When we first used the term thorny issues in our work in 2015, it was to describe sensitive and vulnerable, often painful, conversations on topics such as race and gender, and sexual preferences. The discussions were valanced with intense emotional energy and often associated with violence. We developed the thorny issues heuristic to better educate ourselves and those interested in how to explore such challenging issues more knowingly and more mindfully. In this chapter I include reflections on my own learnings since, such as an introduction on how to plan for, build and maintain conscious spaces and the idea of radical ignorance. Also, I present a new heuristic focusing on boundaries, core, and being in the heart. In pushing the edges of mainstream academic realities and thinking, this phenomenological work also makes visible some of my own struggles and conflicts with what is safe to write about and make public.
In this chapter we adopt an historical approach to the development and application of coteaching, initially in science education and thereafter, in broader contexts in which teaching and learning occur. Also, we address applications of coteaching in the assessment of teaching and coteaching as a method when teachers and students are research collaborators. We employ sociocultural theory to frame teaching, learning, cultural reproduction, and transformation. Reflexive practices allow us to illustrate how teachers and students learn by being-in-with others. Since coteachers may not always be aware of all that is learned, there is a necessity for heightening awareness of the efficacy of teacher conduct, foreshadowing what is to come in Chapter 3, this volume, where we present a heuristic for cogenerative dialogue.
The focus of teacher education programs is often centered around standards, content, assessment and best pedagogical practices. Education students are assessed on their abilities to write formal lesson plans that follow strict guidelines and have predetermined formats. In focusing our attention on measures of accountability we neglect to address the interaction between the teachers and the students. As we enter a classroom to teach | learn, we bring with us all of the social and historical experiences that each of us have had, including all those experience that contribute to the way we approach interactions. When I began working with preservice and in-service teachers at the college level, my hope was to share with them a heuristic that they could use as a tool for self-assessment and self-reflection. The emergent nature of this work resulted in developing a heuristic with student input and aligned with their ideas and values. The conversations generated from the individual responses to the characteristics also acted as a heuristic for all participants, providing opportunities for further reflection and transformation. A heuristic is a valuable intervention, developed to promote reflexivity and provide possible positive ways to ameliorate negative actions or interactions. The process of developing a heuristic with student input and the subsequent analysis of student commentary, has provided a new avenue for making meaning within a social interaction, such as a science education classroom.
In this chapter, we explore how we have used video recording as a reflexive and transformative teaching tool. We demonstrate how video has been used to promote the integration of polyphonia (many voices) and polysemia (many ways of knowing) and inform our praxis in environments of teaching and learning. We then juxtapose our experiences with those of prospective teachers preparing video recordings for the edTPA New York State teacher certification process. We take the stance that video recording and reflection have the potential to be transformative for participants. However, in working with individuals involved with the edTPA, we have found that their experience using video recording has fallen short of transformation. Through heuristics, we incorporate the voices of educators, researchers, professors, and prospective teachers to better understand how the video portion of the edTPA is perceived and used by educators. Together, we reimagine the video component of the edTPA to be a tool not just for judgment and assessment, but of reflexivity.
In this chapter we provide an historical overview of the uses of heuristics and cogenerative dialogues (hereafter cogen), spanning a period of almost 3 decades. During this time, the nature and purposes of cogen are expanded, and so too are associated theoretical frameworks. In addition, the structure and function of heuristics also have adapted while serving the purpose of heightening awareness about central characteristics of cogen.
A feature of this chapter is the inclusion of theoretical rationale and assertions derived from what we have learned from our research as bases for the creation of salient, dynamically changing, tenets of cogen. In so doing, we provide researchers and practitioners with detailed information that can be used to create additional characteristics to be used as constituents in situationally relevant heuristics that align with the particulars of the social spaces and purposes of a study. That is, the way we write this chapter affords the shape shifter function of cogen. For example, the infusion of contemplative activities such as mindfully speaking and listening greatly expand the potential of cogen to transform social fields for the benefit of all.
In this chapter I discuss my investigation of a student’s (Petra’s) anxiety during her group presentation using event-oriented inquiry. This event was selected because of the increase in her heartrate 60 seconds prior to the moment she began speaking. A combination of video recordings, oximeter readings and cogenerative dialogues are used to explore anxiety-provoking experiences even when such emotions may not be outwardly visible through other means, like facial expression, gestures, and tone.
A heuristic utilizing an arts-based research methodology is used to create a self-reflection practice to support students with the conceptual and emotional challenges faced in STEM learning. The research, based in the creation of drawings and text by freshmen students of calculus in a four-year urban public university, employs a bricolage of methods informed by authentic inquiry and its ethical considerations. Benefits observed include engendering in students prioritization of self-reflection in learning, socialization within the STEM classroom environment, and the development of confidence and identity as STEM learners. The heuristic strengthens the ability of instructors to make themselves aware of, and to subvert, unconscious and implicit biases. Of particular benefit for instructors is the promotion of greater empathy and understanding for the emotional challenges that students face in mathematics and STEM learning, a quality of central importance in supporting student success and wellness.
In this chapter, I look at the experience of using a heuristic on doing research with my early childhood teachers. In addition to being students in a graduate classroom, these teachers conduct educational research in their own classrooms. I address the internalized prejudice (by teachers and non-teachers alike) that exists in our society against early childhood teachers. In a study of my students and me – revealing their emotions and attitudes towards conducting research – I found that teachers | researchers initially felt fear, worry, and anger towards conducting educational research. The heuristic, allowed for transformation in both how teachers | researchers felt towards being researchers as well as shifted their attitude about who can be a researcher.
In this chapter we address the development and uses of heuristics in contemplative activities in both research and teaching. We begin with a review of Richard Davidson’s research on neuroplasticity and emotional styles. We present a heuristic to expand consciousness about each of six emotional styles, thereby raising the potential for participants in our research and teaching to change their emotional styles when the particulars of the social field suggest changes are desirable.
We discuss ways in which polyvagal theory (PVT) has been a factor in our research and teaching, especially when the expression of emotions is related to physiological changes and wellness. We include a heuristic to heighten awareness of physiological indicators such as breathing patterns, pulse rate and blood oxygenation and their relationships to a balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic innervation. We describe links of PVT to the expression and possibilities for controlling emotions such as anger, fear, happiness, and sorrow.
In our treatment of contemplative activities, we describe how Vipassana meditation and mindfulness can be used to adapt day to day activities associated with, for example, teaching and learning, and home and leisure activities.
Finally, we describe recent work on educating for death and dying and development and use of heuristics in this research. We envision most of the teaching and research involving death and dying as being situated in out of school contexts with the goal of educating a citizenry on a continuum from infant through to elderly. The heuristics we include in the chapter are most suited to middle school youth through to adults nearing the end of life, with a possibility of transition to an afterlife.
In this chapter, we discuss the theory and guiding principles underlying heuristic methodology as enacted in our educational practice. Our work focuses on the promotion of teacher | student wellbeing as a function of the relational nature of education. We describe our emerging understandings that stem from the manner in which we implement heuristics in a graduate-level teacher education course. We also present our nascent approach to implementing heuristic methodology in a high school setting. We find that heuristics may prove effective in the development of more mindful dispositions by mediating heightened awareness of being in the present moment and improved quality of our empathic connections. An enhanced quality of awareness and connections (each a constituent of wellbeing) may catalyze more compassionate interactions in classrooms and beyond. When used consistently, heuristics have a transformative potential to assist in shifting educational priorities from the neoliberal focus on competitive individualism and systemic oppression of accountability to cultivating collective empowerment, sustainable wellness, and embodied mindfulness for harmonious coexistence.