Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rugby in Palestine

Rugby in Palestine
It is of little surprise and considerable annoyance that I cant get a game of rugby in Palestine when this sort of thing happens
and the Israeli club playing from Jerusalem move to a hill top the wrong -side of town for me.....getting un-fitter by the day

Monday, February 13, 2012

guess the grade for my narrative inquiry paper - bids pls

I try to discourage my students from doing it, but I too, am concerned about my performance in my last MA module, Developing Researcher Competence. There are a number of reasons for this, but mainly that this was a new approach to doing things. I moved from an etic, to an emic approach: previously my research had been about me in my class, suddenly it was about other people in strange lands (well not that strange, but you get the picture, I hope)

That said, I am eager to read my feedback and see my grade tomorrow. I am interested because it's, of course, a great chance to learn. I have found plenty of reward in reading, and listening to (yes, some tutors gave audio feedback) my tutors comments. All of the negative stuff I try to reframe as formative in some way. Writing for journals and conference papers is one way to do this. Up next is my dissertation, so there's plenty of good reason to get really stuck into the feedback given.

The piece I wrote for the DRC was very reflective. It was, I suspect too reflective in it's overall orientation (1/3rd was supposed to be reflections). I also have a number of other predictions. I predict that:
1. My choice of topic was too broad, my assignment was about mapping the CPD context for Palestinian English teachers, but this was too general a starting point.
2. Lack of interrogation of my reasons for responding in the ways I did. The reasons I gave seemed very 'basic', e.g. not enough time.
3. I didn't link between the three sections well, in fact i didn't link between the three parts of the paper at all. I think this would have helped me get more in, and avoided repetition...
4. repetition, see above
5.I forgot to include an avenue of thought that may have helped me in my analysis, this was to employ a quantitative tool like ATLAS, or another concordance tool.
6. My analysis lacked focus, I said stuff, which may be interesting, but there wasn't an approach governing my analysis. For example, I could have looked at the symbolic nature of language, or interpreted the instrumental function of aspects of the story...either way an approach rather than all approaches may have worked better for me..
7. I think the process of story-telling can be a beneficial, developmental (co-operative development-esque) and therapeutic experience for the person doing the telling, yet i didn't say this in my rationale for choosing this approach to data generation...It is also beneficial to developing a sense of our professional community and yet I failed to mention this too.
8. Finally, I think I was really overly political in my writing.

My friends Joe, Emma, and Adam were really helpful in their editing (thanks) and their comments have informed some of these comments above. Anyway, what's done is done. For sure I need to plan much better for my dissertation, both structurally and my time in order to have success. One of the major problems with this piece was that I was writing, planning, analysing data, organising very much at the same time (as i was behind schedule). This is best avoided if I want to do myself justice in the dissertation.

I will be getting the results on valentines day at 9am GMT, so post your predictions if you like.

Love you bye ;)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Arna's children

I stumbled across this on the Ramallah Rugby Club's facebook page - al Am'ari exiles. It's a feature length documentary Arna's children. I am pretty amazed, and disturbed, by the homevideo footage of these boys growing up in Jenin, a town I led a workshop at two weeks ago. It was the only place I heard the sound of Israeli artillery / bombs going off, down the valley (training exercises I am told). The teachers were completely unphased and called it normal.

In the video below the tale begins by focusing on the Arna, a Jewish, cancer victim, zionist fighter, communist theatre / community leader mother, who marries a Palestinian. In this gradually unfurling story we see how she tries to channel refugee children's suffering through theatre and art. Many of the children in the film are innocent 8-10year olds who go on to die fighting the Israeli occupation, or as suicide bombers as part of the al-Aqsa Intifada (see 21.30-22.30mins).

What initially just struck me from an education perspective was (at around 16mins) the boys in their psycho-drama session act out a scene from their school English class. In this scene 'the teacher' beats the kids for not standing when he enters the classroom. The kids lack of discipline continues as they get struck again for not knowing the alphabet... Have a watch and see what you think...

It made me wonder about the role of discipline in schools, and particularly in the language classroom. A lot of the teachers who I work with are concerned about this aspect, particularly pre-service teachers. This week we were focusing on the benefits of positive reinforcement and praise, at Hebron University,among other things, but I wonder to what extent this has been individuals experiences. What upset me (from a 'teaching and learning'perspective)in the above clip is that the teacher didn't teach anything, just started off by testing and then punished the kids for not knowing. Okay, these kids aren't pedagosists, but they understood their was an issue with their treatment. It's also noteworthy that it was English class, but the only English spoken is: "good morning".

The complexities of this film are massive, you have a female Jewish matriarch and her Jewish, Israeli sons working with young Palestinian boys. The boys find an outlet through the freedom theatre project, but were initially very suspicious of Arna and her family. I wonder to what extent this is the case for teachers I work with: how trusting are they of me? The relationships I have with most of the teachers I work with is usually too brief, and there's not alot of time for 'getting to know each other' building trust, or socialising. I think this social element, rapport, all takes time.

It's a tragedy, in which everyone dies. Jules, the narrator in much of the movie and theatre director was also killed last year Despite the tragic deaths of many involved the symbolic theatre lives on.