Kipling’s six servants

One of the reflective structures I offer to folk proposing to work with their reflections is Kipling’s Six Servants …


I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

[Follows ‘The Elephant’s Child’ in Just-So Stories]

Today, following some work mentoring a post graduate student, I started to form a matrix of the six servants ..

and to look at the combinations: who-when; when-who; what-why; why-what; …

and the META items who-who; what-what, why-why

and think about ontology, epistemology, methodology, teleology, axiology, validity tests, objectivity/subjectivity; replicability, generalisability, universality/particularity, context, time and place, purpose and reason – a fascinating exercise.

When I have played some more, and found out how to present a table here I will report back

MBTI and change

MBTI application postulates that the capacity to deal with change is an expression of the combination of ‘Energy’ (E/I) and ‘External Orientation’ (J/P).

IJ: Decisive introverts: Change is tested against internal perceptions (focus on the N-S dimension, the I-preferred attitude). If change ‘fits’ they move quickly to implement.  If the change does not fit, they are immovable opponents.

IP: Adaptable introverts: Change proposed stimulates curiosity (P focus) and information seeking. Proposed change is assessed according to T/F preference. The process of seeking information takes time, so appears adaptable, but they only move ahead after they have decided.

EP: Adapatable extraverts: Change proposed stimulates consulting their networks (E external stimuli focus) to find out what everybody thinks as information seeking approach. If change allows room for creativity (P) and action, they gather resources and people, and energise everyone to implement the change

EJ: Decisive extraverts: Change proposed stimulates their evaluative process (J, expressed as T or F), and questioning out loud. If questions are answered satisfactorily, they move quickly to organise and implement change.

(see Introduction to Type, p.32)

So: four basic responses to change; with variants within those four …

Now to check against the five colour model …

Yellow (their interests are taken into account) – maps to F preference

Blue (clearly specified result is laid down before) – maps to J preference; maps also to T preference

Red (it is appealing or inspiring) – maps to P preference

Green (learning and motivated to discover limits) – maps to N preference

White (autonomously of its own accord)

In my mapping analysis, I would see that the fifth item is irrespective of MBTI preferences – it addresses agency, and is independent of the dimensions MBTI seeks to specify.

As I consider the four colours (other than white), I do not establish a mutually exclusive and different set, as happens with the combinatory patterns for MBTI that express ‘quadrant-like’ differences, eg the E/I and J/P combination for approach to change; the N/S and T/F combination for learning styles and career interests; the E/I and N/S for uses of Information; the T/F and J/P for leading/following styles; and the NF/NT and SP/SJ temperament model.  (see Introduction to type p.32-34)

Three things come to mind here:

(1) my next step would be to chase up the original, and read that for myself and check out how I understand it compared to Beth’s application of the review summary

(2) I also need to brush up on how I am understanding MBTI, and the combination of factors.  This exercise forces that a bit, and prompts a remembrance of Yoland Wadsworth’s journey

(3) there is also the possibility that the analysis that led to the five colours, mixed/muddled categories, and so the chase and attempt to map will prove elusive (an inherent contradiction).

It is working …

The RSS feed to the Google Reader process is delivering …

I have two new models, this morning, to set the wheels turning.

The first is courtesy Beth’s blog and is a five colour change model

My questions here: how this ‘fits’ with MBTI?, what else (MBTI would predict 4 colours) is it capturing?

The second is courtesy Shawn at Anecdote, and looks at a four quadrant analysis of systems and brings me back to Bateson and story and mind and pattern, and presents, for me, an interesting summary and comparison, and a suggestion of what to do in chaos – do to shift …

My question here is – what about that middle hatched patch?

Of Robust and Respectful argument contestation ..

Colloquium has raised for me the issue of robust and respectful argument contestation …

and effective support of post-graduate studies and students …

and humour  … its ambiguity; its subtle layered hiddennesses; and its potential, when out-of-hand to move to cruelty; its association with fundamental emotional uncertainty (part of an avoidance/diversionary strategy)

and the development of an organisational culture … and how fragile a culture might be .. and of Argyris and Schon’s Model II principles:

Model II is a theory of joint control and inquiry.

Its underlying values are:

  • Valid information
  • Free and informed choice, and
  • Internal commitment

The primary strategies are:

  • To combine advocacy and inquiry
  • To make reasoning explicit and confrontable, and
  • To encourage others to do the same

Consequences include:

  • An increasing capacity not only for learning to improve strategies for achieving existing goals (single-loop learning)
  • But also for choosing among competing norms, goals and values (double-loop learning)

Model I is a theory of unilateral control over others

Action is designed to maintain four underlying values:

  • Achieving purposes as defined by the actor
  • Winning
  • Suppressing negative feelings,
  • Being rational

The primary strategies are those of:

  • Unilateral advocacy
  • Controlling inquiry, and
  • Protection of self and other

Consequences include:

  • Defensive interpersonal relationships
  • Defensive group relationships
  • Limited learning, and
  • Decreased effectiveness


The interchanges I have observed, as the Faculty is involved in a shift of emphasis in ‘acceptable’ research paradigm, and ‘led’ by a key staff change, threaten to generate a distancing of myself, from the scene.

I will defend myself by withdrawing, rather than taking on the issue … here is conflict avoidance at its worse, so I need to challenge myself about addressing such self-censorship …

First waking thoughts …

After a very long day, and requiring intense concentration, at Colloquium, I had a nice long sleep.

On waking, there were thoughts of coming here and capturing something of ‘serendipity’ –

  • of the first aware experience of it – among the library shelves at Sydney Uni, and Malinowski rather than the recommended texts, and other texts when the recommended reading was all out on loan;
  • of some training in lateral thinking, from Dad, for solving Sydney Morning Herald cryptic crosswords;
  • of my ‘elusives’ – peripheral (lateral) thoughts and associated vision metaphor – out of the corner of the eye, as it flies past;
  • of working to capture the elusives;
  • of browsing in stationers and hardware stores with an open eye to anything and everything, in case something might offer to solve a problem – not necessarily being what it was originally designed for
  • of word games and punning -> Koestler and Asimov

Of the building metaphors

Of the overnight processing outcomes

UoW Research Colloquium, April 2009

Before I forget, I want to register that I need to come back and reconsider:

Activity Theory and contradictions; Vygotsky, scaffolding and Zones of Proximal Difference

Bernstein’s framing and classifications

theoretical framework, and frameworks, and practice knowledge difference/issue

evidence based research

‘satisfaction’ in some ‘effectiveness models’

Flyberg and ‘extreme case’ studies

critical case sampling and the logic of the Patton quote, especially .if it doesn’t happen there, it won’t happen anywhere’

possibilites for following up in FoE; in WCA

Structuring for serendipity?

Ah ha, have I just constructed an oxymoron?  [I am wanting ‘serendipity’; what has ‘structure’ got to do with serendipity?; isn’t ‘structure’ and ‘serendipity’ a contradiction in terms?]

The lack of posts for a couple of days represents time spent on trying to work with RSS feeds .. when I don’t know what they are; or why?; or how?

The stimulus is the flow-on from Stephen Downes, the development of the ‘node’ of ‘learning’, to pull, and so that my node might become a point of reference for another’s learning – ie potential teaching/ facilitation of another’s learning.

But as I say, I have done, and without understanding.

To start, I opened an account with Feedburner, and registered my two active blogs (which permit RSS) and … got next to nothing.

Then, I clicked on the RSS symbol with some other webpages, and blogs, where I would like to know when there has been action .. ie to reduce the activity around the routine mentioned earlier, and was stepped through to bring them to a Google reader.

Ah .. two days later, and I realise the latter was all I needed to do, in order to consolidate reporting of activity (others’ activity, that is; since after all, I am still supposed to know what I am doing myself!).

To capture what others might be doing with my activity, here, all I need to do is RSS comments under the meta- options from this site …

So here is some of how I learn by doing …

Which reminds me: another of my operative adages, to add to the picture =1000 words, and 3M=mixing makes mud, is that necessity is the mother of invention .. talk about being ‘pulled’ by ‘learning’ …

Designing …

Stephen Downes has opened up this area for me on the web. (It is useful to follow someone with similar interests down their track … it helps sort the hakeas and their thorns from the other bushes that hit you around the head and in the eyes (Ku-ring-gai Chase hike with Chris Clerke and others when I was smaller).

While my first introduction to ‘design’ was from the visual arts (Gwenda and her design principles and doodling), it was when I was reading Donald Schon, for the second or third time, that I realised that teaching, indeed, life, is a matter of design: working with multiple evaluative criteria, in a sequence, to solve a problem; and when you get stuck, trying to shift your ground or re-frame, as Donald describes it: either changing the sequence of application of the evaluative criteria, or bringing in other evaluative criteria.  The intent is to develop an aesthetically pleasing solution – something that ‘fits’, and ‘fits me’ – something I can enact.

So for this blog space, what I am after are the lateral (serendipity), external stimuli that offer another sequence or different criteria, to force a rethink of what I am grappling with.

In response to Stephen’s comments, the thought triggered off, which I have expressed elsewhere from time to time, is that I work now with the three phases of adages: if a picture is worth a 1000 words, and a proposition is worth a 1000 pictures, then a practice is worth a 1000 propositions.

For John Heron the practice of an individual is their presence and presentation … and here I am around a circle again!

Jiggery-pokery method

Last Wednesday (8 April) I was at UoW for the Research Students’ Seminar session .. and next Friday (17 April) I will be there again for the Colloquium.

The presentation was working with teacher knowledge -“Exploring the ways primary school teachers conceptualise authentic learning tasks in their classrooms” (Jessica Mantei)

Part of the presentation was spelling out ‘design-based research approach’ which appears to be the preferred mode for practice knowledge work (Tony Herrington, et al).

I am still working on understanding the relationship of this to reflective practice, or action research, or self-study, or mixed methods.

Here is how I see where Kressel fits into the picture for me:

The question of nomenclature I resolved in the end with iconoclasm: to go with my whirligig theoretical framework, I probably have a jiggery-pokery methodology.

For jiggery-pokery my current ‘best’ picture is:

and seeing this, this way, suggests it is time to do some more work on visualising …

talk about madness in my method!

Working on building a routine for virtual presence

Stephen suggests making it a habit ..

I have found that the computer has taught me to not bother to try and learn to remember – it changes so quickly, that remembering effort in learning becomes a waste of time.

Then I have found, if I am asked how to work something with the computer, the solution is to log on and do it, and then tell someone how I am doing it: I know more about doing it than knowing to tell.

So being present, virtually, will be about having a routine: turning computer on; checking email; responding to email; following through any notices from established forums for interaction, for presence there; logging on to Facebook to see who has been doing what, to see if I have something to share with where they are at, as well as telling what’s the next thing for me in current importance/focus; then logging on Edublog to check in with others’ blogs, and then somehow ask myself how do I integrate this material … what’s my summary for today?