Even after just one week of studying educational research, I find myself reaching for the vocabulary of research as I read to identify patterns in the research papers that match my emerging understanding. In examining Gallop’s ideas about ethical reading, I am reminded of Derrida’s theories of deconstructing texts and McLuhan’s ideas about the medium being the message. Both of these men wrote ideas that were ahead of their time. I did my B.A. in drama and lived in the world of MLA for many years until starting with the University of Alberta. So much of this M.Ed. program has felt like being able to see behind the wizard’s curtain, and entering into an entirely different world as I moved into APA. The most difficult reading I’ve done in this course thus far was Chapter 4 of the textbook. I desperately want to understand what I’m reading but I kept reading the same phrases 2 and 3 times in order to break them down, grasping the vocabulary and then building them back together to find meaning in the entire phrase. Maybe some of my classmates felt the same way about reading Gallop’s writing…but her style of expressing with adjectives and adverbs, using metaphors and analogies….this is where I live. This is where I feel most comfortable.
If I have a preconceived notion about the reading we’re doing in this course, it’s that I assume my reading will be dry, scientific, and generally over my head. What is surprising me is how fascinating I’m finding the minutiae of educational research. There is magic in the construction of problems, developing expectations that data will highlight areas of need and the unexpected. I can feel my right brain play fighting with my left brain. I tend to read most things with a wide-eyed awe towards the the courage of written expression, the audacity of the author to suppose that what he/she had to say was worth saying. Friends have often commented that all of my Goodreads reviews have 4 and 5 stars…that I must be easy to please. I suppose I am…reading is what I do, so I’m getting pretty good at separating the worthy from the trash.
I’m not confident that I’m gaining the momentum I need to say “I’m a confident reader of educational research”. I’m emerging. I’m surprised that the research is so messy and unpredictable. I’m kinda loving that. I wonder if the very nature of educational research, studying people of usually a young age, is always chaotic and challenging or if it’s possible to anticipate results. I look forward to finding out.
Gallop, J. (2000). The ethics of reading: Close encounters. Journal of
Curriculum Theorizing, 16(3), 7-17.