Monday, 20 November 2017

Emotions as a way of knowing

Going through the storm of emotions... I started thinking, how in one way or another, emotions and kind of thinking in my daily activities is designing my way of research inquiry process.  The late American movie critic Roger Ebert(1942-2013)used this simple statement "Your intellect may be confused but your emotions never lie to you". understanding that statement I believe our emotions are often present convincing feels only to ourselves, but for emotions or opinion to go public, language and reason come into play. I feel it is our gut feelings that determine our actions and moral behavior, followed by the reason we think of later in justifying the doing or not doing the right or wrong thing. But why do we need to justify what surely we felt was right? Because this is how society understands. Someone will demand an explanation and we will be obliged to give reasons and not just any reason, but the one that satisfies, since that is what explanations do.

when I deal with my students and people around in my community, higher status is often given to the rational( reasoning) over the irrational( emotions) however, I found emotions and reasoning are intertwined and working together in my decision-making.
In Indian classical dance we, show 8 dominant human emotions like anger, love, joy, pride, sorrow, disgust, wonder, fear, I always wondered are these emotions listed above universal or are they dependent on culture or some other factor?  The Bhagavad Gita(5th century BCE) Indian religious epic states that emotion has the advantage of being open to all, the weak and the lowly, the illiterate and the scholar. similarly, Darwin supported the naturalistic view that emotions are purely physiological and experienced across all cultures..The James-Lange theory asks us to consider that the bodily state causes the feeling. Antonio Damasio, the Portuguese neurobiologist has given a hypothesis which proposes that emotions play a critical role in the ability to make fast, rational decisions in complex and uncertain situations.
As I kept thinking deeper about emotions I could discover the connection between emotions and dance as a way of knowing... I realized as dancer, often I was trained to create a thought( Character/role narrating a story from epics) then start living into that thought and you become the thought..emotionally at that level of consciousness you are remembering every movement of your  choreography creating perfect balance between time-space-music and eventually reach the fourth dimension spiritual bliss or aesthetic bliss.
This inference follows the knowledge acquired by the self through the mediation of senses and the entire concept or action stimulates enjoyment in the spectator causing the sentiments to be felt by them...similarly I sense that my thoughts, emotions, and actions could be focused to create a balance  with my research investigation to stimulate the audience to feel similar sentiments.

Monday, 13 November 2017

What motivates Observation?

What motivates observation?  I am sure there are numerous reason why we observe some things and not others... this is something I noticed recently when I Judged a youth dance competition.  When I asked students what motivated them to participate in the dance competition,  most young dancers responded that they were motivated to learn dance by observing other eminent dancers, how they executed different techniques, their choreographies etc. and wanted to emulate such performances
  I sensed that was something worth thinking about, especially at this stage of my life whatever I do or see, all my actions are driving me towards my research inquiry...sounds strange..but true!!

I am sure there are numerous reasons why we observe some things and not others. Its like if someone points out a particular tree to us on our way to work, we begin observing it thereafter. We may have passed it every day until then, but we may begin to observe it only after it was pointed out to us. Who knows the multitude of reasons that people have for observing things? As teachers, we need to be alert and sensitive to what excites each child in the class and get him/her to use that as a trigger for observation.
we generally have a half/fully formed hypothesis/theory regarding why things happen the way they do before we feel it necessary to observe and actually find out if what we have thought is true. For instance, I may think that each time there is a thick blanket of cloud there is rain on the following day. I may have formed this theory/hypothesis even unconsciously over years of experience. Now I may want to observe and actually see if this is always true. 

As dance teachers when we want a particular dance move to be imbibed in students, observation might be the first of them all. So let's say I show them how to describe a beautiful garden using hand gestures, and they watch me and respond according to what I ask them. When they are observing this are they motivated by a theory or hypothesis or just motivated by the wonder of what is happening?? Subsequently, when they go on to study other aspects of dance like preparing for the performance, make-up costumes making their hair( as in Indian classical dance we have elaborate costumes with pieces of jewelry)  observation skills does become the most important learning skills. What are your thoughts?

Nevertheless, as of now creating/ preparing a professional artifact has Motivated my Observation!!

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Monday, 6 November 2017

All roads lead to Research!

When I read Adesola's blog on some interesting questions, I was allured to discover how my identity has developed over the years and how have I constructed myself.  I suddenly realized that I am actually thinking like a researcher..initially with a beginner's mindset then with a deeper approach asking questions to myself and gradually exploring the various possibilities or outcomes.
When I look back on my professional journey, the most important thing I discovered was my passion for dance. I wonder where the passion emerged from? I wonder how this passion can compel me to reach any heights to seek knowledge. Despite not being from an artist family, it fascinates me how one can develop taste for any art form.
I consider myself fortunate to have supportive parents and husband to make my own choices in life and to have learned from great Gurus. For me, Bharatanatyam continues to offer great opportunities to meet creative people and Gurus who have enriched and renewed my vocabulary.  I sincerely believe that is is not possible to master the nuances and dimensions of this art form in one lifetime, as there is so much to learn ..grow and evolve with the art. I also think my current life stems from 'karma' or my past life as believed in Hindu philosophy.

I must admit that whatever little knowledge I have today is because of the divine intervention and my Guru's grace. My Gurus (teachers) in India lead a simple life with great thinking ability to be intuitive in their teachings and they deeply connect with inner being of each and every student. This has greatly influenced me to able to recognize my inner and outer self and to find my identity in this multi-cultural environment as these values teach more than dance.
I feel with all these rich knowledge about 'Guru-shishya parampara' ( a Teacher-Student relationship)  my aim is to train students towards holistic development by encouraging them to look around as they develop an awareness of the environment. This would also enable them to grow along with the knowledge of past as the basis for their understanding. 
Do share your thoughts.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Journey through gaining access..issues.. practices..ethics and gratitude

Gaining access to research process seemed a simple process.. however as I  began I  realized the range of issues like giving assurance of confidentiality, following ethical considerations, building trust etc.. was found to have fraught for it ignored the nature of the community with which I was going to engage and how that engagement will be undertaken. Gradually the sense of trust was created as my participants assumed my motives were benevolent and did resonate with recognition of the integrity of the researcher and the researched. At times it was challenging to interpret the whole conversation taken place in the interviews and it was daunting. At such a situation I kept assuring myself that I am doing this research to establish a base for my own study and improve my practice and this would cost me lots of time, patience and ultimately money. 
The qualitative research framework which I have chosen is based on assumptions on the subjective nature of young participant's knowledge. The procedure for generating new knowledge and relating to existing theory entails a methodology in which theory is grounded such as observation, interviews, questionnaire and written reports etc.
 Currently, I am at the level of interpreting research data, by narrowing down selective information as per my enquiry, making it to manageable chunks.  As I am into reading the process of critical thinking is leading me deeper into the further search of articles.forexample, if a key articile appears in a particular journal, and I find it relevant to my inquiry it is leading me further into other journals which stimulate debate and I sense that is developing my discussion.

Ann Greig says a good research can be likened to a well-planned expedition. The purpose of the journey is well defined and you know what mode of transport you must take. Your route is planned, you have a map and you have checked the feasibility of undertaking each part of the journey in the specified time.  Once you have started, you do not deviate from your chosen route, and if you unexpectedly have to take a diversion or you get lost, you immediately consult your map and get back on your pathway as soon as possible. This would help you in complete your journey successfully. as you have gained direct experiences and you do no share about what you have not seen or heard.
 Further, she says that a good study should have a sense of flow, and research approach should stem from the previous study and aims to expand the knowledge, and methods used should be justified and logical and the data should relate to the aims. You should be able to identify the sources of any conclusion and recommendation from the data as well as the title of the work whether it is an accurate reflection of the study itself.
Please share your thoughts!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

My discoveries on ongoing Research

I am wondering if I am progressing with my work or not?? I sense that having pre-understanding of my inquiry topic I find myself constantly referring back to the diverse and interesting literature of various kinds and being open to ideas that are coming from many different sources.
 Recently, attending a lecture on Visible learning at my daughter's school,  made me think would this concept enhance student and teacher's development?  and also how to inspire students of the future as a teacher?  Prof.John Hatte, argues that in the visible learning concept, we could see a shift from teacher centred to a student centred approach where the teacher just supports them as a mentor with their considerable amount of expertise. and the student is allowed to explore on their own choices, collaborate as a team, communicate to deal with problem-solving and ultimately to be creative. However, when I compared to my traditional way of learning this is what I reckoned.

Thinking deeply, about our traditional way of learning I could think of my teachers who had a positive and profound effect on me was often because of their attributes and their passion..they could see something in me that I didn't see in myself.  They often identified the right act and appreciated my ability to accept errors.  The most important attributes of expert teachers rely on how they used their 'Technique and Relationship' with students. Though my teachers were incredibly strict disciplined and organised and never compromised on standards one thing that  I always remember is their Passion for the subject and the genuine love towards students the relationship which they maintained with me, though it was not always emotional it was always decisional. They would teach us skills and tips to overcome our weaknesses.

So, I feel to inspire and motivate our students and to climb the professional ladder we could effectively balance our passion for the subject and love towards students, as well as implement elements of visible learning.

Loved these quotes.. 'The mind is not a vessel that needs filling but wood that needs igniting'
-Plutarch( Ad 46-AD 120)
'Education is not about learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think'- Abert Einstein.

what do you think? You can watch these youtube links to know more.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Insights from Liz Lerman's talk

Listening to Liz Lerman's talk gave me goosebumps !!
I was wondering how could someone's life experiences create such an impact and compel the audience to think deeper and explore various aspects of their own beahviour.
Her talk forced me to think where I am today in my professional field? what influenced me to be the person I am today? Why did I react in a way in some situation?  What was bothering me when I received feedback? How could I move ahead in my professional practice?
Liz spoke how to skillfully handle every situation and understand nuances of our professional practice as an Artist, Facilitator and an audience.
She identified that our experiences are culturally framed and shaped they change according to our cultural moral and ideological views,. When we give or receive feedback we often have this discomfort as it would involve a lot of efforts to plan prepare and present and then what happens when someone receives it how they perceive it? we keep mulling over dancers, we need to remember that it is not critics job to improve our choreography rather it is our responsibility to accept the ownership of learning.
 When dancers get together we never talk to our peers honestly we avoid talking about each other's work why? Is it because of our 'Ego? Accepting that creativity could happen in 1000 ways and keep all our personal judgement aside we can discuss neutral questions as what is working well? This capacity to filter is one of the greatest gifts for artists as facilitators.
 Critical responses are designed in fact to keep our defensive attitude down. The most important thing is that when we get stuck at a point we should ask questions to ourselves as in most of our lives suggestions ideas solutions can come from every direction without any thought or prior notice.
So....Remember to Ask Questions it could be thrilling!!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Interesting Impromptu discussion

 I wish we could continue the impormptu discussion little longer as it was getting very interesting.

Started off with Becky who said how she was surprised to learn that her students preferred to participate in competitions over dance exams. As teachers, we always believe that dance exam is crucial to one's career as it provides a platform to achieve standards and obtain certification, however, what we fail to notice is that students enjoy instant gratification after their performance compared to hear the exam results to be announced at a much later date. I think as a teacher we must skillfully create a balance between exams and competition.  It's very natural how teachers consider student's achievements or trophies as the extension of their success as students become our progressive partners.
Later our discussion moved around areas of learning, Maitee expressed that when we browse through various literature, we definitely come across theories which relate to our experiences and it allows us to connect with what we already know and where we could possibly explore more in-depth.  I believe reviewing our own learning in order to identify its significance and transformation of work with other's work and practice is what dictates one's AOL. 
we continued to talk about 'Culture' and its significance for dancer's creativity..I truly feel that learning dance is nothing but learning the culture. Knowing culture reinforces better understanding of how and why techniques of dance movements are practiced in a specific way.  Being an Indian classical dancer, the first thing I teach my students is about its culture and roots. In fact, when I conducted group discussion with some parents they said they enrolled their children to learn classical dance class so that they could learn Indian culture.
We concluded as Adesola asked us to write our blogs regularly by narrating any practical experience from our professional practice and hope I have done mine. Thanks.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Module Three begins!!

Well, I am embarking as Module 3 opens up with another journey.  I realize the evolution of thought and understanding as I have progressed through this journey. I can now relate very well to Helen and Adesola saying that MA is about opening doors, broadening our perspective and extending possibilities, rather than re-affirming what we already know.
To be honest, reading blogs of people whom I have never met seem to have similar experiences.  It did help me to understand where I am right now.
  As proposed in my inquiry, I considered non-positivist approach and  phenomenological perspective. I have now collected data from different methods like by conducting individual interviews, (with students aged 10-16) and group discussions with parents of minor students and by sending questionnaires to my ex students who live in the UK taking into account each participant's experience with their ideas, and thoughts., yet to collect so much more from journals, other literary sources.
 I find it I have collected audio and video recording, survey data, and my reflections about the entire process. I am trying to transcribe interviews at the moment also trying to think and narrow them down to few main categories. 
Digging into my data, I am struggling to organize my thoughts and remain critical and to avoid projecting my own assumptions, I think support of literature will help me to formulate my thoughts.
I hope whatever I have collected will fit within my research proposal. 
Do share your thoughts!

Module Two study plan

 From yesterday's skype discussion, I could feel the transition from Module 2 to Module 3. Though some are beginning Module 1, some are moving to Module 2, we all seem to be experiencing the same challenges where to begin from? 
 I felt I should share what I learnt from Module I took enormous amount of time to understand its requirement.  Hope this helps Module Two.  
Project Inquiry proposal is a prepared document that provides detail description of your intended  project. It is not your actual project but an outline of a planned work-based project that is relevant to your professional practiceIt provides clear evidence that you (worker-researcher) have a good understanding of the project context and the area/topic of research. 

The format or structure of your proposal would depend on several factors including the type and nature of your intended work-based project – hence there is no right or wrong way to present your proposal. However, the following points guided me to develop my proposal.   

- Is my research topic worthwhile and interesting to me?
   - What benefits would it have to my organisation or employer?
   - What benefits would it have to me?
   - Other unique things to consider?
    - What is the context of my project proposal? – my practice context; existing ideas & knowledge about the topic; what are the issues/gaps/opportunities.
 What is my research question(s)?
 - develop your main research question which should link strongly to your project aim and when answered should directly achieve your project aim
 What is my research approach & Methodology?
  -  Select and justify your project approach; e.g.  quantitative/qualitative; action research
  - Clearly explain your approach; supported by appropriate literature
  Data generation/collection & analysis
 - Think about the type of data you would need to answer your project question or achieve your project aim; e.g. quantitative, qualitative or mixed data?
  - Then select and justify your methods of data collection and analysis; e.g. Interviews; questionnaire; observation; documents; artefacts etc
  - Clearly explain the methods; supported by appropriate literature
  - Clearly explain how you would analyse and make sense of the data.
Project feasibility
 - Provide an action plan for your project to demonstrate how you will manage it in the time available; plan should show activity and planned date/time (could be in actual dates: e.g. 15th – 30th October 2012; weeks: e.g. Week 1 – 3; 1st – 3rd Week of October 2012; or Months: Mid October – Mid November etc); could use Gant chart.
- Identify potential ethical issues that are likely to affect the project and how you intend to deal with them; e.g. if your project involves children there may be ethical issues which would require you to gain formal permission (consent) from school authorities and parents; also, to prove that children would not be in any form of danger (physical or psychological) etc.

Do leave your comments!!   

Monday, 18 September 2017

Reflections and Responses for my Module Two feedback

It feels little weird to blog after a long gap...however, writing blog creates a sense of belonging to our MAPP community.  Summer vacation kept me engaged with great family time, traveling and performance opportunities in India.   Attending Summer Intensive Dance writing course at Middlesex University added valuable inputs and provided new understanding of dance education.

Feedback is something which I always look forward to with great excitement. I received my Module Two feedback promptly in the first week of July 2017 which said my research proposal suggested a potential area of inquiry.  Looking from a non-positivist approach, nature of my inquiry stressed on adopting socially constructed realities like conducting interviews and collecting data from the questionnaire.  However, I had not discussed in depth as to whom was I leaning on for collecting philosophical framework phenomenologist or Pragmatist?

Further, I learnt that I could expand my area of research by looking into Dewey and Maslow's work on the topic 'learning beyond the classroom experience'. My intentions were to to integrate notions of Holistic development of a dancer connecting health, behaviour, lived experiences, theories, and voices from other practices as well to obtain in-depth understanding of my topic. I have now decided to look into Journal of Dance and Spirituality, Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices Research in Dance Education etc.
Having decided on my research methods, being mindful of the ethical considerations I am eager to know how narrative data collected truthfully from my participants could enable me to create new knowledge? How to investigate with an openness not to pre-empt and to focus on exploring the topic rather than evidence gathering?
With these thoughts, I am planning to move forward to view the underlying value of these learning methods in parallel to my own process of research.

Monday, 28 August 2017

My thougths on Summer Intensive dance writing professional practice

It was indeed a very productive week for me at Middlesex University campus attending summer intensive during 14-18th August 2017.
Exploring mind and body through Bartenieff Fundamentals and Gyrokinesis was very new to me. However, I thoroughly enjoyed observing the connections of my breath with different levels of movements, 6 limb integration and how my body created balance as I moved in space. This fluidity of breath is considered as "Prana" in our religious beliefs.
Further, it was very interesting and informative to learn about finding freedom within a framework of literature review, its methods, mind-mapping, methodology and the way to direct our thoughts towards critical thinking, challenges of beginner's mindset, creating an individualistic voice.  As Helen rightly said
"There should be space for multiple methods, perspectives meaning not only in dance but in the world as a whole".  These aspects were emphasized in our field trip to British Library, and Tate Modern.
Watching inspiring youtube videos planted the seed of thought about real life stories, experiences. I realized how important for any artist to communicate their feelings either verbally or non-verbally.  Unfortunately many artists struggle to make their voice heard.  In my opinion each dancer or an artist must work individually yet stay connected collectively sharing positive energy to attain one common goal.."finding bliss in creativity"
Many Many thanks to Adesola and Helen for organizing this incredible summer course. This course has indeed enriched my understanding about research as well as articulating dancer's practical knowledge. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Relating Rhizome affect to my practice

In my earlier education, I was told that the basic fundamentals are like building blocks/foundation on which higher studies are carried out.  I always considered learning in the form of a building. However, it feels very strange when I consider my learning in a Rhizome structure. Although it makes sense and I am wondering why I never thought about it earlier.
Now that Adesola has enlightened us to look at our learning carefully, I have started nurturing my ideas that manifest during a term and then connecting those ideas with my professional practice. After reading her blog about theory framework and ethics in research, keeping the rhizomatic perspective  I am able to connect the process of learning from module one to module two, by identifying my area of learning, engaging in research work I am noticing that experience of learning about research methodology is a process of personal growth, this growth is beyond what I could chart out in everyday reality, though these don't fit into neat knowledge, ironically in this process, I experience a bit of awe and bit of overwhelming situation as I start connecting things by developing awareness, developing knowledge, challenging the timeline for completing research as ideas change in flux. I found this interesting which relates to how knowledge is acquired.
In 1976, Walker Percy wrote a book called 'The message in the bottle', in this Percy conceptualizes the delta factor using Helen Keller's story while conducting research he poured water over Helen's hand and repeatedly signed the word water into her hand. Percy theorized that this action was more than cause and effect because Helen keller received more than the signifier(the Sign for water) and reference (water itself). Thus, Percy created a triadic relationship between water,(word) water(liquid) and Helen herself who was acting as an agent to bridge word and substance eventually the ideas was to build knowledge (human intelligence).  So, learning process( Rhizomatic) where a qualitative approach is opted and by allowing research to go where it leads and take us where it goes creates a path.  This different way of framing our research has helped open up new perspectives on our educational journey.

This clarifies that doing research relates to rhizome effect where our learning process is connected to various shoots like an area of research, deciding the positivist or non-positivist approach, research methods, participants who are engaged in creating meaning-making, self- awareness, ethical considerations and its effect on personal and professional practice. Deleuze & Guattrai (1987) suggests that identity as a teacher is not separate from living as a researcher, as each day teacher interprets new learning.

References Deal, W. E., & Beal, T. K. (2004). Theory for religious studies. New York, NY:
Becoming Rhizome Researchers   43

Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology 2013, 4(1)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

My Research framework in a pragmatic approach

After a week of frustration, I feel now there is a sense of moving as I have identified my area of interest. However, it is understandable that we adults don't like to make mistakes, as we were brought up that way. Teachers in school rewarded us when we were right and punished us with poor grades when we were wrong.  It is not right because, as Howard realized, any genuine experience involves trial and error. It is important, not just in learning how to run an equipment that is new to us but in .picking up any new skill.
Analyzing deeply  I am noticing that there are differences in my previous learning pattern and the amount of time spent in learning practical aspects and relating them with the philosophies. When it comes to my research framework I have realized that my research inquiry is based on a qualitative approach where lived experiences of people in the real settings become the objects of study.

I will be working on this framework which includes identifying my participants, explaining the object of conducting this research with their consent which involves serious questioning and critical thinking. I am planning to incorporate verbal techniques as one of my research tools where I will question them directly through interviews and group discussions to obtain individual opinions.  I might ask few questions relating to my beliefs. How am I going to frame questions so that I get relevant answers? Would it be feasible to observe them during the dance lessons?  Investigating whatever has ben told is genuine or not?   How will I analyze and distinguish between truth and untruth as research is only a more formalized and systematic way of knowing about people. Consulting, working with participants engaging personally will help me to explore further what I do not know? How to perceive from other's perspective while collecting their individual opinions? Recording all the facts will allow me to remember things as it is far easier to remember where to get information when I need it than to memorize the information itself. Many times I have fumbled for a particular word only to have it elude me until half an hour later when I no longer need it.

As Donald Schon's describes, professional practice is a flat place where we cannot see very far(1987) as everyone would love to work on a high plane from which all valleys, hills can be seen. Keeping theories -in-use as a map I need to observe and understand what I am actually doing and what I believed to do? as we are really thrown onto our resources in an everyday work environment, all we have is reflective practice, the process of trial and error and learning from mistakes. As Schon says, all education requires entering a place of not-knowing, and to ask significant questions to find out.  For me, reflective practice is helping to accept the learning route to and enabling me to say I do not know what is going on? and I want to find out? This questioning develops responsible and ethical action, such a becoming aware of how much my ways of being is culturally determined. I recognize that asking questions and being willing to stay with uncertainty is the only way to discover our assumptions and do something about them. I am actively shaping my surroundings and the way I  relate to others and communicate through these research methods.
With my pragmatic outlook, I am going back to roots thinking about my dance form acknowledging and reminding myself that there is something very beautiful in my roots.  I have entered into the world where my experience reminiscent of my mother, my teachers all the values stood for.  I am able to delve into the depths of religious thought as classical dance is based on mythology and stories from olden times.  These stories find ways into our lives, we relate to them and I believe in culture when I say culture I do not mean just dance,  but the idea of knowing who we are?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Philosophical notions within Phenomenology and Pragmatsim

Researchers and Philosophers have traditionally attempted to adopt different approaches to research methods whether trying to understand the mind and behaviour through the creation of theories or trying to answer practical questions. However, in this course, we are using the Qualitative approach which follows two main philosophical notions Phenomenology and Pragmatism.
It took an enormous amount of time for me to understand these notions. Firstly I realized that methods and methodologies are different. Methodology refers to philosophies that guide how the knowledge is discovered, and analyzed in a systematic way, and methods, on the other hand, is specific to gathering data through surveys, interviews etc.
 Pphenomenology refers to the kinds of inquiry or study designed to explore lived experiences. Any experiences whatsoever can be phenomenological topic connected to possible human experience. For example, having a talk with someone, sending an email or a message, listening to a piece of music so forth. In all these questioning we gain the meaningful understanding, there are no ultimate determinations for the meanings of human existence. What is wonderful about phenomenological insight is that they can be surprising, deep, unexpected yet somehow recognizable., but an insight is never final, as it keeps changing in different contexts.

Pragmatism is popularly known as the theory of experimentalism, as it focuses on experiences. It is derived from Greek Word 'Pragma' which means action, it is a reasonable and logical way of doing things or thinking about problems that are based on dealing with a specific situation instead of ideas and theories.  It recognizes that circumstances can be different and in that different actions may be appropriate, hence it does not demand moral uniformity between people across cultures. The pragmatists believe that reality changes due to personal experience. This is in direct contrast to realism and idealism. Another important component of Pragmatism is the application of Evolution to our education. John Dewey American Philosopher believed that evolution was not just a biological truth, but a metaphysical truth as well. He argued that experience was the fundamental component of Pragmatism, one must experience another person's philosophy in order to develop your knowledge in depth.
Looking at both the philosophies, I have understood that both Phenomenology and Pragmatism are based on experience. However, Phenomenology emphasizes on a description of the lived experiences, whereas in pragmatism researchers learn through hand on experimentation either individually or in the group.
Please leave your suggestions and opinions.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Considering Non-positivist approach

Understanding Non-positivist approach is relatively simpler compared to Positivist approach, for common people like us.  We live in a society and often we anticipate some feedback from our friends and relatives for anything we offer either sevice or help.  Basically we live in an inter-dependant society, with the liberty to live,explore, believe or not in the existence of God who guides every activity in the world. At some point of time philosophers like Plato,Aristotle, Issac Newton with their scientific mindset also believed in the higher power.  So I feel somewhere meta-physical, scientific, and religious world co-exists in order to make sense of the world.
John Locke, the famous philosopher uses Christian religion as justification and says all people are created with natural rights of life, liberty, everybody in nature should have these rights as they are God's gifts. We experience certain emotions  in a set way because every religion gives some sort of structure some principles. All these elements are subjective in nature as no scientific methods have proved it.
Non-positivist mainly engage in these subjective approach where they interact with people which enables greater understanding and gain insights into people's motivation to meanings by seeing the wolrd as they do and build grounded theories using qualitative data.
I would consider non-positvist approach as I beleive that knowledges are created by interacting with people in  a given context or working with them in their environment. Being a performing artist, and a teacher, always I aimed to connect with people and reach out to them through my performances and these experiences are intangible for them as well as for me because these invovle integration of various elements like theme, music, choreogaphy. etc. unike positivist apporach where it needs a scientific interpretation and has to be to measured.
 Non-positivist perspective enables me to know what really matters to me, how I see the world and frame my questions to get my answers. Basically it allows me to work closer to social factors to co-construct reality with my participants. However,  various articles report that qualitiative approach  is more complicated when it comes to collecting data, as we need to consider the concept of truth with each data collected. The most important aspect of  Non-positivist theory I liked is the concept of having multiple Realities and truth exists. It beautifully justifies that Reality is Real, and Truth is universal, but we cannot directly access either, we can only perceive pieces of Reality we can seek Truth or approximate Reality. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Exploring Postivist approach

It is generally accepted that research is based on several interconnected philosophical assumptions. The ideas presented in various literature have changed my way of looking at philosophy and the historical transmission. Further, they have disclosed the possibility of considering classical philosophical problems in a fresh perspective.

I have learned that unpacking assumptions are not as simple as I thought. It gets intellectually tricky. I assumed that I begin with a research question than shop around for the kinds of research approach that best allows me to answer that questions. Only later I realized that starting with research question begins in the middle and I ignored the fundamental necessity of taking the deep look at the belief systems. I had never thought so deeply about positive and non-positive approach. This is what I noticed.
Positive paradigm emphasizes that real and factual happenings could be studied and observed scientifically and empirically and could be elucidated by way of rational investigation and analysis.This positive research approach is something like micro-level experimentation in a lab like setting that can do away with the intricacy of the outside world. The results and outcomes gotten by means of experiment method give important insights and knowledge into the natural world of realism and truth.
Positivism is a strong approach as it affirms the value of science and maintain a strong distinction between true and false, however, positivism fails to acknowledge the cultural, political and social factors that get in between the observer and the truth. It claims that what is True can be verified by science and logical proof, rest everything is either false or meaningless.For example, Positivist are like atheists they don't believe in the existence of God, science cannot demonstrate the existence of God. 
Hope what I have understood makes sense.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Reflecting on Mind Body Paradigm

Rene Descartes theory of dualism, made me realise that in  all these years I believed in 'monism' as most of the Indian classical dance  movments and themes are based on  spirituality which integrates mind and body to achieve the eternal bliss.(Ulitmate essence of the emotions)  That's why it took me so long to understand the theories of dualism. I guess the way we sense our body in the world seems to be just as important as in creating a cultural meaning. For me, we are not located in the world symbolically nor do we experience reality purely through the text, instead, we are in relation with natural and social worlds and it is within this network of interdependence our mind and body functions. Despite this  history and philosophy in the Western world, who emphasized dualism between emotional and rational or mind and body, I believe that humans are multi-dimensional in nature as they are created by an active body located in the various levels of time and space as well as in symbolic dimension.
I noticed some differences of Easteran and Western ideas of mind and body philosohpies and the best way to analyse was through my own experience.
Cartesian dualism may be real in contemporary Western World, but alternative views exists in other philosophical traditions.  Eastern philosophies generally treat mind-body unity as an achievement, rather than an essentail relation. Through research, I discovered that Asian traditions do not separate mind from the body, though mind and body may be conceptually distinguishable from some perspective, they are not assumed to be distinct. For modern western tradition mind-body theorry is primarily concerned with the empirically observable correlations between mental and somatic phenomena. Eastern theories focus on how a disciplined practice allows one to attain body-mind untiy. For example,studyng the western mind-body problem, it is appropriate to investigate the act of raising one's arm,what is the relation between mental inteneion and the somatic movement? In eastern tradition however learnig to hit a baseball would be more appropriate example. In this contrast, we again can see the difference between concentrating on an intrinsic mind-body connection versus an acquired mind-body unity.
Nevertheless, looking at above discussion, I feel there should be more balanced standpoint between the theories of Eastern or Western philosophies seeking relation between intention and movement as well as the practice and achievement of a skill.,I.(1996)+Bodies+of+thought&ots=K-Ou81faGr&sig=dR2DmHz-ikV0snKQnW5PmAbx5kg

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Indian Aesthetics !

The deeper you dig the better the treasures!!!
I was fascinated as I kept reading about the history of classical dance of India, its rich cultural traditions. Classical dance having very strong Hindu fundamentals was always associated with worship and rituals and therefore it was clothed in sanctity. Hinduism is nothing but a way of life and it accepted that laws governing the conduct of man and society are man-made and it has to be flexible and dynamic subject to change, thus it does not say that set of rules made thousands of years ago should be valid today.
since ordinary people could not have the erudition to read and understand great Epics, the profound philosophies were translated and presented in the form of parables and stories in these epics for the guidance of common people.  These great Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were later translated in the form of poetry so that they could teach greatest truths of life in an easy way without taxing the mind. These spiritually evolved tales were told to children to teach them fundamental truths of faith, religion, and morality. Traditionally, dancers viewed the creative process and suggested a divine truth and regarded art as a means of experiencing a state of bliss.
An awareness of the salient features of the vast background of Indian dancing could help formulate some of the demands traditionally made on the spectator. The Spectator was also expected to have an inner preparedness to receive this vision and be a potential artist.  Thus all Indian arts, especially the arts of music and dance require a trained and initiated spectator as well.
For a traditional Indian dancer/artist, regardless of the field in which he/she worked, artistic creation was the supreme means of realizing the universal Being.
Art is always considered as a Discipline...and this discipline is a means of achieving a state of complete harmony of life which leads to a recognition of one's truer self. Each aspect leads to another, the spiritual, mental and physical discipline required in the search for complete harmony is nothing but 'YOGA'. There is some similarity between Hindu's ideology as I can link the theoretical work of John Dewey(1934) and Eliot Eister(2002) who have looked at the arts broadly. They have established the significance of the expression of creativity, lived experience, learning through the body, and the power of the arts to encapsulate cultures.
Accepting this major concept of Hindu spiritual and philosophical thought the artist was indeed like the worshipper, and art became a spiritual discipline.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Structure and Streamline Ideas of Reasearch Proposal!


Clarity of idea enables one to gear up to work towards a particular area.  After our 5 pm chat yesterday and after watching the video clip about being right or wrong posted by Adesola, I have taken courage to write few things about structuring our research proposal.  These are the excerpts from   

Research Proposals: A Practical Guide: A Practical Guide

By Denscombe, Martyn

The basic aims of Research proposal are not complicated as we think.  Firstly, research proposal has to appeal our thinking whether it would be worthwhile and are there clear and obvious benefits
(Knowledge) to be gained from undertaking this investigation. 
Secondly, thinking if the inquiry is feasible, it is not sufficient just to have a good research idea, the idea needs to be something that can be accomplished and delivered. I mean it needs to be realistic. Having established precisely what the research needs,  the next question is fairly obvious how to collect relevant literature, how much data is required. I am following these steps, hope this works.
 Reading from blogs, online journals and other links from google are helping me to collect literature. As I have understood the Structure of research proposal should have these headings. Title, aims/background, literature review, research questions, methods adopted, ethical issues, finally the conclusion. 
Although no universally applicable and correct format exist for Research Proposal 
(Locke etal.2000:7) there is still a strong family resemblance underlying the structure and headings. 
The analogy is something like house building, plans have to be drawn up to show that the house will be structured sound and that it would meet necessary requirements in terms of building regulations. Well, the same logic applies to our research inquiry I guess. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

5th March 2017 Our Second skype chat of Module Two!!

 In today's skype chat as always, module one and module two students discussed views and ideas about AOLs.  How to improve our critical thinking without focusing too much on what is right or wrong. As a student, I feel whatever stage we are in, we look for some guiding force someone who can just show us the direction to move forward.  I also believe that we cannot know the truth unless we ourselves are confronted with it. With this belief, I started to read various articles relating to Indian classical dance and its nuances.. as I read I got hooked up with the concept of dance beyond the studio and its impact on the holistic development of a dancer. The inference from what I read..the more familiar you are with the aspects of Indian culture the more natural classical dance will feel to you and the more comfortable and effortless your performance will seem.  Life and theatre are not apart and an understanding of life through theater is realistic, holistic and enjoyable at the same time. The Indian theater and its magical influence has a unique methodology, leading one to a holistic understanding of oneself, and, leading one thereby to holistic self-development. Indian Theatre, as other forms of Theatre, is essentially for representation through performance and includes in its ambiance drama, dance, music and stage art and craft, literature, history to carry forward the communication as a story telling skills. 
I feel as a teacher /performer this holistic concept fits into a wider field of research inquiry and I think I have got the direction to move forward!!!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Revision of Reflection.

The concept 'Reflection' being the most vital aspect of our study, I decided to reread some articles from (Moon 1999) and Dewey's Reflective studies, Rereading them threw some new insights.

Reflection always starts from where we are. Usually, when we reflect we find ourselves in a new situation while expressing we end up reflecting complex things which may be associated with a range of feelings, or experiences which may be emotional or spiritual or anything.
Dewey describes reflection as a specialized form of thinking, that turns a subject over in the mind and project it as a serious thought. Each learner finds their own way of reflecting in different contexts that often influence their learning methods.
Research suggests that there is a fundamental difference between adopting deep approach and surface approach reflection. A deep reflection is where a learner intends to understand the meaning of the material, willing to integrate it into one's practice along with previous ideas, either reconsidering or altering one's understanding if necessary..however, the new ideas are filed carefully.

whereas, in a surface approach a learner tend to memorize the material as it is, not trying to understand its relation to previous ideas, or consider the purpose of reflection. apparently, there is an evidence that it is by challenging learners with ill-structured material of learning, that they improve their cognitive ability. (King and Kitchner,1994)
Thus, my understanding is that deep reflections are necessary when we are reflecting on any professional behavior, along with critical analysis providing explanations associated with different contexts. while Reflecting, if the mental state changes, then the view might also change. such exercises enable recognition of issues and construct new knowledge.
Hope this make sense...!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Message in movements

 Hi friends. !!
 Reading exploring literature from various sources.. discussing dance through blogs, I noticed that this is the best way to spend time when you are not dancing.  Finding out more enabled me to shed light on something which I thought was a very common thing..and never really gave prominence to it as I had always taken it for granted.
The concept of Proprioception, combined with the other senses, provides us with the internal experience of the body and is partly responsible for the creation of the ‘body-image’. This awareness of the body makes it possible to feel and move the body and reflect on its state and actions: how does the movement feel? Is the movement executed the way we intended it? 
As a dancer, I used to learn a dance step,  by looking at the example given by my teacher. I used to copy those movements and may be  check the reflection in a mirror to see whether the movement looks the same as shown. After repetition of the movement and instructions from the teacher, the execution of the motor action would become easier, faster and more fluent. with regular practice, I would develop a close link between the outcome of the motor action and the proprioception. The movement would then feel natural. Thus the motor action would be stored in my ‘motor memory’, and then no longer I needed a mirror for feedback. 
Now when I teach any step to my students..I realise how this works..every move gives a message to the body.

Relativity of body..mind..soul in a dancing body..!!

According to the French philosopher Henri Bergson, the body is a center of actions and every perception is action-orientated. He considers body and mind to be two separate entities. The mind contains the past, which is stored in memory. The body is an image of the brain that is tied up in the present, by actual matter, affections and action.
 I do not agree with this separation and don’t consider memory to be strictly restrained to the mind.  However, I do agree with his idea of perception, in which present and past are always united. The past, through either conscious or subconscious memory, always intervenes in the perception of the present. 
I strongly believe that body cannot be separated from mind and soul because you cannot exclude your soul from the body while you are being in the sensation of the art of dance or you cannot exclude your mind while moving your body parts consciously and technically. This is very well codified in the ancient Indian tradition of dramaturgy "Natyashastra" as a beautiful phrase, which means 
The feet keeping to time, hands expressing gesture, the eye following the hand with expression, the ear listening to the music- by harmonizing these five elements the mind achieves concentration and at­tains clarity in the very richness of participation. The inner feeling of the dancer is the sixth sense which harnesses these five mental and mechanical elements to create the experience and enjoyment of beauty.
I have clearly understood that one cannot ignore the uniqueness of body mind and soul if one wants to consider dance as an art form. 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Echoes of the Body and Soul

Excerpts from Dr.Kapila Vatsyayan and Dr.Kana Rele's  book Indian Classical Dance.

The history of Indian dance extends from the earliest levels of civilization to the present day..  India's prehistory and proto-history also provide sufficient ecidence of this fact. For example, there is a broken torso of a dancing girl from Mohenjodaro, and beautiful metaphors and similes in the 'Vedas' based on the art of dance. Dance as a profession and as a social activity has been associated witht all significant moments of the life cyle. 
Human body is always taken as the perfect vehicle by the artist, and all the other intenesely human activities were interpreted on the analogy of the human body. It is worth examining the principles of this art. The first principle insisted upon is the influence of enviornment upon the mood of the artist
secondly, the inward look or imagination of the artist by which these thought forms are given shape and develop the actual creative powers.
Thirdly the necessity for the artist to identify his body absolutely with the subject or to merge his own consciousness in aspect of nature which he wishes to interprete. With these processes, the art became less pursuit of beauty than an attempt to realise LIFE which is within us- Life in all its fullness and mystery..thus emerged the doctrine of Body and Soul.. Brahman ( the One divine being hidden in all beings)and Atman (soul). 
This realisation of the one and unique Brahman(God) all pervading which frees us from shakles and we realise that Reality as Sat(being) Cit( consciousness) and Ananda(delight bliss)- Saccidannanda
( Sanskrit term for eternal bliss) This apporach of using body to become one with the Brahman differes from individual to individual.
This approach to the supreme may be attained either through Jnana(Knowledge) or karma( work) or Bhakti( devotion). 
There is deep relation between Human body and the structure of Hindu temple as temples are built on the analogy of human body the basic idea is the BREATH!!!

Eventually, creating a wok of art is a ritual..A workof art is the physicial form within which the Formless Brahman isto be sought  and that would lead to the Ultiate Release - Moksha.(intangible bliss) 

Monday, 20 February 2017

philosophical Stance of Indian classical dance !

My attempt is to understand the philosophical stance of Indian classical dance, seeking which would lead me generate ideas about my project inqury.
As I observe over the two decades much has happened in the field of both dance as performance and also the teaching practices. The dance performance itself has undergone a change on account of change of context, nature of audience,duration of performance, the training and intellectual equipment of the dancer. Cumulatively, this has brought about major transformations in technique, specially in the aspect of the delivery of movement. I would say, present dancers are experimenting with contemporary  Indian dance with classical inspiration.
When it comes to teaching practices, I believe in  the dictum of Bharata ( the author of text NatyaShastara) that "the Shastra (regulations) of Natya(dance) is the Prayaoga Shastra( Practial theory)" that means without having gone through the experience of the movement in his or her body, one cannot teach. Only a competent teacher can give a logical explanation of the practices which includes dicipline with mind action and movement.  With my own regular practice I feel that I can train my body to work in a certain direction, with a passage of time body can be in a state of fitness and it can perform effortlessly with specific gestures and movements.
The Indian dance form (Bharatanataym) orginated in the temples as an act of devotion and considered  the oldest art form. The present study has endeavoured to point out the enormous literature and resource materials have been responsible for the emergence of full -fledged classical style,
Philosphy of the Indian dance is so deep and diverse as I realised from reading various books and journals and at this point I am feeling  there is so much more I recognise what I don't know.  More to follow...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

12/02/2017 Back in action... Module Two begins !!

Hi Friends,
Today, we discussed few interesting topics relating to reflective practices and drafting ROLs and AOLs with some Module one we could incorporate tools for our research such as resources from each other's blog, literature, narratives from various other journals. I feel that regular blogging can suppport and  encourage each one of us to share and understand the challenges involved in the  process of learning.
The brief introduction by Adesola and Helen's incredibe professional journey triggered a spark in me to think about hidden 'Truth'  behind every successful artists the way they engage their professional and personal life and integrate their practices considering different places, culture,people, situations and embarking onto higher education qualifications. The impact of ethics in our practice and people around us,and the ablitity  to distinguish between Personal and Professional practice was something we discussed for a long time. I guess, these are individualistic in nature.
My next focus is to understand  what could be the Proposal Plan for Professional Research Inquiry?  How and from where do I begin my research??
Do share your thoughts and keep blogging. Thanks.