Friday, April 30, 2010

Difference between women and men

I had read that women enter a situation and focus on the relationships within that setting. Men enter a situation and try and recognize or establish a pecking order or hierarchy amongst the group assembled.
While reading the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, the article "...The Construction of Masculinity" by Michael Messner says, "As a result of these internalized gender differences, males were posited to develop more "positional" identities (with fears of intimacy), whereas females develop more "relational" identities (with fears of separation) (Gilligan, 1982; Rubin, 1983).
I think these perceptions have developed over the long, long period of human development. They continue to develop and change. I think the perceptions are changing faster and faster as society becomes more complex.

A Phenomenological Study

In the Phenomenological Study about "Cognitive Representations of AIDS" by Elizabeth H. Anderson and Margaret Hull Spencer, the authors address a heart wrenching topic. How do people that are infected with the AIDS cope with having that disease? For many, the disease will lead to death so they must come to terms with that.
Most people view death as an event that will happen in the unforeseen future. They can put it in the back of their mind and not think about it. This happens so often in society that if someone is preoccupied with death, they might be seen as being mentally ill or mentally unstable.
Unfortunately, people suffering from AIDS must deal with this difficult topic head on. As the author point out, their responses range from being traumatized to the realization that their life is being devoured.
The authors say, "With the diagnosis of AIDS, dreams of marrying, having children, or working were no longer perceived as possible. The impact on each one's life was measured differently from loss of ability to work to loss of children, family, possessions, and sense of oneself. The thought of leaving children, family, and friends was extremely difficult but considered a reality."
The authors have done a great service to study such a difficult topic. Hopefully, their research will help people cope with an unpleasant situation. They can help shed light on ways to give people hope.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ethnography - Examining cultures

I am enjoying working on an ethnography examining a Language Club in Korea. I came to Korea to learn about the culture. Teaching English allows me to stay in the country and support myself. Studying the Korean Language helps me learn about the culture. I am tickled if I can study the culture in a TESOL program. It is a dream come true.

"Let's See": Contrasting Talks about Teaching, part 2

This article could of been called, "Constructive criticism is the way to go" or "People love positive feedback." The author, John F. Fanselow, wants to take the fear out of evaluations. If a supervisor has "superior vision" then teachers will feel like they are at their mercy or become very defensive. However, if all the teachers can cooperate and learn together then a positive, supportive environment can be created. Teachers hope to create this in their classroom so why not start with each other?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Case Study

Creswell talks about a case study that he did that involved a gunman incident. No one was physically hurt but they underwent psychological trauma.
Two days after the attacks of 9/11, I was working in downtown San Francisco. The alarm went off and everyone evacuated the building. Throughout the day, different buildings were evacuated throughout the city. It was found that all this occurred because of one bomb threat that was phoned in.
The city was going through psychological trauma. What I found interesting was that it occurred two days after the event. The feelings of vulnerability did not emerge until long after the event had been internalized. This sheds some light on the nature of psychological disturbances. They are sometimes delayed or manifested later.
Creswell tried to do the study to help schools deal with incidents like this that might occur in the future. As the author found out, people who seemed initially fine, felt very disturbed by what they experienced later. There was a delayed reaction to the events.
It was valuable that the author examined the situation over time as things are perceived through different lenses after time passes. This is valuable research because unfortunately this is an all too frequent event in North America.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Activism in Ethnography

I was reading the example in Creswell of an Ethnography and it talked about the Straight Edgers and their viewpoint. One participant says"
"...There's a pendulum in society and it's tilted one way so far, and sitting in the middle of the pendulum isn't going to help swing it back. There needs to be more straight edgers on the other side to help even it out, at the least."
In the book, "Why do all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria", the author says that going along with society is like riding the 'moving sidewalk' at the airport. If you just go along with society then you are perpetuating the way things are. You need to actively go against the mainstream in order to bring about a positive change. Only then are you 'against' some negative aspect of society that exists. Only by trying to counteract something do you stand up to it.
I have wondered why things often stay the same. Only by actively going against things can one make a positive contribution to change.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cultural Differences between Korea and North America

Many Koreans that I have spoken to are interested in the cultural differences between Korea and North America.
Korea has a very long and ancient history but North America is a relatively new place. Being that way, Korea is very much steeped in tradition and there is a lot of obligation to society and to one's family. In that way, life choices in Korea made be looked at more narrowly.
In North America, many people are encouraged to discover what they want and pursue their dream, no matter how unique it is. This leads to a lot of self-actualization and personal growth. However, it comes at a price as a lot of people in North American cultural feel disconnected from each other. Sometimes this manifests itself in an attitude of everyone for themselves.
In Korea, there is a lot of respect for one's family and for one's elders. To reciprocate a lot of the seniors try and teach and take care of their juniors. So it creates a tremendous bond in the culture but it is a lot of responsibility as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Let's See": Contrasting Talks about Teaching

In the article '"Let's See": Contrasting Conversations about Teaching' by John F. Fanselow from the Teachers College at Columbia University, the author talks about a different approach to observing teachers.
Instead of a supervisor with "super vision" telling the teacher what to change, the author suggests that the 'visiting teacher' should look at the other teacher and see themselves. In this way, a healthy dialogue can be fostered to help teachers exchange ideas about teaching.
Traditionally when someone observed another teacher they offered a helpful prescription for improvement or a rating of the observed performance. A lot of time that help was met with hostility or resentment. Too much instruction can teach "learned helplessness" where the recipient feels unable to act without some sort of instructions. The author offers that the observation can be directive, alternative, collaborative, non-directive, or creative.
The best way to help someone become a better teacher is to encourage self-exploration. Through self-exploration an instructor can see their own teaching differently.
The classroom teacher needs to be responsible for the decision-making that occurs that effects the students. It is perhaps time to train the teacher to analyze their situation and make their own decision for their situation.
Many of our communications are unconscious. The author says feedback should be given for 5 minutes after the observed class or else it will never happen.
The article says that observing is selecting. What we see is not what takes place but what we value as important to see.
The author looked at how observations are interpreted. "Why did you smile?" is an observation. The observed teacher would probably respond, "At that moment I thought that the class needed reassurance.
In the article, the author wants to encourage teachers to explore. Therefore they have to be very careful when they critique others. Words can have certain meaning and they can limit the scope of the exploration. If something is deemed good or bad then the decision has already been made about what value it has. We should look beyond our ego at what is really happening and not limit communication. If we are open to it, then we can explore and grow.
So the author wants teachers and visiting teachers to be open to new ideas and to rethink old ideas. There might be something hidden that will come to light by reinventing the wheel. More reflection and less judgement is needed to be open to all possibilities.

Ethnography Questions

Creswell's book offered some good questions for an ethnography. Such as:
What are the core values of Koreans?
How do Koreans construct and understand their subjective experiences of being Korean?
(This question asks first for a description of the core values and then an understanding of experiences, that are presented as themes in the study.)
What are the experiences in this individual's life?
What are the stories that can be told from these experiences?
What are the "turning points" in the stories?
What are some theories that relate to this individual's life?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Grounded Theory Study

The case study, "Constructions of Survival and Coping by Women Who Have Survived Childhood Sexual Abuse" by Susan L. Morrow and Mary Lee Smith was very powerful and moving. I praise the authors for studying this difficult subject matter. I find it disturbing how prevalent this sort of thing is. I hope the authors can offer hope to the women who have suffered this kind of abuse.

Article Review, "Interviewing: the art of science"

In the article, "Interviewing: The Art of Science" by Andrea Fontana and James H. Frey, the history of the modern interview is explored. The past is compared to current interview techniques and they are evaluated.
The modern interview is credited to Charles Booth, according to the authors. In 1886, Charles Booth embarked on a comprehensive survey of the economic and social conditions of the people of London. This survey was later published as Life and Labour of the People in London (1902-1903).
Later in America, George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion. I have seen the Gallup Polls used even now.
Since I plan to do an ethnographic study I was struck to see an ethnographic study in Chicago described as a 'first hand descriptive study' and not an ethnographic study. I hope I don't fall into that category as well.
One of the most common types of interviews is the structured interview. Structured interviewing follows a very strict procedure. Such an interviewing style often elicits rational responses, but it overlooks or inadequately assesses the emotional dimension.
Another weakness in structured interviews is that the interviewer assumes they understand the participants, but they actually make assumptions in order to fill in the gaps. The controlling role of the interviewer is a weakness that postmodernists point out.
Unstructured Interviewing is used to understand the complex behavior of members of society without imposing any a priori categorization that may limit the field of inquiry. The interviewer immerses himself in the native culture, letting it soak in by his mere interacting with the natives and being there. An unstructured interview is better at establishing rapport but then there is the pitfall of 'going native.' The interviewer might sympathize so much with the subjects that they abandon their research and join the other culture. Still, one must present themselves so that they are trusted and not feared.
A group interview or focus group is harder to control than an individual interview but the data provided can be very rich and compelling. Due to time restraints a focus group can be the best approach to accumulate a lot of valuable data quickly.
I think for our papers, the literature review is the foundation, but the interviews are the catalysts that produce results that can be measured as progress. Happy interviewing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Asking the right questions

It would seem that the reading this week focuses on asking the right questions. Chapter 6 in Creswell begins by saying that the design of a qualitative study begins before the researcher chooses a qualitative approach.
So the overarching problem or issue that needs to be explored needs to be determined. Once the problem is identified then the questions can be raised that best explore that issue.
Where I am at right now, my big question is "Why do Koreans study English?" It is nice and broad and it can allow the exploration of many facets of Korean culture.
Of course, one question is going to lead to another. "Why is English important?" needs to be addressed. If people studying English in Korea are deemed to be successful then the question, "How can Korea's success studying English be emulated in other places?"
The literature review that I have completed explores the issue of "How to motivate students in an EFL classroom." So how can this literature review be accomodated with the qualitative study?
EFL Teachers need a study to help them learn effective ways to motivate their students to learn English in Korea. So this study could be of service to teachers who want to best understand how to motivate their students.
I plan to take a descriptive approach and describe the phenomenon. There are issues of money or a better salary or job to be explored. If someone has a command of English then they might see a change in their social status. If someone can communicate in English then they could feel that they can express their true feelings as they released from cultural confines of their native language. These are the leads I have so far.
I am interested in doing an ethnography. In an ethnography, the writer might identify the key cultural concepts being examined such as roles, behaviors, acculturation, communication, myths, stories, and concepts. So I need to explore these areas and then interview participates and then reflect on the data.
I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.
Cheers, Chad Pozsgay


Hello Classmates, how are you doing? It is great that I have gotten to know many of you. I hope the semester is going well. It is hard to see what direction to go in as far as research is concerned but I like the ideas that everyone has posted. Good luck! Cheers, Chad


Greetings! I am looking forward to preparing an ethnographic qualitative study. I have enjoyed living in Korea and I hope to examine the people that make up this great country. I am looking at different questions to explore such as, "Why do Koreans study English?" and "Why are Koreans motivated to study?" I will have to motify my approach but I am looking forward to exploring different aspects of Korean culture and the Korean psyche.

Qualitative Research

I am excited to start blogging. Qualitative research is a great path of study to pursue because it how humanizing it is. It focuses on how people react to things and tries to predict how they will respond in the future.
As teachers, we get to gauge the reactions of our students on an almost daily basis. From there we can modify our teaching to do what is most effective.
I hope everyone is enjoying the start of their school year. This is an interesting time since we are all dealing with students that we have not known for very long.
I wish you all the best and look forward to exchanging ideas soon.
Take care,
Chad Pozsgay