Since reading Grant and Osanloo’s article (2014) about building the framework for dissertation research and that the first step towards building research is knowing our own beliefs I have had a slow burn existential crisis and mild panic. The panic comes from time. How does one have time to figure out their beliefs when there are also expectations of completing research within a period of time? How can I lay out my beliefs in a way that is coherent within a timeframe? I keep having to tell myself this is actually completely possible as I have beliefs based on my experiences and I now just have to articulate them. Some of my beliefs have been sitting with me for a long time and I have just not articulated them. This learning encounter is pushing me to do that and while I welcome this I also find myself looking for my beliefs in every encounter right now. There are four things that happened this week that gave me the courage to start articulating my beliefs.

  1. Myrna Poliak’s sharing her essay about self directed learning.
    I am grateful that Myrna shared this essay as it is grounding for me and reminds me that one of my greatest hopes is that through my education and research I can contribute to reflecting the values of the places I find myself in back into the learning space. I work in smaller communities in northwest BC and part of the reason I moved from a small role in post secondary education and into a career in education is that I did not see the people around me who were living incredible lives rich with relationships between land, ocean and community reflected in any of the education we brought to the community. At times, it was embarrassing that I was bringing in education so far removed from the values of the community because certain training programs aligned with the labour market and were provincially funded due to the prescription written for the economy that election cycle. In the meantime we had Haida language learners mentoring and sharing, often as volunteers to protect the Haida language in our own community that our college failed to support. We had the Rediscovery camp T’aalan Stl’ang, a valued land based education program struggling for resources, while I was coordinating courses flying outsiders onto the island to teach office skills. The disconnect between the education work I was hired to do and the values of where I lived were not matching. We as a college, were not respecting the knowledge in my community and the incredible viewpoints, history and values that were there and amplifying them for new learners. The spaces we find ourselves in and the values in those spaces need to be embedded in the learning.
  2. A conversation that I had in the discussion board with Amber and London about adult learning theory and how it intersects with pedagogy, where those lines are and where they are blurred between adult and child learners. This back and forth was interesting to me personally because my own learning journey in high school education became so awful and what I now understand to be harmful in my high school years. I did not return to education until I was an adult and only because I needed some help understanding how my business was operating. I needed to gain some skills to apply to make my business keep working. I completely rejected education as valid in my own life for years prior to this and while there is a lot to unpack for me here I know for certain it is partially because I had knowledge I was holding that was consistently disrespected, undervalued and not even brought to light in the learning environments I found myself in. I was and still am, deeply resentful of the time wasted in my later high school years because I was curious and energetic and my education did not foster these qualities in me. This discussion in the moodle forum cracked open some of my beliefs about education in that I believe it is the job of the teacher to bring curiosity to light. I believe everyone comes to the learning encounter with something to offer and build in a shared community of learning.

    Grant, C., and Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for your ‘house’. Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research. DOI: 10.5929/2014.4.2.9