Sigrid Mari Gjotterud, Erling Krogh, Cecilie Dyngeland and Nicholaus Solomon Mwakasumba
Transformative experiences can happen at unexpected times, in unexpected ways. This paper tells the story of how a gift of a goat can lead to the transformation of a life. Many organisations globally are engaged in a struggle to overcome poverty and injustice by providing livestock as a means for transformation. The animals in themselves are not enough for the transformed lives; they can be a valuable starting point. In the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania, a Tanzanian and a Norwegian together took one such initiative in order to support teen-age orphans, one of the most vulnerable groups in the community who were struggling to survive. As practitioners and researchers, the four authors had been taking part in the development of the Mgeta Orphan Education Foundation (MOEF), which had developed through action learning/action research. Selected students received a goat and training, and the opportunity to join and develop a network of orphans throughout the region. In this article, we discuss the benefits and challenges the orphaned youngsters face when joining the foundation. How do they benefit from having the goat and what are the challenges, how do they learn and how do they contribute to fellow farmers in their communities? We claim that many of the students have experienced transformation, and provide examples to give evidence of this claim. However, the students are not the only ones who are transforming; so are we who, as co-researchers, have had the opportunity to play a role in and witness their efforts.
In this paper, we explain how our individual PhD enquiries (Farren, 2006; Crotty, 2012) have informed the philosophical underpinnings of our postgraduate programmes. The approach used to ensure validity and rigour in the research process is presented. We report on the development of the International Research Centre for e-Innovation and Workplace Learning and its collaboration in European projects such as Pathway to Inquiry Based Learning, Inspiring Science Education (ISE) and the African based Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) project Leadership Development in ICT and the Knowledge Society. Our claim is that researching our own practice can be a transformative experience for the practitioner-researcher who is committed to generating knowledge that has personal, professional and social value.
In this article, I discuss the contribution of theoretical resources to the transformation in my thinking about professional development and accountability, within an action research self-study of practice as a civil servant, in the context of participation on the Doctor in Education (Leadership) programme at Dublin City University (DCU) in the period 2008-2012. It is at the intersection of these subject positions, between theory and practice, that professional development was explored through the ‘leadership problem’ of encouraging trainer colleagues to investigate the educational potential of information and communications technologies (ICT) for the development of their practice. Ultimately, this constituted a critical space for sustained dialogue between the self and the social in exploring professional subjectivity. The resources discussed supported the interrogation of social, cultural and historical conditions influencing self-understanding and narrative reasoning (Tamboukou, 2008) and movement from strategic to communicative reasoning (Habermas, 1984). It is claimed that this has significance for the development of a more educational training practice, which expresses a concern for subjectivity and agency in the face of a growing ‘performativity’ in professional life (Ball, 2003).
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