Edited by Edie Lanphar and Agata Wilczek

Edie M. Lanphar

This chapter seeks to describe the notion of connectivity in an Australian tertiary setting through the methodology of ‘self as researcher’. This research is based on ‘reflexivity, action research and narrative analysis.’ As stated previously the site for this research was a classroom and the ensuing cognitive, social and emotional landscape of a group of early childhood education students who came together to work towards an understanding of numeracy and technology. However, it became clear that they had become institutionalized and simply replicators of information from textbooks and tutorials. In addition to their seemingly institutionalized responses there was a lack of connectivity to the early childhood department and the tertiary setting as a whole. Grappling with a sense of inadequacy and resignation to a marginalized position amongst other students in the department these students lived in a liminal space where they had no voice. To ameliorate a change from this outlook, the theoretical perspective of ‘threshold concepts’ as a possible tool for transformation and connectivity was implemented. As part of the emergent design process of ‘self as researcher’, an unexpected discussion developed about the use of technology and the KONY 2012 event. This discussion proved to be a catalyst for change and the threshold concept of liminality, which became a portal to a new recognition of their current space as paradigm paralysis and the need to crossover into a transformational schematic landscape. There was an element of responsiveness to these students; now sensitive to the ways they were engaging with learning. They were now able to connect and develop a community of empowered and engaged learners with a new paradigm for developing and maintaining their own personal as well as a professional identity that was transformative and enduring.

Edie Lanphar and Phil Fitzsimmons

Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar

The aim of this chapter is to unpack the findings of an international study that sought to explore middle school student’s perceptions of the ideal school. Prior localized research suggested that this age group were more than able to articulate their understandings of what worked and what didn’t work for them in educational settings. Moreover, this research suggested that what schools needed was a connected systemic approach grounded in the precepts of spirituality as seeing beyond limitations, human formations and human instability through optimal relationships. Extending this research and then sieving the findings through a ‘responsive’ trans-disciplinary literature review, revealed that students in this age bracket require a more holistic approach to education that requires an integration of outdoor education, value development through reflective collective discovery, engagement with a chaplain-mentor, a refocusing of curriculum, complete engagement with staff and parents, and an authentic provision for student voices. In order to address the de-spiritualizing spiral of education, the model arising out of this study indicates that schools need to develop an emancipatory-holistic framework of approximative journeying. The specific elements of this approach will be presented in this chapter.

Edie Lanphar and Agata Wilczek

Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar

The aim of this chapter is to discuss the findings of a longitudinal international study that sought to explore and understand the ‘habitus conditions’ that had the potential to give rise to creative experiences. The notion of habitus was used as a key axiomatic lens as, for us, it carries the sense that the patterns of thinking and predispositions to be creative arise out of deep familial or familial like patterns of ‘connectivity’. Through a series of qualitative-narrative projects young children, adolescents and adults who were either immersed in supposed creative experiences or who had demonstrated creative output were asked to reflect on the sources of these experiences. Emerging out of this ten-year project involving respondents in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, a ‘grounded theory’ of how creativity can be fostered has begun to emerge. While Cambourne’s concept of the Conditions of Learning were a constant set of emergent themes, the data facets in these ongoing investigation suggests that an existential drive lies at the core of each of our respondents and that the Conditions of Learning were the means which facilitated this drive. Indeed, other conditions for learning and creativity emerged from the data, largely related to socio-emotional awareness. This existential or spiritual awareness appears to be process of reflective inquiry, which also becomes empowered through a mentoring relationship. This web of mentoring social support provides access to the development of visualization and understanding the symbolic within their context of situation, which in turn aids in an emancipatory world view.

Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar

In the field of children’s literature and narrative research, the notion of the ‘tell tale gap’ or ‘not so obvious ‘gap’ has been a focus point for a considerable length of time. However, with the advent of a multitude of connected narratives that migrate across platforms and modalities, analysis of the ‘gap’, or points of omitted difference, has become even more complicated. While apparently still in its infancy, the developing research base is littered with an array of points of analytic diversification, explication and definition. This chapter seeks to add to this analytic spectrum as it discusses a ‘transmedia’ narrative research project that sought to investigate and analyse the ‘gaps’ embedded in and between the narrative shifts occurring across the graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and the subsequent movie, Hugo. While the project commenced with simply ‘thematizing’ the gaps, closer inspection revealed the need to use an interdisciplinary approach, which employed Goffman’s concept of ‘frame analysis’, ‘Tell Me reader response’ and the ‘tools of visual literacy’. These conjoined points of understanding came into ‘research being’ because of an ideological belief in the research praxis of ‘methodological appropriateness’. Hence, as these versions were primarily ‘visual’ meaning making processes, and because each used ‘paratext’ as a critical entrée point, the interdisciplinary foci became the initial ‘narrative orientation points’. Through an inductive application process the gaps became recognizable as markers of ‘silence and disclosure’ of identity, the ‘liminality of trauma’ and the ‘wholeness and creativity of abandonment’. While on the surface the ‘gaps’ were points of difference and divergence, when pulled together for closer scrutiny it becomes clear that through this set of transmedia narratives, ‘woundedness becomes a visual mouth’.

Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar

This chapter deals with an investigation into how one cohort of avid middle school writers understood the notion of the writing process. It unpacks their insight and personal transactions and reactions to the ‘reader-writer’ response process modelled in their classroom, the own individual ‘habitus’ developed from their socio-familial environment and their reflections on writing engendered as a natural part of their writing development. What emerged from this ‘ethnographic’ study was a model of writing as ‘identity’ reaction. For these young writers, this process of making meaning through print was a deep reflective engagement with the language of text and their sense of self within the confines of their personal growth towards socio-emotional awareness. In essence writing was a reaction to becoming ‘connected’ to an understanding of ‘self.’ In other words, writing was the means by which they analysed the forces impacting on their sense of writing being a driving force in their school experience as opposed to a ritual mechanism For this cohort, writing was a reflection of their growth into ‘identity.’

Phil Fitzsimmons and Edie Lanphar

The aim of this chapter is to unpack the findings of a focused review of the neonatal research medical literature related to learning in-utero and its implications for later spiritual development. Arising out of the initial coding of data related to a qualitative project that sought to understand how one cohort of tertiary students defined spirituality, the ensuing themes revealed a high degree of modality in their responses. The nomothetic question naturally arose as to ‘where did the definitive realisation of spirituality come from?’ In seeking an answer in the research literature as a responsive direction to our findings, our reading journey became increasingly focused on the medical literature related to learning. However, the more we theoretically dug, the more the notion of Attachment Theory rose to the fore which eventually led to a chance reading of medical neo-natal research. Attachment theory suggests that early childhood experiences with significant others have a profound impact in regard to how one connects with others later on in life. Both the desire and ability to connect to others is an oft-cited defining aspect in the spirituality research base. However, medical research suggests that the foundations for these ex-utero experiences are laid down in the synaptic layers and pathways before birth. We are not arguing that a foetus has preformed aspects of spirituality, but rather that all children are born predisposed and hard wired ready to commence a spiritual journey.