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be here now – action research #4

October 10, 2012

Sitting at my desk this morning has served as a reminder that the whole point is being here now.

cc image source

To paraphrase Mike, the photographer who caught Bee here now (thanks!), I am impermanent, imperfect, and this picture conveys my sense of blurred process so accurately that it’s uncanny.

Once again, my daily schedule began with Twitter around 6am. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s initiative PLP community hub tempted for a while because I made Tweep-contact with Amanda aka @ackygirl at the recent ACEC2012 conference, and there she was saying G’day in an email; I’d already claimed her as my tribe from the new members board last night, and wanted to compare reflections. I also wanted to check whether the creative whiz behind this wonderful manifesto was happy to share. So much for tribal connectivity!

Image: Sheri Edwards the Manifesto

Then the wonder of George Couros’s conjuring sleight-of-hand: Do we need to be reflective learners considering the nature of relationships in education? Can we share the conversation across nations, time barriers and simultaneously transcend regional/ political differences? Clearly the Ayes win this ballot.

I missed the first session of George’s Leadership20 MOOC (massive open online course) last week, and my cocoa could have cooled before I’d miss it today (7am Perth time, and we’re still on term break, so pyjamas were the go).  Fantastic work George, and co-presenter Jeff Delp @azjd (Twitter stream here for the session on Fostering Effective Relationships; session one tweets – Creating a Digital Portfolio – can be accessed here.

Thanks Angela <and Goethe>. So, to action research Part 4

Well, I tried. I really did! The draft assignment lurks on the toolbar. I’d finished reading the McNiff & Whitehead rationale for my action research process, but there was so much else to consider; so many tantalising threads to follow:

If we were really committed to the pursuit of what matters, we might be well served to hold a moratorium on the question How?  (Block, 2001, p.2).

  • Jacqui Murray’s mindboggling list of ladies’ garments on her WordDreams collection to which I began composing a companion volume of ladies’ haircuts.

Crowdsourcing? No, definitely procrastination. And I realised it was primarily to avoid my personal action-research- How. Here are the notes pasted from my draft report:


  • PLN in place since 2009
  • Learning community connected via account; failed attempt at gategovo Twitter account
  • Broad context of iterative review shared with all stakeholders
  • Draw on survey completed @ end of sem 1 with students
  • Employ Survey Monkey monitoring with parent community
  • Promoted Govo student ambassadors to attend & contribute to Symposium @ Perth Mod
  • Relationships; shared writing, insights, resources, ideas via interviews, meetings, email updates
  • Class monitoring with visits, photographs, shared best practices (Sue year 8 &9, Henry year 10s, Lianne year 9s, Liz’s year 10 performances); increased visibility & awareness
  • Reward special programs & establish tie-in to platform culture re-imagining
  • Discuss findings with G&T staff (ongoing reflective process)
  • Engaged students in informal discussion of rooming/ space while being consulted on furniture & equipment for new GATE room – Idea Paint. Sharing resources with Chris Mc
  • Initiate techie Brekky for capacity building with IT skills/ pedagogy & iPad pilot program with year 8 G&T
  • Tournament of Minds participation & follow up at assembly to distribute awards, then support of performers for their initiative of a double showing on the last day of term 3 (negotiated audience – music & G&T students)
  • Ongoing resource support with key staff – Sue, Jen & encouragement of others
  • Initiated G&T & Pinterest curating
  • Connected via Facebook with International GATE community
  • Mathemaniac + blogging celebration (published in school newsletter)
  • Support of Community Liaison staff member to promote G&T program & pride in learning community
  • Robogals to raise profile of girls in Engineering – Newsletter showcased review
  • NAPLAN review & celebration
  • Promoted Higher order thinking workshop by Graham Watts PL offered @ Perth Mod & 2 G&T staff from Govo attended
  • Year 9 Race Around UWA campus organised & promoted to those in 9.1 & parallel class
  • Initiated meeting with parents & enlisted support of year 10 leaders to chair meeting
  • PEAC link
  • Volunteered for Peer Coaching network to be conducted within SEA in term 4
  • Maths competition celebratory lunch @ end of term 3
  • Parent interviews/ reassurance with incoming year 6 students who have accepted offers into G&T program 2014
  • Quartania preparation with students/ reflective collaborative writing & review
  • 2 x heads of learning successful in applying for Master of School Leadership program @ UWA beginning 2013
  • Failed interview with Australian Teachers Magazine 😦
  • Attended ACEC2012 conference in Perth & connected with PLN
  • Linked G&T community via Google circles
  • Promoted George Couros #Leadership20 MOOC to UWA Leading Innovative Curriculum group (participated in session 2 – Developing Relationships – this morning)

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What I had been doing at the Smartboard-face since first encountering this task was what I always do. (Question to self: is good leadership, like the integration of technology, invisible?).

The reason I have been balking all morning is having lived that list, I’m not keen on raking though coals for How.  Quick – back to McNiff & Whitehead for direction:

The action aspect of action research is about improving practice. The research aspect is about creating knowledge about practice. The knowledge created is your knowledge of your practice. (McNiff & Whitehead, 2009, p. 12).
To be honest, my practice looks chaotic.  It looks like a running list for a 5 car highway pile up. Is that How I operate? Uh-oh.
How about you?

McNiff, J., & Whitehead, J. (2009). You and your action research project (3rd Edn.). New York: Routledge.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2012 8:02 am

    Really loving your posts, Sam! Makes me envious of your work and your studies!! Livening vicariously thru some of your work, taking others bits on board as I can in my context… But just love your sharing and commitment to sharing what you’re thinking and doing on a regular basis! Thank you!

    • Sam Boswell permalink*
      October 11, 2012 8:58 am

      Thanks, Denise – I’m walking something of an emotional tightrope at the moment, and what I’m writing still feels fuzzy and ill-fitting. To be honest, it would be easier to just do!
      Going to uni is also tricky when I consider that I’m sharing with a bunch of amazing principals/ district organisers, and the collective wisdom in that room is humbling.
      Guess I’m saying – with you there!

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