Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Relating Rhizome affect to my practice

In my earlier education, I was told that the basic fundamentals are like building blocks/foundation on which higher studies are carried out.  I always considered learning in the form of a building. However, it feels very strange when I consider my learning in a Rhizome structure. Although it makes sense and I am wondering why I never thought about it earlier.
Now that Adesola has enlightened us to look at our learning carefully, I have started nurturing my ideas that manifest during a term and then connecting those ideas with my professional practice. After reading her blog about theory framework and ethics in research, keeping the rhizomatic perspective  I am able to connect the process of learning from module one to module two, by identifying my area of learning, engaging in research work I am noticing that experience of learning about research methodology is a process of personal growth, this growth is beyond what I could chart out in everyday reality, though these don't fit into neat knowledge, ironically in this process, I experience a bit of awe and bit of overwhelming situation as I start connecting things by developing awareness, developing knowledge, challenging the timeline for completing research as ideas change in flux. I found this interesting which relates to how knowledge is acquired.
In 1976, Walker Percy wrote a book called 'The message in the bottle', in this Percy conceptualizes the delta factor using Helen Keller's story while conducting research he poured water over Helen's hand and repeatedly signed the word water into her hand. Percy theorized that this action was more than cause and effect because Helen keller received more than the signifier(the Sign for water) and reference (water itself). Thus, Percy created a triadic relationship between water,(word) water(liquid) and Helen herself who was acting as an agent to bridge word and substance eventually the ideas was to build knowledge (human intelligence).  So, learning process( Rhizomatic) where a qualitative approach is opted and by allowing research to go where it leads and take us where it goes creates a path.  This different way of framing our research has helped open up new perspectives on our educational journey.

This clarifies that doing research relates to rhizome effect where our learning process is connected to various shoots like an area of research, deciding the positivist or non-positivist approach, research methods, participants who are engaged in creating meaning-making, self- awareness, ethical considerations and its effect on personal and professional practice. Deleuze & Guattrai (1987) suggests that identity as a teacher is not separate from living as a researcher, as each day teacher interprets new learning.

References Deal, W. E., & Beal, T. K. (2004). Theory for religious studies. New York, NY:
Becoming Rhizome Researchers   43

Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology 2013, 4(1)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

My Research framework in a pragmatic approach

After a week of frustration, I feel now there is a sense of moving as I have identified my area of interest. However, it is understandable that we adults don't like to make mistakes, as we were brought up that way. Teachers in school rewarded us when we were right and punished us with poor grades when we were wrong.  It is not right because, as Howard realized, any genuine experience involves trial and error. It is important, not just in learning how to run an equipment that is new to us but in .picking up any new skill.
Analyzing deeply  I am noticing that there are differences in my previous learning pattern and the amount of time spent in learning practical aspects and relating them with the philosophies. When it comes to my research framework I have realized that my research inquiry is based on a qualitative approach where lived experiences of people in the real settings become the objects of study.

I will be working on this framework which includes identifying my participants, explaining the object of conducting this research with their consent which involves serious questioning and critical thinking. I am planning to incorporate verbal techniques as one of my research tools where I will question them directly through interviews and group discussions to obtain individual opinions.  I might ask few questions relating to my beliefs. How am I going to frame questions so that I get relevant answers? Would it be feasible to observe them during the dance lessons?  Investigating whatever has ben told is genuine or not?   How will I analyze and distinguish between truth and untruth as research is only a more formalized and systematic way of knowing about people. Consulting, working with participants engaging personally will help me to explore further what I do not know? How to perceive from other's perspective while collecting their individual opinions? Recording all the facts will allow me to remember things as it is far easier to remember where to get information when I need it than to memorize the information itself. Many times I have fumbled for a particular word only to have it elude me until half an hour later when I no longer need it.

As Donald Schon's describes, professional practice is a flat place where we cannot see very far(1987) as everyone would love to work on a high plane from which all valleys, hills can be seen. Keeping theories -in-use as a map I need to observe and understand what I am actually doing and what I believed to do? as we are really thrown onto our resources in an everyday work environment, all we have is reflective practice, the process of trial and error and learning from mistakes. As Schon says, all education requires entering a place of not-knowing, and to ask significant questions to find out.  For me, reflective practice is helping to accept the learning route to and enabling me to say I do not know what is going on? and I want to find out? This questioning develops responsible and ethical action, such a becoming aware of how much my ways of being is culturally determined. I recognize that asking questions and being willing to stay with uncertainty is the only way to discover our assumptions and do something about them. I am actively shaping my surroundings and the way I  relate to others and communicate through these research methods.
With my pragmatic outlook, I am going back to roots thinking about my dance form acknowledging and reminding myself that there is something very beautiful in my roots.  I have entered into the world where my experience reminiscent of my mother, my teachers all the values stood for.  I am able to delve into the depths of religious thought as classical dance is based on mythology and stories from olden times.  These stories find ways into our lives, we relate to them and I believe in culture when I say culture I do not mean just dance,  but the idea of knowing who we are?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Philosophical notions within Phenomenology and Pragmatsim

Researchers and Philosophers have traditionally attempted to adopt different approaches to research methods whether trying to understand the mind and behaviour through the creation of theories or trying to answer practical questions. However, in this course, we are using the Qualitative approach which follows two main philosophical notions Phenomenology and Pragmatism.
It took an enormous amount of time for me to understand these notions. Firstly I realized that methods and methodologies are different. Methodology refers to philosophies that guide how the knowledge is discovered, and analyzed in a systematic way, and methods, on the other hand, is specific to gathering data through surveys, interviews etc.
 Pphenomenology refers to the kinds of inquiry or study designed to explore lived experiences. Any experiences whatsoever can be phenomenological topic connected to possible human experience. For example, having a talk with someone, sending an email or a message, listening to a piece of music so forth. In all these questioning we gain the meaningful understanding, there are no ultimate determinations for the meanings of human existence. What is wonderful about phenomenological insight is that they can be surprising, deep, unexpected yet somehow recognizable., but an insight is never final, as it keeps changing in different contexts.

Pragmatism is popularly known as the theory of experimentalism, as it focuses on experiences. It is derived from Greek Word 'Pragma' which means action, it is a reasonable and logical way of doing things or thinking about problems that are based on dealing with a specific situation instead of ideas and theories.  It recognizes that circumstances can be different and in that different actions may be appropriate, hence it does not demand moral uniformity between people across cultures. The pragmatists believe that reality changes due to personal experience. This is in direct contrast to realism and idealism. Another important component of Pragmatism is the application of Evolution to our education. John Dewey American Philosopher believed that evolution was not just a biological truth, but a metaphysical truth as well. He argued that experience was the fundamental component of Pragmatism, one must experience another person's philosophy in order to develop your knowledge in depth.
Looking at both the philosophies, I have understood that both Phenomenology and Pragmatism are based on experience. However, Phenomenology emphasizes on a description of the lived experiences, whereas in pragmatism researchers learn through hand on experimentation either individually or in the group.
Please leave your suggestions and opinions.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Considering Non-positivist approach

Understanding Non-positivist approach is relatively simpler compared to Positivist approach, for common people like us.  We live in a society and often we anticipate some feedback from our friends and relatives for anything we offer either sevice or help.  Basically we live in an inter-dependant society, with the liberty to live,explore, believe or not in the existence of God who guides every activity in the world. At some point of time philosophers like Plato,Aristotle, Issac Newton with their scientific mindset also believed in the higher power.  So I feel somewhere meta-physical, scientific, and religious world co-exists in order to make sense of the world.
John Locke, the famous philosopher uses Christian religion as justification and says all people are created with natural rights of life, liberty, everybody in nature should have these rights as they are God's gifts. We experience certain emotions  in a set way because every religion gives some sort of structure some principles. All these elements are subjective in nature as no scientific methods have proved it.
Non-positivist mainly engage in these subjective approach where they interact with people which enables greater understanding and gain insights into people's motivation to meanings by seeing the wolrd as they do and build grounded theories using qualitative data.
I would consider non-positvist approach as I beleive that knowledges are created by interacting with people in  a given context or working with them in their environment. Being a performing artist, and a teacher, always I aimed to connect with people and reach out to them through my performances and these experiences are intangible for them as well as for me because these invovle integration of various elements like theme, music, choreogaphy. etc. unike positivist apporach where it needs a scientific interpretation and has to be to measured.
 Non-positivist perspective enables me to know what really matters to me, how I see the world and frame my questions to get my answers. Basically it allows me to work closer to social factors to co-construct reality with my participants. However,  various articles report that qualitiative approach  is more complicated when it comes to collecting data, as we need to consider the concept of truth with each data collected. The most important aspect of  Non-positivist theory I liked is the concept of having multiple Realities and truth exists. It beautifully justifies that Reality is Real, and Truth is universal, but we cannot directly access either, we can only perceive pieces of Reality we can seek Truth or approximate Reality. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Exploring Postivist approach

It is generally accepted that research is based on several interconnected philosophical assumptions. The ideas presented in various literature have changed my way of looking at philosophy and the historical transmission. Further, they have disclosed the possibility of considering classical philosophical problems in a fresh perspective.

I have learned that unpacking assumptions are not as simple as I thought. It gets intellectually tricky. I assumed that I begin with a research question than shop around for the kinds of research approach that best allows me to answer that questions. Only later I realized that starting with research question begins in the middle and I ignored the fundamental necessity of taking the deep look at the belief systems. I had never thought so deeply about positive and non-positive approach. This is what I noticed.
Positive paradigm emphasizes that real and factual happenings could be studied and observed scientifically and empirically and could be elucidated by way of rational investigation and analysis.This positive research approach is something like micro-level experimentation in a lab like setting that can do away with the intricacy of the outside world. The results and outcomes gotten by means of experiment method give important insights and knowledge into the natural world of realism and truth.
Positivism is a strong approach as it affirms the value of science and maintain a strong distinction between true and false, however, positivism fails to acknowledge the cultural, political and social factors that get in between the observer and the truth. It claims that what is True can be verified by science and logical proof, rest everything is either false or meaningless.For example, Positivist are like atheists they don't believe in the existence of God, science cannot demonstrate the existence of God. 
Hope what I have understood makes sense.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Reflecting on Mind Body Paradigm

Rene Descartes theory of dualism, made me realise that in  all these years I believed in 'monism' as most of the Indian classical dance  movments and themes are based on  spirituality which integrates mind and body to achieve the eternal bliss.(Ulitmate essence of the emotions)  That's why it took me so long to understand the theories of dualism. I guess the way we sense our body in the world seems to be just as important as in creating a cultural meaning. For me, we are not located in the world symbolically nor do we experience reality purely through the text, instead, we are in relation with natural and social worlds and it is within this network of interdependence our mind and body functions. Despite this  history and philosophy in the Western world, who emphasized dualism between emotional and rational or mind and body, I believe that humans are multi-dimensional in nature as they are created by an active body located in the various levels of time and space as well as in symbolic dimension.
I noticed some differences of Easteran and Western ideas of mind and body philosohpies and the best way to analyse was through my own experience.
Cartesian dualism may be real in contemporary Western World, but alternative views exists in other philosophical traditions.  Eastern philosophies generally treat mind-body unity as an achievement, rather than an essentail relation. Through research, I discovered that Asian traditions do not separate mind from the body, though mind and body may be conceptually distinguishable from some perspective, they are not assumed to be distinct. For modern western tradition mind-body theorry is primarily concerned with the empirically observable correlations between mental and somatic phenomena. Eastern theories focus on how a disciplined practice allows one to attain body-mind untiy. For example,studyng the western mind-body problem, it is appropriate to investigate the act of raising one's arm,what is the relation between mental inteneion and the somatic movement? In eastern tradition however learnig to hit a baseball would be more appropriate example. In this contrast, we again can see the difference between concentrating on an intrinsic mind-body connection versus an acquired mind-body unity.
Nevertheless, looking at above discussion, I feel there should be more balanced standpoint between the theories of Eastern or Western philosophies seeking relation between intention and movement as well as the practice and achievement of a skill.,I.(1996)+Bodies+of+thought&ots=K-Ou81faGr&sig=dR2DmHz-ikV0snKQnW5PmAbx5kg

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Indian Aesthetics !

The deeper you dig the better the treasures!!!
I was fascinated as I kept reading about the history of classical dance of India, its rich cultural traditions. Classical dance having very strong Hindu fundamentals was always associated with worship and rituals and therefore it was clothed in sanctity. Hinduism is nothing but a way of life and it accepted that laws governing the conduct of man and society are man-made and it has to be flexible and dynamic subject to change, thus it does not say that set of rules made thousands of years ago should be valid today.
since ordinary people could not have the erudition to read and understand great Epics, the profound philosophies were translated and presented in the form of parables and stories in these epics for the guidance of common people.  These great Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were later translated in the form of poetry so that they could teach greatest truths of life in an easy way without taxing the mind. These spiritually evolved tales were told to children to teach them fundamental truths of faith, religion, and morality. Traditionally, dancers viewed the creative process and suggested a divine truth and regarded art as a means of experiencing a state of bliss.
An awareness of the salient features of the vast background of Indian dancing could help formulate some of the demands traditionally made on the spectator. The Spectator was also expected to have an inner preparedness to receive this vision and be a potential artist.  Thus all Indian arts, especially the arts of music and dance require a trained and initiated spectator as well.
For a traditional Indian dancer/artist, regardless of the field in which he/she worked, artistic creation was the supreme means of realizing the universal Being.
Art is always considered as a Discipline...and this discipline is a means of achieving a state of complete harmony of life which leads to a recognition of one's truer self. Each aspect leads to another, the spiritual, mental and physical discipline required in the search for complete harmony is nothing but 'YOGA'. There is some similarity between Hindu's ideology as I can link the theoretical work of John Dewey(1934) and Eliot Eister(2002) who have looked at the arts broadly. They have established the significance of the expression of creativity, lived experience, learning through the body, and the power of the arts to encapsulate cultures.
Accepting this major concept of Hindu spiritual and philosophical thought the artist was indeed like the worshipper, and art became a spiritual discipline.