Thursday, 5 September 2013

Task 7a - the journey so far...

Over the summer holidays I've been doing some reading (see August blogs) so as to become more informed about my inquiry format and area. Although very interesting, giving me lots to reflect on both for the following term and in the future, it's always helpful to me to be able to talk things through with others, as I find this always makes things clearer in my own mind. As the holidays have seen most people away, getting some much needed 'r&r,' I haven't really found the opportunity to interact with others and discuss ideas or share concerns.
Thankfully, that's all started to change now that the new term is upon us!

In the last twenty-four hours I have been able to have two very interesting and helpful conversations that I would like to blog about; the first one, with Paula Nottingham, helped me to see that there are still many things I need to address before starting my data collection next week (hence this blog title), and the second one, with two good friends who work in education, about the professional artefact (which I will put into a separate blog).
As I need to start my data collection during the first week of term (to allow maximum time for gathering whilst still enough time for analysis, etc) Paula very kindly agreed to a tutorial before the start of the BAPP term. It was great to talk to her at length, partly because I've just moved over into her 'care' after Rosemary left and partly because she has opened up areas that I hadn't previously been aware of.

So, it's time to reflect on my proposal and identify areas that need changing.

With consent forms already done, and students/ principals on board, I had anticipated just verbally briefing my participants during the first week of term before handing out diaries for them to make entries into. Further reflection and discussion has now led me to identify several issues that need addressing:
  • Keeping lines of communication ongoing with the principal of each school so that they are always aware of what I am doing, why I am doing it and how I am going about it. - I will ensure that I regularly contact each principal, most likely by phone or email, to include them in, and be open about, the progress of my research.  
  • Giving students access to me outside of class time, for questions and queries, is vital to the well-being of each individual. For example, if a student doesn't wish to be a part of the study any longer, and has to wait a week before seeing me again, they become more and more stressed and anxious. - I will make sure that each participant has my mobile number and email address, probably on the front page of their diary, so that they can contact me as and when they want to.
  • Although a verbal 'briefing' still feels like the most interpersonal way to involve and engage my participants I can see now, thanks to the conversation I had with Paula, that I need to provide clear, take-home instructions with the diary. This will help (1) by allowing me to reflect back on my original proposal, through the lens of new knowledge and insight, so as to remind me, or clarify for me, exactly what it is that I am inquiring about, and (2) give my students something to take home and refer to if they forget, or can't quite understand, what exactly it is I am asking them to do. Both of these things should thus enable the collection of data that is of most relevance to my inquiry - I will create a clear and concise document, to be given out to each participant with their diary, that will shape and direct entries yet without leading or restricting self-expression. I aim to do this by asking individuals to write in their diaries before and after lessons about particular emotional and motivational experiences of, and any thoughts about, each particular class.
  • Adjusting interview times, from my original 30minute advisement to 15/20minutes, may yield a more positive feeling about the process, with students given the option to extend their slot if they want to. - When arranging student interview times I will suggest that they will be needed for about 20 minutes but that it could be extended or shortened slightly, dependent on their feeling at the time. This will, I believe, also give each participant a greater feeling of control over proceedings.
  • Allowing students to choose the location for their interview, i.e. empty studio, quiet side room or changing room, should encourage a more confident, relaxed atmosphere to the interview. - I will aim, when arranging interview slots (see above) attempt to offer participants a choice, albeit limited, of venue.
Alongside all the preparatory stages identified above, something that now really rings clear for me is:
  • Ensuring that I build research into my practice so that there is professional development alongside this inquiry. - After data collection and during/ after analysis I will aim to continually reflect on any findings and try to incorporate them into my practice as ongoing practitioner development.

I'm sure that there will be many, many more developments as the week(s) progress but I am keen to focus my immediate attention on the initial stages of my inquiry - the data collection phase - as I realise that this is vital to the overall success of my research and to my ability to take inquiry forward into my professional practice.
I'm also very aware of the need to keep doing this reflection and analysis throughout the whole of the coming months so that, through further consideration and continued awareness, I am able to keep anticipating, understanding, and dealing with, the constant flux and development of my inquiry, without losing sight of its origins.

I'm excited to set sail into the, as yet, unknown, to develop stronger SIG bonds and to draw on, and share, our combined expertise and insight.

Bon Voyage, everyone!


BAPP (ARTS) Reader 7 Professional Inquiry WBS3760. 2012. [e-book] London: School of Media and Performing Arts Institute for Work Based Learning. pp. 1-23. Available through: Middlesex University [Accessed: 3 Sep 2013].

BAPP WBS3760 Handbook. (2012). [e-book] London: School of Media and Performing Arts Institute for Work Based Learning. pp. 1-22. Available through: Middlesex University [Accessed: 3 Sep 2013].

Reeve, J. (2005). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. 4th ed. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Robinson, S. (2013). Further considerations. BAPP, [blog] 19th August, Available at: [Accessed: 5 Sep 2013].

Robinson, S. (2013). Further, further considerations. BAPP, [blog] 19th August, Available at: [Accessed: 5 Sep 2013].

Robinson, S. (2013). Laying the path - part two. BAPP, [blog] 17th August, Available at: [Accessed: 5 Sep 2013].

Toates, F. (1986). Motivational systems. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press.

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