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Friday, February 24, 2012

Inquiry Conference

Okay, rather than going on a journal-esque entry on exactly what happened at the inquiry conference (Inquiry Conference?), instead I would much rather just talk about what stuck out to me.

All the presentations that I saw were excellent. I was really amazed at the level of quality of everyone's projects. It was awesome, and intimidating.

It wasn't so much the specifics of the projects that I noticed particularly. It was actually the sheer variety of everything that everyone had done. Going into a field study, I was quite aware of how open ended the program was, however it did not quite hit me until the inquiry conference. Seeing the finished product, what people had done, what they learned emphasized how just about anything can be a legitimate and rigorous project. Not that I previously felt that anything specifically was a waste of time, it is just that in the Inquiry conference I actually saw unfolded how much depth there could be in topics I would never have considered in an academic setting, at least to this degree.

It made me think a lot more about my own project, what I could do with it, what I need to do with it. I liked the organization of Megan, Peter, and Maddie's projects. I liked how well thought out they were. There were still things they didn't know, things they didn't think of, but all in all, I really liked how solid they seemed. There was an Idea at the heart of what they were doing, something that drove the rest of the project. That is why it didn't really matter that there were certain things that were unexpected issues. I wish I had asked questions more about the Sanskrit guy's methods and things. Thinking about it hours later, I realize that in some ways we have very similar projects. I didn't really agree with his conclusion and I think his conclusions could have really benefited from a heavy, heavy dose of cultural context, but he seemed to have fairly solid methodology to what he was doing. Also, he seems absolutely brilliant, but I he should never be allowed anywhere near English education. I think he might still actually believe in a canon. Dangerous indeed, haha. Rachel's project really got me thinking about the ways in which my project as an entity will relate to India as a place/culture. Ironically her presentation did not affect me quite like the others because of the profound impact her projects have already had on my own since I have been following her work for some time now. Actually the biggest feeling it inspired in me was a mild sense of regret that I do not have time to go for another field study or two to continue whatever I work on this summer. But that is not a hard regret. India will still be there and there will be other opportunities to return, perhaps even to work on similar ideas. Just none of them will be quite as convenient or as familiar as the field study model. Also, interspersing field studies to India would have really helped make learning Hindi easier. Anyhow, Kristin...Christin...uh, Ms. Cardon's? presentation really got me thinking. I hadn't considered all the ways in which I could start working on things now. I had kind of thought of it before, as I have expressed, but listening to her today kind of got my mind working, thinking about new ways I could push these next two months to the limit in actually starting on this project, not just in reading and formulating methodologies, but actually starting to get some initial research and feedback to temper my project, rather than doing a bunch of background reading and hoping I am on base with my assumptions.

I am grateful to the presenters and that they took the opportunity to share their ideas. The experience of attending the inquiry conference was a surprisingly good experience, especially in the context of my field study. Confession: I attended the inquiry conference...a year or two ago? but it didn't go very well. I showed up for a session, fell asleep five minutes in, woke up two speakers later and just got up and left. All I remember is that the first person who I saw five minutes of was talking about the difficulties of teaching English in a school in Ghana or something. I didn't get very much out of that inquiry conference.

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