Sunday, April 8, 2012

VBTC Tour: Book Feature Taking Yourself Seriously by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter

Happy Easter! Today we welcome Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter on blog tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'. Welcome gentleman and thank you for stopping by.

A field-book of tools and processes to help readers in all fields develop as researchers, writers, and agents of change.

A wide range of tools and processes for research, writing, and collaboration are defined and described-from Governing Question to GOSP, Plus-Delta feedback to Process Review, and Supportive Listening to Sense of Place Map. The tools and processes are linked to three 
frameworks that lend themselves to adaptation by teachers and other advisors:

* A set of ten Phases of Research and Engagement, which researchers move through and later revisit in light of other people's responses to work in progress and what is learned using tools from the other phases;
* Cycles and Epicycles of Action Research, which emphasizes reflection and dialogue to shape ideas about what action is needed and how to build a constituency to implement the change; and 

* Creative Habits for Synthesis of theory and practice.

Researchers and writers working under these frameworks participate in Dialogue around Written Work and in Making Space for Taking Initiative In and Through Relationships.  These processes help researchers and writers align their questions and ideas, aspirations, ability to take or influence action, and relationships with other people. Bringing those dimensions of research and engagement into alignment is the crux of taking yourself seriously. The tools, processes, and frameworks are illustrated through excerpts from two projects: one engaging adult learning communities in using the principles of theater arts to prepare them to create social change; the other involving collaborative play among teachers in curriculum planning. A final section provides entry points for students and educators to explore insights, experiences, and information from a wider world of research, writing, and engagement in change.

Personal & Professional Development, Research, Writing Skills

The Pumping Station

Release Date
Feb 2012



Why another book on research and writing? The short answer: the approach presented here is not addressed well elsewhere. Most texts on research lay out the step-by-step decisions starting with
identification of the problem. Or they review the theories and methods involved in various kinds of research. Texts on writing provide guidance and exercises to improve your writing skills. In
contrast, this book presents frameworks and tools to help you become more engaged in research and writing.

Suppose you have a specific question or a general issue that seems worth investigating. Now reflect on your level of engagement with that research. Is it important to you personally? Does the inquiry
really flow from your own aspirations (as against being directed to meet the expectations of others-advisors, funders, trendsetters in the field)? Will it help you take action to change your work, life,
or wider social arrangements? Will it help you build relationships with others in such action, in pursuing the inquiry effectively, and in communicating the outcomes?

If you've answered yes in each instance, that is good to hear given that these questions are not emphasized in other research and writing texts. If you answered no or maybe not to any of the questions, consider this analogy. For a car engine to move the wheels, the gears need to be engaged with each other. Similarly, for your research and writing to move along well, you need to align your questions and ideas, your aspirations, your ability to take or influence action, and your relationships with other people. These concepts can be shortened to head, heart, hands, and human connections. The
frameworks and tools in this book can help you bring these 4H's into alignment. That is what we mean by engagement and by inviting readers to take yourself seriously.

Peter Taylor:
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he directs the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking and the undergraduate Program on Science, Technology and Values. His research and writing links innovation in teaching and interdisciplinary collaboration with studies of the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context. This combination is evident in his 2005 book, Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (University of Chicago Press).

Jeremy Szteiter:
Jeremy Szteiter is a 2009 graduate of the Critical and Creative Thinking program and now serves as the Program's Assistant Coordinator. His work has centered around community-based and adult education and has involved managing, developing, and teaching programs to lifelong learners, with an emphasis on a learning process that involves the teaching of others what has been learned and supporting the growth of individuals to become teachers of what they know.