I’ll be sending a visual of my research proposal to schools very soon. I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide on my descriptions thus far.
Thesis Proposal Draft 2
I wonder how you are selecting the schools to approach. What you are proposing is well outside what a lot of them have experienced. I wonder if you can use contacts at Goddard to find appropriate schools, places with Goddard alums who might be more sympathetic to your approach.
Somewhat off-topic, but I went to college overlapping with Sarah’s brother, have heard her father speak, and have met her sister. I know her work, and it is unfortunate that more people do not.
Might I also suggest that you consider within what you are doing, if not as part of the proposal, Nel Noddings work on the ethic of caring. I think you will find it quite applicable.
Thank you for the response.
Nel Noddings has been on my radar for quite sometime now and I’ve got to start reading her work. Thanks for the recommendation.
I’m currently approaching three schools that I’ve selected in part from my past. I think it will be possible to get experience doing this type of research with schools that are already know me. I’m also choosing schools that I think are doing incredible things. I’m looking for schools through three windows. Schools that create powerful community, strong connections to nature, schools that have made social justice central to their mission. Half of what I’m doing is trying to develop my own perceptual ability to understand meaningful school communities and the other half is to develop this model of assessing schools through the lens of living systems.
I am worried that what I’m doing is well outside of what many schools are doing. I chose to start with some big, unavoidable principles of what makes sense in schools. I wonder if this may have produced a bias that excludes many schools.
Thanks for your comments,
A couple of pieces of feedback.
-In your proposal you write that a mechanistic paradigm for analyzing/creating/working in schools “does not provide a habitat that fosters deep understanding, wisdom, interdependence, love and compassion.” Do we have evidence that this is in fact the purpose of schooling in America? I think you need to situate this statement within a larger literature: that for YOUR purposes this is the point of education. Many, many folks, including those down in Washington at the Department of Education, might not describe these attributes as the purpose of education, so the reader needs more contextualizing, and a sense that you understand your context (too) to get in the right place for reading/jumping into your work.
-I love your slides. I wish more thesis proposals were public like this, and folks were seeking comments. Let’s make learning PUBLIC!
-Brofenbrenner’s view of development, in my view, is too individualistic (self is at the center) and a bit outmoded. You might check out Vygotsky for some of his ideas about how development occurs in response to culture and environment, just to add a dimension here before you commit. Also Vygotsky is very good at talking about how learning occurs, how we “play into” our next stage of learning all our lives and in much we do.
-Sara Lawrence Lightfoot was my dissertation chair. I know her well! I would suggest, for your school investigations, her book on portraiture: The Art and Science of Portraiture (Jossey Bass 1997) if you don’t already know it. There is real method underlying her ideas. This might be helpful?
-The ecosystem model for schooling, as Adam has suggested in other posts, is very suggestive and powerful. I look forward to learning through you.
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