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A reflection on action research “storytelling”


What follows is a 1st person, stream of consciousness  reflection written to my mentor & committee chair.  

I describe  what it was like to record a 10 min video “telling the story” of  some preliminary findings emerging from my action research cycles into curriculum and adult learning. 

The video is hosted  at YouTube.

It will be shown at an international conference in Athens, as part of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) annual conference, as part of a bundle of reports from the Future(s) of Education project, an international  participatory action research network.  

Dr Alana:  

i am just glad to get it out of my head 😛  

i had a real out of body experience recording that one;  

i  am a very effective briefer in person, because i can read the audience pretty well.  

i have recorded hundreds of mini lectures etc for my business and for use here at the college on various topics.

i have never, ever needed more than a single take to record, decent and sometimes even inspired voice-overs  until  last night and that briefing.  

I literally needed about 30 takes to get thru it; most i stopped when less than a minute into it because the tone just didn’t feel right

 i think it has to do with being a fish out of water, and the difficulty i felt in trying to tune my story for an audience i couldn’t see, but more importantly didn’t have empathy for

because the audience characteristics still feel fuzzy to me, i couldn’t call up the right tone, voice, persona to apply  

 this caused me to have almost a split personality in the moment, when i am ordinarily dialed in

 i had a “talking part” and a “look ahead part” that is concerned with shaping the transition to the next point/slide  

but now i had a disconcerting 3rd part that was trying to anticipate the possible reactions of an unfamiliar, and hard to imagine audience  

this is what made me feel so out of sorts

 until i “wore out” the last, 3d part and was able to trust in just telling the story, and accepting the vulnerability of knowing that i couldn’t know the audience, i found i just couldn’t get thru it.  

this is the same phenomenon I spoke with Prof Mike Wesch, the digital anthropologist at Kansas State University, and world thought leader on social dynamics in social media: the camera eye represents the unlimited, unfathomable infinite future of all possible audiences across time and space who can be looking in on the “telling moment”.  

in a sense, its like coming face to face with the unblinking eye of God and wondering what she is thinking  

 it is trust that lets us get thru that moment, the accepting of vulnerability, that creates the empathy that hopefully fills the story, as told, with hope.  

that’s a clumsy way of trying to express my meaning of the risk and vulnerability to “telling” and why it can be such a powerful learning moment, and why we need to model it, embrace it, encourage it, and support it. 

Your “producer’s draft” was exactly what i needed to be able to get out of my own comfortable fishbowl; 

you gave me a bridge to the audience that i could not create on my own.  

this has become an interesting reflection to me already 😀  

please put the video on the website, and any or all of this reflection as you deem suitable  

have a great time at the conference!

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  1. October 27, 2009 at 1:17 pm

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