The process of creating the portfolio gives rise to a thought I had watching my children grow from infants, to children, and to young adults. That thought being children are just as intelligent as are adults, they only lack experience. My doctorial journey has refined my thoughts specifically in the notion of experience. This child to adult metaphor has developed beyond simple experience to include the understanding of inquiry, the building and transfer of knowledge, and the creation and sustainability of community. I bring this developed metaphor into my teaching profession with the principles that perpetuate the process by instilling the inquiry and learning processes. I keep in mind that all learners should acknowledge the use of knowledge, action, and reflective goals to meet the objectives set by the individual, the community, the class, the school, and the real-world.
The community of learners within the doctorial learning process includes a luminous cast of educators that have been the active guides through this qualitative journey. They have given us thoughts that relate to each of our learning goals of knowledge, action, and reflection.
Knowledge, building knowledge, and active construction of knowledge, as a goal, allows us to assimilate our understanding and to create new knowledge for ourselves and other learners. Bereiter (2002) mentions the idea of conceptual artifacts and refers to Popper’s idea of three worlds of the physical, the subjective, and the world of new ideas. In our community, we developed this by building community, constructing our idea of knowledge, and using inquiry to contrive our world with new wisdom, while recreating those notions in other communities. I find that Walter Enloe, Ph.D. sums up this element of the journey in his statement, “We are in the business of human development.”
Action allows us to act and react to the knowledge we construct, to reformulate our ideas, and to think about what we believe. A concept I scholarly attribute that has been instilled in me is the action of inquiry. Inquiry is the embodiment of the journey, the quintessence of our future, and the underlined activity of this and the dissertation process. Inquiry is the culminating event, yet only the beginning of our journey into the future. Vivian Johnson’s Ph.D. statement, “What do you think?” defines the parameters of inquiry, which in reality may have no boundaries, only stories. Stories as Clandinin and Connelly (2000) refer to as, “…that begin with experience as expressed in lived and told stories” (p. 40). I have found that inquiry instills excitement into learning; it may cause that initial feeling of insecurity, but is essential to the real journey of learning.
“Life and learning is not linear it intertwines” a quote from Carol Mayer, followed by “ambiguity is a friend” that I find connects community and inquiry to knowledge construction. For me, a lesson in patience and time that allow knowledge to emerge. Knowledge that emerges from data, inquiry, assessment, more knowledge, and finally from reflection in a qualitative perspective of continued life long learning.
In summary, this portfolio refines my ideas of inquiry in relationship to what Paul Gorski, Ph. D. mentioned in the context of multicultural issues. He stated, “What is truth?” and questioned that, is truth for me the same as truth for others, or is it just our little world of truth. I found that my idea of truth is a concept in change, continuous change. My focus of inquiry has and is changing, my ideas of multiculturalism are changing, my principles of assessment are changing, and I am changing.
This portfolio should be of interest to my Hamline colleagues, but I am hopeful that my professional colleagues, my culinary colleagues and students find my journey an extension to their inquiry activities. I have placed this portfolio on the world wide web in anticipation to advance the knowledge of others.
Ambiguity weather in qualitative or quantitative inquiry is a friend as Stephen Jay Gould states, “The fundamentalists, by 'knowing' the answers before they start, and then forcing nature into the straitjacket of their discredited preconceptions, lie outside the domain of science-or of any honest intellectual inquiry.”
I have become scholarly; I began this journey for me and progressed into the concept of inquiry as a learning instrument for me and my students. I have progressed but am not finished with this continued leaning process. I am excited to create and recreate learning circles and leadership circles. I understand and now building knowledge, identifying truths, and to lead changes in my role as a teacher, researcher, scholar, and life-long learner.