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One aim of this lexicon is to help draw together a community of Living Educational Theory researchers around its shared meanings. (To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life – Wittgenstein, 1953)


A Lexicon of Vocabulary associated with

Living Educational Theory Research


1  Living Educational Theory (with upper case) refers to a lexical definition of meaning, which distinguishes it as a unique field of educational research activity.

2. Living Educational Theory Research (with upper case) can be conceptualised as the procedure that a practitioner researcher engages in to create their own living-educational-theory (with lower case, hyphenated).

3  A Living Educational Theory researcher carries out educational inquiries using a Living Educational Theory Research methodology.

N.B. Inquiry denotes an investigation and enquiry denotes a question here.

1.1 Living Educational Theory incorporates a distinct epistemology that underpins the claims to knowledge made by researchers in the field.

1.1.1  As all other epistemologies, Living Educational Theory is distinguished in terms of its unit of appraisal (what is being judged), its standards of judgment (how judgments are made about the unit of appraisal) and its logic (the mode of thinking that is appropriate within the epistemology).  The unit of appraisal within a living-educational-theory account is an individual's explanation of their educational influences in learning.  The standards of judgment are used to test the claims to knowledge of a Living Educational Theory researcher's account; they are also used to test the claims to have educational influence in learning.  Logic can be understood "... as the mode of thought that is appropriate for comprehending the real as rational." (Marcuse)  Arguments about the logic of rationality have waged for 2,500 years between formal (propositional) logicians and dialectical logicians. The argument focuses on ‘contradiction’.  Formal logicians argue that contradictions in theories make the theories useless.  Dialecticians argue that contradictions are the nucleus and dialectics are at the heart of theories of change.  The rationality of living-educational-theories is established by the living-logics of the individual’s explanation of their educational influences in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of the social formations within which the practice is located. Living-logics are relationally dynamic; the rationality of explanations that are structured by living-logics can include insights from both dialectical and formal traditions of inquiry, without denying the rationalities of both traditions.


2.1  Living Educational Theory Research is a distinct research paradigm.

2.1.1  A paradigm is a discrete research procedure. Living Educational Theory Research constitutes a paradigm; by comparison, Living Educational Theory is constituted by its epistemology.

2.2  Living Educational Theory Research uses various research methods such as Action Research, Narrative Inquiry and Auto-ethnography; however, Living Educational Theory Research is distinguishable by the form of logic, epistemology, explanations, standards of judgment and units of appraisal that account for claims to have educational influence in learning. 

2.2.1.  A  logic is constituted by the rules of reasoning appropriate to the formation of a given paradigm (in this case, Living Educational Theory Research – see above). It forms the structure of an epistemology and allows for its analysis.

2.3  Living Educational Theory Research involves the ‘I’ in questions of the kind, ‘How do I improve what I am doing in my educational practice?’.

2.3.1  The ‘I’ is focused on generating explanations of educational influences in learning; while there may be ontological aspects to the research, it is not focused on ‘self-help' or ‘personal development' as understood by the general population outside of educational research. 


3.1  A Living Educational Theory researcher produces an account of their inquiry comprising descriptions and explanations, which together constitute an account of their living-educational-theory.

3.1.1  A living-educational-theory is an educational practitioner's descriptions and explanations of their educational influence in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations – as they explore questions of the sort "How do I improve what I'm doing in my educational practice?"

3.1.2  A researcher's living-educational-theory is described by explanatory principles that are informed by the researcher's values as ethical principles and standards of judgment that emerge over time through practice. 

3.1.3  Any claims to improvements in practice must reveal the researcher's values as standards of judgment in their accounts. 

3.1.4  Standards of judgment are central to Living Educational Theory Research; they are derived from the researchers’ ontological and social values which develop over time as they are clarified in the course of the research. 

3.2  Within a living-educational-theory account, values form the ethical and explanatory principles and the standards of judgment.

3.2.1 The values relating to standards of judgment are those which contribute to the flourishing of humanity (Whitehead, 1989); values are recognised as living and developmental rather than as conceptual and static (Laidlaw, 1996).

3.3 When living true to values that are life-affirming / life-enhancing and offer hope for the future of humanity, a Living Educational Theory researcher can claim that they are acting in a moral and ethical manner.

3.3.1 Ethics are standards defined by groups and cultures as enduring, long-held beliefs intended to guide not just individuals, but a society as a whole.

3.3.2 Morals are developed within a culture's ethical code and are an objective description of an individual's personal character, reflecting their sense of right and wrong or what ought to be.

3.3.3 Values are the elements of an individual's principles, standards, or qualities that they identify as significant, worthwhile and desirable for guiding their intentional actions.

3.4  Living Educational Theory Research takes place within the researcher's professional practice; a Living Educational Theory researcher's life does not constitute their living-educational-theory as an explanation of their educational influences in learning.

3.5  The term living-educational-theory researcher is incorrect; it is better expressed as Living Educational Theory researcher. Similarly, living-educational-theory research should be expressed as Living Educational Theory Research.





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