practices, like the arts of description, communication, and representation, that have relative autonomy from the economic, social, and political realms and that often exist in aesthetic forms, one of whose principal aims is pleasure. Included, of course, are both the popular stock of lore about distant parts of the world and specialized knowledge available in such learned disciplines as ethnography, historiography, philology, sociology, and literary history.....

 

Second, and almost imperceptible, culture is a concept that includes a refining and elevating element, each society's reservoir of the best that has been known and thought. As Matthew Arnold put it in the 1860s.... In time, culture comes to be associated, often aggressively, with the nation of the state; this differentiates 'us' from 'them', almost always with some degree of xenophobia. Culture in this sense is a source of identity, and a rather combative one at that, as we see in recent 'returns' to culture and tradition. (Said, pp. xii-xiv, 1993)

 

I see the living educational theories flowing through web-space as including a refining and elevating element in the living standards of judgement that carry hope for the future of humanity, I am taking them to be cultural artefacts that are freely available to those with the technology to access them, to make use of in the generation of their own living theories.

 

So in explaining my educational influence in the learning of social formations I will be drawing in ideas from the propositional theories of others. The above ideas are not exhaustive but serve to show how ideas from such propositional theories are included within my explanations of educational influence.

When I claim to be including dialectical understandings within these explanations of educational influence I have in mind the work of Ilyenkov (1977) in his work on dialectical logic. Ilyenkov posed the question if an object exists as a living contradiction what must the thought be that expresses it. The question had its genesis in the 2,500 debate between formal and dialectical logicians. Propositional theorists, because of their reliance on relationships between statements to communicate their meanings, cannot understanding how two mutually exclusive statements could be both true simultaneously. The problem faced by Ilyenkov was that as soon as he started to 'write logic' he was faced with the problem of contradiction. In the logics of inclusionality the problem of one logic excluding the other is avoided as both logics can co-exist within the practice and logic of inclusionality. I shall demonstrate this below in the explanation of educational influence in the learning of a social formation.

Moving into a dialectical understanding grounded in contradiction moves me once again into visual data. In the video-clip below I am re-enacting a meeting which took place in 1991 when I was invited to respond  to a draft report from a Senate Working Party that had been established to enquire into a matter concerning my academic freedom. I had submitted a letter, from the University Secretary and Registrar to the Board of Studies for Education, that claimed that my activities and writings were a threat to the present and proper order of the university and not consistent with the duties the university wished me to pursue in teaching or research. The Board of Studies felt the letter constituted a prima facie evidence of a breach of academic freedom and referred the matter to Senate. Senate established a Working Party to look into the matter. The preliminary report of the Working Party concluded that my academic freedom had not been breached. Here is my re-enactment of my meeting with the Working Party.

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/ajwacfr.mov

At the end of my meeting with the working party I felt totally defeated. The working party appeared determined to keep to their conclusion that my academic freedom had not been breached, as indeed it hadn't. Yet, there was no acknowledgement of the pressure to which I had been subjected. Feeling totally defeated I got up and walked to the door. Just as I was about to leave I felt a surge of energy that I connect with my passion for academic freedom and justice. I don't think that this surge of energy was originated from my conscious 'I'.  I think you will feel its power being expressed through my responses as I turned to make my final responses to the working party.

The final report to Senate concluded that my academic freedom had not been breached. However, The report now stated that this was because of my persistence in the face of pressure;  a less determined individual might well have been discouraged and therefore constrained. 

In acknowledging this pressure in their final report to Senate, I felt that my colleagues had exercised their responsibilities as scholars in recognizing and acknowledging the pressures to which individuals can be subjected to in the Academy and which can constrain their academic freedom. Using Lyotard's idea that the following behaviour can be understood as a form of terrorism has helped me to counter such power relations because I can understand them with Lyotard's terms when making a response as I shall show below in the latest issue over 'recognition' of contributions to knowledge:

"Countless scientists have seen their 'move' ignored or repressed, sometimes for decades, because it too abruptly destabilized the accepted positions, not only in the university and scientific hierarchy, but also in the problematic. The stronger the 'move' the more likely it is to be denied the minimum consensus, precisely because it changes the rules of the game upon which the consensus has been based. But when the institution of knowledge functions in this manner, it is acting like an ordinary power center whose behaviour is governed by a principle of homeostasis.

 

Such behaviour is terrorist.... By terror I mean the efficiency gained by eliminating, or threatening to eliminate a player from the language game one shares with him. He is silenced or consents, not because he has been refuted, but because his ability to participate has been threatened (there are many ways to prevent someone from playing). The decision makers' arrogance, which in principle has no equivalent in the sciences, consistes of the exercise of terror. It says: "Adapt your aspirations to our ends or else". (Lyotard, 1986, p. 64)

 

Without placing myself in the same league as the persecution suffered by Galileo, when he was shown the instruments of torture as if they were to be used, in making him recant what he knew to be true, I do find inspiration in recognising just how the words of others, that have not been recognised or worse, have survived the material conditions of their age. I identify with Mandelstam's and Vygotsky's refusal to surrender the motive of their own thoughts and count myself fortunate to have already experienced the affirmation of my ideas in the minds, languages and living theories of others:

Despite the harshest efforts at authoritarian control, each of them refused to surrender the motive of his own thoughts. Grounded in history, both believed their words would survive the material conditions of their age. Like Egyptian funerary ships, their words were preserved against decades of official proscription and silence until the words could come alive again in the minds and language of others. Osip Mandelstam and Lev Vygotsky were both men of their times, and they surely stood on feet of brass, not clay. (Willis, p. 5).

This brings me to my latest responses to a lack of institutional recognition of my contributions to educational knowledge. The following extract is from a contribution to a Symposium on How do we explain the significance of the validity of our self-study enquiries for the future of educational research? At the 2006 Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association (Whitehead, 2006b). The reference to the living theories in the data section of the Appendix, refers to the living theories with their live urls, listed above:

 

"In 1976 there was an attempt by the University to terminate my employment on the grounds of dissatisfaction with my teaching and research and that I had disturbed the good order and morale of the whole School of Education. The attempt did not succeed because the disciplinary power of the University was met with a greater external power mobilised by students and colleagues internal to the University and involving distinguished academics whom I had not met, external to the University, and who were willing to comment on the quality of my research. It also involved a Professor of Public Law from the Campaign for Academic Freedom and Democracy freely taking up my case.  I still marvel at the willingness of others to come to my assistance and the strength of their political integrity in engaging with the disciplinary power of the University. I gained a tenured appointment in 1977 until August 2009 because of their efforts. In recognition of their altruistic responses and care for the other in terms of truth and justice, I have not found it possible to seek promotion that would remove the tenure. This isn't anything to do with job security as some might think. It was connected with the pleasure I felt in the moral commitment of others to express their values with political integrity in their actions. In 2005, I felt a change in emphasis in my moral purpose. Having spent a working life in researching educational theory, I felt that the University's recognition of my contribution to educational knowledge would serve to enhance the influence of the flow of living educational theories more than sustaining my resistance to applying for promotion. I still feel this. Hence I felt comfortable in putting my case for promotion to a Readership to the Academic Staff Committee of the University. You can access this application at http://www.jackwhitehead.com/jwreadership.pdf and evaluate its legitimacy as a case for promotion from Lecturer to Reader at Universities similar to the University of Bath.

 

Earlier this year the case was rejected without interview on the grounds that I had yet to make the outstanding contribution to knowledge required for a Readership by the University.  In order to develop my case I must publish further in internationally recognised and reputable Journals.  Now, this brings me to the two present strands in my experience of living contradictions in my work and research. I feel the first contradiction in holding my perception of myself as having made sufficient contribution to knowledge for a Readership, together with the perception of the Academic Staff Committee that I have not.  The other strand of my experience of living contradiction is in the pressure to publish in the very journals that I have been critical of as being too limited in their forms of representation to carry my meanings.

 

The crux of this contradiction is that I have been seeking to research multi-media representations of embodied values in explanations of educational influence. One of the only International Journals I know in my field that is publishing multi-media accounts is Action Research Expeditions and you can access my most ambitious publishing effort to date from the live url above.  Now, it was only in 2004 that the University of Bath changed its regulations to allow the submission of e-media. I served on the committee that made the recommendation for the change in regulation to Senate. Five doctoral researchers have successfully submitted their living theory, multi-media accounts to the University since the change in regulation in 2004. You can access these from the Data section above. However, there is no traditional text-based international and reputable refereed journal that I know of that can publish the visual narrative of Marian Naidoo's emergent living theory of inclusional and responsive practice. This is because of the multi-media visual narrative on a DVD included in the Thesis. Yet, this thesis is in the University Library accepted as a doctoral thesis that has demonstrated her originality of mind and critical judgement and the extent and merit of her work. 

 

The point I am making is that the requirement to publish further in international and reputable refereed journals flies in the face of my multi-media publications in which I have been explaining that the logic and language of these journals is too limited to carry the meanings I am seeking to communicate in my contributions to educational knowledge. It is going to take time for the new multi-media web-based journals to establish their reputations as international and reputable referred journals that carry equivalent status in the Academy with the text-based journals. I may of course be mistaken in my belief that my contributions to educational knowledge do warrant recognition by the University of Bath as sufficient for promotion to Reader. However, what is fascinating me, as my enquiry continues, and given the history of judgements on my work by the University over the thirty years of 1976-2006, is the relevance, in the face of the kind of intellectual terrorism described by Lyotard, of MacIntyre's view that:

 

The rival claims to truth of contending traditions of enquiry depend for their vindication upon the adequacy and explanatory power of the histories which the resources of each of those traditions in conflict enable their adherents to write. (MacIntyre, 1988, p. 403)

 

My purpose in coming to the University in 1973 was to contribute to the reconstruction of educational theory so that educational theory could produce valid explanations for the educational influences of individuals in learning. I believe that the originality of mind and critical judgements of those individuals who have produced their own living theories have demonstrated their adequacy and explanatory power. Each individual has acknowledged my educational influence in supporting the expression of their originality of mind and critical judgement. I can appreciate the outstanding contribution to knowledge being expressed in the flow of these living theories through web-space. I believe that the originality of mind and critical judgement of my own research has contributed to this knowledge-base in a way that is worthy of being recognised as appropriate for a Reader. My intention in applying for a Readership after some 40 years professional engagement in education, with 33 of these years at the University of Bath, was solely motivated by the belief that such recognition would enhance the educational influence of the flow of living educational theories. (The University celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and this co-incides with my 40 years of professional engagement in education!).  Given the lack of this recognition in relation to my desire to enhance the recognition of these theories I would appreciate your suggestions on what might be the most appropriate responses for me to make. I am thinking of responses that would channel my life-affirming energy into its most creative and life-enhancing forms.

 

You could for example look through my application and explain that it is too limited to warrant promotion from a Lectureship to a Readership.  If you believe in the educational potential of living educational theories for the future of educational research, you could suggest how I might use the rest of my productive life in education in responding creatively to this lack of recognition while avoiding disabling and destructive responses and continuing to enhance the flow of living theories that carry hope for our humanity in the future of educational research.

 

In asking for your responses I feel most receptive to those that appreciate that the flow of my life-affirming energy and passion for education is affirmed and enhanced by those who have already recognised and acknowledged the value of my contributions to knowledge and to their own learning. The lack of recognition of the quality of my contribution to knowledge by the University is most damaging to the outside perceptions of how my contributions to knowledge are judged by my University. I continue to exist as a living contradiction. I hold the belief that the recognition by the University of my contribution to educational knowledge would assist in enhancing the flow of its influence, together with the experience and understanding that the explicit lack of recognition could damage the flow of its influence.

 

In the spirit of inclusionality I am seeking your assistance in continuing to work in ways that serve to channel the flows of energy motivated by anger, pain and distress and that could serve destructive and disabling interests, into the flow of life affirming and creative energies that bring more fully into the world those values, skills and understandings that carry hope for the future of humanity, and our own. For example I am thinking of the values explicated in the living theories in the Data section in the Appendix and lived by the action researchers themselves. I am thinking of the values explicated by the action researcher Bridget Somekh (2006), in her book on Action Research:  methodology for change and development. Somekh's core values include respect for all participants, sensitivity to culture, support for risk taking, honesty and openness, intellectual engagement in trying to understand human and social processes, moral vigilance and resistance to the temptation to exercise power thoughtlessly in order to get things done quickly. Her text provides ample evidence of the life of learning of an action researcher who is living these values as fully as she can with integrity and authenticity. All the action researchers I have worked with have encountered both constraining and liberating power relations. I continue to find ways of channelling the energy that I could dissipate into fruitless acts of hate or vengeance when I experience the intellectual terrorism described by Lyotard. What I am seeking to do is to respond in a way that supports the power of truth rather than the truth of power with an awareness of the need for openness to reasonable argument that my judgments are mistaken. I am working on responses that contribute to the flow of life-affirming energy in the creative responses I have seen expressed in the lives of those I have had the privilege to work with in the generation of their own living theories of their human existences. I do hope that you will respond to my invitation to work on this with me." (Whitehead, 2006b)

 

Exploring the implications of an educational practice of inclusionality in explanations of educational influence.

 

In concluding these present writings I shall now open up some possibilities for the development of my inclusional explanations of educational influence in the learning of social formations as I respond to the above context and the lack of recognition. In seeking to live an educational practice of inclusionality I am drawing on the ideas of the originator of the idea of inclusionality (Rayner, 2006a) in what Rayner (2006b) calls 'wisdom enquiry'.

 

"I think wisdom enquiry has the following fundamental characteristics, from which many others can be derived.

 

1. It seeks understanding of nature and human nature and does not attempt to set these apart.

 2. It is unprejudiced and hence in a sense un-objective, based on considering all available evidence from all available perspectives.

 3. It recognizes the restrictive nature of any fixed, uniquely situated perspective in which an observer is distanced from the observed.

 4. It does not isolate reason from emotion or give precedence to one over the other.

5. It corresponds with and is therefore not set in opposition to natural dynamic processes and geometry, thereby obviating conflict and paradox.

 6. It does not, except as an analytical tool, impose an artificial rectilinear frame upon nature or regard linearity as precursive to non-linearity.

 7. It does not, except as an analytical tool, deliberately exclude or ignore some vital aspect of nature for the sake of convenience.

 8. It recognises that all form is a dynamic inclusion of space - not an occupier of space - and so is not definable in absolute terms.

 9. It recognizes that all is included in and influenced by all - content is inseparable from context at any scale.

10. It includes love.   (Rayner e-mail correspondence 21/09/06) 

 

Before I can explain my influence I need to influence! Here is the beginning of an explanation for my educational influence in the learning of social formations that do not recognise the quality of the contribution to educational knowledge that is constituted by the living theories flowing already through web-space.  The explanation is grounded in the assumption that this educational knowledge from the embodied knowledge of practitioners has been made public, accredited by the Academy and is flowing through web-space. It is grounded in the fact and concern that my own contribution to educational knowledge has not been recognised by the individuals who constitute the Academic Staff Committee of the University of Bath in 2006 and that in order to gain this recognition I must focus my writings on their dissemination in the international and renowned refereed Journals whose language and logic I have been criticising for years as too limited to carry the meanings of my contributions to educational knowledge.  In responding to the lack of recognition in this particular context, in my action plan, I have requested copies of the referees comments and I am in the process of producing a case that questions the appropriateness of the judgements of the Academic Staff committee

 

In explaining my educational influence, assuming I have one, I intend to draw on Bernstein's idea of recontextualising knowledge and on Vasilyuk's idea of creative experiencing:

 

Life's unrealisable past content is not simply ideally 'removed' by creative experiencing. Depending on the value judgments made by a person with respect to a violated life relation, creative experiencing strives either towards (a) rebirth of the particular life relation, even though using different material or in a changed form (if it is fully approved); or (b) its regeneration into something else ( if it is partially condemned and partially approved); or (c) conception of a new life relation in its place (if it is completely condemned). But in any case creative experiencing preserves the impossible life relation in the history of the individual's life, whereby it is not preserved unchanged  as an inert museum exhibit, but as a new, healthy and fruit-bearing tree borne from the seed of an old one."

 

My responses to the judgements of the Academic Staff Committee are dependent on the value judgments I make with respect to a violated life relation. This is the violated life relation of the lack of recognition of my contribution to educational knowledge by the individuals who constitute the Academic Staff Committee. The validity of my experience of violations is of course predicated upon the legitimacy of my claim about the quality of my contribution to educational knowledge.  In explaining my response in terms of my creative experiencing I am striving towards the rebirth of the violated life relation in the recognition of those that deny the quality of my contribution to educational, that this contribution is now recognised. The creative experiencing is preserving the impossible life relation in the history of my life at the point of rejection, and rechannelling the emotional energy that I could mobilise into destructive responses into the flow of life-affirming energy as I seek to enhance the educational influence of living educational theories in the learning of social formations. Evidence of my rechannelling this emotional enquiry is in a video tape of a conversation with two South African researchers in Pilanesburg that started minutes after opening an e-mail informing me of the rejection of my application for a Readership on the 5th March 2006. I can be seen responding to a colleague's research paper with the advice she is seeking, with similar qualities of life affirming energy,  value,  faith/belief , enquiry and sharing understandings as in the earlier clip presented above.

 

As well an explaining my educational influence in the learning of social formations in terms of Vasilyuk's idea of creative experiencing I shall also use Bernstein's (2000, p. 28) idea of recontextualising knowledge. I think that the embodied knowledge of the practitioner-researchers listed above has been recontextualised into the living theory theses in the Libraries of the University of Bath and Kingston University and in the flow of communications of web-space. In order for my own contributions to educational knowledge to be recognised as appropriate for those of a Reader in the University of Bath, a further recontextualising is required into the consciousness of those making judgments about the quality of the contribution. I am under no illusion that this is likely to happen. However, what I hope to achieve in this journey of communication and enquiry is a growing global awareness of the importance for the future of humanity of individuals being willing to explore the implications for their own lives and learning of living values of humanity more fully in their practice.  I am thinking of the global awareness of enhancing the flow of these values as individuals share their living educational theories and learn to enhance their educational influences with each other.  Returning to the world of Willis about the words coming alive again in the minds and language of others, fills me with optimism:

 

 Like Egyptian funerary ships, their words were preserved against decades of official proscription and silence until the words could come alive again in the minds and language of others.

 

What continues to delight and energise me in my work at the University of Bath is being able to work with individuals who are as committed as I am to contributing to a world of educational quality.  It is in my relationships with these individuals that I experience the hope in knowing that what we are doing is worth while and an important part of my productive life. In our continuing collaboration as colleagues, following the successful completion of their research programmes, I feel the pleasurable mutual affirmations of recognition of value for who we are and what we are doing. I am thinking of recognition in Fukuyama's sense: 

 

Human beings seek recognition of their own worth, or of the people, things, or principles that they invest with worth. The desire for recognition, and the accompanying emotions of anger, shame and pride, are parts of the human personality critical to political life. According to Hegel, they are what drives the whole historical process. (Fukuyama, 1992, p. xvii)

 

"The existence of a moral dimension in the human personality that constantly evaluates both the self and others does not, however, mean that there will be any agreement on the substantive content of morality. In a world of thymotic moral selves, they will be constantly disagreeing and arguing and growing angry with one another over a host of questions, large and small. Hence thymos is, even in its most humble manifestations, the starting point for human conflict." (ibid pp. 181-182).

 

One of the tasks I have set myself in the University is to respond to the lack of recognition in a way that channels the anger into a life-affirming energy of creative experiencing that will enhance the educational influences of living educational theories. I am thinking of the educational influences in the learning of individuals, in their educational influence in the learning of others and in the learning of social formations. In this way I continue to seek to contribute to the creation of a world of educational quality. I am hopeful that we will meet and share ideas and good conversations along the way.

 

 

References

 

Bataille, G. (1987) Eroticism. London, New York; Marion Boyars

 

Bernstein, B. (2000) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique

Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

 

Bourdieu, P. (1990) The Logic of Practice. Stanford CA; Stanford University Press.

 

Fukuyama, F. (1992) The End of History and the Last Man, London; Penguin.

 

Habermas, J. (1976) Communication and the evolution of society.  London; Heinemann

 

Habermas, J. (1987) The Theory of Communicative Action Volume Two: The Critique of Functionalist Reason. Oxford; Polity.

 

Lyotard, F. (1986) The Postmodern Condition: A report on Knowledge. Manchester; Manchester University Press.

 

Marcuse, H. (1964) One Dimensional Man, London; Routledge and Kegan Paul.

 

Rayner, A. (2006a) Essays and Talks About Inclusionality by Alan Rayner. Retrieved 22 September 2006 from

 

Rayner, A. (2006) Wisdom Enquiry. E-mail correspondence 21/09/06.

 

Said, E. (1993) Culture and Imperialism, London; Vintage. 

 

Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford; Oxford University Press.

 

Tillich, P. (1962) The Courage to be. London; Fontana.

 

Vasilyuk, F.  (1991) The Psychology of Experiencing: the Resolution of Life's Critical Situations.  Hemel Hempstead; Harvester Wheatsheaf.

 

Willis, M.  A word is the search for it. Vygotsky, Mandlestam and the renewal of motive. An essay by Mark Willis (1998-2001). Retrieved 21/09/06 from http://www.wright.edu/~mark.willis/essays/slovo.html