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Monday, 31 October 2011

The downward, outward and upward spiral

Two posts in a week -wow, I do have more time now! This is just a brief musing in relation to my Developing Researcher Competence. As we work through our Pilot Study we are required to make decisions about the actual design of the study - ultimately giving our opinions- why we did what we did, why we think what we think. Something hit me when I was thinking through this process.

For me, I can liken this design of a pilot study to a movable spiral. Continuously moving over the bigger picture of the design process and then moving the focus in or out, as the design question dictates. Two things came up that I need to reflect further on:

It is quite easy to be lost in the detail, but for a research project you may have to be...
One small decision can, and will change the whole scope of the final project

This links back to my ideas about making rash decisions and having to question everything - I believe that this is called researcher transparency and this is what we are looking at in the next step.

I quite like this movable spiral metaphor and I would be interested to see if anyone else had a metaphor for when they are conducting research.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Goodbyes and hellos

So. Last Friday was my final day at the Castle School of English, Brighton... I was at the school for 4 years, 3 of them as DoS. I learned a lot about myself and what I want from a profession, and also what is important to me. This, I am sure, will be invaluable in the future. The owner of the school asked me if I thought I had changed over the four years. I don't know if I have changed, but I have learned how I react to certain situations

It is starting to get real now- this moving lark. This morning I was watching UK border force on TV and just started panicking about being turned away at the airport. My naturally tendency to worry, again:)I will not really relax until I am on the other side of the barrier!
I spent the morning reading other people's accounts of the visa process and experience of Newark as a Port of Entry. Fascinatingly scary, but didn't read about anyone who got completely turned away, so that must be a good thing.

Was a wee bit sad to leave Castle, they are a great bunch of talented individuals, but this profession does seem to go hand in hand with quite a transient lifestyle. The fantastic upshot of this is that I now have a lot more time to spend on my new role and my final year at Manchester.
I am REALLY excited about my new position. Teaching in Second Life is just amazing, I love it! I can liken it to when I passed the CELTA and everything is new; it has certainly given me a new lease of life on the teaching front. My new employers seem an absolute dream bunch of people. Everything I want really - talented, dedicated, supportive. I am excited to see how this new position develops... one for future reflection I fancy.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sacroiliac Joint

For those non-medical folk, here is a quick run down on the Sacroiliac Joint...and its accompanying pain.

The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint in the bony pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis, which are joined together by strong ligaments. In humans, the sacrum supports the spine and is supported in turn by an ilium on each side. The joint is a strong, weight bearing synovial joint with irregular elevations and depressions that produce interlocking of the two bones. The human body has two sacroiliac joints, one on the left and one on the right, that often match each other but are highly variable from person to person.

Pain is thought to be caused by sacroiliitis, an inflammation of one of the sacroiliac joint(s), which is a common cause of unilateral low back pain. With sacroiliitis, the individual may experience pain in the low back, buttock or thigh, depending on the amount of inflammation. Common problems of the sacroiliac joint are often called sacroiliac joint dysfunction (also termed SI joint dysfunction; SIJD). The cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is likely a disruption of the correlative movements between the left and right sacroiliac joints (from either too much or too little movement creating an antagonistic position of the left and right innominate bones creating a pelvic obliquity, when they normally should appear symmetrical).
Info from wikipedia

Quite a strange title and opening for a post in this blog, but all will become clear!
I will start with a quick catch up. I final got my visa for the USA after a few twists and turns. We have a put a deposit on a place to rent, I have a new job and am on final countdown until the move. I have two more weeks at work. I have also been diagnosed with SIJD, a common running injury; Yesterday was the first time I had ran for more than 5 weeks... More on that later.

All very exciting / traumatic and I think a legitimate reason for not having posted for a while. I must say though that this blog had often been on my mind.

Plus, and perhaps most importantly, Uni started again. This has been great!
It has been wonderful catching up with people after the really short summer, and seeing how all the hard work we have done over the last two years is culminating on our Developing Researcher Competence module. Manchester really has attracted a high level of candidates and it will be great to see what the future holds for everyone and where this course will take people.

This module relies heavily on an iterative process of self reflection and exploration of the process of researching an area.

Anyhoo, as part of this module, I have gone for the following area to explore.

I want to explore how teachers in Second Life use the environment. I had various ideas prior to this, a few false starts and a few revisions but I feel that this is the most suitable for me, right now and for my future. I don't want to get down that road right now, as I am still working through the process. So the point of this post (thank you if you are still here:)) Is that I realised that I am really rubbish at making big decisions! And there is a link here with my Sacroiliac Joint injury. During the process I had a tendency to choose the first option that seemed like a best fit, rather than thinking it through. It seemed as though I couldn't or didn't want to have a decision hanging over me. When I had my injury, and this was pre-diagnosis, I just decided that I would knock running on the head- I didn't want to have the idea of an injury hanging over me. I just wanted to remove myself from that arena! Not very rationale - especially for a 32 year old. This realization. that I can do such rash actions, is massive for me. Taking a step back before charging into something is reckless and something I need to work on. I don't know if running helped me with this realization, but it has made me think. I feel as though it was a watershed moment- hence this long, long post. So here is to my rather fine, but not too well, Sacroiliac joint. Long may you keep me grounded, in every sense of the word.