Sunday, May 6, 2018

process and product

Today's Skype discussion centered quite heavily on questions such as why is verbal instruction as relevant if not more than physical demonstration while teaching dance class? Why are authoritarian led classes less relevant to more democratic student involved classes in today's society? How has the journey through the Modules affected the process of taking this journey for through the MAPP and how has this impacted the way we teach, our personal lives, and our professional lives beyond teaching or studying for this program?

These are just a few of the questions I heard during the discussion. As always the debate of process vs. product was a lovely pain in my backside. For me the process of this journey through reflection and learning is a product of my previous experience and is the reason I am constantly questioning how, what, where, when, and why I teach dance and movement therapy. The product of this program is the MA. Yes. There is a tangible end product but there are many more products happening throughout the journey. Is this because the process alters our thoughts as we explore our careers and the world around us? Perhaps. Possibly not. I would love to sit down with Socrates and have a good old fashioned debate on whether or not process is in itself a product or a byproduct of other things.

Today's discussion as usual included the debate over why exams and competitions are so important and why should they be important. This went further to include how can essays be accurately assessed if not everyone understands the content and its context within the essays or research.  Perhaps this is why guidelines, framework, and other types of red tape have been created to assist us through our journeys. When we as students ask such questions of ourselves are we not questioning authority or hoping for democratic learning in our journey? Are the ROL essays and reflective essays our part of the democratic learning process (not product, but maybe product) of the guidelines given throughout the modules?

Does individuality come into play within all genres of dance? Are societal expectations created by dancers or mainstream (non dance) individuals? Does this process create of questioning and discovery actually help us discover more about our foundations and questions we have about those beginnings? Were those training instruments and methods we used as students affected by the questions of our instructors?

The product of who we are and how and why we teach has been a journey that is not yet finished because as long as we teach we are in the process of learning ourselves. This learning may be different ways to effectively communicate with our students or changing our thoughts and beliefs on how to safely execute movement.

Again, I ask when does process become product? Are they the same thing? Or are they always different?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

analysis, interpretation, and translation

Translation meant knowing what a person speaking English meant and translating it to American English. Or that was the perception some had of my questions regarding interpretation. Perhaps translation is just one theme running through my study in this program. Other themes I have focused on are subjectivity vs. objectivity and word usage, noun or verb or clear choice and meaning.

Analysis is defined on as "a detailed examination of anything complex in order to determine its nature or to determine its essential features" or the sixth definition listed for analysis I seem to be using in this program "a method of philosophy of resolving complex expressions into simpler or more basic ones." Finding facts should be objective, yes? defines critical analysis as "an academic paper designed to understand a certain written work. This kind of writing is subjective because you [the writer] have to express personal opinions as evaluation. Identifying topics, data, or themes is part of critical reading or analyzing what has been written or in the case of interviews for my project what has been said, written, demonstrated, or accumulated through interviews and observations.

Interpretation is defined on as "the act or the result of interpreting: explanation", "a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information." I take this to be subjective as I must use my background to make informed or uninformed decisions as to what is truly being conveyed. Any bias I have makes the interpretation is personal and subjective. So.......

Analysis is identifying these themes which I have tried to maintain as subjects for blogs during my study through this program. Critical analysis would be the subjective interpretation of what others have thought about my blogs. Interpretation would be how I express what I think I have understood or comprehended to be the thoughts shared by many throughout my study in this program and how those thoughts have impacted my interpretation, understanding, or comprehension of things studied and discussed during the course of this program.

Module One is reflective which many seem to be subjective because it deals with discovering what a person knows and how that has been learned while objectively reading about what others have done and how those facts, thoughts, strategies, methodologies, etc. may resemble and enforce the knowledge a person has obtained through life experience. This process of analysis may be instigated by subjective goals but should maintain a certain amount of objective through the process (verb -eventually noun) of collecting data to prove (a word not liked in qualitative research) or state what a person knows and has learned, possibly used in life.

Module Two utilizes more objective analysis of texts about framework among many other things and this serves as a diving board or jumping off point for a more subjective look into what topic best suits the final research or critical review.

Module Three use both objective analysis and subjective critical analysis and interpretation or the student would not be able to relate (translate) what has been discovered through the research process.

Both analysis and interpretation (critical analysis) are necessary for the interpretation (translation) to be justified in the mind of the author of the critical review. Justification is not necessarily the end product as qualitative research does often create more questions.

The juggling act for my personal critical review of the qualitative research project I have chosen is that I must use analysis (objective) when identifying the populations of participants in the project while interpreting (critical analysis) what can be learned from the data gathered. My understanding of data gathered may not be what others may discover if they were to read, listen, or view materials recorded during this research project. That means I have the challenge of ensuring my interpretation is easily understood. Comprehension not being the same as one person may translate my interpretation differently from how I choose to portray through the written word my findings.

Yes, I most likely have gone over 400 words. Oh well.......through reflection my view of this writing may change based on discussions, reading, and taking time to reflect. Oh how I loathe the word reflect almost as much as I dislike the word improvisation. Please note an attempt to use sarcasm. Forcing myself to think philosophically rather than empirically has become second nature and has become my challenge. Blue is no longer blue but a combination of blue and yellow. 4 is no longer 2+2 but 2+5-3 or 0+4 or any other number of possibilities. Dance and movement are language. Finding the marriage to put that language into written word is the journey and adventure. s it not strange and exciting than we must learn to speak to dance and dance to speak? Without both would we be effective as instructors, teachers, or educators? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

word choices

Word choices are of the utmost importance. How can we objectively analyze information if we do not try to leave personal opinion out of the process(noun or verb: both uses work for this question)?

Are understanding, comprehension, and interpretation interchangeable words for every situation?

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Remaining objective is often hard for many of us in this world. Originally I thought my research would be heavily impacted by my viewpoint, which is what led me to the inquiry in the first place.

As the interviews have evolved from one subset to another I have discovered an ethnomethodology to be more prevalent in the actual process. Yes, my viewpoint is clear but it is ever changing based on the conversational analysis of how participants/respondents try to make sense of dance and its impact on mental readiness or how dance affects the brain. As interviewees try to determine the difference between two ways to phrase the topic of my inquiry they chat and have allowed me to pursue directions of interviewing I had not thought might be pertinent to my research.

I tend to see the world as a glass or bottle that is half full. Many of the people interviewed have helped me discover that I may actually be more an optimist than I let people see.

As my research delves into some aspects of education and is education the same as teaching and how do these differences or similarities impact the learning abilities of varying adult learners many of the respondents have asked me to let them take a moment to jot down questions I have posed and where those questions take them into topics they would like to explore after the interview.

Reading the dry material in the required and some of the recommended reading for these modules I had developed a fear of how uncooperative the participants might be. At this point in my process I am relieved, surprised, and excited to write that all respondents have said ,"do not hesitate to contact me again if you think of other questions developing from our chats." Every single participant has felt empowered by sharing their thoughts and felt surprised and honored that I would consider their opinions and observations as having any relevancy to any type of research.

I have five more interviews left and am finding I want more.

Who cares if I go over 400 words for this blog? Not me. Discovering positivity in the current climate around the globe is inspiring.

Allowing people to be themselves, feel valued, and contribute suggestions of avenues to follow whether those leads develop into strong themes or not is an easy thing to do. The fact respondents want to feel more a part of something in which they might have been hesitant to participate is mind boggling. Dance is so competitive and very "me" oriented. The aging often feel forgotten. Upon reflection should I have thought giving people within these populations would be so uplifting? I would probably say no.

Surprises. These are exciting and motivating!

I look forward to hearing how everyone else is doing and hope your experiences are even half as fulfilling as mine have been so far.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Time management

Oddly I have found scheduling interviews by subgroups rather liberating as I use one set of questions for a few interviews then switch to the next set. My brain is on overload having done eight interviews so far with another thirteen left to do.

The process is becoming easier as I do more interviews yet I sometimes question if the interview almost becomes more a conversation as participants feel open to dialogue. Remaining objective is challenging as I have already found common themes just from doing the interviews. Transcribing the interviews will be laborious but the collection of data on questionnaires has been liberating and has helped identify other possible reasons for themes to develop and occur.

I think I am follow the ideals of my physical therapist who requires repetition of exercises in sets of three when I schedule these interviews. More than three interviews per day would drain me of almost all my emotional energy.

Has anyone else had to navigate multiple forms of communication when doing interviews? Landline phones, mobile phones, FaceTime, Skype, written interviews via email for persons whose schedules are too hectic to allow for personal time, and face to face interviews. I think the research inquiry/project is definitely affecting my opinion of technology and how much more I do not know. However, I am unsure that means I want to use more technology.

Time for the second interview of the day. And just FYI, some interviews are opening up more leads on interviews. I will definitely need to limit how many more additional people wish to be interviewed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

the excitement begins

Observations have begun and interviews have started. Hope the wonderful and enthusiastic feelings shown so far by study participants continues throughout the project.

Unfortunately this means I must use yet another form of technology. However, time management is a wonderful thing to multitask reading sleep inducing books while using heat during physical therapy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

synonyms for relatability

Relatability is to understand easily and feel connected to something. Understanding. Comprehension. Providing for necessary in one genre versus required by another genre or course curriculum.

Where is the important focus? Should theory ever take a backseat to practice?Arts vs. science vs. society. It all leads back to objectivity and recognizing the need for how society seeks answers.

Does this go back to perception being impacted by perspective? How do we as instructors impart what we feel is vital and important to students without feeling like we have to beat them into submission? How do we accept that not everyone will find the same things important?