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Spirals for Adult Researchers

Dear Me 

Personal thoughts, reflection and energy captured in sketched prompt sheets, dated to show developing thinking. Pages are prompts for reflection and recording personal ideas, plans, thoughts, celebrations, frustrations, secrets etc. The brief, sketched outlines prompt thought and reflection, allowing creative interpretation and response. It is a space to reflect on past experiences, present situations and how these are affected by our passions, values, beliefs, opinions, attitudes and interests. Reflect here on the person you are and the person you show others.  Ask 'What is important to me?' 'How do I account for my successes and difficulties? 

Anger       Attitudes, Values, Opinions, Beliefs       Bright Ideas      Bullet Points     Chains     Chaos

Chats        Checks and Balances        Clipboard     Clouds      Escape the Hole    Fears and Worries

Fears        Flow-chart      Frames      Helping Hands     How High will You Reach    Hurdles     I Am Green

I am Not Alone     I am Red      I am Safe Again     I See Others     If Not Now, When     Journeying

Jumble of Leaves      Good Work    Labels     Letter to Myself       Life Successes     MAD Big Scale

MAD       Mask I Hide Behind      Mirror, Mirror on the Wall       Mirror         Moments to Capture    Next Step

Note to Self    One Step at a Time      Options        Past, Present, Future    Puzzle Pieces, Can You See them All

Puzzle Pieces       Real Me       Reflect on Your Day       Relationships     Rolling Thoughts      Safe Zone

Sea Memories      Self Reflection     Shoot for the Stars     Stickey Notes     Tags      Targets     Little Things

Contemplation     Time is Now     Time is Now 2      Time to Think    Time    Timeline     To Read     Trapped

Values     Walking the Talk     Waves of Emotion     Weighing Up     Who Am I     Work     World in My Hands

Worries    You Decide


PRISM - Life Skills, Life Habits, Research Skills      

 Rainbow of Skills for primary aged researchers and Prism for older researchers, this section enables reflective understanding of skills, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of self and the self in the world.

Seven areas; Community, Inquiring Mind, Active Learning, Creativity, Self-identity, Problem Solving and Adventure encourage the creative exploration of aspects that define us. This in time through cycles of reflection and research, combined with reflections from Dear Me and the independent application of these seven areas through MeSearch, allows individuals to understand self, what motivates us, our beliefs and values and how we want to contribute to our own lives and that of others.


1. Communication – Online/ Questioning/ Empathy/ Expressing Myself   


2   Inquiring Mind – Curiosity/ Reflection / + Outlook/ Make Links


3  Active Learning – Resilience/ Grit/ Focus / + Belief   


4  Creativity – Passions & Interests/ Imagination/ Creative Outlet/ Hope and Joy in Life


5 Self-identity – Myself as a Researcher/ Myself as a Practitioner/ Emotional Resilience & Well-being/                              I am Important/ My Future   


6 Problem Solving – Letting Go/ Reasoning/ Planning/ Lateral Thinking 


7 Adventure – Active/ Healthy Lifestyle/ Courage in Life (Opinions, Values & Beliefs)/ Social


Living Archive

Creating an on-line or other safe place to store all those sticky notes, diary entries, video clips, photos, reflections and writing about the topics of personal interest, gives space for deciding the focus of possible research projects.  This is a place to collect a personal living archive, re-visit and create new meanings as ideas grow and further questions emerge. It is also useful to record the full references of interesting data that influences you, to save searching for them later. 



This is the place to plan your project and find a question of particular interest to you.  The enquiry proceeds by using insights arising from reflections in Dear Me, Prism and MeSearch (below). This may be sufficient guidance to support your personal enquiry, however the TASC wheel is useful for its question prompts.   Developed by Belle Wallace (2004) for use in 3 educational settings, TASC is an action reflection guide to a process of enquiring. Wallace's wheel offered a learning theory that made sense to Joy’s class of 6 and 7 year olds, each engaged in understanding themselves as people, as learners and as part of a learning community. It was a natural progression for the children to develop their understanding of the TASC wheel itself from two dimensions, to understanding it as a three dimensional 'Spirals' model incorporating multiple themes. In later reflections and wider learning, the children's explanation grew into a five dimensional model that included time and space (Mounter, 2008), "'This continual reflection in the 'Evaluate', 'Communicate' and 'Learn from Experience' segments of the TASC Wheel continuously strengthened our views of ourselves, and our parts in the community where we could make a difference".


MeSearch - Reflective Creativity, Reflective Wisdom, Reflective Action

MeSearch is a place to pull threads together from all the other sections as the project question is explored. This is the 'Generate' segment of the TASC wheel where creative ideas emerge and are checked in discussion with other interested people who may be asking similar questions.  Ideas are tested in practice usually prompting more questions. Firming up ideas together follows with everyone involved. 'Does this really fit with my intentions?' This collaboratively created knowledge, lived in practice, is shared as a gift to make a difference in the community4. How do you collect evidence of social interest, community feeling and change?  Methodology for creating valid research explanations for academic accreditation and the rigorous scrutiny necessary in preparing for the public sharing of research publications, can be found using Living Educational Theory 


In Community, Making a Difference

'Making a difference (MAD) that is important to each of us', Joy reports, 'is the community thread running through Spirals, with a community ethos held open for each of us, our classroom and other practices. We are contributing, feel valued and have a voice. We are exploring our learning skills, attributes, beliefs and popular learning theories whilst spending time understanding ourselves and our place in the world.   Reflections through TASC and Spirals lead us to a sense of wellbeing, confidence and living wisdom as we continue to grow. The more we reflect and explore our learning, the more we feel need for a way to hold that space, as an inner understanding resilience,        towards others in community (Mounter, 2019).

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