• From practice to theory and back again •
Staying the course
A shift towards the valuing of culture and experience that is not based on a competence with written language and the cultural ideals associated with it is much easier said than done, particularly within educational systems. My own experience, directly related to this research, stands as an example. Earlier I spoke of the relationships that exist between values, beliefs and bias, so I feel it is necessary to share relevant snapshots of my own background as a means of acknowledging potential bias.
Two areas come to mind. The first I have already acknowledged—my inclination to make connections via an emotional perspective. Second, and less relevant, is my personal history as it relates to formal education. Like many other Metis I did not follow the path taken by most Canadian youth. I left school soon after entering high school and was a mature adult when I returned to formal education and embarked on the first of my continuing experiences with post-secondary institutions.
Despite recognition of the value of and preference for connecting emotionally—with personal experience as a starting point—I embarked on this research journey using an approach that created a sense of detachment from self. Only later did I realize that in choosing the approach I was yielding to the cultural ideals associated with written language in educational institutions. Two of the concepts of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu speak directly to this phenomenon. In an analysis of the work of Bourdieu, David Swartz (1997) speaks of both and sums up the first concept:
Lesley Bellamy (1994), further analyzes Bourdieu’s concept:
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