Untitled - Hipatia Press


Untitled - Hipatia Press
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
Editorial. From the Dream to Qualitative Research in Education,
to the Journal Qualitative Research in Education
José J. Barba1
1) E.U. de Magisterio de Segovia, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: Barba, J.J. (2012). Editorial. From the Dream to
Qualitative Research in Education, to the Journal Qualitative Research in
Education. Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 1­2. doi:
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.00
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 No. 1 June 2012 pp. 1-3
Editorial. From the Dream of
Qualitative Research in
Education, to the Journal
Qualitative Research in
José J. Barba
Universidad de Valladolid
e, as a group of researchers, have been missing a journal on
qualitative research in Education for a long time. Currently
there are numerous educational journals, and some of them
on qualitative research in social studies. Nevertheless, there has been a
lack of journals linking these two fields, especially nowadays
considering the increase in social studies. Hence, we believe that a
regular journal must be promoted as a reference point in the field of
Education, a journal which could set trends in qualitative research in
Education. The lack has been caused by the complexity of qualitative
research itself because of its multimethodology, as it was stated by
Denzin & Lincoln (2005) and Flick (2002). This journal enables a wide
range of publishing possibilities.
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-2862
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.00
J. J. Barba - Editorial
We dreamed with a journal of high quality research, with an
international benchmark. Then, we began to share our dream with a
journal of high quality research, with an international benchmark. Then,
we began to share our dream with Hipatia Press, and we glimpsed a
publication on qualitative research in Education on the horizon.
Launching our journal with the support of the publisher of some of the
most prestigious authors and writers on Education was the best way to
realized that the dream was coming true.
Since we have been uttering Qualitative Research in Education
profusely, it became the name of the journal, the name of our dream. It
was meaningful showing our intentions: Education is our field and
qualitative research, our theme. Consequently, it can be concluded that
we aim at publishing disciplinary or interdisciplinary studies related to
qualitative research in Education applied to Pedagogy, Sociology,
Psychology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Linguistics, Geography,
Mathematics, Physical Education, Music, Politics...
The best thing about dreams is that they give meaning to life since
they are reasons for getting up in the morning with a hopeful feeling for
the whole day. Dreams are always pushing us to think that something
better can happen. They are a window to optimism. Dreams are always
walking hand in hand with hopes that can be defined as a state of
burning and contagious passion. Thus, hope spread our dream all around
the world finding dreamers to whom we must thank their authorship,
reviews, collaboration with the board of publishers... This is an
illustrative example considering that nowadays our researchers among
the scientific community come from the five continents and from ten
different nations.
Writing these lines is a very special event, given that the first issue is
just about to be published. It makes us feel satisfied to see this dream
come true. Furthermore..., it is the best way to let people know about it
and join us. From this moment onwards, it will be quarterly published.
The first issue, published in volumes throughout 2012, aims at
establishing the journal's line of work based in two principles:
internationalization and quality.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
In this context, dreaming does not mean daring to desire
something impossible, but casting light on it, mapping it out,
guessing what the future holds. (Freire, 2006, p. 297)
Denzin, N.K. & Linchon, Y.S. (2005). The discipline and practice of
qualitative research. In N.K. Denzin, & Y.S. Lincoln. The Sage
handbook ofQualitative Research. Third edition. (pp. 1-32).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Flick, U. (2002). An Introduction to Qualitative Research. Second
edition . London: Sage.
Freire, P. (2006). Pedagogía de la tolerancia [Pedagogy oftolerance].
México: Fondo de Cultura Economica.
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
Seeking Emancipation from Gender Regulation: Reflections on
Home Space for a Black Woman Academic/ Single Mother
Lisa William­White1
1) Department of Bilingual and Multicultural Education, California State University
Sacramento (CSUS), United States of America.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: William­White, L. (2012). Seeking Emancipation from
Gender Regulation: Reflections on Home Space for a Black Woman
Academic/ Single Mother. Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 4­35.
doi: 10.4471/qre.2012.01
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.01
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 N. 1 June 2012 pp. 4-35
Seeking Emancipation from
Gender Regulation: Reflections on
Home Space for a Black Woman
Academic/ Single Mother
Lisa William­White
California State University Sacramento
Using the work of Judith Butler on gender regulation, Black Feminist Thought
(BFT), and autobiographic storytelling, this piece illustrates how essentialist
notions of gender, and discourses related to gender create conflict in shaping
identity construction for a Black woman academic and single mother
(BWA/SM) in the United States. This piece reveals complex gendered and
racialized tropes related to notions of motherhood and womanhood, particularly
within the author’s own family. Included here is how the author attempts to
transcend these complexities in her quest for self­definition and
self­actualization, unbridled by gender norms. Yet, race, gender and parental
status are significant intersecting categories in identity construction, and
inherent in the constructions are hegemonic discourses with which the author
continues to grapple. Consequently, the struggle to transcend these forces is
further complicated by the limited representation of Black women in the US
academy, and by the types of academic work where they find themselves
typically situated.
Keywords: autobiography, black woman academic, single mother, academy,
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014­6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.01
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
A civil society simply cannot afford to force people into false
dichotomies and ask that they make choices that require them to
abjure one if they want the other, or suffer dire consequences if
they pursue both. Instead, the focus ought to be on how to design
support mechanisms and realistic expectations to enable people to
have a fulfilling career as well as a family life without paying the
price in degrees of sanity or physical health. (Philipsen, 2008,
am not one of those single faculty women described by
Philipsen (2008) who was forced to choose between having a
career and having children; or one of those who had to worry
about the biological clock versus tenure clock demands. Neither am I
one of those married faculty women who had to stop the tenure clock to
have babies; nor am I one of those who chose single parenthood when
offered an academic appointment because her spouse was unable to find
work in the same field (Creamer, 2006; Philipsen, 2008), and I am
certainly not one of those women whose martial relationship was
strained due to competing academic career paths with one’s spouse
(Creamer, 2006). My trajectory toward pursuing and sustaining a career
in the professoriate as a Black woman academic and single mother
(BWA/SM) evolved from a complex tapestry of familial, cultural,
societal and professional experiences shaped by the intersections of race
and gender in the United States.
When I first began to write this manuscript in 2007, many woman
hours were spent trying to articulate my journey as a Black woman and
as a Black mother in pursuit of an academic career. Constructing my
autobiography proved cathartic, yet daunting was the effort to
simultaneously: (a) align my academic voice and personal life with the
existing scholarship on Black women in the academy; (b) situate my
experience within the scholarship on faculty career women; (c) respond
to the feedback and meet the timeline revisions of this then working
draft for publication; and (d) prepare financially and emotionally to
leave my children in the care of my sister, in the effort to present this
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
manuscript (a working paper at the time) at a national conference in the
US. Ultimately, I was unsuccessful in meeting all those endeavors – my
meager salary as an Assistant Professor and the physical and emotional
demands between meeting work obligations and parenting
responsibilities made it all near to impossible. So utterly frustrated and
overwhelmed I became that I threw this manuscript in a box and there it
would stay. Until now.
Homespace, where family life is organized and situated, is a powerful
institution guided by regulatory norms and discourses that shape
identity. Discourses are tied up with power; they have influence on
actions, social structures and political and judicial decisions. Discourses
are also a product that constructs practices that are present in our
society, having an effect on how people act, and what kinds of behaviors
are conceived and produced (Alsop & Fitzsimons, 2002, p. 88). Thus
today I re­read my narrative and think about the structures and
discourses that have shaped my family life and career choice and how
these structures shape family life and work. You see, the career path I
have chosen is merit­based (Knights & Richards, 2003), competitive
and demanding. Structurally, the Academy is a space shaped by
traditional, Eurocentric, and masculine notions vis­à­vis white male
faculty with stay­at­home spouses who support their work (Mason,
2006). Female professors, on the other hand, typically remain single or
married and childless.
Research demonstrates the gendered realities of women, particularly
how academic life and motherhood are both demanding institutions that
require women to be constantly available (Leonard & Malina, 1994;
Bracken, Allen & Dean, 2006; Philipsen, 2008), which leads to
incredible pressure on women to make one’s career the main focus of
attention, even with children (Munn­Giddings, 1998; Bracken, et. al,
2006; Philipsen, 2008). Then there are the utterly depressing accounts
of academic women who often fail to move up the faculty ranks due to
family issues – high rates of separation and divorce, lack of
partnerships, and children's needs (Probert, 2005; Philipsen 2008), and
outside responsibilities (Bailyn, 2003; Sherman, Beaty, Crum & Peters,
2010). Thus, it is no wonder that many women experience higher levels
of stress than men in their academic jobs (Doyle & Hind, 1998).This
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
balancing act mirrors the experiences of married professional women in
other occupations who also experience role or identity conflict (Bell,
1990; Denton, 1990; Davidson, 1997).
A scarcity of narratives reveal the challenges of single Black woman
with children. There’s Hale’s (2001) account about trying to support her
child’s academic needs, which included her fears about how
motherhood threatens to undermine one’s status with colleagues
(Philipsen, 2008); and in the same edited volume there is the account of
“happily divorced” Black woman who expressed relief about not having
to juggle the varied roles any longer (p. 101) At the core of these stories
is the challenge of role conflict, which is also documented by Gregory
(2001) and Covington Clarkson (2001). To further illustrate the strife,
there is a particularly telling exchange that occurs in the work of
Covington Clarkson’s (2001). She shares how after explaining to her
three small children that she “would be going to school to become a
doctor,” her three­year­old asked if she would “still be their mother?”
(p. 163). There is poignancy in the simplicity of this child’s question!
Yet outside of these stories, a huge chasm exists in finding scholarship
which elucidates the intersection between the faculty career and family
life for Black women, and even more challenging for BWA/SM. Where
is this research? Where are those voices?
Moreover, Black woman in general, and Black single mothers
particularly, have had few spaces to discuss their racialized and
gendered experiences. Yet, understanding our experiences is imperative
for affirming an increasingly diverse and vibrant teaching and research
faculty who can provide students’ multi­perspectival exposure to diverse
epistemologies, views of the world, lifestyle choices, communities and
leadership styles (Nkomo, 1988) that comprise our academic institutions
and society; stories that would further knowledge development in
interdisciplinary fields such as the social sciences and education. This is
important to not only move Black women’s experiences from the
margins of society, but also to engage in storytelling that promotes
awareness of race (Nkomo, 1992) and gender as important points for
analysis. Such analysis enables us to gain awareness about faculty work
lives and loads, while examining notions of what is normal (Bracken et
al, 2006), and who is normal. Most importantly, the quality of academic
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
work life is more than a personal issue, but an institutional one which
has implications for scholarly productivity and personal fulfillment
(Bracken et al., 2006).
Black Life as a Transformative Research Agenda
Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and autobiography (Denzin, 1989)
enables me to illuminate how family discourses about gender is
embodied within binaries and
hierarchies, where notions of
motherhood are internally and externally regulated by material and
symbolic notions of gender. Because of this, I advocate for women to
share private and sometimes painful experiences to create a collective
description of the world in which we participate. And autobiography, as
a methodology, promotes this opportunity, as it is a genre that connects
the personal to the cultural, and places the author within a social
context. This reflexivity frees me to look deeply at self­other
interactions (Ellis & Bochner, 2000), drawing upon highly personalized
accounts from my life to develop some cultural understanding. In fact,
O’Connor, Lewis &Mueller (2005) reminds me that Black women are
not necessarily expected to silence our experiences, thoughts and desires
in relations with others; while Hooks (1984) argues for us to construct
models of feminist theorizing and scholarship that deepens our
understanding of our experiences; asserting that “as subjects, [we] have
the right to define [our] own reality, establish [our] own identities, name
[our] history” (1989, p. 42). Thus, my gift of double­consciousness
(DuBois, 1968) as a Black woman in a society shaped by racialized
oppression, along with my critical consciousness as a woman shaped by
“double oppression” (Hooks 1989) allows me to evoke my truth in a
tradition shaped by scholars like Lorde (1984); Collins, (2000); and
Cole & Guy­Sheftall (2003).
Moreover, my positionality was borne from the knowledge that
articulating the personal is not just political; it is a revolutionary act
when undertaken with honesty and a willingness to interrogate ideas.
And life stories are not extant, compartmentalized vignettes only to be
shared in the private sphere or relegated as something only worthy of
attention in the discourse of popular literature. Rather, truth telling
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
produces research as a historical, political and moral imperative (King,
2005; Lee, 2005). Stories also connect personal experience with the
wider sub­cultural setting in which one is localized, repositioning and
elevating subaltern epistemologies, as evidenced in Gilkes (1988);
Denzin & Lincoln (2000); Sparkes (2000); Holt (2003); Brown &
William­White (2010); and William­White (2010).
Appropriating Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Regulation’: Discourses on
Black Womanhood and Motherhood.
I draw from Judith Butler’s (2004) essay, “Gender Regulation” to
analyze the discourses surrounding Black womanhood and motherhood.
Gender regulation functions as a set of social norms and symbolic
positions that enables me to examine and deconstruct the notion of
gender as a fiction embodied through performance. Butler (2004)
maintains that people are regulated by notions of what it means to be of
a particular gender, and gender is actualized through performance –
behaviors and actions that demonstrate one’s authorship of a gender
identity. As an illustration, the US slave system and Jim Crow
segregation gave birth to gender norms that constructed Black women’s
identity. First, they belonged to historically subjugated groups; they
were chattel. Their bodies were property they existed within an
economic system where they were denied their basic human rights, not
even the right to make reproductive and childbearing choices. Yet, they
were also often positioned at the forefront of the Black family and
community. For example, efforts to elevate the status of emancipated
slaves focused on Black women’s social influence, which included
indoctrination into Eurocentric social values and traditions of Christian
character, submission, and social­responsibility for the uplift of their
communities (Shaw, 1996; Collins, 2001).
Black women’s gender identity is cemented in a racialized script of
gender regulation which embodies performative acts —the preexisting
sociopolitical significance of subservience, service or servitude. For
example, Shaw (1996) documents how during Jim Crow1 , Black
women performed public roles as domestic workers (Dill, 1988) and
performed responsibilities “bequeathed to them as woman,” that were
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
centered on the needs of the race (Shaw, 1996, p. 4). In the church, their
efforts was shaped by gendered roles of service (Gilkes, 1988). Hooks
(1990) suggests that Black women “nurtur[ed] the souls” of the
community (p. 41), but were also subjected to a sexist definition of
service as a women’s “natural” role. Hooks writes:
…Their lives were hard. They were black women who for the
most part worked outside the home serving white folks, cleaning
their houses, washing their clothes, tending their children – black
women who worked in the fields or in the streets, whatever they
could do to make ends meet, whatever was necessary. Then they
returned to their homes to make life happen there. This tension
between service outside one’s home, family and kin network,
service provided to white folks which took time and energy, and
the effort of black women to conserve enough of themselves to
provide service (care and nurturance) within their own families and
communities is one of the many factors that has historically
distinguished the lot of black women in patriarchal White
supremacist society from that of black men (Hooks, 1990, pp. 383­
Hooks (1990) states that Black women’s primary “responsibility…
[was] to construct domestic households as spaces of care and nurturance
in the face of the brutal harsh reality of racist oppression, or sexist
domination” (p. 42).
Gender regulation imposes a “grid of legibility on our lives and sets
the “parameters” of performance within our social interactions (Butler,
2004, p. 42). Gender is an incessant activity performed with or for
another, even if the other is only imaginary (Butler, 2004, p. 1). Thus,
that Black women historically have labored within and outside the home
to support families is well­documented, but the regulatory fiction that
defines Black female identity helped to construct a gendered discourse
about who Black women are expected to be at all times, and how she
should purport herself. As such, the grid propagates the notion of Black
woman in a perpetual struggle for survival and her identity is
inseparable from the need and desire to protect and support the family”
(Gregory, 2001, p. 124). There is certainly no refutation here that Black
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
families have depended on the labor of Black women to maintain the
nuclear family (which continues to be regulated by white racial
dominance in social, economic and political realms in the US). Thus,
this dependence enables Black families to persevere and display
resilience as these families reject a strict adherence to sex­role
designation, which differs significantly to the gender regulation and role
construction of white womanhood.
Yet, Black female identity also resides within a unique grid which
provides a site for discursive examination. For instance, since the
preponderance of Black woman’s work historically was resigned to
domestic service and childrearing, this helped to anchor Black female
identity in a disquieting, American nostalgia, shrouded in the material
production of gender through the body. Whether rearing her own or the
children of others, uncontested “service” is an accepted attribute of
Black womanhood and this essentialist trope endures. Black women’s
lives from slavery to freedom helped to forge a “trajectory of Black
women’s bodies as sites of laboring,” (Johnson, 2003, p. 104; Jones,
1985). Hurston (1969) too speaks of the Black woman as the mule of
the world, further exemplifying the appropriation of her Black body as a
moniker of a gendered and racialized being; norms that are historically,
socially and culturally grounded. Further, standards of what is normal
provide a script or rubric to evaluate the performance of gender identity.
We see this through such ideas as women are not supposed to “act” or
“perform” like men in showing strength, assertiveness or ability in their
dimensions of self. However, this expectation has created a long­term
struggle for Black women:
…submissiveness…was never in the cards for us…Whether in the
cotton fields of the South or the factories of the North, Black
women worked side by side with men to contribute to the welfare
of the family. This did not mean that men were demeaned and
unloved, but it did mean that women had a voice about the destiny
of their families. That independence and resiliency were admired
because they aided in the collective survival when society made it
difficult for Black men to find work. But when we began to
internalize Euro­American values, then Black women were no
longer “real” women... (Naylor, 1988, p. 28)
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
Collins (2004) further substantiates how discourses operate in
producing Black women:
all women engage in an ideology that deems middle­class,
heterosexual White femininity as normative. In this context, Black
femininity as a subordinated gender identity becomes constructed
not just in relation to White women, but also in relation to multiple
others, namely, all men…These benchmarks construct a discourse
of a hegemonic (White) femininity that becomes a normative
yardstick for all femininities in which Black women typically are
relegated to the bottom of the gender hierarchy (p. 193).
Norms provide a script that adheres to the regulatory powers of
gender, and any deviation from the script is measured against those
regulations in an effort to normalize what acceptable behavior should
be. Butler (2004) suggests that gender norms are “invoked and cited by
bodily practices that also have the capacity to alter norms” (p. 52). To
illustrate this point, Collins (2004) maintains that Black women are
often labeled aggressive and non­feminine, departing from notions
ascribed to white women. Another controlling image is the Black
women as “super” human or heroic (Wallace, 1978; Collins, 2004), an
idea of Black female emasculation propagated in 1930s. There is also
the Sapphire­character who is “overbearing, bossy, sharp­tongued, loud­
mouthed, and controlling” (Cole et. al., 2003, p. xxxv); and images of
the matriarchal, “ball­busting” Black women who competes with Black
men are replete in popular discourse. This latter depiction helps to fuel
the polarizing discourses that often exist between Black women and
Black men due to the “castration” notion, and the perceived dominance
that has been stripped from Black men and attributed to Black women
(Collins, 1999). These discourses have an enduring history.
Certain positions have universal laws that are subject to unalterable
rules. The identity of mother is a worthwhile category to examine as it is
assigned and ascribed to the female gender, and holds a symbolic
position regulated from inception. Thus, the symbolic position of being
a mother holds an esteemed and “quasi­timeless character” (Butler,
2004, p. 45), one understood as a sphere with normalized behaviors and
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
engagement that is subject to surveillance (p. 56). Motherhood, as a
symbolic category, is socially and culturally regulated through the
discourses attached to ideals which personify mothering. To illustrate
the point, the word mother connotes specific gendered attributes, while
the concept to father tends to be more elusive. To mother a child
“implies a continuing presence in a child’s life” (Rich, 1976, p. 12);
thus, the centrality of the mother and her performance of mothering by
providing nurturance, love, comfort, and demonstrations of sacrifice is a
normative conception of the material effects of the act or performance
of mothering. Thus, motherhood as a role “has a history, it has an
ideology” essential to the patriarchal system, and this identity is deeply
internalized in women (Rich, 1976, p. 34). It is a manifestation of
women’s highest calling, a long­held marker of gender symbolism for
White America,” (Rich, 1976, p. 158).
Yet, this concept provides an interesting trajectory to examine
discursive meanings attached to Black motherhood. Johnson (2003)
states that “mother” is a trope that registers in various discursive terrains
and is deployed for various aims (p. 104). Thus, social, cultural and
historical standards about Black mothers also foster and perpetuate
racialized discourses that challenge mainstream notions of mothering.
Chambers (2003) states that stereotypes in the media perpetuate the
myth that Black females are unable to be good mothers to their own
children (p. 62). Black mothers are subjected to critique and ridicule.
For instance, Collins (2004) posits that the controlling image of the
Black mother is a stigmatized being who rejects feminine ideals and
purports herself in negative ways: the bitch who is aggressive, loud,
rude, and pushy; the mule who embodies passive­aggressive tendencies;
the historic mammy as the ideal Black mother who provides loyal
service to white people and who cares for white children as her own; the
child­like, subservient mother; the promiscuous mother; and the sassy
mother (Johnson, 2003).
Recent films such as Precious2 and The Blind Side3 perpetuate the
trope of Black mother dysfunction, as both films show the despicable
role of mothers who fail to love and adequately care for their
children.To further illustrate this point, it is inconceivable that a mother
could sexually and physically abuse her daughter; or for a grandmother
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
silently stand by and watch her own daughter psychologically and
physically abuse her own children? It is completely unfathomable that a
mother would be so disconnected from humanity, and so ignorant of the
social and moral imperative to nurture the self­worth of her own
children. Yet, the material performance of Black mothering in these
examples are portrayals of mothers in the previously mentioned films
recently awarded Academy award accolades in 2009!
This is poignant because the Black mother is often portrayed as
emotionally­detached, or portrayed as the too­strong matriarch who
raises “weak sons and unnaturally superior daughters,” (Johnson, 2003),
a notion further supported by the Black folk expression: “Black mothers
love their sons and raise their daughters.” The message here is clear.
Her greatest commitment to mothering is for White people, their
families, and interests; her care and concerns for her own family are
secondary. Then when engaged in the care of her children, the Black
mother loves her son to his detriment, and her daughter is reared with a
level of unhealthy detachment that produces another generation of
mythic, superhuman or psychologically damaged females. Moreover,
Black mothers had historically been denied the accolades of parenting,
as mothering is what they were expected to do “without applause or
special appreciation,” (Chambers, 2003, p. 62).
Is this the symbolic position of motherhood that Butler (2004)
suggests that are unalterable? Do these discourses support the quasi­
timeless and good-feeling norms associated with motherhood? Certainly
not; thus the Black woman becomes something other than this esteemed
The Black family pattern too has been presented as a matriarchal that
is unstable and the source of social problems faced by Blacks, (Pickney,
2000, p. 111). For example, although 47% of Black families are headed
by Black couples, mothers have the burden of being held responsible for
the negative behavior of their children (Hecht, Jackson, & Ribeau, 2003,
p. 205). Other issues and social ills attributed to Black mothers are high
divorce rates and lower marriage rates; higher percentages of children
living in “female­headed households; and higher percentages of children
living in poverty,” (Hecht et. al., 2003, p. 24). Surely, Butler’s work
does not consider racialized material notions of motherhood. In sum,
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
the construction of Black women and Black mothers reveal how our
identities are shaped by pejorative and archetypical notions not reflected
in the multifaceted manifestations of our lives.
Autobiographic Episodes
The process of becoming begins by confronting certain
‘contradictions’ in one’s life experience, contradictions that alert
one’s consciousness to the fact that something in social reality is
out of phase. The emerging feminist becomes aware that what
passes for justice in American democracy is actually a subtle and
complex political system that robs her of her autonomy. She
discovers that the role she is assigned by her social sphere, woman,
diminishes her life chances for fulfillment and happiness. (Cahill &
Hansen, 2003, p. 10)
Episode #1: Parenting and the Pursuit of Degrees
Motherhood, for me, preceded womanhood. Pregnant as a high school
senior, followed by engagement and marriage, I embraced the role of
mother and what I perceived this role to mean before exploring what life
could be for me as a woman. My first daughter was born when I was
less than a month into my nineteenth year. Early in my first year of
mothering, my father (a Baptist minister) and a child of the 1940s and
1950s , sent me a Christian­based text titled Woman, Wife, Mother
(Harrison, 1991) that spoke of this trinity – the three divine identities of
a female “in Christ” and what her role is to be in life. I read this text –
not carefully or thoroughly, I must admit. But I did enjoy our
conversations with my dad about his ideas about life and scripture; yet
occasionally comments would seep into conversation about my pursuits
as an undergraduate in college. As a child of divorce, and having not
been raised with my father, I looked forward to sharing my life with him
as it was developing in my early adulthood.
Two years after my parents’ divorce, my mother moved my sisters
and me a distant 3000 miles from our father. I was nine­years­old; then
from age twelve to eighteen, I visited with my father for only three
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
extended visits, during vacations. So, it was at that stage of my life, as a
wife and mother (at nineteen), that I simultaneously began to create an
adult­relationship with my father, and was learning what it meant to be a
mother. With daddy, I shared aspects of my new life and my
experiences, particularly the day­to­day world of having a new baby,
being married, and pursuing my first year of college. All these things
were new and exciting; “the possibilities [were] endless” for what I
could become (Brown & White, 2010, p. 151). My enthusiasm about all
that I was experiencing, doing and learning registered through the
phone, I am certain.
And Daddy would listen intently, pause and make comments. But the
dialogue would often culminate with statements such as:
1.“Who watches the baby when you are gone? or
2.“What does your husband think about you being away from
the home and at school?” or
3.“How is the baby doing with not having you at home?”
I found myself on several occasions trying to defend myself by
explaining to Daddy that I was only away three afternoons a week (less
than five hours each time); that I would often also take the baby with me
to school, or that my husband would also watch the baby during the
time that I was gone. Of course, the same arrangement was in place
when my husband went to school. Though I recognized that the very
notion of me stating that I am “watching the baby” for my husband was,
in itself, a radical departure from acceptable gender conventions. My
dad’s questions, and tone, revealed to me how he embraced the “cult of
true womanhood” (Zinn, 1997, p. 88), which I felt, undermined my
desire for personal fulfillment within academic pursuits, and his words
demonstrated to me that he did not fully approve. Though a learned
man who held strong values about educational attainment and mobility
within our family and cultural community, his ideas about my pursuits
were tempered by the greater value placed on the symbolic and social
significance of motherhood, and the enormity of that role. Thus, I
learned that, for Daddy, my primary identity was mother; self­
actualization through education or desire for a career in the Academy
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
had little to do with his notion of my highest calling. From him, I
became aware of my gendered reality.
Equally interesting were my experiences with my mother. While
growing up, Mommy stressed an emphasis on exhibitions of intelligence,
creativity, academic ability, rejecting the “cult of domesticity” (Zinn,
1997, p. 87). She took care of the house, and small chores were assigned
to my two sisters and me. Our education was most important however.
As such, Mommy was adamantly against my having a baby when I
announced my pregnancy and engagement at eighteen­years­old. She
was then made a grandmother at forty­one and was also attempting to
understand and reconcile her own life circumstances and choices as a
divorcee, and the subsequent financial and emotional impact of divorce
on her, my sisters, and me. Thus, my ‘immature’ decision to have a
child, I think, was emblematic of potential unrealized goals as opposed
to being a result of my choices. Mommy married at seventeen­years­old.
She, like her mother, became a mother at nineteen and began raising a
family, she never completed her college education, so utterly convinced
that my life was ‘over,’ she took all liberties to remind me of my
inability to understand the implications of my decision. Thus, on that
fateful day when I announced that I was expecting, she spared no words
in articulating how motherhood would limit me. Perhaps these
comments stemmed from her story of not being supported by my father
to finish earning her college degree because they had children; or from
her experiences with independently raising three daughters. Yet, no
opportunity was missed by Mommy to ask if I “actually [go] to class” or
if I was “still in school,” when we would talk on the phone after I
moved away to the college community where I resided. Asking how I
was doing academically was rarely offered, or was asked as an
afterthought. I sensed, through the tension, her words, and her silence,
that she was waiting to hear some information that would confirm her
belief that I would not succeed as a young mother in pursuit of an
academic career. Consequently, at the end of each semester as a
demonstration of my resilience and efficacy, I would mail my semester
grades to Mommy to show her that I could “have it all” (Philipsen 2008,
p. 97). I could be a wife, a mother, and successfully meet the demands
of the Academy. I wanted her to know that I did not have to choose and
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
that motherhood was only a portion of whom or what I desired to be. I
could be: “Mother and…” not only a mother. Motherhood is one­part of
female process; it is “not an identity for all time” (Rich, 1976, p. 37),
and mothers are also people who need “selves of [their] own,” (p. 37).
Due to this, it was from there I went firmly on the path toward fulfilling
my personal trine – my energies were put into trying to be a good mom,
a supportive wife, and a budding academic. I guess one could say that I
was coming to terms with being young, Black and female (Williams,
Episode #2: Journey through Matrimony
My spouse and I constructed notions of what our lives would be as a
young couple. Though the material roles of being married and of being
new parents were neither articulated nor defined, they were embraced
and performed by default after we married. We left home for college and
to begin our lives and family – he and I against the world. He, being
raised in a family of twelve children and by a widowed­matriarch, was
socialized to be domesticated. I was reared by a mother who elevated
embodiments of the mind through educational pursuits and
independence (O’Connor et. al, 2005). As such, the arrangement of
duties in my marriage mirrored the fluidity of gender­role assignments
in Black families (Collins, 2000; 2004; Jewell, 1993). I would function
as the nurturer for the family and would assume the role as manager of
the household finances and decision making, a role I proudly thought
was quite progressive and non­traditional. He would function as the
manager of the household needs and would tend to those things that
were historically associated with women’s work. We were flipping4 the
gender script and capitalizing on the areas that we were most
comfortable with. And, I was also hell­bent on striving to maintain some
gender­balance as it related to our new daughter’s care as well. We
were both full­time students, so when we brought our daughter home
from the hospital at four­days­old, the shared feeding and diapering
schedule was already created. My husband was assigned early a.m.
feedings so I could get more rest, particularly when I had early classes
on campus. All in the name of gender equity, I thought! He agreed; and
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
I was pleased. The shared infant care arrangement did not mirror
anything that I had seen growing up. It definitely was not my mother’s
experience, and I was happy that I possessed the ability and will to
articulate the need for the balance in our roles.
Yet, my husband, being the youngest son of nine boys, and the
eleventh of twelve children was often chided about who “wore the
pants” which included discourses about me not knowing my place. It
was even articulated in my presence that Black women were too
demanding and too difficult to have relationships with. These taunts
made by my brother­in­laws during family get­togethers were attempts
to bait me into polarizing discourses about Black female identity. My
brother­in­laws are Baby Boomers – the same generation as my parents.
We would then have heated dialogues in the living room; my spouse,
complicit in his smiling silence, while my mother­in­law, a child of the
1920s, would participate as a laughing spectator. The fraternity culture
that I married into, which posed as a matriarchal institution, was
constituted around sexist, misogynistic cultural ideas and social
practices which were problematic for me as a woman.
In addition, these discourses, in my opinion, interfered with what my
spouse and I were attempting to do as a couple with the shared goal of
completing college while raising our family. The irony in all of this is
that several of the male family members had pursued some college
themselves and several held at least Associate Degrees; a few had or
were planning to send their own female children to college, hence
educational attainment held value to them. Yet, my positionality was
often critiqued. No conversation could ensure that didn’t involve some
reference to me and schoo l. I was even dubbed “school girl” by my
mother­in­law’s sister, and told one evening at a family get­together that
my attempts were unrealistic, particularly that I should “get a job” and
forget about going to school since I had a baby. Who would have fed her
this information to enable such an unwelcomed conversation and
perspective, I wondered?
And after incidents such as these with my in­laws, I would go home
upset, resenting the whole time spent with my spouse’s family and
resenting my spouse’s inaction in these discourses. In spite of all this,
however, my husband and our gender role assignments remained status
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
quo, proceeding without challenge or disruption throughout our
undergraduate years in college; though the same could not be said,
however, when we relocated our growing family closer to our in­laws
when I began to attend graduate school.
I understand on an intimate level when Fordham (1993) suggests that
community norms are a major socializing agent in developing and
regulating ideas about appropriate femininities, particularly in the
regulation of body image, linguistic patterns, and styles of interacting.
Female gender sanctions, through a form of sexist­ritualized­hazing,
were normative experiences around my in­laws, and any marital discord
between my spouse and I became fodder for provocative kitchen tabletalk. My husband would share with me the stories of how the family
would engage in raucous laughter about my facile Standard American
English usage and my lexical choices. Mimicry of me through
exaggerated diction and ‘proper’ mannerisms by my mother­in­law
would bring the whole house to tears of laughter.
My academic identity, professional mobility, and the prominent
position I held in marital financial decision­making was increasingly
scrutinized. Never mind, that I worked full­time, went to school full­
time on the weekends, having chosen a graduate program that catered
toward working professionals; and I arranged all care needs for our
daughter.. Rather, I was the brunt of jokes and critique instigated by my
spouse, and, at times, directed towards my spouse based on my identity
which was constituted around goal­setting, educational pursuits and
professional attainment. Additionally, I believe that my identity became
a familial signifier – a trope for the sexist, mythical belief of Lisa, as
another Black woman, who subjugates and marginalizes the Black man.
As I sit and reflect, many of my marital discussions were wrought
with landmines centered on my displeasure with my spouse’s passivity
on varied issues (lack of leadership and vision, employment challenges,
financial decision­making, family planning choices), and his family.
This, in turn, would result in substantial disagreements. My expectation
for my spouse was to “man up”5 . Yet, my perceived “nagging” and
“trying to be [his] mother” aided his male privilege and authority to
retreat for frequent and extended days to his mother’s house for what he
referred to as “peace” and “comfort” – a place where he still had an
open bed.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
At the same time, I was gaining a greater sense of purpose and self­
affirmation through my academic pursuits – my escape. In addition, my
employability and student status helped to mediate economic challenges
at from – my spouses’ low wages; lack equity in the work place, and, at
times, poor decision making related to employment choices There were
even times when I would use my graduate student status to secure
student loans to supplement our financial and family needs when times
were particularly taxing. Though my spouse and I both worked full­
time, I provided a significant portion of our household income; paid all
of our medical insurance coverage costs not covered by my employer,
and was paying day care costs (by this time, we had our second child).
My husband was working long hours in a menial food­service job,
which did not offer a medical insurance plan. In all, I often felt
pressured to make things easier at home for my spouse, yet I also felt
overworked, ignored, disrespected, and underappreciated at home.
Increased professional accolades provided opportunities for me,
though actualized goals were not celebrated in our household as I
completed my Master’s Degree. In fact, there were instances where my
spouse commented that I “act like [I] have an “S” on [my] chest.”6 Or
he reminded me that I “needed a man around” more than [I thought]”
when I minimized his antagonistic references about his perceptions of
my identity. I learned that African American women will continually be
viewed as a threat to patriarchy due to the social and economic system
that limits opportunities for Black males (Jewell, 1993).
Ultimately, the tension and financial stress began to mount, and
helped to shape the eventual emotional and financial withdrawal of my
spouse from our family; my attitude and outlook began to shift as well.
There were days when I wished that I had married someone who
exhibited a healthy attitude about his own identity, where my strivings
were not seen as a threat, but viewed as efforts to benefit the collective.
I also wished, at times, that I had married someone who could provide
for me, where I would be afforded more options and opportunity to
immerse in my personal and/or professional life. For example, if staying
I desired to stay at home with the children. I often romanticized what
life could be like if my spouse shared similar professional motivations
and similar efficacy to actualize dreams for self­improvement. But most
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
significantly, I yearned to not argue about family disagreements, about
debts, about how his frivolous spending when eating out with his
brothers impacted the financial ledger; and about not spending any time
with the children and me. And, I grew to resent him! I resented my
positioning and longed to not carry the burden that came with always
having to be responsible for all family decisions. I wanted to be a
“Mother and…” ­­ this meant being a mother, a wife, a lover, and an
equal partner. Yet, his indifference was palpable. And his lack of
motivation to work with me correlated with my beliefs in his perceived
feelings of low self­worth, combined with the challenges he was
experiencing with his personal identity, and professional life. At the end
of the day, I lacked the wherewithal and desire to participate in a union
that did not support the family – our family.
We were eight months pregnant with our third child when my
husband and I separated. My spouse moved back home with his mother,
and I moved back to the college community where we resided as
undergraduates. My emotional load was lightened, I thought at the time,
and I moved forward, dividing my energies between meeting the needs
of the children, working, before I relocated my children to another
community to attend doctoral study. In the end, I would spend many
years of my married life living separately from my spouse and as the
primary, care and financial provider for our three children, until I filed
for divorce.
Episode #3: “Mothering”
Eight years ago, I sat solo for the third week in a failed co­parent
counseling attempt with a Marriage, Family Child Counselor (MFCC)
which was focused on how to effectively “parent” and share my
children’s time with their father. It was in the process of this chat about
my family structure, about the developmental needs of my girls (then 9,
11, and 15), and the roles that my ex­husband and I played in their lives,
that my worldview was challenged. The MFCC announced that since
my ex­spouse refused to participate, our meetings were: “no longer an
effort to address co­parenting needs, or parenting at all. We are going to
focus on you.” This concept was unfamiliar; strange.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
So when my counselor and I dialogued during that third meeting, she
wanted to set some small goals for our time in counseling. Focus on
me? Our time in counseling? This all sounded peculiar to my ear. But, I
knew that I wanted to spend more time being me. The MFCC raised a
curious eyebrow and then identified a theme that would become the
focus of many emotional meetings. I had to sort through and respond to
a litany of questions, one being what I wanted to accomplish; who am I
today; and, what did I mean by stating that I wanted to spend more time
being me? I told her that “I am a mother of three girls and a single­
parent. I am a Mother, and… ”(my voice began to break as tears filled
my eyes)…
(I continue) “…a college professor in a State university. I try to be a
good friend; I am a woman of faith, and I am striving each day to be
better and to do the right thing by those I love…”
But what did I really mean by telling her that I want to be me? She
challenged me hard on clarifying this statement. I continue:
“My identity has become almost entirely constructed on the role of
mothering, something that I had struggled with all my adult life…”
Mothering is the cornerstone the historic agentry of Black women in
our homes and communities. The act of mothering is an embodiment of
the social practice in women’s lives, and ironically, it is also a major
part of my academic work — part of the career expectation which sees
us as natural caregivers (Ramsay & Letherby, 2006). I knew that over
the years, I have honed my mothering skills through various hats as a
mother, as a college counselor, as a high school teacher, as a mentor, and
as a university teacher­educator. Mothering, supporting and nurturing
others was something that I knew well. I knew that I had been able to
accomplish goals and create a life for my children, in the material sense,
which I did not experience as a child. Most importantly my children
have given my life meaning and substance fulfilling me as mother,
though there was an absence of fulfilling endeavors, at times, outside of
“There are two Lisas – the home and work me (one in the same; the
one engaged in her mothering projects) and the vacation me ­­ the Lisa
who wishes to hop a plane and get away from it all to remember that I
am a woman separate from having to serve others’ needs.”
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
When pressed I found it quite difficult to articulate to another – a
stranger—a white professional woman with no children, that being a
Black woman academic and more so, a single mother is a selfless
existence; and, that balancing a career, being the breadwinner and
mothering is at times heavy­laden. The duties are weighted down by
multiple negotiations of time, energy, and personal sacrifice; and one’s
choices or behaviors may not always meet approval or acceptance. I
used the term rea l mother because mothers are not made because
women give birth. Constructions of motherhood are externally
imposed, internally assimilated or rejected, and attempting to comport
one’s behavior to the regulatory norms is a conscious effort and choice.
Some women either forge ahead or embrace the identity; some do not.
Yet, all that I am and all that I have accomplished in life is because of
my children, the necessity and desire to provide a life for us, and the
personal along with my desire be a “Mother and…”, not a mother only.
The journey has been a labor of love and sacrifice that has kept me and
sustained me. Yet, it has also been the source of many tears, frustration,
and hardship. So it is true that I romanticize about what life can be like
when the nest is empty; and, I pray for the day when all the children
have left home and their lives demonstrate that my mothering and
sacrifices were worth something that enabled them to grow to be moral
and decent women ­­ women less bridled by intersecting racialized and
gendered norms.
The MFCC pressed further still, and asked me to go home and think
about all the issues that I struggled to articulate with words. Later that
night, with pen in hand, I found my thoughts erupting on my journal
page in a heavy rush:
I find myself attempting daily to do the work of more than one
person out of necessity, and the intense desire to have a rich and
intellectually stimulating career. This currently translates into me
teaching full­time in a graduate program at night, making my life
quite involved. For instance, I sit on department and university
committees; I am involved in community service in local K­16
schools, where I advocate for educational reform for low­income,
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
culturally and linguistically diverse children; I attend conferences
and I try to cultivate my research and scholarly agenda in a manner
that aligns with community and personal interests, while meeting
the scholarly demands of the university. Yet, scholarship and
curriculum content are areas where Black women find themselves
marginalized due to the institutional pressures for them to de­
emphasize racial and/or gendered aspects of their research, so this
process challenging from my paradigmatic standpoint which is
grounded in critical studies and community work, efforts
documented by other Black scholars7.
Often, Black woman academics often have to negotiate how to
transcend their own marginalization by reaching out to others for
scholarship­building opportunities or mentoringI am the only
Black woman in my department, so I function as an advisor to a
significant number of Black and non­Black first generation college
students who seek support in helping them to navigate the
academy. The university demands, in the form of student advising,
mentoring, and committee work, further compete with scholarship
development, duties which are not heavily weighted in the tenure
and promotion process. These duties stand in direct opposition to
the value the academy privileges and rewards in terms of research­
active, meritocracy­based activities that reflect masculine values
and notions of success. Moreover, I give advice on theses; I
proofread abstracts for conference proposal submissions and
answer students’ questions about the content of other professors’
course content. I respond to incessant emails; I hold writing
workshops outside of work to support those historically
underrepresented students who have yet to achieve a convergence
between academic language and their voices; and I do a lot of
listening and encouraging.
I am also a member of a grossly underpaid faction in my
university. Consequently, I teach at another campus during the day
to supplement my full­time earnings. Should I have chosen a
career in business and industry to better support my family and
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
community needs, issues reported in other studies?8 Moreover,
though the professoriate looks like I may have “arrived”, Black
women are highly concentrated in the lowest academic ranks as
non­tenured faculty; have slower promotion rates, and earn less
pay than their male and White female counterparts9. So I gear up
each day for my second job, where I attempt to address the needs
of scores of other students. And when “work” is done (I laugh as I
write that), I try to make it to my daughters’ basketball games,
track meets, dance recitals or school productions – at times two on
the same night, at different schools. I periodically skip work to
make it to “Back­to­School” nights or “Open House”
And I come home late after a long day at work and proofread my
children’s papers or correct their homework. I leave post­it notes
about necessary changes on term papers. I email my kids teachers
to have them more clearly explain obscure homework assignments
(after all, I am a teacher­educator). I also drop off forgotten
lunches to the school front offices. I chauffeur and carpool for
events. I cook dinner most mornings before work and leave
directions for reheating. I would stand over my children on
weekends to make sure they get their chores done. And I still
managed to bake or buy cupcakes on birthdays for the girls to
share with classmates; buy birthday cards and presents for buddies’
weekend parties. I pull out tools to fix flat bicycle tires and curl
tresses for school pictures and dances. I even make midnight runs
to the nearest 24­hour “we­have­it­all store” to pick­up forgotten
supplies for school projects. I do it all! And to be honest,
sometimes I do not do it all very well. Sometimes I do it
begrudgingly. And sometimes, now and then, it all gets a little
overwhelming. I feel like I exist only to serve others.
I read over my list with an incredible sense of sadness overtakes me.
Didn’t I choose a professional career in the academy to bring me
personal fulfillment beyond the home sphere and mothering? Didn’t I
pursue the professoriate to not succumb to the regulatory fiction of
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
gender – ofBlack women’s work involving gendered roles ofmothering,
service and servitude?
As a BWA/SM in the academy, my pursuits present conflicting desires
about what I want for myself, for my career, and for my children,
creating role strain related to my effectiveness in those various roles.
This strain is often exacerbated by the individualistic demands of the
academy, the duties connected to working with students and within my
cultural community, and being the sole provider for a family. However,
the constant between these varied roles, however, is the gendered task of
mothering. The performance of mothering and its rituals combined
with the daily performance and negotiations of multiple, conflicting
realities create a push and pull. And I do not move through the day with
the mythic, unscathed resolve articulated in the discourse about Black
womanhood or motherhood. At times, I am sensitive about the
continuous barrage of ever­shifting discourses that accompany the
multiple spaces I inhabit. I am a mother and; but, my life is also more
than mothering. Moreover, the performance of mothering is, at times, a
thankless job. Ironically, this very statement threatens the politics
embedded in gender and the symbolic position attached to Black women
who are mothers. So, it becomes politically, culturally, and morally
incorrect to make my previous statement without the subordinate
statement of “motherhood being something that I am also thankful for.”
One’s sense of survival depends on escaping norms by which
recognition is given, while recognizing the tension in becoming
estranged from those same norms. Consequently, though I may desire to
transcend the grid of legibility that defines gender norms, I have to
validate the existence of that same grid that regulates and governs
behavior. Thus, the act of rejecting externally imposed regulations can
either threaten my identity, or it can be a liberatory act in demonstrating
the various shades of what it means to “be”. Thus, the paradox lies in
the negotiation between these dichotomies. Moreover, an additional
contradiction for me is that to voice frustration and discontent with the
regulatory fiction of Black womanhood and motherhood is to also run
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
the risk of drawing criticism about my ability to adequately meet my
many obligations, as opposed to viewing my experience as a critique of
hegemonic discourse and ideological systems that regulate me, and
others like me.
Gender is held captive to representational identities and norms that
are contradictory and problematic. Therefore, we must examine the
“life” of gender, one’s own perceptions and expectations, as well as that
of others. What it means to be a mother is a social construction;
attributes of motherhood and acceptable performances of mothering are
not innate, but are reflective of regulatory norms and symbolic roles
created from social and cultural norms. No one can fulfill these
confining ideals, and people must not look at these fictions as ideals.
Rather, my story is an act of will to subvert gender normative and
racialized standards to affirm myself, particularly as it relates to what I
want to be recognized for, achieve and fulfill. This supports Butler’s
(2004) idea that a person seeks to be recognized for oneself, separate
and distinct from binaries constituted by norms.
As I reflect on my experiences in 2012, I now understand why this
manuscript could not be completed many years earlier. Not only was my
energy not there, but the attempt was premature. I lacked clarity about
my own lived experiences, and about my writing purpose for a story yet
I now write this fina l note three days after Mother’s Day. Less than
24 hours ago, I was presented with the 2012 Distinguished Alumna
Award based on my academic record and commitment to education in
my community. An incredible honor it is to receive from the Dean of my
doctoral alma mater. When I first matriculated there, I was filled with
such uncertainty about what I was attempting to do. I find myself over
swept with unexpected emotion as the Alumni Chairperson reads my
personal biography. Here’s why:
Two days earlier, I watched my oldest daughter walk across the stage
at her undergraduate commence ceremony (from my undergraduate alma
mater). She, at age 23, will matriculate this fall into graduate school on
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
the West coast. My middle daughter graduated from high school a year
earlier and is currently attending a top­tier research university in the
mid­west. And, less than 24 hours ago, I watched my youngest child
graduate from high school. She will matriculate to a major research
institution in the central Pacific to study this fall.
And yes, it is all surrea l, but no fairytale is illuminated here!
However, as I reflect, I am filled with joy and resolve. Thus, upon
listening to the Alumni Chairperson read my biography, which included
a list of my “accomplishments”, I come full circle and am most proud
when she says, “And, she is also a Mother.”
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
Alsop, R., & Fitzsimons, K. (2002). Theorizing gender. Massachusetts:
Blackwell Publishing Inc.
Bailyn, L. (2003). Academic careers and gender equity: lessons learned
from MIT, Gender, Work and Organization, 10(2), 137­153.
Bell, E. L. (Ed.) (1990). The career and life experiences of black
professionals [Special Issue]. Journal ofOrganizational
Behavior, 11.
Bracken, S.J. Allen, J.K., & Dean, D.R. (Eds.) (2006). The balancing
act: gendered perspectives in facuty roles and work lives.
Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Brown, A. F. & William­White, L. (2010). We are not the same
minority: The narratives of two sisters navigating identity and
discourse at public and private White institutions. In R. C. Cole
& C. Pauline (Eds.), Tedious journeys: Autoethnography by
women ofcolor in academe (pp. 149­175). New York: Peter
Butler, J. (2004). Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge.
Cahill, A.J. & Hansen, J. (Eds.). (2003). Continental Feminism Reader.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Chambers, V. (2003). Having it all? Black women and success. New
York: Doubleday.
Cole, J.B. & Guy­Sheftall, B. (2003). Gender talk: the struggle for
women’s equality in African American communities, New York:
One World Ballantine Books.
Collins, A.C. (2001). Black women in the academy: an historical
overview. In R.O. Mabokela and A.L. Greene (Eds.), Sisters of
the academy: emergent Black women scholars in higher
education . (pp. 29­41). Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Collins, P.H. (2000, 2004). Black sexual politics: African Americans,
gender, and the new racism . New York: Routledge.
Collins, P.H. (1991). Black Feminist Thought – knowledge,
consciousness and the politics ofempowerment, perspectives on
Gender, Vol. 2, London: Routledge.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
Covington Clarkson, L.E. (2001). Sufficiently challenged: a family’s
pursuit of a Ph.D. In R.O. Mabokela and A.L. Greene (Eds.),
Sisters ofthe academy: emergent Black women scholars in higher
education . (pp. 161­173). Virginia, Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Creamer, E.G. (2006). Policies that part. In Bracken, S.J. Allen, J.K. and
Dean, D.R. (Eds.) The balancing act: gendered perspectives in
facuty roles and work lives. (pp. 73­92).Virginia: Stylus
Publishing, LLC.
Davidson, M.J. (1997). The Black and Ethnic Minority Woman
Manager: Cracking the Concrete Ceiling. London: Paul Chapman
Denton, T. C. (1990). Bonding and supportive relationships among
black professional women: Rituals of restoration. Journal of
Organizational Behavior, 11 , 447­457.
Denzin, N.K. (1989). Interpretive Biography. Newbury Park: Sage
Publications, Inc.
Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (2000). The policies and practices of
interpretation. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of
qualitative research (end ed., pp. 897­992). Thousand Oaks CA:
Dill, B. T. (1988). “Making your job good yourself": Domestic service
and the construction of personal dignity. In A. Bookman & S.
Morgen (Eds.), Women and the politics ofempowerment (pp. 33­
52). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Doyle, C. & Hind, P. (1998). Occupational Stress, burnout and job status
in female academics, Gender, Work and Organization, 5(2), 67­82.
DuBois, W.E.B. (1968). The souls ofBlack folk: Essays and sketches.
Greenwich, CT: Fawcett.
Ellis, C. & Bochner, A. (2000). Autoethnography, personal narrative,
reflexicity: Researcher as subject. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln
(Eds.), Handbook ofqualitative research (2nd ed., pp. 733­768).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fordham, S. (1993). “Those Loud Black Girls”: (Black) women,
silence, and gender “passing” in the academy, Anthropology and
Education Quarterly, 24(1), 3­32.
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
Gilkes, C. T. (1983). Going up for the oppressed: The career mobility
of black women community workers. Journal ofSocial Issues,
39, 115­139.
Gilkes, C. T. (1988). Building in many places: Multiple commitments
and ideologies in black women's community work. In A.
Bookman & S. Morgen (Eds.), Women and the politics of
empowerment (pp. 53­76). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Gregory, S.T. (2001). Black Faculty Women in the Academy: history,
status, and future. The Journal ofNegro Education , 70(3), 124­
Hale, J. E. (2001). Learning while Black: creating educational
excellence for African American children , MD: John Hopkins
University Press.
Hecht, M.I., Jackson II, R.L., & Ribeau, S.A. (2003). African American
communication: identity and cultural interpretation , 2nd edition.
New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Holt, N.L. (2003). Representation, legitimation, and autoethnography:
An Autoethnographic Writing Story, International Journal of
Qualitative Methods, 2(1), 1­22.
Hooks, B. (1984). Feminist theory: from the margins to the center.
Boston: South End Press.
Hooks, B. (1989). Talking back: Thinking feminist, thinking Black.
Boston: South End Press.
Hooks, B. (1990). Yearning, race, gender and cultural politics. Boston:
South End Press.
Harrison, P. (1991). Woman, Wife, Mother. Tulsa, OK: Harrison House
Hurston, Z.N. (1969) Their eyes were watching God. New York: Negro
University Press.
Jewell, K.S. (1993). From mammy to miss America and beyond:
cultural images and the shaping ofUS policy. New York:
Johnson, E.P. (2003) Appropriating Blackness: performance and the
politics ofauthenticity. Durham: Duke University Press.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
Jones, J. (1985) Labor ofLove, labor ofsorrow: Black women, work
and the family from slavery to the present. New York: Basic
King, T. C. (1995). "Witness us our battles": Four student projections
of black female academics. Journal ofOrganizational Change
Management, 8(6).
Knights, D. & Richards, W. (2003). Sex Discrimination in UK
Academia. Gender, Work and Organization, 10(2), 213­238.
Lee, C. (2005). The State of Knowledge about the education of African
Americans. In King, J.E. (Ed.) Black education: a transformative
research and action agenda for the new century, (pp. 45­72). New
Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc..
Leonard, D. & Malina, D. (1994). Caught between two worlds:
mothers as academics. In S. Davies, C. Lubelska, & J. Quinn.
(Eds.) Changing the Subject: Women in Higher Education , (pp.
29­41). London: Taylor and Francis.
Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider. Trumansberg, NY: Crossing Press.
Mason, M.A., Goulden, M. & Wolfinger, N.H. (2006). Babies Matter.
In S.J.Bracken, J.K. Allen, & D.R. Dean (Eds.) The balancing
act: gendered perspectives in facuty roles and work lives, (pp. 9­
29). Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Munn­Giddings, C. (1998). Mixing motherhood and academia ­ a lethal
cocktail. In Malina, D. and Maslin­Prothero, S. Surviving the
Academy: Feminist Perspectives, (pp. 56–68). London:
Naylor, G. (1988). Love and Sex in the Afro­American Novel. The Yale
Review, 78(1), 19­31.
Nkomo, S. M. (1988). Race and sex: The forgotten case of the black
female manager. In S. Rose & L. Larwood (Eds.), Women’s
careers: Pathways and pitfall, (pp.133­150). New York: Praeger.
Nkomo, S. M. (1992). The emperor has no clothes: Rewriting "race in
organizations." Academy ofManagement Review, 17, 487­513.
Pickney, A. (2000). Black Americans, 5th edition. New Jersey:
Prentice­Hall, Inc.
Philipsen, M. (2008). Challenges ofthe faculty career for women:
success and sacrifice. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
L. William-White - Seeking Emancipation from Gender
Probert, B. (2005). I just couldn’t fit it in: gender and unequal
outcomes in careers. Gender, Work and Organization, 12 (1), 50­
Ramsay, K. & Letherby, G. (2006) The experience of academic non­
mothers in the gendered university, Gender, Work and
Organization, 31 (1), 25­44.
Rich, A. (1976) Ofwoman born -- motherhood as experience and
institution . New York: WW Norton and Company.
Shaw, S.J. (1996) What a woman ought to be and do: Black
professional women workers during the Jim Crow era. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Sherman, W.H., Beaty, D.M., Crum, K.A. & Peters, A. (2010).
Unwritten: young woman faculty in educational leadershsip.
Journal ofEducational Administration, 48(6), 741­754.
Sparkes, A.C. (2000). Autoethnography and narratives of self:
Reflections on criteria in action. Sociology ofSport Journal, 17,
Teevan, S., Pepper, S., & Pellizzari, J. (1992). Academic employment
decisions and gender. Research in Higher Education, 31 (1), 141­
O’Connor, C.A. Lewis, R.L. & Mueller, J. (2005). The Culture of
Black Femininity and School Success. In L. Weis,& M. Fine
(Eds.) Beyond silenced voices: class, race, and gender in United
States schools. New York: State University of New York Press.
Wallace, M. (1978, 1979, 1990, 1999). Black Macho and the myth of
the superwoman. New York: Verso.
William­White, L. (2011). Dare I write about of oppression on sacred
ground [emphasis mine], Cultural Studies - Critical
Methodologies, 11 (3), 236­242.
Williams, L.D. (2001). Coming to terms with being a young, black,
female academic in U.S. Higher Education, In R.O. Mabokela
and A.L. Greene (Eds.), Sisters ofthe academy: emergent Black
women scholars in higher education . (pp. 93­102). Virginia:
Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Zinn, H. (1997). A people’s history ofthe United States. New York: The
New Press.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1 (1)
1Legal segregation of Blacks from White society following the emancipation of
enslaved Blacks.
2See http://kempefoundation.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/precious­wins­two­academy­
3See http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/82/nominees.html
4Reversing preconceived gender roles.
5Demonstrate leadership.
6A reference to the superhero called Superwoman whose abilities had no limits.
7Gilkes, C. T. (1983). Going up for the oppressed: The career mobility of black women
community workers. Journal of Social Issues, 39, 115­139.
8See Gregory, 1999; Teevan, Pepper, & Pellizzari, (1992).
9See Gregory (1995).
Lisa William-White is Associate Professor of Education in the
Department of Bilingual and Multicultural Education at California
State University Sacramento (CSUS). United States.
Contact Address: California State University Sacramento, Dept
Bilingual & Multicultural Educ, Sacramento, CA 95819 USAC.
United States of America. Email: [email protected]
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
Contribuyendo a la Transformación Social a través de la
Metodología Comunicativa de Investigación
Aitor Gómez1, Gregor Siles2, & María Tejedor3
1) Departamento de Pedagogía, Universitar Rovira i Virgili, Spain.
2) Departamento de Teoría e Historia, Universitat de Barcelona. Spain.
3) E. U. de Educación de Palencia. Universidad de Valladolid. Spain.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: Gómez, A., Siles, G., & Tejedor, M. (2012).
Contribuyendo a la transformación social a través de la Metodología
comunicativa de investigación. Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 36­
57. doi: 10.4471/qre.2012.02
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.02
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 No. 1 June 2012 pp. 36-57
Contributing to Social
Transformation Through
Communicative Research
Aitor Gómez
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Gregor Siles
Universitat de Barcelona
María Tejedor
Universidad de Valladolid
Traditionally, researches on groups that suffer inequalities have not taken into
account their voices in the research process. For this reason, they arrive to
conclusions that have led to the reproduction of social exclusion in which they
are living. The communicative research methodology encourages the
participation of these social groups in all the research stages. This participation
in the research process is built through an egalitarian and intersubjective
dialogue. The accumulated scientific knowledge provided by researchers meets
in this dialogue with the contributions from the life world of social actors,
leading to transform situations of social inequality that people belonging to
these groups are suffering. In this article we will also show how communicative
research methodology is obtaining greater political and social impact from the
research results.
Keywords: communicative research methodology, communicative
techniques and communicative analysis, social and political impact, social
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.02
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 No. 1 June 2012 pp. 36-57
Contribuyendo a la Transformación
Social a través de la Metodología
Comunicativa de Investigación
Aitor Gómez
Universitat Rovira y Virgili
Gregor Siles
Universitat de Barcelona
María Tejedor
Universidad de Valladolid
Tradicionalmente, las investigaciones realizadas sobre colectivos que sufren
desigualdades no han tenido en cuenta sus voces en los procesos de
investigación. Al no contar con ello han llegado a conclusiones que han
provocado la reproducción de la situación de exclusión social en la cual se
encuentran éstos. La metodología comunicativa de investigación potencia la
participación de estos colectivos en todas las fases de investigación. Esa
participación se establece en un plano de igualdad, a través de un diálogo
igualitario e intersubjetivo, donde los conocimientos científicos acumulados
aportados por el personal investigador y las aportaciones realizadas desde el
mundo de la vida por parte de las personas investigadas, llevan a transformar
situaciones de desigualdad social que sufren esos colectivos. En este artículo
vamos a plasmar como la metodología comunicativa de investigación está
contribuyendo a la superación de situaciones de exclusión que sufren
diversidad de colectivos y está consiguiendo un importante impacto a nivel
político y social.
Keywords: metodología comunicativa de investigación, técnicas de recogida
y análisis comunicativas, impacto político y social, transformación social
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.02
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
a búsqueda de estrategias orientadas a la cohesión social es
una de las prioridades tanto de la agenda política española,
como del resto de Europa. Uno de los retos a los que nos
enfrentamos, especialmente en un contexto marco de crisis económica,
es la lucha contra las situaciones de desigualdad. La crisis afecta
especialmente a los colectivos más desfavorecidos que son los que más
tardan en recuperarse de sus embates. La experiencia histórica muestra
que las crisis económicas han afectado especialmente a las personas
inmigrantes que han cambiado su residencia definitiva por el país de
recepción o las personas pertenecientes a minorías étnicas. La falta de
expectativas, la necesidad de cubrir las necesidades mínimas, etc., crean
una situación potencial de conflicto.
La metodología comunicativa de investigación desarrollada por
CREA (Centro Especial de Investigación en Teorías y Prácticas
Superadoras de Desigualdades) y aplicada en diversos proyectos de
investigación y desarrollo internacionales y nacionales, ha permitido
obtener resultados de impacto político y social que han generado la
superación de situaciones de desigualdad social. Para lograr ese impacto
es clave la inclusión de las voces de las personas pertenecientes a
grupos vulnerables, como por ejemplo las personas inmigrantes, en todo
el proceso investigador, tal y como propone la metodología
comunicativa (Gómez, Latorre, Sánchez, Flecha, 2006).
Algunas de las principales autoridades en materia de metodología
cualitativa orientada a la transformación social como Denzin o Lincoln
revisan en sus respectivas obras diversos métodos que conducen hacia el
cambio, contribuyendo a avanzar hacia la justicia social de nuestras
sociedades. Denzin y Lincoln se centran el estudio de casos, etnografía
y observación participante, fenomenología, etnometodología y práctica
interpretativa, Teoría Fundamentada, método biográfico, método
histórico, investigación acción y métodos clínicos (Denzin & Lincoln,
1998, 2008). Según estos autores, en los últimos años se ha producido
un debate internacional que ha conducido a la transformación de lo que
Schwandt (1997) denominaba “Epistemologías Fundacionales” hacia lo
que Denzin & Lincoln (1998) denominan enfoques “constructivista,
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
hermenéutico, feminista, postestructural, pragmático, raza crítica
[critical race], y teoría queer de la indagación social”. Estos autores
destacan la necesidad de una ciencia social crítica e interpretativa que
incluya las voces de aquellas personas a las que se dirige la propia
investigación (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998, p.569).
Las personas que realizan investigación social necesitan convertirse
en bricoleurs, artistas que unen piezas de diversas procedencias, para
lograr comprender la complejidad de la realidad social. Tal y como
afirman “esa persona es un artista, un “manitas”, un trabajador
habilidoso, montador de montajes y collages. El interpretativo bricoleur
puede entrevistar, observar, estudiar material cultural, pensar en y más
allá de los métodos visuales (...) construir narrativas que expliquen
historias explicativas; usar paquetes informáticos de tratamiento de
datos cualitativos; hacer investigaciones basadas en textos; construir
testimonios usando grupos de discusión; incluso participando en
formulaciones etnográficas y políticas” (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998,
La metodología comunicativa de investigación revisa las
aportaciones de esta literatura previa y las re-define en el contexto de
una investigación de carácter dialógico, orientada a la superación de las
barreras metodológicas clásicas que dificultan la realización de un
trabajo riguroso basado en la excelencia científica. El rigor científico se
alcanza abriendo el proceso de interpretación a todos los actores
sociales y fruto del diálogo igualitario e intersubjetivo que se establece
con ellos se alcanza una interpretación de la realidad enriquecida, que
hace avanzar el conocimiento científico.
A través de los siguientes apartados vamos a plasmar como la
metodología comunicativa de investigación está contribuyendo no solo
a que avance el conocimiento científico sino también a transformar una
realidad social marcada por la exclusión y desigualdad social de grupos
vulnerables como el pueblo gitano.
De la investigación exclusora a la investigación transformadora
En la actualidad, muchas de las investigaciones sobre grupos culturales
o colectivos migrantes no cuentan con las opiniones de las personas
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
pertenecientes a estos grupos sobre el propio proceso investigador y
sobre los resultados obtenidos. Este hecho genera un cuestionamiento
del impacto que estas investigaciones tienen sobre la mejora real de la
realidad de estos grupos vulnerables.
Las investigaciones tradicionales responden a un posicionamiento
delante de la realidad social que sitúa por encima a la persona
investigadora, siendo las personas tradicionalmente no participantes un
mero objeto al que se sustraen datos. Los objetivos, enfoques, hipótesis
y metodologías utilizadas respondían a esta situación y por ello
colectivos como el gitano y otras minorías étnicas se han posicionado en
contra de ellas. En algunos casos, las investigaciones han fomentado los
estereotipos ya existentes sobre estos grupos y en otras ocasiones, a
pesar de no albergar malas intenciones y proponer medidas de mejora de
estos colectivos, lo han hecho sin contar con ellos y ellas en el diseño,
planificación e implementación (Sordé, 2006).
Debido a que los grupos vulnerables han sido tradicionalmente
tratados como “objetos de investigación” por parte del equipo
investigador, es necesario introducir nuevas metodologías que superen
esta visión tradicional de la investigación. La propia comunidad gitana,
por ejemplo, rechaza las investigaciones que tratan de sacarles datos
para después extraer sus propias conclusiones sin contar para nada con
ellas y ellos.
Desde la universidad se han llevado a cabo análisis sobre la
comunidad gitana donde solo se buscaba el beneficio del personal
investigador, sin tener la menor intención de mejorar la situación en la
cual se encuentra el pueblo gitano. Habitualmente, los y las
investigadoras recogen datos a través de los cuales llevan a cabo sus
propias interpretaciones y no vuelven a contrastar con las personas
“investigadas” los resultados. La participación de los actores sociales se
produce de manera puntual y utilitarista (Macías y Redondo, 2012).
Pero el problema no solo radica en la utilización de las personas para
su propio beneficio personal, sino que algunas de estas personas se
convierten además en expertos y expertas (gitanólogos y gitanólogas),
siendo sus aportaciones seguidas y tenidas en cuenta. Sin contar con la
voz de las personas implicadas es habitual encontrar investigaciones que
fomenten los estereotipos y prejuicios contra la comunidad gitana,
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
ayudando a la reproducción de la situación de exclusión en la que se
encuentra el pueblo gitano.
¿Debemos tolerar, e incluso proteger, una cultura de ladrones y
pordioseros? Pero ¿qué otra cosa pueden hacer? (Cavalli-Sforza &
Cavalli-Sforza, 1994, p.266).
Estas afirmaciones incrementan el racismo existente en nuestra
sociedad y dificultan enormemente la superación de la desigualdad y
exclusión social existente. La investigación comunicativa es
transformadora porque orienta el análisis hacia la superación de esas
desigualdades y la exclusión social que sufren colectivos como el
gitano. Para ello, parte del diálogo intersubjetivo entre el personal
investigador y el “investigado” y rompe con las jerarquías
metodológicas tradicionales que poseen enfoques etnocentristas y
relativas (Gómez y Vargas, 2003).
La orientación comunicativa surge en un momento de cambio, de
apertura de las Ciencias Sociales hacia sectores de población
habitualmente excluidos. Coincide ello con el paso de la sociedad
industrial a la sociedad de la información, incrementándose la
democratización de viejas estructuras y donde la producción del
conocimiento científico se abre también al diálogo con personas
tradicionalmente no participantes. Beck (1998) ya analizaba en el
contexto de la sociedad del riesgo como la actividad científica se
somete cada vez más a debate público.
Este marco de actuación abre nuevas posibilidades de participación.
Personas tradicionalmente excluidas ven como sus voces empiezan a
ser tenidas en cuenta en los procesos de investigación y sus argumentos
tienen peso en la interpretación de la realidad.
No se logra la neutralidad axiológica que propone Weber con la
distancia, sino a través del diálogo que tienen en cuenta todos los
argumentos y conocimientos disponibles, gran parte de los cuales
están en los sujetos estudiados (Touraine, Wieviorka y Flecha,
2004, p.37).
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
Gómez y Vargas (2003) destacan como uno de los elementos
fundamentales dentro de la metodología comunicativa de investigación
es la construcción conjunta del conocimiento, siendo clave la
implicación de las personas investigadas en todas las fases de la
investigación. Se trata de investigar con y para los grupos vulnerables y
no utilizarles en el proceso a conveniencia (Flecha & Gómez, 2004).
Bases teóricas de la metodología comunicativa de investigación
Las bases teóricas de la metodología comunicativa de investigación
parten de contribuciones teóricas de diferentes autores de las ciencias
sociales. La teoría de la acción comunicativa de Habermas (1987)
plantea la inexistencia de una jerarquía entre las interpretaciones del
investigador/a y los sujetos, así como la necesidad de basar la acción
comunicativa en la validez de los argumentos y no en la posición social,
académica o de poder de los hablantes. Habermas podríamos
considerarlo un autor propio del paradigma sociocrítico (donde
ubicamos la investigación acción) hasta la publicación de la teoría de la
acción comunicativa en los 80. El giro hacia el diálogo en su
argumentación nos acerca este autor al paradigma comunicativo.
Las aportaciones de la Fenomenología de Schutz (1967) permitieron
reconocer la relevancia de las interpretaciones de los sujetos, y el papel
que tienen las tipificaciones que hacen las personas en la construcción
de tipos ideales. El interaccionismo simbólico de Mead (1990) afirma
que las interpretaciones de las personas no son individuales y cambian
con las interacciones. Garfinkel (1967) con su etnometodología analiza
dichas interacciones. Su obra supuso una contribución a la metodología
cualitativa porque mostró la necesidad de encontrar alguna forma de
analizar y entender los procesos sociales. De ahí que se resalta la
herramienta de la interpretación, y las diferentes consideraciones que es
necesario tener en cuenta y que afectan a dicha interpretación (sesgos
culturales, de etnia, sociales, etc.). Ejemplifica esas diversas
consideraciones a la hora de interpretar mediante una hipotética
situación en la cual una persona ve como están intentando entrar en un
piso forzando la cerradura, pero resulta ser un cerrajero que está
arreglando la cerradura. La manera más directa y eficaz que disponemos
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
para no caer en interpretaciones erróneas es preguntar a las personas
implicadas. Si preguntamos a esa persona que está delante de la puerta
salimos de dudas y no caemos en una mala interpretación de la realidad.
A su vez, Garfinkel apuntaba también que las personas no eran idiotas
culturales, que tenían la capacidad de interpretar de manera crítica la
realidad. Este factor es clave en el desarrollo de la metodología
comunicativa de investigación, ya que la construcción de la realidad se
lleva a cabo de manera dialógica, donde no existe una jerarquía
interpretativa y todo depende de los argumentos aportados al diálogo
por parte de todas las personas implicadas.
Durante muchos años el dejar la interpretación en manos de las
personas participantes o que estas tuvieran un papel destacado en la
misma ha generado enfrentamientos dentro de la comunidad científica
entre diversos investigadores, los unos defendiendo la necesidad de una
mirada objetiva y neutral a los datos, los otros negando la posibilidad de
la neutralidad de las ciencias sociales. La metodología comunicativa de
investigación contribuye a la superación de dualismos teóricos en
ciencias sociales, tales como estructura / individuo, sujeto / objeto,
relativismo / universalismo, asumiendo diferentes postulados que se
plasman a continuación:
Universalidad del lenguaje y de la acción
El lenguaje y la acción son capacidades universales comunes a todas las
personas, por el hecho de ser seres humanos. Todas las personas
tenemos la capacidad de lenguaje y de realizar acciones (Habermas,
1987; Luria 1987; Cole y Scribner, 1977). Por tanto, desde el punto de
vista de esta metodología, tenemos que abogar por métodos que recojan
y hagan valer la voz de todas las personas implicadas en la realidad que
estamos estudiando.
Las personas como agentes sociales transformadores
Todas las personas somos capaces de interpretar el mundo que nos rodea
y de actuar sobre él. En este sentido, las personas no somos “objetos”
sometidos a las estructuras que generan dinámicas que nos arrastran. La
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
metodología comunicativa de investigación se orienta hacia la
transformación social y para lograrla parte de la base que toda persona
tiene la capacidad de transformar la realidad que le rodea y de esta
forma se abre la posibilidad de superar situaciones de exclusión y
desigualdad social.
Racionalidad comunicativa
Las personas que trabajamos bajo el paraguas de la metodología
comunicativa de investigación asumimos que la racionalidad
comunicativa, tal y como la define Habermas (1987), es la base
universal de las competencias de lenguaje y acción que todas las
personas tenemos. La racionalidad comunicativa implica que las
personas actuamos no sólo por intereses propios, sino que también lo
hacemos para llegar a acuerdos.
Sentido común
Dado que en ciencias sociales estudiamos fenómenos y procesos en los
que hay personas implicadas, debemos tener en cuenta que cada cual
interpreta la realidad en base a su sentido común, es decir, a aquellas
creencias y saberes que ha interiorizado a lo largo de su vida, y que
utiliza para interpretar las cosas que le rodean (Schütz, 1993). El bagaje
científico que aportan los investigadores se enriquece gracias al sentido
común que los agentes sociales utilizan en sus argumentaciones.
Sin jerarquía interpretativa
Las personas que trabajamos con el enfoque comunicativo asumimos
que la interpretación que hacen las personas involucradas en los
estudios que realizamos tiene tanta validez como las interpretaciones de
los investigadores/as. Dado que las personas involucradas en el
fenómeno o en el proceso que estamos investigando son las que tienen
conocimiento y experiencia sobre tal realidad, y dado que asumimos que
todas las personas tienen la capacidad de lenguaje y acción, y somos
capaces de conocer nuestro mundo, las personas que trabajamos bajo
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
este enfoque asumimos que no tiene que haber una jerarquía
Igual nivel epistemológico
Como consecuencia directa del postulado anterior, asumimos que no
existe un desnivel epistemológico entre las personas investigadores y las
personas investigadas. Todas las personas involucradas en la
investigación tienen la misma capacidad de conocer el fenómeno o
proceso investigado. En este sentido, Beck, Giddens & Lash (1994)
apuntaron la desmonopolización del conocimiento experto como un
fenómeno que se estaba produciendo en nuestras sociedades. No
desaparece la figura de la persona experta, pero si aparece un mayor
protagonismo de los actores sociales, lo cuales quieren aportar su visión
sobre la realidad y ello contribuye a que se desmonopolice ese
conocimiento. A través de la creación de espacios de diálogo donde
todas las personas involucradas en la investigación tengan las mismas
oportunidades de aportar sus conocimientos respectivos, se puede lograr
eliminar en gran parte este desnivel epistemológico. El personal
investigador aporta el conocimiento de la comunidad científica,
mientras que las personas involucradas en la investigación aportan sus
saberes y su conocimiento de la realidad que está siendo investigada por
Conocimiento dialógico
Las personas que nos situamos en la perspectiva comunicativa
asumimos que el conocimiento es un proceso dialógico. No es ni un
proceso objetivo de búsqueda del conocimiento (perspectiva
objetivista), ni el resultado de las interpretaciones subjetivas de los
investigadores (perspectiva subjetivista). El conocimiento es el
resultado de un proceso en el que participamos todos y todas. Mediante
el diálogo compartimos interpretaciones, puntos de vista, argumentos,
que dan lugar a nuestra concepción de la realidad. Se trata de un proceso
intersubjetivo de creación de conocimiento (Habermas, 1987).
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
La aplicación de estos postulados, conjuntamente con la organización
comunicativa de la investigación, la utilización de técnicas
comunicativas de recogida de datos y el análisis comunicativo de los
mismos, asegura la obtención de unos resultados orientados hacia la
transformación social y genera, como veremos en el último apartado, un
impacto social y político que de otra manera sería muy difícil de
Organización comunicativa de la investigación y técnicas de
recogida y análisis de datos comunicativas
La metodología comunicativa de investigación, al orientarse hacia la
transformación social, utiliza indistintamente técnicas de recogidas de
datos cualitativas y cuantitativas. La guerra de paradigmas (Denzin &
Lincoln, 2005) ya no tiene sentido, la utilización exclusivamente de
técnicas cualitativas haciendo eco de la inutilidad de las cuantitativas y a
la inversa carece de sentido. Cada vez son más los y las investigadoras
que pasan a utilizar una combinación de ambos tipos de técnicas de
recogida de datos (Tashakkori & Creswell, 2007; Hesse-Biber, 2010;
Mertens, 2011).
Las diversas investigaciones desarrolladas por CREA desde inicios de
los años 90 ya denotaban esa orientación. Lo importante era y es
contribuir al avance de las ciencias sociales contando con la
colaboración directa de las personas “investigadas” en todas las fases de
la investigación y lograr con ello una transformación social. El carácter
de las técnicas pasa a ser “secundario” y toma mayor importancia el
cómo se organiza la investigación para lograr un impacto político y
social que contribuya a la superación de desigualdades.
Después de más de 20 años utilizando metodología comunicativa de
investigación, se han ido perfeccionando las técnicas de recogida de
datos, así como el análisis de la información y la organización del
propio proceso investigador. Todas las técnicas que se utilizan se llevan
a cabo con orientación comunicativa y además de ello existen técnicas
que son propiamente comunicativas.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Organización comunicativa
La organización comunicativa asegura que los resultados que surgen
de la investigación partan de una interpretación dual de la realidad. El
conocimiento científico propio del mundo del sistema se pone a
disposición de las personas “investigadas”. Investigar con una
orientación comunicativa implica tener presente que las personas
“investigadas” deben ser partícipes de la investigación en todo
momento. Por ello, es necesario poner en funcionamiento una
organización comunicativa que lo facilite. La participación los sujetos, a
diferencia de cómo habitualmente se lleva a cabo desde la investigación
acción, se desarrolla aunando mundo del sistema y mundo de la vida.
Tanto en las técnicas de recogida de datos comunicativas como en la
plasmación de los resultados finales del proyecto se combina el
conocimiento académico acumulado (mundo del sistema) y las
interpretaciones que realizan las personas sobre el mismo (mundo de la
En proyectos de investigación y desarrollo como WORKALÓ
(CREA, 2001-2004) e INCLUD-ED (CREA, 2006-2011) se crearon
mecanismos que aseguraban esa participación, como fueron el consejo
asesor, los grupos multiculturales de trabajo o la generación de espacios
de diálogo igualitario que facilitaban la obtención de resultados
encaminados a las transformación social.
El consejo asesor es un organismo que se encuentra formado por
representantes del equipo de investigación y por personas pertenecientes
a los colectivos que son “estudiados”. El principal objetivo de este
consejo es validar los resultados que se van obteniendo en el transcurso
de la investigación y guiar en todo el proceso investigador. Para que ello
sea posible, se selecciona a personas de esos colectivos que realmente se
encuentran en condiciones reales de desigualdad y exclusión. No se trata
de fomentar la participación del presidente de una asociación gitana o
magrebí, sino de que participen personas gitanas o magrebíes que se
encuentran en esa casuística.
Las interacciones que se producen entre el personal investigador y
esas personas generan resultados fidedignos, interpretaciones de la
realidad basadas en la ciencia y el sentido común. Permite, por ejemplo,
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
validar informes relativos a la revisión de la literatura científica que, en
ocasiones, al existir teorías e investigaciones exclusoras que se revisan
para ser incluidas en esos informes, pueden llegar a distorsionar la
correcta interpretación de la realidad de esos colectivos. Ellos y ellas
mismas leen y analizan el contenido de esos informes y valoran si
reflejan correctamente su situación.
En el proyecto AMAL: inmigración y mercado laboral (CREA, 20022005) se creó un equipo multicultural de investigación en el cual
participaron miembros de los colectivos analizados, factor que facilitó la
labor de investigación de manera ostensible. En el diseño de las técnicas
de recogida de datos tanto cualitativas como cuantitativas fue
fundamental contar con la voz de estas personas, ya que se aseguró la
idoneidad de todas las técnicas. A su vez, también participaron en la
administración del cuestionario, siendo clave su presencia, ya que
muchas de las personas que respondieron al mismo no disponían de
papeles y su situación precaria dificultaba poder acceder a ellas.
Técnicas de recogida y análisis de datos comunicativas
La metodología comunicativa utiliza tres técnicas que son propiamente
comunicativas: el relato de vida comunicativo, el grupo de discusión
comunicativo y la observación comunicativa. Dentro del proyecto
INCLUD-ED (CREA, 2006-2011) se han utilizado las tres técnicas de
recogida de datos, junto con la utilización también de cuestionarios y
entrevistas supervisadas mediante organización comunicativa.
Las técnicas de recogida de datos comunicativas se han concretado
partiendo de la base teórica que sustenta la metodología comunicativa
de investigación. Teniendo presente sus postulados, las tres técnicas
obtienen la interpretación de la realidad mediante la combinación del
bagaje teórico sobre la problemática estudiada y las opiniones de las
personas entrevistadas. El personal investigador que lleva a cabo un
relato o un grupo de discusión comunicativo aporta al diálogo con las
personas “investigadas” los datos que posee sobre el problema de
investigación, es decir, pone a disposición de las personas participantes
el conocimiento previo acumulado. De esta forma, cualquiera de las
personas que participa en el grupo de discusión o la persona a la cual se
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
le hace el relato, puede ligar estos datos con su experiencia práctica, con
su día a día. La interpretación de la realidad es dialógica y no dialéctica,
como sucede en el caso de la investigación acción, investigación acción
participativa o evaluativa (Gómez, Racionero y Sordé, 2010).
Para que la interpretación de la realidad sea adecuada es necesario
asegurar el rol que cada persona tiene en la recogida de datos. Que se
potencien espacios de diálogo igualitario no significa que los actores
implicados estén todos al mismo nivel o que se diluyan sus objetivos. El
personal investigador mantiene su rol de persona conocedora de la
problemática y apunta los principales datos con los que cuenta. A su
vez, los actores sociales aportan toda su experiencia sobre la cuestión,
sus sensaciones o creencias. Cada cual tiene su rol y debe mantenerse si
se quiere obtener una interpretación adecuada de la realidad (Gómez,
Latorre, Sánchez y Flecha, 2006).
Otra característica que tienen en común estas tres técnicas es el
retorno de la información a las personas participantes en la realización
de lo comúnmente llamado “segunda vuelta”. Después de transcribir y
llevar a cabo una primera interpretación de la información se vuelve a
quedar con las personas mediante las cuales se ha obtenido esa primera
visión y se contrasta de nuevo. Nuevamente, la consecución de la
interpretación final se lleva a cabo de manera dialógica, aunando teoría
y práctica de manera simultánea y no de manera dialéctica.
Las técnicas comunicativas requieren volver con las personas
investigadas para continuar el diálogo con el objetivo de conseguir
mejores interpretaciones compartidas de la realidad y rechazar
explicaciones parciales e inexactas de la realidad y las soluciones
del pueblo gitano. La idea no es buscar la aprobación sino construir
conocimiento conjuntamente (Gómez & Vargas, 2003, p. 377).
El análisis de datos comunicativo se realiza partiendo siempre de dos
dimensiones de análisis, la exclusora y la transformadora. La dimensión
exclusora contiene todas aquellas opiniones, sensaciones, creencias,…
que nos aportan los sujetos sociales que nos llevan a identificar los
elementos que reproducen o incluso incrementan la situación de
exclusión en la cual se encuentran los grupos vulnerables. Por su parte,
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
la dimensión transformadora incluye toda aquella información que nos
permite identificar maneras, caminos para superar esas situaciones de
De esta forma, el análisis se encamina no solo hacia la interpretación
de la realidad sino a su propia transformación. Las dos dimensiones
guían el análisis del contenido, que siempre variará en función de la
temática de estudio. En este caso, al igual que en otros enfoques, se
establecen cuáles serán las categorías que nos permitirán llevar a cabo el
análisis de la información. A continuación plasmamos un cuadro de
análisis de datos comunicativo que fue utilizado en el proyecto
INCLUD-ED para ejemplificar su funcionamiento.
Tabla 1
Cuadro de análisis comunicativo
Características e influencia de la participación en diferentes
aspectos y contextos educativos
Aprendizaje Socialización Organizaciones Participación Interacción
, valores y y gestión y procesos de
difusión organizaciones
locales y la
Mujer (a); joven (b); inmigrantes (c);
minorías culturales (d); personas con discapacidades (e)
Como se observa, las dimensiones atraviesan las categorías. Cada una
de esas categorías, en este caso relacionadas con procesos de
participación en contextos educativos, puede contener información
exclusora o transformadora, dependiendo del contenido que la persona
“investigada” haya proporcionado. A su vez, se añadieron las variables
relativas a mujeres, jóvenes, inmigrantes, minorías culturales y personas
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
con discapacidad porque eran muy significativas para el análisis de la
información final (se trataba de variables transversales, que debían
tenerse presentes a lo largo de todo el proyecto).
De esta forma, se puede presentar la información partiendo de las
barreras que reproducen la exclusión (dimensión exclusora) para luego
plantear como superarlas (dimensión transformadora) para cada una de
las categorías de análisis. Esta forma de analizar y presentar la
información facilita la consecución de un mayor impacto político y
social de los resultados.
Impacto político y social
La utilización de metodología comunicativa de investigación ha
demostrado tener una gran utilidad en términos de impacto político y
social. En proyectos como WORKALÓ (CREA, 2001-2004) e
INCLUD-ED (CREA, 2006-2011) se ha conseguido que el Parlamento
Europeo apruebe por unanimidad algunas resoluciones que favorecen a
los grupos vulnerables con los cuales se ha estado investigando desde
una perspectiva comunicativa.
El proyecto WORKALÓ se organizó de manera comunicativa. Se
creó un consejo asesor a través del cual se iban validando los resultados
y dando nuevas orientaciones para el desarrollo del mismo. Se
utilizaron técnicas de recogida de datos comunicativas, a las cuales el
personal investigador incorporó los principales aportes de la teoría que
había sido trabajada previamente. A través de un diálogo igualitario e
intersubjetivo con las personas “investigadas” se alcanzaron unos
resultados que combinaban el bagaje científico acumulado sobre la
materia y la visión de las personas gitanas, siendo validados además por
el consejo asesor.
Los resultados fueron presentados en el Parlamento Europeo en el
año 2004, siguiendo la misma orientación comunicativa que había
guiado la investigación. Así pues, se dieron cita en el Parlamento
europarlamentarios de diversos grupos políticos, personal investigador y
personas gitanas sin estudios académicos que habían participado
durante la investigación (desde su inicio hasta el final). Se estableció un
espacio de diálogo igualitario donde confluyeron las argumentaciones
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
de unos y otros. Una parlamentaria europea que acudió al acto presentó
meses después una moción al Parlamento Europeo sobre el
reconocimiento del pueblo gitano que fue aprobada por unanimidad en
abril del año 2005 (European Parliament, 2005). A su vez, un
europarlamentario español, hizo lo propio llevando una propuesta de
reconocimiento de la comunidad gitana en España al Parlamento
Español, donde fue aprobada nuevamente por unanimidad en septiembre
de 2005 (Congreso de los Diputados, 2005).
Este impacto político incide también posteriormente en el ámbito
social. Fruto de ese trabajo se creó en España el Consejo Estatal del
Pueblo Gitano, donde participan las organizaciones gitanas más
importantes en España. Se trata de la primera vez que el Gobierno
Español potencia un órgano consultivo que desarrolla políticas para la
comunidad gitana, siendo el propio pueblo gitano el que decide a través
de las personas que representan a las asociaciones.
En el proyecto INCLUD-ED se desarrolló un estudio de caso
longitudinal entre 2006 y 2011 en dos centros educativos que funcionan
como Comunidades de Aprendizaje. Estos centros se caracterizan por
estar abiertos a la participación de la comunidad en todos los espacios y
buscan los mejores resultados educativos para todo el alumnado,
trabajando desde los principios del aprendizaje dialógico y de manera
totalmente inclusiva.
Cada año se fueron recogiendo datos, tanto cualitativos como
cuantitativos con una orientación comunicativa. De manera previa, se
llevó a cabo un estado de la cuestión que abordó diversas problemáticas
educativas y sus posibles soluciones. Bajo una perspectiva comunicativa
se explota la literatura de manera que se tienen en cuenta tanto las
teorías que reproducen las desigualdades como las que las superan,
remarcando finalmente las teorías que explican el cambio y la
transformación social (las que contribuyen a la mejora de las personas
que pertenecen a grupos vulnerables).
La información teórica más relevante fue contrastada con la opinión
de las personas a través de grupos de discusión comunicativos, relatos
de vida comunicativos y entrevistas en profundidad. A su vez, esta
información se contrastó con la que proporcionaban los cuestionarios
que fueron pasados a familiares, alumnado y voluntariado y con las
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
pruebas de competencias efectuadas al alumnado. Al verter la teoría de
manera dialógica en el transcurso de todo el trabajo de campo y poder
contrastar los datos cuantitativos con los cualitativos se obtuvieron
unos resultados que cuestionaban algunas afirmaciones llevadas a cabo
desde algunas teorías e investigaciones que fomentan la exclusión
social en la que se encuentra la comunidad gitana y árabe-musulmana
en España.
Una idea comúnmente extendida en nuestro país es la relación
existente entre los resultados académicos que obtiene el alumnado en
un centro y la concentración de población inmigrante en el mismo.
Habitualmente se afirma que a mayor número de alumnado inmigrante
en un centro peores resultados se obtienen (hacen bajar el nivel). En
una de las comunidades de aprendizaje donde se llevó a cabo el estudio
de caso se compararon los resultados obtenidos por el alumnado en el
año 2006 con los obtenidos posteriormente y de manera paralela se
comparó como había ido evolucionando el porcentaje de alumnado
inmigrante que había en el centro. Los resultados denotan una clara
mejora de los resultados académicos del alumnado y como el
porcentaje de alumnado inmigrante no dejó de incrementarse (Flecha,
García, Gómez, y Latorre, 2009).
De esta forma, se desmienten argumentaciones basadas en
rumorología y no en hechos y datos científicos. La explicación de los
buenos resultados radica, tal y como se extrae del trabajo de campo, de
las actuaciones educativas de éxito llevadas a cabo en el centro, que
permiten acelerar el aprendizaje de los niños y niñas. Dichas
actuaciones fueron concretadas a través de la investigación
comunicativa llevada a cabo en INCLUD-ED y sus principales
características y valor radican en la transferibilidad y universalidad.
Pueden ser aplicadas en otros contextos educativos internacionales y
también en otros ámbitos.
Estos resultados, entre otros, fueron presentados en el Parlamento
Europeo el 6 de diciembre de 2011. Nuevamente, tanto el
funcionamiento como la presentación de resultados se llevaron a cabo
bajo una perspectiva comunicativa. En el Parlamento se dieron cita
europarlamentarios, personal investigador y personas pertenecientes a
los grupos vulnerables. Las presentaciones más impactantes fueron las
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
de un padre gitano, una niña de diez años y la de una mujer gitana, es
decir, las representantes de las personas “investigadas”.
La niña de diez años explicó cómo trabajan en grupos interactivos y
en las tertulias literarias dialógicas en su Comunidad de Aprendizaje.
Estas son dos de las actuaciones de éxito detectadas a través del trabajo
de INCLUD-ED que permiten mejorar los resultados académicos de los
y las niñas. Al término de su presentación, uno de los
europarlamentarios con los que compartía la mesa, dijo que había sido
la mejor intervención que había visto en el Parlamento desde que él es
miembro, denotando el enorme potencial que tenía la niña, fruto
precisamente de la aplicación de esas actuaciones educativas de éxito.
El padre gitano explicó el cambio que significó en su vida colaborar
como voluntario en la Comunidad de Aprendizaje de Albacete. De estar
en la cárcel ha pasado a trabajar para una cooperativa ubicada en el
barrio. La profesora de su hijo, al ver que éste prácticamente no seguía
las clases debido a que su padre estaba en la cárcel, fue a hablar con los
responsables de la prisión para que le dejaran salir y colaborar en la
escuela. A partir de ese momento, se implica en diversas actividades del
centro y se va formando y este hecho repercute positivamente en los
resultados académicos de sus hijos.
Al generarse un espacio de diálogo igualitario en el Parlamento,
donde todas estas personas podían exponer sus argumentos, se generó
un avance en el conocimiento científico que de otra manera no hubiera
sido posible. Son las propias personas implicadas las que cuentan sus
experiencias de lucha y transformación, experiencias que se basan en un
trabajo científico previo que sienta las bases de la futura transformación
de estas personas y de su entorno.
Así pues, la investigación comunicativa permite obtener resultados
con un enorme impacto social y político y romper con estereotipos
racistas, cuestionando las teorías exclusoras de los que se hacen llamar
expertos en cultura gitana y otras culturas minoritarias. La
transformación social es posible si aunamos ciencia e ilusión.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Beck, U., Giddens, A., & Lash, S. (1994). Reflexive Modernization.
Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order.
Cambridge: Polity Press.
Beck, U. (1998). World Risk Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Cavalli-Sforza, L., & Cavalli-Sforza, F. (1994). ¿Quiénes somos?
Historia de la diversidad humana. Barcelona: Editorial Crítica.
Cole, M., & Scribner, S. (1977). Cultura y pensamiento. Relación de
los procesos cognitivos con la cultura. México: Limusa.
Congreso de los Diputados. (2005). Proposición no de ley relativa al
reconocimiento de los derechos del pueblo gitano. Diario de
sesiones del Congreso de los Diputado s. Legislatura VIII, 27 de
septiembre de 2005, nº114, 5761–5768. Retrived from:
CREA. (2006-2011). INCLUD-ED. Strategies for inclusion and social
cohesion from education in Europe. Integrated Project, Priority 7
of the Sixth Framework Programme.
CREA. (2002-2005). AMAL: Inmigración y mercado laboral. Plan
Nacional I+D+I. Programa de socioeconomía. Ministerio de
Ciencia y Tecnología. Secretaría de Estado de Política Científica
y Tecnología.
CREA. (2001-2004). WORKALÓ. The creation ofNew occupational
patterns for cultural minorities. The Gypsy case. RTD. FP5. DG
XII. Improving the Socio-economic Knowledge Base.
Denzin, N., & Lincoln, I. (2008). Strategies ofQualitative Inquiry.
Third edition . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Denzin, N., & Lincoln, I. (2005). The Sage handbook ofQualitative
Research. Third edition . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Denzin, N., & Lincoln, I. (1998). Landscape ofqualitative research.
Theories and issues. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
European Parliament. (2005). Resolution on the situation of the Romà
in the European Union, P6_TA-PROV (2005) 0151. Retrived
from: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=
A. Gómez, G. Siles, & M. Tejedor - Metodología Comunicativa
Flecha, R. & Gómez, J. (2004). Participatory Paradigms: Researching
‘with’ rather than ‘on’. In B. Crossan, J. Gallacher & M. Osborne
(eds.) Researching Widening Access: Issues and approaches in an
international context. (pp. 129-140). London: Routledge.
Flecha, A., García, R., Gómez, A., y Latorre, A. (2009). Participación en
las escuelas de éxito: una investigación comunicativa del proyecto
Includ-ed. C&E: Cultura y Educación, 21 (2), 183-196.
Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. New York:
Gómez, A., Racionero, S., & Sordé, T. (2010). Ten years of critical
communicative methodology. International Review ofQualitative
Research, 3 (1), 17-44.
Gómez, J., Latorre, A., Sánchez, M., & Flecha, R. (2006). Metodología
comunicativa crítica. Barcelona: Hipatia.
Gómez, J., & Vargas, J. (2003). Why romà do not like mainstream
schools: Voices of a people without territory. Harvard Educational
Review, 73 (4), 559-590.
Habermas, J. (1987). Teoría de la acción comunicativa I: Racionalidad
de la acción y racionalización social; II: Crítica de la razón
fundamentalista. Madrid: Taurus.
Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging theory
with method. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Luria, A.R. (1987). Desarrollo histórico de los procesos cognitivos.
Madrid: Akal.
Macías, F., Redondo, G. (2012). Pueblo gitano, género y educación:
investigar para excluir o investigar para transformar. International
Journal ofSociology ofEducation, 1 (1), 71-92.
Mead, G.H. (1934/1990). Espíritu, persona y sociedad. México: Paidós.
Mertens, D. M. (2011). Mixed methods as tools for social change.
Journal ofMixed Methods Research, 5, 195-197.
Schütz, A. (1967). The Phenomenology ofthe Social World. Evanston,
IL: Northwestern University Press.
Schütz, A. (1993). La construcción significativa del mundo social.
Barcelona: Paidós.
Schwandt, T.A. (1997). Qualitative inquiry: A distionary ofterms.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Sordé, T. (2006). Les reivinidicacions de educatives de la dona gitana.
Cabrera de Mar: Edicions Galerada/Institut Català de les Dones.
Tashakkori, A. & Creswell, J. W. (2007). The New Era of Mixed
Methods. Journal ofMixed Methods Research, 1 (1), 3-7.
Touraine, A., Wieviorka, M., Flecha, R. (2004). Conocimiento e
identidad. Barcelona: El Roure.
Ver: http://creaub. info
Aitor Gómez is Assistant Professor at Departament of Pedagogy,
Universitat Rovira i Virgili.
Gregor Siles is Ph D. Candidate at Departament ofTheory and
History of Education, Universitat de Barcelona.
María Tejedor is Assistant Professor at Teachers College-Palencia.
Universidad de Valladolid
Contact Address: Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación y
Prsicología, Campus Sescelades - Ctra. de Valls, s/n 43007
Tarragona, Spain. Email: [email protected]
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
Reflexionando en torno a la investigación educativa. Una mirada
crítica desde la auto etnografía de un docente
Enrique Rivera García1
1) Departamento de Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal, Universidad de
Granada, Spain.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: Rivera García, E. (2012). Reflexionando en torno a la
investigación educativa. Una mirada crítica desde la auto etnografía de un
docente. Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 58­79. doi:
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.03
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 N. 1 June 2012 pp. 58-79
Reflecting on Educational
Research. A Critical Sight
from the Autoethnography of
a Teacher
Enrique Rivera García
Universidad de Granada
Reflect on lived experience is an excellent strategy to build knowledge. The
text presented intended to be above all a provocation, a thing aimed to
encourage the professors from the Faculties of Education, especially young
people, to stop themselves, if only for a few minutes in order to reflect on the
meaning of educational research. Do not look at it in other way. Here are the
experiences of a teacher after thirty years of work at school, high school and
college. Reflecting on the autoethnography as educational researcher, I wanted
to approach my mistakes, successes and implicit theories. From here, I only
have questions that, asked to the community, I want these questions to open a
debate about what kind of research needs school and how, from the
collaboration, we can all contribute to its improvement.
Keywords: education, research, interdisciplinary, autoethnography
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.03
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 N. 1 June 2012 pp. 58-79
Reflexionando en Torno a la
Investigación Educativa. Una
Mirada Crítica desde la Auto
Etnografía de un Docente
Enrique Rivera García
Universidad de Granada
Reflexionar desde la experiencia vivida es una excelente estrategia para
construir conocimiento. El texto que se presenta pretende ser ante todo una
provocación, un resorte que impulse a los docentes universitarios de las
facultades de Ciencias de la Educación, especialmente a los jóvenes, a
detenerse, aunque sólo sea por unos minutos, a reflexionar sobre el sentido de
la investigación educativa. No lo miren con otros ojos. Son las vivencias de un
docente después de treinta años de trabajo en el colegio, el instituto y la
universidad. Reflexionando desde la auto etnografía como investigador
educativo, he querido acercarme a mis errores, aciertos y teorías implícitas.
Desde aquí, sólo me han quedado interrogantes que, planteados a la comunidad,
quiero que sirvan para abrir un debate sobre qué investigación necesita la
escuela y cómo, desde la colaboración, podemos contribuir a su mejora.
Palabras claves: educación, investigación, interdisciplinar, auto
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.03
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
Al iniciar este artículo pensé que la mejor forma de expresar
cómo entiendo la investigación en el ámbito educativo podría
ser narrando mi pequeña y modesta historia de vida como
investigador a través de una auto etnografía (Berger y Ellis, 2002; Ellis
y Bochner, 2000; Feliu, 2007; Sparkes, 2002). ¡Vaya palabra más
importante: INVESTIGADOR! Sí, con mayúsculas, porque cuando
decimos que una persona, además de mortal, investiga, rápidamente se
nos vienen a la cabeza personas muy ilustres. Si tienen alguna duda
sobre lo que estoy diciendo, bastaría salir a la calle y preguntar a la
gente para que te digan tres nombres de personas a los que etiquetaría
como investigadores. Se imaginan las respuestas. Seguro que están
pensando lo mismo que yo. Bien, pues ahora comprenderán que, cuando
me puse a determinar el punto de arranque de mi historia de vida
investigadora, lo primero que se me ocurrió fue comenzar a rememorar
mis inicios como alumno de doctorado allá por los primeros años de los
90; pero al pronto me paré y me pregunté: ¿entonces, en mis anteriores
doce años de dedicación a la docencia no he sido investigador? Ante
esta pregunta se encendió una pequeña luz en mi cerebro y recordé una
de las frases mágicas de los tiempos de la reforma educativa: el docente
tiene que ser investigador de su práctica (Stenhouse, 1984; Schwab,
1969). Propuesta que posteriormente se está recogiendo en el ámbito de
la Educación Superior, especialmente desde la inmersión obligada en el
Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior (EEES) y todas las secuelas
que está provocando a efectos de metodología docente (Castillo, 2006).
Los años de la ilusión
Pero volvamos al relato. En aquellos años, finales de los 80, a un simple
profesor de Educación Física se le estaba diciendo que no solo tenía que
poner los ladrillos del conocimiento generado por mentes privilegiadas,
además, tenía que “investigar”. Observar lo que pasaba en el aula,
describirlo, analizarlo, compararlo y, a partir de las conclusiones, ser
capaz de elaborar una propuesta que mejorara lo que aquellas mentes
privilegiadas habían diseñado después de largas horas de estudio e
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
investigación. Al mismo tiempo, me sentí abrumado y halagado por la
confianza que se había depositado en mi persona. ¿Dónde estaba el
problema? Evidentemente en que el cambio propuesto no suponía una
reducción del horario lectivo del docente. Se pretendía lograr el tres por
uno (docente, gestor e investigador), pero manteniendo las mismas
condiciones laborales. ¿De dónde saldrían los tiempos para la
formación?, ¿supondría este esfuerzo una subida salarial?, ¿bajaría la
dedicación lectiva?, ¿qué tiempos se reconocerían para la investigación?
Estas y otras preguntas sin resolver que se hace el docente, son las que
provocan el fracaso del nuevo modelo. La verdad es que no sé si por
juventud, deseos de aprender, inexperiencia o porque aún los dardos
venenosos en mi incipiente mimetización con el contexto profesional no
habían surtido el efecto deseado (Santos Guerra, 2007), el caso es que
me animé a ser investigador en mi aula.
En mis años de práctica profesional como profesor de Educación
Física, en lo que hoy podríamos considerar la etapa de Secundaria y
Bachillerato, tuve una obsesión. Mis alumnos y alumnas tenían que
lograr al final del proceso de cuatro años, no sólo alcanzar un mínimo
de adherencia a la práctica de actividad física, sino que además de
“saber hacer”, tenían que ser conscientes de ¿qué estaban haciendo? y
¿por qué y para qué lo hacían? Arnold (1991). Desde esta inquietud fui
pionero en la incorporación del aprendizaje de conceptos, hechos y
principios en mis clases, propuesta que, iniciada en 1983, culmina en
1991 con el “Proyecto Cronos” (Barrera et at, 1991; Rivera et al., 1991
y Trigueros y Rivera, 1991). Mi labor de investigador de mi propia
práctica me lleva progresivamente a ir desplazando la responsabilidad
en el aprendizaje del docente al estudiante, que pasa de ser agente
pasivo y receptáculo de un aprendizaje bancario, a convertirse en una
persona activa que diseña, aplica y evalúa sus propias propuestas en el
aula, (Bautier, Charlot, Rochex, 2000; Freire, 1999; Jonnaert, 2001 y
Jonnaert, Vander Borght, 1999). ¿Le suenan a algo las cuatro últimas
líneas? Coincidirán conmigo que perfectamente podrían pertenecer a
cualquier publicación sobre metodología docente universitaria en el
Pero prosigamos con el relato. Estaba orgulloso de mis
descubrimientos y especialmente de la actitud de mis estudiantes hacia
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
la asignatura. Por fin, después de largos años en los que éramos
conocidos más por el apodo: “la maría”, que por el nombre, la tendencia
estaba cambiando. Además, veía que mi propuesta tenía alcance fuera
de mis aulas y comenzaba a ser utilizada por otros colegas. No sólo
había logrado, después de una década de paciente investigación basada
en el ensayo-error, cambiar mi práctica; es que además había
“impactado”, de forma modesta, pero impactado. ¡Qué palabra más
bonita!, especialmente para los investigadores universitarios. Pero
tiempo tendremos de hablar del impacto, que pienso merece un capítulo
aparte en mi relato. Había logrado cumplir las exigencias de Stenhouse
(1984) y de la Administración, y convertirme en un auténtico y genuino
“docente Logse”. Era investigador de mi propia práctica. La verdad, es
que en los años noventa aún no sabía quién era esa persona tan
importante para la investigación educativa, pero daba igual, para eso
estaban nuestros “referentes autóctonos” de la pedagogía y el
currículum, para traernos el néctar del conocimiento producido en las
más prestigiosas universidades del mundo.
Impactando contra el muro del statu quo
La alegría suele durar poco en la casa del pobre. Animado por mi nuevo
status de investigador pensé que mi formación no podía limitarse a
haber logrado una licenciatura, aprobar una oposición y a hacer un
puñado de cursos de actualización; me veía con fuerzas para emprender
algo importante, para dar un salto de calidad. Esta nueva energía que me
invadía la terminé canalizando en la realización de los cursos de
doctorado. Empresa que no me resultó fácil, ya que los de mi propia
sangre, los que sentía como propios me rechazaron y tuve que buscar
refugio, bendito refugio, en un programa de Didáctica General. El
porqué del rechazo merecería ser contado, pero esto lo dejaremos para
otro momento, ya que la endogamia universitaria no es el tema que nos
Al comenzar los estudios de doctorado, la sensación de ser un
docente investigador, en este caso de mi propia práctica, comenzó a
disolverse a la misma velocidad que iba recibiendo los cursos del
programa de doctorado. En ellos me dejaron muy claro que
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
INVESTIGAR era otra cosa. Que todo debía estar “sistematizado” y
debía ajustarse a una norma previamente escrita: EL MÉTODO
CIENTÍFICO, en el que estaba perfectamente detallado los pasos que se
debían dar para que una investigación tuviera validez (tanto interna
como externa). Yo me comencé a preguntar, ¿entonces, todo mi trabajo
de los últimos doce años qué es? La respuesta fue inmediata, eso es
“innovación”, que es parecido pero no comparable a la
INVESTIGACIÓN. En definitiva, que de un plumazo me bajaron de
primera a segunda división, pero eso sí, con grandes probabilidades de
ascenso si era dócil y me adaptaba lo antes posible al método científico.
Al finalizar los cursos de doctorado, la victoria del positivismo fue
rotunda. Se impuso la verdad absoluta, frente a la relativa; la
observación sistemática frente a la percepción; el contexto controlado y
generalizable frente a la diversidad (Sandín, 2003; Tójar, 2006;
Vasilachis, 1992). A pesar de todo, mi espíritu inconformista y mi
situación laboral en la universidad (funcionario de Secundaria en
comisión de servicio) me permitieron un alto grado de libertad para
elegir. Mi apuesta se decantó por el perdedor: el paradigma
interpretativo. Gran error, sin ser consciente de lo que había hecho,
había firmado prácticamente mi expulsión del paraíso, traducido en un
sistemático “No” a poder publicar en las revistas adjetivadas como de
La verdad es que en aquellos momentos, eran otros tiempos, mis
necesidades no iban por las publicaciones, mi objetivo se orientaba a
hacer la tesis doctoral, que me permitiría alcanzar el grado de doctor. Ni
yo supe, y nadie me hizo ver, la importancia de publicar para poder
aspirar a elevarme en el escalafón universitario. ¡Igual que ahora!, que
algunos tienen en su currículum colaboraciones y publicaciones de
investigación realizadas cuando sólo eran un simple embrión en el útero
materno. Pero desde lo fácil que es mirar hacia atrás, tengo que
reconocer que me faltó un mentor que supiera orientarme en esos
primeros pasos como docente universitario. Alguien que me dijera que
mi condición universitaria era la de PDI (Personal Docente e
Investigador). Yo, en esos momentos, era prácticamente un noventa por
ciento docente frente a un diez por ciento investigador.
Siete largos años estuve como Sísifo cargando la pesada piedra de la
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
tesis doctoral. Lo comparo con el mito de Sísifo porque, coincidiendo
con Camus (1942), podría decir que, a efectos de investigación, la tesis
fue un esfuerzo absurdo (como tantas otras cosas que realizamos en post
de nuestro desarrollo profesional). Reconocida con Premio
Extraordinario, no generó ni una sola publicación, evidentemente la
culpa fue mía, pero quiero hacer mención a este aspecto para que
puedan tomar conciencia de hasta qué punto no exageraba cuando hacía
mención a la desproporción de mi perfil docente e investigador en esa
etapa de mi desarrollo profesional como profesor universitario. A
efectos prácticos me fue de gran utilidad, ya que me abrió la posibilidad
de consolidar mi status y optar a una plaza de Titular de Universidad.
Además me consolidó en una línea y metodología de investigación en la
que aún me sigo desarrollando, a pesar de las dificultades que tengo
para poder publicar en revistas de prestigio, mayoritariamente
gobernadas por unos consejos de redacción y unos revisores que
presentan un alto grado de escepticismo, ante todo aquello que venga
plateado desde modelos cualitativos o enfoques holísticos.
Despertando a la realidad. Defenderse sin claudicar
Evidentemente la
necesidad hace virtud. Cuando el listón de la universidad se eleva para
dirigir tesis, cuando la posibilidad de impartir docencia de posgrado
pasa por tener (no por normativa pero sí por necesidad de acreditación)
tramos de investigación, cuando descubres que los colegas reconocen
tus conocimientos, pero les cuesta contar contigo para una propuesta de
posgrado oficial, ya que no aportas tramos a la solicitud. Ante la pérdida
evidente de status en mi trabajo, inicio el tránsito por las etapas del
duelo que describe Kübler-Ross (2006). En un primer momento lo
niego, esto no puede ser posible. ¿Cómo no me van a dejar dirigir tesis
doctorales después de haber tutelado ocho tesis y diez suficiencias
investigadoras? Pero si llevo más de veinte cursos de doctorado sobre
modelos de investigación cualitativa, no es lógico que ahora me digan
que no puedo hacerlo porque no tengo un tramo. Rápidamente, paso a la
rabia. De acuerdo, si esa es la norma me parece muy bien; que no
cuenten conmigo, que los que tienen tramos sean los que se dediquen a
¿Cuándo se produce mi despertar a la investigación?
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
impartir posgrado y a dirigir tesis doctorales. Pero estos primeros
momentos no dejan nada más que paso a un tiempo de reflexión que
desemboca en una negociación íntima. Comienzo a buscar posibles
salidas, soluciones que me puedan equilibrar emocionalmente, pero la
verdad es que son difíciles de encontrar. Lo normal es que, situado
frente al muro, sin escalas ni herramientas para superarlo, caigas en la
depresión, te vengas abajo, bajes los brazos y decidas que, si no me
quieren como investigador, tampoco me van a encontrar como docente.
Es el momento de la amenaza (luego nunca se cumple, porque tu ética y
tu compromiso no te lo permite), pero al menos lo piensas y lo expresas
en los círculos más íntimos. A partir de este momento me voy a dedicar
a hacer lo mismo que aquellos (no todos) que tienen brillantes
currículum de investigación, pero que pasan de la docencia como de la
peste. Pasado el tiempo, cuando la depresión comienza a remitir, inicio
el camino hacia la aceptación. Analizo el problema, busco con
objetividad las posibles soluciones y comienzo a buscar nuevamente el
equilibrio perdido. La verdad es que comienzo a aceptar lo inevitable,
los tiempos cambian, cambian las prioridades y hay que saber adaptarse.
No quisiera que interpretaran a partir del párrafo anterior que me he
vuelto un adicto a la publicación de impacto, ni mucho menos, creo que
es un modelo perverso y totalmente injusto con aquellas áreas del
conocimiento (como la mía), que no pueden adaptarse al modelo
experimental porque su objeto de investigación difícilmente puede partir
de hipótesis previas y en muchas ocasiones ni tan siquiera de objetivos
de investigación. Nuestros sujetos son personas, no muestras ni
poblaciones, y las variables independientes son los atributos que a fuego
lento han ido marcando el contexto en el que están viviendo sus
experiencias de aprendizaje. Y nosotros pensando que podemos
controlar todas las emociones, sentimientos, teorías y creencias que han
ido construyendo. Mucho me temo que para ello debiéramos ser dioses
en vez de investigadores.
Pero continuemos con el relato. ¿Qué pasó a continuación de pasar
por mi duelo investigador? Ni más ni menos que lo que tenía que pasar.
La reflexión me llevó al análisis y este provocó en mí la necesidad de
reafirmarme en mis principios como investigador, que viene a ser lo
mismo que permanecer fiel al paradigma en el que creo, a pesar de ser
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
consciente de las limitaciones a que me tendría que enfrentar. Continué
dirigiendo tesis doctorales; el único inconveniente ha sido tener que
justificar mi capacidad investigadora ante la Comisión de Doctorado
con cada uno de los Planes de Trabajo que presento. Bueno, tan poco es
para tanto, a pesar de sentirme claramente discriminado frente a colegas
que no tienen nada que justificar, porque poseen la “Q” de calidad que
otorga ser poseedor de un tramo de investigación reconocido. Eso sí, no
he cedido ni cederé a codirigir una tesis doctoral con un colega “Q” por
imposición de ninguna normativa. Curiosamente, me siguen
demandando para impartir docencia relacionada con el análisis de datos
cualitativos en la investigación social en diferentes posgrados oficiales
de mi universidad y fuera de ella. Resumiendo, me mantengo en la
misma línea y modelo de investigación que siempre me ha atraído.
Antes ya lo comentaba. Desde que comencé en el mundo de la docencia,
mis inquietudes investigadoras se han orientado hacia el análisis de los
procesos de enseñanza y aprendizaje. ¿Qué piensan mis colegas?,
¿cómo afrontan el reto de la docencia ante sus estudiantes?, ¿cuáles son
los sentimientos y creencias de mis alumnos?, ¿cómo mejorar los
procesos de enseñanza y aprendizaje?, etc. El problema es que mis
respuestas no las encuentro desde la utilización de investigaciones
cuasi-experimentales o descriptivas. Nunca he llegado a creer en la
posibilidad de garantizar la validez interna o externa y mucho menos de
ofrecer un modelo generalizable y universal. Lo siento, reconozco mis
limitaciones, pero me parece imposible poder trabajar en “campana de
vacío” cuando los sujetos son personas. Siempre me he quedado con la
duda ante un cuestionario si marcar el valor tres o el cuatro, aunque sí
hubiera sido capaz de marcar el tres y medio si hubiera existido y
explicar el porqué de mi respuesta. Por ello decidí continuar mis
investigaciones desde estrategias dialógicas, indagando en el fondo de
las percepciones, creencias y teorías que construyen del mundo y sus
experiencias las personas que desean colaborar conmigo en la
investigación. He disfrutado realizando grupos de discusión, entrevistas,
leyendo narrativas de mis estudiantes, las he analizado, descrito,
interpretado y, de momento, no estoy por el cambio, aunque sé
positivamente que me podría ir mejor en este nuestro contexto
universitario1 .
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Pagando el precio de la independencia
¿Cuál ha sido el resultado de mi empecinamiento en trabajar desde el
lado oculto de la investigación? Que a estas alturas, con ocho
direcciones de tesis a mis espaldas, me encuentro cada día que pasa más
contra la pared de la incapacitación investigadora. Todo por no haberme
plegado a las demandas del modelo dominante. Evidentemente, soy
consciente que en un plazo corto se me negará la posibilidad de dirigir
tesis doctorales o impartir docencia en posgrados de investigación. Ante
esto, ¿qué puedo hacer? Los consejos que recibo son de diferentes
clases. Por una parte, los colegas afiliados a “investigadores
indignados”2 me aconsejan que pase del sistema y mantenga mi
libertad. Excelente opción, aunque ello vaya en detrimento de mi
remuneración económica y mi baño de reconocimiento de ego (la
verdad es que no sé en estos momentos qué es lo que valoraría más)
dentro de mi clan de investigadores para la mejora de la Educación
Física Escolar. Por otro lado, los “cuasi ético pragmáticos”, me
aconsejan que ceda lo necesario, es decir, que haga investigación dentro
del modelo predominante para lograr el tramo de investigación, al
tiempo que mantenga mi línea. En definitiva, que egoístamente renuncie
a mis principios en momentos claves, para aprovecharme de los
beneficios que reporta la docilidad al modelo dominante y que, una vez
obtenido el botín, regrese a mi integridad. Esto me recuerda una viñeta
de “El Roto”, en la que vemos en la parte superior la cara de un hombre
con una pequeña cara en rojo sobre su frente y que nos dice que
"durante años convivió con un tumor que siempre le estaba
recriminando todos sus actos y pensamiento", para pasar
inmediatamente a una visión de la misma cara con un cambio, en vez de
la carita roja sobre su frente, aparece una gran cicatriz en ella y nos dice
que " hasta que un día dio con un gran cirujano que le aclaró que aquella
gran protuberancia se llamaba conciencia y que se podía extirpar. ¡No
sabes cómo ha mejorado mi calidad de vida desde entonces!" Por
último, los “pragmáticos orto evolucionistas” lo tienen muy claro; como
esto no va a cambiar tienes dos posibilidades, o te adaptas al sistema o
pereces, con tus principios íntegros, pero pereces.
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
Provocando la reflexión
Ahora le pregunto a usted. ¿Hasta dónde está dispuesto a ceder para
poder sobrevivir en este gran teatro universitario, que diría Calderón?
Puede optar, o quizás ya lo ha hecho, por la opción moderada; para ello
ha de ser un gran actor y saber ofrecer a cada uno lo suyo, la ventaja
estriba en que quizás, algún día, si es capaz de controlar su ambición,
podría recuperar sus principios. El problema es que, al haber sido tejidos
con tantas mentiras, puede ser que ya no sepa diferenciar los unos de las
otras y no saber salir del laberinto en el que se ha metido. Si opta por la
tercera opción, lo ha de tener claro, una vez más El Roto nos ilustra con
una viñeta inmejorable en la que aparecen dos sujetos, uno vestido con
chaqueta y una gran corbata y el segundo armado con unas grandes
tijeras. El de las tijeras le advierte al otro: "aquí la promoción es por
castración" y el de la chaqueta y la corbata le contesta con total
seguridad: "no importa, yo quiero llegar a lo más alto". Si opta por la
primera y decide dejar a salvo su integridad ética y sus principios,
quizás no merece la pena que se la comente, porque si está empezando
su desarrollo profesional en la universidad y opta por ella, es probable
que dentro de poco le hayan despedido de esta representación y tenga
que buscar papel en otro teatro de los muchos que se mueven por el
Ahora me dirá que es muy fácil, desde mi posición de funcionario
universitario, apostar por posturas éticas y que le gustaría verme en tu
lugar. Tiene toda la razón, pero a cada uno de nosotros nos ha tocado
vivir en un tiempo y en un espacio, y, de momento, no podemos cambiar
de dimensión y posición. Es su tiempo y su espacio y tendrá que decidir.
Lo que sí le puedo narrar es qué opción, de las tres anteriores, van a
guiar mis pasos en mi último tramo de desarrollo profesional. Bueno,
pues se lo voy a desvelar. Cada día que pasa, pienso que hay que ser
más consecuente con tus principios y tu ideología. Por esta razón, a
pesar de correr el riesgo de jubilarme y no haber obtenido ni un solo
tramo de investigación, creo que merece la pena ser capaz de dormir por
la noche, a pesar de no estar operado de la conciencia. Pienso que el
paradigma interpretativo y la metodología cualitativa pueden ser de gran
utilidad para ayudar a mejorar la Educación en todos sus niveles
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
incluido el universitario, en el que muchos piensan que no hay que
educar, que con instruir, formar o adiestrar es suficiente. Sabemos,
después de muchas reformas y aunque sólo sea desde la experiencia,
que las mejoras y los cambios no se producen desde el papel de las leyes
y decretos, por sí solos son insuficientes. Las transformaciones vienen
de la mano del docente, que al final es quién debe cambiar sus teorías y
creencias para incorporar en su cotidianeidad profesional las propuestas
de innovación. No nos engañemos, estos cambios no se pueden hacer
desde fuera, hay que involucrar al docente en ellos, dialogar con él,
convencerlo para que no tenga miedo a ser observado por otros que
desean ayudar y no juzgar. La obligación de un docente es ilusionar.
Una vez logrado esto, el resto viene por sí solo. Nuestra obligación
como investigadores del ámbito educativo es buscar soluciones,
colaborar con el docente para que le sea más fácil generar ilusión en sus
Abriendo el debate
Llegados a este punto, y en situación de desnudo integral investigador,
me asaltan una serie de interrogantes (no podrían ser otra cosa desde mi
modelo) que deseo abrir, opinar, pero no resolver. Cada uno y cada una
tendremos que dar nuestras propias respuestas. Porque no creo en la
verdad única, confío más en las visiones poliédricas que se crearan
desde cada uno de nosotros, a partir de nuestras creencias, teorías y
experiencias vividas. Pasemos a plantear estos interrogantes.
¿Qué entendemos por investigar cuando hablamos desde el campo de
las didácticas específicas? Aprovechando mi participación en una mesa
redonda sobre investigación interdisciplinar, decidí partir de las teorías
sustantivas que subyacían en los participantes del congreso y
olvidarnos, por una vez y sin que sirva de precedente, de las teorías
formales. Para ello hice un análisis cualitativo de las comunicaciones,
de sus títulos y resúmenes. Los resultados del estudio hicieron emerger
que las principales preocupaciones se decantaban hacia el contenido
específico del área y la formación del docente, tanto inicial como
permanente. Fuera de este grupo de escapados y a una distancia muy
significativa emergían otras temáticas menores como la
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
evaluación del proceso de aprendizaje del estudiante y, como no podía
ser menos, el desarrollo y evaluación de competencias. Claramente
descolgados y con una presencia casi testimonial aparecen temáticas
relacionadas con la interculturalidad, la interdisciplinariedad, y la
atención a la diversidad. Si movemos el foco hacia los modelos de
investigación predominantes, descubrimos que se decantan hacia la
puesta en marcha y la evaluación de propuestas de intervención y
experiencias de aula, quedando fuera de foco y con iluminación tenue
los estudios de investigación básica y los trabajos de corte holístico
desarrollados desde metodologías cualitativas. Por último, llama la
atención que el contexto de investigación más utilizado es el que se
corresponde con la etapa de la Educación Infantil, seguido de los tres
restantes, Primaria, Secundaria y Universidad en igualdad de relevancia.
A partir de este pequeño estudio, pienso que nos enfrentamos a un
deseo común: construir herramientas que ayuden al estudiante a mejorar
su aprendizaje. Pero tenemos la percepción de que nos olvidamos de lo
más importante: para hacer un buen trabajo no es cuestión de tener la
mejor herramienta, lo verdaderamente imprescindible es estar motivado
para hacerlo. Por esta razón echamos de menos en nuestras áreas de
investigaciones que apunten más al corazón y menos a la razón.
Propuestas que indaguen por qué estamos fracasando como docentes en
la etapa de Secundaria, o el porqué de la apatía generalizada ante los
aprendizajes de los secretos de cada una de nuestras áreas.
¿Es posible la cuadratura del círculo? Tenemos la sensación, cuando
charlamos con otros colegas, que nos podemos sentir, especialmente los
jóvenes, atrapados en uno de esos dilemas de nuestra infancia, en los
que situábamos simbólicamente a nuestro compañero de juegos en el
centro de una habitación totalmente cerrada, sin agua y sin comida y con
cuatro puertas de salida. Al abrir la primera le poníamos ante el
problema de una gran piscina llena de cocodrilos; en la segunda, el reto
era salir esquivando un foso lleno de serpientes venenosas; en la tercera,
la salida sólo era posible si se pasaba un gran foso de tierras movedizas
y por último, detrás de la cuarta, nos esperaban una jauría de leones
muertos de hambre. La pregunta era simple: ¿por cuál puerta saldrías sin
morir en el intento? Sustituyamos las puertas por: impartir una docencia
de calidad, publicar en revistas de impacto, mantener los
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
principios, especialmente la dignidad y trabajar en colaboración. ¿Por
cuál puerta saldrías? La decisión es compleja. La ANECA te dice a la
oreja que publiques con impacto, porque en caso contrario quedarás
condenado al ostracismo y al olvido universitario. La universidad nos
demanda que impartamos una docencia de calidad, porque nuestros
“clientes” (comencemos a llamar a los estudiantes por su nombre) cada
día son más exigentes e inconformistas. La conciencia, si aún no hemos
pasado por el quirófano para extirparla, nos incita a mantener los
principios. Y por último, la Sociedad a la que me debo, me demanda que
trabaje en equipo, aun a riesgo de que mi hombro sea utilizado por otro
u otros para vivir instalados en la comodidad, al estilo de las viñetas de
Peridis en el periódico “El País”.
¿Por qué decimos impacto cuando queremos decir promoción?3 El
“impacto” se ha convertido en el nuevo becerro de oro de los profesores
universitarios en general, y muy especialmente, de aquellos que
necesitan obtener el visto bueno del templo de la ANECA. Jóvenes
excelentemente formados a los que en muchas ocasiones el “tramo” no
les permite ver el bosque, perdiendo el norte y el sentido del significado
de ser docente en la universidad. Impactar, en nuestro ámbito de
investigación, tendría que significar lograr un cambio real en los
procesos de enseñanza y aprendizaje que se desarrollan en todos los
niveles educativos, incluido el universitario. El problema, especialmente
el percibido por los docentes no universitarios, es que la investigación
es "… un proceso “externo” al aula, cuyos hallazgos poco tienen de
aplicabilidad, en tanto que se alejan del núcleo problemático" (Díaz
Costa, 2009, p.300). Es decir, al igual que los usuarios de la
investigación médica desean una mejora real del tratamiento de las
enfermedades, y así poder ofrecer a sus pacientes la posibilidad de
lograr una mayor y mejor calidad de vida; los docentes, usuarios
directos de la investigación educativa, reclaman soluciones para poder
ofrecer una mejor educación a la Sociedad. (Díaz Costa, 2009). La
realidad es que, al igual que en el mito de Cronos (Saturno para los
romanos), somos devoradores de nuestra propia investigación, cuya
utilidad se limita a alimentar nuestro currículum. La única esperanza es
la llegada de un “Zeus” que nos obligue a vomitarla y conduzca al
destierro un modelo de investigación que sabemos es estéril, en su
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
objetivo primordial: nutrir al Sistema Educativo y ayudar a su mejora.
Pero si las razones esgrimidas hasta ahora no se consideran suficientes
para acometer un cambio real de paradigma, reflexionemos sobre
preguntas claves en torno al impacto. ¿Cómo se logra que una revista
sea de impacto? ¿Quiénes deciden y con qué criterios si un artículo es
potencialmente impactante? ¿Es garantía de calidad que un artículo esté
indexado en una revista de las llamadas JCR? Revisando la indexación
de la Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del
Profesorado4, me choqué de frente con una exhaustiva justificación de
su calidad, pero no desde las estrategias tradicionales, sino desde el
análisis de indicadores poco habituales y totalmente en desuso en el
global de las revistas. Creo que merece la pena como ejemplo de
rigurosidad. Pero además, nos ofrece una visión crítica sobre el impacto,
desde la revisión de una serie de artículos y editoriales que pienso no
hay que perderse si se desea tener argumentos para hablar sobre el
tema5 .
¿Es posible la investigación educativa interdiscisciplinar entre las
áreas? Vamos a ser sinceros, es complejo poder opinar de lo que
prácticamente está por descubrir. Explicamos el porqué de nuestra
percepción. Desde que en este país los gobernantes, porque no el grueso
de los docentes, deciden apostar por un cambio de paradigma en la
enseñanza no universitaria y optar por un enfoque socio-constructivista,
de esto hace más de veinte años, siempre se nos ha dicho que el
aprendizaje de los conceptos, procedimientos y actitudes debiera ser
alcanzado por los niños y niñas desde la globalidad y el trabajo
interdisciplinar entre áreas. A día de hoy, salvo pequeñas excepciones,
auténticas cerillas encendidas bajo los focos de un estadio, seguimos
anclados en una enseñanza basada en modelos conductistas generados
desde el racionalismo cartesiano; lo importante no es el proceso, la
reflexión, el análisis, la síntesis, la comparación, la evaluación, la
aplicación; lo importante sigue siendo la retención de un conocimiento
bancario, inútil, o al menos poco útil, porque no se utiliza para nada,
salvo para tener pequeñas satisfacciones y ensalzamientos del ego ante
los concursos de preguntas de los canales televisivos. Para alcanzar
estos objetivos nada mejor que la atomización del conocimiento en
pequeñas dosis, áreas, asignaturas, unidades didácticas, lecciones,
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
apartados y sub-apartados. Por supuesto, nada más lejos de un enfoque
interdisciplinar y globalizado.
Si cambiamos el foco a la universidad, la historia se repite veinticinco
años después. La empalagosa y ya cargante convergencia con los
modelos europeos nos trae el redescubrimiento del enfoque socioconstructivista para propiciar un cambio radical en la metodología
docente. Cambiemos el foco y pasemos del docente que enseña al
estudiante que aprende. ¿Para qué? Para lograr desde el descubrimiento
y la construcción de sus aprendizajes el santo grial del siglo XXI: ser
competente. Una vez más, el mismo problema que hace veinticinco
años, los dictados son propuestos desde las altas jerarquías
institucionales, no desde el convencimiento del grueso de los docentes.
Pasemos a la aplicación y reflexionemos desde un simple ejemplo. Ante
la primera oportunidad de trabajar de forma interdisciplinar que se nos
ha presentado: la elaboración de los planes de estudio de los Grados,
¿cómo ha reaccionado la mayor parte de la comunidad universitaria?
Desde nuestras percepciones, se ha logrado un alto nivel de
colaboración entre las diferentes áreas, pero sólo para llegar a un
consenso crediticio (lo que hemos venido llamando desde siempre el
reparto de la tarta), eso sí, después de un largo debate al más alto nivel
académico. Para facilitar la globalización de los contenidos se ha
estructurado el conocimiento en grandes módulos de trabajo que
facilitaran la convergencia de las áreas en el logro de competencias
genéricas o transversales (recuerda bastante a los contenidos
transversales de la Primaria y Secundaria). Pero, para no perdernos en la
maraña de la globalidad, hemos definido materias, que a su vez se
abren, al igual que las bombas de racimo, en asignaturas,
mayoritariamente de seis créditos, ya que de esta forma la organización
del semestre de treinta créditos y el curso, de sesenta, se antoja mucho
más fácil. Basta con una simple división para que todo quede igual a
como está ahora: diez asignaturas por año y cinco por semestre. No me
queda por menos que aplaudir el excelente criterio pedagógico utilizado.
Pero no nos preocupemos, ya que en ciertas materias los acuerdos de
reparto entre áreas no han sido posibles. Gracias a este problema se va a
propiciar la interdisciplinariedad, traducida, como viene siendo habitual,
en tú te quedas con la mitad de los créditos, yo con la otra mitad y al
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
final hacemos nota media para la calificación definitiva. ¿Hacen falta
más ejemplos?
¿Investigación Educativa Interdisciplinar? Sí, gracias
No es mi deseo dejar la imagen de un desilusionado y derrotado
converso arrojado en los brazos de la individualidad. Llevo casi diez
años trabajando con mis colegas de forma interdisciplinar, rompiendo
tiempos y espacios, derribando las fronteras de nuestras asignaturas y
trabajando desde un proyecto integrado: “Formar docentes, Formar
personas” (De la Torre, Rivera y Trigueros, 2007, Rivera y De La Torre,
2005, Rivera, De la Torre. y Trigueros, 2009; Rivera, Trigueros, De la
Torre y Moreno, 2010; Trigueros, Rivera, y De La Torre, 2006). La
intención de la imagen pesimista no es otra, que la de provocar.
Despertar su rabia y que, entre todos, cambiemos la mirada hacia otros
paradigmas de investigación, quizás no tan rentables para nuestros
intereses particulares, pero claramente enriquecedores para la
Comunidad Universitaria, la Escuela y la Sociedad a la que nos
debemos. En España ya comienzan a aparecer iniciativas en esta
dirección, por ejemplo la de la Asociación Multidisciplinar de
Investigación Educativa (AMIE)6, que este año celebrará su primer
congreso en Barcelona.
La escuela necesita reinventarse a sí misma, los docentes son los que
tienen que asumir el protagonismo de sus procesos de mejora y
nosotros, desde la universidad, apoyar y mediar para que se desarrollen
con éxito. No nos engañemos, la transformación de la educación no se
va a provocar desde la producción de artículos de impacto. Los cambios
tienen que venir desde dentro; la universidad y en concreto nuestras
áreas de conocimiento debemos estar ahí. Tenemos que pisar más las
escuelas, bajar de nuestras torres de marfil y ponernos el mono de
trabajo. Nuestra obligación es poner a su disposición un equipo
multidisciplinar que les oriente, apoye y anime a promover el cambio.
No hay que inventar nada, porque todo, o casi todo está inventado. Los
modelos de Investigación-acción colaborativa (Elliott, 1990, 1993;
Elliot et at, 1986; Fraile, 1991, 1995; Kemmis, 92; Kemmis y
McTaggart, 1988; Latorre, 2003; Pérez-Serrano, 1990) llevan décadas
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
poniendo a trabajar codo con codo a los docentes de todos los niveles.
Sólo hace falta un cambio de actitud. ¿Se anima?
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
Arnold, P.J. (1991). Educación Física, movimiento y currículum.
Madrid: Morata.
Barrera, J.; Olmos, J.; Rivera, E.; Salazar, S. y Trigueros, C. (1991).
Cronos. Fundamentos de la Condición Física para el alumno de
Enseñanza Secundaria. Granada: Gioconda.
Bautier, E., Charlot, B., Rochex, J.-Y. (2000). Entre apprentissage et
métier d’élève : le rapport au savoir. En Van Zantem, (dir.),
L’école, l’état des savoirs, (pp. 179-188). Paris: Édition de la
Berger, L., y Carolyn E. (2002). Composing Autoethnographic Stories.
In M. V. Angrosino. Doing Cultural Anthropology, (pp. 151-166).
Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Camus, A. (1942/2003). El mito de Sísifo. Madrid : Alianza Editorial.
Castillo, S., y Cabrerizo, J. (2006). Formación del profesorado en
educación superior Vol. II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill
De la Torre, E., Rivera, E., y Trigueros, C. (2007). Creencias y
concepciones de la educación física en evolución: el caso de la
formación del profesorado de educación física en la educación
primaria. Tándem. Didáctica de la Educación Física, 23 , 50-56
Díaz, Costa, E. (2009). Impacto de la investigación educativa en la
práctica docente. (Tesis Doctoral inédita). Universidad de
Granada, Granada.
Elliott, J. (1990). La investigación-acción en educación (1ª ed.).
Madrid: Morata.
Elliot, J. (1993). El cambio educativo desde la investigación-acción.
(1ª ed.). Madrid: Morata.
Elliott, J. et al. (1986). Investigación-acción en el aula. I. Conferencia
sobre Investigación-acción en el aula. Valencia.
Ellis, C. y Bochner, A. (2000). Autoethnography, Personal Narratives,
Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject. En N. K. Denzin & Y. S.
Lincoln (Eds.). Handbook ofQualitative Research. Second
Edition , (pp. 733-768). London: Sage.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Feliu, J. (2007). Nuevas formas literarias para las ciencias sociales: el
caso de la auto etnografía. Athenea Digital, 12, 262-271.
Recuperada de http://psicologiasocial.uab.es/athenea/index.php/
Fraile, A. (1991). La investigación-acción: un método de análisis para
una nueva educación física. Revista Interuniversitaria de
Formación del Profesorado , 10, 251-264.
Fraile, A. (1995). La Investigación-Acción: instrumento de formación
para el profesorado de Educación Física. Apunts, 42, 46-52.
Freire P. (1999). Pedagogía del Oprimido, México: Siglo Veintiuno
Jonnaert, P. (2001). La thèse socioconstructiviste dans les nouveaux
programmes d’études au Québec : un trompe-l’oeil
épistémologique? Revue Canadienne de l’Enseignement des
Sciences, des Mathématiques et des Technologies, 1 (2), 223-230.
Jonnaert, P., y Vander Borght, C. (1999). Créer des conditions
d’apprentissage. Un cadre de référence socioconstructiviste pour
une formation didactique des enseignants. Paris/Bruxelles : De
Kemmis, S. (1992). Mejorando la educación mediante IAP. En M.
Salazar, (Coord.), La investigación-acción participativa: inicios y
desarrollos, (pp. 175-204). Madrid:Popular
Kemmis, S., y McTaggart, R. (1988). Cómo planificar la investigaciónacción . Barcelona: Laertes.
Kübler R. E. (2006). Sobre el duelo y el dolor: cómo encontrar sentido
al duelo a través de sus cinco etapas. Barcelona: Luciérnaga
Latorre, A. (2003). La investigación-acción. Conocer y cambiar la
práctica educativa. Barcelona: Graó.
Pérez Serrano, G. (1990). Investigación-acción: aplicaciones al campo
social y educativo . Madrid: Dykinson.
Rivera, E. y De La Torre, E. (2005). Democratizar el aula universitaria:
una propuesta alternativa de formación inicial universitaria desde
la participación del alumnado. Investigación en la Escuela, 57,
E. Rivera - Reflexionando en Torno a la Investigación Educativa
Rivera, E., De La Torre, E., y Trigueros, C. (2009). Formar docentes,
formar personas: la formación inicial del profesorado desde una
propuesta sociocrítica. Ciclo sobre Complejidad y Modelo
Pedagógico . Recuperado de http://www.tendencias21.net/ciclo/
Rivera, E., Trigueros, C., De La Torre, E., y Moreno, A. (2010). Formar
docentes, formar personas: una experiencia transdisciplinar para
democratizar el aula universitaria. En L’Activitat del Docent:
Intervenció, Innovació, Investigació . (pp. 1-8). Barcelona: CiDd:
II Congrés Internaiconal de Didáctiques.
Rivera, E., Trigueros, C., y Torres, J. (1991). Condición Física 3º Nivel.
Cuaderno de Educación Física para las EE. MM. Granada:
Sandín, M. P. (2003). Investigación Cualitativa en Educación.
Fundamentos y Tradiciones. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
Santos Guerra, M. A. (2007). Enseñar o el oficio de aprender.
Organización escolar y desarrollo profesional. Madrid: Mad
Schwab, J. (1969). College Curriculum and Student Protest. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Stenhouse, L. (1984). Investigación y desarrollo del currículum.
Sparkes, A. C. (2002). Autoethnography: self-indulgence or something
more? En A. P. Bochner y C. Ellis (eds.). Ethnographically
speaking: Autoethnography, literature and aesthetics. New York:
Tójar J. C. (2006). Investigación cualitativa. Comprender y actuar.
Madrid: la Muralla
Trigueros, C., y Rivera, E. (1991). Condición Física 1º Nivel. Cuaderno
de Educación Física para las EE. MM. Granada: Gioconda
Trigueros, C. y Rivera, E. (1991). Condición Física 2º Nivel. Cuaderno
de Educación Física para las EE. MM. Granada: Gioconda
Trigueros, C., Rivera, E. y De La Torre, E. (2006). Aprendizaje
colaborativo en la formación de Maestros. Una experiencia
práctica. Tándem. Didáctica de la Educación Física, 20, 45-55
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Vasilachis, I. (1992). Métodos cualitativos I. Los problemas teóricoepistemológicos. Buenos Aires: Centro editor de América Latina.
1 Con
el permiso de Juan Cuesta, presidente de la comunidad de propietarios de
Desengaño 21
2 Los nombres entrecomillados que aparecen en el párrafo son ficticios, aunque están
inspirados en sucesos reales.
3 Inspirado en el título de la película: “Por qué lo llaman amor cuando quieren decir
sexo”, de Fernando Colomo y Manuel Gómez Pereira.
5 Camí, J. (1997). Impactolatría: diagnóstico y tratamiento. En Medicina Clínica. VOL.
109. Nº. 13.; Juan José Ibáñez (2008). Factor de Impacto: Llamando a las Puertas del
http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/universo/2008/09/14/100874 ; Aréchaga, J. (2009).
Las revistas científicas españolas y el fraude bibliométrico. En
ude/bibliometrico/elpepusoc/20090911elpepusoc_7/Tes ; Tomá Opatrný, “Playing the
system to give low-impact journal more clout,” En Nature 455, 167.
Enrique Rivera García is Associate Professor at the Department
of Didáctica de la Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal,
Univerisdad de Granada , Spain.
Contact Address: Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación de
Granada, Campus de Cartuja s/n, C.P. 18071, Granada, España.
Email: [email protected]
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
Analysis of the Effects of the Implementation of Cooperative
Learning in Physical Education
Carlos Velázquez Callado1
1) Departamento de Explresión Musical, Plastica y Corporal, Universidad de
Valladolid, Spain.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: Velázquez Callado, C. (2012). Analysis of the Effects of
the Implementation of Cooperative Learning in Physical Education.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 80­105. doi: 10.4471/qre.2012.04
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.04
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 No. 1 June 2012 pp. 80- 105
Analysis of the Effects of the
Implementation of
Cooperative Learning in
Physical Education
Carlos Velázquez Callado
Universidad de Valladolid
Our research was oriented to test the effects of a structured program of
cooperative learning in Physical Education classes with students in grades 5
and 6 of primary school, with and without previous experience with this
methodology. In a second phase we sought to determine how students
perceived the received classes for a time later. We analysed data collected
during implementation, through cooperative learning, of two teaching units to a
total of six groups of students; in addition, a number of interviews, five
individual and one collective, were carried out to a total of 10 former students
who had left school between one and five years earlier. The results show the
positive effects of cooperative learning on students' motor performance, and
some social achievements such as a greater autonomy of the students in the
learning process, an increasing in prosocial behaviours and the inclusion of
pupils with special educational needs. On the other hand, as time went on, the
students rated the received classes as cooperative, participatory, funny and
useful, emphasizing peer support as a key factor that enabled them to learn in
Physical Education.
Keywords: cooperative learning, physical Education, inclusive education,
motor achievement, social achievement
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.04
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
n the early 90's the implementation of cooperative techniques
in the subject of Physical Education (P.E.) was something
alternative and rare, limited to occasional cooperative games.
At best, it was limited to the implementation of a learning unit focused
on cooperative activities but normally with a small connection to the
rest of the syllabus. To some extent, it appeared as an island where
students experienced cooperation but soon they returned to the immense
ocean of traditional methods based on competitive or individualistic
approaches for the lessons.
As this situation has currently changed, we can state that the number
of publications on the use of cooperative practices in P.E. lessons has
increased significantly. This fact is contributing not only to facilitate its
implementation (Gil & Naveiras, 2007; Fernández-Río & Velázquez,
2005; Velázquez, 2010) but also to its integration as any other resource
in the syllabus of P.E. (López-Pastor, 2009; Álvarez, Bernabé & GarciaGarcia, 2010).
Nevertheless, the use of planned samples of cooperative learning in
P.E. is still rare, in spite of the use of cooperative games aimed at
working on different motor skills contents or even in spite of diverse
proposals for activities based on team work, (Dyson, 2001). Some
teachers wrongly associate group work with cooperative learning even
though several authors have clearly specified the differences between
both concepts (Marin & Blázquez, 2003; Pujolás, 2008). Other teachers
associate cooperative learning with cooperative play considering them
synonyms although the differences between these terms have been
explained as well (Velázquez, 2004a, 2010, 2012).
Cooperative learning is an educational methodology based on
working in small and usually heterogeneous groups, in which students
work together to expand or hone their own skills and those of other
group members (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1999; Velázquez, 2010).
We would like to emphasize the key point of the definition, which
characterizes cooperative learning and differentiates it from group work:
the concern of every member of the team, not only about himself or the
task at hand but also concerning each of his peers. Metzler (2011, p.
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
227) defines it as a methodology in which “students learn with, from
and for their peers”. Besides, it is included among the eight models of
instruction applied in P. E. which he considers, as he pointed out, more
than a model itself; cooperative learning involves a set of teaching
strategies implying its own defining characteristics.
In recent years, there have been several studies focusing on the
implementation of cooperative learning in P.E. that demonstrate their
effectiveness in: (a) promoting the integration of students with
disabilities (Cervantes, Cohen, Hersman & Barrett, 2007; Grenier,
Dyson & Yeaton, 2005); (b) improving social skills and interpersonal
relationships (Barba, 2010; Dunn & Wilson, 1991; Dyson, 2001;
Fernández-Río, 2003; Goudas & Magotsiou, 2009; Polvi & Telama,
2000; Velázquez, 2004b); (c) promoting students' self-concept
(Fernández-Río, 2003); (d) promoting autonomy and teamwork ability
(Velázquez-Buendía, 1996; Velázquez, 2004b, 2006); (e) increasing
levels of fitness (Grineski, 1993); (f) generating motivation for motor
exercise (Barba, 2010; Fernández-Río, 2003; Velázquez, 2006); (g)
improving behavior in classrooms (Barrett, 2000, 2005; Dunn &
Wilson, 1991; Velázquez & Fernández-Arranz, 2002); and (h)
promoting motor performance (Bähr, 2010; Barrett, 2000, 2005; Casey,
2010; Gröben, 2005).
Thus, we can say that there is sufficient empirical evidence showing
the achievements of cooperative learning in comparison with traditional
teaching models based on competitive or individualistic approaches
(Fernández-Río, 2003; Goudas & Magotsiou, 2009; Gröben, 2005).
The aim of this research was to test the effects obtained when
implementing a well-defined program of cooperative learning in P.E.
lessons with students belonging to the third cycle of Primary Education,
with and without previous experience with this methodology. In
addition, we sought to determine how students perceived P.E. lessons
based on cooperative learning over time. With all this, we tried to take a
step forward in a currently unexplored field of research. The reason was
that, in spite of our efforts searching, it was impossible to find any study
showing what memories endure from the use of cooperative learning in
the classroom after having stopped working with this methodology.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
The research took place in a state school located on the outskirts of a
provincial capital town of Castile and Leon in Spain. Data from P.E.
lessons which were based on cooperative learning through the delivery
of two didactic units taught by a single teacher were collected and
analyzed. One of the units, aimed at learning individual and pair rope
jumping was developed with students belonging to year 5 at the Primary
Stage. The other one, aimed at learning the basics of acrobatic
gymnastics, performance of routines in pairs, and the creation of new
routines, was conducted for students in year 6 of Primary Education.
Implementing the Didactic Units based on Cooperative Learning
The didactic unit “rope jumping together” was developed with students
in year 5 of Primary Education with no previous experience in
systematic cooperative learning. According to Pujolás (2008, pp. 154155) “before introducing cooperative learning, the group must be
minimally prepared gradually creating a favorable atmosphere for
cooperation, mutual help and solidarity.” In this sense, we followed the
recommendations given by León (2002) and a unit of cooperative games
and group dynamics was developed before working on cooperative
learning. It was aimed at determining the level of social skills and group
cohesion among students and presenting the logical structure of
cooperative processes. Consequently, the teacher reinforced any helping,
supportive or cooperative behavior manifested in the classroom.
The unit was delivered through a cooperative learning method named
“Learning Teams” (Grineski, 1996), with teams of 4 or 5 students. Here
the teacher provides an explanation of the motor skills to be developed,
indicating to the students their achievement goals. Then, the students
work on different teams in which each member plays a specific role:
note taker, supporter, equipment keeper, task manager... In our case,
each student played a different role in each of the sessions throughout
all of them along the teaching unit. Finally, students were assessed and
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
marked according to the level of attainment of the goals before
mentioned and bonuses or penalties were consequently assigned to the
A set of teaching resources aimed at promoting the autonomy of the
different cooperative learning teams were designed for the instruction of
the unit. These were a document of goals and personal duties, a working
outline or working guide as well as some control tables. These tables
were filled by the team during the lessons in order to meet two
objectives: (a) to provide information to teachers about their students’
individual and collective achievements and (b) to promote the different
collaborative learning teams to process information together and to
make decisions based on the work done.
The structure was developed in an initial session, devoted to present
to the students the goals of the didactic unit, the line of work and the
resources. Then, all of the teams took part in three lessons of P.E. per
week: two one-hour sessions and one half-hour session, for one month.
The one-hour sessions took place in two different stages. The first was
aimed at achieving the goals of individual and pair rope jumping by
working in learning teams for 20-25 minutes of actual practice. In
addition, they spent 5-10 more minutes to fill the documents. For the
second session, the students worked on suggestions for collective rope
jumping facing the challenge in a cooperative way either as a whole
group or divided into two teams. During the half-hour sessions, the
students worked on collective rope jumping.
After the first two weeks, students took an individual rope jumping
test and two weeks later a pair rope jumping test taking into account that
the individual marks affected the group as a whole. Consequently, if the
whole learning team could exceed the set goal, they would get bonuses
depending on the level of attainment. On the contrary, if one of the team
members did not reach the goal, the rest of his team mates would be
penalized. Prior to beginning the task, the students were informed that
the final mark would depend not only on the results of the jumping tests
but also on the work done during the classroom sessions. It would
depend on the degree of commitment to the personal duties, on how
well the time was used and on their helping attitude within the learning
teams. In other words, the process would be valued as much as the
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
The didactic unit on acrobatic gymnastics was developed, also
through learning teams, with students in year 6 of Primary Education
who had already worked with structured cooperative learning for the
previous year. The unit consisted of ten sessions of one hour per week.
The same way as in the previous case, a set of learning resources was
also designed including a document for goals and assessment criteria
and some worksheets on acrobatic gymnastics routines. They were
designed to promote the processes of self and peer assessment within
the teams.
The first session was again devoted to explain the process and the
materials. Then, the second session was delivered. The safety rules
when performing acrobatic gymnastics were explained and it was
confirmed that the students had understood them. Following, they were
freely grouped into pairs and three pairs were grouped together in order
to form each of the learning teams. The students worked on creative
production of acrobatic gymnastics routines in pairs throughout four
sessions. They were always assessed by another pair belonging to the
same learning team. After the four sessions this process was assessed
according to the number of acrobatic gymnastics routines that were
properly performed.
Finally, we developed a second part of the learning process through
the collaborative creation of collective acrobatic gymnastics routines by
the students themselves. The process was evaluated and graded
according to the quantity, originality and difficulty of these routines.
Prior to the development of the didactic unit, one out of the three
teams in each class of year 5 was randomly chosen to decide freely how
to group their learning team, providing that it was decided reaching a
consensus. In the other two groups, the teacher formed the teams
according to diversity criteria in gender, ethnicity and initial level of
motor skills. These criteria were combined with elements of socialaffective skills. For instance, children with more difficulties in relating
with others were placed in the same group with children who had more
pro-social attitudes, while two children with a tendency to be distracted
from the task were prevented from being together. The process was the
same for the teams of year 6 but in two of the teams the students made
the teams freely and the teacher created the remaining teams with the
couples who were already formed.
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
Data Collection
The research was conducted in two stages. In the first one, we analyzed
the teacher’s diary corresponding to the development of the before
mentioned two didactic units where cooperative learning was
implemented: “rope jumping together” and “acrobatic gymnastics”. This
information was supplemented by analyzing the syllabus, assessment
tools, qualifications records, student worksheets and notes, thoughts,
and statements collected from various student notebooks that caught the
teacher’s attention. We also analyzed the diaries of four outside
observers (two student teachers who were in their training time and two
P.E. teachers) who observed the classroom during the didactic units and
who carried out fourteen individual interviews that were made to
different students during the unit “rope jumping together”.
At the second stage of the investigation, we interviewed five former
students, 3 boys and 2 girls, individually and in a semi-structured way.
Each of them had finished Primary Education in a different year
throughout the last five consecutive years. In addition, a group interview
with 5 former student, 2 boys and 3 girls, who had left school two years
ago in order to start Secondary Education, was also conducted.
Accessibility to families was the criteria for the selection of students. In
all cases the procedure was the same: first, the parents were informed
about what we wanted to investigate; then, their availability was
considered; we asked them to discuss the process with their son or
daughter or to allow us to do it. Once the student showed willingness to
participate in this research, we set a place, date and time for the
Data Analysis
In the first phase of the research, the analysis of the data was focused on
determining the main effects of the implementation of cooperative
learning in P.E. lessons. Taking the theoretical framework as a starting
point (Johnson & Johnson, 1999; Slavin, 1999; Velázquez, 2010), we
focused on the benefits of cooperative learning in two major fields:
achievement in motor development which is characteristic of the area of
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
P. E., and achievement in social learning, improvement of social skills,
development of social skills... Moreover, affective accomplishment was
also considered, such as positive manifestations of a student to succeed
in a task with a certain level of difficulty.
Thus, we decided to start from the quantitative results obtained in the
tests designed to determine students' motor performance in order to
assess their motor development, for instance, in activities such as rope
jumping and acrobatic gymnastics. Subsequently, this data was
supplemented with other information not only on the progress of the
children but also on the difficulties that they were overcoming during
the learning process. This data was taken from the teacher’s diary.
In order to identify the social and emotional achievements, priority
was given to the resulting data from the triangulation of the teacher’s
observations along with those of the outside observer as well as with
data from the interviews with students. The information obtained was
supplemented with data from some teams’ assessment tools such as
rubrics designed to determine the degree of cooperation or a survey to
check the acceptances and repulses within the team.
The data analysis began with the identification in the texts of relevant
data to the core topic which we are interested in: different effects of the
implementation of cooperative learning in the classroom. This was
followed by a second analysis of the data, organizing it into a set of
emerging categories which facilitated its treatment.
The second phase of research focused on the content analysis of
individual interviews and the collective ones. They were carried out
with former students in order to find the answers to three questions:
what do the students remember from the P.E. lessons at school?, how is
their perception of the lessons? and what are the differences between the
P.E. lessons at school and at high school?
Effects of Cooperative Learning on Motor Development
After the learning process of each of the didactic units developed with
cooperative learning, the analysis of the results obtained by the students
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
reveals that, in general, almost all the students achieved the proposed
goals for motor development although that does not happen in all cases.
The following tables show the results obtained by different teams of
cooperative learning in individual and pair jumping rope and in
collective acrobatic gymnastics routines. These grades were based just
on the results obtained by the different groups in the rope jumping and
acrobatic routines performance tests. Therefore, it does not correspond
to the final grade of students. As we have already noted, other factors
which have to do with the learning process as well as bonuses and
penalties obtained by the teams based on the results of their individual
members were also taken into account for the final grades.
Table 1
Grades obtained by students in each ofthe objectives for rope skipping
Group 1
Learning Team 1
Learning Team 2
Learning Team 3
Learning Team 4
Learning Team 5
Group 2
Learning Team 1
Learning Team 2
Learning Team 3
Learning Team 4
Learning Team 5
Group 3
Learning Team 1
Learning Team 2
Learning Team 3
Learning Team 4
Learning Team 5
Individual Jumping
Pair Jumping
8, 14
7, 53
7, 84
7, 47
6, 37
6, 92
7, 79
7, 46
7, 63
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Table 2
Grades obtained by students in creating collective acrobatic gymnastics
Group 1
Team 1
Team 2
Team 3
Group 2
Team 1
Team 2
Team 3
Group 3
Team 1
Team 2
Team 3
A remarkable fact is that when students with special initial difficulties
performed the tasks, their motor performance was much higher than
others with a higher initial ability, meeting the learning objectives. This
is the case of Pedro1 , a child with important autistic disorders who
started from a seriously impaired motor and social level. In fact, as it is
recorded in the teaching diary, in the initial session he could not even
lift his feet from the ground to jump the rope, “Pedro keeps on receiving
support through verbal instructions. I approach them and I give them
directions to enable him to jump without a rope but with his feet
together and to do it rhythmically."
Taking into account the special difficulties presented by the child, the
teacher intervened by adapting the task to make a chance of success
possible. The teacher suggested to the learning team that Pedro’s goal
could be jumping “the little clock” (a person holds a tip of the rope
spinning around at the ground level and another jumps when
approaching the other tip) since it was virtually impossible for the pupil
to be able to coordinate his arms and legs together. “I give Pedro’s team
instructions to make him try to jump “the little clock” which is an easier
task that will demand him to lift his feet from the ground at a certain
pace. This is the first thing to achieve.”Two weeks later, Pedro managed
not only to jump “the little clock” but he also achieved the minimum
required jumps, fifteen in a row, without difficulty.
Two weeks later, Pedro managed not only to jump “the little clock”
but he also achieved the minimum required jumps, fifteen in a row,
without difficulty.
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
With respect to pair jumping, we must note that Pedro was able to rise
to the same challenge that had been issued to all the students without
any curriculum adaptation. The challenge was to skip in pairs more than
15 consecutive jumps performed in three different ways which must
have been previously agreed upon by the whole team. Their grade was
Finally, we must highlight that the higher or lower academic
performance of the learning teams did not depend on whether the
teacher was the one in charge of grouping the students (groups 1 and 3
in rope jumping, and group 3 in acrobatic gymnastics) or the students
freely on their own (groups 2 in rope jumping, and groups 1 and 2 in
acrobatic gymnastics). In fact, the lowest motor performance was found
in those teams with more conflicts and less commitment to individual
responsibilities. Even all the students who were interviewed considered
the systematic failure to fulfill several responsibilities during the
working sessions as a fundamental reason for the low performance of
their teams.
Effects of Cooperative Learning on Social development
The classroom observations which were recorded in the teaching diary
by the teacher and by the outside observers, along with the students’
interviews were analyzed in order to test the effects of cooperative
learning on social development. It led us to identify three major
achievements: (a) greater autonomy in the learning process; (b) increase
of social skills and pro-social attitudes; and (c) inclusion of pupils with
special educational needs.
Greater autonomy in the learning process
An initial tendency to organize themselves individually or in pairs
within the same group was observed in some teams. Consequently, it
was written on the external observer’s diary corresponding to the first
session: “some have not followed the instructions exactly as a team but
individually. “
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Virtually all the learning teams left the individualistic organization as
they advanced in working as a team and while the decisions aimed at
assisting people with difficulties in the group were increased. These
decisions involved in many cases different ways of grouping within the
team targeted at reaching the maximum motor performance. Here we
have an example taken from the teacher’s diary: “Cristina asks if all the
members in her team could advance except for a person who would
support Carlos. I answer that they could do it like this as long as Carlos
had no lack of support.” Feedback for peers is sometimes considered as
a priority even when it is temporary limiting the motor performance:
“Miguel jumps backwards while his teammates are watching him. [...]. I
approach them and I tell them that several people could jump at once.
Yes, but we can control ourselves better like this. “
The degree of autonomy in the teams, and consequently the level of
decision making increased as the sessions progressed and as they got
used to the innovations of working on cooperative learning. According
to the external observer, “waiting times as well as decision-making
moments are being decreased as the sessions go by” which allowed the
different teams to increase the working time on motor skills.
Increasing pro-social attitudes
Most students tended to support each other, especially when someone
expressed any difficulty with the task. The type of aid given was aimed
at verbalizing the partner’s mistakes, giving directions, suggesting
solutions or introducing facilitators. Thus, with regard to Hector’s
difficulties, “Elena tells him that his problem is that he goes very
quickly.” There was also frequent positive reinforcement of any
achievement as well as encouragement to cope with difficulties. This
fact was noticeable to the external observer who wrote in his diary:
“motor skills acquired as a team do not limit the progress of the
individuals. On the other hand, individual motor skills are always
improved not only due to their own personal satisfaction but thanks to
the general reinforcement of the team too.”
It is also remarkable that in most of the groups very few conflicts
appeared and, what is even more important, they learned to find
consensus solutions to them. It is stated in the interview to Guadalupe:
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
- Have you found any kind of conflict during the sessions?
- Yes, I said that we had to jump five times in a row with 15
hops graded or more in order to move to the next one. However,
Rocío and Quetzalli said that just three hops.
- And how did you solve it?
- Well… finally, four; neither what Quetzalli and Rocío said, nor
what I said.
Inclusion of students with special educational needs
Pedro was included, by elimination, in a group of three girls with a high
degree of pro-social attitudes which undoubtedly contributed to the
achievements of the child. Some students expressed in a remarkable
way the little confidence that his partners had in Pedro’s ability to skip
the rope, “they believed that he would not be able to jump”, “I think it
was either because he jumped incorrectly or because he did not
cooperate. Well, he was sometimes uncooperative but he has finally
jumped properly, like everyone else.”
From the first moment, Pedro had the support of his team and they
made him assume his personal duties starting with the role of equipment
manager because “Rocío says that it is the easiest task and that it is
better to start there before playing another more complex role. He is the
first one to pick up the ropes and to give them out.” A remarkable fact
was that the celebration of Pedro’s achievements was the same as the
collective ones. Positive reinforcement became the engine of learning
and this fact was written down by the teacher in his diary:Pedro is trying
to skip forward supported by Rocío, who does not stop encouraging
him. When he performs a leap, Rocio runs to me to tell me, “he has
taken a leap forward!” They try “the little clock” again with his feet
together. He got it. [...] Rocío comes up to me in order to show me a
sheet with the leaps of their group. She comes with Guadalupe and says,
“Look how well Pedro is doing!” Good news! The external observer
also highlights the “improvement of all the students in certain motor
skills for jumping, rhythm as well as jumping in and out from the rope.
The improvement of Pedro was very specially stressed,” noting that “I
feel that the positive reinforcement of the team is particularly beneficial
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
to him.” Pedro's achievements in rope jumping helped him to be
accepted by his peers for the rest of the motor activities that took place
after the didactic unit “rope jumping together.”
Effects of Cooperative Learning on Affective Development
The main effects of cooperative learning on the affective level are found
among those students with lower motivation to motor exercise. After the
learning process supported by their peers, they achieve goals that they
initially doubted they would be able to do. We have just mentioned, for
instance, Pedro’s success in rope jumping. These results helped to
promote the child’s proper motivation and the acquisition of a sense of
motor competence that he expressed in his essay at the end of the unit:
At first, I thought the task was too much. I could not cope with the
small rope. When I tried the long rope, I leaped for the first time in
my life. The second one was backward with the small rope, thanks
to the help that I received when I jumped in pairs and alone. And I
have already mastered the long rope. It is the last frontier, here we
Thus, there was a child with special difficulties who established a
relationship with his peers and finally, he was able to participate
regularly in all the activities suggested during the lessons although his
participation in the P.E. lessons with his previous teacher had been
merely sporadic, limited to very few specific activities.
And finally... what's left?
We have analyzed the short term effects of cooperative learning, but
what is still engraved in the students’ memory after working with this
methodology as time goes by? We interviewed several people trying to
answer this question. The students interviewed had stopped working
with cooperative learning when they moved to Secondary Education,
having worked with this methodology in school.
Most of the former students who were interviewed emphasized
among their memories, didactic units developed through cooperative
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
learning and other aspects that have to do with cooperation, friendship
or fellowship. Consequently, what is most remembered by Carmen (5
years)2 was that “most of the times we were grouped among those who
were in class”. She stressed that the P.E. lessons helped her to “make
friends” and that “apart from doing the exercises, it was more about
being opened to the rest of teammates.” This view is shared by Roberto
(4 years), who said that he learned in the classroom “to collaborate with
peers, fellowship as well as all the juggling exercises and the skipping
rope”, contents of which Ernesto (3 years) also kept good memories “I
remember a lot the circuits we did, juggling ..., the skipping ropes are
really lively memories to me and I had a great time during these lessons
Carolina (2 years) stresses among all the things that she learnt “the
team work”. It means that “we always have to say what we believe and
listen to each other.”
The mutual aid was spontaneously highlighted as a learning element
in the classroom by the students during the collective interview:
Can you remember what the teacher used to do when someone had
any difficulty with the task or couldn’t do anything?
(Ana) – The teacher helped him.
(Rosa) - Or two partners helped him.
(Andrea) – The teacher asked his friends to help him so they said
“do this, you have to be like this”.
(Ana) - That's what you used to say so much. What is what I said
so much?
(Ana) – Well, what I’ve just said, that you told us to help each
other. And did it work?
(Various) – Yes, quite well.
(Martin) - I had not ever done a somersault and now I can do it. It
is true that it is something that I could not do but you helped me
and, as we were all together, now I know how to do it.
Alejandro (1 year) also highlighted that the teacher was not the only one
who “was trying to help” with the problems of a partner but “all of us
helped”. For example, if he could not jump the rope, those of us who
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
were better at jumping taught him how to jump in and out from the long
rope and you [the teacher] were also one of us.”
The P.E. lessons at school were defined as funny, participative,
cooperative and useful by all the interviewees. Consequently, Martin (2
years) reinforced that the lessons let “everybody play.” It was not like
football, in which just some people were very good at and others really
bad. They were intermediate games that everyone can do” Carmen (5
years) described them as “funny and relaxing” stating that “all of us
always enjoyed going to class.” Roberto (4 years) was even more
enthusiastic considering it “very funny” and declaring: “I've never been
in a P.E. class like that.” Carolina (2 years) chose the adjective
“cooperative, because we always had to collaborate with each other”
and Alejandro (1 year) considered that the lessons were helpful because
“there are games where some of the skills needed are now required at
high school”.
Big differences were identified by all the students when comparing
P.E. at school with P.E. at high school in Secondary Education. The first
major difference that was quickly verbalized has to do with losing the
sense of entertaining lessons. With regard to this, Alejandro (1 year)
complained that at high school “games are hardly ever played, exercise
is everything and games were in school. It was better than at high
school, much better, because you did the same as in high school but
A second distinguishing feature is related to the structure of learning.
Ernesto (3 years) stressed that lessons at school “were all cooperative
practices while, at high school, everything is more individualistic.” This
idea also emerged during the group interview, in which students linked
this individualistic learning approach to a greater difficulty to learn,
compared with the cooperative approach that they had known in school:
(Rosa) – At the high school elasticity is much more emphasized
and everything is harder. A bigger effort is required.
(Martin) - It is not a challenge where you are supported. The thing
is that you have to do it and you are going to do it because you
have to do it. If not, then you fail. In school you are supported and
at high school you have to do it so you do it.
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
(Victor) - In high school everything is more serious. You have to
pass and if not ... you fail and, well ... in school you could fail too,
couldn’t you? But it is more difficult because your classmates and
your teacher are helping.
Don’t your peers and teacher help you in high school?
(Victor) – They do but not so much. Everything is more serious,
more difficult.
The idea of associating the training at high school with a higher level of
demand with respect to that one at school, also emerged in individual
interviews. So Carolina (2 years) noted that “high school is more
demanding, for example, the Cooper test is more strict.” While steady
running was just a learning content in the school, it was assessed in high
school, so that “here we practiced several sessions before the final one.
There, instead of practicing five or six sessions to calibrate ourselves
and get fit after a time, we just have one or two sessions.” In fact,
students do not relate the level of demand with a higher learning but
rather with a higher importance of the physical condition, mainly
aerobic endurance and, as already noted, with a lower number of motor
training based on games. Carmen (5 years) emphasized, for example,
that at high school lessons “are running. You’re given a few minutes and
you have to run and we rarely have fun. There is no freedom to do
things you've never done.”
According to the theory of cooperation and competition (Deustch,
1949), a person will tend to compete, cooperate or work individually
depending on how this person perceives the relationship between his
goals and those of others. Following this theory, the first step in getting
people to cooperate would be to create a positive interdependence of
goals. In other words, his objectives must be linked together so that he
can only achieve them if the rest of the people also reach theirs. This
theory was prompted by Johnson and Johnson (1989, 2009) who
renamed it as Social Interdependence Theory and it was applied to the
educational field by developing the conceptual approach to cooperative
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
learning. The starting point to promote cooperation among equals is the
same, the need for a positive interdependence of goals. Yet, it is
indicated that this is a necessary although not a sufficient condition to
guarantee it.
The results of our investigation agree with Johnson and Johnson
(1989, 2009) since the motor and social achievement were not
guaranteed in all the cases, in spite of the positive interdependence of
goals, but also even in spite of interdependent resources, roles and
rewards. It does seem that, broadly speaking, students were more
motivated and made bigger efforts when they could contribute
something to the group or when poor performance affected other
members of the team. Nevertheless, this was not the same in all cases,
which leads us to believe that there are other individual characteristics
such as some personality traits, motivation, pro-social behavior,
responsibility... that influence the performance of the teams. This would
reinforce the results of investigations of León (2002, p. 297) who
advocated “the importance of social skills, negative self-verbalization
and, above all, certain styles of interpersonal behavior on cooperative
learning.” Further studies should be aimed at determining which of
these variables have a greater effect on the positive or negative result of
students when working on cooperative learning.
The fact that the teacher was the one who formed the learning teams
was not a determining factor in the performance of them. We could
observe that in the case of teams which are built by affinity but their
members fulfilled their responsibilities, their performance is higher. By
contrast, it is really decreased when the affinity grouping generates
playful or distracting situations from the task. However, most
researchers consider the groups which are formed freely by the students
themselves the least recommended option (Gavilán & Alario, 2010;
Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1999) since “students will tend to choose
their peers depending on their ethnicity or gender and they will have
less willingness to respond as individuals “ (Cohen, 1999, p. 89).
There are other risks such as a team consisting in the students with
more difficulties without resources to help reciprocally (Kagan, 2000).
Another risk for those teams made of friends could be the lack of
opportunities to socialize with others (Putnam, 1997). Then, should the
C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
teacher be the one who builds the groups even though this was not a
determining factor in the performance of them as we observed in our
study? Perhaps the most suitable thing is the balance in which, not only
the interests of students are considered but also the way children are
gathered in order to avoid the risks before mentioned. Some proposals
are given in this sense. For instance, Marín and Blázquez (2003)
proposed the educator to be the person in charge of forming the group
after a sociometric testing that allows him to combine variables of
friendship along with others of heterogeneity. According to another
proposal, the students are who group freely themselves as long as the
group meets certain conditions set by the teacher (Velázquez, 2010).
In our research, the groups which obtained the lowest yields were
those teams in which some people were distracted from the task, were
joking with their teammates, did not assume their responsibilities, were
not able to regulate their conflicts and rarely reflected or made decisions
aimed at solving the problems that arose. All this leads us to identify
individual responsibility as a determining factor to success in
cooperative learning, an element that is fully recognized by the leading
names in the field (Cohen, 1999; Johnson & Johnson, 1999; Kagan,
2000; Slavin, 1999). Such individual responsibility seems to be
facilitated by the development of specific materials for the work of
students through cooperative learning as well as the assumption of
specific roles by them, although it is not a guarantee. Furthermore,
promoting time to reflect on the work done is also recommendable what
Johnson and Johnson (1999) called group processing.
Our study showed that interpersonal conflicts were rare when the
group had sufficient social skills and there was a concern for everyone,
especially for those who had more difficulties. Moreover, in the case of
any conflict, it was solved thanks to dialogue and agreement. All this
contributed not only to the inclusion of students who had been initially
marginalized but also to the motor achievement of those with lower
initial ability in the proposed task. This suggests that pro-social attitudes
of the students are another factor that contributes towards a high team
performance. The clearest example is found in the group that worked
with Pedro, the autistic child, who reached the second best results in the
jump in pairs when the child was initially unable to lift his feet from the
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
ground. Social skills are considered by Johnson and Johnson (1999) as
one of the fundamental factors for success in the cooperative learning
processes, in addition to what they call promotive interaction “that
happens when people encourage and promote the others’ efforts in order
to achieve activities in favor of the objectives of the group” (ibid., p.
125). These factors are also considered by other authors (Dyson,
Lineham & Hastie, 2010; Gavilán & Alario, 2010; Gillies, 2007;
Putnam, 1997). Understanding pro-social behavior as without altruistic
motivation” (Garaigordobil, 2005, p. 44) and even when it is not exactly
mentioned in the alluded works, the conjunction of these two essential
factors of cooperative learning with social skills and promotive
interaction are not exactly the same, to some extent, but they have a lot
of similarities with it.
The different learning teams, in which their components showed prosocial attitudes, took their individual responsibilities, reflected on the
work done and how to improve it. In addition, they had enough
cognitive resources and social skills to support the learning of their
peers, providing feedback that leads them to correct their mistakes.
Besides, they far exceeded the motor goals as well as other social
achievements. Among these remarkable achievements were the greater
autonomy in learning, an increase in social skills and the inclusion of
students with special educational needs or more initial difficulties to
achieve the task that was intended. The achievement of apparent
unattainable motor goals with the support of their peers increased the
motivation of these students towards physical exercise and the
acquisition of a sense of motor competence. All this confirms other
researches in the field of motor skills that shows that, as long as the
required conditions are fulfilled, cooperative learning is effective not
only in terms of motor performance but also emotionally and socially
speaking (Bähr, 2010; Barba, 2010; Barrett , 2000, 2005; Casey, 2010;
Casey & Dyson, 2009; Dyson, 2001, 2002; Dyson, Linehan & Hastie,
2010; Fernández-Río, 2003; Goudas & Magotsiou, 2009; Gröben, 2005;
Lafont, Proeres & Vallet, 2007; Polvi & Telama, 2000).
Finally, our study explored the perception of P.E. classes based on
cooperative learning that endures in the students’ memory as time goes
by. In this sense, the students identified the cooperative learning
100 C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
approach as a distinguishing factor between P.E. lessons in school and
those in high school working mainly on an individualistic approach. A
second distinguishing feature was the entertaining lessons and positive
classroom atmosphere in which they worked, in contrast to those that
they were currently working on, more focused on the development of
physical fitness, which they described as serious and demanding. They
stressed the importance of peer support as a key factor that enabled
them to learn in physical education.
Finally, all students who were interviewed described the P.E. lessons at
school as funny, participative, cooperative and useful. This leads us to
conclude that students keep a pleasant memory of the P.E. lessons based
on cooperative learning and that they are aware of the fact that they
helped them to develop motor skills but also to interact with peers. In
any case, we could not find any studies to compare our findings,
therefore, it should be viewed with caution awaiting further research to
be developed in this regard.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Álvarez, J. C., Bernabé, R. J. & García García, A. (2010). Metodologías
Cooperativas en Educación Física. Gijón: Consejería de
Educación y Ciencia. Centro del Profesorado y de Recursos de
Bähr, I. (2010). Experiencia práctica y resultados empíricos sobre el
aprendizaje cooperativo en gimnasia. In C. Velázquez (Coord.),
Aprendizaje Cooperativo en Educación Física. Fundamentos y
aplicaciones prácticas (pp. 149-163). Barcelona: INDE.
Barba, J. J. (2010). Diferencias entre el aprendizaje cooperativo y la
asignación de tareas en la Escuela Rural. Comparación de dos
estudios de caso en una unidad didáctica de acrosport en segundo
ciclo de primaria. Retos. Nuevas tendencias en Educación Física,
Deporte y Recreación, 18, 14-18. Retrived from:
Barrett, T. M. (2000). Effects oftwo cooperative learning strategies on
academic learning time, student performance and social behavior
ofsixth-grade Physical Education students. [Doctoral thesis].
University of Nebraska. Retrieved from
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb. Document: AAT9973585.
Barrett, T. (2005). Effects of cooperative learning on the performance of
sixth-grade Physical Education students. Journal ofTeaching in
Physical Education, 24(1), 88-102.
Casey, A. (2010). El aprendizaje cooperativo aplicado a la enseñanza
del atletismo en la escuela secundaria. In C. Velázquez (Coord.),
Aprendizaje cooperativo en Educación Física. Fundamentos y
aplicaciones prácticas (pp. 187-199). Barcelona: INDE.
Casey, A. & Dyson, B. (2009). The implementation of models-based
practice in Physical Education through action research. European
Physical Education Review, 15(2), 175-199. doi:
Cervantes, C. M., Cohen, R., Hersman, B. & Barrett, T. (2007).
Incorporating PACER into an inclusive basketball unit. Journal of
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 78(7), 45-50.
102 C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
Cohen, E. G. (1999). Organizzare i gruppi cooperativi. Ruoli, funzioni,
attività. Gardolo, TN: Erickson.
Deustch, M. (1949). A Theory of Co-operation and competition. Human
Relations, 2, 129-152. doi: 10.1177/001872674900200204.
Dunn, S. E. & Wilson, R. (1991). Cooperative learning in the Physical
Education classroom. Journal ofPhysical Education, Recreation
and Dance, 62(6), 22-28.
Dyson, B. (2001). Cooperative learning in an elementary Physical
Education program. Journal ofTeaching in Physical Education,
20(3), 264–281.
Dyson, B. (2002). The implementation of cooperative learning in an
elementary school Physical Education program. Journal of
Teaching in Physical Education, 22(1), 69–85.
Dyson, B., Linehan, N. R. & Hastie, P. A. (2010). The ecology of
cooperative learning in elementary Physical Education classes.
Journal ofTeaching in Physical Education, 29(2), 113-130.
Fernández-Río, J. (2003). El aprendizaje cooperativo en el aula de
educación física para la integración en el medio social: análisis
comparativo con otros sistemas de enseñanza y aprendizaje. [Cd-
rom]. Valladolid: La Peonza.
Fernández-Río, J. y Velázquez, C. (2005). Desafíos físicos cooperativos.
Sevilla: Wanceulen.
Garaigordobil, M. (2005). Diseño y evaluación de un programa de
intervención socioemocional para promover la conducta prosocial
y prevenir la violencia. Madrid: MEC – CIDE.
Gavilán, P. & Alario, R. (2010). Aprendizaje cooperativo. Una
metodología con futuro. Principios y aplicaciones. Madrid: CCS.
Gil, P. & Naveiras, D. (2007). La educación física cooperativa. Sevilla:
Gillies, R. M. (2007). Cooperative learning. Integrating theory and
practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Goudas, M. & Magotsiou, E. (2009). The effects of a cooperative
Physical Education program on students’ social skills. Journal of
Applied sport Psychology, 21 (3), 356-364.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Grineski, S. (1993). Achieving educational goals in Physical Education.
A missing ingredient. Journal ofPhysical Education, Recreation
and Dance, 64(5), 32-34.
Grineski, S. (1996). Cooperative learning in Physical Education.
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Grenier, M., Dyson, B. & Yeaton, P. (2005). Cooperative learning that
includes students with disabilities. Journal ofPhysical Education,
Recreation and Dance, 76(6), 29-35.
Gröben, B. (2005). Kooperatives lernen im spiegel der
unterrichtsforschung. Sportpädagogik, 6, 48-52.
Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (1989). Cooperation and Competition:
Theory and research . Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.
Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Aprender juntos y solos.
Aprendizaje cooperativo, competitivo e individualista. Buenos
Aires: Aique.
Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (2009). An educational psychology
success story: social interdependence theory and cooperative
learning. Educational Researcher, 38(5), 365-379. doi:
Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. & Holubec, E. J. (1999). El aprendizaje
cooperativo en el aula. Buenos Aires: Paidós.
Kagan, S. (2000). L'apprendimento cooperativo: l'approccio strutturale.
Roma: Edizioni Lavoro.
Lafont, L. Proeres, M. & Vallet, C. (2007). Cooperative group learning
in a team game: role of verbal exchanges among peers. Social
Psychology ofEducation, 10(1), 93–113. doi: 10.1007/s11218006-9006-7.
León, B. (2002). Elementos mediadores en la eficacia del aprendizaje
cooperativo: entrenamiento en habilidades sociales y dinámicas
de grupo. [Doctoral thesis]. Cáceres: Universidad de Extremadura.
López-Pastor, V. M. (2009). El lugar de las actividades físicas
cooperativas en una programación de Educación Física por
dominios de acción. Retos. Nuevas tendencias en Educación
Física, Deporte y Recreación, 16, 36-40. Retrived from:
104 C. Velázquez Callado - Analysis ofthe Effects ofthe Implementation
Marín, S. & Blázquez, F. (2003). Aprender cooperando: el aprendizaje
cooperativo en el aula. Mérida: Dirección General de Ordenación,
Renovación y Centros.
Metzler, M. W. (2011). Instructional models for Physical Education.
Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway.
Polvi, S. & Telama, R. (2000). The use of cooperative learning as a
social enhancer in Physical Education. Scandinavian Journal of
Educational Research, 44(1), 105–115. doi: 10.1080/713696660.
Pujolás, P. (2008). El aprendizaje cooperativo. 9 ideas clave. Barcelona:
Putnam, J. (1997). Cooperative Learning in Diverse Classrooms. Upper
Saddle River, N.J. Prentice-Hall.
Slavin, R. E. (1999). Aprendizaje cooperativo. Teoría, investigación y
práctica. Buenos Aires: Aique.
Velázquez, C. (2004a). Las actividades físicas cooperativas. Una
propuesta para la formación de valores a través de la educación
física en las escuelas de educación básica. México, D.F.:
Secretaría de Educación Pública.
Velázquez, C. (2004b). Desafíos físicos cooperativos: una experiencia
de aula. In C. Velázquez, V. M. López Pastor & R. Monjas
(Coords.), Actas del IV Congreso estatal y II Iberoamericano de
actividades físicas cooperativas. Segovia, 5 al 8 de julio. [Cdrom]. Valladolid: La Peonza.
Velázquez, C. (2006). Aprendemos juntos a saltar a la comba. Una
experiencia de aprendizaje cooperativo en Educación Física. In C.
Velázquez, C. Castro & F. Vaquero (Coords.), Actas del V
Congreso internacional de actividades físicas cooperativas.
Oleiros, 30 de junio al 3 de julio. [Cd-rom]. Valladolid: La
Velázquez, C. (Coord.) (2010). Aprendizaje cooperativo en Educación
Física. Fundamentos y aplicaciones prácticas. Barcelona: INDE.
Velázquez, C. (2012). Putting cooperative learning and physical activity
into practice with primary students. In B. Dyson & A. Casey
(Coords.), Cooperative learning in Physical Education. A
research-based approach (pp. 59-74). London: Routledge.
Qualitative Research in Education, 1
Velázquez, C. & Fernández-Arranz, M. I. (2002). Educación Física
para la paz, la convivencia y la integración . [Cd-rom]. Valladolid:
La Peonza.
Velázquez-Buendía, R. (1996). Iniciación a los deportes colectivos: las
hojas de registro como instrumento para facilitar el aprendizaje
cooperativo y la coevaluación. Un enfoque de la enseñanza para
transmitir a los estudiantes de Educación Física. In Actas del III
Congreso Nacional de Educación Física de facultades de
educación y XIV de escuelas universitarias de Magisterio .
Guadalajara, 26 al 29 de junio (pp. 391-399). Guadalajara:
Universidad de Alcalá.
1 Throughout the text we will use pseudonyms to identify the different students.
2 Along with the pseudonym of a former student is included, in brackets, the number
years that has elapsed since leaving school.
Carlos Velázquez Callado is Ph D. Candidate at Departament of
Music, Plastic and Body Expresion. Universidad de Valladolid,
Contact Address: Facultad de Educación y Trabajo Social, Paseo
de Belén s/n, Valladolid (CP 47011).
Email: [email protected]
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
¿Cómo Investigar con Estudio de Casos?
Beatriz Carramolino Arranz1
1) Departamento de Pedagogía, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: Carramolino Arranz, B. (2012). ¿Cómo investigar con
estudio de casos? Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 106­108. doi:
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.05
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol.1 N.1 June 2012 pp. 106-108
Reviews (II)
Rodríguez Rojo, M. (2012): ¿Cómo Investigar con Estudio de Casos?
Santa Cruz de la Sierra: CEDID-FIFIED. ISBN: 978-999-54-55-56-9
La presente obra surge como el “grano de arena” que el profesor emérito
Dr. D. Martín Rodríguez Rojo aporta al programa de maestría y
doctorado que se viene desarrollando en Bolivia desde el año 2008. En
ese momento se planteó la iniciativa de formar a profesionales de la
educación procedentes de diferentes países de Latinoamérica con el
objetivo de alcanzar la maestría y doctorado. Esta acción tenía un
carácter práctico y proyectivo, pues quienes han adquirido el grado de
doctor son quienes están ayudando a formar a sus compañeros desde en
sus respectivos países.
El libro pretende ser una guía para la realización de Estudio de Casos
para formadores y profesores en formación. Escoge esta metodología de
investigación por su cariz globalizador, integrador de diferentes ciencias
sociales y por su carácter socio-crítico y emancipador, con el propósito
de repensar y mejorar las realidades socioeducativas de los diferentes
países latinoamericanos a través de su estudio sistémico y de la
búsqueda de transformación y mejora.
De cualquier modo, es un ejemplar valioso para cualquier profesor,
profesora y personas en periodo de formación de máster o doctorado,
pues nos encontramos ante una síntesis pragmática de los fundamentos
y principales pasos que hemos de seguir para realizar un Estudio de
No pretende ser un manual dogmático, si no una referencia para
comprender en qué consiste un Estudio de Casos y una orientación
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.05
Qualitative Research in Education 1,
práctica para estimular al lector en la organización de su investigación,
permitiendo la flexibilidad de elección de principios y
procedimientosdesde los que llevarla a cabo. Está basado en obras de
autores referentes del campo del paradigma socio-crítico, la
metodología cualitativa y del Estudio de Caso tales como John Elliot,
Robert Stake, Stephen Kemmis, Karl Popper, etc.
La guía, escrita en castellano, se presenta de forma sintética (el libro
contiene 100 páginas) pero contempla el contenido más relevante de la
temática abordada sin que el lector eche en falta ninguno de los pasos
principales de un Estudio de Casos. Introduce el libro con el origen de la
obra y la estructura y contenido que integrará a lo largo de él, situando
al lector ante la intencionalidad y fundamentos de esta guía. Refleja las
generalidades del estudio de caso, planteando su definición,
características y enfoque desde los que puede partirse, a la vez que
sugiere la lectura de obras de autores relevantes para la ampliación de la
comprensión conocimientos. Prosigue con la exposición organizada de
cada una de las cinco fases que integran, desde la perspectiva del autor,
los Estudios de Caso: Fase Preparatoria, Fase de Planificación, Fase de
Trabajo de campo, Fase Analítica y Fase Expresiva. Distribuye el
contenido de estos pasos en 12 sesiones de Máster de naturaleza teóricopráctica, incluyendo contenido científico de cada uno de ellos ilustrado
mediante ejemplos prácticos.
La magnífica capacidad sintética que el autor ha demostrado en la
obra permite que el lector recree una idea global de la metodología de
Estudio de Casos y transmite un estímulo transformación positiva de las
realidades socioeducativas mediante investigaciones basadas en esta
metodología en las situaciones en que sea oportuno.
Son de destacar los cuadros que el autor presenta a lo largo de la obra,
en los que ejemplifica cómo presentar el contenido de nuestra
investigación de forma clara y ordenada, permitiendo al investigador
organizar el Estudio de Casos visualmente, de modo que facilita tener
presente el esquema general, los objetivos, las categorías y los aspectos
principales de la investigación.
El importe de este libro está íntegramente destinado a la asociación
creada por los doctorandos Latinoamericanos que se formaron al iniciar
el proyecto en 2008 (Centro de Estudios Doctorales en Interculturalidad
B. Carramolino - ¿Cómo investigar con estudio de casos?
y Desarrollo - CEDID) con sede en el Edificio Universitario de Ciudad
de la Alegría, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Puede solicitarse el
librocontactando con el autor: [email protected]
Beatriz Carramolino Arranz
Universidad de Valladolid
[email protected]
Instructions for authors, subscriptions and further details:
La Evaluación y Calificación en la Universidad. Relatos
Autobiográficos Durante la Búsqueda de Alternativas
Gustavo González Calvo
1) CEIP León Felipe, Consejería de Educación de la Junta de Castilla y León, Spain.
Date of publication: June 30th, 2012
To cite this article: González Calvo, G. (2012). La evaluación y calificación
en la universidad. Relatos autobiográficos durante la busqueda de
alternativas. Qualitative Research in Education, 1(1), 109­111. doi:
To link this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/qre.2012.06
The terms and conditions of use are related to the Open Journal System
and to Creative Commons Non­Commercial and Non­Derivative License.
Qualitative Research in Education Vol. 1 N. 1 June 2012 pp. 109-111
Reviews (II)
Sicilia Camacho, A. (coord.) (2011). La Evaluación y Calificación en la
Universidad. Relatos Autobiográficos Durante la Búsqueda de
Alternativas. Barcelona: Hipatia Press. ISBN: 978-84-936743-4-2
La presente obra, vinculada al ámbito educativo universitario,
constituye una valiosa selección de narrativas autobiográficas en las
que, con un lenguaje claro y sencillo, un grupo de profesores llevan a
cabo un análisis crítico respecto de la evaluación tradicional en la
enseñanza universitaria y la manera en que ésta dificulta la búsqueda de
un clima democrático dentro del aula y un equilibrio en las relaciones de
poder que se asocian al proceso de calificación.
Del análisis de los diferentes relatos se extrae la convicción de que
son la evaluación y la calificación dos de las herramientas del proceso
de enseñanza/aprendizaje que de forma más clara evidencian y
condicionan las ideologías docentes.
La obra se presenta en dos partes, si bien no formalmente
diferenciadas, y se estructura en torno a diez capítulos. El primero de
ellos, la evaluación: una encrucijada para el profesorado, supone el
repaso crítico a 35 años de ejercicio profesional y la evolución en el
proceso evaluador a lo largo del mismo.
Espejos deformantes, fragmentos incompletos: reflexión sobre la
evaluación desde la biografía muestra tres momentos vitales clave para
el autor que le llevan a reflexionar acerca de las posibilidades y
limitaciones de la evaluación.
El tercero de los relatos, la autoevaluación en la formación de
maestras y maestros. Narrativa, experiencia y reflexión de un aula
universitaria, plantea que partir de la autobiografía del alumnado resulta
útil para conocer su trayectoria previa en el momento de su formación
2012 Hipatia Press
ISSN 2014-6418
DOI: 10.4471/qre.2012.06
G. González Calvo - La evaluación y calificación a universidad
universitaria y en su proyección como futuro docente, al tiempo que
recoge el vínculo que se establece entre la práctica de autoevaluación y
autocalificación con el proceso de enseñanza/aprendizaje democrático.
De la auto-evaluación a la co-evaluación analiza la reelaboración que
lleva a cabo la autora de las prácticas desarrolladas por FernándezBalboa al considerar la autoevaluación como un limitante del progreso
democrático en el aula.
El quinto relato, del naufragio como docente metódica al encuentro
creativo de la docencia. Reflexiones en voz alta acerca de mi práctica
docente, la corporeidad y la búsqueda del ejercicio de la democracia,
refleja el punto de inflexión de una profesora de Educación Física en su
modo de abordar la docencia y el paso de ejercer una metodología y
evaluación autoritaria a otra democrática.
Miedo a la libertad y autoevaluación: gobernarse a sí mismo plantea
las experiencias de un profesor asociado en su primer año de docencia y
su convicción de que la autoevaluación desarrolla personas
responsables, libres y autónomas que requiere mucho de docente y
En flexión, reflexión y genuflexión ante la evaluación universitaria:
de cómo la evaluación nos informa y la calificación nos deforma, el
autor presenta en tono irónico cómo la evaluación mitiga el desarrollo
de una actitud reflexiva, crítica y participativa del alumnado.
Análisis de un proceso de formación inicial del profesorado basado
en la autoevaluación muestra las implicaciones de la autoevaluación en
el desarrollo de una asignatura optativa de los estudios de Magisterio y
los conflictos que genera entre alumnado y profesorado.
Libertad, autonomía y formación de sujetos en el proceso de
autoevaluación y autocalificación narra la intención del autor por dotar
de voz y autonomía a los estudiantes dentro de su propio proceso de
aprendizaje mediante la autocalificación y las limitaciones
sociopolíticas a que se ve sometida.
El último capítulo, un relato sobre la incertidumbre y los prejuicios
que irrumpen cuando se pretende incluir la voz del alumnado en la
enseñanza universitaria, plantea los dilemas mediante las narrativas del
yo a que se enfrenta una profesora novel universitaria cuando decide
cambiar su modo de abordar la docencia y la evaluación de la asignatura
que imparte.
Qualitative Research in Education 1,
Estas narrativas autobiográficas evidencian las inquietudes del
profesorado por ser capaces de llevar a cabo un proceso de cambio en el
sistema tradicional de evaluación. En mi opinión, compartir estas
reflexiones puede ayudar a otros educadores, no sólo del ámbito
universitario, a replantearse el tipo de evaluación que llevan a cabo y las
implicaciones que ésta supone, abriendo el camino que conduce a
buscar respuestas al tipo de profesional que somos y el que queremos
llegar a ser.
Gustavo González Calvo
CEIP León Felipe
[email protected] com

Documentos relacionados