The ethics of participatory processes: Dynamic flux, open questions

This essay arose from a workshop on ecological ethics.  It is a thought-piece about possibilities, more than an analysis of a actual practice.  But I have found myself coming back to it for the framing it provides in the combination of “five ideals for a ‘dynamic flux ethics’—engagement, participation, cultivating collaborators, transversality, and fostering curiosity.”

Yesterday, in response to a student’s term paper, I thought that, esoteric language aside, these ideals could inform education from an early age. Today, I am thinking that, despite the pressure to get active now in response to the radical right wing take-over of government power at many levels in the USA, any course of action could be evaluated in terms of whether it met all five ideals, described in brief here.

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Guidelines for personnel procedures giving value to the various dimensions of scholarship of engagement

This post draws attention to the guidelines for personnel procedures of the College of Education and Human Development of the University of Massachusetts Boston. They can serve as a model to be adopted and adapted for a) units that don’t have explicit or detailed guidelines; and b) giving value to the various dimensions of scholarship of engagement. Read more of this post

Evaluation of educational change

These notes capture the state of evolution at the end of Spring ’01 of a graduate course on Evaluation of Educational Change that later became Action Research for Educational, Professional and Personal Change (using a framework described in the book Taking Yourself Seriously, http://bit.ly/TYS2012). Read more of this post

Collaborative Explorations to improve the learning that museums try to foster?

It has occurred to me that Collaborative Explorations offer a model (i.e., something to be adopted and adapted) for improving the learning that museums try to stimulate through their exhibitions.  This thought came as I noted how underwhelmed I am by the efforts of science museums, even ones like the Exploratorium,  to engage visitors.   Even when I have fun with the interactive exhibits or enjoy the spectator ones I rarely emerge from the museum with a thread that I can build on and end up with knowledge and understanding that feels creative to have arrived at.
The CE model (adapted from http://wp.me/p1gwfa-x2) allows us to to experiment with ways to address the needs of learners who want to:
a) dig deeper, make “thicker” connections with other learners;
b) connect topics with their own interests;
c) participate for shorter periods than a course in a classroom (or MOOC); and
d) learn without needing degree or other credits for completion of a course.

I think we could do something interesting in this spirit with a group of 6 at a museum (with access to the internet) in say, 90 minutes.  (After all, even at the Louvre or the Uffizi, one’s eyes/brains don’t take in much after an hour.)  I haven’t worked out the details, but the thought seemed worth sharing.
(None of this speaks to the museum’s collection side, which I do appreciate.)

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement, now published

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter is now available.  This is a “field-book of tools and processes to help readers in all fields develop as researchers, writers, and agents of change.”

(For more details and how to purchase: http://bit.ly/TYS2012.
Read more of this post

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement is the working title of a book by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter that assembles the tools and processes from research and writing courses taught in the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking.  The most up to date version of the book can be viewed at http://cct.wikispaces.umb.edu/TYS (and associated links, including a link to a full pdf of the book).

For your research and writing to progress well, your questions and ideas need to be in alignment with your aspirations, your ability to take or influence action, and your relationships with other people. Shorten these items to head, heart, hands, and human connections. Your efforts to bring these 4H’s into alignment is what we mean when we invite you to take yourself seriously.

Some comments from former students looking back on the influence of the research courses out of which this book has arisen:

Jane, a healthcare professional and story-teller

I learned is to ‘hold my ideas loosely’, which means accepting my own idea as a valid one but always leaving the space open to take in the counterarguments.

I learned to give myself permission to be circular and come back to previous steps or thoughts, and I actually became more comfortable doing so.

I was able to get engaged in a project that I was able to actually use in work, which was extremely satisfying. The whole process encouraged me, and I felt very empowered as a change agent, which could be an exhilarating feeling.

(more comments)

Self-assessment on completing a project or a program of study

The assessment, which is adaptable to any project of research and engagement, addresses two sets of goals:

  • My Product [e.g. project report or final capstone paper or thesis] Shows That…
  • Developing as a Reflective Practitioner

For each goal you describe one example of Read more of this post

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