EDEV_507 Week 2_4

Your intention to study access rates, achievement rates and other issues that affect black students in Toronto is very interesting. That passion informs your intellectual orientation is laudable, following the moral philosopher Hume who first recognised that our reason must be subservient to our passions. Without a strong personal motivation to know, a huge investment in time, energy and resources that is the EdD thesis becomes a momentous challenge (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998). But more importantly, knowing is a situated cognition that is the result of the interplay between knower and thing to be known (Moses & Knutsen, 2012). This recognition places an enormous burden on the researcher to understand themselves and how they are themselves situated in the knowing—knowledge framework (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998). The sense of journey into oneself may be as—if not more—rewarding than the voyage of cognitive discovery (Wellington, Bathmaker, Hunt, McCulloch, & Sikes, 2005). I wish you luck.

I would like to add that your topic is one that has a strong personal resonance with me. I am not black, but nevertheless, I experienced severe hardships in my own journey in education due to the level of poverty in which I grew up in. Most of the people with which I spent the first 15 years of my life never made it to college, and many are now (30 years later) still unemployed, underemployed, or are living precarious lives on the edges of society. It was just not the ‘done thing’ for a poor Scottish boy to even think about college in the 1980s. Even when I did gain entry to the best music colleges in the London, I did this two years later than most. I didn’t mind being slightly older, but I was ostracised for being Scottish in London. My accent, my mannerisms, my attitudes colluded to alienate me from London society—a common occurrence among Scottish students. Even though I eventually graduated from King’s College, University of London, with a Master’s degree, doors to employment were closed to me. The posh-speaking, ‘appropriately’-acting monied English students got much more favourable treatment. (Of course, I cannot completely ignore the role of my own personality in this, but a lot of my anger was due to the antagonism I felt in the face of such prejudice.) I am now in Japan—and this is in no small way related to how I was treated in London.


Bentz, V. M., & Shapiro, J. J. (1998). Mindful Inquiry in Social Research. Sage Publications. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

Moses, J. W., & Knutsen, T. L. (2012). Ways of knowing: Competing methodologies in social and political research (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wellington, J., Bathmaker, A. M., Hunt, C., McCulloch, G., & Sikes, P. (2005). Succeeding with your doctorate. London: Sage.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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