Last night I settled down with a cup of tea and a comfy chair and joined my first 'coffee house meeting' via Skype. It was something I had been looking forward to as I have not been available for either of the campus sessions this term and am someone who finds being in contact with others really helpful, reassuring and productive.
Perhaps because of the timing of this month's meeting there weren't too many people available to chat but I still found the conversation between Adesola, Sophie Jones and myself to be really positive and thought-provoking so my blog today is going to be an overview of the things we talked about.
N.B. I know that Sophie is going to be blogging about the 'coffee house meeting' too so I'll not talk too much about what she said and instead link to her post when she puts it up.
Firstly Adesola and I chatted about the module 2 inquiry tasks, in particular I had a question about the task involving pilot data collection tools (survey, interview, etc.) and whether it was to be kept within our BAPP groups or opened up to involve other professionals, etc. Adesola was very helpful in pointing out that it was not necessary to do each and every type of data collection as pilot but that by being selective and trying out, in depth, one or two methods we would then be more able to see which of the ways would be of most benefit to our inquiry.
For example: Doing several interviews to explore the various types of structure/ freedom, and looking at the data collected from them, would help to identify which interview style, if any, would gather the most useful and relevant information.
We also spoke about how words have the power to limit or expand your thinking. Let me explain...
I have been struggling with an inquiry title.
- I know where my interest lies and in what area I feel passionate about wanting to explore further - my students and their motivations,
- I've been reading literature on, and around, the subject of motivation within, and without, the field of dance,
- I've thought deeply about wanting to 'listen' to what my students have to say and to look at things from their perspective, rather than relying on or just using information from theoretical research in my practice,
- I've thought about the age range I am particularly interested in and why,
- I've thought about methods of gathering data,
Adesola said "inspiration"... I said, sorry? She said it again, "inspiration". And I realised that the problem I was having with my inquiry was that I had closed myself off in mind by focusing on the word 'motivation' - I had literally pushed myself into a corner! - and it took another word to set me free again:
I can motivate my students using tools and techniques, and by understanding theoretical concepts of extrinsic/ intrinsic and task-involving/ ego-involving climates but if I can understand how to 'inspire' them then that would be something worth it's weight in gold!
Adesola also talked about how vital analysis is to inquiry - the comparing/ contrasting of the 'this' to 'that' (or the 'why' with the 'how'). For example, how do I know that the existing research on motivation/ inspiration/ developing passion is relevant or reflective of my students needs? By analysing what has been said from what I find through practitioner research I can link theory to practice, or the abstract to the real-world - in other words my inquiry will be helping to improve my practice through a better understanding of knowing-in-action.
Something Adesola also said that really stuck with me is that our inquiry is about the journey not about getting there.
Sophie, who is doing Module One, talked about finding it difficult because she is not currently doing the job that she wants to be doing. We all talked about how it can be hard to see what is relevant in our day-to-day lives but that everything adds to your 'self' and, therefore, your professional 'self' too. For example, dealing with people, how you present yourself, your values, your past experiences, your passions and low-points are all creating the future 'you'.
Adesola brought up how passion seemed to be a word that Sophie talked about a lot, and it was very clear from chatting to Sophie that she has a great deal of it!
It was really great to talk about previous tasks and to see the foundations that they laid down for module 2. It was also made very clear to me that, as Adesola often points out in her blogs, we can all gain from interaction with each other, no matter where we are on the course or what walk of professional life we are - everything is connected!
To finish this blog, I would really recommend taking a seat at the 'first Tuesday coffee house' (next one is May 7th @ 7.30p.m.). Connecting and conversing with others, swapping and sharing ideas and thoughts, engaging in discussion and debate - it's got to be what it's all about hasn't it? And you don't even have to drink coffee!
Addendum (4th April 2013)
Here is the link to Adesola's post about the 'first Tuesday coffee house meeting'