The Enactment of Hegemony through Identity Construction: Insights from the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

This is one of the presentations that is on a subject matter that I am most interested in—hegemony and identity construction. The hegemony and its shifting use is based on the work of Goffman (1959), a sociologist with dramaturgical analysis (performance) & Brookfield (2005)

Group identity: historical and cultural constructs that shapes “norms, values, and beliefs” (Richer, 2004), as well as Wenger (1998), Hall (1997)

The position from which we speak involves many levels of our own “identity”

Hegemony and the performance of identity—on the macro and micro (individual) levels. Hegemony is the power to determine the impression that is wanted to be conveyed.

This presentation is fascinating thus far, and I have a lot more texts to look for. If only I were not so itchy from all the little green bugs that started climbing all over me and my bag while sitting in the park outside the Art Institute. The bugs are harmless (I hope and believe), and are only out and about because it is spring, warm, and sunny here in Chicago. Let’s just hope they stay out of my laptop and do not travel back to New York with me.

I love the titles of these slides—Hegemony and the Performance of Identity. I am having trouble seeing how this is all  organized, and I think this is because I came into the presentation while she was reviewing the agenda for the presentation. As a socialization process, we tend to give deference or respect based on mutual understandings.

Goffman gives 5 socialization processes:

  1. presentation of abstract and general information
  2. dramatic realization—enforcement of myths as truths
  3. idealized view of the situation
  4. maintenance of expressive control
  5. social distance

The presenter is so animated and passionate about her subject matter that she is giving a dynamic presentation, but I wish there were some interaction among the participants. Looking around the room now, I see heads nodding and people losing attention. This is too bad, as her subject matter is so valuable and important for this audience as adult educators.

Really good point – as we do not see hegemony, we constantly have to ask what is normal and what is ok.

One area for future research—how do adult learners create structures that resist that one question / issue in a situation.

An audience member mentioned another author, Callero, who seems to have parallel structures with those mentioned throughout the presentation.

Twenty-First Century Community Education: Using Web-Based Tools to Build on Horton’s Legacy

I clapped when Joyce S. McKnight, the presenter, said that she was not planning to use PowerPoint. She is at Empire State College (in NY) in the Center for Distance Learning. She coordinates community and human services. She is an advocate of the Highlander Model (cf. Myles Horton). She focuses on narratives, as life is a story. I like her approach already.

I remember the first time I read Freire (and then Horton)—it blew my mind. I never considered education as a political topic, but the more I think about how those in power continue to teach the structures that maintain the power relationships and often the status quo (though veiled as change).

Oh, we are introducing ourselves (so fitting for a session on Horton) and mentioning what we hope to get out of this session. I am starting to get concerned, now that we are 15 minutes into the 45 minutes session, and we have only 1/2 of us introduced thus far. Looking out the window now (we are an inside-the-courtyard-facing room), I am noticing how some of the bricks on the inside look like they are going to need significant reconstruction. Ouch.

Ohh, just heard Vygotsky. Sweet. Another author who books adorn my shelves that have never been read.

Empire State College in NY college is exploding in the size of their Center for Distance Education.

Joyce is speaking about Horton, who speaks about community / labor organizer. Joyce is not about organizing communities—she is about helping others learn how to learn and do it.

Oooh, she is using the white board to show the model she developed and is using. First time I have seen this done here in the conference. Nicely refreshing . . . Now, the problem is I cannot read her writing on the board.

She is now speaking about one of her students who offered to have a community meeting online at his site, Having 2 pugs myself, and I am now fully riveted. Having a set time online allows for more flexibility (with children, travel, etc.).

How do what Horton did in a F2F setting in an online context?

The course includes a process of thinking, which has a research agenda. This has a space

I am now getting lost with the drawing on the board, and while I like seeing how this develops, I think it could have been shown much more clearly using a PowerPoint build into the model, as that would allow her to still have the same discussion but for us to also see what she is writing (in a somewhat confusing graphical way) on the board. As Joyce has mentioned now more than once that she is having trouble reading her own writing, need I say more . . .

So, how can we do something online in the same way that Highlander did under Horton. How can we make a space, enhance the spirit of working together and social action, in a place that is virtual (and how we can understand this as a process). ARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHH! Another drawing on the board . . .

This model should also include (as per Highlander):

  • self-directed
  • connection / collaboration
  • peaceful
  • interactive
  • reflective
  • safe space
  • transcendental
  • energy

She is using Elluminate, Facebook, and other tools like this.

I think there are a lot  of interesting things she is doing, and am a little disappointed that she has not gotten to the point that she wanted to get to (as she acknowledged), as we are out of time and she mentioned that she is out of time because she did not know what time the session ended. It is unfortunate that she is continuing to present, acknowledging that the time has ended, though now half the people have left the session.

I think Joyce probably has a lot of amazing things to share about community organizing and how to teach it, though the information somehow did not fully come across. I want to read her paper and speak with her more about this as I am very interested in the work of Horton and how to bring it into an online world.

I wonder what Joyce’s work at Empire State (my home state) College is all about? Sounds like a very interesting program . . .

Building Success in Online Education Programs for Adult Learners

I arrived a few minutes into the introductory remarks for this symposium with Matthew A. Eichler, Tani K. Bialek, Cathy Twohig, Cynthia L. Digby, Rod P. Githens, and Lynn A. Trinko. Glad I made it just in time for the introductions. Just from listening to the intros, it is clear that there is a lot of interest in this area and the attendees have had a lot of  different experiences in the process.

Online discussions within class discussion boards, it can reduce some of the isolation involved in distance learning and traditional education. Online discussions have a written record of their experiences. Online discussions require a great amount of structure; “discuss this” is not sufficient. Structure questions, clear expectations, and utilize reference materials. Model a discussion posting and model how to respond with others at the beginning of a class, both to show people what to do and what you expect, as well as to help new online learners see what and how to do this. Ask people to cite who they use, even if that includes posting a link to it. Focus on active moderation, and ask people about tone and use of humor.

Form a “Coffee Shop” space in the class, to share things that may be useful but is not directly  related to the work of the week. Make yourself willing to share your own experiences, especially since you expect students to do the same.

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is electronic exchange of information with voice. There is an example of a Wimba Voice posting. I have not seen this product before, though at NYU we use Epsilen that integrates Wimba. Tani did a research project with a purely online course without a synchronous component, and there was limited student use of the voice-technology, due to fear of technology, it takes longer, background sounds, and the like. Tani created a brief eLearning session that demonstrated how to do this with voice and slides.

Cathy discussed online student services and the depth of these services compared to F2F services, and it seems this is a rich area for new research strands.

Cynthia then spoke about faculty and course programs. Really interesting statistics about how long it takes to get an online course material ready to go online (100 hours per faculty per course and 100 hours for tech support). I asked about this as an area for future research, in that universities do not compensate faculty for this extra (free) work, and students still pay the same amount for the learning (though they do not generally use the physical plant and facilities). From a critical theory perspective, I find this very troubling.

Rod is now speaking about social presence, and the emphasis on creating and supporting social presence and fostering online learning communities. The most effective place to facilitate online learning within a program is on the institutional (department) level. This helps to have a clear thread through the program and may help to build and support community. One of the challenges is for learners who prefer to have solitary learning, and this is another factor to consider with developing programs and setting expectations. At times, posting their own photos and speaking about their jobs and careers can set up a problematic status situation. Some really good questions that were raised about how online and distance education

Lynn is discussing the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000), which is about the social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. Teaching presence usually includes course design, discourse facilitation, and direct instruction. For the design, she suggested to storyboard and think about the layout, student navigation, think of the users / audience. She then does all the assignments along with her own students, to show the students that she is part of their group. Ouch; how does she have the time? While I think it is important to try to have as much democratic exchanges as possible, the students and the instructors really are on different levels. She also spoke about the other components of this model, and it is something I think I want to know more about. She engages the students and is online almost all the time in the class; this seems to be overly teacher-focused or otherwise too much work rather than helping to empower the students to address their own issues and support them through the process. I wonder if this is what is really happening, but just not clearly stated? She does podcasting, online office hours, Happy Friday weekly letters, instant messages, chats, etc. This seems a bit too intense for practical application, andd while I am sure this helps along her students, it also seems to somehow make them expect her to help them facilitate their issues and struggles, rather than their beginning the process and struggling (learning?) a bit on their own and with their colleaguees first.

Seeking Integration: Spirituality in the Context of Lifelong Learning and Professional Reflective Practice

Cheryl Hunt from the University of Exeter is linking spirituality to adult education. The spiritual turn from Houtman and Aupers (2007), as there is decline in conventional religions but there is a search for grass-roots spirituality. Her theoretical framework is from Heron’s ways of knowing and the Orientation to Reflective Practice (Wellington and Austin, 1996). She also uses Dreary and Forman (2004).

For adult educators, she engages in this via professional reflective practice. Reflective practice can help us be more effective in the exercise of individual professions. There are the 5 areas of reflective practice, as per Houtman and Aupers.

  1. Immediate
  2. Technical
  3. Deliberative
  4. Dialectic
  5. Transpersonal

There is more about this model within the proceedings than she is listing here in the session, especially based on a large chart that was on a slide and is in the paper.

There are a number of concerns that link academic / professional knowledge and practice something “deeper.” In a seminar series, she got a sense of the fragmentation in many people’s lives, and to link all levels of oneself, and all parts of oneself. Some of the feedback that was received came in the form of creative writing and poetry.

Thinking about the theory that underpinned the results was Heron (1996) on cooperative inquiry, where the use of language is rooted in deep experience and non-linguistic understandings.

Transpersonal perspective to spirituality is more of a secular spirituality in her work.

There are some really nice next steps, including the  British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS), a new international conference: Spirituality in a Changing World in May of 2010, and a new journal, Spirituality. Right now, discussions about spirituality are held in different silos, and they are trying to bring those various contexts and meaning together.

For questions, one person said that there is a lot of perceived need for this and that it is very fractured in the various professions and disciplines. Somebody shared that she was from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), and how they integrate with many of the models and frameworks that Cheryl discussed. Libby Tisdell asked about an example, and Cheryl discussed her experiences of community which got lost when she studied it during her dissertation. The look at her first child at birth was like the “shimmering moment” that looks back and looks forward almost at once. Interestingly, the management theories in academia tend to move far away from these discussions. However, the more recent work on spirituality and management is getting more developed than it is in education.

There was an additional question about how spirituality and religion is kept separate, and this is a significant issue, both in the US as well as in the UK.

Having spoken with Cheryl via email in the past, I am really looking forward to reading her paper.

Moving without Moving: An Exploration of Somatic Learning as Transformative Process in Adult Education

This presentation is about using movement in adult education and learning. Hiroyuki Aoki (of Shintaido) “What is received by the body will . . . ” Just as we started in the session, and Luis had us stand and do two physical movements with sounds of A and O as we were moving. Somewhat strange feeling for me, so I am interested in how he is going to work this into his presentation. As his background, he is interested in martial arts, experiential learning, and movement and physical theatre classes.

How has this movement influenced and engage in learning and reflection?

Somatic learning includes five elements:

  1. breath
  2. stillness
  3. sound
  4. movement
  5. touch

I have experienced some somatic work before, and think it is all over the place in psychotherapy and meditation right now. It is interesting to see how this will relate with learning.

Social construction is another theoretical perspective that is being used, such as generate meaning together with dialogue and inquiry.

Affirmative competence was also used; it is an imagery technique through discipline and practice that athletes use to increase their performance. This is positive reinforcement and focusing on what is being done right.

Telling stories with our body (as per Shintaido):

  • Creates positive images
  • A repertoire of body movement constructs an expanded sense of self,
  • Posture translates into a way of being
  • Enhances relationships with others and nature
  • Encourages  fluidity and reflection

He is now speaking about imagination and metaphor as meaning making. OK, now I am getting lost. I know a bit about somatic work, though I am a bit confused. I am not sure I would be following this much if I did not already come in here knowing a bit off it. Getting distracted. I think I would leave if I were closer to the door, but too far away without distracting everybody. To be kind, I removed the presenter’s name from this session; I think he is just speaking about a topic that is in some way far beyond me. Too bad, as this seems processing. Perhaps reading his paper will be helpful  for me getting his point?

In non-Western ways of thinking, there is a holistic wisdom that already lies in the body. some initial movement is needed to tap into this wisdom.

I cannot figure out how he is linking these martial art disciplines with research. I see them related to somatic experiences. We then did one more somatic experience, standing up and touching a single finger with another person with eyes closed and then one person moving the finger with the other following with eyes closed, and then switching, and then both people having eyes closed and leading / following back and forth.

He ended the session doing an example of this as action research, with the knowing, learning, doing, etc.

Somebody asked a question about how the methodology, which involved interviewing 10 people within the context of a retreat.

I really need to read this paper. Something about it seems filled with promise and possibility, but I think I need to understand it better.