FACILITATING A PARTICIPATORY ACTION LEARNING ACTION RESEARCH (PALAR) PROCESS IN A HIGHER EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT
In this paper we talk about our journey as researchers discovering the realities that many of our students face in South Africa and changed how we understand and regard our students. The evolutionary process involved the gradual chipping away of traditional power relations between lecturers and students. This was at times unnerving, challenging and took us out of our comfort zones, we often had to find our way through the dark.
Our greatest learning experiences included the following:
Firstly, revealing how assumptions such as the “under-preparedness” of students can also be a subjective interpretation by a lecturer. In essence this “labelling” of the students serves to blind the hidden potential, diversity and challenges that students bring to the classroom.
Secondly, the process sensitized us to pro-actively prepare students as active co-inquirers in a PALAR process. We questioned how much unintentional harm we as action researchers do in conducting superficial forms of participation? The time needed for creating a safe space for enabling participatory relationships cannot be underestimated.
Finally we demonstrate how undertaking a PALAR process that we regarded as “imperfect” led to benefit all involved in the project.
We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading our article HERE. Free 30-day access is available for this article beginning 3 October.
After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!
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