Friday, 27 September 2013

Light bulb!

Yesterday was one of those days when something new enters the brain and causes a frisson of activity, by combining with previous knowledge, thought, and experience, to create what I like to call 'a light bulb moment!'

I think I've been subconsciously concerned with the practical applications of my inquiry findings as, at the moment, I do not really know what I am going to find, and also that, being a subjective and qualitative project - and one which is not really asking for answers from participants but thoughts, feelings and experiences, I have got to produce a tangible artefact from what could potentially be abstract and isolated data.

However, I've picked up Understanding Motivation and Emotion (Reeve, 2005) again, over the last few days, and yesterday completed Chapter 5 - Psychological Needs (pp. 101 - 130). My 'lightbulb moment' seemed to occur during the section sub-headed 'Engagement' (pp.124 - 125); I think I literally heard the switch go 'click.'

So here's what I came up with:
  • If my inquiry is to be of any use to teachers it must be practical
  • My inquiry is not concerned with the physical/ technical requirements of the teaching of dance to students but the emotional/ motivational side - therefore it is looking into the psychological needs of students.
  • Newly discovered knowledge, from existing research, leads me to the area of 'engagement' and the three components - autonomy, competence and relatedness.
  • Each component involves the social context of 'satisfying the psychological needs' (Reeve, 2005, p.124).
  • Dance classes are a social context with the teacher playing a large role in the engagement (or disengagement) of students by satisfying (or neglecting) their psychological needs.
  • Table 5.3 Environmental Factors that Involve and Satisfy the Psychological Needs (pp.124) clearly shows how this is achieved:
  • By analysing data through this framework there would be coherence, structure and method to my data analysis, and greater potential for clarity, and ease of understanding, in report writing and the professional artefact.
  • My data is likely to be wide ranging and individual specific but, if I agree that motivation is affected by this theory of engagement, should I not find that, through deeper analysis, most of my participants thoughts, feelings and emotions will 'fit' into one of the components - the desire for autonomy, the need to feel competent, and the feeling of relatedness?
I'm so excited by this new discovery!
It's not the end of the process, by a long way, but it feels like a giant step forward to me. A previously disparate group of ideas and knowledge that is now beginning to connect; a way of relating individual/ unique data to the wider topic through the lens of the dance class, with, hopefully, practical application.
(Sorry but I've got to give it a WOOP WOOP!!).

I'd love to get a dialogue going about this so if anyone has the time to comment or message me I'd really appreciate it.

Reeve, J. (2005). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. USA: John Wiley & Sons.

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